Today our 1% and their 2% took all our American assets and economy to do that same thing----to create economic colonies in Asia---Foreign Economic Zones taking all revenue, investments, and even corporate infrastructure leaving a wealthy nation full of citizens having great wealth -----moderate wealth----and a once mostly employed working class of citizens. What did today's America do? It did not rebuild its local economies ----it lived off the wealth accumulated over centuries-----and our richest corporate executives lived off of wealth rather than rebuild a local economy.
THE US LEADERS CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA DID THE SAME AS THE VENETIAN LEADERS IN RESPONSE TO OUR 1% AND THEIR 2% TAKING THEIR ECONOMY TO GLOBAL MARKETS IN ASIA-----AND THEY KNEW WHERE THAT WOULD TAKE THE US----THE DECLINE OF VENETIAN EMPIRE TOLD US.
Why didn't Venice colonize the New World?
submitted 1 year ago by logicx24
As far as I know, Venice in the late 15th century was one of the foremost naval and commercial powers in Europe, with the massive ship-producing power of the Arsenal and it's trading network throughout the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Why did it never join Portugal and Spain and the other European powers in colonizing the New World?
After further thought, I suppose the same question can be asked about Genoa too.
Venice faced a few issues around the time of the discovery of the New World. It was just coming off a disastrous war with the Ottomans which saw large parts of its Mediterranean empire lost. Afterwards, they faced more issues with the Italian wars which were devastating for the Venetians.
Another issue which plagued the Venetians at this time is that there navy was largely comprised of oared galleys which were effective in the Mediterranean but were not good ocean-going vessels. The Venetian ability to finance new ships was also damaged with the Portuguese voyages around the Cape which broke the Venetian monopoly of the Asiatic land-based trade routes which greatly diminished Venetian profits.
Genoa was a Spanish satellite state officially in 1528 after years of difficulties so they never really were stable enough to colonize.
This long article looks at what happens to any society tied to extreme wealth and global empire-building as has been occurring today in the US these several decades. One can see the creation of a governance tied to the global rich-----one sees a global human capital slave trade supporting empire business-----as we have today in the US fueling Foreign Economic Zones these several decades. As with all ages of extreme wealth comes the decay of morals, ethics, ties to God's Natural Law----as we see Venice filled with lying, cheating, stealing-----spying and surveillance filled these times as groups infiltrated Venetian society and Venice sent its spies and secret societies with wars taking the balk of revenue earned by the MERCHANTS OF VENICE as it fell into ITS DECLINE.
Same as our US today-------one war after another as empire-building created the need to open markets in Korea----Vietnam-----Latin America-----Middle-East and Africa----so much war the American people took to the streets en masse in the 1960s to protest........it only got worse with CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA our American empire was now in decline. Venice was brought down by its wars and empire expansions sending all its wealth to wars, surveillance, spying-----
What we are seeing today in the US is the loss of civility and decline in morals as in the Decline of Venice with loss of trade routes and work the rich went to GAMBLING------FINANCIAL CORRUPTIONS as the way to earn some money. All things BETTING drove all waking hours of the rich pushing these practices down to the Venetian poor.
If one understands the degree of US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zone capture by the 5% to the 1% in controlling all wealth and development ---as in Baltimore----the Wall Street Baltimore Development and global Johns Hopkins filling all corporate non-profits with 5% Wall Street players----all labor and justice organizations filled with captured leaders and lots of spying, surveillance ----fear of who one talks to or what one says-----this mirrors the societal structures of the Venetian Empire-----and it has been happening these CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA -----
'Such knowledge can come only through viewing history as the lawful interplay of contending conspiracies pitting Platonists against their epistemological and political adversaries'.
This article is long but please glance through to the next article.
The Venetian Conspiracy
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
Address delivered to the ICLC Conference near Wiesbaden, Germany, Easter Sunday, 1981; (appeared in Campaigner, September, 1981)
« Against Oligarchy – Table of Contents
Periods of history marked, like the one we are living through, by the convulsive instability of human institutions pose a special challenge for those who seek to base their actions on adequate and authentic knowledge of historical process. Such knowledge can come only through viewing history as the lawful interplay of contending conspiracies pitting Platonists against their epistemological and political adversaries.
There is no better way to gain insight into such matters than through the study of the history of the Venetian oligarchy, the classic example of oligarchical despotism and evil outside of the Far East.
Venice called itself the Serenissima Republica (Serene Republic), but it was no republic in any sense comprehensible to an American, as James Fenimore Cooper points out in the preface to his novel The Bravo. But its sinister institutions do provide an unmatched continuity of the most hideous oligarchical rule for fifteen centuries and more, from the years of the moribund Roman Empire in the West to the Napoleonic Wars, only yesterday in historical terms. Venice can best be thought of as a kind of conveyor belt, transporting the Babylonian contagions of decadent antiquity smack dab into the world of modern states.
The more than one and one-half millennia of Venetian continuity is first of all that of the oligarchical families and the government that was their stooge, but it is even more the relentless application of a characteristic method of statecraft and political intelligence. Venice, never exceeding a few hundred thousand in population, rose to the status of Great Power in the thirteenth century, and kept that status until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, thanks to the most highly developed system of embassies, of domestic and foreign intelligence, and related operational potentials.
As the following story details, Venice was at the center of the efforts to destroy the advanced European civilization of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and bears a crushing burden of guilt for the ascendancy of the Black Guelphs and the coming of the black plague. The Venetians were the intelligencers for the Mongol army of Ghengis Khan and his heirs, and had a hand in guiding them to the sack of Baghdad and the obliteration of its renaissance in the thirteenth century.
The Venetians were the mortal enemies of the humanist Paleologue dynasty in Byzantium. They were the implacable foes of Gemisthos Plethon, Cosimo de’ Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli, and the entirety of the Florentine Golden Renaissance, which they conspired – successfully – to destroy. Venetian influence was decisive in cutting off the Elizabethan epoch in England, and in opening the door to the lugubrious Jacobean era.
Venetian public relations specialists were responsible for picking up the small-time German provincial heretic Martin Luther and raising him to the big-time status of heresiarch among a whole herd of total- predestination divines. Not content with this wrecking operation against the Church, Venice was thereafter the “mother” for the unsavory, itinerant Ignatius of Loyola and his Jesuit order. After the Council of Trent, Venice was also the matrix for the Philosophe- Libertin ferment of the delphic, anti-Leibniz Enlightenment. Venice beat Thomas Malthus and Jeremy Bentham to the punch in inflicting British political economy and philosophical radicalism on the whole world.
Although Napoleon Bonaparte had the merit of forcing the formal liquidation of this loathsome organism during his Italian campaign of 1797, his action did not have the effect we would have desired. The cancer, so to speak, had already had ample time for metastasis – into Geneva, Amsterdam, London, and elsewhere. Thus, though the sovereign political power of Venice had been extinguished, its characteristic method lived on, serving as the incubator of what the twentieth century knows as fascism, first in its role as a breeding ground for the protofascist productions of Wagner and Nietzsche, later in the sponsorship of fascist politicians like Gabriele D’Annunzio and Benito Mussolini. The Venetians ran a large chunk of the action associated with the Parvus Plan to dismember Russia, and may well have been the ones who surprised everyone, including London, by unleashing World War 1 in the Balkans.
Most important, Venice is today through its Cini Foundation and its Societé Europeenne de Culture the think tank and staging area for the Club of Rome and related deployments. Venice is the supranational homeland of the New Dark Ages gang, the unifying symbol for the most extreme Utopian lunatic fringe in the international intelligence community today.
Get to know Venice.
Then look back to the monetarist imbecility of Paul Volker, at the ideological fanaticism that radiates forth from the Bank of America, Chase Manhattan, the Bank for International Settlements and the rest. You will recognize the unmistakable putrid stench of a Venetian canal, where the rotting marble palaces of generations of parasites are corroded by the greatest cynicism and cruelty the world has ever known.
In the Middle Ages the Venetians were known as the archetypes of the parasite, the people who “neither sow nor reap.” For the Greeks, they were the hated “frogs of the marshes.” In Germany, a folk tale describes the merchant of Venice as an aged Pantaloon who makes his rounds robbing men of their human hearts and leaving a cold stone in their place.
Closer to the essence of Venice is the city’s symbol, the winged lion of St. Mark, bearing the misleading inscription, Pax Tibi Marce, Evangelista Meus (“Peace be with you Mark, my evangelist.”) The chimerical winged lion comes out of the East, either from Persia or from China. The symbol is thus blatantly pagan, with St. Mark being added as an afterthought because of his alleged visit to the Venetian lagoons. To buttress the story, the Venetians stole St. Mark’s body from Alexandria in Egypt, and Tintoretto has a painting celebrating this feat.
The point is that Venice looks East, toward the Levant, Asia Minor, central Asia, and the Far East, toward its allies among the Asian and especially Chinese oligarchies which were its partners in trade and war. This is reflected in a whole range of weird, semi-oriental features of Venetian life, most notably the secluded, oriental status of women, with Doges like Mocenigo proudly exhibiting a personal harem well into modern times.
Venice today sits close to the line from Lubeck to Trieste, the demarcation between NATO and Warsaw Pact Europe, roughly corresponding to the boundary between Turks in the East and Christians in the West, and still earlier between the Holy Roman and Byzantine Empires. Into this part of the northern Adriatic flow the rivers of the southern side of the Dolomites and the Julian Alps. The greatest of these is the Po. These rivers, around 300 A.D., made the northern Adriatic a continuous belt of marshes and lagoons about fifteen kilometers wide, and extending from the city of Ravenna around to the base of the Istrian Peninsula, where the Italian- Yugoslavian border lies today.
In the center of this system was Aquileia, starting point of an important north-south trade route across the Brenner Pass to the Danube Valley and Bohemia. Aquileia was the seat of a patriarch of the Christian Church, but its tradition was overwhelmingly pagan, and typified by rituals of the Ancient Egyptian Isis cult. For a time after the year 404, Ravenna and not Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire in the West. After the extinction of the western empire, Ravenna was the seat of government of Theodoric the Ostrogoth, the court visited by Boethius. Later Ravenna was the capital of a part of Italy ruled by the Byzantines.
The islands of the lagoons provided an invulnerable refuge, comparable to Switzerland during World War II, for Roman aristocrats and others fleeing the paths of Goth, Hun, and Langobard armies. Already between 300 and 400 A.D. there are traces of families whose names will later become infamous: Candiano, Faliero, Dandolo. Legend has it that the big influx of refugees came during the raids of Attila the Hun in 452 A.D. Various areas of the lagoons were colonized, including the present site of Torcello, before the seat of administration was fixed at a group of islands known as Rivus Altus (“the highest bank”), later the Rialto, the present location of the city of Venice. The official Ab Urbe Condita is March 25, 721 A.D. Paoluccio Anafesto, the first ruler of the lagoon communities, called the doge (the Venetian equivalent of Latin dux or Florentine duca/duce, meaning leader or duke), is said to have been elected in the year 697.
The most significant fact of this entire period is that the whelp of what was later to become Venice survived and grew thanks to its close alliance with the evil Emperor Justinian in Constantinople, an alliance that was underlined in later years by intermarriage of doge and other leading Venetian oligarchs with the nobility of Byzantium, where a faction embodying the sinister traditions of the Roman Senate lived on for a thousand years after the fall of Rome in 476.
Venetian families are divided into two categories. First come the oldest families, or Longhi, who can claim to prove their nobility substantially before the year 1000. The Longhi include many names that are sadly familiar to the student of European history: Dandolo, Michiel, Morosini, Contarini, Giustinian (perhaps related to the just- mentioned Byzantine emperor), Zeno, Corner (or Cornaro), Gradenigo, Tiepolo, and Falier. These old families held a monopoly of the dogeship until 1382, at which time they were forced to admit the parvenu newcomers, or Curti, to the highest honor of the state. After this time new families like Mocenigo, Foscari, Malipiero, Vendramin, Loredano, Gritti, Dona, and Trevisan came into the ascendancy.
These families and the state they built grew rich through their parasitizing of trade, especially East-West trade, which came to flow overwhelmingly through the Rialto markets. But there is a deeper reality, one which even derogatory stories about spice merchants are designed to mask. The primary basis for Venetian opulence was slavery. This slavery was practiced as a matter of course against Saracens, Mongols, Turks, and other non-Christians. In addition, it is conclusively documented that it was a matter of standard Venetian practice to sell Christians into slavery. This included Italians and Greeks, who were most highly valued as galley slaves. It included Germans and Russians, the latter being shipped in from Tana, the Venetian outpost at the mouth of the Don, in the farthest corner of the Sea of Azov. At a later time, black Africans were added to the list and rapidly became a fad among the nobility of the republic.
THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF SLAVERY
During the years of the Venetian overseas empire, islands like Crete, Cyprus, Corfu, Naxos, and smaller holdings in the Aegean were routinely worked by slave labor, either directly under the Venetian regime, or under the private administration of a Venetian oligarchical clan like the Corner, who owed their riches to such slavery. In later centuries, the harems of the entire Ottoman Empire, from the Balkans to Morocco, were stocked by Venetian slaves. The shock troops of the Ottoman Turkish armies, the Janissaries, were also largely provided by Venetian merchants. A section of the Venetian waterfront is still called Riva Degli Schiavoni – slaves’ dock.
Around 1500, the Venetian oligarch Cristofor da Canal, the leading admiral of the Serenissima Repubblica at that time, composed what he described as a Platonic dialogue concerning the relative merits of galley slaves: the Italians the worst, Dalmatians better, the Greeks the best and toughest of all, although personally filthy and repulsive. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Venice had treaty relations with other states, like Bavaria, by which convicts were delivered to the Serenissima to work as life-long galley slaves.
Indistinguishable from slave gathering operation were piracy and buccaneering, the other staples of the Venetian economy. Wars with Genoa or with other powers were eagerly sought-after opportunities to loot the enemy’s shipping with clouds of corsairs, and victory or defeat usually depended more on the success of the privateering than on the direct combat of the galleys, cogs, and soldiers of the battle fleets.
Piracy shades over imperceptibly into routine commerce. Through decades of treachery and mayhem, the Venetians were able to establish themselves as the leading entrepot port of the Mediterranean world, where, as in London up to 1914, the vast bulk of the world’s strategic commodities were brought for sale, warehousing, and transshipment. The most significant commodities were spices and silks from India and China, destined for markets in Central and Western Europe. Europe in turn produced textiles and metals, especially precious metals, for export to the East.
Venetian production from the earliest period until the end was essentially nil, apart from salt and the glass manufactures of Murano. The role of the Venetian merchant is that of the profiteering middleman who rooks both buyer and seller, backing up his monopolization of the distribution and transportation systems with the war galleys of the battle fleet.
The Venetian approach to trade was ironically dirigistic. Venice asserted a monopoly of all trade and shipping in the northern Adriatic. The Serenissima’s own functionaries organized merchant galley fleets that were sent out one or two times a year to key ports. The galleys were built by the regime in its shipyards, known as the Arsenal, for many centuries the largest factory in the world. They were leased to oligarchs and consortia of oligarchs at a type of auction. Every detail of the operation of these galley fleets, including the obligation to travel in convoy, was stipulated by peremptory state regulation.
In the heyday of Venice, galley fleets were sent to Tana and to Trebizond in the Black Sea, to Crete, Rhodes, and Cyprus on the way to Beirut in the Levant, to Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers, Oran, and Alexandria in North Africa, as well as to Spanish, French, and west coast Italian cities. Especially well-served was “Romania,” the area roughly corresponding to modern Greece. Another galley route passed through Gibraltar on the way to Southampton, London, Antwerp, and Bruges.
Many of these galley ports correspond to continuing Venetian influence today. In every instance the Venetians sought to skim the cream off the top of world trade. Their profit margins had to be sufficient to cover a “traditional” twenty percent interest rate, the financing of frequent wars, and maritime insurance premiums, in which they were pioneers.
THE VENETIAN STATE
The tremendous stability of the Venetian state has fascinated historians. How is it possible to maintain the great power of Venice for more than a millennium and a half without being conquered from the outside, and without significant upheavals from within?
Venice remained impervious to foreign invasion from the first settlement until 1797. The monolithic iniquity of Venetian state institutions was seriously disturbed no more than a half dozen times from within the city, and such incidents were speedily terminated by bloodbaths that restored stability rather than spurring more violence. This feature of the Venetian oligarchical system contrasts sharply with that of its rival, Genoa, where each regime from 1300 to 1500 had the life expectancy of an Italian government today. It contrasts sharply with the papacy, where the highest office was up for grabs every dozen years or less, and where humanist factions could sometimes prevail.
In Venice, the bloody resolution of internal faction fights within the oligarchy was suppressed to a minimum, and these energies were effectively sublimated in the depredation of the outside world. The raging heteronomy of each oligarch was directed outward, not at his factional rivals. In the typology of Plato’s Republic, Venice is an oligarchy, “a constitution according to property, in which the rich govern and the poor man has no share in government,” “the rule of the few, constitution full of many evils.” This oligarchy has a residue of timocracy, of rule based on honor. But at the same time the Venetian regime was perversely aware of Plato’s description of the swift transition from oligarchy to democracy and thence to tyranny, and against this evolution the patriciate took measures.
Plato notes in Book VIII of The Republic that a “change in a constitution always begins from the governing class when there is a faction within; but so long as they are of one mind, even if they be a very small class, it is impossible to disturb them.” The threat of factionalization is located in the “storehouse full of gold, which every man has,” and which “destroys such a constitution.” The oligarchs “lay a sum of money, greater or less, according as the oligarchy is more or less complete, and proclaim that no one may share in the government unless his property comes up to the assessment. This they carry out by force of arms, or they have used terror before this to establish such a constitution.”
Venice lasted as long as it did because of the effective subordination of the oligarchs and families to the needs of the oligarchy as a whole, by the ironclad delimitation of noble status to those already noble in 1297 and their male descendants, and by continuous terror against the masses and against the nobility itself.
All male members of the approximately one hundred fifty noble families had the permanent right to a seat in the Gran Consiglio, or Great Council, which grew to 2000 members around 1500 and thereafter slowly declined. The seat in the Gran Consiglio and the vote it brought were thus independent of which faction happened to be calling the shots at a given moment. The ins might be in, but the outs were sure of their place in the Gran Consiglio, and this body elected the key governing bodies of the regime.
The first of these were the one hundred twenty members, or Pregadi, of the Senate, the upper house which oversaw foreign affairs by choosing the Venetian ambassadors. In the middle of the fifteenth century, Venice was the first and only power which regularly maintained permanent legations in all principal courts and capitals. The Senate also chose five war ministers, five naval ministers (all called Savi), and six Savii Grandi, ministers of still higher rank.
The Gran Consiglio elected a Council of Forty, which was first devoted to budget and finance matters, later more to criminal prosecution. The Gran Consiglio chose three state prosecutors, who could and did sue any official of the state for malfeasance, although the doge was accorded the privilege of being tried after his death, with his family paying any fines levied. The Gran Consiglio also elected the doge himself, through an incredible Byzantine procedure designed to assure a representative choice. First, thirty members of the Gran Consiglio were chosen at random, using colored balls whose Venetian name is the origin of the American word ballot. These thirty drew lots to cut their number down to nine, who then nominated and elected a new group of forty electors. These were then cut down by drawing lots to a group of twelve. This procedure was repeated several times, terminating with a group of forty-one electors of whom twenty-five could nominate a doge for the approval of the Gran Consiglio. Somewhat less complicated procedures were used to select a group of six advisors for the doge.
Most typical of the Venetian system is the Council of Ten, established in 1310 as the coordinating body for foreign and domestic political intelligence operations. Meeting in secret session together with the doge and his six advisors, the Ten had the power to issue a bill of capital attainder against any person inside Venetian jurisdiction, or abroad. If in Venice, that person was generally strangled the same night and the body thrown into the Canale degli Orfani.
The Ten had at their disposal a very extensive foreign intelligence network, but it was inside Venetian territory that their surveillance powers became pervasive: the contents of any discussion among oligarchs or citizens was routinely known to the Ten within twenty- four hours or less, thanks to the ubiquity of its informers and spies. Visitors to the Doge’s Palace today can see mail slots around the outside of the building in the shape of lion’s mouths marked Per Denontie Segrete (“For Secret Denunciations”) for those who wished to call to the attention of the Ten and their monstrous bureaucracy individuals stealing from the state or otherwise violating the law. Death sentences from the Ten were without appeal, and their proceedings were never made public. Offenders simply disappeared from view.
The Venetian regime is a perverse example of the “checks and balances” theory of statecraft, and there were indeed a myriad of such feedback mechanisms. The Savii Grandi balanced the powers of the doge, who was also checked by his six advisors, while more and more power passed to the state inquisitors and the chiefs of the Ten. The state attorneys acted as watchdogs on most matters, as did the Senate, and in times of crises the Gran Consiglio would also assert its powers. The Ten were constantly lurking in the background.
Almost all officials except the doge were elected for terms averaging between six months and one year, with stringent provision against being reelected to an office until a number of months had passed equal to the oligarch’s previous tenure in that post. This meant that leading oligarchs were constantly being rotated and shunted from one stop on the Cursus Honorum to another: to Savio Grande to ducal advisor to state inquisitor and so forth. There was no continuity of the population of Venice; the continuity was located only in the oligarchy. In fact, the population of the city seemed unable to reproduce itself. Venice suffered astronomical rates of mortality from malaria and the plague – its canals, it must be remembered, were first and foremost its sewer system. The decimated natives were continually replenished by waves of immigration, so much so that the Frenchman Philippe de Comynes, an adversary of Machiavelli, could report that the population was mostly foreigners.
Internal order was entrusted to an intricate system of local control in each of the city’s sixty parishes, meshing with an elaborate apparatus of corporatist guilds called the Scuole. This was supplemented by an unending parade of festivals, spectacles, and carnivals. Very few troops were usually stationed in the city.
So much for the phenomena. Reality was located in the fact that an elite of ten to fifteen families out of the one hundred fifty effectively ruled with an iron hand. Various Venetian diarists let the cat out of the bag in their descriptions of corruption and vote-buying, especially the bribery of the impoverished decadent nobility, called Barnabotti, who were increasingly numerous in the Gran Consiglio. The regime ran everything, and offices of all types were routinely sold.
This reality of graft was also known to Dante. The poetical geometry of Canto 21 of the Inferno, the canto of the grafters or Barattieri, is established by a reference to the Venetian Arsenal and the pitch used to caulk the hulls of the galleys:
As in the Arsenal of the Venetians
Boils in the winter the tenacious pitch
To smear their leaky vessels over again,
For sail they cannot.
The souls of the grafters are immersed in the boiling pitch, where they are guarded by the Malebranche, grotesque winged monsters armed with spears and hooks: a fitting allegory for the souls of the Venetians.
Dante visited Venice in 1321, acting in his capacity as diplomatic representative of the nearby city of Ravenna, whose overlord was for a time his protector. He died shortly after leaving Venice. The two explanations of his death converge on murder: one version state that he was denied a boat in which to travel south across the lagoon. He was forced to follow a path through the swamps, caught malaria, and died. Another version says that a boat was available, but that to board it would have meant certain assassination. Venetian records regarding this matter have conveniently disappeared.
An eminent witness of this typical Venetian vice was Erasmus of Rotterdam, who was to the years after 1500 what Petrarch had been in his own time: Leader of the Platonic humanist faction. Erasmus came to Venice in 1508, on the eve, interestingly enough, of the attempt to annihilate Venice in the War of the League of Cambrai. Erasmus came to get in touch with Aldo Manunzio, the Aldus who owned what was at that time the largest and most famous publishing house in the world.
Venice had reacted to the invention of moveable-type printing by Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz in a way that foreshadowed the reaction of the British oligarchy in this century to radio, the movies, and television. They had immediately attempted to seize control of the new medium. Dozens of Gutenberg’s apprentices from the Rhein-Main area were bought up and brought to Venice, where the production of books up to 1500 and beyond was frequently a multiple of the number of titles published in the rest of the world combined.
Aldus was the William Paley and Jack Warner of the industry. Martin Luther was one of that industry’s later creations. Aldus brought out the works of Aristotle in Greek shortly after he began operations in 1495. Plato had to wait for almost twenty years.
One of Erasmus’ goals in visiting Venice was to accelerate the publication of Plato. He stayed at the home of Aldus’ brother-in-law. Erasmus writes about his Venetian sojourn some time later, in the dialogue titled “Opulentia Sordida” of the Colloquia Familiaria. The Urbs Opulenta referred to is of course the wealthiest of all cities, Venice. Aldus appears as Antronius (“the caveman”), described as a multi- millionaire in today’s terms.
Erasmus had been away, and is asked by a friend how he got so skinny. Has he been working as a galley slave? Erasmus replies that he has undergone something far worse: ten months of starvation in the home of Antronius. Here people freeze in the winter because there is no wood to burn. Wine was a strategic commodity in Erasmus’ opinion, as indeed it was in a time when water was often very unsafe to drink. To save money on wine, Antronius took water and faeces annorum decem miscebat (mixed it with ten year old shit), stirring it up so it would look like the real thing. His bread was made not with flour, but with clay, and was so hard it would break even a bear’s teeth. A groaning board on the holidays for a houseful of people and servants was centered around three rotten eggs. There was never meat or fish, but the usual fare was sometimes supplemented by shellfish from a colony that Antronius cultivated in his latrine. When Erasmus consulted a physician, he was told that he was endangering his life by overeating. Erasmus’ friend in the dialogue concludes that at this rate, all Germans, Englishmen, Danes, and Poles are about to die. Finally, Erasmus takes his leave, to head for the nearest French restaurant.
What was the Venetian political intelligence method? The classical Venetian predicament is that of the weaker power attempting to play off two or more major empires. This was the case when the Venetian power was in its very infancy, and survival depended upon playing off the Langobard Kingdom of Italy against the Byzantines. This ploy was later replaced by the attempt to play the Byzantines off against the Carolingian Empire in the West, an attempt that almost misfired when the army of Charlemagne under Pippin laid siege to Venice inside its lagoons. That siege, however, was not successful.
In the eleventh century, the Venetians successfully incited the Norman barons operating out of Sicily under Robert Guiscard to attack Byzantium, and then moved in to offer the desperate Byzantines protection. The price for that protection was indicated by the famous Golden Bull of 1082, a decree of the Byzantine Emperor by which Venice acquired tax customs-free access to the whole of the eastern empire, where the Greeks themselves had to pay a tax of 10 percent on their own transactions. Thus began a hatred for Venice among the Greek population which persists down to the present day.
In the sixteenth century, Venetian strategic doctrine was to play the Ottoman Turks against the Spanish and Austrian Hapsburgs, and then to correct any residual strategic imbalance by playing the Hapsburgs off in their turn against the French. Sometimes Venice attempted to play the Portuguese rival power off against the Dutch. Later this was expanded to include playing the Dutch against the English, and the English against the French.
The Venetians also goaded forces out of the East to attack Christendom. Venice was the manipulator of Saracens, Mongols, and Turks, and got along with the slave-trading factions in each of these groups about as well as a power like Venice could get along with anybody. In particular, the Venetians were more willing to see territory – excepting Venetian territory – be occupied by the Turks than any other power. Venice was thus the past master of the more exotic permutations of the stolid old British dividi et impera, “divide and conquer.”
But the essence of their strategic doctrine was something more abstruse, something sometimes described as the “collapse of empires” scenario. Venice parasitized the decline of much larger states, a decline that Venice itself strove to organize, sometimes in a long and gradual descending curve, but sometimes in a quick bonanza of looting.
Venice was repeatedly confronted with the problem posed by a triumphant enemy, at the height of his power, who would be perfectly capable of crushing the Serenissima in short order. This enemy had to be manipulated into self-destruction, not in any old way, but in the precise and specific way that served the Venetian interest. Does this sound impossible? What is astounding is how often it has succeeded. In fact, it is succeeding in a very real sense in the world today.
The most spectacular example of Venetian manipulation of the dumb giants of this world has gone down in history as the Fourth Crusade. At a tournament in the Champagne in 1201, the Duke of Champagne and numerous feudal barons collectively vowed to make a fighting pilgrimage to the sepulcher of Our Lord in Jerusalem. Here they were to reinforce a French garrison hard-pressed by the Turk Saladin. For many of them, this involved penance for certain misdeeds, not the least of which was a plot against their own sovereign liege, the king.
Reaching the Holy Land required transportation, and the French knights sent Geoffrey of Villehardouin to Venice to negotiate a convoy of merchant galleys with an appropriate escort of warships. Geoffrey closed the deal with the Doge Enrico Dandolo, blind and over eighty years old. Dandolo drove a hard bargain: for the convoy with escort to Jerusalem and back, the French knights would have to fork over the sum of 85,000 silver marks, equal to 20,000 kilograms of silver, or about double the yearly income of the King of England or of France at that time.
When 10,000 French knights and infantry gathered on the Lido of Venice in the summer of 1202, it was found that the French, after pawning everything down to the family silver, still owed the Venetians 35,000 marks. The cunning Dandolo proposed that this debt could easily be canceled if the crusaders would join the Venetians in subjugating Zara, a Christian city in Dalmatia, across the Adriatic from Venice. To this the knights readily agreed, and the feudal army forced the capitulation of Zara, which had been in revolt against Venice.
At this point Dandolo made the crusaders a “geopolitical” proposal, pointing out that the emperor of Byzantium was suspected of being in alliance with the Saracens, and that an advance to the Holy Land would be foolhardy unless this problem were first dealt with. As it happened, the Venetians were supporting a pretender to the Byzantine throne, since the current emperor was seeking to deny them their trading privileges. The pretender was the young Alexios, who promised the knights that if they helped him gain power, he would join them on the crusade with an army of 10,000 Greek soldiers.
Thus, from 1203 to 1204, Constantinople was besieged by the joint Franco-Venetian expeditionary force, which finally succeeded in breaking through the fortifications along the Golden Horn, the bay on the north side of the city.
Byzantium was sacked in an orgy of violence and destruction, from which the Venetians brought back as booty the four bronze horses which generally stand on the Basilica of St. Mark, but which are often exhibited in other cities. Count Baudoin of Flanders was place on the throne of a new concoction titled the Latin Empire of Constantinople. The doge of Venice received a piece of the action in the form of the title Lord of Three Eighths of the Latin Empire. Venice took over three-eighths of Constantinople, a permanent Venetian colony with its own battle fleet. Lemnos and Gallipoli came into Venetian hands. Crete was annexed, and were Naxos and related islands, and the large island of Euboa, which the Venetians called Negroponte. On the Ionian side, the Venetians appropriated Modon and Koron and several islands up to and including Corfu. All Venetian trading privileges in Greece were restored.
The loot brought back from the sack of Constantinople was greater than anything Europe would see until the Spanish treasure fleets from the New World several centuries later. Venice had acquired a colonial empire of naval bases, and was hegemonic in the eastern Mediterranean. To top it all off, the sultan of Egypt had paid a substantial bribe to Dandolo to keep the Crusaders out of Palestine in the first place.
For the human race, the Fourth Crusade was an unmitigated tragedy. The hypertrophy of Venetian power in the Mediterranean was one of the decisive factors ensuring the later defeat of Emperor Federigo II of Hohenstaufen, King of Sicily. The Venetian puppet “Latin Empire” was overthrown by the Paleologues in 1261, but by that time Federigo was gone. By 1266-68, Federigo’s two sons and their Ghibelline supporters were defeated by Charles of Anjou, and the last representative of the Hohenstaufen dynasty was beheaded in the public square of Naples. The triumph of the Black Guelphs had become irreversible.
A further contributing factor in this tragedy was doubtless the Mongol hordes. At about the time the Venetians were sacking Constantinople, Ghengis Khan ruled over an empire that extended from Korea all the way to Iran, and which was rapidly advancing to the West. Batu, a nephew of Ghengis, defeated the Bulgarians in 1236, captured Kiev in the Ukraine in 1240, and swept into Poland. In Silesia in 1241 the German and Polish feudal army, including the Teutonic Knights, was annihilated. Later in the same year the Mongols defeated the Hungarians. The Mongols did not, for reasons that are not clear, advance further westward, but the Mongol Golden Horde that imposed its hegemony over Russia was the beginning of Russia’s economic and cultural backwardness. For some loosening of the Mongol yoke, the Russians would have to fight the titanic battle of Kulokovo Field on the Don in 1380.
In these Mongol victories, there was something more than mere numerical superiority at work. as one historian sums up the case:
The Mongols did not sweep in wildly and suddenly, like reckless barbarians. No indeed, they advanced according to careful plan. At every stage, the Mongol generals informed themselves ahead of time about the state of European courts, and learned what feuds and disorders would be advantageous to their conquests. This valuable knowledge they obtained from Venetian merchants, men like Marco Polo’s father. It was thus not without reason that Polo himself was made welcome at the court of Kublai, and became for a time administrator of the Great Khan.
So the great Marco Polo, and the Venetian family from which he came, was responsible for directing the destruction of Ghengis Khan against Europe. The omnipresent Venetian intelligence was also a factor in the Mongol destruction of the Arab cultural center of Baghdad in 1258.
Friedrich Schiller and William Shakespeare both analyze the manipulative methods employed by the Venetian secret intelligence establishment; both considered Venetian intelligence one of their most formidable enemies. Much of Schiller’s writing is dedicated in various ways to fighting the Venice- Genoa- Geneva combination that had held the financial reins of King Philip II of Spain.
DESTRUCTION OF THE RENAISSANCE
Since the Venetian oligarchy relied for its survival on the secret weapon of political intelligence manipulation, its primary strategic targets were first and foremost dictated by epistemological rather than military criteria. Fleets and armies, even in the hands of a powerful and aggressive enemy state, could well redound to Venetian advantage. The real danger was a hostile power that developed epistemological defenses against manipulation and deceit. In the face of such a threat Venice did – and does – kill.
The Italian Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, perhaps the greatest outpouring of human creativity in history, represented such a threat to the Serene Republic, and in a more concentrated form than it had ever faced before. The threat arose from the epistemological warfare and alliance system of the great Cosimo de’ Medici of Florence and his successors. Venice mobilized every resource at its disposal to destroy the Renaissance. After decades of sabotage, going so far as to arrange the ravaging of Italy by foreign armies, Venice succeeded.
The potential political and epistemological power of the Italian Renaissance are best identified in the ecumenical council of the Church convened in Florence in the year 1438. The council, first convened in Ferrara, was moved to Florence at the urging of Cosimo de’ Medici, who held power from 1434 to 1464. Cosimo was the major financial and political sponsor of the proceedings.
Cosimo was a self-declared enemy of Venice. On one occasion he wrote, “Association with the Venetians brings two things which have always been rejected by men of wisdom: certain perdition and disgrace.”
The council had to deal with the ongoing crisis in the western church, which had been exacerbated by the struggle between the Council of Basel and Pope Eugene IV, who had been driven out of Rome by a revolt. In the East, the Ottoman Turks were beginning to recover from the crushing defeat that the Turkish Emperor Bajazet had suffered in 1402 at the battle of Ankara at the hand of Tamerlane the Great. The first, unsuccessful, Turkish siege of Constantinople had already been mounted in 1422.
The hope held out by the Council of Florence was to implement Nicolas of Cusa’s program of the Concordantia Catholica – a community of principle among humanist sovereign states for cultural and economic development, against Venetians, Turks, and all enemies of natural law. To Florence came the Emperor of Byzantium, John VIII Paleologue, accompanied by his advisor Gemisthos Plethon and Plethon’s student, Archbishop Bessarion of Nicea. The Latin delegation was titularly headed by Pope Eugene IV, heavily dependent upon the support of Cosimo de’ Medici at that time. This delegation was dominated in outlook by men like Nicolas of Cusa, Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo Bruni, Cardinal Capranica, and Aeneas Piccolomini of Siena, later Pope Pius II. The Greek and Latin delegations were each profoundly vitiated by powerful Aristotelian factions, but this was still one of the most impressive assemblies in history.
The culmination of the council was an impassioned oration by Plethon on the antithesis between Plato and Aristotle, a speech which went far beyond anything ever heard in the West. Marsilio Ficino, himself a participant at the council, tells the story of how Cosimo de’ Medici, while listening to Plethon, made up his mind to create the Platonic Academy in Florence.
The most immediate question to be addressed was the reunification of the Roman and Greek churches, abrogating the mutual excommunications issued by the pope and the patriarch of Constantinople in 1054. The contending theologians debated the question of the “filioque” in the Latin credo, attempting to resolve the question of whether the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father, as the Greeks argued, or from the Son as well, according to the Roman view. The Greeks eventually agreed to recognize the correctness of the Latin position, although they declined to modify their own credo accordingly. The Paleologue emperor intervened repeatedly in these discussions, stressing that there were no real differences in doctrine, and that anyone who let nonexistent divergences stand in the way of common action against the Turks was a worse traitor than Judas. In the end a purely formal reunification of the two churches was attained, but it remained a dead letter.
Even so, Cosimo and his cothinkers came close several times to welding an alliance capable of dominating the world, and the first to pay the price of their success would have been the Venetians. Medici Florence was at the center of a network of trade and finance that was beginning to rival Venice, with the crucial difference that the Florentines were the producers, thanks to Cosimo’s dirigism, of the textile products they offered for sale. The Duchy of Milan would shortly come under the domination of the condottiero (mercenary commander) Francesco Sforza, installed in power with the help of the Medici, and an enemy of Venice. In 1461 the humanist Louis XI would take the throne of France. This new king was determined to apply the concepts of statecraft developed in Italy, and considered the Venetians “insolent merchants.” In 1460, the humanist Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini would be elected Pope Pius II; in the meantime he was in a position to influence Frederick III of Hapsburg, the Holy Roman Emperor.
The Venetian reaction to this potential for the implementation of an ecumenical Grand Design on the platform of the Italian Renaissance humanists was, predictably, to bring on the Turks once again. During all these years the Turks possessed a combined warehouse- residence- safehouse in Venice, the Fondaco dei Turchi, which facilitated dealings between the doge and the sultan. Spurred on by Venetian financing and Venetian- procured artillery, the Sultan Mohammed the Conqueror laid siege to Constantinople and captured it in 1453. The Turks were aided by the Greek patriarch, who had pronounced the defense of the Paleologue dynasty a heretical cause. Finally, it was the Genoese troops who opened the gates of the city to the forces of the sultan. Hardly a coincidence was the burning of the library of Constantinople with its matchless collection of Ionian and Platonic codices, most unavailable anywhere else since the library of Alexandria had been destroyed some fifteen centuries earlier. In their own sack of Constantinople in 1204, the Venetians had declined to appropriate these manuscripts.
The destruction of Byzantium by the Turks gave the Venetians a slogan with which to organize their war against the Renaissance. Since the Roman Empire had finally ended, it was left to the Venetians to arrogate to themselves the task of building a new Roman Empire. The foundation of a new Roman Empire became, in Venice, from the middle of the fifteenth century on, the leading obsession of the oligarchs.
“The Venetians are called new Romans,” confided the patrician Bernardo Bembo to his diary. Francesco Sforza of Milan wrote that the Venetians were:
“obstinate and hardened, always keeping their mouths open to be able to bite off power and usurp the state of all their neighbors to fulfill the appetite of their souls to conquer Italy and then beyond, as did the Romans, thinking to compare themselves to the Romans when their power was at its apex.”
Machiavelli wrote that the Venetians had “fixed in their souls the intention of creating a monarchy on the Roman model.” This is corroborated by a dispatch of the ambassador of Louis XII of France at the court of the Emperor Maximilian I some years later, which described the Venetians as:
“traders in human blood, traitors to the Christian faith who have tacitly divided up the world with the Turks, and who are already planning to throw bridgeheads across the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine, and Tagus, and the Ebro, attempting to reduce Europe to a province and to keep it subjugated to their armies.”
These megalomaniac plans of the Venetians were no secret. In 1423, the Doge Tommaso Mocenigo had urged upon his fellow oligarchs a policy of expansionism which would make them the overlords “of all the gold and of Christendom.”
The most penetrating indictments of the Venetians during this period were issued by Pope Pius II Piccolomino, who tried in vain to force Venice into joining a crusade against the Turks. A Venetian saying of this period was Prima son Vinizian, poi son Cristian. (I am a Venetian first, then a Christian.”) In his Commentaries, Pius II excoriates the Venetians for their duplicitous treachery, and establishes the fact that they are a pagan, totalitarian state.
The Venetians, he says, have acted in their diplomacy:
“with the good faith characteristics of barbarians, or after the manner of traders whose nature it is to weigh everything by utility, paying no attention to honor. But what do fish care about law? As among the brute beasts aquatic creatures have the least intelligence, so among human beings the Venetians are the least just and the least capable of humanity, and naturally so, for they live on the sea and pass their lives in the water; they use ships instead of horses; they are not so much companions of men as of fish and comrades of marine monsters. They please only themselves, and while they talk they listen to and admire themselves…. They are hypocrites. They wish to appear as Christians before the world, but in reality they never think of God and, except for the state, which they regard as a deity, they hold nothing sacred, nothing holy. To a Venetian, that is just which is for the good of the state; that is pious which increases the empire…. What the senate approves is holy even though it is opposed to the gospel…. They are allowed to do anything that will bring them to supreme power. All law and right may be violated for the sake of power.”
During many of these years Venetians were in a tacit alliance with the Turks. When, for example, a revolt against Venetian rule in Albania was started, threatening the Venetian naval base at Durazzo, the Venetians made a deal with the Turks to crush the revolt. On one occasion Pius II received the Venetian ambassador to the Roman court and condemned Venetian policy with these words:
“Your cause is one with thieves and robbers…. No power was ever greater than the Roman empire and yet God overthrew it because it was impious, and He put in its place the priesthood because it respected divine law…. You think [your] republic will last forever. It will not last long. Your population so wickedly gathered together will soon be scattered abroad. The offscourings of fishermen will be exterminated. A mad state cannot long stand.”
In 1464 Pius II, despite a serious illness, traveled from Rome to Ancona to personally lead a crusade against the Turks. He wished to force the hand of the Venetians, who had promised him a battle fleet. He died shortly after the Venetian warships arrived, and Venice thereupon pulled out of any serious fighting against the Turks. But his attack on “the mad state” was on target, then and now.
During the first half of the fifteenth century, much Venetian energy was devoted to a rapid expansion up the Po Valley toward Milan. They seized Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Brescia, and Bergamo, reaching the Adda River, just a few miles from Milan. With Milan under Venetian control, the “new Romans” could bid fair to dominate northern Italy and then the entire peninsula.
Cosimo de’ Medici, as we have seen, secured a Florence-Milan alliance by supporting the claims of Francesco Sforza, fighting a was against Venice to do it. Basing himself on this Florence-Milan axis, Cosimo then proceeded to create an uneasy peace in Italy that was to last forty years. This was the Italian League, formed at the Peace of Lodi in 1453, which united the leading powers of Italy, the pope, Naples, Milan, Florence, and Venice, ostensibly in an alliance against the Turks, who had for a time held a toe-hold in Apulia. In reality, the Italian League was a Florence- Milan- Naples combination designed to check Venetian expansionism. In this it proved effective, giving the Renaissance almost half a century of time to develop under the longa pax of the Medici.
During these years, stymied in Italy, the Venetians concentrated on overseas expansion, including the conquest of Cyprus. But on the death of Cosimo’s successor, Lorenzo the Magnificent, they began their systematic campaign to destroy the civilization of the high renaissance. Their basic premise was that, given their own inability to devastate the centers of Renaissance culture and economic development, they must concentrate on duping the overwhelming military forces of European states like France, Spain, and the other Hapsburg dominions into accomplishing this task for them.
The most competent contemporary observer of these matters was Niccolo Machiavelli, active somewhat later in the post-Medici Florentine diplomatic service, and a factional ally of Cesare Borgia, Duke of Valentino. Machiavelli noted that the two most dangerous forces in Italy around the turn of the century were the Venetians and the pope. His own hatred was directed especially against Venice, firstly because of the stated Venetian intention to subjugate Italy in a new Roman Empire. Secondly, Venice more than any other state relied on armies of mercenaries, and thus embodied precisely that practice which Machiavelli knew had to be extirpated, in favor of citizen-soldiers, if Italy was to be saved from humiliating subjugation to the likes of the Hapsburgs.
Machiavelli pointed out that the disintegration of Italy began when the Venetians succeeded in turning Lodovico il Moro, successor of Francesco as Duke of Milan, making him their agent of influence. Lodovico was responsible for the first major invasion of Italy in many years when he agreed to support the claims of Charles VIII of France to the Kingdom of Naples. This was the French king whom his father, the great Louis XI, considered a hopeless imbecile. In 1494 the French army crossed the Alps, accompanied by a Genoese advisor we will meet again later: Giuliano della Rovere.
This was enough to bring about the fall of the Medici regime in Florence, to the advantage of the Pazzi, Albizi, and related oligarchs of that city. These oligarchs immediately sought to crush the Florentine Renaissance using the regime of the demented Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola, who set up a theocracy a la Khomeini. Savonarola proudly trumpeted that his rule was based on sound Venetian principles; his family was closely related to the Padua Aristotelian community. As for Charles VIII, he went on to establish a tenuous hold on Naples.
Several years later, in 1498, the Venetians repeated this maneuver, with the variation that this time it was they who blatantly invited the French to cross the Alps. This time the pretext was the French claim to the Milanese dukedom, and the dupe was a new French king, Louis XII. The French army knocked out Milan in 1500, a fatal blow to the Renaissance cultural ferment associated there with Leonardo da Vinci. Shortly thereafter, Louis XII decided to compensate the Hapsburgs with Naples. Naples accordingly became the first beachhead of what would shortly become a totally destructive Hapsburg hegemony in Italy.
VENICE AND GENOA COMBINE
For Venice, so far so good: Florence, Naples, and Milan had been ruined. But ironically, the same dumb Valois and Hapsburg giants which had taken out three dangerous rivals were now to turn like Frankenstein’s monsters on the wily new Romans. Venetian manipulations were about to boomerang in the form of an alliance of all of Europe against Venice.
This was the famous crisis of the War of the League of Cambrai, which was assembled in 1508-1509. The opposing coalition was made up of the pope (by then the Genoese Giuliano della Rovere, as Julius II), the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, France, Spain, Savoy, Mantua, and Ferrara. The announced purpose of this alliance was to expunge Venice from the face of the earth.
It nearly worked. At Agnadello, near the Adda River, the Venetian mercenary army was crushed by an army composed predominantly of Frenchmen. The Venetians were driven all the way down the Po Valley to Padua, and they soon lost that as well. Machiavelli exulted that on the day of Agnadello, the Venetians lost everything that they had conquered in more than 800 years. Machiavelli was himself engaged in operations against Venice, bringing a grant of Florentine cash to the aid of the Franco-Imperial forces holding Verona.
With nothing left but the lagoons, the Venetian position was desperate. The doge sent a message to the pope asking for mercy, and announcing that Venice would vacate territory taken in the past from the Papal States.
Inside Venice, Agnadello brought on an orgy of hysterical self-flagellation among the terrified patricians. The banker Girolamo Priuli wrote in his diary that Agnadello had been a punishment for the sins of the Venetian nobility, among which he numbered arrogance, violation of promises, lechery in nunneries, sodomy, effeminate dress, and luxurious and lascivious entertainments. Antonio Contarini, newly appointed patriarch of Venice, gave a speech to the Senate in which he characterized the Serenissima as a thoroughly amoral city. The defeat was a punishment for the city’s sins, he said. Nunneries were catering to the sexual needs of the rich and powerful. Homosexuality was so widespread that female prostitutes had complained to him that they had earned so little during their youth that they had to keep working far into their old age.
But more significantly, the shock of Agnadello set into motion a strategic review in the Venetian intelligence community which led to very far-reaching conclusions, some of which were not obvious before several decades had gone by.
The first Venetian ploy was to attempt to dismember the Cambrai coalition. They started with Pope Julius II. This pontiff was, as already noted, Genoese. Genoa and Venice had engaged in a series of highly destructive wars up till about the end of the fourteenth century, but after that, Genoa gravitated toward the status of junior partner and close associate of the Venetians. The Venetians had bested the Genoese by virtue of superior connections in the East, but otherwise their was a broad area of agreement.
The symbol of Genoa was St. George the dragon-slayer, in reality no saint at all but a thinly disguised version of Perseus saving Andromeda by slaying the sea monster, a legend that is centered on the coast of Lebanon. The “George” is said to come from the Gorgon Medusa, whose head Perseus was carrying.
Perseus is in turn nothing but a westernized variant of Marduk, the Syrian Apollo, a deity associated with the most evil forces of ancient Assyria and Babylon. The Venetians had their own Marduk cult, although subordinated to St. Mark, on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, home of a Dominican monastery and today of the Cini Foundation, one of the highest level think tanks in the world. The modern British preference of Gorgons is too well known to need comment.
What probably accounted more directly for Julius II’s decision to reverse his alliances was a deal mediated with the Venetians by Agostino Chigi, the Siena Black Guelph banker from whose financial empire the infamous Siena Group of today derives. He proposed that the Venetians stop buying alum, needed in textile and glass manufacture, from the Turks, but contract for a large shipment at higher prices from the alum mines at Tolfa in the Papal States – mines for which he, Chigi, was acting as agent. To sweeten the pot, Chigi offered the Venetians tens of thousands of ducats in much-needed loans.
The Venetians, fearing a rapid French offensive, accepted. Their own state finances were in total shambles. Only the Chigi loan allowed them to hire enough Swiss mercenaries to hold out against the French and the Imperial Landsknechte.
To provide a plausible cover for his move, Julius II suddenly discovered that the real issue was not Venice after all, but the need to expel the barbarians (primarily the French) from Italy. Julius stipulated an alliance with Venice. He then set up the slogan of Fuori Barbari! (Kick the Barbarians out!) which is still recorded by credulous writers of Italian school books as the beginning of the struggle to unify Italy. Even the Venetian mercenaries, mostly Swiss, began using the battle cry of “Italy and Freedom!”
Thus the post-Agnadello crisis was overcome. Some years later the Venetians tried the same tactic in reverse, this time with more lasting success. By 1525 the prevalent barbarians in Italy were the forces of Emperor Charles V, who had defeated the French at Pavia, capturing King Francis I. The French lost their hold on Naples and Milan. At this point Doge Andrea Gritti, whose portrait by Tiziano speaks volumes about his personality, decided to agitate once again the banner of Italian freedom. This took the form of the Holy League of Cognac “for the restoration of Italian liberty,” uniting France, Venice, Milan, Florence, and the Papal States under Pope Clement VIII Medici. After having set up this alliance, designed to play the French against Charles V once again to destroy Medici-controlled Rome, the last intact Renaissance center, the Venetians retired into defensive positions to await the outcome.
Venetian capacities to manipulate Charles V were formidable indeed. The emperor’s bankers and intelligencers were the Fuggers of Augsburg, a banking house and a city that must be regarded as Venetian satellites, within a context of very heavy Venetian control of the cities of the Danube valley. Virtually every young male member of the Fugger family, and of their colleagues the Welsers as well, was sent to Venice for a period of apprenticeship at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. This was the case with Jacob Fugger the Rich. Venice was the pivot for Fugger metals trading, especially toward the East.
Thus, the Venetians stayed in their phony war posture against Charles V, while the imperial army of Lutheran Lanzi under Georg Frundsberg devastated Italy. The sack of Rome in 1527 was the direct outcome of this combined Venetian diplomacy and manipulation. To make Charles V’s triumph complete, the Genoese Admiral Andrea Doria, commanding the French fleet, defected to the imperial side. A Doria coup in Genoa then established a permanent de facto alliance with Venice.
In 1530, Charles V was crowned as Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy in a ceremony at Bologna. Garrisons of imperial troops were shortly stationed in every major city. Thanks to the tenacious policy of the Venetians, the main centers of the Renaissance had been subverted or destroyed. Venice was the only major Italian state which had retained real sovereignty. With the end of the Renaissance, Venice could feel free to start a delphic Renaissance among the throngs of intellectuals seeking asylum in the lagoons.
If one looks at the Decline of Venetian Empire the 1% and their 2% wanting to control this decline turned the empire into one party after another----drinking, drugs, free sex------and who does this the most? Our university GREEKS---frats and sororities often filled with the most affluent families. THIS IS WHAT THE DECLINE OF AMERICA LOOKS LIKE and know what? It is the complete lack of Rule of Law enforcement---filling our cities with this fraud and corruption that allowed our young adults to embrace this decline----NO ONE MAKES A BETTER SHOW ME THE MONEY 5% PLAYER THAN OUR US CITIZENS TIED TO THESE ATTITUDES.
Why Colleges Haven't Stopped Binge Drinking
By BETH MCMURTRIE | THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATIONDEC. 14, 2014
Photo Alcohol-fueled tailgates attract students at colleges around the United States. Credit Greg Kahn Despite decades of research, hundreds of campus task forces and millions invested in bold experiments, college drinking in the United States remains as much of a problem as ever.
More than 1,800 students die every year of alcohol-related causes. An additional 600,000 are injured while drunk, and nearly 100,000 become victims of alcohol-influenced sexual assaults. One in four say their academic performance has suffered from drinking, all according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The binge-drinking rate among college students has hovered above 40 percent for two decades, and signs are that partying is getting even harder. More students now drink to get drunk, choose hard liquor over beer and drink in advance of social events. For many the goal is to black out.
Drinking is so central to students’ expectations of college that they will fight for what they see as a basic right. After Syracuse University, named the nation’s No.1 party school by The Princeton Review, tried to limit a large outdoor gathering, outraged students labeled the campus a police state.
Why has the drumbeat of attention, effort and money failed to influence what experts consider a public-health crisis? It is not for lack of information. Dozens of studies show exactly why, when, where and how students drink. Plenty more identify effective intervention and prevention strategies. A whole industry has sprung up around educating students on the dangers of alcohol abuse.
For the most part, undeterred by evidence that information alone is not enough, colleges continue to treat alcohol abuse as an individual problem, one that can be fixed primarily through education.
“Institutions of higher education are still really committed to the idea that if we just provide the right information or the right message, that will do the trick, despite 30 or 40 years of research that shows that’s not true,” said Robert F. Saltz, a senior research scientist at the Prevention Research Center, part of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. “The message isn’t what changes behavior. Enforcement changes behavior.”
Yet many colleges still look the other way. Few have gone after environmental factors like cheap and easy access to alcohol or lenient attitudes toward underage drinking.
At some colleges, presidents are reluctant to take on boosters and alumni who fervently defend rituals where drinking can get out of control. Administrators responsible for prevention often are not equipped with the community-organizing skills to get local politicians, bar owners and the police to try new approaches, enforce laws and punish bad actors.
A student’s death or an unwelcome party-school ranking might prompt action, but it is unlikely to be sustained or meaningful. A new prevention program or task force has only so much impact.
Even at colleges that try to confront these issues comprehensively, turnover and limited budgets pose significant obstacles. When administrations change, so do priorities.
In the 1990s college presidents routinely declared alcohol abuse the greatest threat to campus life, and the federal government demanded that they do something.
The first large-scale examination of alcohol use among college students began in 1993. Run by Henry Wechsler, a social psychologist at the Harvard University School of Public Health, the College Alcohol Study surveyed 17,000 students at 140 colleges on why and how they drink.
The following year, Mr. Wechsler pronounced 44 percent of all college students binge drinkers, using that term to mean consuming four or five drinks in a row. The results set off a storm of news coverage and helped shift public understanding of college drinking from a relatively harmless pastime to a public-health concern. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which financed the first survey, invested millions in further surveys and research.
Mr. Wechsler and his team painted a complex portrait of campus culture, one in which the environment fueled excessive drinking. More than half of the bars surrounding campuses, they found, used discounts and other promotions to lure in students. Higher rates of binge drinking were associated with membership in a fraternity or sorority, a belief that most students drink and easy access to alcohol.
At the same time, the studies made clear that much is beyond colleges’ control. Half of students had started binge drinking before they got to campus.
Advocates and policy makers sensed an opportunity. The United States Department of Education established the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Use and Violence Prevention, which provided research, training and technical assistance. Mr. Wechsler’s findings sparked a 10-campus experiment to try to bring drinking under control. Focusing on colleges with higher-than-average rates of binge drinking, the project aimed to prove that by working with community partners to change the environment, colleges have the power to shift student behavior. The Johnson foundation put more than $17 million into the project, which was conducted with the American Medical Association over a 12-year period.
But early results showed that in the first few years, half of the colleges involved did not try much of anything. The other half reported “significant although small” improvements in drinking behavior. Meanwhile, a survey of about 750 college presidents found that they were sticking to what they had always done, focusing on arguably effective “social norming” campaigns, which aim to curb students’ drinking with the message that their peers do not drink as much as it seems. Today a number of colleges that participated in the lengthy experiment still struggle with students’ alcohol problems.
Several colleges developed new programs: training servers, notifying parents when underage students were caught drinking and coordinating enforcement with the local police. Setbacks, however, were common. Louisiana State University found local bar owners hostile to the idea of scaling back happy hours or drink specials. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, the campus-community coalition had little authority. To appeal to local businesses, a new mayor in Newark, Del., weakened regulations on selling alcohol near dormitories at the public flagship university.
The following years saw the end of several major projects. Mr. Wechsler’s College Alcohol Study wrapped up in 2006, having surveyed 50,000 students and produced reams of research. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shifted its attention elsewhere. The Amethyst Initiative, a campaign by more than 100 college presidents to reconsider the legal drinking age, came and quickly went. And in 2012, funding cuts eliminated the federal center that had guided colleges on preventing alcohol and drug abuse.
Jim Yong Kim, a physician with a public-health background who was president of Dartmouth College, attempted to drag the issue back into the spotlight, announcing an intensive, public-health and data-driven approach to dealing with campus drinking. He used his influence to drum up participation from 32 institutions in the National College Health Improvement Program’s Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking and secured money to keep it going for two years. But when he left Dartmouth to lead the World Bank, in 2012, the leadership and the money dried up. The project issued its first and final report this year.
Educators and researchers who lived through this period say a combination of exhaustion, frustration, inertia, lack of resources and campus and community politics derailed the national conversation about college drinking. Taking on the problem proved tougher than anyone had thought.
“All those efforts caused some issue fatigue,” said John D. Clapp, director of the federal alcohol and drug center when it closed. The feeling, he said, was “Hey, we tried this, and it’s time to move on.”
Today, fewer than half of colleges consistently enforce their alcohol policies at tailgates, in dormitories and at fraternity and sorority houses. Only a third do compliance checks to monitor illegal alcohol sales in nearby neighborhoods. Just 7 percent try to restrict the number of outlets selling alcohol, and 2 percent work to reduce cheap drink specials at local bars, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota.
Philosophically, many educators are resistant to the idea of policing students. They would prefer to treat them as young adults who can make good choices with the right motivation. Traci L. Toomey, who directs the alcohol-epidemiology program at Minnesota’s School of Public Health, recalls visiting a campus that had long prided itself on letting students monitor the flow of alcohol at social events. “As if somehow magically they’d do a great job,” she said.
In the Minnesota surveys, only about 60 percent of campus law-enforcement officials said they almost always proactively enforced alcohol policies. Half cited barriers such as understaffing and students’ easy access to alcohol at private parties and at bars that don’t check IDs. Only 35 percent of colleges’ law-enforcement units almost always issue criminal citations for serious alcohol-related incidents, preferring instead to refer cases to other offices, like judicial or student affairs.
Students themselves say more-aggressive enforcement could change their behavior. One survey of those who had violated their colleges’ alcohol policies found that parental notification, going through the criminal-justice system or being required to enter an alcohol treatment program would be more of a deterrent than fines and warnings.
Duke University was home to an all-day party known as Tailgate, which raged in a parking lot before and after every home football game. Wearing costumes, cranking up the music and funneling beer, students left behind a mess so huge it required front-loaders to clear. Administrators tried all sorts of things — cars versus no cars, kegs versus cans, shorter and longer hours, food and entertainment — in a futile effort to rein in bad behavior. In 2010, a 14-year old sibling of a student was found passed out in a portable toilet. Administrators shut it down.
Fraternities and sororities remain a third rail for many college presidents. “Even though the Greek system was identified as the highest area of risk in terms of harm and rates of drinking, we didn’t have many schools touch that,” said Lisa C. Johnson, a former managing director of the Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking. “It’s fraught with politics. It’s fraught with, Are we going to lose funding from alumni who value the traditions? Also, it’s complex because Greek houses may be owned by the fraternities, not the university.”
Some prevention advocates hope that scrutiny of sexual assault on campuses may result in more attention to alcohol abuse, because the connection has been well documented. It took a series of federal complaints and investigations, supporters say, for colleges to begin revising and better enforcing their sexual-assault policies.
Others are betting that money will talk. Jonathan C. Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University, calculated that alcohol abuse cost $1 million in staff time and lost tuition over a recent four-year period. Putting a price tag on the problem, he said, helped keep people motivated to crack down on off-campus parties, work with local law enforcement and raise expectations among students.
The different forces at play nationally may not be enough to focus attention on dangerous drinking in college, but culture change can happen. It’s just slow, said John Porter, director of the Center for Health and Well Being at the University of Vermont, which has grappled with alcohol abuse for more than two decades. Asked to lead a new campuswide approach to the problem, Mr. Porter remains hopeful. When he was a child, he said, he used to sit on his mother’s lap in the front seat of their Buick. She’d be smoking cigarettes. Nobody was wearing seat belts. “Today we’d be aghast,” he said.
Our social market is one big dating system filled with more and more and more sexual laxity------promoting exhibition--------as a feminists from the 1970s having fought the social stigma of women as sex objects we have watched through CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA a soaring of women and prostitution-----whether policies pushing more citizens into poverty-----policies of lax enforcement -----policies of products----the media promotes this from TV stories of women working their way through college turning tricks ------to Wall Street investment firms openly hiring call girls to the office for stock brokers having a good day.
The Venetian Empire saw women of nobility sold out as prostitutes-----saw the poor pushed into all avenues of sexual employment-----this coming decade of depending poverty we will see our US citizens pushed into more and more of black market drug dealing, gambling, and prostitution no matter the former socio-economic scale-----take a look at the Decline of the Venetian Empire.
The Rise Of 'Soft' Prostitution
by Tyler Durden
Jun 2, 2016 9:20 PM
You may have seen the adverts, like the one above, or the headlines:
‘A quarter of a million’ UK students now using sugar daddies — BBC
Meet the sugar baby who’s had 10 sugar daddies - and has found love with one — Mirror
Things Are Thriving In The “Modern Hooker Economy” — Zerohedge
For those of you who aren't aware of what is going on here exactly, well let me cease your virginity on the matter.
This will be a non technical, yet comically financial style review of the rapidly growing industry, the areas which will be covered are the following:
1. The market securities (Students)
2. The market participants (Old men)
3. The market exchange (SeekingArrangements)
4. The market regulations (SeekingArrangements Blog Tips)
5. The effects of the marketplace on society (Why this is bad…)
* * *
1. The Market Securities
The marketplace has several asset classes ranging from single mothers to males, but more recently a new asset has been added.
Students differ somewhat to existing securities due to their inherently different risk profile. Said differently, this is how much they cost compared to what they can in theory ‘deliver’ to the purchaser.
The method on which they have arrived in this marketplace is also different, they have been cornered, and now are being exploited.
Without further ado, let me introduce the asset class formally:
Sugar Babies, FemaleA sugar baby
These securities are the supply element of the marketplace. There has been a recent spike in supply with over 250,000 UK students recently joining. Currently the most active tranches (Universities) can be seen below:
The fresh inflows are quickly assimilated into the marketplace, thanks to near insatiable market depth. The young, high yield securities are then bought, consumed, transferred between their counter-parties, then discarded (usually, but not always).
Sugar Guide for new Babies
They will typically set the buyer back £600-£2000 per month. Securities (Students) which have recently had an IPO (they signed up to a sugar daddy platform), can often be purchased for below intrinsic value (they don’t know how much money to ask for). However although an enhanced entry opportunity is present, they carry an unrated risk profile.
2. The Market Participants
The solid backbone to the marketplace; providing great market depth and consistent demand. The market participants are typically male, ranging from 30–50 years in age, with a dash of social instability. They are called Sugar Daddies.
Sugar DaddiesA not so gentle Gentleman
These form the demand within the marketplace; the counter-parties to Sugar Baby securities. They look to strike an ‘arrangement’ if the securities features fetch the right price.
Their investment profiles (desires) are clearly defined, and they look to acquire a portfolio of as many securities as needed to fit their risk / reward ratio.
However, Sugar Daddies have been known to crowd securities, forcing valuations higher. This often leads to a undesired skewing of a risk profile which can end up with undesired consequences, as can be seen here (they fell in love?!).
3. The Market Exchange
SeekingArrangements (the market exchange) first launched in 2006 and now boasts over 2.6 million Sugar Babies (male & female) across 139 countries. Of this figure over 1.4 million were students as of 2014 (this figure has since grown considerably).
There are incentives for Student securities to list their assets on this exchange, this is clearly given away by their tasteful advertisement.
The benefits for Students:
- Free premium membership to those who signup with their university email address
- Extra support, advice, and ‘tuition’ for students?—?convincing them to join (see video below)
No, this is not a joke, this is big business and makes $10 million a year in revenue.
The founder of the site, Brandon Wade - a borderline sociopath - has a few quotes & comments which I would like to throw in:
“There direct correlation between ‘Sugar Baby’ sign-ups and increased fees for students”
“When I created Seeking Arrangement it really was for my own benefit.”
“I think all relationships start off in a very superficial manner.”
“It will become more normal to make financial exchanges in relationships more explicit.”
And one more from another of Brandon’s totally-not-like-prostitution platforms Carrot Dating:
“Carrot dating is the first mobile application that combines dating with bribery … on Carrot Dating, if you see someone you like you offer them a bribe. And if they accept the bribe, you’re on your way to a first date.”
I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusion on this… back to the security investment platform.
Sugar Baby selection windowSugar Baby Securities
Its just like online shopping for humans. There are plenty to choose from and each comes with a differing price tag which can be negotiated.
Unfortunately some of these Sugar Babies are here because they have been buried alive in student debt.
They are now being actively convinced, enticed and persuaded this is the best way to pay it off.
Don’t “waste your time”. Sell your body instead.
4. The Market Regulations
Turning to the regulatory side, we are faced with a very bizarre setup. In the UK we are one of the most PC, red tape laden and moderated countries. With ads being banned for being too sexualised… which was targeted at 18–24 year olds anyway.
However, the SeekingArrangements market exchange is allowed free roam to solicit its services and functionality in a crude manner. Drawing in those barely over the age of 18 to sell their bodies to old men in order to pay off debt. Does that sound okay to you?
Now looking at the rules within this market exchange, I visit no truer source of information than SeekingArrangement’s blog, see below for some of my highlight quotes & image with their links:
Let the preying begin…
Post source, POT is a Sugar Daddy
“Be mindful of your age, some POTs won’t be interested in someone that can’t meet them for a drink at the bar.”
“Be sure to carry pepper spray…”
Ill come back to this…!
Is it a pet or a relationship?
“Terms of Agreement?—?We recommend some contractual, legal document where the terms of your living arrangement are spelled out”
“Give Her Space?—?She is not a prisoner so be mindful of her accommodations. A live-in Sugar Baby should have her own room”
Sex is a baseline expectation?
“Let’s be honest, ever since 50 Shades of Grey exposed kink to the mainstream, women are opening up to ideas outside vanilla”
“…light choking, spanking, dirty talk etc can be a great conversation opener and a way to gage her interest”
“…monogamy isn’t the norm for everyone”
“It’s not cheating if you’re honest, right?”
“…you want her to hate the game, not the player”
At last, but not least, we have the 8 things that every sugar baby should have in their purse, two things stood out for me:
1. TSquare (a portable credit card reader!)?—?When you’re out on the job you need to be able to receive payment from your Sugar Daddy.
2. Pepper Spray?—?If your transaction ends ugly this is a must have in the purse.
Please can someone explain to me how this service is anything but self-directed prostitution with a sugar coating? Please?!
5. The Effects Of The Marketplace On Society
Really, this is all I am interested in as an individual agent not currently buying or selling on the exchange (SeekingArrangement).
A crude observation of mine:
- Students are taking on increasing amounts of debt as tuition fees continue to rise
- It’s becoming more difficult to secure work straight out of University, alot of people end up behind a bar
- Students are increasingly targeted and taken advantage of with their naivety and unfortunate circumstance, looking to escape somehow
- Young female students are ushered into physical exchanges intermediated with a monetary bribery / lure, often not on their own terms?—?having originally arrived there out of desperation
- This leads to bizarrely legal scenario with a base axiom of sex for cash!
Don’t be fooled with the soft wording, Sex is an integral part of the transaction. This has been reiterated by multiple active users, with escorting services naturally setting up on the platform before eventually being caught out.
The key issues I see arising from this are:
- Polarisation towards sexual behaviour. We are covering up mens nipples one minute (!), then encouraging a 18 year old student to sleep her way out of debt next.
- Unhealthy relationships encouraged. The norm on here is having multiple partners, intermediated with cash, and relationships with socially inept men (old enough to be their parents in some cases). How is this a good foundation for future relationships?
- Increasing numbers entering sex work. This has undeniably lead to a path for students in to the sex-work industry via selling their bodies. Where is the line between a ‘remote sugar daddy date’ and a private cam show?
Whilst the operation is legal for now, if it were to be replicated not via the internet or by a snazzy app it would lead to people being locked up.
The adult entertainment industry is a long running theme with an understandable attraction and harmless backdrop. For me issues arise when those who are most vulnerable are targeted in pursuit of growing company profits.
I feel when a platform advertises a girl under the title of being a student, they are instantly labeled as prey. They need money, they will do most things for it, this is why they are here.
Students (like myself) were ushered off to University to study, only realising later the full extent of the massive financial commitment. This Summer some of my friends graduate with 1:1 (First class) degrees into bar work or effectively unemployment.
I have previously joked with female friends how they could pay their way out of their debt faster by sleeping with someone older than their Dad…
But its not that funny a joke anymore.
Our social market is one big dating system filled with more and more and more sexual laxity------promoting exhibition--------as a feminists from the 1970s having fought the social stigma of women as sex objects we have watched through CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA a soaring of women and prostitution-----whether policies pushing more citizens into poverty-----policies of lax enforcement -----policies of products----the media promotes this from TV stories of women working their way through college turning tricks ------to Wall Street investment firms openly hiring call girls to the office for stock brokers having a good day.
The Venetian Empire saw women of nobility sold out as prostitutes-----saw the poor pushed into all avenues of sexual employment-----this coming decade of depending poverty we will see our US citizens pushed into more and more of black market drug dealing, gambling, and prostitution no matter the former socio-economic scale-----take a look at the Decline of the Venetian Empire.
Gambling With the Economy
By ROGER LOWENSTEINAPRIL 19, 2010
WHILE the Securities and Exchange Commission’s allegations that Goldman Sachs defrauded clients is certainly big news, the case also raises a far broader issue that goes to the heart of how Wall Street has strayed from its intended mission.
Wall Street’s purpose, you will recall, is to raise money for industry: to finance steel mills and technology companies and, yes, even mortgages. But the collateralized debt obligations involved in the Goldman trades, like billions of dollars of similar trades sponsored by most every Wall Street firm, raised nothing for nobody. In essence, they were simply a side bet — like those in a casino — that allowed speculators to increase society’s mortgage wager without financing a single house.
The mortgage investment that is the focus of the S.E.C.’s civil lawsuit against Goldman, Abacus 2007-AC1, didn’t contain any actual mortgage bonds. Rather, it was made up of credit default swaps that “referenced” such bonds. Thus the investors weren’t truly “investing” — they were gambling on the success or failure of the bonds that actually did own mortgages. Some parties bet that the mortgage bonds would pay off; others (notably the hedge fund manager John Paulson) bet that they would fail. But no actual bonds — and no actual mortgages — were created or owned by the parties involved.
The S.E.C. suit charges that the bonds referenced in Goldman’s Abacus deal were hand-picked (by Mr. Paulson) to fail. Goldman says that Abacus merely allowed Mr. Paulson to bet one way and investors to bet the other. But either way, is this the proper function of Wall Street? Is this the sort of activity we want within regulated (and implicitly Federal Reserve-protected) banks like Goldman?
While such investments added nothing of value to the mortgage industry, they weren’t harmless. They were one reason the housing bust turned out to be more destructive than anyone predicted. Initially, remember, the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, and others insisted that the damage would be confined largely to subprime loans, which made up only a small part of the mortgage market. But credit default swaps greatly multiplied the subprime bet. In some cases, a single mortgage bond was referenced in dozens of synthetic securities. The net effect: investments like Abacus raised society’s risk for no productive gain.
In a free-market economy, we want people making considered calculations of risk. But buyers and sellers of credit default swaps often have no stake in the underlying instrument. Such swaps function like an insurance policy. One party collects a fee for promising to, in effect, insure a bond; the other party makes the premium payments, and gets a big payoff if the bond goes bad.
Banks that have lent money to questionable borrowers use swaps as a hedge — if their loans go bad, the bank makes up for the loss by collecting on the swap. The problem is that swaps are open to anyone — even parties with nothing to insure. Allowing speculators to bet on entities in which they have no stake is similar to letting your neighbor take out an insurance policy on your life.
And even when these instruments are used by banks to hedge against potential defaults, they raise a moral hazard. Banks are less likely to scrutinize mortgages and other loans they make if they know they can reduce risk using swaps. The very ease with which derivatives allow each party to “transfer” risk means that no one party worries as much about its own risk. But, irrespective of who is holding the hot potato when the music stops, the net result is a society with more risk overall.
As it considers its financial reform options, Congress’s first priority should be to end the culture that “financializes” every economic outcome, that turns every mortgage or bond issue into a lottery — often with second- and third-order securities that amount to wagers on wagers of numbing complexity.
First, it should insist that all derivatives trade on exchanges and in standard contracts — not in customized, build-to-suit arrangements like the ones Goldman created. Wall Street might have legal grounds to fight this — after all, a derivative is a contract between private parties. But the financial bailout has demonstrated that big Wall Street banks fall firmly within Washington’s regulatory authority, and regulation confers implicit bailout protection. Protected entities should not be using (potentially) public capital to run non-productive gambling tables.
Second, Congress should take up the question of whether parties with no stake in the underlying instrument should be allowed to buy or sell credit default swaps. If it doesn’t ban the practice, it should at least mandate that regulators set stiff capital requirements on swaps for such parties so that they will not overleverage themselves again to society’s detriment. Also, tax policy could be changed to skew heavily against swaps contracts that are held for short-term periods.
The government would not look fondly on Caesar’s Palace if it opened a table for wagering on corporate failure. It should not give greater encouragement for Goldman Sachs to do so.
If one keeps up with the arts and culture scene we see this movie from 1999-----breaking Wall Street glass ceiling by Clinton had just occurred ----if one is not familiar it is tied to those very Decline of Venetian Empire debaucheries -----parties of masked people free sex------all part of the decadence of a falling class of wealth.
What we see as well today are changes in our religious sects----we are seeing more of Christian and Jewish mysticism often tied to these same increased sexual and hedonistic values. The ideas go towards a God involved in all things including the dark side of human nature----you know---that lying, cheating, stealing, no morals, no ethics -----these religious cults grow at the same time of these empire declines. The rich are retreating into these same secret society structures that existed back in the 1500s.
Eyes Wide Shut (Best Scene)
All rights reserved. Stanley Kubrick Productions, Hobby Films, Pole Star & Warner Bros.
The 1% and their 2% are completely devoid of any values ------and indeed we saw these few decades the dismantling of all our American values both societal and economic----we knew a decline and decay of America would end with colonization---------
'He had arrived wearing New York black, no costume, but I had brought along an owlish mask, the closest thing I could find to the scarlet number in the Venetian-orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut. I’d heard the stories: about the rivers of alcohol, the stacks of 20s by the backgammon board, the supposed drug use, the hot tub on the roof, the beauties reared back against the antique billiard table. An Asian slave was rumored to be kept in the basement to do laundry for what is referred to as The Membership. As part of their initiation, new members were said to be required to buy and then burn a plane ticket to China'.
This is when our US IVY LEAGUE universities simply became global hedge fund product mills-------no more academics needed in an America heading to being a colonial entity....Sadly, these are the IVY LEAGUE grads filling all our government agencies and being pols-----that 5% to the 1%----
Inside the Legal Intrigue at Columbia’s Elite, Secret Campus Society
Walter Perry was convicted of stealing $650,000 from Saint Anthony Hall, the secretive Ivy League club. Is he guilty, or was something else more mysterious at play?
October 9, 2015 8:00 am
Walter Perry, former St. A’s board president, across the street from the fraternity.
by Jonathan Becker.
It was nearly midnight and drizzling outside Columbia’s Saint Anthony Hall fraternity, and I was trying to sneak into its annual Halloween party. Before me, the building’s giddy Beaux-Arts façade glowed in the lamplight. I was keen to move among the beautiful young things as they writhed to a D.J.’s beat. But mostly I just wanted to get inside.
I had come with an out-of-towner who was genetically St. A’s—“Probably the 10th or 12th member in my family,” he told me, conveying the tone of the place, then adding nervously, “Just don’t use my name.” He had arrived wearing New York black, no costume, but I had brought along an owlish mask, the closest thing I could find to the scarlet number in the Venetian-orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut. I’d heard the stories: about the rivers of alcohol, the stacks of 20s by the backgammon board, the supposed drug use, the hot tub on the roof, the beauties reared back against the antique billiard table. An Asian slave was rumored to be kept in the basement to do laundry for what is referred to as The Membership. As part of their initiation, new members were said to be required to buy and then burn a plane ticket to China.
As my friend pressed the front doorbell, I peered through the glass into a deep, dimly lit foyer that led to some stone steps. There was the creak of an opening door, then a soft tread. A young woman with dark, Pre-Raphaelite hair came toward us.
It is fitting to enter St. A’s in disguise, for nothing here is quite as it appears. I had come to investigate a crime that may seem like something out of the game of Clue. But the scandal created an uproar in the Hall that has tarnished its image, caused heavy soul-searching among some members, and led to prison time. The crime? Grand larceny, inside job. Upwards of $650,000 stolen by the genial, erudite Walter Perry, a devoted member with a Ph.D. in classical Greek whose heavy eyebrows, slim mustache, and glittering eyes suggest a kindly but perhaps unreliable uncle. By universal agreement, Perry kept the Hall together with Krazy Glue for three decades, serving as chief undergraduate officer, then as a trustee, and finally as president of the board, often doubling as treasurer and secretary when those gentlemen failed to show up. He worked out of a small office off the front hall at St. A’s, just inside the doorway. For all this time, Perry says, he was the resident historian and keeper of the secrets; a bill collector; a scrutinizer of accounts; a fixer for several varieties of “girl trouble”; and a chauffeur for the alcoholically disabled.
Then there was the matter of the 362 checks Perry wrote to himself on a Saint Anthony Hall account, which led to an internal investigation and ultimately to criminal prosecution, the outcome of which landed Perry in the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, in upstate New York. Did he steal the money? When I asked him, his face tightened, like that of a prizefighter about to deliver a punch. “It wasn’t there!” he told me firmly. “The whole question is absurd.” He insists that the finances of the organization were so tight that, if he had stolen $650,000, the organization’s bills couldn’t have been paid and he would have set off alarms all over the place. Perry maintains he has said the same thing every time he’s been offered a chance to confess his guilt in exchange for leniency, and then has gone on to say a lot more, with elliptical baroque flourishes. A better answer might just have been “No.” This is not Perry’s way, however, and that, as much as any crime, may be what got him into so much trouble. It may also be why nobody believes him, making Perry about the loneliest man on the planet. “Everybody has left me,” he says. “Everybody.”
But everybody is not always right. Being a secret society, the Hall initially declined to respond to any specific questions about the case, instead furnishing a one-page official statement followed by a two-page legal reiteration. At my request a loyal brother tried, through a St. A’s intermediary named John Dawson, director of marketing for LDR Capital Management, to interest members of the board of trustees in speaking to me. Dawson replied that the whole Perry business was “very sad,” but no. When I called Dawson directly, he replied “No comment” to each of my questions.
Here were some of the questions I had: What happened to the two boxes of financial records—potentially exculpatory material that Perry says disappeared from his office—when the case broke? Is it true that two board members arranged, over Perry’s objections, to get a third member onto the board, creating the coalition that ultimately led to the audit that in turn resulted in The People of the State of New York v. Walter Perry? And why, after everything Perry had done for the Hall, did the Hall send the matter to criminal court rather than to civil court, where the fraternity would have had a shot at quietly getting back its money?
And there was something else. The Hall first took the matter to Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau, in 2008, but the office issued no indictment until Cyrus Vance took office, two years later. The son of a former secretary of state, Vance had attended Groton School, as did Perry and his younger brother, Proal. Vance had once been close to Proal—who is a wine importer in the Fort Lauderdale area—and had always been friendly to Walter. Until “the cops showed up at six A.M.,” Perry recalls bitterly, to roust him out of bed, arrest him, slap him in handcuffs, and take him to the Tombs, a jail in Lower Manhattan and one of the more miserable places on earth.
A Sacred Bond
There are other Saint Anthony Halls, about a dozen of them, most notably at Yale and M.I.T., but Columbia’s is the first, the alpha chapter. It is the model for the raucous, hyper-elite Hamilton House in Gossip Girl. Drawn from the same source, all St. A’s chapters follow more or less the same practices. Members call one another Brother (or, now, Sister), timing weekly meetings to the slant of the sun; installing hidden rooms in their elegant chapter houses; calling the true president, his name known only to members, “Number One,” and the titular president “Number Two”; and ending most get-togethers with the members insentient and horizontal. Details of the rituals are closely held, but at Princeton they are said to involve an oath of loyalty to a hooded figure known as the Most Noble Archon, along with the recitation in Latin of a vow from Scripture, with the speaker agreeing to give all his possessions to the poor. (St. A’s members have not been known to follow through.)
Saint Anthony Hall was founded in the mid-19th century by a 15-year-old English schoolboy, Edward Forbes Travis, who had come to Columbia with an odd fascination for St. Anthony the Great, the gnarled fourth-century mystic who wandered the Egyptian desert and inspired early monks with his soul-purifying asceticism. In 1847, on the saint’s feast day—January 17—Travis introduced a friend to certain rituals he’d brought from England. The two students forged a sacred bond that was soon extended to others, the appeal being not so much the invented mysteries as what underlay them: the age-old collegiate yearning for bromance. In its high-Victorian moment, St. A’s also cultivated something of a literary flavor: members would spend hours reading essays to one another for general critique or amusement.
When the fraternity was founded, Columbia was down by Wall Street. Then it moved to Midtown. When Columbia moved to Morningside Heights, a St. A’s man got advance word, because he was a Columbia trustee, and, on the cheap, snapped up a very desirable piece of property on Riverside Drive with a Hudson view. The jaunty clubhouse was designed by another Saint Anthony Hall member, Henry Hornbostel, who also designed the Williamsburg Bridge.
The various St. A’s are like franchises—all the same but all a little bit different. Collectively, they have produced an impressive list of members: Charles Kuralt, of CBS; Lewis Lapham, the longtime editor of Harper’s; the baseball writer Peter Gammons; the cartoonist Jeff MacNelly—and those are just the ones in the media world. Other members include the diplomat Strobe Talbott, World War II’s Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, C.I.A. troublemaker Cornelius Roosevelt, and E. Digby Baltzell, the sociologist who coined the term “Wasp.” Unlike the usual campus fraternities, most of the St. A’s own their buildings, making them little worlds unto themselves. Think of them, perhaps, as a cross between Skull and Bones and a Princeton eating club, with a large heaping of Society and more than a dash of Animal House. It is an open question how much a university can interfere with admission policies at any of the St. A’s. At Columbia, the answer seems to be: very little. In New York, the Hall rises six stories, from the mysterious basement crypt (the staircase to which is hidden behind a secret panel) to the three residential floors at the top. St. A’s members live there, in rooms that house about 20 people of both sexes. Members eat their meals at St. A’s. Two full-time employees are there to serve them, a steward and a cook. There is a library, a well-stocked bar, and a ballroom, whose chandelier graced the cover of the group Vampire Weekend’s first album. The financial picture is not public, but a few years ago, when Perry was still in charge, each semester’s dues ran to just $400. The meal plan added another $1,800 per semester, and the residential fees per semester could run to $2,200. Despite many efforts, there is little by way of an endowment.
Of late, the Hall has become slightly more multicultural, but for the longest time it was 200-proof Wasp, its 40 or so undergraduate members drawn not just from the elite boarding schools—Andover, Exeter, St. Paul’s, Choate, and the Cate School, in California—but from the secret societies of that elite. More than anything else, the distinguishing characteristics of a St. A’s member are two: an extremely rich mother and father.
Historically, the chapters at elite schools have produced an impressive list of members. From left: E. DIGBY BALTZELL, who coined the term “Wasp” (University of Pennsylvania). STROBE TALBOTT, journalist and diplomat (Yale University). LEWIS LAPHAM, editor and author (Yale University). WILLIAM “BULL” HALSEY, wartime fleet commander (University of Virginia).
A Little Digging
I know Walter Perry, or at least I think I do. We went to Groton together, where he was two years ahead of me. I remember him as brainy and a little aloof. He was smallish and southern, with an accent you didn’t normally hear in New England, and he celebrated Robert E. Lee’s birthday every year with cake and candles. I recall an afternoon when we stayed together at the table after lunch—he wanted to show me how he was going to do away with the Pentagon (a popular notion back then). He made a pile of sugar, bent down, and blew. Then he smiled as he looked up. It may be for this reason that a Groton friend calls him a “shape-shifter.” I hadn’t seen him again until I bumped into him at a school gathering at the Colony Club, in Manhattan, almost two years ago. I asked him what he’d been up to.
“I’ve been in prison,” he said, above the din of cocktail conversation. He might have said he’d been in California. It was either the neutrality of the utterly innocent or the neutrality of the utterly not innocent. I couldn’t quite tell. I didn’t pop the obvious question, “What the hell happened?” Instead, I let it go for a full year, until we met again at the same event and picked up where we’d left off. This time, he offered a few details of his experience—about St. A’s and about the Tombs, with its mingling of drug dealers and subway pickpockets, and about the toughs he lived among at Ogdensburg. After that, I had to know more, and I arranged to meet Perry in various places—in the coffee shop of the Gershwin Hotel; near the clock at Grand Central Terminal; at the fourth-floor apartment he shares with his wife, on 157th Street; and finally on a park bench by the Hudson, the nearest he could come to Saint Anthony Hall without violating the terms of his parole.
If I was being played, I was being well played, for I liked Perry—his astounding politeness, his good-humored forbearance, and his astonishingly broad learning. All of our conversations were delightful, a bit like talking to an Oxford don who knows as much about Herodotus as about the unique action of a Remington rifle. I also came to appreciate the fact that, while Perry and St. A’s were irreconcilably at odds, they were well matched too, which may be why Walter had made the place his second home, if not his first, for so much of his adulthood. Both aspired to something better, and both worked hard to keep up appearances.
THE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS OF A SAINT ANTHONY HALL MEMBER ARE TWO: A RICH MOTHER AND FATHER.
To get at the truth of Walter Perry takes a little digging. To start with, you have to understand his father, Walter Emmett Perry Jr., and to understand him, you need to understand his father, Walter Emmett Perry Sr. That first Walter Perry was a Birmingham prosecutor who, in 1957, took on six Klansmen for castrating a black man named Edward Aaron with a razor blade. Two of the men confessed and were given suspended sentences. The other four were found guilty and sentenced to 20 years. “A magnificent old pillar of the law,” says our Walter Perry III.
No one would say that about his father. Walter Perry Jr. served in the Alabama legislature during the George Wallace years, and, with his barrel chest and booming voice, he could fill the entire chamber with his charm. The charm gradually dissipated as alcohol flooded in.
Walter junior sent “Sticks,” as he called his son, to Groton. There was no scholarship—Walter junior just never paid, and the headmaster for a while decided the whole thing was amusing. Walter III woke up to reality the summer he turned 13, when he got out of bed to discover that most of the family’s possessions had suddenly been seized by state marshals. Young Walter was stupefied, his father cavalier. Later, in bankruptcy court, the opposing counsel asked Walter junior, “You mean to tell this court you own nothing but the clothes on your back?” Perry replied in his courtliest tones: “Oh no, sir. I do not own these clothes. Or any clothes at all. My wife is simply accommodating enough to own a selection of clothes in my size which she permits me to borrow from time to time.”
To Walter III, his father consisted of “two sets of facts that never touched.” One was designed to show his magnificence, the other to demonstrate his absolute lack of net worth. But Walter III could never quite tell which set of facts was the true measure of the man.
The Gray Cloud
Walter’s life fell apart when he was thrown out of Groton a few weeks before graduation. He and two classmates were caught in town, a hanging offense in those years of upheaval. Walter regularly made the honor list and was a devoted Grotonian. He’d been admitted to Harvard, but that was off now. He’d have to settle for Columbia, but not before the fabled Harry Coleman, Columbia’s dean of students, had him in for a little talk about “his values and purpose in life.” Coleman believed in second chances. Incredibly, he’d once been shot five times by a deranged student upset for being suspended because of his grades, but Coleman reappeared at his desk, his arm in a sling, a few weeks later—and never pressed charges. Coleman, a St. A’s alum, was favorably disposed toward the studious, well-mannered Walter Perry.
As a Groton boy—Greek ace in need of redemption—Perry was perfect for a high-end frat, but Perry himself wasn’t so sure about St. A’s. It wasn’t exactly a literary society anymore, what with everybody drinking themselves silly. But he took a room on one of the upper floors, acquired a few close St. A’s friends, and gradually made the Hall his home. He got married a few weeks after graduation, to a former Manhattanville student of distinguished lineage named Mary Gamble Kennard. Walter took Mary to Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied for a Ph.D. in classics with the reigning Homeric scholar at the time, William Bedell Stanford. Back in the U.S., he discovered that the degree wasn’t good for much and had to settle for teaching Latin at the Hackley School, in Tarrytown, New York.
Then the fidgets set in. He jumped to a Manhattan securities firm called Laidlaw, which was kept afloat at times by the hefty backgammon winnings of the chairman, Bob Clayton. Backgammon couldn’t carry Laidlaw forever, and, in 1983, Perry shifted briefly to the investment firm Rooney Pace, whose chairman would later be indicted in a $100 million fraud scheme. Perry then teamed up with a partner to buy a small company that developed computer systems to assist foreign firms with regulatory compliance. Fiduciary Automation, it was called. That one clicked, and he made a good bit of money. In 1997 he joined with another St. A’s man to get in on the dot-com boom with Net Dot Uniqueness, which offered a database for business transactions. It wasn’t actually a dot-com, but come 2001 it imploded all the same.
By then Walter had created a sweet life, with a charming house in Short Hills, New Jersey, four children he’d soon put through college, and a cherished spot in the Social Register. He had also returned to Saint Anthony Hall, at first just to keep in touch, then to help out, and eventually to do everything imaginable. One of the major draws of the place was John Shurtleff, known universally as Boly, who had attended Groton and was thought to have been a member of the society called the Raven, but such secrets were not to be divulged. At Harvard, Shurtleff had majored in Sanskrit, then settled into life as general counsel for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. It’s not clear what made so many people worship Boly, but it is plain to see what got to Perry: he was the respectable version of his father.
Boly introduced Walter to a higher realm of Hall mysteries and lured him into them. It was all about the Gray Cloud, a secret cluster of national Saint Anthony Hall eminences so exalted that their names were never written down, but their powers were thought to be unbounded. Boly apparently was the current supreme ruler of the Gray Cloud; before him, the art historian Winslow Ames, of the Boston Ameses, had held the invisible scepter. Someday, Walter dreamed, the job would be his.
Perry could not get enough of Boly. They spoke on the phone every day they didn’t huddle in person at the club. When Boly drank himself legless at the Hall dinners, as he sometimes did, Walter would be the one to drive him home. But now that Boly was pushing 80, Perry was dismayed to learn that the Gray Cloud was to be replaced by something called a “policy committee.” Was nothing sacred?
Perry’s father died in 2001, under shocking circumstances, slamming his car into a bridge abutment at 80 miles an hour. “Eight o’clock on a Sunday morning,” Perry says in a kind of trance. “Clear road. Bright sunshine.” And no skid marks. Two years later Perry’s wife succumbed to cancer. Boly died a year after that. By then Walter had moved to 105th and Broadway to be closer to the Hall, which became home once more. “It was my anchor to the city,” he says. “It was also my anchor to youth, to youthfulness.” Perry was already president of the St. A’s board. Now, in effect, he was also Boly. He married again, to a woman named Lilian Chance. The wedding was held at Saint Anthony Hall, and Perry spent some of the honeymoon in Paris at a storefront Internet café with coin-operated computers, doing St. A’s business.
Perry’s reign was not entirely glorious. It was in fact a near-total pain, because the St. A’s members weren’t just drunken louts; they were immensely entitled drunken louts. He describes his job as “cleaning up after irresponsible children who haven’t been toilet-trained.” I’ll leave aside his comments about sex and drugs. Many tasks were mundane. One year, the sprinkler system froze, bursting the pipes, because an undergraduate had left the oil bill unpaid. Later, when Perry found another one unpaid, he himself drove a check over to the oil company in Queens.
Those 362 Checks
And so it went until the fall of 2006, when the graduate treasurer, Vance Thurston, with whom Perry had been close, sensed that there was something amiss in the accounts. It tells you a lot about how the place was run that Thurston lived in San Francisco and almost never attended the trustee meetings in New York. But no one else would do the job at all. Thurston coped by leaving it to Perry to produce the financial numbers every month. He later told the story at Perry’s trial. Thurston had just been diagnosed with cancer (erroneously, as it turned out), and he felt it prudent to add backup signatories to the Hall’s various bank accounts. He asked Perry to switch his transactions from the Chase account that Perry primarily used—ending with the numbers 6363—to one of the new accounts so everything could be consolidated. Months went by, and Perry still had not complied. At one point, Thurston tried to get into the 6363 account himself, but he had only Boly’s old ID number, and it didn’t work. Meanwhile, the Hall got together an audit committee to derive some firm numbers of its own. Perry told Thurston he was furious about that. Some “Young Turks” who weren’t really doing any work of their own were undermining him. Finally, in March of 2008, Thurston got word from Chase that the 6363 account was being summarily closed. Thurston called up Perry to find out what was going on, and Perry told Thurston he didn’t like the audit committee snooping around. When Thurston insisted, Perry gave him the codes to the account so he could pull the records.
That’s when Thurston found the first check. It was for $30,000, and it was made out to W. E. Perry, signed by Walter Perry, and endorsed by Walter Perry. There were many more such checks—$90,000 worth that one year. Ultimately 362 checks were found, totaling about $650,000.
Perry was summoned to an emergency meeting of the board, overseen by Brian Maas, a criminal-defense lawyer since 1986. The board figured it would need that sort of expertise. In the official statement furnished to me, the board maintains that Perry was given every chance “to explain his actions and restore the missing funds.” Perry says that he was immediately cut off from contact with anyone at the Hall, and that he would not have accepted the offer in any case, because he wasn’t guilty. In his indignation, he declared that the board was complicit in any financial improprieties, and demanded that the board vote “up or down” on whether the Hall should even continue to exist. Instead, Perry was asked to resign from his position as president, which he did. Ultimately, the board was advised by Maas to hand Walter Perry’s case over to the D.A.’s office for further investigation. And in May 2011 the Perry case got under way in the New York County Courthouse, in Lower Manhattan.
If a lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client, that must go double for a non-lawyer who defends himself. In the trial transcript, all 3,500 pages of it, Perry plays the brilliant fool, the man who knows everything about legal theory but nothing about how to ask a witness a simple question. By going pro se, as it’s termed, Perry wanted to avoid the hammy theatricality of the law in favor of something more intellectually satisfying. Plus, he relished the prospect of facing down his accusers. But it was hopeless.
A dozen members of St. A’s testified over the course of the month-long trial, and each landed a heavy blow. But it was Thurston who finished him off by describing in detail the hundreds of checks that Perry had made out to himself. Perry would contend that the 6363 account was always intended to be personal, and that the deposits from the Hall were reimbursements for funds that he himself had put into St. A’s to cover its ordinary operations. Aside from $40,000 he seemed to have paid a contractor to renovate the windows, most of his contributions had dated from the Boly era, when the Hall was run much more like a private house than a proper institution. But the records that might prove his core contention—that the money he took out replaced money he had put in—were the very ones, Perry claimed, that had disappeared from his office.
Unfortunately for Perry, the prosecutor had plenty of information about Perry’s spending habits—his hefty American Express-card payments; his memberships in the Knickerbocker Club and the Downtown Athletic Club; a $21,000 wedding for his daughter; a $16,500 wedding ring for Lilian.
When it was time for Perry to cross-examine, after Thurston’s testimony, he had to take a moment to collect himself; he was too choked up to speak. During his opening defense, Perry had turned on his accusers, invoking “a coordinated, biased attack against me by members of a cult.” And his friend was one of them. It was Perry’s only display of grief at the trial, and he never repeated it with me. A brother had taken him down.
Perry was sentenced to two to six years in prison. He served one year at Ogdensburg, up near the Canadian border, then did another year on work release in Manhattan. In November 2013 he was released on parole. For a time he was denied a bank account and a credit card; with his record and at his age, he does not have much chance of an ordinary job. (He has his own business designing software.) The state is demanding $20,000 annually for 35 years in restitution, and the federal government is after him for back taxes. He has been filing appeals. By way of vengeance he harbors an unlikely ambition, if he can ever exonerate himself, of running against Cyrus Vance for D.A. in 2017.
He must stay away from Saint Anthony Hall. Perry was in Ogdensburg when he received notice that St. A’s was planning to drum him out—a ritual, he knew, that involved members putting on robes and then reciting the words that would end Perry’s affiliation. Still loyal to St. A’s, Perry would not tell me what these words are, but he acknowledged that he was the “custodian of all that ritual and procedure for many years.” (“It’s your basic bell-book-and-candle excommunication,” he told me.) Perry was allowed one last chance to plead to stay on, and scrawled a long, begging letter in pencil, the only writing instrument he was allowed. His plea was rejected.
“Ontology of Money”
It wasn’t until I was deep into the Perry matter that the board furnished me with a “source close to the board” to tell me what the trustees themselves had refused to divulge, namely why it had gone after Walter Perry so hard. The short of it was, the board had no choice. Once it appeared that Perry had spent “a lot” of Saint Anthony Hall money without a good explanation, and then got indignant at a demand for restitution, the board believed that it was obliged to take the matter to the district attorney’s office. Ultimately, it was the D.A.’s call to prosecute, not the Hall’s. As for the idea of a vendetta, the source dismissed that as ridiculous. “Nobody said, ‘We want to get this Walter Perry guy. Let’s crucify him.’ ” And, he added, where’s the logic? “If I’m sitting on the board of Saint Anthony Hall, and I know Walter Perry knows something really bad about me, the last thing I am going to want to do is turn him in to the criminal authorities.”
Is Walter Perry guilty? I look at him from a certain angle, and I think, Yes, of course. Then I look at him from another, and I think, No, absolutely not. It may be that, like his father, he encompasses two sets of facts that don’t overlap. One thing is clear: he did write those checks. But (you could argue) the very obviousness of his guilt may be the clearest proof of his innocence. Was Walter Perry so stupid as to think that nobody would ever notice that he’d cashed 362 checks to himself? Or was this one of those banal cries for help one reads about? Perry has created plenty of spreadsheets with the intention of showing there was no money to steal. Annual revenues during his time amounted at most to about $300,000, barely enough to keep two people on staff, plus pay for meals, parties, utilities, and maintenance. All the bills are known to have been paid, leaving not much by way of surplus to siphon off. So maybe Perry has a point, though the court did not think so. But he can go on, and I do know that when he starts using the phrase “the ontology of money” I want to drive him back to Ogdensburg myself.
Knowing what I do about the mysterious and seemingly inept operation of the Hall, I don’t feel my heart warming to that crowd. At Columbia, “St. A’s” is sometimes translated as “St. Asshole,” and its smugness has earned the scornful envy that is the burden of the young rich everywhere. Could the critical records that might prove “money in” to pay for the club’s expenses really have been deep-sixed by people who didn’t like Perry’s attitude or his pencil mustache? Noting that his wife sometimes calls him Malvolio, Perry acknowledges a puritanical streak that may not have gone down too well at a frat. If Perry was on both ends of the checks, it may be because of the nature of a shoestring operation he ran largely by himself. It doesn’t help that Boly Shurtleff, the one witness who might have understood, is dead.
The Hall, in the end, is a place of secrets. I’d hoped to penetrate some of them that drizzly Halloween night, to see the thing up close. But my friend had it wrong—or perhaps he’d meant to get it wrong. The party had been the night before. The dark-haired woman who answered the door was welcoming, though. My friend acted like a member, and that was good enough for her. I put my mask in my pocket. She didn’t care. When I got inside the Hall, I understood that, as is so often the case, exclusivity concealed a certain suppurating shabbiness. Saint Anthony Hall is, by nature, a fraternity, a place for beer kegs, blasting music, hookups. It was sparsely furnished with leather couches, a piano that was out of tune, a drab dining-room table. The French windows didn’t look out on anything much. Maybe the scene seemed forlorn because there were just two people in evidence, the woman who had let us in and her boyfriend, a smooth, likable guy keen on finance. She intimated that he was the club’s “Number One.” There was no nimbus of authority around his GQ hair. The glory of yesteryear was on the pockmarked walls—an oil portrait of a former club member, an etching of the U.S. Senate, a print of a cricket match. Perry had occupied the tiny office, like a bellman’s, off the foyer, trying to make St. A’s more than it could be.
The alpha chapter lost a large number of seniors to graduation in 2013 and of late has frankly been pitching “diversity” to replace them. A recent crop includes a Korean, an Austrian, a Mexican, a German, and a former U.S. Marine. The members continue to be people with money. In its newfound desire for “decorum,” the club has turned to athletes, primarily rowers. It has also tried to summon its literary heritage at least once a semester. One event included a visit from D. T. Max to talk about his biography of David Foster Wallace, a writer who might well have had sport with St. A’s. Other events in recent years have raised money for such causes as research on tick-borne Lyme disease and, according to a Hall summary published in The Columbia Lion, “children embroiled in the Arab-Israeli conflict.” But the Hall will party on to the 40s swing-band sound of Lester Lanin for its annual Valentine’s Day Black-Tie Gala. It remains committed to the core values of “intellectual rigor, literary exercise, secrecy, constancy, and devotion.”
That is to say: I hadn’t missed anything on Halloween. At Saint Anthony Hall, the party is always last year.
Both the Christian and Jewish early gnostic religious cults came with many versions of those religions. Remember early Christianity came from pagan beliefs many having cults of sexuality and what are called dark arts. I have done much reading on Kabbalah-----there are those students looking at these cults as scholars expanding real religious understanding and others who are bringing back a religious stance steeped in the dark side of God's Natural Law......think PRAGMATIC NILISM......We don't know what Madonna chose as her instruction but we do know this------for centuries Kabbalah was forbidden to any but a married man-----a man of great amounts of Torah and religious studies----because we are told to study Kabbalah was to enter a dark side of human capacity. In order to resist being taken by the dark side one needed the security of a stable marriage, home, and devotion to faith. Fast forward to these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA -----and we are seeing Kabbalah students from all walks of life---and with that is the trip back to the DARK AGES of early religious mysticism.
Again, there are plenty of gnostic texts and cults not tied to the dark side of God's Natural law----this is simply a symptom of walking back in time.
All of these media events followed our SKULL AND BONES YALE/HARVARD MOVING FORWARD-----back to Dark Ages Foreign Economic Zones policies.
The MATERIAL GIRL may simply have been interested in all the neat mathematics----
Again, these secret cults thrived in a Decline of Venetian Empire with the rich devolving as humans as their wealth did.
Madonna and Kabbalah: has 'the Light' finally gone out?
Madge was absent from Philip Berg's funeral this week. Was it because she wouldn't be the headline act – or something more profound?
Madge … questions to answer. Photograph: Getty ImagesMarina Hyde
Thursday 19 September 2013 14.01 EDT First published on Thursday 19 September 2013 14.01 EDT
All things must pass, according to my £289 copy of Kabbalah's holy book, but has there been a cooling between the faux-Jewish set and its most famous devotee? Lost in Showbiz is moved to ask after Madonna was nowhere to be seen in photos taken at this week's funeral of its founder, the erstwhile insurance salesman Philip Berg.
On one level, the singer's absence might be expected. With the obvious exception of their own sendoffs, a funeral is an event at which attendees are merely on the bill, as opposed to headlining. And it may very well be that Madonna simply declined to be part of an ensemble piece. Or maybe she couldn't join the likes of Ashton Kutcher in managing to get to Israel to see Berg entombed in the huge mausoleum that had been purpose-built for him.
On another, this is the man who brought her into the sect, and at whose Shabat table she was given a VIP place whenever she was in town. This is the man for whom she lobbied Downing Street, claiming that Kabbalah water had removed all radioactivity from a lake in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and was the answer to the global problem of nuclear waste. This is the man whose wife she reportedly took pride of place next to at Kabbalah services, and whose merchandise – $26 bit of red string, anyone? – she allowed to be sold alongside her own on world tours. A stroke confined him to a wheelchair some years ago, but this is the man whose guidance she continued to seek even after his wife and sons took the reins of the Kabbalah Center.
Who knows, perhaps Madonna's absence from the Rav's funeral forms a companion piece with the 2011 document that shows how she cut all Kabbalah's ties with her charity, Raising Malawi, following the damning audit that revealed $3.8m had been spent on a project that was never realised.
Either way, it is to be hoped she will take the earliest interview opportunity to put the confusion to bed. Is madam still seeing what Kabbalah calls "the Light", or has she seen the other kind of light? Inquiring minds want to know.
Pragmatic nilism is the absence of GOD'S NATURAL LAW-----but to the 1% and their 2%----the DARK SIDE has God's presence as well.
Sadly these old world sects could have driven the Catholic Church pedophilia and why bishops and a pope would simply move bad priests around-------these gnostic cults exist in all religions and it comes as a culture is in DECLINE.
If one knows Kabbalah and secret cults of early religions the ties to musicology, numerology, finding that place between the transition from light to dark----this is felt to be God's Natural Law expanding from what is only good to being that which is bad....Nixon went to China in the 1970s to open China to these Foreign Economic neo-liberal empire-building policies and this was when we could see what MOVING FORWARD would look like. Pink Floyd was the perfect Venetian Empire masquerade music-----no voice---only instrumental transitioning from lightness to darkness.
THESE KINDS OF CULTURAL CHANGES ARE HARD TO SEE IF ONE DOES NOT KNOW GLOBAL HISTORY -----BUT IT IS CLEARLY TIED TO BACK TO OLD WORLD EMPIRE AND WEALTH. This is when REAGAN and Greenspan as FED came on board----MONEY, MONEY, MONEY---------US AND THEM.
'The album was an immediate commercial and critical success; it topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for a week and remained in the chart for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd's most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling worldwide. It has been remastered and re-released twice, and covered in its entirety by several other acts. It produced two singles, "Money" and "Us and Them", and is the band's most popular album among fans and critics, being ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time'.
Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon (Instrumental Cover) (Full Album)
Here is something completely different than what I normally do, but I really like Pink Floyd. So, I covered one of their entire albums. And some people say I...
We don't want to bring back the bad media for any population group but believe it or not ---this is public policy. It is widely known that with the corruption of the church and synagogues back in the MERCHANTS OF OLD WORLD TRADE -----bringing extreme wealth and extreme poverty these were the kinds of corruptions that filled our religious orders......it falls to that embracing of DARK OVER LIGHT pragmatic nilism tied to doing anything to accumulate wealth.
We could see in the transitions in culture-----media, music, Hollywood-----the MOVING FORWARD of extreme wealth and empire-building policy stances.
We might say hind sight is 20 20-----but historical economic policy would have allowed WE THE PEOPLE to see to where these global Wall Street pols were going.......especially in REAGAN/CLINTON era.
Seattle priest, a known pedophile, was moved parish to parish
Originally published March 5, 2016 at 2:51 pm Updated March 7, 2016 at 12:42 pm
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Jeri Hubbard is seen as a teen, at right, in a photo taken before sexual abuse by the Rev. Michael Cody, at left. Last year Hubbard received $1.2 million in a legal settlement with the Seattle Archdiocese. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times) The secret files on the Rev. Michael Cody show how the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese moved him from parish to parish, even after knowing he was a sick and dangerous pedophile.
They described his “deviant behavior,” recorded his “abnormal attraction toward young girls,” even warned “he will either blow his brains out or cause a major scandal in the parish.”
In letter after letter, supervising priests, the auxiliary bishop, even a noted psychiatrist alerted Seattle Archbishop Thomas Connolly that the Rev. Michael Cody was a sick and dangerous pedophile who posed grave threats to children and others in the Western Washington parishes he served during the 1960s.
“It is my diagnosis that he is suffering from a form of sexual deviation (Pedophilia) …,” Dr. Albert Hurley wrote in a letter to Connolly in March 1962. “It is my recommendation that he be removed from parish work as soon as possible.”
But instead of notifying police or removing Cody from his duties, Connolly’s response largely was to move him to unsuspecting parishes. First, within Seattle. Then, to Auburn. And finally, to Skagit and Whatcom counties, where Cody oversaw four different churches and a school into the mid-1970s.
When it placed him in Skagit County, the archdiocese provided Cody an isolated home where the unsupervised priest regularly brought youngsters, records and interviews show. All the while, he continued to prey on children.
The disturbing details about the archdiocese’s facilitation of the priest’s pedophilia are documented in internal correspondence, performance reviews and other records contained within what’s known as Cody’s “secret file.”
Portions of his decades-old file surfaced publicly last year in case filings for a lawsuit brought against the archdiocese by a Sedro-Woolley woman who, as a teenager, was sexually abused by Cody for two years.
Based on a consultant’s review of such secret files, the Seattle Archdiocese in January published a list identifying 77 clergy members who lived or worked in Western Washington and are known or believed to have sexually abused children.
When publicizing the list, Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain said in a statement he took the action “in the interest of further transparency and accountability,” but church officials offered no details about abuse incidents.
Since then, victims advocates, attorneys, even some prominent Catholics have called on Sartain to release the archdiocese’s secret files.
Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni did not directly respond to questions about whether Sartain plans to disclose any files. In an email Friday, Magnoni said “we will continue to review our practices and protocols, including the published list, to determine if additional steps can be taken that will restore trust and promote healing.”
Secret archives on accused priests, which Roman Catholic Canon law directs bishops to keep under lock and key, can often detail a diocese’s wider, hidden complicity in clergy sexual abuse dating back decades, those familiar with such records say.
“These records illustrate a pattern of secrecy,” said Mary Dispenza, Northwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and herself a victim of clergy abuse. “Most bishops are still dragging their feet about releasing them because they’ll be embarrassed or ashamed, and past bishops might be implicated.”
Criminal investigations, lawsuits and legal settlements have forced public disclosure of large portions of confidential archives in “a couple dozen” of the more than 170 Catholic dioceses nationwide, said Terry McKiernan, president of the research group bishopaccountabilty.org, which is dedicated to tracking clergy abuse.
Cody’s secret file demonstrates the Seattle Archdiocese enabled his abuse for years. As late as 1988, Seattle Archdiocese officials were still trying to assess whether the retired priest posed threats in another state.
Exactly how many children he victimized “would only be a guess,” a then-82-year-old Cody said during a 2013 deposition. In 1988, Cody told mental-health evaluators in Florida that over 20 years, he’d sexually abused 20 to 40 girls between 8 and 12 years old, and one boy.
At least 10 known and alleged victims have claimed in lawsuits in Washington that Cody abused them years after Connolly and others knew the priest was a pedophile. The archdiocese has settled one case and faces trial in five others.
The archdiocese’s hand in Cody’s misdeeds might still be secret if Jeri Hubbard hadn’t broken her silence.
“Second to God”
Hubbard was a troubled 16-year-old runaway when her parents entrusted her to the care of a charismatic pastor at the St. Charles Parish in Burlington, Skagit County, in 1968.
Cody, in turn, groomed the physically immature teen for a sexual relationship that lasted two years.
“At a time when I didn’t feel special, he befriended me and made me feel special,” Hubbard, 63, said during an interview last week. “Instinctively, I kind of knew it wasn’t right. But I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want him to get in trouble.”
The oldest of 12 children, the teenage Hubbard found refuge from a chaotic family life by walking to church to visit the 37-year-old priest. Hubbard’s father, retired from the Navy and a devout Catholic, agreed to let his daughter live at Cody’s rectory on rural Peterson Road.
“Father Cody was a godsend to me,” Hubbard’s father recalled in a June 2014 deposition. “I felt that the priest was second to God.”
At the home they shared for about a year, Cody plied Hubbard with wine, and sex became routine.
“What he had convinced me of was that God had made him a man first before he made him a priest, and that men have needs,” Hubbard recalled.
When Hubbard later became uncomfortable with their relationship, Cody “told me that I was an incorrigible child, that nobody would believe me over him. He was their priest and that they would always believe him first.”
Ashamed and afraid people would blame her, Hubbard kept silent about Cody for more than four decades. She suffered deep emotional trauma, marked by alcoholism, anxiety attacks, flashbacks, nightmares and suicide attempts.
In 2012, a friend who witnessed Hubbard paralyzed by a panic attack during a 12-step meeting arranged a surprise consultation between Hubbard and Mount Vernon attorney John Murphy. Hubbard reluctantly told her story.
Attorneys Michael Pfau of Seattle and Rand Jack of Bellingham joined the team, and Hubbard sued. As the case progressed, Hubbard learned about a confidential file kept on Cody.
“I was pissed,” she said. “The church knew he was a pedophile years before he ever came to Burlington. And they let that happen.”
Letters of alarm
The contents of Cody’s file provided a damning narrative that made Hubbard’s case.
By early 1962, just a few years into Cody’s career, the records show he told a psychiatrist about his perverse urges.
Dr. Hurley later informed Archbishop Connolly in a March 19, 1962, letter that Cody had “molested at least eight girls 12 years of age or younger.”
“He has sexual impulses which he fights against consciously and is unable to control voluntarily,” Hurley wrote.
Ten days later, Cody’s supervising priest at the Holy Family Parish in Seattle also warned Connolly that Cody was “mentally and emotionally sick.” In his letter, the Rev. Ailbe McGrath used Latin to cloak descriptions of Cody’s deviancy, referencing a violation of Catholicism’s Sixth Commandment: “Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery.”
“His de sexto abnormalities (which I will not mention here) may cause a major scandal in this parish, and if discovered, may result in a penitentiary sentence at Walla Walla,” McGrath wrote.
Less than two months later, McGrath wrote Connolly again, “urgently requesting” Cody be removed from the parish.
“I do not want a murder, a suicide, or a de sexto crime of violence in this rectory or in this parish,” McGrath wrote in the May 14, 1962, letter. “… When I read in the daily papers of crimes of murder and rape, I begin to wonder if Father Cody is involved.”
Three days later, Connolly responded that Cody would be sent to the Institute of Living, a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut.
“Personally, I do not hold out any great hopes for his improvement or that he will ever reassume his priestly career,” Connolly wrote.
Cody had been at the hospital for 10 months when a psychiatrist recommended in March 1963 that upon the priest’s return to Seattle, Connolly assign him to a position away from parishioners due to his mental state.
But when Cody returned in May 1963, Connolly put him to work as an assistant pastor at St. James Cathedral, and his problems resurfaced.
“It is not that he is not trying,” Bishop Thomas Gill wrote to Connolly, then in Rome, in October 1963. “There are manifest signs of deterioration in his mental health.”
For the next four and a half years, Gill supervised Cody and wrote annual reports about his work to Connolly, describing the priest’s problems. “The man is sick,” Gill wrote in a 1965 report. “ … While of superior intellectual capacity, he suffers from emotional states that make him unusable as an assistant.”
In September 1967, the archdiocese reassigned Cody to the Holy Family Parish in Auburn. Within three months, its pastor complained to Connolly about Cody’s “undue familiarity with the sixth and seventh grade girls.”
“His deviant behavior is a danger to the good of souls,” the Rev. John Duffy wrote in the December 1967 letter. “Before the people become involved in this priestly problem I consider it prudent to bring this matter to your attention.”
Nothing in Cody’s file indicates the priest received further mental-health treatment, behavioral monitoring or restrictions on his access to children, the archdiocese’s chancellor acknowledged in a deposition last year.
Six months after Duffy’s letter, the archdiocese moved Cody again — this time to Skagit County, where he would have no on-site supervision whatsoever.
Full story under wraps
From 1968 to 1972, Cody served as pastor of churches in La Conner, Burlington and on the Swinomish Indian Reservation.
Shortly after his arrival in Skagit County, the archdiocese also purchased the isolated rectory where Cody would live — and where he repeatedly abused Hubbard.
Last May, shortly after Hubbard took the witness stand to detail Cody’s abuse, the archdiocese settled her case for $1.2 million.
Before the trial, the archdiocese admitted negligence for “intentionally or recklessly” inflicting severe emotional damages on Hubbard by putting Cody in a position to abuse her. The admission prevented the secret records describing the archdiocese’s role in Cody’s abuse from being seen by a jury.
“I don’t think they wanted the jury to hear the full story, so they had to admit they acted both negligently and outrageously in order to keep out evidence regarding their fault,” Pfau said in a statement posted to his law firm’s website following the settlement.
After Hubbard sued, six more women accused Cody of abusing them as children while the priest served in Skagit County, and three people, including one man, claimed Cody abused them as kids while he served as pastor of Assumption Parish and School in Bellingham from 1972 to 1975. In all, the archdiocese now faces five lawsuits over Cody.
In 1975, after Connolly retired, new Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen brought Cody back to Seattle for an “in residence” assignment at St. Margaret Parish. He also arranged for Cody to be evaluated. Cody took a disability retirement and left Seattle in 1979.
He eventually moved to Florida and in 1988 helped with ministry in the Orlando Diocese. But Hunthausen declined to recommend Cody to that diocese’s leaders, and he paid for Cody to take another psychological evaluation.
During the exam, Cody admitted to victimizing up to 41 children and that he still fantasized about having sex with minors. Evaluators recommended Cody “not be allowed unsupervised contact with children.”
In 1989, Cody petitioned for laicization — or removal from the priesthood. The Catholic Church officially defrocked him in 2005.
Cody moved to Nevada in the 1990s to live with a brother. He volunteered at a national park. When lawyers deposed Cody for Hubbard’s case in 2013, he was still living there. Cody died at the age of 84, sometime after Hubbard’s trial last year.
In January, Cody’s name appeared on the archdiocese’s list of clergy offenders.
Without disclosing his or other offenders’ secret files, Hubbard calls the list meaningless.
“People should know the truth about what the church has done,” she said. “If they have nothing more to hide, then why aren’t they showing us?”