January 21, 2015 by Sartre
In the ridiculous charade that passes for the foreign exchange currency markets, the ease upon which a 39% spike in the Swiss Franc to the EU has most financial journalist puzzled. A flagship of establishment journalism like the Washington Post provides a quaint explanation in Why Switzerland’s currency is going historically crazy. The Swiss intend to keep their exchange rate at 1.2 Swiss francs per euro caused unsustainable negative competiveness in Swiss exports to EU customers. How many times have you heard that same old song? Corporatist media consistently spins a yarn that suppressing one’s own currency is good for business.
Rely on viewpoints from reliable sources like The Economic Collapse. Their insight should be obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense left. “The euro is falling apart, and the Swiss did not want to be married to it any longer. Unfortunately, when any marriage ends the pain can be enormous.”
Peter Schiff, who is a major precious metal dealer, is getting a boost in this latest development. The article Switzerland Surrenders the Currency War, but America Still Racing to the Bottom published in the Libertarian and Austrian Economic site, Lewrockwell.com provides an expected response.
“The Swiss are going to be able to get a better deal on all the products that they import from Europe and from other countries, so they won’t have to export as much to pay for their imports. So that’s positive for the Swiss. I would be worried about the Europeans who are now going to have to spend more money to buy Swiss products. They’re the ones that hurt, as are Americans. Swiss products are now going to be more expensive for Americans, but American products… are going to be cheaper for the Swiss. So the Swiss win because they have a stronger currency, and Europeans and Americans lose because we have a weaker currency… “
These conclusions are so basic and correct that when mainline economists preach their financial orthodoxy, the idiocy of the “Free Trade” hoax screams out for a sense of monetary sanity.
Not to spoil the cheers for the Swiss, an important component must be factored in. When the Swiss Voters Reject Initiative on Central-Bank Gold, the hard money advocates expressed great disappointment.
“Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative on Sunday that would have forced the country’s central bank to hold one-fifth of its assets in gold, a move that would have eroded its ability to conduct monetary policy.
Critics of the initiative feared that the SNB’s commitment to the cap would have been challenged because the central bank would have been forced to buy gold every time it intervened in the currency market.”
This result seems to reinforce that the gnomes of central banking were once again in control of their gold hoards and refused to share any of its value with the holders of the Swiss Franc.
So how can one account, after rejecting the plebiscite on adopting making the Swiss Franc as a real hard money value currency that the exchange rates raise so sharply?
Fundamentals and measures that favor and protect the wealth of a national currency are not applied as standards, when central Banksters play the money float game. In order to understand why the Swiss Franc surged, one must examine the sickness within the EU and the extreme pressure on the EURO coming from desperate measures to keep the single European currency afloat.
The panic begins as the ECB Stimulation: The Trap Closes. Last week the EU Court of Justice advocate general ruled that the central bank could purchase sovereign debt.
“It referred to an existing ECB program called Outright Monetary Transactions — which isn’t quite QE but which does involve purchases of government bonds. The court won’t rule for another four to six months, but it’s likely to follow the advocate general’s guidance. That’s good enough for Draghi to act now.
Many in Europe, especially in Germany, remain opposed. They see QE as a ruse by which the richer members of the currency bloc will end up paying for the fiscal misadventures of their neighbors.”
Let the race begin and only the quickest will be left sitting tight, when the music stops playing. It seems that Steen Jakobsen writing in Endgame for central bankers agrees.
“Many central banks will envy the SNB (Swiss National Bank) for its move last week, as it at least tries to regain some control of its future, but the conclusion remains: central banks have as a group lost credibility and when the ECB starts QE this week the beginning of the end for central banks is completed. They are running out of time – that’s the real real bottom line: the SNB ran out of time, the ECB runs out of time this week, and the Fed, Bank of Japan and the Bank of England ran out of time in 2014.
What comes now is a new reality – the SNB move was true paradigm shift – we can no longer look at central banks, the markets and extend-and-pretend in the same light as we did last Wednesday (the day before the SNB pounced).”
Now for the kicker . . . When a solid financial adviser acknowledges in their financial letter, like Chris Hunter, Editor-in-Chief, Bonner & Partners – Did the Swiss Just Burst the “Central Bank Bubble”?, that the crown prince of collectivist economics condemns the Swiss; you know they were correct in ditching their peg ratio to the EURO.
“We usually don’t see eye to eye with economist Paul Krugman. But he’s hit the nail on the head about the “Swiss shock.” From his New York Times column: “The SNB’s wimp-out will make life harder for monetary policy in other countries, because it will leave markets skeptical about whether other supposed commitments to keep up unconventional policy will similarly prove time-limited.”
How evil those Swiss must be to actually defend their currency and their own wealth. As the EU implodes, the smart money will sit out the coming grand depression, provided by your friendly central banks, in the charm of the Swiss Alps.
January 21, 2015 by Israel Shamir
The edifice of world post-1991 order is collapsing right now before our eyes. President Putin’s decision to give a miss to the Auschwitz pilgrimage, right after his absence in Paris at the Charlie festival, gave it the last shove. It was good clean fun to troll Russia, as long as it stayed the course. Not anymore. Russia broke the rules.
Until now, Russia, like a country bumpkin in Eton, tried to belong. It attended the gathering of the grandees where it was shunned, paid its dues to European bodies that condemned it, patiently suffered ceaseless hectoring of the great powers and irritating baiting of East European small-timers alike. But something broke down. The lad does not want to belong anymore; he picked up his stuff and went home – just when they needed him to knee in Auschwitz.
Auschwitz gathering is an annual Canossa of Western leaders where they bewail their historic failure to protect the Jews and swear their perennial obedience to them. This is a more important religious rite of our times, the One Ring to rule them all, established in 2001, when the Judeo-American empire had reached the pinnacle of its power. The Russian leader had duly attended the events. This year, they will have to do without him. Israeli ministers already have expressed their deep dissatisfaction for this was Russia’s Red Army that saved the Jews in Auschwitz, after all. Russia’s absence will turn the Holocaust memorial day into a parochial, West-only, event. Worse, Russia’s place will be taken by Ukraine, ruled by unrepentant heirs to Hitler’s Bandera.
This comes after the French ‘Charlie’ demo, also spurned by Russia. The West hinted that Russia’s sins would be forgiven, up to a point, if she joined, first the demo, and later, the planned anti-terrorist coalition, but Russia did not take the bait. This was a visible change, for previously, Russian leaders eagerly participated in joint events and voted for West-sponsored resolutions. In 2001, Putin fully supported George Bush’s War on Terrorism in the UN and on the ground. As recently as 2011, Russia agreed with sanctions against North Korea and Iran. As for coming for a demonstration, the Russians could always be relied upon. This time, the Russians did not come, except for the token presence of the foreign minister Mr. Lavrov. This indomitable successor of Mr. Nyet left the event almost immediately and went – to pray in the Russian church, in a counter-demonstration, of sorts, against Charlie. By going to the church, he declared that he is not Charlie.
For the Charlie Hebdo magazine was (and probably is) explicitly anti-Christian as well as anti-Muslim. One finds on its pages some very obnoxious cartoons offending the Virgin and Christ, as well as the pope and the Church. (They never offend Jews, somehow).
A Russian blogger who’s been exposed to this magazine for the first time, wrote on his page: I am ashamed that the bastards were dealt with by Muslims, not by Christians. This was quite a common feeling in Moscow these days. The Russians could not believe that such smut could be published and defended as a right of free speech. People planned a demo against the Charlie, but City Hall forbade it.
Remember, a few years ago, the Pussy Riot have profaned the St Saviour of Moscow like Femen did in some great European cathedrals, from Notre Dame de Paris to Strasbourg. The Russian government did not wait for vigilante justice to be meted upon the viragos, but sent them for up to two years of prison. At the same time, the Russian criminal law has been changed to include ‘sacrilege’ among ordinary crimes, by general consent. The Russians do feel about their faith more strongly than the EC rulers prescribe.
In Charlie’s France, Hollande’s regime frogmarched the unwilling people into a quite unnecessary gay marriage law, notwithstanding one-million-strong protest demonstrations by Catholics. Femen despoiling the churches were never punished; but a church warden who tried to prevent that, was heavily fined. France has a long anti-Christian tradition, usually described as “laic”, and its grand anti-Church coalition of Atheists, Huguenots and Jews coalesced in Dreyfus Affair days. Thus Lavrov’s escape to the church was a counter-demonstration, saying: Russia is for Christ, and Russia is not against Muslims.
While the present western regime is anti-Christian and anti-Muslim, it is pro-Jewish to an extent that defies a rational explanation. France had sent thousands of soldiers and policemen to defend Jewish institutions, though this defence antagonises their neighbours. While Charlie are glorified for insulting Christians and Muslims, Dieudonné has been sent to jail (just for a day, but with great fanfare) for annoying Jews. Actually, Charlie Hebdo dismissed a journalist for one sentence allegedly disrespectful for Jews. This unfairness is a source of aggravation: Muslims were laughed out of court when they complained against particularly vile Charlie’s cartoons, but Jews almost always win when they go to the court against their denigrators. (Full disclosure: I was also sued by LICRA, the French Jewish body, while my French publisher was devastated by their legal attacks).
The Russians don’t comprehend the Western infatuation with Jews, for Russian Jews have been well assimilated and integrated in general society. The narrative of Holocaust is not popular in Russia for one simple reason: so many Russians from every ethnic background lost their lives in the war, that there is no reason to single out Jews as supreme victims. Millions died at the siege of Leningrad; Belarus lost a quarter of its population. More importantly, Russians feel no guilt regarding Jews: they treated them fairly and saved them from the Nazis. For them, the Holocaust is a Western narrative, as foreign as JeSuisCharlie. With drifting of Russia out of Western consensus, there is no reason to maintain it.
This does not mean the Jews are discriminated against. The Jews of Russia are doing very well, thank you, without Holocaust worship: they occupy the highest positions in the Forbes list of Russia’s rich, with a combined capital of $122 billion, while all rich ethnic Russians own only $165 billion, according to the Jewish-owned source. Jews run the most celebrated media shows in prime time on the state TV; they publish newspapers; they have full and unlimited access to Putin and his ministers; they usually have their way when they want to get a plot of land for their communal purposes. And anti-Semitic propaganda is punishable by law – like anti-Christian or anti-Muslim abuse, but even more severely. Still, it is impossible to imagine a Russian journalist getting sack like CNN anchor Jim Clancy or BBC’s Tim Willcox for upsetting a Jew or speaking against Israel.
Russia preserves its plurality, diversity and freedom of opinion. The pro-Western Russian media –Novaya Gazeta of oligarch Lebedev, the owner of the British newspaper Independent – carries the JeSuis slogan and speaks of the Holocaust, as well as demands to restore Crimea to the Ukraine. But the vast majority of Russians do support their President, and his civilizational choice. He expressed it when he went to midnight Christmas mass in a small village church in far-away province, together with orphans and refugees from the Ukraine. And he expressed it by refusing to go to Auschwitz.
Neither willingly nor easily did Russia break ranks. Putin tried to take Western baiting in his stride: be it Olympic games, Syria confrontation, gender politics, Georgian border, even Crimea-related sanctions. The open economic warfare was a game-changer. Russia felt attacked by falling oil prices, by rouble trouble, by credit downgrading. These developments are considered an act of hostility, rather than the result of “the hidden hand of the market”.
Russians love conspiracia, as James Bond used to say. They do not believe in chance, coincidence nor natural occurrences, and are likely to consider a falling meteorite or an earthquake – a result of hostile American action, let alone a fall in the rouble/dollar exchange rate. They could be right, too, though it is hard to prove.
Regarding oil price fall, the jury is out. Some say this action by Saudis is aimed at American fracking companies, or alternatively it’s a Saudi-American plot against Russia. However, the price of oil is not formed by supply-demand, but by financial instruments, futures and derivatives. This virtual demand-and-supply is much bigger than the real one. When hedge funds stopped to buy oil futures, price downturn became unavoidable, but were the funds directed by politicians, or did they act so as Quantitative Easing ended?
The steep fall of the rouble could be connected to oil price downturn, but not necessarily so. The rouble is not involved in oil price forming. It could be an action by a very big financial institution. Soros broke the back of British pound in 1991; Korean won, Thai bath and Malaysian ringgit suffered similar fate in 1998. In each case, the attacked country lost about 40% of its GDP. It is possible that Russia was attacked by financial weapons directed from New York.
The European punitive sanctions forbade long-term cheap credit to Russian companies. The Russian state does not need loans, but Russian companies do. Combination of these factors put a squeeze on Russian pockets. The rating agencies kept downgrading Russian rating to almost junk level, for political reasons, I was told. As they were deprived of credit, state companies began to hoard dollars to pay later their debts, and they refrained from converting their huge profits to roubles, as they did until now. The rouble fell drastically, probably much lower than it had to.
This is not pinpoint sanctions aimed at Putin’s friends. This is a full-blown war. If the initiators expected Russians to be mad at Putin, they miscalculated. The Russian public is angry with the American organisers of the economical warfare, not with its own government. The pro-Western opposition tried to demonstrate against Putin, but very few people joined them.
Ordinary Russians kept a stiff upper lip. They did not notice the sanctions until the rouble staggered, and even then they shopped like mad rather than protested. In the face of shrinking money, they did not buy salt and sugar, as their grandparents would have. Their battle cry against hogging was “Do not take more than two Lexus cars per family, leave something for others!”
Perhaps, the invisible financiers went too far. Instead of being cowed, the Russians are preparing for a real long war, as they and their ancestors have historically fought – and won. It is not like they have a choice: though Americans insist Russia should join their War-on-Terrorism-II, they do not intend to relinquish sanctions.
The Russians do not know how to deal with a financial attack. Without capital restrictions, Russia will be cleaned out. Russian Central bank and Treasury people are strict monetarists, capital restrictions are anathema for them. Putin, being a liberal himself, apparently trusts them. Capital flight has taken huge proportions. Unless Russia uses the measures successfully tried by Mohammad Mahathir of Malaysia, it will continue. At present, however, we do not see sign of change.
This could be the incentive for Putin to advance in Ukraine. If the Russians do not know how to shuffle futures and derivatives, they are expert in armour movements and tank battles. Kiev regime is also spoiling for a fight, apparently pushed by the American neocons. It is possible that the US will get more than what it bargained for in the Ukraine.
One can be certain that Russians will not support the Middle Eastern crusade of NATO, as this military action was prepared at the Charlie demo in Paris. It is far from clear who killed the cartoonists, but Paris and Washington intend to use it for reigniting war in the Middle East. This time, Russia will be in opposition, and probably will use it as an opportunity to change the uncomfortable standoff in the Ukraine. Thus supporters of peace in the Middle East have a good reason to back Russia.
January 21, 2015 by Mike Whitney
If This Doesn’t Make You Mad…
Why is the Fed threatening to raise interest rates when the economy is still in the doldrums? Is it because they want to avoid further asset-price inflation, prevent the economy from overheating, or is it something else altogether? Take a look at the chart below and you’ll see why the Fed might want to raise rates prematurely. It all has to do with the sharp decline in petrodollars that are no longer recycling into US financial assets. This is from Reuters:
“Energy-exporting countries are set to pull their ‘petrodollars’ out of world markets this year for the first time in almost two decades, according to a study by BNP Paribas. Driven by this year’s drop in oil prices, the shift is likely to cause global market liquidity to fall, the study showed…
This decline follows years of windfalls for oil exporters such as Russia, Angola, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. Much of that money found its way into financial markets, helping to boost asset prices and keep the cost of borrowing down, through so-called petrodollar recycling.
This year, however, the oil producers will effectively import capital amounting to $7.6 billion. By comparison, they exported $60 billion in 2013 and $248 billion in 2012, according to the following graphic based on BNP Paribas calculations:
‘At its peak, about $500 billion a year was being recycled back into financial markets. This will be the first year in a long time that energy exporters will be sucking capital out,’ said David Spegel, global head of emerging market sovereign and corporate Research at BNP.
In other words, oil exporters are now pulling liquidity out of financial markets rather than putting money in. That could result in higher borrowing costs for governments, companies, and ultimately, consumers as money becomes scarcer.” (Petrodollars leave world markets for first time in 18 years – BNP, Reuters)
Can you see what’s going on?
Now that petrodollar funding has dried up, the Fed needs to find an alternate source of capital to keep the markets bubbly and to shore up the greenback. That’s why the Fed has been talking up the dollar (“jawboning”) and promising to raise rates even though the economy is still pushing up daisies. According to the Fed’s favorite mouthpiece, Jon Hilsenrath:
“Federal Reserve officials are on track to start raising short-term interest rates later this year, even though long-term rates are going in the other direction amid new investor worries about weak global growth, falling oil prices and slowing consumer price inflation…
Many Fed officials have signaled they expect to start lifting their benchmark short-term rate from near zero around the middle of the year. Recent developments in the economy and markets have caused some trepidation among Fed officials and, if sustained, could cause them to delay acting. However several have indicated recently they still expect to move this year and are withholding judgment on delay.” (Fed Officials on Track to Raise Short-Term Rates Later in the Year, Jon Hilsenrath, Wall Street Journal)
And we’re hearing the same from Reuters: “The Federal Reserve is still on track for a potential mid-year interest-rate increase, a top Fed official said on Friday, citing strong U.S. economic momentum and a falling unemployment rate.”
Notice the sudden change in tone from dovish to hawkish? Expect that to intensify in the months ahead as the major media tries to spin the data in a way that serves the Fed’s broader objectives. Like this article in Bloomberg titled, “Yellen Signals She Won’t Babysit Markets in Turmoil”:
“Janet Yellen is leaving the Greenspan ‘put”’behind as she charts the first interest-rate increase since 2006 amid growing financial-market volatility.
The Federal Reserve chair has signaled she wants to place the economic outlook at the center of policy making, while looking past short-term market fluctuations. To succeed, she must wean investors from the notion, which gained currency under predecessor Alan Greenspan, that the Fed will bail them out if their bets go bad — just as a put option protects against a drop in stock prices.
“The succession of Fed puts over the years has led to a wide range of distortions in financial markets,” said Lawrence Goodman, president of the Center for Financial Stability, a monetary research group in New York. “There have been swollen asset values followed by sharp declines. This is a very good time for the Fed to move away.
“Let me be clear, there is no Fed equity market put,” William C. Dudley, president of the New York Fed, the central bank’s watchdog on financial markets, said in a Dec. 1 speech in New York.” (She’s No Greenspan: Yellen Signals She Won’t Babysit Markets in Turmoil)
“There’s no Fed equity put”?
That’s ridiculous. Then how does one explain the way the Fed has launched additional rounds of QE every time stocks have started to sputter? And how does one explain the Fed’s $4 trillion balance sheet all of which was spent on financial assets?
Let’s face it, Central bank intervention has been the only game in town. It’s not just the main driver of stocks. It’s the only driver of stocks. Everyone knows that. Yellen is going to do everything in her power to keep stocks in the stratosphere just like her predecessors, Greenspan and Bernanke. The only that’s going to change, is her approach.
As for the economy, well, just a glance of the headlines tells the whole story. Like this gem from CNBC last week:
“U.S. consumer prices recorded their biggest decline in six years in December and underlying inflation pressures were benign,…The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index fell 0.4 percent last month, the largest drop since December 2008, after sliding 0.3 percent in November. In the 12 months through December, CPI increased 0.8 percent…
Darkening prospects for the global economy could also complicate matters for the U.S. central bank.
Inflation is running below the Fed’s 2 percent target, despite a strengthening labor market and overall economy.” (Consumer Price Index drops 0.4% in December, in line with estimates, CNBC)
Think about that for a minute: Consumer prices just logged their biggest drop since the freaking slump of 2008 and, yet, the Fed is still babbling about raising rates.
Talk about lunacy. Not only has the Fed not reached its inflation target of 2%, but it’s abandoned the project altogether. Why? Why has the Fed suddenly stopped trying to boost inflation when the yields on benchmark 10-year US Treasuries have just plunged to record lows (1.70%) and are blinking red? In other words, the bond market is signaling slow growth and zero inflation for as far as the eye can see, but the Fed wants to raise rates and slash growth even more?? It doesn’t make any sense, unless of course, Yellen has something else up her sleeve. Which she does.
Now get a load of this shocker on retail sales in last week’s news. This is from Bloomberg:
“The optimism surrounding the outlook for U.S. consumers was taken down a notch as retail sales slumped in December by the most in almost a year, prompting some economists to lower spending and growth forecasts.
The 0.9 percent decline in purchases …. extended beyond any single group as receipts fell in nine of 13 major retail categories.
Treasury yields and stocks fell as a deepening commodities rout and the drop in sales spurred concern global growth is slowing…
…average hourly earnings falling 0.2 percent in December from the month before in the first drop since late 2012. That limits the amount of spending consumers can undertake without dipping into savings or racking up debt.” (U.S. Retail Sales Down Sharply, Likely Cuts to Growth Forecasts Ahead, Bloomberg)
Remember when everyone thought that low oil prices were going to save the economy? It hasn’t worked out that way though, has it? Nor will it. Falling oil prices usually indicate recession, crisis or deflation. Take your pick. They’re usually not a sign of green shoots, escape velocity, or sunny uplands.
And did you catch that part about falling wages? How do you expand a consumer-dependent economy, when workers are seeing their wages shrivel every month? In case, you haven’t seen the abysmal stagnation of wages in graph-form, here’s a chart from American Progress:
Negative real wage growth means the amount of slack in the market is still considerable.
So while stock prices have doubled or tripled in the last 6 years, wages have basically been flatlining. That’s a pretty crummy distribution system, don’t you think. Unless you’re in the 1 percent of course, then everything is just hunky dory.
But at least Yellen can find some comfort in the fact that unemployment continues to improve. In fact, just two weeks ago unemployment dropped to an impressive 5.4%, the lowest since 2007. So if we forget about the fact that wages are stagnating, that management has nabbed all the productivity-gains for the last 40 years, and that another 451,000 workers dropped off the radar altogether in December, then everything looks pretty rosy. But, of course, it’s all just a bunch of baloney. Take a look at this from Zero Hedge:
“Another month, another attempt by the BLS to mask the collapse in the US labor force with a seasonally-adjusted surge in waiter, bartender and other low-paying jobs. Case in point… the labor participation rate just slid once more, dropping to 62.7%, or the lowest print since December 1977. This happened because the number of Americans not in the labor forced soared by 451,000 in December, far outpacing the 111,000 jobs added according to the Household Survey, and is the primary reason why the number of uenmployed Americans dropped by 383,000.
So, yeah, unemployment looks great until you pick through the data and see it’s all a big fraud. Unemployment is only falling because more and more people are throwing in the towel and giving up entirely.
Finally, there’s the rapidly-expanding mess in the oil patch where the news on layoffs and cut backs gets worse by the day. This is from Wolf Richter at Naked Capitalism:
“Layoffs are cascading through the oil and gas sector. On Tuesday, the Dallas Fed projected that in Texas alone, 140,000 jobs could be eliminated. Halliburton said that it was axing an undisclosed number of people in Houston. Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest oil producer, will dump 1,000 workers in its tar-sands projects. Helmerich & Payne is idling rigs and cutting jobs. Smaller companies are slashing projects and jobs at an even faster pace. And now Slumberger, the world’s biggest oilfield-services company, will cut 9,000 jobs.” (Money dries up for oil and gas, layoffs spread, write-offs start, Wolf Richter, Naked Capitalism)
And then there’s this tidbit from Pam Martens at Wall Street on Parade:
“In a December 15 article by Patrick Jenkins in the Financial Times, readers learned that data from Barclays indicated that “energy bonds now make up nearly 16 per cent of the $1.3 trillion junk bond market — more than three times their proportion 10 years ago,” and “Nearly 45 per cent of this year’s non-investment grade syndicated loans have been in oil and gas.” Raising further alarms, AllianceBernstein has released research suggesting that the deals were not fully subscribed by investors with the potential that “as much as half of the outstanding financing from the past couple of years may be stuck on banks’ books.” (The perfect storm for Wall Street banks, Russ and Pam Martens, Wall Street on Parade)
How do you like that? So nearly half the toxic energy-related gunk that was bundled up into dodgy junk bonds (and is likely to default in the near future) is sitting on bank balance sheets. Does that sound like a potential trigger for another financial crisis or what?
And, no, I am not trying to ignore the fact that third quarter GDP came in at a whopping 5 percent which vastly exceeded all the analysts estimates. But let’s put that into perspective. According to economist Dean Baker, the growth spurt was mainly “an anomaly” …”driven by extraordinary jump in military spending and a big fall in the size of the trade deficit that is unlikely to be repeated.” Here’s more from Baker:
“As usual, just about everything we’ve heard about the economy is wrong. To start, the 5.0 percent growth number must be understood against a darker backdrop: The economy actually shrank at a 2.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter. If we take the first three quarters of the year together, the average growth rate was a more modest 2.5 percent.” (Don’t Believe What You Hear About the US Economy, Dean Baker, CEPR)
So, the economy is growing at a crummy 2.5 percent, but Yellen wants to raise rates. Why? Does she want to shave that number to 2 percent or 1.5 percent? Is that it? She wants to go backwards?
Of course not. The real reason the Fed wants to raise rates, is to attract foreign capital to US markets in order to keep stocks soaring, keep borrowing costs low, and reinforce the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency. That’s what’s really going on. The petrodollars are drying up, so US markets need a new source of funding. Direct foreign investment, that’s the ticket, Ducky. All the Fed needs to do is boost rates by, let’s say, 0.5 percent and “Cha-ching”, here comes the capital. Works like a charm every time, just ask former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin whose strong dollar policy sent stock prices into orbit while widening the nation’s current account deficit by many orders of magnitude. (We never said the plan didn’t have its downside.)
The Fed’s sinister plan to raise interest rates (sometime by mid-2015) will push the dollar’s exchange rate higher thus triggering capital flight in the emerging markets which are already struggling with plunging commodities prices and an excruciating slowdown. The investment flows from the EMs to US financial assets and Treasuries will offset the loss of petrodollar revenue while expanding Wall Street’s ginormous stock market bubble. As for the emerging markets, well, they’re going to take it in the shorts bigtime as one would expect. Here’s a clip from an article by Ambrose-Evans Pritchard that lays it out in black and white:
“The US Federal Reserve has pulled the trigger. Emerging markets must now brace for their ordeal by fire. They have collectively borrowed $5.7 trillion in US dollars, a currency they cannot print and do not control. This hard-currency debt has tripled in a decade, split between $3.1 trillion in bank loans and $2.6 trillion in bonds. It is comparable in scale and ratio-terms to any of the biggest cross-border lending sprees of the past two centuries…
Officials from the Bank for International Settlements say privately that developing countries may be just as vulnerable to a dollar shock as they were in the Fed tightening cycle of the late 1990s, which culminated in Russia’s default and the East Asia Crisis. The difference this time is that emerging markets have grown to be half the world economy. Their aggregate debt levels have reached a record 175pc of GDP, up 30 percentage points since 2009…”
This time the threat does not come from insolvent states. They have learned the lesson of the late 1990s. Few have dollar debts. But their companies and banks most certainly do, some 70pc of GDP in Russia, for example. This amounts to much the same thing in macro-economic terms. ” (Fed calls time on $5.7 trillion of emerging market dollar debt, Ambrose-Evans Pritchard, Telegraph)
The Fed has been through this drill so many times before they could do it in their sleep. (” U.S. interest-rate hikes in 1980s and 1990s played a role in financial crises across Latin America and East Asia.” Foreign Policy Magazine) They’ve learned how to profit off every crisis, particularly the one’s that they themselves create, which is just about all of them. In this case, most of the loans to foreign businesses and banks were denominated in dollars. So, now that the dollar is soaring, (“The dollar’s value has risen about 15 percent relative to the euro and the yen just since the summer.” NPR) the debts are going to balloon accordingly (in real terms) which is going to push a lot of businesses off a cliff forcing sovereigns to step in and provide emergency bailouts.
Did someone say “looming financial crisis”?
Indeed. Bernanke’s “easy money” has inflated bubbles across the planet. Now these bubbles are about to burst due to the strong dollar and anticipated higher rates. At the same time, the policy-switch will send hundreds of billions of foreign capital flooding into US markets pushing stocks and bonds through the roof while generating mega-profits for JPM, G-Sax and the rest of the Wall Street gang. All according to plan.
Naturally, the stronger dollar will weigh heavily on employment and exports as foreign imports become cheaper and more attractive to US consumers. That will reduce hiring at home. Also the current account deficit will widen significantly, meaning that the US will again be consuming much more than it produces. (This took place under Rubin, too.) But here’s what’s interesting about that: According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis: “Our current account deficit has narrowed sharply since the crisis…The U.S. current account deficit now stands at 2.5 percent of GDP, down from more than 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005.” (BEA)
Great. In other words, Obama’s obsessive fiscal belt-tightening lowered the deficits enough so that Wall Street can “party on” for the foreseeable future, ignoring the gigantic bubbles they’re inflating or the emerging market economies that are about to be decimated in this latest dollar swindle.
If that doesn’t make you mad, I don’t know what will.
January 20, 2015 by William Blum
After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech. We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia.
Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age? Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region. And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states?
In the 1980s, the United States overthrew the Afghan government that was progressive, with full rights for women, believe it or not , leading to the creation of the Taliban and their taking power.
In the 2000s, the United States overthrew the Iraqi government, destroying not only the secular state, but the civilized state as well, leaving a failed state.
In 2011, the United States and its NATO military machine overthrew the secular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi, leaving behind a lawless state and unleashing many hundreds of jihadists and tons of weaponry across the Middle East.
And for the past few years the United States has been engaged in overthrowing the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This, along with the US occupation of Iraq having triggered widespread Sunni-Shia warfare, led to the creation of The Islamic State with all its beheadings and other charming practices.
However, despite it all, the world was made safe for capitalism, imperialism, anti-communism, oil, Israel, and jihadists. God is Great!
Starting with the Cold War, and with the above interventions building upon that, we have 70 years of American foreign policy, without which – as Russian/American writer Andre Vltchek has observed – “almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders”. Even the ultra-oppressive Saudi Arabia – without Washington’s protection – would probably be a very different place.
On January 11, Paris was the site of a March of National Unity in honor of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose journalists had been assassinated by terrorists. The march was rather touching, but it was also an orgy of Western hypocrisy, with the French TV broadcasters and the assembled crowd extolling without end the NATO world’s reverence for journalists and freedom of speech; an ocean of signs declaring Je suis Charlie … Nous Sommes Tous Charlie; and flaunting giant pencils, as if pencils – not bombs, invasions, overthrows, torture, and drone attacks – have been the West’s weapons of choice in the Middle East during the past century.
No reference was made to the fact that the American military, in the course of its wars in recent decades in the Middle East and elsewhere, had been responsible for the deliberate deaths of dozens of journalists. In Iraq, among other incidents, see Wikileaks’ 2007 video of the cold-blooded murder of two Reuters journalists; the 2003 US air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded; and the American firing on Baghdad’s Hotel Palestine the same year that killed two foreign cameramen.
Moreover, on October 8, 2001, the second day of the US bombing of Afghanistan, the transmitters for the Taliban government’s Radio Shari were bombed and shortly after this the US bombed some 20 regional radio sites. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the targeting of these facilities, saying: “Naturally, they cannot be considered to be free media outlets. They are mouthpieces of the Taliban and those harboring terrorists.”
And in Yugoslavia, in 1999, during the infamous 78-day bombing of a country which posed no threat at all to the United States or any other country, state-owned Radio Television Serbia (RTS) was targeted because it was broadcasting things which the United States and NATO did not like (like how much horror the bombing was causing). The bombs took the lives of many of the station’s staff, and both legs of one of the survivors, which had to be amputated to free him from the wreckage.
I present here some views on Charlie Hebdo sent to me by a friend in Paris who has long had a close familiarity with the publication and its staff:
“On international politics Charlie Hebdo was neoconservative. It supported every single NATO intervention from Yugoslavia to the present. They were anti-Muslim, anti-Hamas (or any Palestinian organization), anti-Russian, anti-Cuban (with the exception of one cartoonist), anti-Hugo Chávez, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, pro-Pussy Riot, pro-Kiev … Do I need to continue?
“Strangely enough, the magazine was considered to be ‘leftist’. It’s difficult for me to criticize them now because they weren’t ‘bad people’, just a bunch of funny cartoonists, yes, but intellectual freewheelers without any particular agenda and who actually didn’t give a fuck about any form of ‘correctness’ – political, religious, or whatever; just having fun and trying to sell a ‘subversive’ magazine (with the notable exception of the former editor, Philippe Val, who is, I think, a true-blooded neocon).”
Dumb and Dumber
Remember Arseniy Yatsenuk? The Ukrainian whom US State Department officials adopted as one of their own in early 2014 and guided into the position of Prime Minister so he could lead the Ukrainian Forces of Good against Russia in the new Cold War?
In an interview on German television on January 7, 2015 Yatsenuk allowed the following words to cross his lips: “We all remember well the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany. We will not allow that, and nobody has the right to rewrite the results of World War Two”.
The Ukrainian Forces of Good, it should be kept in mind, also include several neo-Nazis in high government positions and many more partaking in the fight against Ukrainian pro-Russians in the south-east of the country. Last June, Yatsenuk referred to these pro-Russians as “sub-humans” , directly equivalent to the Nazi term “untermenschen”.
So the next time you shake your head at some stupid remark made by a member of the US government, try to find some consolation in the thought that high American officials are not necessarily the dumbest, except of course in their choice of who is worthy of being one of the empire’s partners.
The type of rally held in Paris this month to condemn an act of terror by jihadists could as well have been held for the victims of Odessa in Ukraine last May. The same neo-Nazi types referred to above took time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Russians, Communists and Jews, and burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded … Try and find a single American mainstream media entity that has made even a slightly serious attempt to capture the horror. You would have to go to the Russian station in Washington, DC, RT.com, search “Odessa fire” for many stories, images and videos. Also see the Wikipedia entry on the 2 May 2014 Odessa clashes.
If the American people were forced to watch, listen, and read all the stories of neo-Nazi behavior in Ukraine the past few years, I think they – yes, even the American people and their less-than-intellectual Congressional representatives – would start to wonder why their government was so closely allied with such people. The United States may even go to war with Russia on the side of such people.
L’Occident n’est pas Charlie pour Odessa. Il n’y a pas de défilé à Paris pour Odessa.
Some thoughts about this thing called ideology
Norman Finkelstein, the fiery American critic of Israel, was interviewed recently by Paul Jay on The Real News Network. Finkelstein related how he had been a Maoist in his youth and had been devastated by the exposure and downfall of the Gang of Four in 1976 in China. “It came out there was just an awful lot of corruption. The people who we thought were absolutely selfless were very self-absorbed. And it was clear. The overthrow of the Gang of Four had huge popular support.”
Many other Maoists were torn apart by the event. “Everything was overthrown overnight, the whole Maoist system, which we thought [were] new socialist men, they all believed in putting self second, fighting self. And then overnight the whole thing was reversed.”
“You know, many people think it was McCarthy that destroyed the Communist Party,” Finkelstein continued. “That’s absolutely not true. You know, when you were a communist back then, you had the inner strength to withstand McCarthyism, because it was the cause. What destroyed the Communist Party was Khrushchev’s speech,” a reference to Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s 1956 exposure of the crimes of Joseph Stalin and his dictatorial rule.
Although I was old enough, and interested enough, to be influenced by the Chinese and Russian revolutions, I was not. I remained an admirer of capitalism and a good loyal anti-communist. It was the war in Vietnam that was my Gang of Four and my Nikita Khrushchev. Day after day during 1964 and early 1965 I followed the news carefully, catching up on the day’s statistics of American firepower, bombing sorties, and body counts. I was filled with patriotic pride at our massive power to shape history. Words like those of Winston Churchill, upon America’s entry into the Second World War, came easily to mind again – “England would live; Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations would live.” Then, one day – a day like any other day – it suddenly and inexplicably hit me. In those villages with the strange names there were people under those falling bombs, people running in total desperation from that god-awful machine-gun strafing.
This pattern took hold. The news reports would stir in me a self-righteous satisfaction that we were teaching those damn commies that they couldn’t get away with whatever it was they were trying to get away with. The very next moment I would be struck by a wave of repulsion at the horror of it all. Eventually, the repulsion won out over the patriotic pride, never to go back to where I had been; but dooming me to experience the despair of American foreign policy again and again, decade after decade.
The human brain is an amazing organ. It keeps working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year, from before you leave the womb, right up until the day you find nationalism. And that day can come very early. Here’s a recent headline from the Washington Post: “In the United States the brainwashing starts in kindergarten.”
Oh, my mistake. It actually said “In N. Korea the brainwashing starts in kindergarten.”
Let Cuba Live! The Devil’s List of what the United States has done to Cuba
On May 31, 1999, a lawsuit for $181 billion in wrongful death, personal injury, and economic damages was filed in a Havana court against the government of the United States. It was subsequently filed with the United Nations. Since that time its fate is somewhat of a mystery.
The lawsuit covered the 40 years since the country’s 1959 revolution and described, in considerable detail taken from personal testimony of victims, US acts of aggression against Cuba; specifying, often by name, date, and particular circumstances, each person known to have been killed or seriously wounded. In all, 3,478 people were killed and an additional 2,099 seriously injured. (These figures do not include the many indirect victims of Washington’s economic pressures and blockade, which caused difficulties in obtaining medicine and food, in addition to creating other hardships.)
The case was, in legal terms, very narrowly drawn. It was for the wrongful death of individuals, on behalf of their survivors, and for personal injuries to those who survived serious wounds, on their own behalf. No unsuccessful American attacks were deemed relevant, and consequently there was no testimony regarding the many hundreds of unsuccessful assassination attempts against Cuban President Fidel Castro and other high officials, or even of bombings in which no one was killed or injured. Damages to crops, livestock, or the Cuban economy in general were also excluded, so there was no testimony about the introduction into the island of swine fever or tobacco mold.
However, those aspects of Washington’s chemical and biological warfare waged against Cuba that involved human victims were described in detail, most significantly the creation of an epidemic of hemorrhagic dengue fever in 1981, during which some 340,000 people were infected and 116,000 hospitalized; this in a country which had never before experienced a single case of the disease. In the end, 158 people, including 101 children, died. That only 158 people died, out of some 116,000 who were hospitalized, was an eloquent testimony to the remarkable Cuban public health sector.
The complaint describes the campaign of air and naval attacks against Cuba that commenced in October 1959, when US president Dwight Eisenhower approved a program that included bombings of sugar mills, the burning of sugar fields, machine-gun attacks on Havana, even on passenger trains.
Another section of the complaint described the armed terrorist groups, los banditos, who ravaged the island for five years, from 1960 to 1965, when the last group was located and defeated. These bands terrorized small farmers, torturing and killing those considered (often erroneously) active supporters of the Revolution; men, women, and children. Several young volunteer literacy-campaign teachers were among the victims of the bandits.
There was also of course the notorious Bay of Pigs invasion, in April 1961. Although the entire incident lasted less than 72 hours, 176 Cubans were killed and 300 more wounded, 50 of them permanently disabled.
The complaint also described the unending campaign of major acts of sabotage and terrorism that included the bombing of ships and planes as well as stores and offices. The most horrific example of sabotage was of course the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airliner off Barbados in which all 73 people on board were killed. There were as well as the murder of Cuban diplomats and officials around the world, including one such murder on the streets of New York City in 1980. This campaign continued to the 1990s, with the murders of Cuban policemen, soldiers, and sailors in 1992 and 1994, and the 1997 hotel bombing campaign, which took the life of a foreigner; the bombing campaign was aimed at discouraging tourism and led to the sending of Cuban intelligence officers to the US in an attempt to put an end to the bombings; from their ranks rose the Cuban Five.
To the above can be added the many acts of financial extortion, violence and sabotage carried out by the United States and its agents in the 16 years since the lawsuit was filed. In sum total, the deep-seated injury and trauma inflicted upon on the Cuban people can be regarded as the island’s own 9-11.
- US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986), pp.121, 128, 130, 223, 232
- Counterpunch, January 10, 2015
- Index on Censorship, the UK’s leading organization promoting freedom of expression, October 18, 2001
- The Independent (London), April 24, 1999
- “Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk talking to Pinar Atalay”, Tagesschau (Germany), January 7, 2015 (in Ukrainian with German voice-over)
- CNN, June 15, 2014
- See William Blum, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, chapter 3
- Washington Post, January 17, 2015, page A6
- William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 30, for a capsule summary of Washington’s chemical and biological warfare against Havana.
- For further information, see William Schaap, Covert Action Quarterly magazine (Washington, DC), Fall/Winter 1999, pp.26-29
January 20, 2015 by Sartre
Surviving in a world of offensive double standards comes easy for people who lost their moral compass. Most culturally deficient pawns have such limited intellectual capacities and ethical fortitude to apply the same critical standards to zealots, who practice and defend barbarism no matter where it is committed. The narration that masquerades as objective news reporting out of the mass media, acts as a gatekeeper to provide political cover for Zionist protection. If the eternal struggle between Muslims and Jews was the supreme existential conflict, why would Christians take sides, when the purported feud between cousins, drips blood no matter whose hand holds the sword?
Oh how dare equivocate between both pseudo religious cultures, when both are engulfed in political warfare as their primary tenant. If moral principle was the essence of either society, this obscene charade of state sponsored terrorism would be exposed for what it really represents. Now before the do-gooder Christians bask in their own moral superiority, your own secular humanism surrender does not bode well for your final judgment.
The point is that unholy religious and politically inspired violence against a perceived enemy to achieve an atmosphere of panic is simply wrong. When government special operations, globalist intelligence interests and elite NWO sociopaths plan, fund, recruit, direct and cover-up false flag attacks, designed to complete a global despotism; all citizens of exploited countries lose their rights and become duped into thinking insecurity stems from radical psychopaths. The collective mental health of most societies is in a crisis of terminal proportions.
Ponder the linkage of France’s lower house of parliament votes 339 to 151 in favor of symbolic motion to recognize statehood of Palestine and Netanyahu’s Chilling Threat To France Prior To The Charlie Hebdo Tragedy. Surely, a coincidence in what is widely seen as consistent with a pattern of a sponsored Mossad scenario, the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris has the world primed for even more draconian measures that in fact, extinguishes genuine security.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest ruse to advance the victimhood claim is transparent.
The real reason Bibi wants French Jews to move to Israel reports “By calling on France’s Jews to move to Israel, Netanyahu is promoting a worldview in which there is no national conflict, no occupation and no Palestinian people. There are only Jews and radical Muslims.”
“The leader of a country that is constantly in a state of war, and that every few years actually goes to war, is imploring France’s Jews to leave their country in the wake of two terrorist attacks (one of which was not directed at a Jewish target), and move to Israel. Even if we ignore the downright chutzpah of his demand vis-a-vis the French government (try imagining a leader of a Western state calling on Israelis to immigrate to his country because of the security situation in Israel), no one doubts that French Jewish immigrants will be in much greater danger living in Israel. Perhaps our foreign minister would do well to update Netanyahu on the travel warnings issued fairly often for our country?”
The insecurity hysteria that infects Western countries from the Zionist bias media about a terrorist under every bed refuses to speak the truth. Honest reporting would require coverage of the following. The same old story, Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, but where in the controlled propaganda and fantasy viewpoint of corporatist political correctness, will such factual Zionist atrocities be reported and condemned?
Once upon a time fair play was a well established standard in international affairs. Even if it was often ignored in practice, the objective was seen as a condition that established moral authority. The reality is that governance of Israel maintains a hostility that sabotages any attempts for coexistence. EXAMPLES OF HATE SPEECH BY ISRAEL AGAINST PALESTINE illustrates the savage attitude that earns world enmity for the Zionist apartheid state. Watch the chilling documentary video, Israeli Genocide in Gaza which supports righteous outrage.
The boycott Israel movement may not have taken off to a level that its proponents hoped. Yet, such non violent opposition goes unnoticed with all the hype about terrorism. The Boycott Israel Campaign provides a list of companies and answered frequently asked questions about their efforts. If this cause gained traction, the screams would be deafening from media sentinels.
In order to maintain the storyline of extreme Islamophobia terrorism, it is necessary to eliminate any debate that analyzes the established policies that foster “Greater Israel” dominance in the Middle East. Just examine the Saudi Israeli alliance forged in blood.
“The attack on Gaza comes by Saudi Royal Appointment. This royal warrant is nothing less than an open secret in Israel, and both former and serving defense officials are relaxed when they talk about it. Former Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz surprised the presenter on Channel 10 by saying Israel had to specify a role for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the demilitarization of Hamas. Asked what he meant by that, he added that Saudi and Emirati funds should be used to rebuild Gaza after Hamas had been defanged.”
Reports: Saudis Looking for Alliance With Israel presents a chilling prospect for the beleaguered Palestinians.
“Given the successes of the radical Sunni Islamic State (formerly ISIS), the lingering threat of the Muslim Brotherhood (which birthed Hamas), and the rising Shiite power in Iran, Riyadh is seen as more keen than ever to complete that process so it can formerly align with Israel, and thereby gain the advantage of its military and economic might.
The only problem is that the Saudis want to solve that “minor conflict” by asking Israel to take severe security risks by surrendering strategic positions to a Palestinian populace that has sadly proved its unwillingness to eradicate the violent anti-Israel elements within.”
Well, there you have it. Those radical Palestinian elements are dedicated terrorists, while the Saudi’s benefactor funds their barbaric wahhabi client fanatics, who miraculously never have a map to locate Israel.
If you are not allowed to discuss who really is behind the ISIS band of cutthroats, fall back on a proven tactic of diversion. $1B trial opens against PLO over Israel terror attacks in a U.S. courtroom. “The victims allege that the Palestinian groups violated the US Anti-Terrorism Act by giving money and weapons — and employment — to terrorists in the attacks that occurred between 2001 and 2004.”
Do not hold your breath waiting for a similar suit against Saudi financiers must less about U.S. covert agencies supplying arms and coordination to their new best friend, ISIS hit squads.
In this obscene world of select memory, a terrorist is your friend if they are killing an enemy of Israel, especially if a high profile attack can garnish mass public opinion support to keep the phony “War of Terror” rolling along.
When it comes to actual non state sponsored terrorism, the number of definite instances can be disputed. The GTD Global Terrorism Database lists information on over 125,000 terrorist attacks. A search of Jewish Terrorists provides results of well over 100 instances. The JDL, Jewish Defense League is a leading “Perpetrator” with a long list of crimes within the United States. The savage legacy of Rabbi Meir Kahane has a long record of terrorism to use as inspiration.
Past Zionist-Jewish Terrorism – Some Historical Facts provides both Israeli Defense Force missions and the tactics used during the formatting years of the Zionist State. Such examples seldom get a whisper of notice much less coverage in the Newspeak media. The Jewish ownership and financial control of the establishment media allows for a self prophecy of inevitability if one believes the distortions, omissions and outright lies.
Imbalance in culpability that condemns terrorist with the same intensity and blame, no matter who is responsible for the violence, will never allow for a peaceful resolution to the mutual hate that propels the globe towards oblivion.
Pat Buchanan makes a profound point in the essay, To Die for Charlie Hebdo?
“As for the “glorification of terrorist acts,” Israel’s Menachem Begin, the ANC’s Nelson Mandela, and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat were all credibly charged with acts of terrorism in their liberation struggles.
And all three won the Nobel Prize for Peace.”
His observation is not that terrorists are rewarded by the World Community, but that the hypocrisy of the establishment fabrication that makes heroes out of thugs with blood stained hands goes with the political objectives to demonize your enemy, while crowning the butchers.
Islamic bombers who eagerly evaporate themselves as long as they can kill others, is a sickness that no authentic religion could justify. Governments that employ aerial bombing to obliterate entire neighborhoods, and have an official policy, that kills children; practices true terrorism.
If the Christian West is ever to regain its moral foundation, their governments must no long encourage continued terrorism because of their insane foreign policies. Abandoning the teaching of Jesus Christ, a Jew, and Son of God has allowed the apocalyptic demons to run wild. Looking for a rapprochement between Muslim and Jew will never be realized until the final carnage and tribulation is stopped with His Second Coming at the end of this satanic age.
January 18, 2015 by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Sir Flinders Petrie discovered bowling artifacts in an Egyptian tome dating the game to 3200 B. C. in the 1930s. The game was being played in Germany in 300 A. D. and popular in England in 1366 A. D.
English, Dutch and German settlers brought their own variations of the game to America. Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle awakens to the sound of “crashing ninepins.” in 1819.
Arguably, the first permanent American bowling place, for lawn bowling, was in New York’s Battery area, now in the heart of the financial district. The small plot is still called Bowling Green.
But ten pin bowling did not take off as a major sport in America until the 1950s, following the introduction of the first rubber ball, the “Evertrue” in 1905 and Gottfried Schmidt’s automatic pinspotter. Owners of bowling establishments were no longer dependent on “pinboys.”
Playing a game cost 25 cents. Renting bowling shoes was a dime. The rate of inflation on the cost of bowling from 1955 to 2014 has been 781.2%.
The subject came up during the hour and 15 minutes I waited for a City Taxi Cab to arrive at Perry’s Automotive the other day. On the wall was an article from the Star Beacon chronicling the first 300 game of 1974 played by Fred Fish at Lake Shore Lanes. Fred works at Perry’s. Fred said he no longer bowls because of the cost, remembering the four games for a dollar he paid in 1974.
According to the cumulative rate of inflation if Lake Shore’s management had raised their prices along with other costs of living the price for those four games would be $4.79, with a rate of inflation of 379.0%. Lake Shore on occasion offers all you can bowl coupons for $10.
Fred gave up bowling.
America went off the gold standard in 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve, whose stated goal was to provide stable prices. In 1913 a loaf of bread cost about a nickle. Today it costs about $1.45.
In 1776 when Thomas Jefferson bought a loaf of bread it cost the same as it did when J. P. Morgan bought a loaf a century later, about a nickle. The price had not changed. The value of the dollar increased 11% from 1776 to 1912, 136 years.
So, where did the money for bowling go? When you find out tell Fred.
January 18, 2015 by Chuck Baldwin
Something as precious and valuable as a nation’s freedom is not lost in a day–or even in a year. There is no single event that turns citizens into slaves. Oppression and tyranny are always long in the planning–and even longer in the making. Granted, there could be a single chain of events that results in a people’s enslavement: Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 Russia, Mao Zedong’s Communist Revolution in 1949 China, for example. But these events did not take place spontaneously or in a vacuum. Conditions for these enslavements had been ripening for years. Old barns don’t collapse without years–even decades–of mitigating factors (very obvious and noticeable factors). Neither do nations.
They say that we begin to die as soon as we are born. And in a philosophical meandering sort of way, I suppose that’s true. And if that maxim is true for individuals, it’s also true for nations. For example, the tyrant and betrayer of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, Abraham Lincoln, planted the seeds for the globalist Woodrow Wilson, who planted the seeds for the socialist Franklin D. Roosevelt, who planted the seeds for the corrupt Lyndon Baines Johnson, who planted the seeds for the narcissist Bill Clinton, who planted the seeds for Mr. Police State, George W. Bush, who planted the seeds for the Marxist Barack Obama. And all along the way there were Supreme Court justices, congressmen and senators, international bankers, and most of all very lethargic and lazy pastors, who facilitated and abetted the diabolical and duplicitous deeds of the aforementioned presidents.
In a very real and practical way, the American republic was birthed as a strong and healthy body amidst the blood of the patriots in 1775 and ‘76. Suffice it to say, the free republic of our forefathers is a very weak and diseased body today.
The malady that eventually takes the life out of a sick and diseased man may not have, by itself, been deadly, but coupled with years of preceding sicknesses, it is the one that is listed on the death certificate by the coroner as the cause of death. Such is also the case with a nation.
The numerous ostriches that are so quick to dismiss every national warning as being just another Chicken Little false alarm continue to dismiss any new attempt to awaken a distracted people with what should be obvious to anyone who can see. In truth, the vast majority of Americans are behaving exactly as did the very rich and pompous passengers on board the Titanic. As the stewards were rushing room to room and cabin to cabin warning passengers that the ship was sinking, they continued to frolic and dance, completely deaf and indifferent to the cries of the porters.
On the whole, the American people have ignored the warnings of freedom’s faithful stewards such as Barry Goldwater, Pat Buchanan, and Ron Paul. For the most part, the criers of liberty on the Internet and in talk radio are also ignored.
There are several reasons why so few seem to even see the water rushing up the floors of the ship of state. For one thing, too many of our men have abdicated their manhood. In the glorious history of liberty, when one would observe men with painted faces, they were marching into battle. Today, they are marching into football stadiums. Sports are more than a pastime; they are an addiction. Today’s American men are so beset by sports and pornography that they can barely see the reality that is staring them in the face.
A lying, deceitful, and deliberately conspiratorial national news media is also a major contributor to the collapse of the American republic. No doubt about it! Nazi Germany’s Joseph Goebbels had NOTHING on the propaganda machinery of the American mainstream news media. Put our public (and many private) education system on the list, as well. Yes, the entertainment pimps, who have sold their souls to lust and perniciousness and who love to corrupt the morals of young people, should also be on the list. And, last but not least, a very passive, indifferent, feel-good, corporate Church might possibly be the worst offender of all.
As we enter into 2015, all of the above are already eating the flesh away from Lady Liberty. The condition is near-terminal. Even worse is the recent prognosis of what can only be regarded as the final stage for this morally and politically cancerous-ridden body: the Police State.
Just recently, Ron Paul wrote, “If Americans were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that the Republic is no more. We now live in a police state.”
See Dr. Paul’s excellent column here:
Ron is right! “We NOW [emphasis added] live in a police state.” We are not HEADED for a Police State; we are IN a Police State.
Perhaps not surprisingly, people who escaped totalitarian regimes in other countries and fled to America are the ones who more readily recognize the rise of totalitarianism here in the U.S. than those of us who were blessed to be born here.
Realizing the ostriches will bury their heads in the sand after reading what I’m about to say, I’ll say it again, anyway: the problem is NOT drugs; the problem is the WAR on drugs. The problem is NOT Muslim countries; the problem is an interventionist foreign policy which has waged WAR on Muslim countries for decades. The problem is NOT poverty; the problem is the WAR on poverty. The problem is NOT terror; the problem is the WAR on terror; the problem is NOT racism; the problem is the WAR on racism. The problem is NOT political correctness; the problem is the WAR against political incorrectness. The problem is NOT America’s Christian heritage; the problem is the WAR against America’s Christian heritage. The problem is NOT free speech; the problem is the WAR against free speech. The problem is NOT the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; the problem is the WAR against the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The problem is NOT firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens; the problem is the WAR against the Second Amendment. The problem is NOT that people hate us because we are free; the problem is they hate us because we make WAR against their freedom when it doesn’t comport with the globalists in Washington, D.C., New York, and London.
A Police State is the practical result of everything mentioned in the paragraph above. And a Police State is the final stage of a nation that is losing its liberty.
And in case someone is forwarding this column to a friend or relative who is still in the dark that, yes, America is ALREADY living under a Police State, I invite them to keep an eye on the Police State page on my website for continuing examples of that reality. See it here:
But I warn you: be prepared to spend a lot of time getting current, because the facts and realities that America is already a Police State are multitudinous.
The only remaining question is when will the PTB (Powers That Be) decide to collapse the curtain? Will it be 2015?
We are being set up BIG TIME for another faux-9/11 event: Ferguson; the Paris attacks; ISIS; Senator Dianne Feinstein talking about terror cells already being in the states; Senator Lindsey Graham’s fear-mongering; Senator John McCain’s fear-mongering; the media’s ubiquitous assault against the Second Amendment; the Supreme Court’s continuous rubber stamping of domestic spying; an arrogant White House that illegally acts with impunity against the liberties of the American people; a cowardly and complicit Republican Party that works to protect the big-business interests of Wall Street more than the liberties of the people on Main Street; ad infinitum.
No, I suppose there is one last question: will the American people ever wake up? And, of course, the even greater question is, will the Church ever wake up?
Folks, when the Police State is fully functioning, there is no place to go except into submission or revolution. But revolution without righteousness is no solution at all. Rightly did Patrick Henry call it, “the holy cause of Liberty.” Without an understanding of the undergirding Natural Law principles of liberty, without an understanding of the rightness and justness of liberty, without a moral and reasoned conviction in the hearts and minds of men regarding liberty as the divine will of our Creator, no revolution could be blessed of Heaven. And that’s where the pastors and churches come in; and that’s where the pastors and churches are failing–and failing MISERABLY.
Will freedom survive 2015? There have been a myriad of contributing factors to America’s demise extending over a long period of time, but a Police State is the last and final stage of a diseased and dying nation. We are in that stage NOW. And America’s pastors are the only antidote.
This is no game, folks. If you believe in liberty for our country and for your children, you must get out of these corporate churches that are dancing with the devil and letting the forces of hell obliterate our liberties. If your pastor isn’t preaching the Biblical Natural Law principles of liberty, find one who will.
Let me ask it this way: will freedom survive 2015 if it depended on the pastor of the church that you now attend? If the answer is “No,” why are you still there?
January 17, 2015 by Dr. Srdja Trifkovic
Lt. Col. Dr. Mark Obrtel is a 48 year old officer of the army of the Czech Republic who has served with distinction in his country’s missions under NATO command in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. We would never know of him were it not for the fact that on December 30 he returned all his medals awarded for this service, and justified his decision in a letter to the Czech minister of defense that could have been written by Paul Craig Roberts or Patrick Buchanan.
Had a senior officer of an army unsubservient to the Empire (of a major player, such as China or Russia, or a minor one, such as Venezuela, Belarus or Armenia) done something similar, the Western media would have noted it with gusto. Obrtel is a non-person, however, because what he has done and said is equally uncomfortable to Washington and to its European minions. Before considering the implications, here is the text of Lt. Col. Obrtel’s letter to the Minister:
Dear Mr. Minister,
“Due to the reasons I elaborate upon on the attached three-page letter which is an attachment to this document, I urge you to deprive me of the badges of honor from the military operations of the Army of the Czech Republic performed under the NATO umbrella.
I thank you for your understanding and assertively request your endorsement of my application.
Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Marek Obrtel MD, with his own hand.
An open letter to the defense minister and the Czech government
I am returning the war decorations because I am deeply ashamed of having served a criminal organization which the U.S.-led NATO is, and to its malformed interests across the world.
By this gesture, I also want to unambiguously express my complete disagreement with the U.S. policies towards Russia, the EU member states, and all free and sovereign countries in the present as well as the past and especially with the consequences of these policies.??
I also want to demonstrate my disapproval of the attitude of the Czech government and other competent institutions when it comes to the misinformation campaigns and the intentional information embargo on key events that are relevant for the current geopolitical and military situation in the world. In this context, I also blame all the responsible organs for the total inactivity in their task to prevent a global conflict (especially) between the U.S. and Russia on the European territory.??
Last but not least, my act is meant as a sign of my support for the Czech president Miloš Zeman and his effort to objectively analyze crucial internal and international political questions and his struggle “against everybody” to protect the sovereignty and identity of the Czech nation and its global security.
I received a degree from the Military Medical Academy and I became a professional army physician with a diploma from the Charles University in Prague, I am a reserve lieutenant colonel of the Czech army, and during my tenure, I have spent years in some of the highest chairs of the army’s medical services, always in positions listed in tables with the track of becoming a colonel.
The most important occupations included my job as the commanding officer of the Czech Army Contingent in Afghanistan, the superintendent of the 11th field hospital of the Czech Army in Afghanistan, the vice-commander of the operational commandership of the armed forces’ medical service, or important positions within the Section of army’s healthcare of the Military headquarters of the Czech Army.
During my career within the military operations, I would get familiar with the Bosnian and Herzegovinian matters as well as issues of other successor states of former Yugoslavia, with Afghanistan, very shortly with the questions surrounding the Iraq conflict, and especially with Kosovo.
I have always fulfilled my duties as well as I could and as my strengths allowed me, in agreement with my opinion that similar activities can’t be done at a “50% capacity”…
But already at those places, and especially in Kosovo, I was growing suspicious that our path (actions in units of troops organized by NATO) isn’t right…
Whenever I concluded with the feeling that “something isn’t right”, I was trying to comfort myself by the idea that I was working as a doctor and my mission was to help to the sick and injured ones and those members of the local populations that were affected by the activity of our troops. This comfort has prevented me from seeing the problem in its entirety for several years and to understand that what NATO, and especially the U.S., is doing in numerous countries of the whole world must be ranked as the highest degree of perversity and intoxication by power. But even more importantly, all these conflicts were intentionally fabricated while the excuses to launch such conflicts and the American imperialist policy in these conflicts doesn’t seem to have any limits. Everyone who opposes the imperial ambitions of the U.S. in any way, even if he were defending the identity, economy, and sovereignty of his nation, must be “erased off the map of the world”.
I cannot identify myself with the international U.S. policies and once I began to be interested in the roots, essence, development, and consequences of the actions led by the organizations and structures of the U.S. after the war everywhere in the world, I turned into an unequivocal opponent of these policies. I must unambiguously classify it as ruthless, profit-seeking, and insatiable imperialism that won’t be stopped by anyone or anything. The consequences primarily include the “burned down lands” and millions of casualties in the whole world. The causes are the power interests of the world’s hegemony and – more recently – also the desperate attempt to prevent the ultimate collapse of the American empire.
Wherever I served around the world, I have never avoided the contact with the local populaces – both contacts related to my healthcare services, or simple conversations sparked by random encounters with the people or mutual visits. That is why I never depended exclusively on the NATO-related information sources, but I could also analyze and evaluate the situation from all conceivable perspectives. On the former Yugoslav territory, I had the extra advantage of having quickly mastered the local language at a level that has allowed me basic communication. All these events (and others) have allowed me to understand (and convince myself about) the meaninglessness and monstrosity of the NATO and especially U.S. actions in the context of many artificially ignited conflicts whose goal was to destabilize all the countries that did not want to be satisfied with the roles of obedient puppets and vassals of the U.S. Unfortunately, I was becoming a component in this machinery myself.
It has always been a problem for me to respect superiors who are incompetent, uneducated, inconsistent in their opinions, or incapable, if I had to use one word. On the contrary, I greatly respect the “bosses and commanders” who are the “right men on their places”. For the latter men, I would be able to work for them until being spent out, as Czechs figuratively say…
During my professional career as a military and later civilian physician, I have also met a large number of incompetent politicians and superiors who have exchanged their personal profit and careerism, mixed with hypocrisy, ignorance, and populism, with honor, education, and desire to honestly work for the society.
This replacement has always had important, and sometimes fatal, consequences at every level. Our top-tier politics is no exception – politicians hired as puppets of the global exponents have created a big debt, sold and stolen our country by parts, internally undermined it, and buried all the moral values and they threw us to the tentacles of power structures such as the U.S.-led NATO. The politicians are leading, or at least tolerating, a massive misinformation campaign, hide many critical facts that sometimes affect the future of our lives as well, kowtow to the American “bosses”, and silently tolerate their very strange bloody practices. In this way, they are bringing our country towards an abyss. They are also doing so by their inability to perceive the integrity of Europe including Russia as a counterbalance to the American efforts to enslave the world under its power influence in the times when the economic potential of the U.S. is eroding and it is a matter of when, not if, the whole American system collapses or the U.S. will provoke a fatal war conflict that will exploit Europe as the battleground (for the third time in the history).
How diametrically different is then the attitude and phrases of our president, Miloš Zeman, who – despite a massive wave of outrage in the U.S. and Brussels, and indignation by the pro-American sold “fifth column” – formulates the things as they are, uses the right names to call things, and localizes the genuine culprits and causal relationships and who isn’t afraid that Europe also includes Russia but not the U.S… and other facts. I respect Zeman for those reasons and I encourage all those who care about the fate of our country and ourselves to loudly express their lasting support against “the American practices of CIA realized not only by the U.S. Ambassador Andrew Schapiro”, against the red cards of the traitors from the Prague cafés, and against the policies of the “sycophants in Brussels”. He is a directly elected president of ours, so we shouldn’t let anyone take him away from us…
I am not brave enough to go to fight to the East of Ukraine in the new conflict created as a product of the desperate American imperialism – against the self-declared Ukrainian government. Not only do I lack the courage. Such a decision would be meaningless because this conflict is about something completely different than the search and application of the human rights and freedoms, i.e. the values “for which” the U.S. has already devastated so many countries in the world.
But I am able to find enough courage to unambiguously say that in the new cold war and related matters, I am on the side of the current president Russia, a man whom I deeply respect for the detached view, restraint, and balance with which he is responding to the provocations by the West, and for his matter-of-fact, transparent reactions to all the accusations and lies surrounding all the recent events.
One doesn’t have to be a great expert in political science, sociology, military matters, politics, or related issues to figure out who is the aggressor and why he is doing it and who is defending himself. Common sense, a modest amount of intelligence, and the ability to connect the dots is, along with hours of the research of available sources and materials from several sources, enough.
I have reached my own conclusion a long time ago and I insist it is the right conclusion.
And that is why I can’t and I don’t want to wear my medals from the NATO operations anymore because they have been given to me by a criminal organization led by the U.S. As long as the U.S. and similar countries will be leading NATO, there is no room for these medals on the left side of my uniform.
Dear Mr. Defense Minister, I urge you to remove all the awarded NATO medals from me, and I thank you for this act in advance.
Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Marek Obrtel MD
IT IS SIGNIFICANT that, since the publication of this letter, nobody has accused Lt. Col. Obrtel of being a stooge of Putin. Had he been an FSB/GRU asset, it would have been insane to let him blow his cover for no visible benefit. Had he been deemed suspicious or unreliable, Western security services would have produced the goods by now. But because his was a genuine cri de coeur, measured and articulate, the decision was made to ignore it.
The Czechs are right to feel uneasy about Western geopolitical machinations. They were spectacularly stabbed in the back by their “allies” in Munich in September 1938, and they know that NATO security guarantees are not worth much if it comes to risking New York in order to save Prague.
Aside from the three Muslim men who perpetrated the deadliest terror attack in France since 1961, there are some other individuals complicit in the Wednesday massacre. They have names such as Hollande, Merkel, Löfven and Obama. Their connection to the act will largely go unnoticed and unapprehended — and they likely will never be held to account.
In the wake of the brutality at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, socialist French president Francois Hollande called for tolerance.
I call for intolerance.
The difference between us isn’t that, relatively speaking, I lack the quality. I have a lot of practice exercising tolerance because I have far more to tolerate — not the least of which is the political power and policies of people such as Hollande, Merkel, Löfven and Obama. The real difference is that I actually know what tolerance means.
Tolerance always implies a perceived negative. You wouldn’t have to tolerate a delectable meal or a beautiful car; you relish those things. But you would have to tolerate a stubborn cold, a painful rash or foul weather. So Tolerance Lesson One for Leftists:
If you say you’re tolerant of Muslims, it implies that you consider them a negative.
If you don’t — if instead you like them or just view them neutrally — tolerance doesn’t enter the equation.
Of course, not everything we perceive as negative actually is so. We may dislike broccoli, but tolerate it in order to avoid offending a host or for health reasons. In such cases, when the perceived negative is not objectively negative and there are good reasons to put up with it, tolerance can be a great exercise of virtue.
It also can be virtuous when dealing with an objective negative (ON), such as unjust imprisonment or a terminal illness, that you cannot remedy. Soldiering on nobly in such situations often builds great character and provides inspiration for others.
But what of when at issue is an ON that can be remedied? This brings us to Tolerance Lesson Two for Leftists:
The only virtue in this case lies in wiping the negative out.
Unlike when bearing up nobly in the face intractable ONs, tolerating those that could be eliminated renders one guilty of a failure of omission; it is dereliction of moral duty. An example would be a man who could prevent someone from habitually invading his home and endangering his family, but who fails to do so out of neglect, cowardice or in deference to twisted ideology. (This could, by the way, be viewed as a microcosm of something that perhaps, just maybe, we might want to start having an honest national discussion about.) Another example was when the Spaniards encountered the bloody-altar Aztecs in 16th-century Mexico; they didn’t say “Hey, tearing the hearts out of thousands of innocents while they’re still alive and hanging their body parts in the marketplace isn’t our thing, but we’re good multiculturalists and don’t impose values.” They were intolerant — and, thankfully, an intolerable Hades-born “religion” was vanquished.
Also note that since being neglectful, a coward or a twisted ideologue is an ON itself, it generally doesn’t engender respect. Remember that allowing the continued existence of remediable ONs sometimes amounts to a person letting himself be used as a doormat. And people wipe their feet on doormats. Of course, other times an individual won’t perceive the ON as a negative; noteworthy here is that ingested poison will kill you whether you recognize it as poison or not.
Many interesting lessons on tolerance could be learned from the Muslim world. Note that when pious Muslims perceive something as negative (this isn’t to imply that all their perceptions are accurate), they often stop at nothing to wipe it out. Just consider the tens of thousands of non-Muslims killed and thousands of churches burned by jihadists during the last decade, the enforcement of Sharia law, and the Muslim-conquered parts of European cities euphemistically known as no-go zones.
The leftist response to this Islamic chauvinism is well exemplified by the reaction to the 2014 “Trojan horse scandal,” involving the supplanting of Western curricula by Islamist doctrine in seven London schools. Critiquing one offending institution, British officials noted that pupils didn’t “learn about different faiths and cultures” and, critiquing another — and this is the money line — said that students “understanding of…mutual respect and tolerance…is underdeveloped.” “Ah, yes, these Muslims just need to be tolerant like us,” say the good leftists.
Talk about being dimmer than a 15-watt bulb in a North Korean night.
Since these Muslims view other faiths and cultures as inferior to their own, as negatives, they would have to be tolerant of them — if they didn’t think they could vanquish them. But because they’re making great headway on that front, they have no need to be tolerant. You needn’t tolerate what you can terminate.
And they’re really just taking a leaf out of the left’s book. How tolerant are liberals, really? Remember again, the only test of tolerance is how well you abide things you dislike. And no one is more vicious in destroying perceived negatives than leftists. Just ask the people who’ve lost jobs for defending marriage or criticizing homosexual behavior, such as former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich or ex-Atlanta fire chiefKelvin Cochran. Ask those punished under hate-speech laws or bitten by speech codes on college campuses. Ask the bakers and other Christian businessmen put out of business for refusing to be party to homosexual “weddings.” The reality is that when leftists hate something — and it is all emotion with them — they have no mercy. (Mind you, this is one reason liberals accuse conservatives of being “haters”; it’s projection. Governed by emotion, they only oppose what they despise, so they naturally view opposition as synonymous with hatred.)
So leftists’ calls for tolerance amount to a request that Muslims and others practice what leftists themselves merely preach. But if you consider their working definition of the word — confusing tolerance with affinity or indifference — there is an irony here: these secular fundamentalists have the same message the Islamic fundamentalists do:
Believe what we believe.
Like what we like.
Hate what we hate.
Become one with our collective.
And we can live in peace.
Secular and Islamic fundamentalists have something else in common. Both groups have many perceived negatives that aren’t actually objectively negative, so they try to wipe out the wrong things. Thus do they work together to destroy Christianity and Western civilization. And this is why I named as co-conspirators in the Paris attack Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, Stefan Löfven and Barack Obama. But this brings me to my last Tolerance Lesson for Leftists, and I direct my words now specifically to leftists: There’s something else pious Muslims perceive as a negative, and it also happens to be something that is an objective negative.
It’s so often the case that the best thing a person can do to improve his reputation is die. John F. Kennedy is now a legendary president, but would he be estimated so highly if he’d been able to end his political career as a man and not a myth? Ah, the power of martyrdom.
And so it is with the editors and cartoonists of French magazine Charlie Hebdo (CH). In the wake of the Jan. 7 attack on its offices, millions are showing their support, heroicizing CH and saying “Je suisCharlie” (I am Charlie). On the other hand, there are a few lonely voices, such as Catholic League president Bill Donohue, who have some less than flattering things to say about the magazine. After unequivocally condemning the killings, Donohue called CH’s late publisher, Stephane Charbonnier, “narcissistic” and said that the journalist “didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death.”
While I usually agree with Donohue, I do part company with him here — somewhat. First, the tone of his statement is a bit too deferential toward Islamic sensitivities. Second, I’m not so sure Donohue himself truly understands the role Charbonnier played in his tragic death. As to this, make no mistake:
Charlie Hebdo was an enemy of Western civilization.
Question: Did the people at CH ever oppose the Muslim immigration into France that, ultimately, led to their deaths?
Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and guess they didn’t, that they were rather more inclined to call those who did inveigh against it “racists,” xenophobes and intolerant bigots. And this certainly was reflected in an interview CH cartoonist Bernard Holtrop gave to a Dutch newspaper Saturday. He didn’t say much, it seems, but amidst his few words he made sure to express his dissatisfaction with the fact that the CH attack will help Marine Le Pen’s National Front, the only prominent French party questioning the nation’s immigration model.
We might also note that the victims at CH were basically defenseless, save the one police officer guarding the journalists, because of the gun control that is part of their leftist agenda.
As for the material CH was disgorging, Town Hall’s John Ransom characterized it well, saying that the Charlie caricatures were “juvenile, loaded with bathroom humor, and not at all smart. There were many cartoons that I felt were just offensive — not just to Muslims, but to me as well” (hat tip: Jack Kemp). In other words, to reference that failed leftist radio effort, CH was the Air(head) America of print. In typical liberal style, its artists mistook profanity for profundity, cynicism for sagacity and insult for intellectualism. It’s reminiscent of the women who strip naked to protest; even if their causes were just — which they invariably aren’t — what does it prove? Could you imagine George Washington, or maybe wife Martha, having bared it all to protest the British? With that mentality, would there ever have been a positive and successful American Revolution?
But I’ll tell you what it proves: that we’ve had a successful Western devolution. It proves that Frankfurt School founder Willi Munzenberg wasn’t kidding when he said that to impose the dictatorship of the proletariat, they would “make the West so corrupt it stinks.” This putrefaction is now well advanced, and CH was part of this decay.
Of course, many would respect the fact that CH, unlike most leftists, didn’t spare Muslims the scorn it also heaped on Christians and anyone else didn’t like (which seems to have been everyone else). But while this isn’t as bad as a fifth column in your midst, a platoon that indiscriminately sprays bullets at everybody, its own side as well as the enemy, isn’t exactly helping. (In fact, were one of these leftists in a foxhole next to me, I’d have to frag him before dealing with the foe wearing a different uniform.)
Oh, but let me amend that. One might wonder if CH had a side except its own, and I suspect that such people don’t much like themselves, either (can you blame them on that score?); it seemed that everyone was its enemy. CH showed “nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms,” as Donohue pointed out, and had also attacked the French government, which is pretty much socialist no matter who is in charge. And I know a fellow like this, by the way; he criticized G.W. Bush for being too conservative and then changed his tune when Obama took office.
He started criticizing Obama for being too conservative.
We might ask such people, is there any good in the world at all? Or are you the only good extant?
I know what their answer will be: “F*** ***, @#$%&!”
This typical leftist hatred was reflected by CH’s Holtrop, who responded to the outpouring of support for his mag rag by dismissively saying “We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. It really makes me laugh …We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends.”
But Holtrop and his comrades had been vomiting on Western civilization for years, which is why he doesn’t have to worry about me counting myself among his friends. Instead, I would remind you of British statesman Edmund Burke’s sage words, “It is written in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” We’re not going to preserve legitimate liberties that would be robbed by men of intemperate minds by being men of different intemperate minds. And whom should we fear most? Who most imperils us? Muslim fundamentalists? Or the left-wing fundamentalists who, like dysfunctional cells attacking a body’s immune system, make us susceptible to harmful outside agencies? To paraphrase Roman philosopher Cicero, an enemy at the gates carrying his banner openly is less formidable than those within the gates who rot the soul of a nation, work secretly in the night to undermine the pillars of the society, and infect the body politic so that it can no longer resist.
We fought with the besieged Soviets to defeat Hitler, but we never said “I am Stalin.” I’m certainly as opposed to Muslim jihadists as anyone, but I’m proud to say je ne suis pas Charlie.
“Another attack in the name of religion,” I heard someone say after the vicious and vile Wednesday assault on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo. And there is a huge problem with “religion.” But it’s not what you think.
Question: when the Nazis, Stalinists, Khmer Rouge, the Shining Path or the Weathermen committed violence, did we lament, “Another attack in the name of ideology”? Did we hear “Ideology is the problem”? That would be about as helpful as going to a doctor with a dreadful illness and, upon asking him what the problem is, his responding “Your state of health.”
Like ideology, religion is a category, not a creed. As with states of health, which occupy a continuum from excellent to awful, they both contain the good, the bad and the ugly. But modern man, not wanting to place an onus on a faith or seem a “religious” chauvinist, is a bad physician who refuses to name the disease or the cure. So depending on how he is emotionally disposed, we may hear utterances such as “Children need some religion” or “Religion breeds violence.” Ancient Aztec children had “religion,” and they learned well how to sacrifice thousands of innocents a year to Quetzalcoatl on bloody altars. And Amish children have “religion,” and peace and charity define them.
Conservatives exhibit this problem as well. So many will say “Islam is not a religion; it’s a destructive all-encompassing ideology,” or some variation thereof. They treat “religion,” that broad category, as if it’s good by definition. Not that this isn’t understandable. Raised in a relativistic and pluralistic (and these two qualities have a bearing on one another) society, they want to get along with their neighbors; so they tacitly accept an unwritten agreement stating “I won’t say my religion is better than yours if you don’t say yours is better than mine. We’ll just be even-steven!” The trouble is that this solves nothing — and its implications are more dangerous than jihad.
Starting out simply, note that most of the “religions” man has known were more in the nature of the Aztecs’ bloody faith than what we generally embrace today. But many will assert that this is the point: can’t we say all our mainstream faiths are “good,” practically speaking? Can’t we just omit from their category any “religion” not considered good? Well, we can say and do many things, but ideas have consequences. And a civilization with a corrupted philosophical foundation will not long stand.
Consider another question: what makes some ideologies better than others? It’s that they espouse different values. But what of “religions”?
They also espouse different values.
(And not all values are virtues.)
Thus, not all “religions” can be morally equal unless all values are so. This is important to understand. Every time we treat “religions” as if they are all morally equal, every time we spread that idea explicitly or implicitly — no matter how good our intentions — we’re transmitting the notion that all values are equal. And consider what follows from this: if all values are equal, how can peace be better than jihad?
How could respect for life be better than disdain for it?
How could Western law be better than Sharia law?
How could the Sisters of Charity be better than ISIS?
Of course, this means all ideologies would have to be equal as well, from Nazism to Marxism to conservatism to liberalism to libertarianism. Upon embracing relativism, you have no sound intellectual foundation from which to critique or combat anything (though you can certainly fake one without blinking, as relativism deems deception no worse than sincerity).
Why does this matter? Because this relativism has robbed us of an intellectual argument for defending Western civilization (“How could it be better than any other?” asks Professor Larebil). It is the philosophical fifth column that has opened the door to destructive, unassimilable foreign elements via multiculturalism. As to this, multiculturalism states that all cultures are morally equal. But it’s as with “religion” and ideology: since different cultures espouse different values, not all cultures could be morally equal unless all values were so. It is pure and utter nonsense, a phenomenon of modern times, but, of course, moderns in the main believe it. In fact, the Barna Group research company reported in 2002 in “Americans Are Most Likely to Base Truth on Feelings” that only six percent of teenagers believe “moral truth is absolute.” But it’s an apple that has fallen not far from the burning tree and just a little closer to Perdition — only 22 percent of adults believe in moral absolutes, Barna found, and I think that figure is generous. And this baby philosophy of relativism, my friends, as I’ve been telling you for years and years and years, is why we’re collapsing.
Now let’s return to something mentioned earlier: the criticism of Islam for not being a “religion” but a whole system for living. This misses the point that your “religion,” if true, is supposed to be a whole system for living. And this also brings me to why I have religiously placed “religion” in quotation marks.
This distinction between “religious” and “secular” is largely a false one.
There is only one distinction that truly matters: the true and the untrue.
“Secular” and “religious,” especially in the sense we use them, are relatively modern terms. There was a time when beliefs were not “secular” or “religious” — or even liberal or conservative, or right or left — but simply true or untrue.
And this is the only perspective that makes sense. Think about it: if God exists, is it significant that we call recognition of this reality “religious” or that it’s true? If communism is essentially false, is it significant that we call recognition of that reality “secular” or that it’s untrue? There is only Truth and everything else — and everything else, no matter how you dress it up linguistically, is nothing at all.
In a way, pusillanimous moderns are much like pious Muslims. Muslim theology entertains the curious notion of “dual truth,” the idea that what may be true “religiously” may not be true in nature. This silliness was rejected by Western thinkers in the Middle Ages; now, however, something smacking of it has been embraced by their descendants, who may say things such as “A little ‘religion’ is okay, as long as you don’t go overboard.” Or they may compartmentalize faith, thinking it must be left outside the government-building door or even relegate it to one hour a week of “worship services,” as if it’s mere recreation or an unhealthful indulgence only to be taken in moderation. But if your faith is the Truth — if it reflects the will of the Creator of the Universe — you have an obligation to govern yourself, and infuse your every institution, with it. And if it be a lie, it belongs nowhere but the bowels of Hell.
Of course, if, like most Americans, we believe everything is relative, then none of this matters. Then tolerance and intolerance, multiculturalism and cultural chauvinism, charity and barbarity, the “religious” and the “secular” are all equal. And then those darkly clad men with AK-47s in Paris on Wednesday couldn’t really have been “wrong.” They just had a different perspective.
If we don’t really believe this, then it’s time to grow up. It’s time to understand that if everything is relative, then what we say is relative, too, and thus meaningless. So let’s talk about what is meaningful. We can start by accepting that culture isn’t bad, but there are better and worse cultures. “Religion” isn’t bad, but there is bad “religion.” And tolerance, correctly defined as the abiding of perceived negatives, isn’t bad — except when those perceived negatives are objectively negative and, instead of just being tolerated, could actually be wiped out. Willful tolerance of evil is evil itself.
The Muslims have bad “religion.” We have bad philosophy. Both our civilizations believe in things that are untrue. It’s the “tolerant” meeting the intolerable, a match made in Hell — and poised to create exactly that on Earth.
January 17, 2015 by Jane Stillwater
Clearly this subject has already been covered in the media news cycle ad nauseam but I still can’t stop thinking about the “I am Charlie” concept. Was the idea behind all those people who held up “I am Charlie” posters supposed to be about protecting free speech? Really? Then why isn’t everyone carrying “I am Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden” posters too? Or demanding that the police stop arresting guys who falsely yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater or deliberately start barroom brawls?
Or if those “I am Charlie” posters are in protest of armed thugs in Paris gunning down civilians in cold blood, then why isn’t everyone in Paris also carrying posters proclaiming “I am Iraq” or “I am Syria” or “I am Palestine” or “I am Ukraine” or Libya or Mali or…. You get the picture.
All those people holding up signs protesting the slaughter on Rue Nicolas-Appert might actually think that they too are “Charlie” — and that’s fine. Terrible things happened to the employees of Charlie Hebdo. No one should ever have to suffer the fate of being shot down in cold blood, and thus the victims deserve to be mourned. However I myself chose NOT to be Charlie Hebdo, a vicious slimy obscene rag clearly designed to stir up religious tensions in France.
And I also choose not to be any other bigots or terrorist troublemakers who clearly delight in trying to stir up religious tensions in France, crassly using others’ religious differences to pave their own way to riches and power — and yet who have the ultimate and offensive hypocrisy and nerve to show up for the French “I am Charlie” marches with innocent smiles on their faces. “Who us?” they innocently proclaim — after doing everything they possibly can to stir up bigotry against Muslims.
I am NOT Avigdor Liberman
I am NOT Naftali Bennet
And I am definitely NOT Bibi Netanyahu.
These three guys and their cohorts seem to be always at the center of any religious tension or terrorist attack almost anywhere in the world — starting in 1948 when the Stern Gang blew up the King David Hotel and Moshe Dayan’s “army” slaughtered Christian and Muslim Palestinians left and right in order to steal their land. “Every time anyone says that Israel is our only friend in the Middle East, I can’t help but think that before Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East,” a Jesuit priest stated back then. And that’s still true today.
Israel’s sleazy military-industrial complex then went on to be an uber-cheerleader for America when our own sleazy military-industrial complex bombed Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and I forget what all else. And Israeli neo-cons themselves have bombed Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and I forget what all else too — not to mention their documented ongoing support for ISIS and Al Qaeda.
If bombs, missiles, white phosphorus, tanks, false-flag operations, F-16s, tear gas or even bottle-rockets are involved, Bibi and these guys are so there!
Millions dead in the Middle East? I call that terrorism. And yet Bibi and his minions actually had the chutzpah to march in Paris “against terrorism,” according to Paris Match. Yeah, right.
Yet who benefited from the Charlie Hebdo incident? Let’s see. According to Paul Craig Roberts, it’s the American military-industrial complex that benefited. “Not France, not Muslims, but US world hegemony. US hegemony over the world is what the CIA supports. US world hegemony is the neoconservative-imposed foreign policy of the US.”
But as they say in poker, “I’ll see Roberts and raise him.” Netanyahu benefited. Apparently, right before the Charlie Dodo incident was staged, France had just announced that it might be backing off supporting sanctions on Russia. What? No immediate prospect of World War III? No big Israeli weapons sales? Bibi must have been tres disappointed!
France had also just announced that it was gonna recognize the Palestinian state. OMG! That must have totally pissed Netanyahu off.
Also, our Bibi is having trouble finding settlers to occupy his many illegal condos in Palestine’s West Bank. But he just loves French Jews — and hopes to scare them enough to force them to flee to Israel and live rent-free on Palestinian land. Heck, I like Israel well enough. Wouldn’t mind living there myself. It’s a nice place. Heck, even the Palestinians used to like living there too. But it’s the Israeli neo-cons’ blood-thirsty hypocritical scheming military-industrial-complex-
And I’m not being anti-Semitic here. Let’s leave all that religious bigotry to Charlie Hebdo. I am only being a student of American-Israeli neo-con “Realpolitik” (Rāˈälpōliˌtēk/: A system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations). And Realpolitik has nothing to do with religion.
Good grief, I’m so glad that I’m NOT Netanyahu.
And I also feel nothing but compassion for all the billions of Muslims, Christians and Jews who are being subjected to his vile manipulations. I also feel nothing but compassion for the hostages in the kosher supermarket who were also victims of Bibi’s lust for money and power and to create chaos throughout the world. Even if it means putting all the world’s Jews in danger again.
PS: What is going to happen next in France? Or in Israel and the United States too, for that matter. As my friend RJ suggests, let’s follow Norway’s heroic example after the dreadful 2011 massacre there and stop spending our patrimony on guns, bombs, war and alienation and start spending that money on integrating our nations’ diversity into our national bank of excellent human resources instead.
We’ve already wasted a hundred trillion dollars on “war” so far, only to discover again and again that violence doesn’t ever work. Not in the Middle East, not in Ukraine, not in Paris, not at the World Trade Center and not in Ferguson either. Just imagine if we had spent all that money on education, jobs, and integrating our society into a smooth-running democratic machine instead.
To paraphrase Thomas Piketty, “You can’t have a political democracy unless you have an economic democracy too.” And “war” has ruined — absolutely ruined — the economic democracy of both Israel and the USA. And probably France too.