Categories » ‘Imperial Intervention’
August 8th, 2015 by olddog
By Washington’s Blog / globalresearch.ca
Like all Americans, I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese lives.
But most of the top American military officials at the time said otherwise.
The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded (52-56):
Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.
General (and later president) Dwight Eisenhower – then Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces, and the officer who created most of America’s WWII military plans for Europe and Japan – said:
The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.
Newsweek, 11/11/63, Ike on Ike
Eisenhower also noted (pg. 380):
In [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.
During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude….
Admiral William Leahy – the highest ranking member of the U.S. military from 1942 until retiring in 1949, who was the first de facto Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who was at the center of all major American military decisions in World War II – wrote (pg. 441):
It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.
The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.
General Douglas MacArthur agreed (pg. 65, 70-71):
MacArthur’s views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed …. When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.
Moreover (pg. 512):
The Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face ‘prompt and utter destruction.’ MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General’s advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.
Similarly, Assistant Secretary of War John McLoy noted (pg. 500):
I have always felt that if, in our ultimatum to the Japanese government issued from Potsdam [in July 1945], we had referred to the retention of the emperor as a constitutional monarch and had made some reference to the reasonable accessibility of raw materials to the future Japanese government, it would have been accepted. Indeed, I believe that even in the form it was delivered, there was some disposition on the part of the Japanese to give it favorable consideration. When the war was over I arrived at this conclusion after talking with a number of Japanese officials who had been closely associated with the decision of the then Japanese government, to reject the ultimatum, as it was presented. I believe we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs.
Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bird said:
I think that the Japanese were ready for peace, and they already had approached the Russians and, I think, the Swiss. And that suggestion of [giving] a warning [of the atomic bomb] was a face-saving proposition for them, and one that they could have readily accepted.
In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn’t have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb.
War Was Really Won Before We Used A-Bomb, U.S. News and World Report, 8/15/60, pg. 73-75.
He also noted (pg. 144-145, 324):
It definitely seemed to me that the Japanese were becoming weaker and weaker. They were surrounded by the Navy. They couldn’t get any imports and they couldn’t export anything. Naturally, as time went on and the war developed in our favor it was quite logical to hope and expect that with the proper kind of a warning the Japanese would then be in a position to make peace, which would have made it unnecessary for us to drop the bomb and have had to bring Russia in.
General Curtis LeMay, the tough cigar-smoking Army Air Force “hawk,” stated publicly shortly before the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan:
The war would have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.
The Vice Chairman of the U.S. Bombing Survey Paul Nitze wrote (pg. 36-37, 44-45):
[I] concluded that even without the atomic bomb, Japan was likely to surrender in a matter of months. My own view was that Japan would capitulate by November 1945.
Even without the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seemed highly unlikely, given what we found to have been the mood of the Japanese government, that a U.S. invasion of the islands [scheduled for November 1, 1945] would have been necessary.
Deputy Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence Ellis Zacharias wrote:
Just when the Japanese were ready to capitulate, we went ahead and introduced to the world the most devastating weapon it had ever seen and, in effect, gave the go-ahead to Russia to swarm over Eastern Asia.
Washington decided that Japan had been given its chance and now it was time to use the A-bomb.
I submit that it was the wrong decision. It was wrong on strategic grounds. And it was wrong on humanitarian grounds.
Ellis Zacharias, How We Bungled the Japanese Surrender, Look, 6/6/50, pg. 19-21.
Brigadier General Carter Clarke – the military intelligence officer in charge of preparing summaries of intercepted Japanese cables for President Truman and his advisors – said (pg. 359):
When we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.
Many other high-level military officers concurred. For example:
The commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, Ernest J. King, stated that the naval blockade and prior bombing of Japan in March of 1945, had rendered the Japanese helpless and that the use of the atomic bomb was both unnecessary and immoral. Also, the opinion of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was reported to have said in a press conference on September 22, 1945, that “The Admiral took the opportunity of adding his voice to those insisting that Japan had been defeated before the atomic bombing and Russia’s entry into the war.” In a subsequent speech at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945, Admiral Nimitz stated “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war.” It was learned also that on or about July 20, 1945, General Eisenhower had urged Truman, in a personal visit, not to use the atomic bomb. Eisenhower’s assessment was “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.” Eisenhower also stated that it wasn’t necessary for Truman to “succumb” to [the tiny handful of people putting pressure on the president to drop atom bombs on Japan.]
British officers were of the same mind. For example, General Sir Hastings Ismay, Chief of Staff to the British Minister of Defence, said to Prime Minister Churchill that “when Russia came into the war against Japan, the Japanese would probably wish to get out on almost any terms short of the dethronement of the Emperor.”
On hearing that the atomic test was successful, Ismay’s private reaction was one of “revulsion.”
Why Were Bombs Dropped on Populated Cities Without Military Value?
Even military officers who favored use of nuclear weapons mainly favored using them on unpopulated areas or Japanese military targets … not cities.
For example, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy Lewis Strauss proposed to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal that a non-lethal demonstration of atomic weapons would be enough to convince the Japanese to surrender … and the Navy Secretary agreed (pg. 145, 325):
I proposed to Secretary Forrestal that the weapon should be demonstrated before it was used. Primarily it was because it was clear to a number of people, myself among them, that the war was very nearly over. The Japanese were nearly ready to capitulate… My proposal to the Secretary was that the weapon should be demonstrated over some area accessible to Japanese observers and where its effects would be dramatic. I remember suggesting that a satisfactory place for such a demonstration would be a large forest of cryptomeria trees not far from Tokyo. The cryptomeria tree is the Japanese version of our redwood… I anticipated that a bomb detonated at a suitable height above such a forest… would lay the trees out in windrows from the center of the explosion in all directions as though they were matchsticks, and, of course, set them afire in the center. It seemed to me that a demonstration of this sort would prove to the Japanese that we could destroy any of their cities at will… Secretary Forrestal agreed wholeheartedly with the recommendation…
It seemed to me that such a weapon was not necessary to bring the war to a successful conclusion, that once used it would find its way into the armaments of the world…
General George Marshall agreed:
Contemporary documents show that Marshall felt “these weapons might first be used against straight military objectives such as a large naval installation and then if no complete result was derived from the effect of that, he thought we ought to designate a number of large manufacturing areas from which the people would be warned to leave–telling the Japanese that we intend to destroy such centers….”
As the document concerning Marshall’s views suggests, the question of whether the use of the atomic bomb was justified turns … on whether the bombs had to be used against a largely civilian target rather than a strictly military target—which, in fact, was the explicit choice since although there were Japanese troops in the cities, neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki was deemed militarily vital by U.S. planners. (This is one of the reasons neither had been heavily bombed up to this point in the war.) Moreover, targeting [at Hiroshima and Nagasaki] was aimed explicitly on non-military facilities surrounded by workers’ homes.
Historians Agree that the Bomb Wasn’t Needed
Historians agree that nuclear weapons did not need to be used to stop the war or save lives.
As historian Doug Long notes:
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission historian J. Samuel Walker has studied the history of research on the decision to use nuclear weapons on Japan. In his conclusion he writes, “The consensus among scholars is that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war within a relatively short time. It is clear that alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman and his advisors knew it.” (J. Samuel Walker, The Decision to Use the Bomb: A Historiographical Update, Diplomatic History, Winter 1990, pg. 110).
Many high-level politicians agreed. For example, Herbert Hoover said (pg. 142):
The Japanese were prepared to negotiate all the way from February 1945…up to and before the time the atomic bombs were dropped; …if such leads had been followed up, there would have been no occasion to drop the [atomic] bombs.
Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew noted (pg. 29-32):
In the light of available evidence I myself and others felt that if such a categorical statement about the [retention of the] dynasty had been issued in May, 1945, the surrender-minded elements in the [Japanese] Government might well have been afforded by such a statement a valid reason and the necessary strength to come to an early clearcut decision.
If surrender could have been brought about in May, 1945, or even in June or July, before the entrance of Soviet Russia into the [Pacific] war and the use of the atomic bomb, the world would have been the gainer.
Why Then Were Atom Bombs Dropped on Japan?
If dropping nuclear bombs was unnecessary to end the war or to save lives, why was the decision to drop them made? Especially over the objections of so many top military and political figures?
One theory is that scientists like to play with their toys:
On September 9, 1945, Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet, was publicly quoted extensively as stating that the atomic bomb was used because the scientists had a “toy and they wanted to try it out . . . .” He further stated, “The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . . . . It was a mistake to ever drop it.”
However, most of the Manhattan Project scientists who developed the atom bomb were opposed to using it on Japan.
Albert Einstein – an important catalyst for the development of the atom bomb (but not directly connected with the Manhattan Project) – said differently:
“A great majority of scientists were opposed to the sudden employment of the atom bomb.” In Einstein’s judgment, the dropping of the bomb was a political – diplomatic decision rather than a military or scientific decision.
Indeed, some of the Manhattan Project scientists wrote directly to the secretary of defense in 1945 to try to dissuade him from dropping the bomb:
We believe that these considerations make the use of nuclear bombs for an early, unannounced attack against Japan inadvisable. If the United States would be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race of armaments, and prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons.
Political and Social Problems, Manhattan Engineer District Records, Harrison-Bundy files, folder # 76, National Archives (also contained in: Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed, 1987 edition, pg. 323-333).
The scientists questioned the ability of destroying Japanese cities with atomic bombs to bring surrender when destroying Japanese cities with conventional bombs had not done so, and – like some of the military officers quoted above – recommended a demonstration of the atomic bomb for Japan in an unpopulated area.
The Real Explanation?
In the years since the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, a number of historians have suggested that the weapons had a two-pronged objective …. It has been suggested that the second objective was to demonstrate the new weapon of mass destruction to the Soviet Union. By August 1945, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had deteriorated badly. The Potsdam Conference between U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Russian leader Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (before being replaced by Clement Attlee) ended just four days before the bombing of Hiroshima. The meeting was marked by recriminations and suspicion between the Americans and Soviets. Russian armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. Truman and many of his advisers hoped that the U.S. atomic monopoly might offer diplomatic leverage with the Soviets. In this fashion, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan can be seen as the first shot of the Cold War.
New Scientist reported in 2005:
The US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was meant to kick-start the Cold War rather than end the Second World War, according to two nuclear historians who say they have new evidence backing the controversial theory.
Causing a fission reaction in several kilograms of uranium and plutonium and killing over 200,000 people 60 years ago was done more to impress the Soviet Union than to cow Japan, they say. And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman, was culpable, they add.
“He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species,” says Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC, US. “It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity.”
[The conventional explanation of using the bombs to end the war and save lives] is disputed by Kuznick and Mark Selden, a historian from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, US.
New studies of the US, Japanese and Soviet diplomatic archives suggest that Truman’s main motive was to limit Soviet expansion in Asia, Kuznick claims. Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union began an invasion a few days after the Hiroshima bombing, not because of the atomic bombs themselves, he says.
According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that Japan was “looking for peace”. Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that there was no military need to use the bomb.
“Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan,” says Selden.
John Pilger points out:
The US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US air force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. He later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”. His foreign policy colleagues were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.” The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.
We’ll give the last word to University of Maryland professor of political economy – and former Legislative Director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and Special Assistant in the Department of State – Gar Alperovitz:
Though most Americans are unaware of the fact, increasing numbers of historians now recognize the United States did not need to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan in 1945. Moreover, this essential judgment was expressed by the vast majority of top American military leaders in all three services in the years after the war ended: Army, Navy and Army Air Force. Nor was this the judgment of “liberals,” as is sometimes thought today. In fact, leading conservatives were far more outspoken in challenging the decision as unjustified and immoral than American liberals in the years following World War II.
Instead [of allowing other options to end the war, such as letting the Soviets attack Japan with ground forces], the United States rushed to use two atomic bombs at almost exactly the time that an August 8 Soviet attack had originally been scheduled: Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9. The timing itself has obviously raised questions among many historians. The available evidence, though not conclusive, strongly suggests that the atomic bombs may well have been used in part because American leaders “preferred”—as Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Martin Sherwin has put it—to end the war with the bombs rather than the Soviet attack. Impressing the Soviets during the early diplomatic sparring that ultimately became the Cold War also appears likely to have been a significant factor.
The most illuminating perspective, however, comes from top World War II American military leaders. The conventional wisdom that the atomic bomb saved a million lives is so widespread that … most Americans haven’t paused to ponder something rather striking to anyone seriously concerned with the issue: Not only did most top U.S. military leaders think the bombings were unnecessary and unjustified, many were morally offended by what they regarded as the unnecessary destruction of Japanese cities and what were essentially noncombat populations. Moreover, they spoke about it quite openly and publicly.
Shortly before his death General George C. Marshall quietly defended the decision, but for the most part he is on record as repeatedly saying that it was not a military decision, but rather a political one.
With what has been learned about the power of the International Banking Cartel, who in their right mind would doubt they controlled the Political Powers who committed this unspeakable scourge on humanity? Only when people world wide understand how and why humanity has been beguiled will they rise up and demand these monsters be burned at the stake. They are the purest form of evil, and deserve unspeakable deaths. Likewise, the Popes who have participated in the destruction of Christianity should surely be acknowledged as the Bankers assistants. Enlighten yourself and ACCEPT THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY!
July 11th, 2015 by olddog
By Joshua Krause
Seattle sure is turning into a real progressive utopia isn’t it? Between enacting a $15 minimum wage and letting little girls receive birth control without their parent’s consent, they seem to be selling themselves to the progressive agenda, lock, stock and barrel. Of course, it won’t end with those measures. It never does. Recently, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess proposed a piece of legislation that would tax gun and ammunition sales, and force gun owners to report any firearm that is lost or stolen.
As egregious as this measure sounds, ordinarily it wouldn’t be out of place. After all, governments routinely tax all manner of products and services, and force their onerous regulations on just about everyone. What sets this measure apart from most bills though, is the reason why they’re doing it. “Gun violence is very expensive,” Burgess said, noting that the direct medical costs of treating 253 gunshot victims at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center last year surpassed $17 million, with taxpayers covering more than $12 million of that. “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray those costs and this is a very reasonable way to do it.” The tax, imposed on gun sellers, would be $25 on each firearm sold in the city and five cents on each round of ammunition. Sales of antique firearms and some other sales could see relief from the tax while individuals selling no more than one gun per quarter would be exempted.
Not reporting a lost or stolen gun to police would be enforced as a civil infraction carrying a fine of up to $500. Zach Silk, campaign manager with the Washington Alliance for Gun Safety, hailed the proposals. “We often attach taxes to things that cause harm to our communities and we know that guns are causing harm,” he said. So let me get this straight. Burgess wants to tax violence, am I right? Does that make any sense? Even it weren’t an utterly nonsensical thing to do, does it make sense to tax honest gun owners for the activities of criminals? (I know he says that this is a tax on gun dealers, but obviously the costs will be passed on to their customers). Think about it. There were over 16 million gun applications in 2012. That means at least several million Americans buy a firearm every year. However, there were only 16,121 homicide deaths in 2013, of which 11,208 involved a firearm. Seattle is apparently responsible for a couple hundred of those, but its safe to say that just like everywhere else in this country, the vast majority of firearms that are bought and sold are never used to inflict any kind of physical harm.
So, basically, they’re forcing honest, law-abiding gun owners to pay the damages inflicted by criminals, and they’re going to fine people who’ve had their property stolen. Typical progressives. Make everyone collectively pay for the mistakes and malice of the few. Whatever happened to just punishing criminals? Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.
This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.
It is, and always has been the policy of governments, to charge the people for everything they want and need to do. So why be surprised at this idiotic law? Our real problem in America is the lack of backbone in the people who consistently bend over and take it up the ole wazoo, and smile in the process, thinking this is going to make it unaffordable to have and use a gun. Along with the whackos who want other things up their wazoo, and a marriage license to support it, I don’t believe America has a snowballs chance in hell of ever enjoying the freedom we were promised a little over two hundred years ago. All it takes for governments to become tyrannical is for the people to bend over and take it, instead of standing up and demanding their GOD GIVEN rights. In short, Seattle should refuse to pay the tax. When the bones heads in the tax department see the drop in sales tax revenue, they just might understand the loss of income is not worth the trouble. Remember this always! They can’t do squat without money to waste. Think of ways to get what you need or want without making a recorded sale!
July 9th, 2015 by olddog
By Dave Kranzler
When a thoroughly corrupt government wants to try and hide something from the public, they exert an all-out effort to misdirect and cover-up. The financial markets are no different. It’s been obvious to anyone with one good eye and one brain cell that the puppet-masters behind the Wall Street/DC “curtain” have been propping up the Dow/S&P 500 and exerting forceful downward pressure on the price of gold and silver. Why gold and silver? Because gold and silver, for 5,000 years, have been the world’s “alarm system” alerting everyone when something is terribly wrong.
I remember vividly 2008. Many of you were not involved in the precious metals markets. Inexplicably, the manipulators smashed gold and silver down from their bull market highs in March 2008 very quickly. Silver was smashed down to $8 after hitting $21 in March. I remember staring at the futures screen wondering what would stop JPM from taking silver down to zero?
Shortly thereafter AIG and Goldman de facto collapsed and the rest is history, including the fact that former Goldman CEO, Hank Paulson, was “coincidentally” sitting in as Secretary of the Treasury and “coincidentally” came up with a plan for the taxpayers to bail out Goldman Sachs. Paulson, after all, was still sitting on about a quarter of a billion dollars worth of warrants on Goldman stock. This, after he was allowed to sell his GS stock worth $100s of millions on a tax-free basis. Just a little “benefit” the elitists bestow upon themselves when their brethren appoint them to a Government post.
Here’s a graph that shows the similarities between what happened to gold in a short period of time in 2008 and what has happened since peaking at $1900 in 2011:
It’s pretty easy to see the similar trading pattern with gold in 2008 compared to the period the summer of 2011 through the fall of 2012. The only difference is that there was a massive rise in the use of OTC precious metals derivatives that began a couple years ago which has enabled the Fed/Treasury/banks to keep a tight lid on the price of gold and silver and has enabled the criminals running this country to promote a “narrative” of economic recovery. It’s been nothing but one big lie.
Here’s what happened today with gold and silver:
How is it that day after day gold and silver get smashed when the NY Comex floor trading opens? Does it seem odd that, nearly everyday for the last 4+ years, that at 8:20 a.m. EST all of a sudden the world decides to unload paper gold and silver positions?
How is it at all possible that the price of gold and silver are collapsing like this when China has imported a record amount of gold in the first half of 2015? China and India combined are importing more gold than is being produced on a daily basis. India is importing by far a record amount of physical silver. These countries require the physical delivery of the metal they buy. It’s not good enough for the bullion banks to offer free vault storage in London or NYC. The misrepresentation of the true, intrinsic price of gold and silver by the NY and London paper markets is perhaps the greatest fraud in history.
The criminality operating in the U.S. financial markets has become all-pervasive. The markets just ooze with unfettered theft and wealth confiscation. The Government doesn’t just “look the other way.” The Government is the criminal cartel. Just look at where all the key appointees in a position to enforce the Rule of Law come from. The Treasury, Justice Department, the SEC – they all come from Wall Street firms or the law firms that make $100’s of millions defending Wall Street firms. It’s the American version of the Sicilian Mafia running our system!
It’s obvious what is happening to anyone who cares to look at the truth. This is the end of the end-game. Perhaps Greece has triggered it but it’s irrelevant. The entire world is over-bloated with catastrophically unpayable amounts of debt. The IMF has told us that Greece can’t possibly repay its debts. Huh? Does the IMF really think the United States can repay its debt load? Greece has $350 billion of sovereign-issued debt. The United States has over $18 trillion in “on-balance-sheet” sovereign-issued debt. It has at least $200 trillion of contingent sovereign-issued liabilities.
The only difference between Greece and the United States is that the United States can unilaterally print its own money. Literally in unlimited amounts. Ben Bernanke stated that fact in 2002: “But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.” LINK
The system is collapsing. It has been collapsing. I believe it’s quite possible that we are seeing the final stages of the end game. China’s stock market is down 30% since early June. The prices of oil and copper are crashing. As I wrote yesterday, oil and copper are the quintessential beacons of relative economic activity. If their prices are crashing, so is economic activity.
After trading in positive territory overnight, the S&P 500 suddenly plunged shortly before the NYSE opened:
China suspended trading in its stock market last night. But how is this any different from key HFT ECN’s “breaking” when the market is about to go off a cliff? As Zerohedge always tauntingly reports, the market “breaks:
” Broken Market Ignites Momentum
Coincidentally, the market never seems to “break” when it‘s spiking inexorably higher on some fictitiously prepared “good” economic report. Let’s see if the market “breaks” today in order to stop that waterfall plunge at the open.
Of course, if it doesn’t, are you prepared for the devastating consequences of a collapse?
You can read more from Dave Kranzler at his site
where this articlefirst appeared.
This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.
Are Big Banks Using Derivatives To Suppress Bullion Prices?
Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler
We have explained on a number of occasions how the Federal Reserves’ agents, the bullion banks (principally JPMorganChase, HSBC, and Scotia) sell uncovered shorts (“naked shorts”) on the Comex (gold futures market) in order to drive down an otherwise rising price of gold. By dumping so many uncovered short contracts into the futures market, an artificial increase in “paper gold” is created, and this increase in supply drives down the price.
This manipulation works because the hedge funds, the main purchasers of the short contracts, do not intend to take delivery of the gold represented by the contracts, settling instead in cash. This means that the banks who sold the uncovered contracts are never at risk from their inability to cover contracts in gold. At any given time, the amount of gold represented by the paper gold contracts (“open interest’) can exceed the actual amount of physical gold available for delivery, a situation that does not occur in other futures markets.
In other words, the gold and silver futures markets are not a place where people buy and sell gold and silver. These markets are places where people speculate on price direction and where hedge funds use gold futures to hedge other bets according to the various mathematical formulas that they use. The fact that bullion prices are determined in this paper, speculative market, and not in real physical markets where people sell and acquire physical bullion, is the reason the bullion banks can drive down the price of gold and silver even though the demand for the physical metal is rising.
For example last Tuesday the US Mint announced that it was sold out of the American Eagle one ounce silver coin. It is a contradiction of the law of supply and demand that demand is high, supply is low, and the price is falling. Such an economic anomaly can only be explained by manipulation of prices in a market where supply can be created by printing paper contracts.
Obviously fraud and price manipulation is at work, but no heads roll. The Federal Reserve and US Treasury support this fraud and manipulation, because the suppression of precious metal prices protects the value and status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency and prevents gold and silver from fulfilling their role as the transmission mechanism that warns of developing financial and economic troubles. The suppression of the rising gold price suppresses the warning signal and permits the continuation of financial market bubbles and Washington’s ability to impose sanctions on other world powers that are disadvantaged by not being a reserve currency.
It has come to our attention that over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives also play a role in price suppression and simultaneously serve to provide long positions for the bullion banks that disguise their manipulation of prices in the futures market.
OTC derivatives are privately structured contracts created by the secretive large banks. They are a paper, or derivative, form of an underlying financial instrument or commodity. Little is known about them. Brooksley Born, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation (CFTC) during the Clinton regime said, correctly, that the derivatives needed to be regulated. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Treasury Secretary and Deputy Secretary Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Arthur Levitt, all de facto agents of the big banks, convinced Congress to prevent the CFTC from regulating OTC derivatives.
The absence of regulation means that information is not available that would indicate the purposes for which the banks use these derivatives. When JPMorgan was investigated for its short silver position on Comex, the bank convinced the CFTC that its short position on Comex was a hedge against a long position via OTC derivatives. In other words, JPMorgan used its OTC derivatives to shield its attack on the silver price in the futures market.
During 2015 the attack on bullion prices has intensified, driving the prices lower than they have been for years. During the first quarter of this year there was a huge upward spike in the quantity of precious metal derivatives.
If these were long positions hedging the banks’ Comex shorts, why did the price of gold and silver decline?
More evidence of manipulation comes from the continuing fall in the prices of gold and silver as set in paper future markets, although demand for the physical metals continues to rise even to the point that the US Mint has run out of silver coins to sell. Uncertainties arising from the Greek No vote increase systemic uncertainty. The normal response would be rising, not falling, bullion prices.
The circumstantial evidence is that the unregulated OTC derivatives in gold and silver are not really hedges to short positions in Comex but are themselves structured as an additional attack on precious metal prices.
If this supposition is correct, it indicates that seven years of bailing out the big banks that control the Federal Reserve and US Treasury at the expense of the US economy has threatened the US dollar to the extent that the dollar must be protected at all cost, including US regulatory tolerance of illegal activity to suppress gold and silver prices.
Financial Intelligence Report: No Way!
Contributing Editor: Bob RinearI
I know it is “All Greece, all the time” but I need to go off on something else right now, because along with all the other things that bothers me, this rates at the top of some of my lists. I want to present an article by The Intercept that sums up the bulk of the issue.
After failing to criminally prosecute any of the financial firms responsible for the market collapse in 2008, former Attorney General Eric Holder is returning to Covington & Burling, a corporate law firm known for serving Wall Street clients.
The move completes one of the more troubling trips through the revolving door for a cabinet secretary. Holder worked at Covington from 2001 right up to being sworn in as attorney general in February 2009. And Covington literally kept an office empty for him, awaiting his return.
The Covington & Burling client list has included four of the largest banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Lobbying records show that Wells Fargo is still a client of Covington. Covington recently represented Citigroup over a civil lawsuit relating to the bank’s role in Libor manipulation.
Covington was also deeply involved with a company known as MERS, which was later responsible for falsifying mortgage documents on an industrial scale. “Court records show that Covington, in the late 1990s, provided legal opinion letters needed to create MERS on behalf of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and several other large banks,” according to an investigation by Reuters.
The Department of Justice under Holder not only failed to pursue criminal prosecutions of the banks responsible for the mortgage meltdown, but in fact de-prioritized investigations of mortgage fraud, making it the “lowest-ranked criminal threat,” according to an inspector general report.
For insiders, the Holder decision to return to Covington was never a mystery. Timothy Hester, the chairman of Covington, told the National Law Journal that Holder’s return to the firm had been “a project” of his ever since Holder left to the join the administration in 2009. When the firm moved to a new building last year, it kept an 11th-story corner office reserved for Holder.
Holder’s critics charge that he made a career out of institutionalizing “Too Big to Prosecute” rules within the department. In 1999, as a deputy attorney general, Holder authored a memo arguing that officials should consider the “collateral consequences” when prosecuting corporate crimes. In 2012, Holder’s enforcement chief, Lanny Breuer, admitted during a speech to the New York City Bar Association that the department may go easy on certain corporate criminals if they believe prosecutions may disrupt financial markets or cause layoffs. “In some cases, the health of an industry or the markets is a real factor,” Breuer said.
Rather than face accountability for their failures, the incentive structure of modern Washington is designed to reward both men. Breuer left the department in 2013 to rejoin Covington. Holder is set to become among the highest-earning partners at the firm, with compensation in the seven or eight figures.
Okay, now the fact of the matter is that virtually every high ranking official ends up in a plush office job in some big corporation. That’s not news at all. But what truly drives me out of my head is this guy Holder, who didn’t make ONE, not ONE banker walk the plank for blowing up the financial system, heads right back to the Very bankers he protected and what does the Media have to say about it? NOT A WORD.
Now wait, because it gets better. (or worse, depending on your particular mood). Take a look at this line– The Covington & Burling client list has included four of the largest banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Well, isn’t that interesting? JP Morgan and Citi have both been blatant manipulators of the precious metals markets; called out about it many times and not a word gets spoken.
Well I’ll “spoke” it. Holder is a criminal. He aided and abetted criminal activity while in office, and he’s going back to a law firm that has had criminal bankers as clients. Let’s talk JPM for a minute. Ted Butler has repeatedly sent proof to JPM and regulators about their holding illegal amounts of paper sales of silver. He’s never heard a peep in response. If Ted was wrong, wouldn’t they at least slap a slander suit on him? You bet they would.
Zero-hedge has put out some good work about Citi and JPM recently. In fact, based on the OCC’s derivative update, JPM had literally cornered the commodity derivatives complex, when from “just” $226 billion in total Commodity exposure, JPM’s notional soared by 1,690% in one quarter to $4 trillion, or about 96% of total. How on earth can that be legal?
But this is even more interesting to me…Citi’s “precious metals” derivative book, saw a 1260% increase in Precious Metals derivative holdings in the past quarter, from just $3.9 billion to $53 billion!
Now add that up, with the savaging that gold and silver have been going through recently and what do you come away with? It is obvious that these two outfits are responsible for the utter insanity that is indeed the silver market especially. Right now it costs about 21 dollars an ounce to mine and refine silver. Yet on Tuesday morning they beat silver down by over 5% in one session, down to 14 bucks an ounce. In a free market, with no manipulation, could that even be possible??
ABSOLUTELY not. There is NO doubt what so ever that both of these situations are in direct response to the mess that is indeed Greece and the fears of a contagion spreading through the euro-zone. They simply do NOT want people trading paper dollars for gold and silver, or any true tangible commodity and they took over the market to make sure no one does.
Read that again so you truly understand the scope of the fraud and illegality of what we’re witness to. Citi and JPM together hold 90% of all commodity and precious metals derivatives, in the very quarter that Greece was about to stir up major fears of the Euro-zone imploding. So to keep anyone from trading out of Euro’s, or doing electronic swaps of Euro’s into gold or silver or copper holdings, they beat the snot out of all of it. You will indeed KEEP your worthless paper money, and they are making sure of it.
And Holder is going right back to the very outfit that worked with these criminals. How utterly fitting! A criminal, going back to serve criminals. It makes me sick.
Disclaimer!!!!! Must Read!!!
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June 8th, 2015 by olddog
Posted by Doreen Agostino
Final Judgement and Foreclosure Order UNITED NATIONS, IMF, Federal Reserve
We the People / Heirs of Creation State Superior Court
Inhabitants of the Continental United States (We the People)
and Heirs of Creation, Plaintiffs (Lien Holders)
UNITED NATIONS, INC.,
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
(inclusive of the UNITED STATES, INC
FINAL JUDGEMENT AND ORDER OF FORECLOSURE
Judgement is based on the facts found in the document dated the fourth day of April, 2015 entitled Public Order.
On the sixth day of April, 2015, the Plaintiffs (Lien Holders) caused to be mailed Public Order and Notice of Fault by Certified Mail numbers 7011 3500 0001 0085 6195 (UN), 7011 3500 0001 0085 6201 (Federal Reserve), and 7011 3500 0001 0085 6225 (IMF), Return Receipt Requested.
The Defendants (Lienees) were given ten (10) days to rebut the facts as laid out in the Public Order, determined to be correct and complete, point-by-point.
That time having passed with no response and no rebuttal made, it is now ADJUDGED that:
- The Plaintiffs’ motion for Summary Final Judgment, heard before the Court on the twenty- sixth day of April, 2015 is GRANTED.
- There is due and owing to the Plaintiffs the following, and so ORDERS THE COURT:
A.) Release all civilian public trust accounts IMMEDIATELY.
B.) Make available the entire balance of the National Credit (equal to the National Debt plus principle and interest) for the use and investment of individual Americans without contraint, excuse, or further obfuscation.
C.) Unblock all civil Capital Credit accounts by The North American Water and Power Alliance for use by the American people WITHOUT DELAY.
D.) The Treaty of Verona is hereby EXTINGUISHED.
E.) All B.A.R. Association licenses are hereby EXTINGUISHED.
F.) Any attempt to attack the American people as ordered by President Barack Obama, who is a mere head of a governmental services corporation and NOT a Head of State, is to be immediately countered with arrest of those responsible.
G.) Members of “Congress” have no lawful contract with any individual American State Citizen born on the Continental United States. All claims, liens, titles, and presumptions against the living people and their assets on the land stand NULL AND VOID ab initio for fraud, back to 1862.
H.) Governors of Federal “State” franchises IMMEDIATELY release all color of law titles and liens registered under conditions of fraud against Continental United States assets.
I.) Joint Chiefs of Staff IMMEDIATELY 1.) return all civilian property unharmed and unencumbered to the rightful civilian owners, and 2.) remove all color of law titles and false liens against the labor and other private property assets of American State Citizens rightfully belonging to the land jurisdiction of the Continental United States.
J.) ALL GOVERNMENT SERVICES CORPORATIONS, including all Federal “State” franchises, ARE HEREBY CLOSED and assets revert to the People.
K.)All fraudulent convertible debt resulting from the semantic deceits and misuse of deceptively similar names applied to people and legal fiction entities is recognized as embezzlement of credit, willful identity theft, inland piracy, currency manipulation, obstruction of bankruptcy, and as unlawful restraint of trade accomplished by personage and enforced by barratry by the perpetrators of these schemes whether foreign or domestic; therefore, The living people of the Continental United States, also known as the Respublica for the United States of America, retain the right to prosecute claims against any and all legal fiction entities and living people responsible, the right to void all contracts in default, all titles held under color of law, all actions undertaken under conditions of semantic deceit or constructive fraud, all self-interested claims of “foreign immunity”, all restraint of trade or Natural rights owed the citizenry of the Continental United States, and all encroachment on its jurisdiction.
Ordered by the court this twenty-sixth day of April 2015.
Cindy K. Currier [see signature]
Judge, non-negotiable signature, all rights reserved.
In my view, the ‘courage’ of one or more humans to take peaceful ‘action’ to end assault on life, for the greater good, empowers the best possible solutions to find us. Otherwise, public silence is permission for government to govern as they please.
Doreen Ann Agostino
all rights reserved
Before Things Get Out of Hand…… Judge Anna von ReitzIn “Banks and money”
From Judge Steven Duane Curry, Superior Court of the Continental uNited States of AmericaIn “Banks and money”
Public Interest Litigation before the World Court and UN Trust CommitteesIn “Banks and money”
January 10th, 2015 by olddog
By LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD
Oligarchy is defined as a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.
The oligarchy is composed of the Democrat and Republican establishments, the media and the financiers, who every four years hire a President.
The political system they operate is known as “totalitarian democracy“, one in which lawfully elected representatives rule a nation state whose citizens, although granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of government.
The main policy of the American oligarchy is malfeasance, the performance by a public official of an act that is legally unjustified, harmful, or contrary to law.
Or as Ambrose Bierce, a 19th century political satirist, described Washington D.C. as a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles and the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
How did, for example, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) manage to grow his net worth to $10 million while raising a large family, on a public official’s salary, and incurring the expenses associated with maintaining two residences on opposite sides of the country?
According to Peter Schweizer (“Throw them all out: how politicians and their friends get rich off insider stock tips, land deals, and cronyism that would send the rest of us to prison”):
“For the Government Rich, insider deals, insider trading, and taxpayer money have become a pathway to wealth. They get to walk this exclusive pathway because they get to operate by a different set of rules from the rest of us. And they get to do this while they are working for us, in the name of the “public service.”
“Crony capitalism unites these politicians with a certain class of businessmen who act as political entrepreneurs. They make their money from government subsidies, guaranteed loans, grants, and set-asides. They seek to steer the ship of state into profitable seas. Twenty-first-century privateers, they pursue wealth through political pull rather than by producing new products or services. In addition to these political entrepreneurs, big investors turn to lobbying and insider information from their sponsored politicians to make their investment decisions. And business is very good.”
During a December 6, 2014 speech, former Republican National Chairman and George W. Bush White House aide, Ed Gillespie spoke of the dangers that came from the massive growth of Big Government, creating what he called the “influence economy” as opposed to the long American tradition of a free market economy, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“We can see an influence economy starting to take shape. CEOs are becoming less concerned about inventing the right products, targeting the right markets and hiring the right people in hopes of making a respectable profit for investors-and more concerned about getting the right lobbyists, retaining the right lawyers and attending the right fundraisers in hopes of getting a hefty subsidy from taxpayers. Making the right campaign contributions are becoming as important to a company as its research and development budget, and federal-compliance lawyers will soon outnumber patent lawyers.”
The conduct of Congress is driven purely by political expediency and winning elections for the sole purpose of obtaining power and profit. There is, in fact, no difference between the aims of Big Government Republicans and Big Government Democrats.
Democrats attain and maintain power by practicing tribal politics, emphasizing and exploiting grievances based on race, ethnicity, gender and income.
In contrast, Republicans have no principles at all, but tactics for obtaining office as junior partners in a government ruling class from where they can perform their post-election rewarding of special interests, while ignoring the needs and desires of their constituents.
To maintain control, both parties foster a culture of dependency on the government. Democrats create dependency by expanding federal mandates and increasing entitlements. Republicans promote dependency by limiting voter choice and crushing or co-opting independent thinkers and grass roots movements like the Tea Party.
Both parties use campaign deception, practice political expediency, engage in crony capitalism and, when necessary, promote voter fraud to sustain the corrupt status quo.
The American media support the oligarchy by helping to preserve the illusion of democracy and, thereby, facilitate the very corruption the people’s “watchdog” was meant to prevent. They enable tyranny by misinforming and misleading citizens as purveyors of a conventional wisdom defined along narrow political lines determined by financial self-interest.
The United States is now governed by a combination of executive over-reach, legislative complicity, judicial partisanship and journalistic decadence.
All the traditional means for ordinary Americans to safeguard representative government have now been blocked by a self-absorbed permanent political elite unrestrained by the Constitution and the rule of law.
Welcome to the elective despotism of a de-facto-one-party-state.
Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of “Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution “. He receives email at email@example.com.
January 9th, 2015 by olddog
For several weeks now the anti-Russian stance in the US press has quieted down. Presumably because the political leadership has moved its attention on to other things, and the media flock has followed suit.
Have you read much about Ukraine and Russia recently?
I thought not, despite the fact that there’s plenty of serious action — both there as well as related activity in the US — going on that deserves our careful attention.
As I recently wrote, the plunging oil price is a potential catalyst for stock market turmoil and sovereign instability. Venezuela is already circling the drain, and numerous other oil exporters are in deep trouble as they foolishly expanded their national budgets and social programs to match the price of oil; something that is easy to do on the way up and devilishly tricky on the way down.
But consider the impact on Russia. From the Russian point of view, everything from their plunging ruble to bitter sanctions to the falling price of oil are the fault of the US, either directly or indirectly. Whether that is fair or not is irrelevant; that’s the view of the Russians right now. So no surprise, it doesn’t dispose them towards much in the way of good-will towards the West generally, and the US specifically.
The fall in the price of oil is creating serious difficulties economically and financially for Russia. We’ll get to those facets in a minute. But right now, I want to focus on the continued belligerence of the US towards Russia — some of which is overt and some of which, you can be certain, is covert — which could very well end up provoking a more kinetic and dangerous response than the West is prepared for.
Russia Forced To Act
Before anyone jumps in to say “Why are you defending Putin? He’s a bad”, let me just say that I have been closely analyzing each move by Russia and the West since then President of Ukraine Yanukovych declined to sign the European Association Agreement back in November of 2013.
Based on the preponderance of evidence, its’ clear to me that the West/US deserve the lion’s share of the blame for the conflict that now rages with Ukraine and between Russia and the western world.
It was the West that supported the unsavory assortment of thugs, neo-Nazis, and ultra-nationalists that seized power in a coup from the democratically-elected Yanukovych. We can argue all we want about whether he was a good boy or not, but that’s irrelevant and plays into the hands of those at the US State Department who would like to deflect attention away from the very non-democratic events (shaped behind the scenes by our influence) that led to his overthrow.
The US did the same thing with Saddam, if you recall. It’s a simple deflection: away from the actions of the US, and towards the character of the person standing in the line of fire from those actions.
In my view, if Yanukovych had not been violently deposed, Ukraine would be peaceful right now, Russia would not have had to intervene, and there would be no civil war in Ukraine and far reduced tensions between the West and Russia.
So ham-handed were those efforts to intervene in Ukraine on the part of the Obama State department that no less an historically loathsome creature than Henry Kissinger even called the US’s actions a ‘fatal mistake’:
Kissinger warns of West’s ‘fatal mistake’ that may lead to new Cold War
Nov 10, 2014
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has given a chilling assessment of a new geopolitical situation taking shape amid the Ukrainian crisis, warning of a possible new Cold War and calling the West’s approach to the crisis a “fatal mistake.”
The 91-year-old diplomat characterized the tense relations as exhibiting the danger of “another Cold War.”
“This danger does exist and we can’t ignore it,” Kissinger said. He warned that ignoring this danger any further may result in a “tragedy,” he told Germany’s Der Spiegel.
When even Henry Kissinger thinks you’ve been too reckless in the application of raw power, you’ve over done it.
So given the timeline of the events that have led to the frostiest US-Russian relations since the depths of the cold war, I am of the view that Russia has been actually quite restrained and has not over reacted to any of the numerous provocations.
Despite the lull in front page reporting of the Russian situation, there remains a careful program of steady anti-Russian propaganda running through the western press.
It Takes Two To Tango
Noun – derogatory
Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
For propaganda to work well, there needs to be tight coordination between the State and the press. The role of the press is to first publish the propaganda, and second, to neglect to look into it or report on anything that might call it into question. Sins of omission and commission are both required.
The good news is that the internet is a great equalizing force and we can readily unearth inconvenient facts with a little digging that blunt the propaganda. The bad news is that a lot of people still get all their news from so-called ‘official’ sources.
At any rate, here’s a first-rate piece of unadulterated propaganda courtesy of Bloomberg. Note that it was printed on Dec 31, one of several very quiet news days where little debate is likely to happen:
Inside Obama’s Secret Outreach to Russia
President Barack Obama’s administration has been working behind the scenes for months to forge a new working relationship with Russia, despite the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little interest in repairing relations with Washington or halting his aggression in neighboring Ukraine.
In several conversations with Lavrov, Kerry has floated an offer to Russia that would pave the way for a partial release of some of the most onerous economic sanctions. Kerry’s conditions included Russia adhering to September’s Minsk agreement and ceasing direct military support for the Ukrainian separatists.
The tenor of this piece is set. It’s the US that is trying to be reasonable, but Russia has shown little interest in repairing relations. That’s one assertion.
Another is that Russia has been providing direct military support for the separatists in neighboring Ukraine. And yet another that Putin himself has shown little interest in halting his aggression.
That’s the main narrative that the US wants to put forward. Putin is a bad guy. Like Saddam…remember him? The US is the one being reasonable here, according to this piece, and it is Russia that has been fomenting the troubles.
The US narrative goes further, repeatedly claiming that Russia has been supplying major arms to the separatists, as we see here from early December 2014:
U.S. Says Russia Arms Ukraine Rebels, OSCE Wary on Truce
Dec 2, 2014
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of sending tanks, advanced air-defense systems and other heavy weapons across the border to Ukrainian rebels.
Russia denies involvement in the conflict.
“Since the Sept. 5 Minsk cease-fire agreement, Russia has funneled several hundred” tanks, armed personnel carriers, and other military vehicles directly to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, Kerry said.
Russian military forces still operate inside eastern Ukraine where they provide “command and control” for the separatists they back, he added.
The charge from the Secretary General of NATO and from John Kerry of the US State department is that Russia has military forces inside Ukraine, and that they’ve funneled hundreds of tanks, APCs, and other military vehicles numbering in the hundreds.
As with the MH-17 disaster, we have to call this another case of the dog that did not bark.
Where are the pictures?
The sorts of weaponry being claimed here are impossible to conceal from the air.
Snapping high resolution photos of such things is child’s play for today’s military satellites, and even civilian ones, too.
Accusing a major world power of action this brash should require at least some demonstration of proof. Especially after the WMD warning fiasco that played out at the UN leading up to the Bush II Iraq invasion. The least you could do is provide a few pictures of said military vehicles and heavy weaponry.
But there are none. And the reason none have been offered is because none exist. If they did, you can be 100% certain they’d be released and replayed over and over again on CNN until everybody and their uncle could distinguish a T-72 tank outline from a Russian made APC.
About Those ‘Unwilling’ Russians
Let’s look more closely at the reasons why Russia may not exactly be in a conciliatory mood towards the US at this moment in time.
With just our short-term memories, we can recall that the US Congress passed a serious piece of anti-Russian resolution last month that can easily be seen as a declaration of war by a reasonable person.
This unfortunate piece of legislation, H.Res. 758, was passed on December 4, 2014 and is titled “Strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination.”
Ron Paul expressed the problems with this resolution very well:
Reckless Congress ‘Declares War’ on Russia
These are the kinds of resolutions I have always watched closely in Congress, as what are billed as “harmless” statements of opinion often lead to sanctions and war. I remember in 1998 arguing strongly against the Iraq Liberation Act because, as I said at the time, I knew it would lead to war. I did not oppose the Act because I was not an admirer of Saddam Hussein – just as now I am not an admirer of Putin or any foreign political leader – but rather because I knew then that another war against Iraq would not solve the problems and would probably make things worse. We all know what happened next.
December 1st, 2014 by olddog
There has only been one other time in history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 40 dollars in less than 6 months. The last time this happened was during the second half of 2008, and the beginning of that oil price crash preceded the great financial collapse that happened later that year by several months. Well, now it is happening again, but this time the stakes are even higher.
When the price of oil falls dramatically, that is a sign that economic activity is slowing down. It can also have a tremendously destabilizing effect on financial markets. As you will read about below, energy companies now account for approximately 20 percent of the junk bond market. And a junk bond implosion is usually a signal that a major stock market crash is on the way. So if you are looking for a “canary in the coal mine”, keep your eye on the performance of energy junk bonds. If they begin to collapse, that is a sign that all hell is about to break loose on Wall Street.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the shale oil boom to the U.S. economy. Thanks to this boom, the United States has become the largest oil producer on the entire planet.
Yes, the U.S. now actually produces more oil than either Saudi Arabia or Russia. This “revolution” has resulted in the creation of millions of jobs since the last recession, and it has been one of the key factors that has kept the percentage of Americans that are employed fairly stable.
Unfortunately, the shale oil boom is coming to an abrupt end. As a recent Vox article discussed, OPEC has essentially declared a price war on U.S. shale oil producers…
For all intents and purposes, OPEC is now engaged in a “price war” with the United States. What that means is that it’s very cheap to pump oil out of places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. But it’s more expensive to extract oil from shale formations in places like Texas and North Dakota. So as the price of oil keeps falling, some US producers may become unprofitable and go out of business. The result? Oil prices will stabilize and OPEC maintains its market share.
If the price of oil stays at this level or continues falling, we will see a significant number of U.S. shale oil companies go out of business and large numbers of jobs will be lost. The Saudis know how to play hardball, and they are absolutely ruthless. In fact, we have seen this kind of scenario happen before…
Robert McNally, a White House adviser to former President George W. Bush and president of the Rapidan Group energy consultancy, told Reuters that Saudi Arabia “will accept a price decline necessary to sweat whatever supply cuts are needed to balance the market out of the US shale oil sector.” Even legendary oil man T. Boone Pickens believes Saudi Arabia is in a stand-off with US drillers and frackers to “see how the shale boys are going to stand up to a cheaper price.” This has happened once before. By the mid-1980’s, as oil output from Alaska’s North Slope and the North Sea came on line (combined production of around 5-6 million barrels a day), OPEC set off a price war to compete for market share. As a result, the price of oil sank from around $40 to just under $10 a barrel by 1986.
But the energy sector has been one of the only bright spots for the U.S. economy in recent years. If this sector starts collapsing, it is going to have a dramatic negative impact on our economic outlook. For example, just consider the following numbers from a recent Business Insider article…
Specifically, if prices get too low, then energy companies won’t be able to cover the cost of production in the US. This spending by energy companies, also known as capital expenditures, is responsible for a lot of jobs.
“The Energy sector accounts for roughly one-third of S&P 500 capex and nearly 25% of combined capex and R&D spending,” Goldman Sachs’ Amanda Sneider writes.
Even more troubling is what this could mean for the financial markets.
As I mentioned above, energy companies now account for close to 20 percent of the entire junk bond market. As those companies start to fail and those bonds start to go bad, that is going to hit our major banks really hard…
Everyone could suffer if the collapse triggers a wave of defaults through the high-yield debt market, and in turn, hits stocks. The first to fall: the banks that were last hit by the housing crisis.
Why could that happen?
Well, energy companies make up anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of all U.S. junk debt, according to various sources.
It would be hard to overstate the seriousness of what the markets could potentially be facing.
One analyst summed it up to CNBC this way…
“This is the one thing I’ve seen over and over again,” said Larry McDonald, head of U.S strategy at Newedge USA’s macro group. “When high yield underperforms equity, a major credit event occurs. It’s the canary in the coal mine.“
The last time junk bonds collapsed, a major stock market crash followed fairly rapidly.
And those that were hardest hit were the big Wall Street banks…
During the last high-yield collapse, which centered around debt tied to the housing sector, Citigroup lost 63 percent of its value in the following 60 days, Kensho shows. Bank of America was cut in half.
I understand that some of this information is too technical for a lot of people, but the bottom line is this…
Watch junk bonds. When they start crashing it is a sign that a major stock market collapse is right at the door.
At this point, even the mainstream media is warning about this. Just consider the following excerpt from a recent CNN article…
That swing away from junk bonds often happens shortly before stock market downturns.
“High yield does provide useful sell signals to equity investors,” Barclays analysts concluded in a recent report.
Barclays combed through the past dozen years of data. The warning signal they found is a 30% or greater increase in the spread between Treasuries and junk bonds before a dip.
If you have been waiting for the next major financial collapse, what you have just read in this article indicates that it is now closer than it has ever been.
Over the coming weeks, keep your eye on the price of oil, keep your eye on the junk bond market and keep your eye on the big banks.
Trouble is brewing, and nobody is quite sure exactly what comes next.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
October 30th, 2014 by olddog
By Lee Duigon
October 30, 2014
You’re deeply upset by the way our country’s going, and in a few days there will be a national election. What will you do?
But first, what’s there to be upset about?
The party currently in power, the Democrats, has in recent years erased our southern border and imported Ebola into our country by refusing to ban incoming flights from African countries where the disease is running wild. Banning the flights would conflict with their open borders, citizens-of-the-world ideology.
They’re making your health insurance premiums go up more than you can afford to pay, as part of their project for a complete government takeover of the healthcare industry. Obamacare was only the first step.
They intend to grant “executive amnesty”—just try to find that in the Constitution—to unspecified millions of illegal aliens, all at once, thus voiding our immigration laws and laying the groundwork for the creation of a new electorate that will give them a license to do anything they please, as long as the welfare checks keep coming. That this will depress the national economy beyond repair means nothing to them.
They have, in just six years, instilled a culture of lawlessness within the government, abandoning their sworn duty to uphold the law.
They have pursued a foreign policy whose only recognizable objective seems to be to weaken our country and embolden her enemies. Other than that, it is no policy.
They have broken the law by using agencies of the government, the IRS and the NSA, for the political purpose of disabling the opposition and stifling dissent.
They have worked tirelessly for the erosion of traditional marriage and the family, devoting a whole month to the celebration of homosexuality and other moral aberrations.
They have purposely worked to poison race relations, every chance they get.
They abuse us, lord it over us, disregard our wishes, and make no secret of their ambition to “fundamentally transform America” into God knows what.
Don’t you want to punish them for that?
Don’t you want to stop them?
There is only one peaceful, lawful way to punish them, and that’s to vote them out of office.
The problem with our political system today is that our leaders have lost their fear of us. They see us as docile, defenseless cattle to be driven as they please.
Don’t you want to make them afraid to do the things they do?
Forget the Republicans. Even though the GOP leadership is riddled with thieves, fools, and, above all, cowards, the Republicans are not the issue.
This election is not about giving power to Republicans.
It’s about taking the power away from Democrats before they can pound the last nail into America’s coffin. It’s about showing our leaders that they can’t do these things to us and get away with it.
But if enough disenchanted voters just stay home, or vote for third party candidates who can’t possibly win, the Democrats will get two more years to finish us off.
Yes, there are plenty of prominent Republicans who are a waste of space. So what? It’s not about them. The point is not to give them power, but to infuse a healthy fear of the electorate in whomever has the power. That can only be done one party at a time; and this is the time to do it to the Democrats, because they’re the ones who are doing it to us.
I pray that in this election, God will move the American people to a massive repudiation of our country’s statist power-brokers, massive enough to scare the Republicans onto the right path. The TEA Party needs more time to grow.
If the Republicans are not sufficiently scared to mend their ways, then the next step is to shatter them in the very next GOP primary.
We have to work with what we have, and what we have, whether we like it or not, is the two-party system. What we have today is a desperate need to stop the march of statism, of lawlessness, of cultural decay. That march is led by Democrats. Running them out of office must be our chief concern.
Our leaders must be taught to fear us. They have lost all motivation to consult our wishes. “I’ve got a pen, I’ve got a phone, I’ve got 51 votes in the Senate, and that’s all I need to do anything I want” must never again be allowed to be the motto of a U.S. president.
Self-righteousness feels good; but if all it does is to empower the wicked, it is no more a virtue. It is only pride.
© 2014 Lee Duigon – All Rights Reserved
October 10th, 2014 by olddog
By Bruce Fein
If the United States is not an empire, the word has lost all meaning.
No sparrow falls in the forest that does not provoke a national security assessment and response.
At present, we are employing military force in six countries — Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
In 2011, we reduced Libya to rubble after Muammar Gaddafi did our bidding in abandoning weapons of mass destruction and in paying more than $1 billion to compensate for the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
We are assisting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
We are deploying predator drones in Niger, Djibouti and the Seychelles.
We are assisting Uganda in its fight with the Lord’s Resistance Army.
We are assisting Nigeria in its conflict with Boko Harem.
We are committed to war against Iran if we decree it has acquired a nuclear capability.
We have tens of thousands of troops stationed in Japan 70 years after the conclusion of World War II.
We have tens of thousands of troops deployed in South Korea more than 60 years after the Korean War ended.
We have tens of thousands of troops in Europe seven decades after the defeat of Hitler and more than two decades after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
We are committed by treaty to defending approximately 50 nations from attack, including the defense of Japan in the event of a conflict with China over a few uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
We dot the planet with hundreds of military bases.
We police the oceans with aircraft carriers, submarines and battleships.
We dominate the skies with spy satellites, stealth aircraft, and hundreds of fighters and bombers.
We have outstanding economic sanctions against 20 nations for bad behavior.
We control cyberspace with the ubiquitous collection, retention, and search of electronic communications of friend and foe alike.
We expend $1 trillion annually on national security, a sum more than the collective defense expenditures of the rest of the world.
We honor secrecy more than transparency, a quest for a risk-free existence more than liberty.
We bedeck the presidency with the trappings of a Roman emperor, including a bloated Pretorian Guard and a White House staff approaching 500. Roads are closed and traffic stops whenever the president travels.
In his July 4, 1821, address to Congress, then-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams indicated the difference between then existing empires and the American republic.
The republic spoke of equal rights among nations.
Empires spoke of double standards.
The republic influenced events abroad by example.
Empires dictated to foreign nations by military force or financial manipulation.
The republic knew that chronic embroilment in foreign wars would change the fundamental maxims of her policy from liberty to force.
Empires embraced foreign wars as an earmark of greatness.
The republic glorified liberty.
Empires glorified domination.
In sum, the United States has become a full-fledged empire.
Acknowledging this truth is the first step to curing the disease. Otherwise, self-ruination will be our fate. As Abraham Lincoln presciently lectured: “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
For more information about Bruce Fein, please visit brucefeinlaw.
September 29th, 2014 by olddog
By Prof. James Petras
Despite vast amounts of imperial data to the contrary, the great majority of writers on imperialism continue to describe and analyze US imperialism strictly in economic terms, as an expansion of “capital accumulation”, “accumulation on a world scale”.
In fact the major and minor US imperial wars have more to do with “capital dis-accumulation”, in the sense that trillion dollar flows have gone out from the US, hundreds of billions of dollars in profits from resource sites have been undermined, markets for exports have been severely weakened and exploitable productive labor has been uprooted. At the same time US imperialist state ‘dis-accumulates capital’, multi-national corporations, especially in the extractive sector are expanding, “accumulating capital” throughout Latin America.
This new configuration of power, the conflicting and complementary nature of 21st century US imperialism, requires that we anchor our analysis in the real, existing behavior of imperial state and extractive capitalist policymakers. The basic premise informing this essay is that there are two increasingly divergent forms of imperialism: military driven intervention, occupation and domination; and economic expansion and exploitation of resources, markets and labor by invitation of the ‘host country’.
We will proceed by examining the choices of imperial strategy, in a historical – comparative framework and the alternatives which were selected or rejected. Through an analysis of the practical decisions taken regarding ‘imperial expansion’ we can obtain insights into the real nature of US imperialism. The study of imperial strategic choices, past and present, state and corporate, requires three levels of analysis: global, national and sectoral.
Global Strategies: US Imperial State and the MNC
US imperial state invested trillions of dollars in military expenditures, hundreds of thousands of military personnel into wars in theMiddle East (Iraq, Yemen, and Syria), North and East Africa (Libya, Somalia), South Asia (Afghanistan) and imposed sanctions on Iran costing the US hundreds of billions in “capital dis-accumulation”.
The US corporate elite, driven out of Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere where US military imperialism was engaged, chose to invest in manufacturing in China and extractive sectors throughout Latin America.
In other words the US imperial state strategists either chose to expand in relatively backward areas (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen) or imposed under-development by destroying or sanctioning lucrative extractive economies (Iraq, Libya, Iran).
In contrast the MNC chose the most dynamic expanding zones where militarist imperialism was least engaged – China and Latin America. In other words “capital did not follow the flag” – it avoided it.
Moreover, the zones where extractive capital was most successful in terms of access, profits and stability were those where their penetration was based on negotiated contracts between sovereign nations and CEO’s – economic imperialism by invitation.
In contrast in the priority areas of expansion chosen by imperial state strategists, entry and domination was by force, leading to the destruction of the means of production and the loss of access to the principle sites of extractive exploitation. US military driven imperialism undermined energy companies’ agreements in Iraq and Libya. Imperial state sanctions in Iran designed to weaken its nuclear and defense capabilities undercut US corporate extractive, public-private contracts with the Iranian state oil corporations. The drop in production and supply in oil in Iraq, Iran and Libya raised energy prices and had a negative impact on the “accumulation of capital on a world scale”.
If imperial state decision-makers had followed the direction of economic rather than military driven policymakers they would have pivoted to Asia and Latin America rather than the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. They would have channeled funds into economic imperialist strategies, including joint ventures, high and medium tech trade agreements, and expanded exports by the high-end manufacturing sector, instead of financing 700 military bases, destabilization campaigns and costly military exercises.
Twentieth century military imperialism stands in stark contrast to late twentieth century economic imperialism. In the mid 1960’s the US announced a vast new economic program in Latin America – the Alliance for Progress which was designed to finance economic opportunities in Latin America via joint ventures, agrarian reform and investments in the extractive sector. The imperial state’s military policies and interventionist policies were designed to secure US business control over mines, banks, factories and agro-business. US backing for the coups in Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay and Peru led to the privatization of key resource sectors and the imposition of the neo-liberal economic model.
US policy in Asia under Nixon was directed first and foremost to opening economic relations with China, expanding trade agreements with Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. The ‘pivot from war’ to free trade led to a boom in US exports as well as imports, in private investments and lucrative profits. Military expenditures declined even as the US engaged in covert operations in Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Imperial intervention combined military and economic expansion with the latter dictating policy priorities and the allocation of resources.
The reversal set in with the US military backing of the jihadist extremists in Afghanistan and the demise of the USSR. The former set the stage for the rise of the Taliban to power and the emergence of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. The latter led US imperial strategists to pursue wars of conquest with impunity – Yugoslavia and Iraq during the 1990’s.
Easy military conquests and visions of a ‘unipolar’ world dominated by US military supremacy, encouraged and fostered the emergence of a new breed of imperial strategists – the neo-conservative militarists with closer ties to Israel and its military priorities than to the US extractive petrol capitalists in the Middle East.
Military versus Economic Imperialist at the ‘National Level’
In the post-Cold War period, the competition between the two variants of imperialism was played out in all the nation subject to US intervention.
During the first Iraq war the balance between militarists and economic imperialists was in play. The US defeated Iraq but did not shred the state, nor bomb the oil fields. Sanctions were imposed but did not paralyze oil deals. The US did not occupy Iraq; it partioned the north –so-called“Kurdish” Iraq but left the secular state intact. Extractive capital was actively in competition with the militarist neo-conservatives over the future direction of imperial policy.
The launch of the second Iraq war and the invasion of Afghanistan marked a decisive shift toward military imperialism: the US ignored all economic considerations. Iraq’s secular state was destroyed; civil society was pulverized; ethno-religious, tribal and clan warfare was encouraged. US colonial officials ruled by military fiat; top policymakers with links to Israel replaced oil-connected officials. The militarist “war on terror” ideology replaced free market, free trade imperialism. Afghanistan killing fields replaced the China market as the center of US imperial policy. Billions were spent, chasing evasive guerrillas in the mountains of a backward economy while US lost competitive advantages in the most dynamic Asian markets.
Imperial policymakers chose to align with sectarian warlords in Iraq over extractive technocrats. In Afghanistan they chose loyal ex-pat puppets over influential Taliban leaders capable of pacifying the country.
Extractive versus Military Imperialism in Latin America
Latin American neo-liberalism went from boom to bust in the 1990’s. By the early 2000’s crisis enveloped the region. By the turn of the century US backed rulers were being replaced by popular nationalist leaders. US policymakers stuck by their neoliberal clients in decline and failed to adapt to the new rulers who pursued modified socially inclusive extractivism. The US military imperialists longed for a return of the neo-liberal backers of the “war on terrorism”. In contrast, international multinational extractive corporations were realists – and adapted to the new regimes.
On a global scale, at the beginning of the new millennium, two divergent tendencies emerged. US military imperialism expandedthroughout the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Caucuses, while Latin American regimes turned in the opposite direction – toward moderate nationalism, and populism with a strong emphasis on poverty reduction via economic development in association with imperial extractive capital
In the face of these divergent and conflicting trends, the major US extractive multi-national corporations chose to adapt to the new political realities in Latin America. While Washington, the imperial state, expressed hostility and dismay toward the new regimes refusal to back the “war on terror” (military imperialism) the major MNCs, robust embrace of economic imperialism, took advantage of the investment opportunities opened by the new regimes’ adoption of a new extractivist model, to pour billions into the mining, energy and agricultural sectors.
The Specificities of Extractive Imperialism in the Era of “Post Neo-Liberalism”
Extractive imperialism in Latin America has several specific characteristics that sharply demark it from earlier forms agro-mineral imperialism.
(1) Extractive capital is not dominated by a single imperial country-like the Spanish in the 18t century, the British in the 19thcentury or the US in the 20th century. Imperial extractive capital is very diverse: Canadian, US, Chinese, Brazilian, Australian, Spanish, Indian and other MNCs are deeply involved.
(2) The imperial states of the diverse MNC do not engage in “gun boat diplomacy” (with the exception of the US). The imperial states provide economic financing and diplomatic support but are not actively involved in subverting Latin American regimes.
(3) The relative weight of US MNCs, in the new imperial extractivism is much less than it was a half century earlier. The rise of diverse extractive MNC and dynamism of China’s commodity market and deep financial pockets have displaced the US, the IMF and WB and established new terms of trade with Latin America.
(4) Probably the most significant aspect of the new imperial extractivism is that its entry and expansion is by invitation. The Latin American regimes and the extractive MNCs negotiate contracts – MNC entry is not unilaterally imposed by an imperial state. Yet the ‘contracts’ may result in unequal returns; they provide substantial revenues and profits to the MNC; they grant large multi –million acre tracts of land for mining or agriculture exploitation; they obligate the national state to dispossess local communities and police/repress the displaced. But they also have allowed the post-neo-liberal state to expand their social spending, to increase their foreign reserves, to eschew relations with the IMF, and to diversify their markets and trading partners.
In regional terms extractive imperialism in Latin America has “accumulated capital” by diverging from the military imperialism practiced by the US in other regions of the world political- economy. Over the past decade and a half, extractive capital has been alliedwith and relyies both on post-neoliberal and neoliberal regimes against petty commodity producers, indigenous communities and other anti-extractive resistance movements. Extractive imperialists do not rely on ‘their’ imperial state to quell resistance- they turn to theirnational political partners.
Extractive imperialism by invitation also diverges from the military imperial state in its view toward regional organizations. US military imperialism placed all its bets on US centered economic integration which Washington could leverage to political, military and economic advantage. Extractive capital, in the great diversity of its ‘national identity’, welcomed Latin American centered integration which did not privilege US markets and investors.
The predominance of economic imperialism, in particular the extractive version, however, needs to be qualified by several caveats.
US military imperialism has been present in several forms. The US backed the military coup in Honduras overthrowing the post neo-liberal Zelaya government; likewise it supported an “institutional coup” in Paraguay.
Secondly, even as MNC corporations poured capital into Bolivian mining and energy sectors, the US imperial state fomented destabilization activity to undermine the MAS government. And was defeated and the agencies and operatives were expelled. The crucial issue in this, as well as other, instances is the unwillingness of the MNC’s to join forces with the military imperialists, via boycotts, trade embargoes or disinvestment. Clearly the stability, profitability and long-term contracts between the Bolivian regime and the extractive MNC counted for more than their ties to the US imperial state.
US military imperialism has expanded its military bases and increased joint military exercises with most Latin American armed forces. Indoctrinated military officials can still become formidable potential allies in any future ‘coup’, if and when the US “pivots” from the Middle East to Latin America.
US military imperialism in its manifest multiple forms, from bankrolling NGO’s engaged in destabilization and street riots in Venezuela, to its political support of financial speculators in Argentina and rightwing parties and personalities in Brazil, has a continuous presence alongside extractive imperialism. The success of the latter and the eclipse of the former are based in part on two contingentcircumstances. The US serial wars in the Middle East divert attention away from Latin America; and the commodity boom fuels the growth of extractive capital. The economic slowdown in China and the decline of commodity prices may weaken the regimes in opposition to US military imperialism.
Paradoxically the weakening of the ties between the post-neo-liberal regimes and extractive imperialism resulting from the decline of commodity prices is strengthening the neo-liberal socio-political forces allied with US military imperialism.
Latin America’s Right Turn: The Co-Habitation of Extractive and Military imperialism?
Throughout Latin America the post-neoliberal regimes which ruled for the better part of a decade and a half face serious challenges – from consequential social opposition at the micro-level and from aggressive political-economic elites at the macro-level. It is worthwhile to survey the prospects for a return to power of neo-liberal regimes allied with military imperialism in several key countries.
Several factors are working in favor of a return to power of political parties and leaders who seek to reverse the independent and inclusive policies of the post neoliberal power bloc.
First the post-neo-liberal regimes development strategy of depending on foreign extractive capital, perpetuated and strengthened the economic basis of imperialism: the ‘colonial style’ trade relation, exporting primary commodities and importing finished goods, allowed the agro-mineral elites to occupy key positions in the politico-social structure. With the decline in commodity prices, some post-neoliberal regimes are experiencing fiscal and balance of payments shortfalls. Inflation and cuts in social expenditures adversely affect the capacity of the post-neo-liberal regimes to retain popular and middle class electoral support.
The divergences between post-neoliberals and economic imperialism are accentuating with return of the neoliberal right. The agro-mineral sectors perceive an opportunity to rid themselves of their power and revenue sharing agreements with the state and to secure even more lucrative arrangements with the advance of the neo-liberal right which promises tax and royalty reductions, deregulation and lower wage and pension payments.
Secondly, the post-neo-liberal regimes’ alliances with the building , construction, and other bourgeois sectors, was accompanied by corruption involving pay-offs, bribes and other illicit financial transactions designed to finance their mass media based electoral campaigns and patronage system which ensured electoral majorities. The neo-liberal right is exploiting these corruption scandals to erode the middle class electoral base of the post -neo-liberal regimes.
Thirdly, the post-neo-liberal regimes increased the quantity of social services, but ignored their quality – provoking widespread discontent with the inadequate public educational, transport, and health services.
Fourthly, inflation is eroding the decade long advance of wage, pension and family allowances. The post-neo-liberal regimes are caught between the pressures to “adjust” –to devalueand impose fiscal ‘austerity’ as proposed by the international bankers and lose mass support, or to engage in deeper structural changes which require among other things, changes in the extractive dependence model and greater public ownership. The crises of the post-neo-liberal regimes is leading to irresolution and opening political space for the neo-liberal right which is allied to military and economic imperialism.
Military imperialism, which was weakened by the popular uprisings at the turn of 20th century is never absent. US military imperialism is first and foremost powerfully entrenched in two major countries: Mexico and Colombia. In both countries neo-liberal regimes bought into the militarization of their societies, including the comprehensive and deep presence of US military-police officials in the structures of the state.
In both states, US military and economic imperialism operates in alliance with paramilitary death squads, even as they proclaimed “a war on drugs”. The ideology of free market imperialism was put into practice with the elimination of trade barriers, widespread privatization of resources and multi-million acre land grants to MNC.
Through its regional clients, US imperialism has a springboard to extend its influence. Mexican style ‘militarized imperialism’ has spread to Central America; Colombia serves as a launch-pad to subvert Venezuela and Ecuador.
Where dissident regimes emerged in regions claimed by militarized imperialism, Honduras and Paraguay, military and civilian coups were engineered. However because of the regional concentration of US military imperialism in the Middle East it relies heavily on local collaborators, political, military and economic elites as vehicles for “regime change”.
Extractive imperialism is under siege from popular movements in many countries in Latin America. In some cases, the political elites have increasingly militarized the contested terrain. Where this is the case, the regimes invite and accept an increased imperial military presence, as advisers, and embrace their militarist ideology, thus fostering a “marriage” between extractive and military imperialism. This is the case in Peru under President Humala and Santos in Colombia.
In Argentina and Brazil, the moderate reformist policies of the Kirchner and Lula/Rousseff regimes are under siege. Faltering export earnings, rising deficits, inflationary pressures have fueled a neo-liberal offensive, which takes a new form: populism at the service of neo-liberal collaboration with military imperialism. Extractive capital has divided -some sectors retain ties with the regime, others, the majority are allied with rising power of the right.
In Brazil, the Right has promoted a former environmentalist (Silva) to front for the hardline neo-liberal financial sector – which has received full support from local and imperial mass media. In Argentina, the imperial state and mass media have backed hedge fund speculators and have launched a full scale economic war, claiming default, in order to damage Buenos Aires’ access to capital markets in order to increase its investments in the extractive sector.
In contrast Bolivia, the extractive model par excellence, has moved successfully to oust and weaken the military arm of imperialism, ending the presence of US military advisers and DEA officials, while deepening and strengthening its ties with diverse extractive MNCs on the one hand, and on the other consolidating support among the trade unions and peasant-Indian movements.
In Ecuador the extractive regime of Correa has diversified the sources of imperial capital from the US to China, and consolidated his power via effective patronage machinery and socio-economic reforms.
The US-Colombian military threat to Venezuela and Ecuador has diminished, peace negotiations with the FARC are advancing and the regime now faces trade union and Indian-peasant opposition with regard to its extractive strategy and corporatist labor reforms.
In both Ecuador and Bolivia, imperial militarism appears to lack the vital strategic military-civilian allies capable of engineering a regime change.
The case of Venezuela highlights the continuing importance of imperial militarism in shaping US policy in Latin America. The pivot to a military policy, was taken by Washington prior to any basic social reforms or economic nationalist measures. The coup of 2001 and lockout of 2002 were backed by the US in response to President Chavez forceful rejection of the “War on Terrorism”. Washington jeopardized its important economic stake, petrol investments, in order to put in place a regime in conforming to its global military strategy.
And for the next decade and a half, the US imperial strategy totally ignored investment, trade and resource opportunities in this wealthy petrol state; it chose to spend hundreds of millions in financing opposition NGO, terrorists, electoral parties, mass media and military officials to effect a regime change. The extractive sector in the US simply became a transmission belt for the agencies of the militarized imperial state. In its place, Russia and China, interested especially extractive sector signed multi-billion dollar contracts with the Venezuelan state: a case of extractive imperialism by invitation – for economic and security reasons.
Apart from the ideological conflict over US militarist expansion, Venezuela’s promotion of Latin American centered regional integration, weakened US leverage and control in the region. In its struggle against Latin American centered regional organizations and to regain its dominance, US imperialism has upgraded its economic profile via the Trans-Pacific Alliance, which includes its most loyal neo-liberal allies – Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. The global eclipse of economic – driven imperial expansion in favor of the military has not totally displaced several key economic advances in strategic countries and sectors in Mexico, Colombia and Peru.
The privatization and denationalization of the biggest and most lucrative public petrol company in Latin America, PEMEX, the Mexican giant, opens up enormous profitable opportunities for US MNC. The rapid appropriation of oil fields by US MNC will enhance and compliment the militarization of Mexico undertaken by the US military-security apparatus.
The Mexican example highlights several features of US imperialism in Latin America.
Imperial militarization does not necessarily preclude economic imperialism if it takes place within an existing stable state structure. Unlike the imperial wars in Iraq and Libya, the military imperialist policies in Mexico advanced via powerful local political clients willing and able to engage in bloody civil wars costing over 100,000 civilian deaths in over a decade. Under the aegus and guidance of US imperial rulers, the US and Mexican military devastated civil society, but safeguarded and expanded the huge mining and manufacturing enclaves open to economic imperialist exploitation. Militarization contributed to weakening the bargaining rights of labor – wages have declined in real terms over the decades and the minimum wage is the lowest in the hemisphere.
Mexico highlights the crucial role that collaborator elites play in imperial capital accumulation. Mexico is an excellent example of ‘imperialism by invitation’ – the political agreements at the top impose ‘acquiescence’ below. The extraordinary levels of corruptionwhich permeates the entire political class, solidifies the longstanding links between Mexican political-business elite, the MNC and the security apparatus of the imperial state. Extractive imperialism is the principal beneficiary of this “triple alliance”.
In the case of Mexico, militarized imperialism laid the groundwork for the expansion of economic imperialism.
A similar process, involving ‘triple alliances’ is operative in Colombia. For the past decade and a half, militarized-imperialism poured over $6 billion in military aid(Plan Colombia) to finance the dispossession, assassination, arrest and torture and of over 4 million Colombians, including the killing of thousands of trade union and social movement leaders.
The scorched earth policy, backed by a substantial US military mission operated through the existing state apparatus and with the active support of the agro-mineral and banking elite ,aided by nearly 40,000 member paramilitary death squads and drug traffickers laid the groundwork for the large scale entry of extractive capital – particularly mining capital.
Military imperialism preceded the long-term, large scale ‘invasion’ by economic imperialism in the form of a free trade agreement and multi-million acre land grants to mining MNC.
This general pattern was repeated in Peru. The ‘war on terror” under Fujimori and the subsequent liberalization of the economy, under three subsequent Presidents, culminated in the massive primarization of the economy under President Humala – who deepened and extended the expansion of imperial extractive capital.
The economic downturn in some of the post-neo-liberal economies, namely Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, and the rightward moving political spectrum, has opened a window of opportunity for US economic imperialism to work in tandem with the rising neo-liberal political opposition. The military option, a military coup or US military intervention is not on the horizon for the present time. The central focus of imperial state decision makers regarding regime change is a combination of overt electoral and covert ‘street intervention’: adopting ‘populist’, moralist and technocratic rhetoric to highlight corruption in high offices, inefficiency in the delivery of social services with claims of bureaucratic interference in the operations of the market. Business disinvestment, financial speculation on the currency and negative mass media propaganda has coincided strikes and protests against shortages and lag between wage and price increases.
Despite costly and failed imperial wars in the Middle East, despite a decade of military retreat in Latin America, economic imperialism is advancing via the electoral route; it already has established a formidable array of allies among the political regimes in Mexico, Colombia and Peru and is posed to re-establish neo-liberal allies in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.
Imperialism as it has evolved over the past quarter of a century cannot be understood as a ‘unified whole’ in which the two basic components, military and economic are always complimentary. Divergences have been graphically illustrated by the imperial wars in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. Convergences are more obvious in Latin America, especially in Mexico, Colombia and Peru, where ‘militarization’ facilitated the expansion of extractive capital.
The theoretical point is that the nature of the political leadership of the imperial state has a high degree of autonomy in shaping the predominance of one or another strand of the imperial expansion. The capacity for imperial capital to expand is highly contingent on the strength and structure of the collaborator state: militarized imperialism that invades and destroys states and the fabric of civil society has led to disinvestment; in contrast economic imperialism by invitation in neo-liberal collaborator states has been at the center of successful imperial expansion.
The ambiguities and contradictions intrinsic to the post-neo-liberal extractivist based development model have both constrainedthe military component of imperialism while expanding opportunities for economic imperial accumulation. Accumulation by invitation, and accumulation by dispossession are simply ‘moments’ in a complex process in which political regime changes intervene and establish the locations and timing for refluxes and influxes of capital.
The rise of new economic imperialist powers like China competing with established imperial powers like the US, has led to alternative markets and sources of financing, which erodes the effectiveness political, military and diplomatic instruments of imperial coercion.
Regional variations in political configurations, imperial priorities and choice of instruments of power, have deeply influenced the nature and structure of imperialism. And as the world historic record seems to argue, military driven empire building in the Middle East has been a disaster while economic driven imperialism shows signs of rapid recovery and successes in Latin America.
Copyright © 2014 Global Research
September 26th, 2014 by olddog
The Veterans Affairs scandal of falsified waiting lists is the latest of a never-ending stream of government ineptitude. Every season brings a new headline of failures: the botched roll-out of Obamacare involved 55 uncoordinated IT vendors; a White House report in February found that barely 3 percent of the $800 billion stimulus plan went to rebuild transportation infrastructure; and a March Washington Post report describes how federal pensions are processed by hand in a deep cave in Pennsylvania.
The reflexive reaction is to demand detailed laws and rules to make sure things don’t go wrong again. But shackling public choices with ironclad rules, ironically, is a main cause of the problems. Dictating correctness in advance supplants the one factor that is indispensable to all successful endeavors—human responsibility. “Nothing that’s good works by itself,” as Thomas Edison put it. “You’ve got to make the damn thing work.”
Responsibility is nowhere in modern government. Who’s responsible for the budget deficits? Nobody: Program budgets are set in legal concrete. Who’s responsible for failing to fix America’s decrepit infrastructure? Nobody. Who’s responsible for not managing civil servants sensibly? You get the idea.
Modern government is organized on “clear law,” the false premise that by making laws detailed enough to take in all possible circumstances, we can avoid human error. And so over the last few decades, law has gotten ever more granular. But all that regulatory detail, like sediment in a harbor, makes it hard to get anywhere. The 1956 Interstate Highway Act was 29 pages and succeeded in getting 41,000 miles of roads built by 1970. The 2012 transportation bill was 584 pages, and years will pass before workers can start fixing many of those same roads. Health-care regulators have devised 140,000 reimbursement categories for Medicare—including 12 categories for bee stings and 21 categories for “spacecraft accidents.” This is the tip of a bureaucratic iceberg—administration consumes 30 percent of health-care costs.
Legal detail skews behavior in ways that are usually counterproductive. Why did VA officials regularly falsify waiting times? Bureaucratic metrics required them to meet waiting time deadlines—or else they would forfeit a portion of their pay. Why didn’t they just do a better job? Compliance was basically impossible: Congress had mandated more VA services but only modestly expanded resources. Undoubtedly, better efficiency could have been squeezed out of available resources, but that would require liberating VA officials from civil-service straitjackets so they could manage other civil servants. Rigid bureaucracy, not the inexcusable dishonesty of VA officials, was the underlying cause of the VA scandal.
“Clear law” turns out to be a myth. Modern law is too dense to be knowable. “It will be of little avail to the people,” James Madison observed, “if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” The quest for “clear law” is futile also because most regulatory language is inherently ambiguous. Dense rulebooks do not avoid disputes—they just divert the dispute to the parsing of legal words instead of arguing over what’s right. Indeed, legal detail often undermines the regulatory goal. “The more exact and detailed a rule, the more likely it is to open up loopholes, to permit by implication conduct that the rule was intended to avoid,” Judge Richard Posner observed.
What’s the alternative? Put humans back in charge. Law should generally be an open framework, mainly principles and goals, leaving room for responsible people to make decisions and be held accountable for results. Law based on principles leaves room for the decision-maker always to act on this question: What’s the right thing to do here?
“The more exact and detailed a rule, the more likely it is to open up loopholes, to permit by implication conduct that the rule was intended to avoid.”
Until recent decades, law based on principles was the structure of most public law. The Constitution is 10 pages long and provides basic precepts—say, the Fourth Amendment prohibition on “unreasonable searches and seizures”—without trying to define every situation. The recent Volcker Rule regulating proprietary trading, by contrast, is 950 pages, and, in the words of one banker, is “incoherent any way you look at it.”
Legal principles have the supreme virtue of activating individual responsibility. Law is still supreme. The goals of law are centralized, but implementation is decentralized. Every successful regulatory program works this way. New airplanes, for example, must be certified as “airworthy” by the FAA. There are no detailed regulations that set forth how many rivets per square foot are required. It’s up to the judgment of FAA officials. This system works pretty well. Which would you trust more, a plane approved by experts at the FAA or a plane that was allowed to fly merely because it satisfied a bunch of rules, many outdated?
Simplifying regulation—replacing thick volumes of rules with guiding principles —has two more virtues as well. First, democracy is effective only when there’s someone to hold accountable. Second, principles are coherent. People generally know what’s expected of them. Doctrines such as “unreasonable risk” or a “nutritious meal” or “industry standards” have practical meaning and can be enforced by reference to social norms. “Standards that capture lay intuitions about right behavior,” Posner notes, “may produce greater legal certainty than a network of precise … non-intuitive rules.”
Potentially, simplifying regulation can appeal to both sides: to liberals because it offers regulators more leeway, and to conservatives because it simplifies government and avoids mindless compliance costs.
Here are three examples of how regulation could be simplified:
Oversight of social services: Today, nursing homes, day-care centers, and similar social-service providers are regulated with a maze of input-oriented regulations. “Food shall be stored not less than 15 cm above the floor”; “there shall be .09 recreational workers per resident”—about a thousand rules in most states for nursing homes.
Australia had a similar regulatory structure. But in the wake of scandalous revelations of poor nursing homes in the late 1980s, it abandoned the thick rule book and replaced it with 31 general principles, for example to provide “a homelike environment” and to honor residents’ “privacy and dignity.” The result was an almost immediate transformation for the better. Nursing-home employees started acting on their instincts of right and wrong, instead of trudging through dreary bureaucratic checklists. Regulators and family members engaged in regular dialogues with nursing homes on how to improve things. Nursing homes became nice.
They abandoned the thick rule book and replaced it with 31 general principles. Nursing home became nice.
Environmental review: Environmental review and other infrastructure approvals can last a decade or longer in America. Even projects with virtually no environmental impact can last years, as project sponsors jump through scores of bureaucratic hoops.
The benefits of streamlining approvals would be enormous: several million new jobs, a greener environmental footprint, and enhanced global competitiveness. Replacing America’s antiquated power grid, for example, would save at least 7 percent of electricity—equivalent to the output of 200 coal-burning power plants.
Today the process is interminable, because any naysayer can complain that some pebble was left unturned—and who knows what will happen in court? Far better to give an environmental official responsibility to decide when important facts have been set forth instead of letting the process spin its wheels for a decade and then end up in court. For other permits—for instance, for land-use regulations, navigable-waters approval, landmarks review, and the like—there should also be a “one-stop shop”—a lead agency with the job of coordinating all regulatory concerns. That’s how other greener countries such as Germany are able to approve new infrastructure projects in a fraction of the time it takes in the United States.
Civil Service: More than 20 million people work for federal, state, and local government. Most of them perform needed services. But the accretion of antiquated and unjustifiable work rules has rendered them practically unmanageable.
Hiring and promotion is largely based on written tests, not demonstrated competence. Promoting an exemplary employee is often impossible. Work rules can prevent supervisors from asking workers to pitch in. In New York City, how to use a new copying machine and who can use it is subject to collective bargaining. Firing an incompetent employee under civil-service bureaucracy is almost impossible.
Any critique of this regulatory jungle is met with sanctimonious remonstrations about workers’ rights and the return of the spoils system. But the only relevant criterion for any regulatory structure should be whether it is in the public interest. By that standard, the current civil-service system is indefensible.
The solution is straightforward. Scrap the system and replace it with principles designed to achieve the original goal of a merit system. Avoiding spoils is not hard: Funnel hiring through an independent agency. Work rules should be replaced by general principles, overseen by a neutral review board. Eliminate the presumption of lifetime service, as recommended by the Partnership for Public Service. Terminating a public employee should trigger a safety net, not years of litigation.
Principles, ironically, are less susceptible to abuse of state power and gamesmanship than precise rules. One of the many paradoxes of “clear law” is that no one can comply with thousands of rules. With principles, a citizen can stand his ground to an unreasonable demand and have a good chance of being supported up the chain of authority.
In the civil service, promoting an exemplary employee is often impossible.
There is still a place for precise rules. Rules are effective in situations where the protocol is more important than context and balance—say, with age limits or effluent discharges. Management expert Brenda Zimmerman makes the distinction between the legal framework for “complicated” activities—such as engineering or rocket launches, where a small error might have disastrous results—and “complex” activities, such as running a health-care system or regulating nursing homes. For “complicated” activities, rules and checklists can impose the discipline to avoid disastrous error. For “complex” activities, general principles are far superior, because they allow people to adapt to many moving parts. The more complex the area of oversight the simpler and more flexible the regulatory framework must be.
But what about human error and venality? Does law based on principles mean we must trust people? Of course not. That’s why accountability is still important. Moreover, for important decisions, a structure can require approval of several people. Nothing can get done sensibly or fairly, however, until we reconstruct government with a legal framework which liberates people to roll up their sleeves and make things happen
September 9th, 2014 by olddog
By Richard Ebeling
Proud to be an American: What Should It Mean?
September 09, 2014
Editorial By Richard Ebeling
America! For more than two hundred years the word has represented hope, opportunity, a second chance and freedom. In America the accident of a man’s birth did not serve as an inescapable weight that dictated a person’s fate or that of his family. The individual owned his own life and was free to shape it as his own mind guided him.
Once a newcomer stepped on American soil he left the political tyrannies and economic barriers of the “old world” behind. A willingness to work hard and to bear the risks of one’s own decisions, the possession of a spirit of enterprise and a little bit of luck were the keys to the doors of success in their “new world” home.
American Spirit of Independence, Innovation and Benevolence
Visitors from Europe traveling to America in the 19th century, Frenchmen like Alexis de Tocqueville and Michel Chevalier, marveled at the energy and adaptability of the ordinary American. An American paid his own way, took responsibility for his actions and showed versatility in the face of change, often switching his occupation, profession, or trade several times during his life and frequently moving about from one part of the country to another.
What’s more, individual Americans demonstrated a generous spirit of benevolence and voluntary effort to assist those who had fallen upon hard times, as well as to deal with a wide variety of common community services in their cities, towns and villages.
Those foreign observers of American life noted that no man bowed to another because of the hereditary accident of birth. Each man viewed himself as good as any other, to be judged on the basis of his talents and abilities as well as his character and conduct as an individual human being.
Even the scar of slavery that blemished the American landscape through more than half of the 19th century stood out as something inherently inconsistent and untrue to the vision and conception of a society of free men laid down by the Founding Fathers. The logic of liberty meant that slavery would eventually have to end, in one way or another, if the claim of freedom for all was not to remain confronted with a cruel hypocrisy to the ideal.
A Land of Free, Self-Made Citizens
What a glorious country this America was. Here was a land of free men who were able to pursue their dreams and fulfill their peaceful desires. They were free men who could put their own labor to work, acquire property, accumulate wealth and fashion their own lives. They associated on the basis of freedom of exchange, and benefited each other by trading their talents through a network of division of labor that was kept in order through the competitive processes of market-guided supply and demand.
In this competitive marketplace, the creative entrepreneurial spirit was set free. Every American was at liberty to try his hand, if he chose, to start his own business and devise innovative ways to offer new and better products to others in the market, through which he hoped to earn his living. No man was bond to the soil upon which he was born or tied to an occupation or profession inherited from his ancestors. Every individual had an opportunity to be the master of his own fate, with the freedom to move where inclination led him and choose the work that seemed most profitable and attractive.
The Turn Toward Collectivism
Then something began to happen in America. The socialist and collectivist ideas that were growing in influence in Europe during the last decades of the 19th century began to spread over to the United States. Two generations of young American scholars went off to study in Europe, particularly in Imperial Germany, in the 1880s, 1890s and early 1900s. They became imbued with socialist and state paternalistic conceptions, especially the interventionist and welfare statist ideas that were being taught at the universities in Bismarck’s Germany.
These scholars came back to the United States enthusiastic about their newly learned ideas, convinced that the “negative” idea of freedom dominant in America – an idea of freedom that argued that government’s role was only to secure each person in his individual right to life, liberty and property – needed to be replaced by a more “positive” notion of freedom.
Government should not merely protect citizens from violence and fraud. It should guarantee their health care and retirement pensions; it should regulate their industry and trade, including their wages and conditions of work. The government needed to secure the members of society from all the uncertainties of life, “from cradle to grave” – a phrase that was first popularized during this time.
These European-trained students and academics soon filled the teaching positions in the colleges and universities around the country; they occupied a growing number of jobs in the federal and state bureaucracies; they became the fashionable and “progressive” forward- looking authors of books and magazine articles; they came to dominate the culture of ideas in America.
The Rationale of Relativist Change
How did they sway an increasing number of Americans? They asked people to look around them and observe the radical changes in technologies and styles of life. They pointed to the rapid shift from the countryside to growing urban areas. And they asked, how could such a transformed and transforming society remain wedded to the ideas of men who had lived so long ago, in the 18th century? How could a great and growing country be tied down to a Constitution written for a bygone era?
The Constitution, these “progressives” argued, had to reflect the changing times – it had to be a “living” and “evolving” document. Progress, for these proselytizers of Prussian paternalism, required a new political elite who would guide and lead the nation into a more collectivist future.
The Fruits of Collectivism in America
The fruits of their work are, now, after well over a century, all around us. At the beginning of the 20th century all levels of government in the United States took in taxes around 8 percent of the people’s wealth and income. Now all levels of government extract in many cases over fifty percent of our earnings, in one way or another.
One hundred years ago, government hardly regulated and controlled any of the personal and commercial affairs of the American citizenry. Now, government’s hand intrudes into every corner of our private, business and social affairs. Indeed, it is hard to find one area of our daily lives that does not pass through the interventionist sieve of state management, oversight, restriction and command.
Perhaps worst of all, too many of our fellow Americans have become accustomed to and, indeed, demanding of government protection or subsidy of their personal and economic affairs. We are increasingly no longer free, self-supporting individuals who solely make our own ways through the peaceful transactions and exchanges of the marketplace.
We have become collective “interest groups” who lobby and pressure those in political office for favors and privileges at the expense of our neighbors. And the political officeholders are only too happy to grant these political gifts to those who supply campaign contributions and votes as the avenue to their own desires for power and control over those whom they claim to serve.
It is sometimes said: “But we are still the freest country in the world. Our wealth and standard of living are the envy of tens of millions all around the globe. We should be proud of what and who we are.”
The Standard for Judging America
Our present greatness in terms of these things, however, is only relative to how much farther other countries have gone down the path of government paternalism and regulation during these past one hundred years.
The benchmark of comparison should not be America in relation to other countries in the contemporary world. The standard by which we should judge our freedom should be how much freer the American people were from the stranglehold of government more than one hundred years ago, before those proselytizers of paternalism began to change the political and cultural character of the United States.
By this standard, today’s American people are extremely unfree in many aspects of their life. Of course, there have been important, valuable and even essential economic, social and cultural improvements for many individuals and groups in American society, who one hundred years ago still suffered from various degrees of racial, social or ethic bigotry and politically enforced discrimination. Many of these wrongs are now gone, or at least far less than in that earlier time.
But the fact remains that over many areas of our personal, social and especially economic activities we have all become increasingly wards of the state. And like the convict who has spent so many years in prison that he is afraid of being released and no longer having his jail keepers to tell him what to do and how to live, we are fearful of even the thought of a life without government caring for us, protecting us, subsidizing us, guiding us and educating us.
Loss of Understanding Liberty
Too many in the older generation in America have lost their understanding of what freedom means and why constitutionally limited government is both necessary and desirable. And the vast majority of the young have never been taught in our government-run schools the ideas, ideals and political institutional foundations upon which this country of ours was created. They have been taught to think that there are no absolute truths or any important insights from long human experience concerning why individual freedom is a valuable and precious thing.
What those earlier German-trained political and cultural relativists set out to do in America at the beginning of the 20th century has been to a great extent accomplished. We are threatened with becoming a people who have no sense of an invariant nature of man and who possess no idea of those values and attitudes in the human character so necessary for preserving freedom and prosperity.
Most especially, there has been lost among too many any understanding or appreciation of the concept of individual rights, without which a free society is not sustainable in the long run. The collectivist mindsets of our time have weakened the most fundamental concept underlying the idea of individual rights:
That the individual has a right to live for himself, guided by his own reasoning and judgment, and that he should not be considered and treated as a physical or financial beast of burden expected to sacrifice his life and its potentials for a tribe, whether it is called “the nation,” the “social class,” the “race,” the “democratic majority,” or “mankind.”
Individual Rights are Changeless in a Changing World
The Founding Fathers were not unaware that “times change.” But in the whirlwind of life they saw that reason and experience could and had demonstrated that there were unchanging qualities to the human condition, grounded in the fundamental political idea of individual rights.
They understood the various mantles that tyranny could take on – including the cloak of false benevolence in the form of compulsory redistribution of wealth. They established a constitutional order that was meant to guard us from the plunder of violent and greedy men, while leaving each of us that wide latitude of personal and economic freedom in which we could find our own meanings for life, and adapt to new circumstances consistent with our conscience and concerns.
This is what made America great. This is what made a country in which individuals could say without embarrassment or conceit that they were “proud to be Americans.”
The task for those of us who have not yet lost that true sense of the meaning of freedom is to dedicate ourselves to restoring and refining that noble American ideal of individual rights and liberty. Let us work together to be the stewards of liberty so that freedom may, once again, rekindle its consistent and bright torch in the America of the 21st century.
Back when men were real men
By Chuck Yeager
Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy
Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st
Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the
History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10
episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.
I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn’t
know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having
trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was
at the right gate, and noticed the “Screaming Eagle,” the symbol of
the 101st Airborne, on his hat.
Making conversation, I asked him if he’d been in the 101st Airborne
or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the
101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served,
and how many jumps he made.
Quietly and humbly, he said “Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so,
and was in until sometime in 1945 . . .” at which point my heart
At that point, again, very humbly, he said “I made the 5 training
jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . do you know
where Normandy is?” At this point my heart stopped.
I told him “yes, I know exactly where Normandy is, and I know what
D-Day was.” At that point he said “I also made a second jump into
Holland, into Arnhem.” I was standing with a genuine war hero …
and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of
I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said
“Yes…And it’s real sad because, these days, so few of the guys are
left, and those that are, lots of them can’t make the trip.” My heart
was in my throat and I didn’t know what to say.
I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in
coach while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to
get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came
forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have
it, that I’d take his in coach.
He said “No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are
still some who remember what we did and who still care is enough to
make an old man very happy.” His eyes were filling up as he said it.
And mine are brimming up now as I write this.
Shifty died on January l7, 2012, after fighting cancer.
There was no parade.
No big event in Staples Center.
No wall-to-wall, back-to-back 24/7 news coverage.
No weeping fans on television.
And that’s not right!
Let’s give Shifty his own memorial service, on line, in our own quiet way.
Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.
Rest in peace, Shifty.
Chuck Yeager, Maj. General [ret.]
P.S. I think that it is amazing how the “media” chooses our “heroes” these days…
Elvis, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston & the like.
“SHIFTY” – an incredible American hero.
Please do me a favor and pass this on so that untold thousands can read it.
We owe no less to our REAL heroes.
June 23rd, 2014 by olddog
US changes nuclear strategy to first strike
The US has begun the run up to the Third World War, and Europeans seem to be on board, writes Paul Craig Roberts.
By Paul Craig Roberts
I wish I had only good news to bring to readers, or even one item of good news. Alas, goodness has ceased to be a feature of US policy and simply cannot be found in any words or deeds emanating from Washington or the capitals of its European vassal states. The Western World has succumbed to evil.
In an article published by Op-Ed News, Eric Zuesse supports my reports of indications that Washington is preparing for a nuclear first strike against Russia.
US war doctrine has been changed. US nuclear weapons are no longer restricted to a retaliatory force, but have been elevated to the role of preemptive nuclear attack. Washington pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia and is developing and deploying an ABM shield. Washington is demonizing Russia and Russia’s President with shameless lies and propaganda, thus preparing the populations of the US and its client states for war with Russia.
Washington has been convinced by neoconservatives that Russian strategic nuclear forces are in run down and unprepared condition and are sitting ducks for attack. This false belief is based on out-of-date information, a decade old, such as the argument presented in “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy” by Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press in the April 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, an organization of American elites.
Regardless of the condition of Russian nuclear forces, the success of Washington’s first strike and degree of protection provided by Washington’s ABM shield against retaliation, the article I posted by Steven Starr, “The Lethality of Nuclear Weapons,” makes clear that nuclear war has no winners. Everyone dies.
In an article published in the December 2008 issue of Physics Today, three atmospheric scientists point out that even the substantial reduction in nuclear arsenals that the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty hoped to achieve, from 70,000 warheads in 1986 to 1700-2200 warheads by the end of 2012, did not reduce the threat that nuclear war presents to life on earth. The authors conclude that in addition to the direct blast effects of hundreds of millions of human fatalities, “the indirect effects would likely eliminate the majority of the human population.” The stratospheric smoke from firestorms would cause nuclear winter and agricultural collapse. Those who did not perish from blast and radiation would starve to death.
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev understood this. Unfortunately, no successor US government has. As far as Washington is concerned, death is what happens to others, not to “the exceptional people.” (The SORT agreement apparently failed. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the nine nuclear-armed states still possess a total of 16,300 nuclear weapons.)
It is a fact that Washington has policymakers who think, incorrectly, that nuclear war is winnable and who regard nuclear war as a means of preventing the rise of Russia and China as checks on Washington’s hegemony over the world. The US government, regardless of party in office, is a massive threat to life on earth. European governments, which think of themselves as civilized, are not, because they enable Washington’s pursuit of hegemony. It is this pursuit that threatens life with extinction. The ideology that grants “exceptional, indispensable America” supremacy is an enormous threat to the world.
The destruction of seven countries in whole or in part by the West in the 21st century, with the support of “Western civilization” and the Western media, comprises powerful evidence that the leadership of the Western world is devoid of moral conscience and human compassion. Now that Washington is armed with its false doctrine of “nuclear primacy,” the outlook for humanity is very bleak.
Washington has begun the run up to the Third World War, and Europeans seem to be on board. As recently as November 2012 NATO Secretary General Rasmussen said that NATO does not regard Russia as an enemy. Now that the White House Fool and his European vassals have convinced Russia that the West is an enemy, Rasmussen declared that “we must adapt to the fact that Russia now considers us its adversary” by beefing up Ukraine’s military along with those of Eastern and Central Europe.
Last month, Alexander Vershbow, former US ambassador to Russia, currently NATO Deputy Secretary General, declared Russia to be the enemy and said that the American and European taxpayers need to fork over for the military modernization “not just of Ukraine, but also Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan.”
It is possible to see these calls for more military spending as just the normal functioning of agents for the US military/security complex. Having lost “the war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington needs a replacement and has set about resurrecting the Cold War.
This is probably how the armaments industry, its shills, and part of Washington sees it. But the neoconservatives are more ambitious. They are not pursuing merely more profits for the military/security complex. Their goal is Washington’s hegemony over the world, which means reckless actions such as the strategic threat that the Obama regime, with the complicity of its European vassals, has brought to Russia in Ukraine.
Since last autumn, the US government has been lying through its teeth about Ukraine, blaming Russia for the consequences of Washington’s actions, and demonizing Putin. The presstitute media and the European capitals have seconded the lies and propaganda and repeat them endlessly. Consequently, the US public’s attitude toward Russia moved sharply negative.
How do you think Russia and China see this? Russia has witnessed NATO brought to its borders, a violation of the Reagan-Gorbachev understandings. Russia has witnessed the US pull out of the ABM treaty and develop a “star wars” shield. (Whether or not the shield would work is immaterial. The purpose of the shield is to convince the politicians and the public that Americans are safe.) Russia has witnessed Washington change the role of nuclear weapons in its war doctrine from deterrent to preemptive first strike. And now Russia listens to a daily stream of lies from the West and witnesses the slaughter by Washington’s vassal in Kiev of civilians in Russian Ukraine, branded “terrorists” by Washington, by such weapons as white phosphorus with not a peep of protest from the West.
While massive attacks by artillery and air strikes on homes and apartments in Russian Ukraine were conducted, Washington continued with its deception as it did on Tonkin Gulf, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, etc. It is an amazing fact that the world lives in a false reality created by Washington’s lies.
The movie, The Matrix, is a true depiction of life in the West. The population lives in a false reality created for them by their rulers. A handful of humans have escaped the false existence and are committed to bringing humans back to reality. They rescue Neo, “The One,” who they believe correctly to have the power to free humans from the false reality in which they live. Morpheus, the leader of the rebels, explains to Neo:
“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
I experience this every time I write a column. Protests from those determined not to be unplugged arrive in emails and on those websites that expose their writers to slander by government trolls in comment sections. Don’t believe real reality, they insist, believe the false reality.
The Matrix even encompasses part of the Russian and Chinese population, especially those educated in the West and those susceptible to Western propaganda, but on the whole those populations know the difference between lies and truth. The problem for Washington is that the propaganda that prevails over the Western peoples does not prevail over the Russian and Chinese governments.
How do you think China reacts when Washington declares the South China Sea to be an area of US national interests, allocates 60 percent of its vast fleet to the Pacific, and constructs new US air and naval bases from the Philippines to Vietnam?
Suppose all Washington intends is to keep taxpayer funding alive for the military/security complex which launders some of the taxpayers’ money and returns it as political campaign contributions. Can Russia and China take the risk of viewing Washington’s words and deeds in this limited way?
So far the Russians (and the Chinese) have remained sensible. Lavrov, the Foreign Minister said: “At this stage, we want to give our partners a chance to calm down. We’ll see what happens next. If absolutely baseless accusations against Russia continue, it there are attempts to pressure us with economic leverage, then we may reevaluate the situation.”
If the White House Fool, Washington’s media whores and European vassals convince Russia that war is in the cards, war will be in the cards. As there is no prospect whatsoever of NATO being able to mount a conventional offensive threat against Russia anywhere near the size and power of the German invasion force in 1941 that met with destruction, the war will be nuclear, which will mean the end of all of us.
Keep that firmly in mind as Washington and its media whores continue to beat the drums for war. Keep in mind also that a long history proves beyond all doubt that everything Washington and the presstitute media tells you is a lie serving an undeclared agenda. You cannot rectify the situation by voting Democrat instead of Republican or by voting Republican instead of Democrat.
Thomas Jefferson told us his solution: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
There are few patriots in Washington but many tyrants.
March 30th, 2014 by olddog
By Stephen Lendman
March 30, 2014
Subject: Police State
None in human history compare to America. It's by far the most lawless. It's the world's most egregious civil and human rights abuser.
It's done more harm to more people for longer than any combination of other nations. None match its ruthlessness.
It's genocidal legacy is longstanding. It began in pre-colonial days. Expanding America from sea to shining sea claimed tens of millions of lives.
Mass extermination became policy. Centuries of slaughter reduced America's indigenous population to a tiny fraction of its original numbers.
Ward Churchill's chilling quote bears repeating. He minced no words, saying:
Millions were "hacked apart with axes and swords, burned alive and trampled under horses, hunted as game and fed to dogs, shot, beaten, stabbed, scalped for bounty, hanged on meathooks and thrown over the sides of ships at sea, worked to death as slave laborers, intentionally starved and frozen to death during a multitude of forced marches and internments, and, in an unknown number of instances, deliberately infected with epidemic diseases."
Five centuries of slavery were horrific. Black Africans were captured, branded, chained, force-marched, beaten, encaged, and stripped of their humanity.
Around 100 million were sold like cattle. Millions perished during the Middle Passage.
Imagine packing human beings like cargo. Imagine them under deplorable conditions. Imagine them in coffin-sized spaces.
Imagine practically one atop others in extreme discomfort. Imagine poor ventilation, dysentery, smallpox, ophthalmia, and other epidemic-level diseases.
Imagine dark, filthy, slimy, bloody, vomity conditions below deck. Imagine it filled with human excrement.
Imagine women beaten and raped. Imagine claustrophobia driving some victims insane.
Imagine floggings and clubbings to death. Imagine anyone thought diseased dumped overboard like garbage.
Imagine 50 million or more lost lives. Imagine slave traders calling it a cost of doing business.
Genocidal US policy continues in new forms. Mass murder proceeds efficiently.
Technological advances facilitate it. America's killing machine knows no limits. One genocide follows others.
Countries are ravaged and destroyed. Neither world war should have been waged. Tens of millions died needlessly.
Making the world safe for democracy is a convenient illusion. America tolerates it nowhere.
Achieving unchallenged raw power drives US policy. Mass slaughtering human beings doesn't matter.
Imperial Japan was defeated many months before WW II ended. In February and March 1945, Tokyo was gratuitously firebombed twice.
So were many other Japanese cities. Hundreds of thousands of civilians perished. Millions were left homeless.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were two of history's great crimes. Imaging incinerating civilians gratuitously.
Imagine horrific radiation poisoning. Imagine disfigurations and birth defects. Imagine the effects of what happened still being felt.
Imagine no apologies for generations of crimes. Imagine turning North Korea into rubble. Imagine running out of targets to bomb.
Imagine an uneasy armistice persisting. Imagine possible nuclear war erupting. Imagine East Asia caught in the fallout.
Imagine crazed US policymakers bearing full responsibility. Imagine Washington's unparalleled killing machine power.
Imagine ruthlessness writ large. Imagine horrendous suffering beyond human comprehension. Imagine all humanity threatened.
America's post-WW II ravaging repeats with disturbing regularity. Southeast Asia was laid waste. Proxy wars killed millions worldwide.
All US direct, indirect and supported wars have no rules. Laws of war are ignored. Rampaging goes unchecked.
America was complicit in Rwandan massacres. Desert Storm was a well-planned criminal attack.
Essential to life facilities were destroyed. Tens of thousands were gratuitously slaughtered.
Twelve years of genocidal sanctions followed. Children under age five suffered most. Bush II killed millions more.
Afghanistan remains America's longest war. No end in sight looms. The cradle of civilization was destroyed.
Free market plunder replaced it. Inside the bubble is paradise. Outside reflects dystopian hell.
Balkan wars destroyed the former Yugoslavia. They culminated in US-led NATO terror-bombing Serbia/Kosovo.
Thousands of sorties ravaged and destroyed them. Imagine considering schools, churches, hospitals and cultural landmarks strategic targets.
Imagine a gratuitous humanitarian disaster. Imagine it against one nonthreatening country after another.
Libya remains a cauldron of violence. No one is safe anywhere. Obama's war on Syria continues. Iran's turn awaits.
Expect other targeted countries to be attacked. Expect no safe place to hide.
Imagine the supreme crime of aggression. Imagine it ongoing in multiple theaters.
Imagine America's dirty handiwork. Imagine crimes too grim to ignore. Imagine genocide as official policy.
Imagine new victims following earlier ones. Imagine dead bodies piling up. Imagine young boys and girls. Imagine the elderly, infirm and disabled.
Imagine America bearing full responsibility for devastated landscapes. Imagine what desperately needs ending continued.
Imagine humanity threatened. Imagine media scoundrels cheerleading what demands condemnation.
Imagine supporting Israel's killing machine. Imagine billions of annual aid dollars supporting it.
Imagine ongoing subjugating talks called peace ones. Imagine longstanding occupation turning Palestine into a virtual open-air prison.
Imagine being denied all rights. Imagine world leaders turning a blind eye. Imagine dying for many being their only escape.
Imagine what no human being should tolerate being done to another.
Imagine Washington and Israel partnering in each other's crimes. Imagine both nations being lawless warrior states.
Imagine them using weapons causing injuries, disfigurements and other effects never seen before.
Imagine unparalleled barbarism. Imagine crimes against humanity without end. Imagine weapons able to end life on earth. Imagine possibly using them.
Imagine hubris writ large threatening everyone. Imagine overreach risking armageddon.
Washington's Ukrainian agenda reflects its latest imperial adventurism. Protests didn't erupt by chance.
They were well-planned in advance. At issue is weakening and isolating Russia. It's turning Kiev West, not East. It's plundering its resources. It's exploiting its people.
It's incorporating all former Soviet republics and Warsaw pact countries into NATO. It's establishing US bases on Russia's borders.
It's having nuclear-armed missiles targeting its heartland.
Including Ukraine in NATO risks WW III.
America, Israel and key EU partners comprise the real axis of evil. They're out-of-control rogue states.
Former French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau (1841 – 1929) once said "America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization."
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) said the same thing. He called patriotism "the virtue of the vicious."
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) called democracy "a form of government that substitutes elections by the incompetent many for the appointment of the corrupt few."
Perhaps he had America in mind. Obama's rap sheet reflects the worst of its policies. He's in charge until January 2017.
He's got lots more warmaking in mind. He plans hardening America's police state apparatus. He wants dissent silenced.
He wants opposition crushed. He wants freedom destroyed. It hangs by a thread. So does world peace.
Neocon infested Washington wages war on humanity. Obama risks extinguishing it altogether. Stopping him matters most.
Resistance is crucial. It's our only defense. Solidarity unites us. We're all in this together. We're on our own to survive.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
It’s after reading articles like this that I would give all I own for the ability to write as clearly as Jefferson’s Voice, Stephen Lendman, Brandon Smith, Brandon Turbeville, and so many other great word smiths. Not to make money or fame, but to create a hole in the hearts of many readers and fill it with elucidations they would never forget. Please forgive my uneducated word fumbles as I try to explain the agony of discovering how complicit I have been in the past with this excruciatingly false patriotism that makes us convinced we were doing good by killing and other atrocities to our fellow human beings. Now that I know the real circumstances surrounding Americas’ wars, and how I, and so many others ate it up like feeding a starving man, my shame is an unbearable stench in my mind. What makes it even worse is there are still men I love like brothers should, who would reject me forever without even considering why I have changed, if they read this. Since I am not a silver tongued gymnast, I feel challenged to express my hatred of the people who created an education, and media industry that would turn normal human beings into brutal murders of other humans while glorying in a sense of rightist superiority. The past history of the United States of America is no doubt why there are so few interested in studying history. Once you learn the truth, it’s damn hard to look in a mirror. I pray my brothers will take the time to learn why I can no longer praise my country. All it took was a hand full of genius Bankers, and we became stupid brain washed monsters. At this point in our history, we must redeem our selves by sending these Bankers and their elite lackeys to an agonizing extermination. We must never again let our country become A Nation Beguiled. This is not a denial of responsibility for our atrocities, but an acknowledgement of how we were made to feel justified by being loyal to a piece of cloth. Being free from government tyranny (the Bankers Pawns) means being constantly informed and alert to subversive politicians as they attempt to follow orders from above. Never think for a moment that we are choosing the lesser of two evils, as elections are the most polluted of all their tools. The statist mentality is an admission of being totally uninformed. Only weak minded people need leaders, as the laws of nature are imprinted on an informed mind. Never believe you need a collage degree to know right from wrong. It’s written on your heart. If we continue to believe the lies of the politicians we will be eliminated.
January 18th, 2014 by olddog
by AL Whitney (C) copyright 2013
Permission is granted for redistribution if linked to original and the AntiCorruption Society is acknowledged
“We’ll know our disinformation campaign is complete, when absolutely everything the American people believe is false”.
Wm Casey, Director of the CIA (1981)
Departments of USA INC – including it’s own logo
While most of us recognize that lobbyists for major corporations seem to control Washington, few people know that Washington, D.C. is a corporation itself. The so-called ‘federal government’ is actually the Mother Corporation of a vast network of state and local governments and governmental ‘agencies’ that is actually a CORPORATE franchise system. 
To understand, what our ‘government’ really is, we have to review the history that is not in most history books. Did you know that the original ‘organic’ Constitution of 1787 was hijacked just after the Civil War? 
1871, February 21: Congress Passed an Act to provide a government for the District of Columbia, also known as the Act of 1871.
With no constitutional authority to do so, Congress created a separate form of government for the District of Columbia, a ten mile square parcel of land (see, Acts of the Forty-first Congress,” Section 34, Session III, chapters 61 and 62). 
The act — passed when the country was weakened and financially depleted in the aftermath of the Civil War — was a strategic move by foreign interests (international bankers) who were intent upon gaining a stranglehold on the coffers and neck of America.
Congress cut a deal with the international bankers (specifically Rothschilds of London) to incur a DEBT to said bankers. Because the bankers were not about to lend money to a floundering nation without serious stipulations, they devised a way to get their foot in the door of the United States.
The Act of 1871 formed a corporation called THE UNITED STATES. The corporation, OWNED by foreign interests, moved in and shoved the original Constitution into a dustbin. With the Act of 1871, the organic Constitution was defaced — in effect vandalized and sabotaged — when the title was capitalized and the word “for” was changed to “of” in the title.
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is the constitution of the incorporated UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The country was changed, by stealth, from a Constitutional Republic to a corporation. 
Now we can better understand why the following occurred:
• USA INC granted ‘corporations’ the rights of ‘persons’, in a slurry of lawsuits by corporations shortly after the end of the Civil War.
• USA INC turned control of credit and currency over to the same international bankers by passing the Federal Reserve Act in 1913  and initiated a taxation scheme on the people via the 16th Amendment 
• USA INC turned the US Treasury Department (including all its assets) over to the private Federal Reserve in 1920 (Independent Treasury Act – 1920) 
The Bankruptcy of USA INC – 1930′ s
• USA INC, after being pillaged and bankrupted by the Federal Reserve banking cartel , turned over the entire country – including the people – as collateral on its corporate debt in 1933 and bound the individual states to ‘its’ bankruptcy obligations. 
• USA INC gave its CEO (the President) the authority to call a national emergency (a banking ‘holiday’) and establish Executive Branch ‘agencies’ to manage the state of emergency. The “national emergency” has never been removed and is still in effect.  Hence we have far reaching unconstitutional “Executive Orders”.
• USA INC declared the American people “enemies of the state” to force them to surrender their gold  and use Federal Reserve debt ‘notes’ as currency 
• USA INC issued Birth Certificates and Social Security Numbers whereby making the people registered ‘collateral’ for the payment of the debt owed to the same banking cartel
• USA INC started requiring the American people – as enemies – to get licenses to do business
• USA INC gradually altered the legal system and implemented corporate commercial Admiralty law (aka statutory law) throughout all of the states, counties and municipalities.  Statutes are for THEIR corporations and agencies. They only apply to us if we agree to contract with them. 
Then in the 70′s – 80′s USA INC (passing as a legitimate government) removed the gold standard from the dollar, tricked the states into sending their tax revenues to the District of Criminals (‘revenue sharing’) and even authorized the Department of Defense to wage war on the general population  – which it is now doing! There is an ongoing electro-magnetic radiation attack, it is a US military operation, and it is being inflicted on us all via the wireless communication and surveillance network. [http://smartmetersmurder.com/]
In 1992 the CEO of USA INC ordered the corporate states, counties and municipalities to sell off their public’s assets. 
In 2001 USA INC passed the Patriot Act, which permits unlimited spying on the American population and in 2011 Obama, the CEO of USA INC, signed the National Defense Authorization Act, permitting the arrest, and indefinite detention of ANYONE on US soil for merely displeasing the office of the President.
– Why aren’t the American people told that they are still classified as “enemies of the state” by the so-called federal government? 
– Why haven’t folks heard about the USA INC bankruptcy of ’33 and the severe changes that came thereafter?
– Why aren’t we told our justice system is based on corporate/commercial law and not on justice?
Because all lawyers (including those calling themselves constitutional ‘experts’) have to swear an oath of secrecy and agree to administer the bankruptcy.   And a vast number of our so-called elected representatives are lawyers themselves! Very few lawyers will admit to these facts – that many might not even be aware of!
And here is the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM:
The American people did not and would not have agreed to any of this. They were kept in the dark and today find themselves unwittingly ‘contracting’ with a completely corrupt corporate franchise system, that doesn’t represent their best interests and that they don’t even know is in place. Therefore, the CIA has achieved their goal:
” . . . everything the American people believe is false.”
So, let’s stop calling these bodies and agencies our government. They are not. They are only posing as government. They do not serve us, but are actually private corporations listed on Dunn and Bradstreet by their all caps corporate names. We owe them no loyalty and it is our duty to expose the fact that they are fraudulently receiving public funds and ‘governmental immunity’ while they are actively profiting from and harming us all . . . even if many of their employees are as much in the dark as the rest of the population.
We simply must understand that as dead legal fictions they can only control us by our ‘consent’, and retired Judge Dale did an excellent job explaining how the ‘system’ really works.A MUST READ:
Judge says USA INC is just a corporate franchise network
References and Links
 Democratic-Federal Franchise;http://anticorruptionsociety.com/2010/03/26/
 The Act of 1871: The United States is a corporation http://www.federaljack.com/
 “27 CFR 72.11” U.S. Inc. defines all crime as commercial as a result of the fall of the republic when the South walked out of congress in 1861 and the de jure congress, unable to raise a quorum, was replaced by Lincoln with the de facto corporate Congress; and the de jure district court of the United States was replaced by the de facto corporate UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
 “28 USC 3002” (definition of the United States as a Federal corporation never taught in civics class; go to paragraph 15) (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode28/usc_sec_28_00003002—-000-.html)
(15) “United States” means-
(A) a Federal corporation;
 – “Lewis v. United States 680” (Federal Reserve Bank is privately owned: “…we conclude that the Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act), but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations.” Lewis v United States, 680 F.2d 1239 (9th Cir. 1982). In other words, the Fed enjoys no United States immunity from law suit because it is a Federal institution in name only. (http://nesara.org/court_summaries/lewis_v_united_states.htm andhttp://www.geocities.
 – “Grace Commission” (Confirmed that virtually ALL taxes actually go to the Federal Reserve Bank to pay interest on the U.S. debt to the banking families that own the International Monetary Fund (IMF): “With two-thirds of everyone’s personal income taxes wasted or not collected, 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal debt and by Federal Government contributions to transfer payments. In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services which taxpayers expect from their Government.” J. Peter Grace, Cover letter, President’s Private Sector Report on Cost Control, January 12, 1984. Peter Grace was considered the Warren Buffet of his time, and the Grace Commission Report received widespread media attention as the gospel of Reagan’s so-called tax system overhaul.) (http://www.freecanadian.net/articles/grace.html orhttp://www.uhuh.com/
 Independent Treasury Act, 41 Stat. at L. 631, CHAP. 214http://www.mindserpent.com
 “Congressman Louis McFadden speech” (indictment of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board of Governor’s for treason by the chairman of the House Banking and Currency committee in 1934. In scathing speeches to Congress, McFadden said: “(The Fed) has impoverished and ruined the people of these United States, has bankrupted itself, and has practically bankrupted our Government.” This most knowledgeable man on banking also explained in vivid detail the method for recruiting the Federal Reserve to pay our debts as holder of the gold, and which is at the heart of today’s “tax remedies.”) (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7006/mcfadden-frb.html orhttp://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/3616/flaherty10.html and
 Who is Running America; http://www.barefootsworld.net/usfraud.html
 – “Senate Report 93-549” (The United States has been under dictatorial control since March 9, 1933. Report of the Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency, Senate Report 93-549, War and Emergency Powers Acts, November 19, 1973. “Foreward: Since March 9, 1933, the United States has been in a state of declared national emergency…These proclamations give force to 470 provisions of Federal law. These hundreds of statutes delegate to the President extraordinary powers, ordinarily exercised by the Congress, which affect the lives of American citizens in a host of all-encompassing manners. This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal Constitutional processes. Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens.”) (http://www.scratchinpost.net/barefootbob/war_ep1.html)
 “Executive Order 6102”: Government’s confiscation of your family’s gold and wealth under threat of 10 years in prison for failure to comply. As the Order specifies U.S. “persons” (eg. JOHN SMITH and JANE DOE), law enforcement was duped into enforcing against the general public a command that only applied to Federal employees and members of the armed forces.) (http://www.presidency
.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14611 or http://www.the-privateer.com/1933
 “HJR 192” (outlawing of the simple act of “paying with money” as a felony by substituting the lawyer’s parlor trick of “discharging” debts) (http://www.truthsetsusfree.com/HJR192.htm or http://www.nomoredebt.cc/hjr192.html
 James Trafficant (D-OH) speech on floor of Congress of March, 1993 exposing the bankruptcy;
 “U.S. v. Spelar, 338 U.S. 217 at 222.” (U.S. regulations apply only within the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. “There is a canon of legislative construction which teaches Congress that, unless a contrary intent appears [legislation] is meant to apply only within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”)
 The United States Congress actually gave ‘approval’ to the Dept of Defense (and their private corporate contractors) to wage biological warfare on all of us!
The Secretary of Defense [may] conduct tests and experiments involving the use of chemical and biological [warfare] agents on civilian populations [within the United States].” -SOURCE- Public Law 95-79, Title VIII, Sec. 808, July 30, 1977, 91 Stat. 334. In U.S. Statutes-at-Large, Vol. 91, page 334, you will find Public Law 95-79. Public Law 97-375, title II, Sec. 203(a)(1), Dec. 21, 1982, 96 Stat. 1882. In U.S. Statutes-at-Large, Vol. 96, page 1882, you will find Public Law 97-375
 Executive Order 12803; http://www.waterindustry.org/12803.htm
 We are the Enemies of the State; http://anticorruptionsociety.com/2011/02/25
 Who is Running America; http://www.barefootsworld.net/usfraud.html
 The Bankruptcy of America – 1933 by Judge Dale: http://anticorruptionsociety
Is our government just another corporation? handout – ready for printing.
January 6th, 2014 by olddog
By Stephen Lendman
Police state lawlessness reflects official US policy. Numerous examples explain. Congress opposes fundamental freedoms.
It terrorizes most people. So do rogue US administrations. Washington is more ruthless today than ever.
Waging war on humanity is much worse. It's ongoing globally. It's reflected in congressional legislation.
Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF – September 2001) approved open-ended permanent wars. They rage out-of-control. They do so at home and abroad.
The FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) targets freedom. It prioritizes militarism and permanent wars. It authorizes over $600 billion for global belligerence, mass killing and destruction.
It's a portion of what America spends overall. Around $1.5 trillion or more annually goes for domestic and foreign militarism.
It's authorized when America's only enemies are ones it invents. It's on top of trillions of dollars of Pentagon waste, fraud and grand theft.
In December 2006, George Bush signed FY 2007 NDAA into law. Included were hidden sections 1076 and 333. Media scoundrels ignored them.
They amended the 1807 Insurrection Act and 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. They prohibited using federal and National Guard troops for law enforcement.
They did so except as constitutionally allowed or expressly authorized by Congress in times of insurrection or other national emergency.
Presidents can now claim emergency powers. They can declare martial law unilaterally. They can suspend the Constitution.
They can do it on alleged "national security" grounds. They can deploy federal and/or National Guard troops on US streets.
They can do it to suppress whatever is called disorder. It includes lawful peaceful protests. America's First Amendment permits them.
Congress and Bush acted unconstitutionally. They did numerous times throughout Bush's tenure. Things got worse under Obama.
On May 21, 2009, he addressed national security and civil liberties issues.
He lied saying his "single most important responsibility as president is to keep the American people safe." He's gone all out to harm them.
He falsely claimed Al Qaeda "is actively planning to attack us again (and) this threat will be with us for a long time…"
Uncharged detainees pose no threat whatever to America. Obama maliciously claimed otherwise. He offered no evidence proving it. There is none. Innocent victims rot in prison on his say. Others are at risk.
He said those "who cannot be prosecuted" will be held indefinitely without trial. Indefinitely means potentially forever.
Doing so violates America's 8th Amendment. It prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. It doesn't matter. Core rule of law principles are null and void. Diktat power replaced them.
In December 2011, Obama signed FY 2012 NDAA into law. For the first time in US history, it codified indefinite military detentions.
It authorized US presidents to order America's military to capture, arrest, and indefinitely detain anyone anywhere in the world. US citizens are as vulnerable as others.
Indefinite detentions remain the law of the land. FY 2013 NDAA reaffirmed them. So did FY 2014 NDAA.
Detaining people based on uncorroborated suspicions or none at all remains official US policy.
It has strong bipartisan support. It violates core democratic freedoms. They're vanishing in plain sight. Militarized injustice replaced them.
Presidents have unchecked authority. No one anywhere is safe. Abuse of power replaced rule of law protections. Tyranny is official US policy.
Foreign nationals and US citizens are vulnerable. They can be arrested for any reason or none at all. They can be indefinitely detained in military prisons.
In September 2012, Southern District of New York federal Judge Katherine B. Forrest blocked Obama's indefinite detention law.
She called it "facially unconstitutional: it impermissibly impinges on guaranteed First Amendment rights and lacks sufficient definitional structure and protections to meet the requirements of due process."
"If, following issuance of this permanent injunctive relief, the government detains individuals under theories of 'substantially or directly supporting' associated forces, as set forth in" NDAA's section 1021, "and a contempt action is brought before this court, the government will bear a heavy burden indeed," she added.
Section 1021 states in part:
"Congress affirms that the authority of the president to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b) ) pending disposition under the law of war."
"Covered persons" are defined as:
Anyone "who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces."
In July 2013, the New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Forrest's ruling. A three-judge panel did so unanimously.
They endorsed uncharged, untried indefinite detentions. Imprisoning US citizens and foreign nationals based on hearsay or nothing at all remains the law of the land.
FY 2014 NDAA reaffirmed what demands prohibiting. On December 26, Obama signed it into law. It went further than earlier. Enhancement of Capacity of the United States Government to Analyze Captured Records is authorized.
Doing so establishes new intelligence collecting. It enhances federal power. Indefinite surveillance is authorized.
The defense secretary is empowered to "establish a center to be known as the 'Conflict Records Research Center.' "
It's tasked with compiling "digital research database (information) including translations, and to facilitate research and analysis of records captured from countries, organizations, and individuals, now or once hostile to the United States."
It'll conduct research and analysis to "increase the understanding of factors related to international relations, counterterrorism, and conventional and unconventional warfare, and ultimately enhance national security."
The defense secretary is authorized to create an information exchange cooperatively with the director of national intelligence (DNI).
Doing so requires involvement of all 16 US intelligence agencies, as well as intelligence related operations.
Focus is on so-called "captured records." They're defined as "a document, audio file, video file, or other material captured during combat operations from countries, organizations, or individuals, now or once hostile to the United States."
They potentially include telecommunications, emails, text messages, web sites visited, medical history, financial records, and related information.
Ordinary information can be maliciously manipulated. It can be held against us. Potentially it becomes incriminating evidence.
It does if prosecutors say so. They're experts at creating indictments out of whole cloth. Truth or fiction doesn't matter.
Freedom is too precious to lose. More than ever it hangs by a thread. Constitutional protections don't help.
Alleged hostility is undefined. It's whatever Washington so designates. It includes nations, organizations and individuals. Anyone for any reason or none at all becomes a potential hostile entity.
FY 2014 NDAA sustains America's war on terror. It continues waging war on humanity. It jeopardizes everyone everywhere. It gives presidents more diktat power.
It further compromises fundamental freedoms. It makes everyone potential enemies. It pronounces guilt by accusation. It turns planet earth into a battleground. It does so unconstitutionally.
On January 29, 1788, James Madison commented in The Federalist No. 46 (The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared).
He said the way to combat federal overreach is by refusing "to cooperate with officers of the Union."
Resisting tyranny is a longstanding US tradition. Jefferson called doing so "obedience to God."
John Locke said when governments fail people their "trust must necessarily be forfeited, and the Power (shall) devolve into the hands of those that gave it"
America's Declaration of Independence affirmed abolishing governments abusing their just powers derived from the consent of the governed.
Civil disobedience more than ever is essential. Henry David Thoreau affirmed "the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.
America today is more unjust than ever in modern times. Arguably it Resistance is a national imperative. The alternative is full-blown tyranny. It's what no one should accept anywhere anytime.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
November 19th, 2013 by olddog
By Stephen Lendman
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade deal from hell. It's a stealth corporate coup d'etat.
It's a giveaway to banksters. It's a global neoliberal ripoff. It's a business empowering Trojan horse. It's a freedom and ecosystem destroying nightmare.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls it "a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement."
More on TPP below. New York Times editors support it. Two decades ago, they endorsed NAFTA.
On January 1, 1994, its destructive life began. It's anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-consumer and anti-democratic.
Corporate giants love it. Why not? They wrote it. Hundreds of pages of one-size-fits-all rules benefit them.
They override domestic laws. A race to the bottom followed. NAFTA was a disastrous experiment. In November 1993, New York editors headlined "The 'Great Debate' Over NAFTA," saying:
The laboriously constructed agreement to phase out trade barriers among the US, Mexico and Canada, which this page has strongly supported, is likely to have a positive, though small, impact on US living standards and provide a modest boost to the Mexican economy.
Some American jobs would be lost to cheaper Mexican labor, other jobs would be gained because American exports would increase as Mexico's high tariffs gradually disappeared.
Economics aside, Nafta's defeat would suggest that the US had abandoned its historical commitment to free trade and would thus discourage other Latin and South American countries that have moved toward more market-oriented economies in the expectation of freer world trade.
So-called "free trade" is one-sided. It isn't fair. NAFTA proponents promised tens of thousands of newly created US jobs.
Ordinary famers would export their way to wealth. Mexican living standards would rise. Economic opportunities would reduce regional immigration to America.
NAFTA's promises never materialized. Reality proved polar opposite hype. A decade later, about a million US jobs were lost.
America's Mexican trade deficit alone cost around 700,000 jobs by 2010.
Official government data show nearly five million US manufacturing disappeared since 1994.
NAFTA alone wasn't responsible. It reflected broken promises, lost futures, and other trade deals from hell to follow. TPP stands out. It's NAFTA on steroids.
Since 2008, multiple negotiating rounds were held. They continue secretly. Twelve nations are involved.
They include America, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Others are invited to join.
At issue is agreeing on unrestricted trade in goods, services, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers, government procurement and competition policies, and intellectual property (IP).
It's about eliminating fundamental freedoms. It's circumventing sovereign independent rights. Corporate power brokers want unchallenged control.
They want global rules and standards rewritten. They want supranational powers. They want them overriding national sovereignty. They want investor rights prioritized over public ones.
They already rule the world. Imagine giving them more power. Imagine no way to stop them.
Imagine a duplicitous president. Obama's in lockstep with their wish list. He intends giving them everything they want.
Public Citizen is independent. It's our voice. Its work entails "ensur(ing) that all citizens are represented in the halls of power."
Its Global Trade Watch (GTW) monitors TPP developments. It calls it "a stealthy policy being pressed by corporate America. (It's) a dream of the 1%." It'll:
offshore millions of American jobs,
free the banksters from oversight,
ban Buy America policies needed to create green (and many other) jobs (as well as) rebuild out economy,
decrease access to medicine,
flood the US with unsafe food and products,
and empower corporations to attack our environment and health safeguards.
Hyped benefits are fake. Reality is polar opposite what corporate shysters claim. Everything accruing from TPP benefits them. It does so by undermining what matters most to ordinary people.
Lori Wallach heads GTW. Ben Beachy is research director. Last June, they headlined their New York Times op-ed"Obama's Covert Trade Deal."
He's committed to open government, he claims. His policies reflect otherwise. He's negotiating TPP secretly.
It's "the most significant international commercial agreement since the" World Trade Organization's 1995 creation, said Wallach and Beachy.
Congress has exclusive "terms of trade" authority. Obama systematically refuses repeated congressional requests to release the entire draft agreement being negotiated.
He "denied requests from members to attend (sessions) as observers." He "revers(ed) past practice" snubbing them.
He "rejected demands by outside groups" to release the draft text. George Bush never went that far.
Obama's "wall of secrecy" had one exception. About "600 trade 'advisors,' dominated by representatives of big business," got access to what Congress was denied.
TPP overrides American laws. It requires changing them. Otherwise trade sanctions on US exports can be imposed.
Wall Street loves TPP. It prohibits banning risky financial products. It lets banksters operate any way they want without oversight.
Congress has final say. Both houses will vote on TPP. Ahead of doing so, they'll have access to its full text.
Why later? Why not now? Why not earlier? Why not without enough time for discussion and public debate?
Members won't get enough time to examine TPP carefully. Maintaining secrecy as long as possible prevents public debate.
Obama wants TPP fast-tracked. He wants it approved by yearend. Until March, Ron Kirk was Obama's trade representative.
He was remarkably candid. He said revealing TPP's text would raise enormous opposition. Doing so might make adopting it impossible.
According to Wallach and Beachy:
Whatever one thinks about 'free trade,' (TPP secrecy) represents a huge assault on the principles and practice of democratic governance.
That is untenable in the age of transparency, especially coming from an administration that is otherwise so quick to trumpet its commitment to open government.
On October 30, a newly formed Friends of TPP caucus was formed. Four House co-chairman head it. They include Reps. David Reichert (R. WA), Charles Boustany (R. LA), Ron Kind (D. WI) and Gregory Meeks (D. NY).
They sound like earlier NAFTA supporters. They claim TPP is important for US jobs, exports and economic growth. They lied saying so.
Wallach commented separately. TPP is hugely hugely destructive, she said. It's more than about trade. It's a "corporate Trojan horse." It has 29 chapters. Only five relate to trade.
The others "either handcuff our domestic governments, limit food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establish new powers for corporations."
They promote offshoring jobs to low-wage countries. They ban Buy America. Corporations can do whatever they please. Instead of investing domestically, they can use "our tax dollars" to operate abroad.
They can exploit national resources freely. They'll have "rights for min(ed) (commodities), oil, gas" and others "without approval."
TPP includes all sorts of "worrisome issues relating to Internet freedom."
It provides a back door to earlier failed legislation. It resurrects SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and CISPA provisions. It tramples on fundamental freedoms and national sovereignty.
"Think about all the things that would be really hard to get into effect as a corporation in public, a lot of them rejected here and in the other 11 countries, and that is what's bundled in to the TPP," said Wallach.
And every country would be required to change its laws domestically to meet these rules.
The binding provision is each country shall ensure the conformity of domestic laws, regulations and procedures.
Negotiations are secret. Nothing is discussed publicly. Details leaked out. TPP includes hugely unpopular policies. It forces them on member countries.
It overrides domestic laws protecting people and ecosystems. It's predatory capitalism at its worst writ large. Obama fully supports it. Lawmakers hadn't seen it until last year.
They got access to a single chapter. Examining it is severely restricted. Their office is denied a copy. They alone can read it. Their staff is denied permission.
They can't take detailed notes. They can't publicly discuss what's in it. Technical language makes it hard to understand what they read.
Congressional approval is likely. Lobby pressure is intense. "Everything is bought and sold," said Wallach. "Honor is no exception."
The reason there's no deal so far "is because a lot of other countries are standing up to the worst of US corporate demands," Wallach explained.
For how long remains to be seen. If TPP is adopted, public interest no longer will matter. The worst of all possible worlds will replace it. Corporate rights will supersede human ones. A global race to the bottom will intensify.
Signatory countries will be legally bound to support loss of personal freedoms. Sovereign laws won't protect against poisoned food, water and air.
Ecosystems will be destroyed. Millions more jobs will shift from developed to under or less developed nations.
Corporate power will grow more exponentially. Fundamental human and civil rights may erode altogether. Not according to Times editors.
On November 5, they headlined "A Pacific Trade Deal."
A dozen nations want a deal by yearend, they said. They want it to "help all of our economies and strengthen relations between the United States and several important Asian allies."
It bears repeating. TPP is a trade deal from hell. It's a stealth corporate coup d'etat. It's a freedom and ecosystem destroying nightmare. Times editors didn't explain.
They lied to readers. They betrayed them. They repeated their 1993 duplicity. Millions affected understand best.
An October 8 White House press release lied. It called TPP "a comprehensive, next-generation model for addressing both new and traditional trade and investment issues, supporting the creation and retention of jobs and promoting economic development in our countries."
The deepest and broadest possible liberalization of trade and investment will ensure the greatest benefits for countries’ large and small manufacturers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers, as well as workers, innovators, investors, and consumers.
Times editors endorsed what they haven't read. TPP provisions remain secret. Leaked information alone is known.
Times editors willingly accept Obama misinformation as fact. Twenty years ago, they got NAFTA wrong. Here they go again.
They're mindless about secret negotiations. Public concerns don't matter. Corporate interests alone count.
Subverting national sovereignty is OK. So is empowering transnational giants without oversight. They'll be able sue countries for potentially undermining future profits.
Times editors support the worst of corporate excess. Doing so shows which side they're on.
Fundamental freedoms aren't important. Corporate rights drive The Times' agenda. Its editors explained nothing about fast-track authority.
Max Baucus (D. MT) chairs the Senate Finance Committee. He supports fast-tracking. Doing so hands congressional authority to Obama.
Proper hearings are restricted. Debate is limited. Amendments can't be introduced. The Senate can't filibuster. Congress can only vote up or down.
It can happen virtually out of sight and mind. It can happen with scant media coverage. It can happen with none at all. It can become law with practically no public awareness.
Imagine corporate America getting coup d'etat authority with hardly anyone knowing what happened. Imagine the consequences if it does. Imagine today's America becoming worse than ever.
Times editors stressed how Obama wants TPP to be "an example for the rest of the world to follow."
Imagine one more than ever unfit to live in. Imagine a president promising change to believe in promoting it.
Imagine Times editors endorsing what demands condemnation. Imagine not explaining what readers most need to know.
Imagine substituting misinformation for truth and full disclosure. Imagine all the news they call fit to print not fit to read.
A Final Comment
On November 13, Public Citizen headlined "Leaked Documents Reveal Obama Administration Push for Internet Freedom Limits, Terms That Raise Drug Prices in Closed-Door Trade Talks."
"US Demands in Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Text, Published Today by WikiLeaks, Contradict Obama Policy and Public Opinion at Home and Abroad."
TPP's leaked text reveals Obama demands limiting Internet freedom. He wants restricted access to lifesaving medicines.
He wants all TPP signatory countries bound the the same deplorable rules.
He lied claiming TPP reduces health care costs. It has nothing to do with advancing online freedom as he promised. It's polar opposite on both counts.
According to Public Citizen:
It is clear from the text obtained by WikiLeaks that the US government is isolated and has lost this debate.
Our partners don't want to trade away their people's health. Americans don't want these measures either.
Obama's in the pocket of Big Pharma. He's a Wall Street tool. He represents other corporate interests. He spurns popular ones. He lies claiming otherwise. He repeatedly avoids truth and full disclosure.
He lied about Obamacare. It's an abomination. It's a scam. It's a scheme to enrich insurers and other healthcare giants.
TPP is a global scam. It's an assault on fundamental freedoms.
Reports indicate around half the House members strongly oppose it. Others lean that way. According to Lori Wallach:
This could be the end of TPP.
All these other countries are like, 'Wait, you have no trade authority and nothing you've promised us means anything. Why would we give you our best deal?’ Why would you be making concessions to the emperor who has no clothes?
It bears repeating. TPP is a trade bill from hell. It's a stealth corporate coup d' etat. Killing it is essential.
The alternative is losing fundamental freedoms. It's destroying national sovereignty. It's making healthcare less affordable. It's undermining what ordinary people value most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site atsjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/
Get on the phone and raise hell with your Representatives, and Senators. This is the last call for freedom. Say NO TPP! Say, if you support this bill you will wind up unemployed with us. AND THAT’S A PROMISE!
September 11th, 2013 by olddog
By Paul Craig Roberts
Washington has been at war for 12 years. According to experts such as Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, these wars have cost Americans approximately $6 trillion, enough to keep Social Security and Medicare sound for years. All there is to show for 12 years of war is fat bank balances for the armament industries and a list of destroyed countries with millions of dead and dislocated people who never lifted a hand against the United States.
The cost paid by American troops and taxpayers is extreme. Secretary of Veteran Affairs Erik Shinseki reported in November 2009 that “more veterans have committed suicide since 2001 than we have lost on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Many thousands of our troops have suffered amputations and traumatic brain injuries. At the Marine Corps War College Jim Lacey calculated that the annual cost of the Afghan war was $1.5 billion for each al-Qaeda member in Afghanistan. Many US and coalition troops paid with their lives for every one al-Qaeda member killed. On no basis has the war ever made sense.
Washington’s wars have destroyed the favorable image of the United States created over the decades of the cold war. No longer the hope of mankind, the US today is viewed as a threat whose government cannot be trusted.
The wars that have left America’s reputation in tatters are the consequence of 9/11. The neoconservatives who advocate America’s hegemony over the world called for “a new Pearl Harbor” that would allow them to launch wars of conquest. Their plan for conquering the Middle East as their starting point was set out in the neoconservative “Project for the New American Century.” It was stated clearly by Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz and also by many neoconservatives.
The neocon argument boils down to a claim that history has chosen “democratic capitalism” and not Karl Marx as the future. To comply with history’s choice, the US must beef up its military and impose the American Way on the entire world.
In other words, as Claes Ryn wrote, the American neoconservatives are the “new Jacobins,” a reference to the French Revolution of 1789 that intended to overthrow aristocratic Europe and replace it with “Liberty, equality, fraternity,” but instead gave Europe a quarter century of war, death, and destruction.
Ideologies are dangerous, because they are immune to facts. Now that the United States is no longer governed by the US Constitution, but by a crazed ideology that has given rise to a domestic police state more complete than that of Communist East Germany and to a warfare state that attacks sovereign countries based on nothing but manufactured lies, we are left with the irony that Russia and China are viewed as constraints on Washington’s ability to inflict evil, death, and destruction on the world.
The two pariah states of the 20th century have become the hope of mankind in the 21st century!
As Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick prove in their book, The Untold History of the United States, the American government has never deserved its white hat reputation. Washington has been very successful in dressing up its crimes in moralistic language and hiding them in secrecy. It is only decades after events that the truth comes out.
For example, on August 19, 1953, the democratically elected government of Iran was overthrown by a coup instigated by the US government. Sixty years after the event declassified CIA documents detail how the secret CIA operation overthrew a democratic government and imposed Washington’s puppet on the people of Iran.
The declassified documents could not have spelled it out any clearer: “The military coup that overthrew Mossadeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government.”http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/19/politics/cia-iran-1953-coup
In the 21st century Washington is attempting to repeat its 1953 feat of overthrowing the Iranian government, this time using the faux “green revolution” financed by Washington.
When that fails, Washington will rely on military action.
If 60 years is the time that must pass before Washington’s crimes can be acknowledged, the US government will admit the truth about September 11, 2001 on September 11, 2061. In 2013, on this 12th anniversary of 9/11, we only have 48 years to go before Washington admits the truth. Alas, the members of the 9/11 truth movement will not still be alive to receive their vindication.
But just as it has been known for decades that Washington overthrew Mossadeq,
we already know that the official story of 9/11 is hogwash.
No evidence exists that supports the government’s 9/11 story. The 9/11 Commission was a political gathering run by a neoconservative White House operative. The Commission members sat and listened to the government’s story and wrote it down. No investigation of any kind was made. One member of the Commission resigned, saying that the fix was in. After the report was published, both co-chairmen of the Commission and the legal counsel wrote books disassociating themselves from the report. The 9/11 Commission was “set up to fail,” they wrote.
NIST’s account of the structural failure of the twin towers is a computer simulation based on assumptions chosen to produce the result. NIST refuses to release its make-believe explanation for expert scrutiny. The reason is obvious. NIST’s explanation of the structural failure of the towers cannot survive scrutiny.
There are many 9/11 Truth organizations whose members are high-rise architects,
structural engineers, physicists, chemists and nano-chemists, military and civilian airline pilots, firemen and first responders, former prominent government officials, and 9/11 families. The evidence they have amassed overwhelms the feeble official account.
It has been proven conclusively that World Trade Center Building 7 fell at free fall which can only be achieved by controlled demolition that removes all resistance below to debris falling from above so that no time is lost in overcoming resistance from intact structures. NIST has acknowledged this fact, but has not changed its story.
In other words, still in America today official denial takes precedence over science and
known undisputed facts.
On this 12th anniversary of a false flag event, it is unnecessary for me to report the voluminous evidence that conclusively proves that the official story is a lie. You can read it for yourself. It is available online. You can read what the architects and engineers have to say. You can read the scientists’ reports. You can hear from the first responders who were in the WTC towers. You can read the pilots who say that the maneuvers associated with the airliner that allegedly hit the Pentagon are beyond their skills and most certainly were not performed by inexperienced pilots.
You can read David Griffin’s many books. You can watch the film produced by Richard Gage and Architects & Engineers for 9/11 truth. You can read the 9/11 Toronto Report, International Hearings on 9/11. http://www.amazon.com/9-11-Toronto-Report/dp/1478369205/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376960447&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Toronto+Report You can read this book: http://www.international.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9319:hijacking-americas-mind-on-911-counterfeiting-evidence&catid=66:oped&Itemid=151
Actually, you do not need any of the expert evidence to know that the US government’s story is false. As I have previously pointed out, had a few young Saudi Arabians, the alleged 9/11 hijackers, been capable of outwitting, without support from any government and intelligence service, not only the CIA and FBI, but all sixteen US intelligence services, the intelligence services of Washington’s NATO allies and Israel’s Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Traffic Control, and defeat Airport Security four times in one hour on the same morning, the White House, Congress, and the media would have been demanding an investigation of how the National Security State could so totally fail.
Instead, the President of the United States and every government office fiercely resisted any investigation. It was only after a year of demands and rising pressure from the 9/11 families that the 9/11 Commission was created to bury the issue.
No one in government was held accountable for the astonishing failure. The national security state was defeated by a few rag tag Muslims with box cutters and a sick old man dying from renal failure while holed up in a cave in Afghanistan, and no heads rolled.
The total absence from the government for demands for an investigation of an event that is the greatest embarrassment to a “superpower” in world history is a complete give-away that 9/11was a false flag event. The government did not want any investigation, because the government’s cover story cannot stand investigation.
The government could rely on the mega-media corporations in whose hands the corrupt Clinton regime concentrated the US media. By supporting rather than investigating the government’s cover story, the media left the majority of Americans, who are sensitive to peer pressure, without any support for their doubts. Effectively, the American Ministry of Propaganda validated the government’s false story.
Common everyday experiences of Americans refute the government’s story. Consider, for example, self-cleaning ovens. How many American homes have them? Thirty million? More? Do you have one?
Do you know what temperature self-cleaning ovens reach? The self-cleaning cycle runs for several hours at 900 degrees Fahrenheit or 482 degrees Celsius. Does your self-cleaning oven melt at 482 degrees Celsius. No, it doesn’t. Does the very thin, one-eighth inch steel soften and your oven collapse? No, it doesn’t.
Keep that in mind while you read this: According to tests performed by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), only 2% of the WTC steel tested by NIST reached temperatures as high as 250 degrees Celsius, about half the temperature reached by your self-cleaning oven. Do you believe that such low temperatures on such small areas of the WTC towers caused the massive, thick, steel columns in the towers to soften and permit the collapse of the buildings? If you do, please explain why your self-cleaning oven doesn’t weaken and collapse.
In Section E.5 of the Executive Summary in this NIST reporthttp://www.nist.gov/customcf/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=101019 it says: “A method was developed using microscopic observations of paint cracking to determine whether steel members had experienced temperatures in excess of 250 degrees C. More than 170 areas were examined . . . Only three locations had a positive result indicating that the steel and paint may have reached temperatures in excess of 250 degrees C.” Analysis of steel “microstructures show no evidence of exposure to temperatures above 600 degrees C for any significant time.”
In section 3.6 of the NIST report http://www.nist.gov/customcf/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=101019NIST states: “NIST believes that this collection of steel from the WTC towers is adequate for purposes of the investigation.”
How did these truths get out? My explanation is that the NIST scientists, resentful of the threat to their jobs and future employment opportunities and chaffing under the order to produce a false report, revealed the coerced deception by including information that their political masters did not understand. By stating unequivocally the actual temperatures, NIST’s scientists put the lie to the coerced report.
The melting point of steel is around 1,500 degrees C. or 2,600 degrees F. Steel can lose strength at lower temperatures, but the NIST scientists reported that only a small part of the steel was even subjected to moderate temperatures less than those obtained by the self-cleaning oven in your home.
If you need to think about this a bit more, obtain a copy of The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Have a look at the streetcar in photo 108. The caption reads: “The Hiroshima fireball instantly raised surface temperatures within a mile of the hypocenter well above 1,000 degrees F.” Is the streetcar a melted lump of steel? No, it is structurally intact, although blackened with burnt paint.
Washington would have you believe that steel that survived intact the atomic bomb would melt from low temperature, short lived, isolated office fires. What do you think of a government that believes that you are that stupid?
Who would support a government that lies every time it opens its mouth?
The three WTC buildings that were destroyed were massive heat sinks. I doubt that
the limited, short-lived, low temperature fires in the buildings even warmed the massive steel structures to the touch.
Moreover, not a single steel column melted or deformed from softening. The columns
were severed at specific lengths by extremely high temperature charges placed on the columns.
On this 12th anniversary of 9/11, ask yourself if you really want to believe that temperatures half those reached by your self-cleaning oven caused three massive steel structures to crumble into dust.
Then ask yourself why your government thinks you are so totally stupid as to believe such a fairy tale as your government has told you about 9/11.
July 13th, 2013 by olddog
By Stephen Lendman
Public anger in Egypt, Turkey, Palestine, Brazil, Chile, across Europe, in America against Wall Street, and elsewhere is real. It's visceral. It's deep-seated. It's growing. It reflects what media scoundrels won't explain.
Democracy's more illusion than real. People get the best kind money can buy. Manipulated elections control things. Systemic rule is hardline. Progressive change is verboten.
Monied interests have final say. Corporate giants rule the world. Exploiting nations, markets and people for profit matters most.
Governments conspire with business to facilitate it. Popular needs more than ever go begging. People increasingly are on their own to sink or swim.
Wealth, power, and privilege are hugely disproportionate. Wars on humanity rage. Freedom's on the chopping block for elimination. Rule of law principles don't matter.
Might makes right. Police state tactics assure it. They're vicious. Things go from bad to worse. Humanity and planet earth are up for grabs.
Independent thought is verboten. Controlling the message is prioritized.
Most nations aren't fit places to live in. Hardline governments keep things that way. Popular uprisings reflect discontent too intense to contain.
Public anger rages against systemic injustice. It's exploitive. It's predatory. It's uncaring. It's merciless. It's untenable.
Immanuel Wallerstein envisions disruptive change. It's happening in real time. It's coming incrementally. Something different lies ahead. It could be better or worse.
We're "in the midst of a structural transition from a fading capitalist world economy to" something new. That's "the real battle of the next 20 – 40 years," Wallerstein believes.
How things play out matter. Future prospects depend on it. Rage against the system is needed. People power works. Change comes from the bottom up.
Breaking free isn't easy. Sustained commitment is needed. Struggles are long term. Triumphs depend on keeping them. Waned energy is self-defeating.
Powerful forces want things that way. Media scoundrels march in lockstep. They support entrenched interests. They aid and abet state crimes. They support corporate exploitation.
They turn truth on its head. They substitute fiction for fact. They manipulate people to back what demands condemnation.
They glorify wars in the name of peace. They believe human and civil rights don't matter. They're suppressed for our own good, they say.
They champion might over right. They endorse neoliberal harshness. It's polar opposite fairness, equity and justice.
A 19th-century proverb is ignored at our own peril, saying:
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.
Egypt's uprising is ground zero. It reflects the heart of today's storm. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain. Tragedy's unfolding in real time. Generals unseated a sitting government.
Coup d'etat authority rules. A coup is a coup is a coup. It's illegitimate. New York Times articles, commentaries and editorials don't explain.
They endorse neoliberal harshness. They support technocratic rule. They call Beblawi's prime ministerial appointment "a signal that the military-led transitional government intends to move forward with economic reforms and restructuring, including reductions in the country's vast public subsidies."
They ignore greater harm coming. They're mindless of extreme public pain. They're dismissive of coup d'etat authority.
A July 10 editorial never once mentioned the word. It's fundamental. It explains illegitimate rule.
Times editors fear potential civil war. Egypt's military treads on thin ice. It's transition plan leaves much to be desired.
There's much "to be alarmed about," they said. "Experts say it repeats many mistakes of the last transition."
Ousting a sitting government matters most. Doing so puts a lie to democratic rule. Times editors don't explain.
"Egypt needs to move from military control to an elected civilian government," they said.
Egyptians chose one. Now it's gone. Morsi and other Freedom and Justice Party officials are under house arrest. Junta power rules.
Democracy's a convenient fiction. Nothing ahead suggests positive change. Times editors ignored what's most important. So did columnist Thomas Friedman.
His writing reflects some of the worst hack journalism. It won him three Pulitzer Prizes. His books are best-sellers. He's featured on corporate TV.
He supports imperial aggression. He's no big thinker. He's disingenuous. He's shallow and it shows.
Journalism Professor Robert Jensen explained. He tells America's privileged class what it wants to hear, he said.
He does it with "pithy-though-empty anecdotes, padded with glib turns and phrases."
He's the perfect oracle for a management-focused, advertising-saturated, dumbed-down, imperial culture that doesn't want to come to terms with the systemic and structural reasons for its decline.
He avoids speaking truth to power. He ducks afflicting the comfortable. He "never goes very far beyond parroting the powerful and comforting the comfortable."
Many others like him do the same thing. They show up often on Times pages.
On July 9, Friedman headlined "Egypt at the Edge," saying:
Avoiding civil war is still possible. He left unexplained why, perhaps it's likely. He ignored longstanding grievances. He never once mentioned the word "coup."
He focused on Ramadan's holy month instead, saying:
One can only hope that the traditional time for getting family and friends together will provide a moment for all the actors in Egypt to reflect on how badly they’ve behaved – all sides – and opt for the only sensible pathway forward: national reconciliation.
In the wake of violent turmoil, it is no longer who rules Egypt that it is at stake. It is Egypt that is at stake. This is an existential crisis.
Friedman and others like him avoid explaining what's most important. Democracy in Egypt's a four-letter word. It's a convenient fiction.
Junta power rules. Generals make policy. Politicians serve at their pleasure. America has final say. Egypt's capital isn't Cairo. It's Washington. It's been that way for decades.
People power didn't oust Mubarak. Strings were pulled in America. Morsi's fate was similar. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is right.
Longstanding grievances are real. Conditions now perhaps are worse than ever. Ousting Morsi was strategic. At issue is "pre-empt(ing) a popular revolution from taking place."
In 2011, removing Mubarak changed nothing. Things went from bad to worse. This time won't be different.
Appointed Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi explained. So-called economic reforms assure greater public pain. Popular concerns will remain unaddressed.
"We must create a clear understanding for the public that the level of subsidies in Egypt is unsustainable, and the situation is critical," said Beblawi.
Subsidies have exceeded reasonable limits, and take more than 25 percent of the budget.
People must understand that they must accept some of the consequences: the canceling of subsidies requires sacrifices from the public and therefore necessitates their acceptance.
Widespread poverty, unemployment, and extreme deprivation turned Egypt into a tinder box. Doing so makes "popular revolution" possible.
Illegitimately changing of the guard aggravates things. At best, it may delay one. It won't prevent it.
According to Friedman, "there is only one way for Egypt to avoid the abyss: the military, the only authority in Egypt today, has to make clear that (ousting) the Muslim Brotherhood (reflects) 'reset.' "
It's "for the purpose of starting over and getting the transition to democracy right this time."
(T)he job of Egypt's friends now is not to cut off aid and censure, but to help it gradually but steadily find that moderate path.
Jensen's right about Friedman. He tells America's privileged class what it wants to hear. He avoids painful truths. He's well-paid to do so. Readers are best served by avoiding him.
Conditions in Egypt remain tense. Extreme violence could erupt any time. Public anger isn't assuaged. Growing numbers of Egyptians deplore America. They do so for good reason.
One protester perhaps spoke for others. He has "a problem with American politics that tries to interfere with the way we want to live and that is not right," he said.
Proliferating anti-Obama posters are visible. Anti-American sentiment is strong. According to Pew Research, 80% of Egyptians expressed negative attitudes toward Washington. Just 16% are positive.
About 75% deplore Obama. Visceral disapproval reflects his handling of foreign affairs. Regional sentiment is similar. America and Israel are widely despised.
Ousting Morsi intensifies negativity. Expect nothing positive ahead to change things. Belt-tightening assures greater public rage. Popular revolution may follow. It may transcend borders for vitally needed change.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
February 25th, 2013 by olddog
By Anthony Wile
"Fiscal trouble ahead for most future retirees." Or so the Washington Post tells us in a recent column explaining why future retirees (Baby Boomers) are headed for considerable trouble. Grim reading, actually.
For the first time since the New Deal, a majority of Americans are headed toward a retirement in which they will be financially worse off than their parents, jeopardizing a long era of improved living standards for the nation's elderly, according to a growing consensus of new research.
This is worth commenting on because it only illustrates a larger point we've made a number of times: The system is broken and if you listen to mainstream financial advice you're going to end up homeless on a soup line hoping for dinner.
What is pernicious about articles like this one, in my humble view, is that they purport to be telling the truth but don't provide either context or historical accuracy. Here's more from the Post article:
The Great Recession and the weak recovery darkened the retirement picture for significant numbers of Americans. And the full extent of the damage is only now being grasped by experts and policymakers. There was already mounting concern for the long-term security of the country's rapidly graying population. Then the downturn destroyed 40 percent of Americans' personal wealth, while creating a long period of high unemployment and an environment in which savings accounts pay almost no interest. Although the surging stock market is approaching record highs, most of these gains are flowing to well-off Americans who already are in relatively good shape for retirement.
Liberal and conservative economists worry that the decline in retirement prospects marks a historic shift in a country that previously has fostered generations of improvement in the lives of the elderly. It is likely to have far-reaching implications, as an increasing number of retirees may be forced to double up with younger relatives or turn to social-service programs for support. "This is the first time that Americans are going to be relatively worse off than their parents or grandparents in old age," said Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research.
Advocates for older Americans are calling on the federal government to bolster Social Security benefits or to create a new layer of retirement help for future retirees. Others want employers and the government to do more to encourage retirement savings and to discourage workers from using the money for non-retirement purposes.
But those calls have been overwhelmed by concern about the nation's fast-growing long-term debt, which has left many policy-makers focused on ways to trim Social Security and other retirement benefits rather than increase them. The economic downturn exacerbated long-term factors that were already eroding the financial standing of aging Americans: an inexorable rise in health-care costs, growing debt among older Americans and a shift in responsibility from employers to workers to plan for retirement.
The article never explains the "Great Recession" but merely asserts it – like a fact of life. We are supposed to accept that these things occur without searching for the cause. But those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it.
There were, of course, those who understood quite clearly what was about to happen. They did their best to warn us but the powers-that-be (and general population) remained complacent. Late in 2007, things took a turn for the worse. The economy began to crash and by 2008 the devastation had spread to the rest of the world and the "sovereign" debt crisis had begun to afflict Europe.
In Greece, Spain, Portugal – most of Southern and Eastern Europe – retirements have been reduced or have evaporated entirely as a result of the "Great Recession." In the US, tens of millions lost 50 percent of their life savings or more in the ongoing crashes of 2007 and 2008. And today, tens of millions more don't have anything else to lose.
While once children could have supported their aged parents, the current crisis has reduced the employment prospects for young people in much of Europe to nearly nil. None of this was expected by those involved but a lot of it was predicted by those who understood monetary history and were aware of its goals.
One can argue, of course, that this was part of a larger Money Power strategy to create a fiat dollar – and shove the world toward a single currency. If so, then the rest of the West's (especially the US's) monetary history makes a lot of sense. Sovereign overspending was utilized to generate the justification for a deal with Japan. Japan would buy US treasuries and US consumers would purchase Japanese products.
This elevated some Japanese companies to world class status and also made Japan a more consumerist and Westernized society. The same sort of thing happened in China in the later 1990s and 2000s. Africa is apparently next on the list to be consolidated. In each instance, a case is made for the transformative effects of capitalism but unfortunately, it is not capitalism that is being created but a kind corporatist mercantilism.
The Washington Post article seems to yearn for the past, when government programs were seen as helpful and effective. Here's the important graf:
The precarious situation comes after a long period of change that improved life for the nation's seniors starting with the enactment of Social Security in 1935. By the 1960s, retirees also benefitted from universal health insurance through Medicare and Medicaid, sharp increases in Social Security benefits and new protections enacted by the federal government for workers who received traditional pensions, which for decades were a standard employee benefit. The changes rescued millions of retirees from poverty, while lifting millions of others to prosperous retirements symbolized by vacation cruises, recreational vehicles and second homes. But now problems for future retirees seem to be closing in from all sides.
You see? This is a sentiment that is beyond simplistic. It is dangerous. The more that people put their trust – and financial health – into the proverbial hands of the state, the more apt they are to end up without the security they've counted on. We can see this today. It is not a hypothesis but a reality.
Historically speaking, modern corporatist states are not run for citizens' benefit. The concern that is expressed, the dialogue that is being presented every day, are merely distractions. Think of how many billions of words have been written about Western retirements, how to save for the future and how to invest in a profitable way. Despite all that has been talked about, written and otherwise presented, the current system is wrecked and people's prospects are getting worse not better.
Lately, I've noticed an uptick in people's positive emotional response to the markets and the economy. But the same misinformation and economic manipulation that occurred before is occurring now. Central banks have dumped tens of trillions into the larger marketplace and when that money begins to circulate rates will have to be raised and recoveries, such as they are, will be cut short. The dollar reserve system itself must be seen as in a kind of terminal decline as well. Sorry, folks.
Let price inflation move up even a little, and the carrying costs of US debt will likely become insupportable. These trends simply aren't being explained on a regular basis. Instead, we get alarmed articles about how a US "savings deficit" has to yield to targeted, government oriented financial programs. Alternatively, we get widely publicized policy battles about deficit reduction and continued and expanded "austerity." But neither government programs nor austerity will help salvage the larger economy, in my opinion.
Here's the good news, though: You don't have to worry about it.
There are practical steps you can take to help yourself. Some of them you'll find right within the pages of this website, TheDailyBell.com. Don't wait for government. Don't keep hoping that bureaucratic "wonkery" will come to the rescue. Recognize you have to do it yourself.
There are, of course, certain kinds of equity opportunities that you can invest in – if you can find a trusted advisor. And there are – or should be – steps you can take to move some of your holdings offshore and into precious metals or even real estate. There are plenty of other positive steps you can take on your own and within your community to ensure your and your family's safety.
We are still being taught to look toward government for the solution to our private retirement dilemmas and general prosperity. The last century should have taught us that this is a chimera – what we like to call a dominant social theme – that government and public spending are a substitute for individual responsibility.
Unfortunately, no matter how many articles are written, or how much is broadcast, reality doesn't change. The person responsible for you is … you. And if you are to have a good and hopefully prosperous life, you will have to take action to make it so.
What can I say when I cannot convince my children, or my wife, that every dollar you can spare must go into silver. Either bars and coins or coins only depending on the amount of your funds. Gold is a good place for savvy investors but the average blue collar worker with three or four hundred thousand saved and invested, is at a disadvantage over how and when to buy and sell. Also, every middle class investor has been brain washed into looking for return on investment. In good times that is the way to go, but this is a time for preserving your assets, not increasing them. The powers that be, are manipulating both metals as much as they can, but silver has always been the commodity that carried through to the end. Gold, by its very nature is more attractive to the powers that be, and will continue to fluctuate violently before the bankers lose control of it. Silver by contrast is the poor investor’s salvation, as it has always been the most stable in the long run of any commodity. Don’t take my word for it, as there are hundreds of knowledgeable advisers on the net. Sort them out according to common sense and put your money in silver before you lose it all. Paper investments are going to be toilet paper investments before this is over.
Right now, anyone who has stocked up on ammunition is making a killing, but the days of buying it cheap and in quantity are long gone. Ditto for most other necessities of life. Those who have waited have lost the chance to survive and prosper. If you take any of this advise to heart, make this your highest concern, If you don’t have it, you don’t own it. Take possession of your silver and protect it with your life. Stay away from paper instruments. They are paper dollars in disguise.