October 26, 2014 by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Conspiracy theorists, those who look for the facts, ignoring the pressure of jeers, flawed appeals to authority, and intimidation, are the sanest among us. The steady migration of investigative journalists, who turn their backs on more lucrative employment, is only one indication of this.
In a recent article, Scientific Study Reveals Conspiracy Theorists The Most Sane Of All, the author, J. D. Hayes, cites a recent study, published July 2013, by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent in the UK. It was entitled “‘What about Building 7?’ A Social Psychological Study of Online Discussion of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories.”
Their conclusion is that, contrary to those mainstream media stereotypes, “conspiracy theorists” appear to be more sane than people who accept official versions of controversial and contested events.
Attempts to demonize our perception on conspiracy theorists erects barriers to protect those whose profits are endangered by the truth.
These techniques for manufacturing opinion were outlined by Edward Bernays, whose book, “Propaganda,” asserts those who rule should use the trust accorded them in exactly this way.
Interestingly, Leo Strauss, whose political philosophy is in alignment with Bernays, asserted the same opinion. Strauss’ work was largely adopted by those who call themselves NeoConservatives who are anything but Conservative.
The opinion shared was that those in power are justified to lie, cheat and steal to keep and increase their power. The Kochs use these techniques in business and politically.
The use of the term, “Conspiracy Theory” increased rapidly in the wake of the JFK assassination due to its pejorative use in the MSM. This worked to stifle questions already being raised.
The issue which underlies the article by William Saletan, Conspiracy Theorists Aren’t Really Skeptics attempts to validate intellectual bullying, a logical extension of the philosophies of Bernays and Strauss. You don’t get more MSM than the Washington Post.
In the original formulation of American society those in positions of authority were morally and ethically obligated to explain themselves. The facts were to be available to all. Journalists investigated and reported the truth, as they saw it. This changed.
Saletan raised the issue of human psychology but failed to mention a perplexing issue which has long troubled us. This is the presence of those without conscience. For most of the 20th Century therapists believed these individuals could change, the problem was psychological. Today we know this is a neurological issue.
Advances in neurobiology have brought objective understanding. Now, thousands of criminals have been identified as psychopaths using an fMRI. The scan identified malfunctions in areas of the amygdala, which is now known to be associated with conscience, empathy, and compassion.
According to Dr. Robert Hare, serial murderers and con-men are always psychopaths. But Hare has also noted many who are also psychopathic are not violent and well able to control their impulses to gain far more expansive goals.
These individuals are highly intelligent. At any time there are 20,000 psychopaths with I.Q.s over 180 at large in the United States.
It would be instructive to see test results from MRI scans done on Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and their cadre.
The cost of psychopathy has been calculated at around 360 billion a year – in the US. This does not include the highly intelligent ones which, clearly cost far more, given the impact of Cheney and company on America. Could the people who so desperately wanted torture as a tool be emotionally normal?
Today, experts believe the explanation for the financial meltdown now ongoing can be explained by the concentration of psychopathic individuals in corporations, finance and government.
The characteristics of the condition include calloused unconcern for others. This accounts for the oil companies which routinely externalize their costs, leaving those harmed by the toxic waste they cause, to struggle and die.
Those without conscience, willing to lie for their own profit, have long been with us. But today they can avoid the troublesome issue of having their actions known and understood. They have learned to spin.
To ensure this continues they must continue manufacturing public opinion about their previous actions. This is why they began using the term, “Conspiracy Theory.” They work vigorously to ensure the facts remain hidden.
Refusing to accept the officially mandated opinion on any subject, be in the JFK assassination or whether or not to give your child pharmaceuticals as treatment for ADHD has been used to categorize individuals who refuse to accept predigested conclusions as crazy, stupid or paranoid. When this happens, rest assured, some corporation’s profits could be impacted.
This is a form of control intended to intimidate and inject fear. It also marginalizes vast numbers of people, keeping them in fear so they can be controlled.
To that end they, I call them Greedvilleins, also use our love of each other, country, loyalty, and trust, to manipulate us into wars which profit them and place us in perpetual debt.
If you limit what is acceptable to hold as opinions and deny people full access to the facts you destroy the trust basis of our society. Emotionally normal people are not comfortable when they cannot trust those around them.
These are rational responses to existing conditions.
What is insane is trusting psychopaths. Yet these are now common in finance and government. You can be sure they will routinely act with a sublime lack of conscience, for your freedom, your assets and your very life.
To cope with these conditions many still refuse to think about it, thus avoiding extreme anxiety. Others, for instance those who look for the facts, and are demeaned as “conspiracy theorists.”
The presence of highly intelligent psychopaths among us, who generally avoid being prosecuted, is one of these explanations.
Saladan’s article passes today as investigative journalism. It pays well and explains why so many truly honest journalists left to work in the alternative media.
October 26, 2014 by Chuck Baldwin
When I started my radio talk show back in 1994–and for the next six years hosting the show–I was considered a hero by conservatives everywhere. Between my leadership position with the Moral Majority back in the 1980s and my radio talk show in the 1990s, I walked shoulder-to-shoulder with practically every notable conservative leader, including Christian leaders, one could think of. I traveled the country speaking with, and for, the most visible conservative leaders in America. I became friends with a host of U.S. congressmen and senators, not to mention several State governors. I even sat at the “king’s table” with President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush. I was one of the “darlings” of conservatism. Just about anybody who was anybody was a guest on my show.
I only mention all of that so readers can understand my background–along with the “rest of the story” that brought me to where I am today.
Back in those days, I fell right in lock-step with the left-right paradigm: Republicans were good; Democrats were bad. And even if the Republican was downright bad, he wasn’t as bad as the Democrat. That doctrine was sacrosanct and unassailable. And I believed that malarkey as much as anyone.
I started smelling a rat in 1996 when the GOP anointed Bob Dole as the next “conservative” Republican who was going to lead us to the Promised Land. I knew Dole well enough: he was anything but a conservative. In fact, he joined the likes of Richard Nixon and now John Boehner who say that they have never read the Republican Party platform. Boehner has gone so far as to say that he doesn’t know anybody who has read it. He probably told the truth there. The vast majority of Republican leaders in Washington, D.C., have not read it, don’t care what it says, and give no heed to it. I knew in my heart that Bob Dole would be a horrible President, and that he would NOT give a hoot in hades about obeying the Constitution. Plus, I had developed a great respect for and friendship with Pat Buchanan, who was an ardent conservative constitutionalist. So, I was supporting Pat’s presidential candidacy.
There is so much I would love to tell you about the rest of that primary, but let me fast forward to the end of the season. Toward the end of that 1996 GOP primary season, the congressman that my radio talk show was largely responsible for helping get elected, Joe Scarborough, came to me and pleaded, saying, “Chuck, I’m the only Republican congressman to not have already endorsed Dole. I’ve held out for as long as I can. Pat can’t win the nomination. It’s over. Dole will be the candidate. We have to rally behind Dole in order to beat Bill Clinton. You have to help me.”
I caved. For the sake of “party unity” and “defeating Bill Clinton,” I totally capitulated. Remember the sacred doctrine: Republicans are always good guys, and Democrats are always bad guys. And if even if the Republican is a bad guy he is not as bad as the Democrat.
So, there I was, standing next to Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Joe Scarborough at a press conference at the General Aviation office at the Pensacola, Florida, regional airport publicly endorsing the Republican Bob Dole for President of the United States. Albeit, I was still wearing my Pat Buchanan lapel pin. My defiance wasn’t dead, only crippled.
As I walked to my car after the press conference, I felt sick. I mean, totally and thoroughly sick. I had betrayed my convictions and my conscience, and I knew it. I vowed then and there that I would never again support a candidate—any candidate, no matter what his or her party label–for any public office that I did not believe in my heart would at least be faithful to the essential principles of liberty upon which our country was built.
For the next four years I marched forward with my radio talk show extolling the principles of liberty as loudly as I knew how. Mind you, the bitter taste of my compromise stayed in my mouth. It never went away. Still hasn’t. In addition, the next four years afforded me great opportunity to awaken to a host of truths, including the truth that both major parties in Washington, D.C., were actually not all that different. I came to realize that what Pat Buchanan had said was really true: “There are not two political parties in Washington, D.C., just two wings of the same bird of prey.”
One of the highlights of that awakening came when I interviewed David Schippers, who was the lead counsel for the House Judiciary Committee in the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings. He told me that as he pleaded with Republican leaders in the Senate (Trent Lott, Ted Stevens, etc.) to look at the evidence that his legal team had gathered, one of the “good guy” Republican senators said, “David, we don’t care if you have a video tape of the President raping a woman, then standing up and shooting her dead, we are not going to vote to remove this President from office.”
Schippers, a lifelong Democrat, was absolutely stunned. You can imagine. Schippers was a tough, no-nonsense, right-is-right, law-and-order kind of guy. He was the guy who took on the Chicago mafia–and won. He was an honest Democrat who was willing to unveil the criminality of a corrupt Democrat. Now he was watching a group of Republican senators in Washington, D.C., make the mafia look like good guys.
Schippers wrote a book of the whole sordid ordeal called, “Sellout: The Inside Story of President Clinton’s Impeachment.” It was published by Regnery Publishing. If you’ve never read it, you should do so immediately. The real story will shock you. And you will discover that, no, the Republicans are NOT always good guys–or even the “lesser of two evils.”
Enter the 2000 presidential elections. By now, my eyes were much wider open than they had been four years ago. But when G.W. Bush first ran for President, he said all of the right things. He said he was pro-life, pro-Constitution, pro-liberty, pro-less government, pro-Bill of Rights, etc. So in 2000, I supported G.W.
I’m still doing my radio talk show (and by now I was writing this column); I’m still a conservative hero; I’m still basking in the “success” of being a conservative Republican “darling.”
But that’s when the fun started! It didn’t take very long to realize that G.W. Bush was as phony as a three dollar bill. He was no “conservative.” He was not pro-liberty, pro-Bill of Rights or anything of the kind. G.W. Bush was Bill Clinton on steroids! Bill Clinton tried to pass what became known as the USA Patriot Act, but couldn’t get it done. Bush passed it with ease. He signed the Military Commissions Act into law; he gave America an unconstitutional national police force known as the Department of Homeland Security. Bill Clinton never attempted and could never have accomplished such things. G.W. Bush introduced the “preemptive war” doctrine to America. He invaded nations that had absolutely NOTHING to do with 9/11. He signed a law authorizing U.S. federal agents–or even military troops–to seize American citizens on U.S. soil and incarcerate them indefinitely without a subpoena or court order of any kind, without habeas corpus, without legal counsel, or any other requirement of justice guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. In truth, everything that Barack Obama is using today to abuse the power of the presidency, he borrowed from G.W. Bush.
So, by 2002 and 2003, and with the bitter taste of Bob Dole still gagging me, I made a decision: I will no longer protect and support Republicans for the sake of “party unity” or for the sake of “he’s not as bad as the Democrat.” No! In truth, it dawned on me that many times Republicans were WORSE than Democrats. From now on I was going to be faithful to my convictions and to the truth as I understood it.
Many of these “pragmatic political scientists” view politics as nothing more than mathematical formulas, test tube experiments, and lab rats. They will support and endorse any formula, no matter how evil the immediate process might be, in order to obtain their supposed “greater good” objective. They recognize absolutely nothing moral or immoral as it relates to politics. It is just “science.” Nothing is right; nothing is wrong; it’s all about putting in the right formulas in order to obtain some lofty, utopian, long-term objective.
In theological terms, the above is called “moral relativism.” In philosophical terms, it is called, “the end justifies the means.” In military terms, it is called, “might makes right.” In business terms, it is called, “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.” And it’s all a bunch of horse manure!
Republican shills will accept practically any evil committed by Republicans under the rubric of the “lesser of two evils” mantra. Democrat apologists will do the same for their fellow Democrats. In truth, party loyalists from both the Republican and Democrat parties in Washington, D.C., are giving America the royal SHAFT.
Our first and greatest president, George Washington, tried to warn us about this danger in his masterful “Farewell Address.” Washington said that the “spirit of party” (meaning, the preoccupation with, and loyalty to, political parties) was our “worst enemy.” He said it was “sharpened by the spirit of revenge,” and that it “perpetuated the most horrid enormities.” He said that the “spirit of party” led to “a more formal and permanent despotism.” He said the leaders of political parties would be elevated “on the ruins of public liberty.” He said it is “the interest and duty of wise people to discourage and restrain it.”
Washington went on to say that the “spirit of party” “agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms.” He said it “opens the door to foreign influence and corruption.” He said the “force of public opinion” must always “mitigate and assuage it.” Then, Washington ended this section of the address saying, “A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest instead of warming it should consume.”
Every warning George Washington gave us concerning the “spirit of party” has come true in modern America. Party hacks place more loyalty to doing what is good for their party than doing what is good for their country. In many respects, their preoccupation with party partisanship has become their own worst enemy, just as Washington warned. These party shills constantly demonstrate the “spirit of revenge.” In the name of fighting FUTURE despotism, party hacks constantly surrender to an IMMEDIATE and “more formal and permanent despotism.” Party members are “elevated [elected] on the ruins of public liberty.” Party shills are constantly agitating “the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms [especially about how bad the other party’s candidate is].” Party shills stand back and say nothing when their party opens the door to “foreign influence and corruption.” Again, to them, party is more important than country.
The fascination with “political science” demonstrated by party hacks reveals a complete lack of moral conscience. Remember, to party hacks, nothing is right or wrong, only better or worse. Their mantra is, “Our party is better; their party is worse.” And virtually every moral and constitutional malfeasance committed by the favored party member is justified under this mantra.
Thus, Bill Clinton’s repeated perjuries could take the Office of The President of The United States to the brink of disgrace and ruin and, yet, he could still be thought a hero by Democrats. And G.W. Bush’s unconstitutional wars and assaults against the Bill of Rights could take the American people to the brink of totalitarian government and, yet, he could still be thought a hero by Republicans.
Needless to say, when I started telling the truth about G.W. Bush on my radio talk show (just as I had done when Clinton was in office), the “darling” luster quickly vanished. Suddenly, where I was once a hero, now I was a villain. Where I was once a man with great conviction and honor, now I was considered extremist–or even evil. But I was standing for the exact same principles and ideals I had always stood for. But because I was no longer loyal to the “spirit of party,” I became a political outcast. George Washington was exactly right!
As most readers know, I went on to run for President of the United States after Ron Paul was defeated in the Republican primaries in 2008. There was no way in hades I was going to pull another Bob Dole poison pill out of the GOP Big Pharma pill box and vote for the Neocon John McCain. So, when hundreds of Pat Buchanan/Ron Paul conservatives asked me to help keep the voice of constitutional government alive in the 2008 presidential campaign by seeking the presidential nomination of the Constitution Party, I did just that. And as far as I know, I am the only candidate for President that Ron Paul publicly endorsed since Ronald Reagan.
And, no, I didn’t vote for the Neocon Mitt Romney in 2012. And I won’t vote for any Neocon candidate in 2014. And should the GOP nominate another Neocon for President in 2016, I won’t vote for him either.
The liberties of the American people protected in the Bill of Rights are not test tube rats to be scientifically dissected and analyzed by party hacks, who love to call themselves political scientists. Our liberties and freedoms are not subject to the pragmatic “lesser evil” agendas of party shills–be they Democrats or Republicans.
We have been trading Democrats for Republicans and vice versa for as long as any of us can remember. And where has it gotten us? I realize that compromise is necessary in many aspects of politics–but NOT when it comes to the fundamental tenets of the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. Compromise of those fundamental tenets is not compromise at all; it is appeasement and the worst kind of surrender. And to support those who commit such crimes in the name of party partisanship is the worst kind of patriotism.
Here is the problem. The political scientists and hacks among us do NOT recognize in any way, shape, manner or form, the SPIRITUAL warfare that we face. They do not recognize the spirit of darkness that governs in high places. They cannot recognize nor comprehend that the Evil One can just as easily accomplish his devilish purposes through a Republican office-holder as he can through a Democrat office-holder. Even many professing Christians seem to suffer from this myopia. It seems lost to them that there could be very powerful people who are masters at manipulating “conservative Republicans” and “liberal Democrats” alike for their own wicked and evil purposes. Well, there are; and they do. To single out one party as inherently “worse” and another party as inheritably “better” is the height of naiveté.
In fact, in many ways an “in the dark” Republican is MORE DANGEROUS than an “in the dark” Democrat, because the Republican is operating under the ruse of “light.” An enemy who wears the uniform of a friend is more dangerous than an enemy who wears the uniform of an enemy. That’s why G.W. Bush got away with a whole lot more than Bill Clinton did. And that’s why Mitt Romney would have gotten away with a whole lot more than Barack Obama has. And that’s why your local Neocon Republican congressional or senatorial candidate will get away with a whole lot more than your local Democrat candidate.
I made my decision as I walked away from a press conference with Bob Dole back in 1996. Somehow, in that short walk from the press room to my car, I came to agree with George Washington; and I traded the “spirit of party” for the “Spirit of ’76.” And I’ve never looked back.
October 26, 2014 by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
It is ironic that John Fund claims some kind of victory by pointing out a highly marginal way of stealing a few votes via the unusual opportunity of finding unused ballots. In his recent article, James O’Keefe Strikes Again, the back slapping was thick and gleeful.
James O’Keefe, again, scored a media event in these last days before the coming election. This time he was not dressed up in his pimp dudes, but he should have been.
The election would have to extraordinarily close for this kind of voter fraud to matter. Argument like these are like blaming the national debt on shop lifting by senior citizens. It happens, but it is rare.
The Big Game is being run by the Number Two Man on Fund’s own speed dial, Karl Rove. Stealing Elections was essential if the Number One Man on Fund’s speed dial in the same period, Dick Cheney, of Halliburton, was to win and so become even richer. The three are linked by common interests as well as a solid and long term friendship. They scratch each other’s backs, as the expression goes.
When John beats up a woman, or otherwise misbehaves, they are there for him.
Fund, having made himself a kind of a ‘reputation’ for pimping the idea of Voter Fraud lays it on thick and cheesy in his article.
The other side, located in Colorado, make themselves look pathetic because a NeoCon had to give them this exciting idea – and these twits golly gosh, gee’d all over James O’Keefe instead of showing him the door.
Franklin’s state director, Meredith Hicks, told O’Keefe that committing voter fraud using unused ballots was perfectly okay. “That’s not even lying or stealing, if someone throws out the ballot. If you want to fill it out you should do it,” she told O’Keefe on tape.
Note: Cheating is always wrong. It destroys trust in the integrity of the entire electoral process and is repulsive in anyone.
That said, can’t you see this woman rooting round in people’s trash cans looking for those ballots? How would you know when they would appear? Many of these ballots will end up in the trash, but only after election day. “Oh. Never mind, that was yesterday.” Others will be used as grocery lists, book marks, made into paper airplanes and other purposes for which they were not intended. Some will also be used for voting.
Really, it makes you cringe.
There is a magnitude of difference between this level of electoral dishonesty and the Big Game. That is where the real money is and this article is evidence John Fund is still Pimping for the same folks who profited by murdering a million and a half Iraqis, killing off babies doomed by the effects of DU to short and horrible lives, and other war crimes galore. Remember Bush and his administration’s excitement over ‘rendering’ people?
You can’t say Fund is not consistent. So are No. One SpeedDial and No. Two SpeedDial.
To get the money you have to win the election and if you are Dick Cheney or George Bush you can’t win unless you cheat.
Rove is not into retail, he is all about Whole Selling out America with Ballot Fraud via cool electronics. He has made millions this way. Cheney, No. Two SpeedDial, made billions.
Fund and Friends are all Pimps. They should dress the role.
October 26, 2014 by Sartre
Ever since the 2008 financial collapse, banks have reduced their lending while accumulating U.S. Treasuries. On the surface placing capital into the safest depositor may seem prudent. On the other hand, Why Big Banks Are Suddenly Interested in Talking to You Again? According to Inc, “After years of turning away small-business borrowers, the country’s largest banks are now granting one out of five loan applications they receive. The 20 percent benchmark represents a post-recession high for big banks (assets of $10B+). Further, small banks have been approving more than half of the funding requests they receive.”
Such news would normally be welcomed. The Sovereign Man article, Here’s Why US Banks Are Now Extremely Vulnerable, presents a sober warning that the banking industry is at risk from a bond market sell-off.
“In just the last month alone American banks increased their holdings of US treasuries by $54 billion, to a record $1.99 trillion.
Facing $127 trillion in unfunded liabilities – which is nearly double 2012’s total global output – and with no inclination to reduce those numbers at all, at this point disaster for the US is entirely unavoidable.
Under the rather arbitrary Bank of International Settlements Basel capital adequacy rules government debt rated at least AA continues to carry a “zero risk” weighting. Meaning that banks do not need to set aside capital against it.
Beyond that, regulations imposed after the last crash to reduce risk require banks to hold $100 billion in liquid assets, which of course includes bonds. Thus, they are not only encouraged, but actually forced to buy government bonds.”
The fundamental change in the last six years is that the banks were rescued from normal capital requirements under a zero interest rate discount window. The inevitable result starved the small business and personal borrowing market from obtaining loans. With the loosing of funds to finance business and consumers, could the dire warning that the banks understand they need to rotate out of Treasuries, be the reason for the shift in lending?
However, the rush to come into compliance has America’s Banks Pile Up Treasuries as Deposits Overwhelm Lending. This explanation of a change in regulation ordains that U.S. Bonds are still a necessary component in their balance sheet.
“Rules approved Sept. 3 by the Fed, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. leave banks about $100 billion short of the $2.5 trillion in easy-to-sell assets that they need to meet the liquidity standard, according to the Fed. Lenders must reach 80 percent of their liquidity coverage ratios by January and have until the start of 2017 to reach full compliance.”
Illustrating this point, “Bank of America alone may need to purchase as much as $65 billion of government debt to become fully compliant, according to report last month from Marty Mosby, a banking analyst at Memphis, Tennessee-based Vining Sparks.”
Providing additional encouragement is a WSJ report that U.S. Bank Profits Near Record Levels.
“On the heels of the financial crisis, some lawmakers, regulators and consumers complained that banks weren’t lending enough. But steady improvement in credit quality, or borrowers’ ability to repay loans, is prompting banks not only to lend more but also to ease their standards.
The higher loan levels come as banks are easing up on their underwriting standards to borrowers. A Federal Reserve survey of senior loan officers released last week found that lenders were loosening standards and loan terms for commercial and industrial loans and commercial real-estate loans.”
Reconciling the need to keep buying treasuries and originating new loans to satisfy business demand is a challenging objective. By returning to the old fashion business model, of actually making loans to customers, banks are generating significant profits.
While graphs show the downward trend in loans since TARP, the current upturn is ready to be charted. Lending money for productive enterprise has contributed to a rise in GDP. The transition to a consumer based economy is dependent on the flow of transactions. When the pace of the velocity of money increases and confidence strengthens, prosperity usually follows.
The different in this feeble recovery phase is that the debt assumed by the Treasury, monetized within Federal Reserve liabilities, requires servicing no matter the health of the general economy. Near zero or cost free interest rates is approaching an expected crisis of uninterrupted maintenance. The exact trigger that drives up rates, while elusive to forecast, is inevitable in coming.
The Money Show article, Rising Rates? Beware of Big Banks, describes the predicament accordingly.
“The reality is that traditional commercial and consumer lending is no longer the big money maker that it used to be for banks. Since the 2008 financial crisis, households and businesses have been deleveraging—paying down debt—and demand for loans has been limp.
In recent years, the big banks have fattened their profits mainly from capital-markets businesses: Mergers and acquisitions, stock and bond offerings, and other types of trading. Rising interest rates also make the cost of capital go up for businesses, which can result in less deal making, lowering financing fees for the banks.”
Hype that loan demands have returned in earnest is overstated. Coming off such a low level, any modest increase looks bigger than it really is. That revered business cycle, simply is no longer the same.
So what happens in the catch-22 scenario when banks are adjusting to different capital requirements and Treasuries drop in price with a rise in interest rates? That’s the 64 trillion dollar question.
Banking is more about mathematics than business acumen when additional debt created money is needed to pay the service of obligations that come due. The roll over can be staggering. Banksters make up the monetary rules. That $127 trillion nut is bigger than all the bank reserves put together.
For those who argue the economy can grow its way out of this liquidity squeeze must have a time frame longer than the imaginative bag of tricks left in the vaults of banks.
October 25, 2014 by Jane Stillwater
American journalist Serena Shim was beheaded — and “not with a sword but a cement truck,” to paraphrase T.S. Elliott.
Right before she lost her head in a brutal “accidental” collision with a cement truck the size of a freight train, Shim had reported that not only was Turkey supplying ISIS foreign fighters and terrorists from such places as Pakistan and Chechnya with weapons and material, but Turkey was also spiriting wounded ISIS terrorists back over the Syrian border into Turkey, hidden in NGO aid trucks, so they could be treated in Turkish hospitals.
Turkish Intelligence is highly suspected of setting up this tragic hit on Shim, hoping to silence her — but its actions have backfired and all it has really accomplished is to make the whole world put Turkey under a microscope, asking questions about Shim’s bloody death and the role that the Turkish intelligence agency played in this beheading.
“Turkey. how could you have sunk so low?” the whole world now asks.
“Hey, it was easy,” Turkey replies. “What else could we do?” What else could Turkey do indeed — when the usual crew of polished and professional American and Israeli neo-con con-men (not to be mistaken for actual honest, hardworking and sorely hoodwinked Americans and Israelis) simply showed up at its doorstep, waved their magic wands over Turkish president Erdogan’s head and promised to get him the old Ottoman Empire back if only he would attack Syria. (Or else.)
And then with his eyes dazzled by dreams of glittering booty, Erdogan fell for the con — hook, line and sinker. Of course he did. And then he opened Pandora’s box and let ISIS in.
According to Middle East expert Judith Bello, the Washington Post published a map “of the flow of 15,000 fighters flowing into Syria from more than 80 nations, hardly the foot soldiers of a civil war. Most of these fighters have entered Syria through Turkey.”
A sorry cancer-like epidemic of death, destruction and deceit has spread over the Middle East in the last few decades. And Turkey, the “Sick Man of Europe,” has been the latest nation to catch it.
Welcome to the cancer ward, President Erdogan.
On Thanksgiving this year, Turkey will obviously have nothing to be thankful for, what with ISIS sitting at its table and expecting its dinner — unless Turkey starts “chemotherapy” immediately. My prescription for Turkey? “Stop messing around with ISIS, stop believing the empty promises of American and Israeli neo-con-men, and start behaving in Turkey’s citizens’ best interests instead.”
Turkey has been trying to join the European Union for years now. But who wants a Turkey in the EU that has already proven itself to be just another Middle Eastern “soiled dove” for American and Israeli con-men? Erdogan has thrown the baby out with the bathwater here.
Just because Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have all been diagnosed with the kind of fuzzy thinking that can only be caused by cancer of the part of the brain that governs common sense and self-preservation, this doesn’t mean that Turkey has to waste away too. Beheading a journalist is common in these other neo-con infected countries. But one would expect that a sophisticated and modern country like Turkey, a potential member of the EU even, might be immune. But apparently not.
President Erdogan, what were you THINKING!
PS: Looks like the average American and Israeli isn’t immune from catching the cancer of stupid thinking either. If we aren’t a lot more careful and watchful and vigilant than we are right now, then we too may soon be contracting this Turkish and Middle Eastern disease — and then watch our own journalists get beheaded too.
October 25, 2014 by Dr. Franklin Lamb
Avoidable Humanitarian Crisis at Lebanon Border Crossing…
Chest high metal crowd control barriers manned by armed guards—since late September they have stood outside the Arrivals Hall on the Lebanon side of the Masnaa border crossing with Syria. For Syrian and Palestinian refugees fleeing the continuing violence next door and trying to get into Lebanon the message is clear:
Don’t come within 40 meters of the Immigration building, and don’t even dream about coming to the staffed counter with any documents. None of you is welcome. Ninety eight percent of you will not be allowed in, and those who are better leave within 24 hours and have a valid airline ticket to prove your intention to depart.
Over the past few years, this observer has crossed at the Masnaa border crossing fairly frequently. Yet never have I seen such an avoidable humanitarian disaster for families seeking to get out of war-torn Syria. And it is reportedly much the same at the Jordanian border. Many refugees have found themselves squatting here—first in the heat, and now in the cold autumnal nights that increasingly are seeing cold rainfall. No other option seems available to them than to try to enter Lebanon, this as they express the forlorn hope that God in his mercy will help them.
And so here they sit, bewildered, outside the Immigration building, exhausted, little if any money in their pockets or purses, with their children thirsty, hungry, and often crying. Nearby are the local offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), but the staff are overwhelmed, and the fact that Lebanon hasn’t signed the 1951 Refugee Convention doesn’t make things any easier for them. Extending humanitarian assistance to refugees has never been embraced by certain anti-Palestinian politicians in Lebanon, who apparently see no value in it for themselves, but that being said, it is a fact that the sheer numbers of refugees entering Lebanon now has added to pre-existing problems with respect to infrastructure, chronic water and electricity shortages, massive unemployment, exploding sectarian conflicts, and the like.
All of which can make for some harrowing scenes at the border checkpoint. During this observer’s most recent crossing, a Syrian gentleman sat on the roadside with his wife, five children, and one grandchild, explaining to me how the family had lost everything in Homs. No other choice had they than to try and seek safety in Lebanon, since Egypt and Jordan are refusing entry to Syrian refugees. His oldest child, a lovely girl named ‘Rasha,’ who appeared to be in her mid-20s, sat nursing her infant son as we talked. Rasha’s husband, he informed me, had been killed by a mortar last spring on a day he had gone out shopping for food near the old city of Homs. In desperation, the gentleman suggested that I purchase his daughter and her baby, because he saw no future for them and he could no longer provide a home for them. Plus the baby appeared ill.
After my long explanation of why, for several reasons, this was not possible, he stated his belief that my being an American meant that the Lebanese guards would allow me to enter with Rasha and her baby; they in turn could live with me until the crisis ended, and on second thought, I did not even have to pay him anything. Just save her and her baby. With respect to the Lebanese border guards, his idea was unrealistic. Most Americans do tend to be liked around these parts, and most of us try to be goodwill ambassadors because we love our country and her ideals. But it is not the case that Americans can bend immigration regulations, nor should it be. Before the crisis, Syrians and Lebanese could simply take a road not patrolled, avoiding border crossings and formalities altogether, but these days that is very dangerous.
I gave the gentleman my card and a little money in case his family and he were somehow able to get over the border, and promised him that if they were successful I and friends would try to help. I have heard nothing more from him. But I have learned, from a couple of NGOs, that encounters such as I experienced are not all that uncommon these days, with women and children stuck at the Syrian-Lebanese border being bought and sold—and with bribes sometimes offered, and occasionally paid. The frequency of this is difficult to assess, and the reality may be exaggerated, but certainly not exaggerated are the facts of the increasingly inhumane conditions that Syrian and Palestinian refugees face in Lebanon—a country in which they are denied some of the most basic, elementary rights by the government, and where they also run the risk of harmful brushes with various militias and hooligans.
Discussions I have had—with staff at the central.
Immigration office in Damascus as well as Syrian human rights associations and Syria-based Arab journalists who have researched and written about this subject—reveal not only a bleak picture of the humanitarian situation, but also a growing level of disgust in Syria over what is happening to their countrymen in Lebanon. Cases of Lebanese discrimination and harassment targeting Syrian refugees, including violations of international customary law and the 1951 Refugee Convention, have become commonplace. In addition, Syrians increasingly are falling prey to violence. Human Rights Watch said it had documented a string of attacks by Lebanese residents against Syrian refugees in August and September. Those interviewed described being stabbed, shot and beaten, and several claimed that they were either too afraid to report the crimes, or that they had and their stories had been dismissed by security forces when they did. HRW said that attacks it documented were most often carried out by private citizens, but in several cases they appeared to have “the tacit support” of authorities, and the international organization has urged security forces and local authorities to step up protection of Syrian refugees.
“Lebanon’s security forces should protect everyone on Lebanese soil, not turn a blind eye to vigilante groups who are terrorizing refugees,” said HRW Deputy Middle East Director Nadim Houry.
One especially taxing problem is the financial cost exacted by Lebanon for Syrian refugees to register a baby. In Syria, anyone from Lebanon, or from any country for that matter, can register a newborn for the equivalent of 1,000 Lebanese lire (around 66 US cents). The process takes around fifteen minutes. But not so in Lebanon. According to a report by the Taanayel General Hospital in central Bekaa, the number of new babies born to Syrian refugees, since March 2011 when the crisis began, has exceeded 15,000, just in the Bekaa Valley alone. In North Lebanon, the UNHCR estimates more than 5,000 births, and the Syrian Embassy in Beirut says there are now approximately 6,000 births per year among displaced Syrians in Lebanon. But for many of these parents, the registration process is nearly impossible.
First they must obtain a certificate from the hospital or midwife indicating the date of birth—generally not a big problem, but then the baby must be registered at the office of the local Muktar. That is if they can prove legal residence, and if the local Muktar is willing to help, which is not always the case. Sometimes he wants a fee, and in some reported cases a bribe, in order to forward the paperwork to the Directorate of Personal Status. If the parents are lucky, their application might then be sent to the Exterior Ministry for another approval, and finally may reach the Syrian Embassy to complete the process of registering the newborn. But the process can be delayed or scuttled along the tortuous procedural path for any number of reasons, including escalating anti-Syrian sentiment in government offices and among certain confessions and political parties. According to one Syrian refugee, the minimal fees charged by Lebanon, plus the traveling back and forth to different offices and locations so as to follow up on the procedures, can cost close to $500, with no success guaranteed. The amount is a fortune for most refugees, but an even greater concern for Syrian parents is having no nationality for their children. Says Joelle Eid, of the UNHCR press office, the offspring risk being added to “the stateless Kurds of Syria, since 1960, whose number of births in Lebanon is currently around 840 children.”
One chilling reason that the Kafkaesque procedures violate basic humanitarian principles is that they are forcing Syrian refugees to smuggle their babies into Syria in bags, since of course the infants would not be allowed to cross the border from Lebanon without full documentation. It is estimated that over the past 24 months more than 50 Syrian newborns, passing through Masnaa, have died from suffocation or drug overdose while being hidden from immigration officials. Parents usually are not sure how much of what drug to give their babies in order to keep them quiet and sleeping as they sneak them through the border, and too many are not waking up—all so that the parents can make it back over the border, back into their perilous, war-torn homeland, so that they may register their children’s births—in Syria, since it’s practically impossible to do so in Lebanon.
It is but one of the current abuses that are causing outrage in Syria and among advocates of human rights everywhere but it is not the only one. Both the UNHCR and HRW are accusing the Lebanese Army of committing “serious” violations against refugees, including in Ersal, where more than 200 Syrian refugees, including minors, were arrested without charge. The arrests took place September 19-24. Other reports accuse the Army of evicting, without any pretense of due process, a large number of refugees living in private homes. Then on September 25, the retaliatory measures reached a peak with a crackdown in the area of Ras al-Jafar, affecting nine informal communities with a total population of around 5000. One report states that during the raids, tents were burned in one of the random communities, completely destroying 96 tents. The raids were coupled with a large campaign of arrests targeting especially males. Some 300-500 people were detained, and while most, though not all, have been released, reports have emerged of physical and verbal assault, intimidation, and humiliation—claims that are corroborated by UNHCR photographs, including of shackled Syrian refugees laying on the ground exposed to the elements.
An Army spokesperson has dismissed as “lies” another allegation about the torching of tents in Ersal last week, yet random raids are becoming commonplace at scores of these “informal tent settlements,” as UNHCR refers to the fetid, sewage-soaked camps—camps which soon will be covered in snow and ice. Often in these camps more than 20 people will live in a tent that is intended for one family. Most of the tents are covered with nothing more than nylon, and more than 50,000 Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley are now living in these kinds of settlements—that’s 50,000 out of a registered total 275,000 in the area.
In addition to these calamities, more than 45 municipalities have imposed curfews on Syrian nationals, a move widely seen as a racist practice and one also in violation of international humanitarian law and the 1951 Convention. HRW comments that the curfews “contribute to a climate of discriminatory and retaliatory practices against” the refugees. Curfew violators are reportedly given a warning or, in some cases, are “taken to the municipality for questioning” where they may be detained for hours.
The reports have fueled anger among lawyers in Damascus, at the Lawyers Syndicate across from the Cham Palace Hotel, where seminars have discussed the legal problems facing Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In addition, the Faculty of Law at Damascus University is considering setting up a legal defense team to help Syrians in Lebanon challenge arbitrary and discriminatory applications of Lebanese laws.
“Syria helped them (the Lebanese) many times during their 15-year civil war and during the 2006 July war!” commented a teacher at a government primary school visited by this observer last week. “We gave them everything they needed. Our government buildings, social services, free medical care, free education, schools, hygienic conditions, peace and quiet, food and sometimes cash stipends. What about us? Is this the Lebanese way of saying ‘thanks’ to the people of Syria?”
She then exclaimed, “Someone must stop these attacks on our families.”
A savvy graduate student in Damascus by the name of “Ahmad” commented to this observer and to his Palestinian friend from Yarmouk camp, who having lost her own home due to shelling, now volunteers helping Syrian refugees forced to live in some of the parks in Damascus, that ISIS (Da’ish) and al-Nusra will almost assuredly be cognizant of these problems, and poised to capitalize on them, as they prepare to extend their caliphate into Lebanon—and he probably has a point.
Among the many reasons Lebanon should immediately desist in the targeting of Syrian and Palestinian refugees is that they are pushing many toward supporting those that the Lebanese government claims to be opposing.
October 25, 2014 by Mike Whitney
On Wednesday, stocks were hammered after economic data showed that the US and global economies were headed for a major slowdown. By mid-day, the Dow was down 460 points before clawing its way back to minus 173 points. It looked like the market was set for another triple-digit flogging on Thursday when the Fed stepped in and started talking-up an extension to QE3. That’s all it took to ease investors jitters, stop the meltdown and send equities rocketing back into space. By the end of Friday’s session, all the markets were back in the green with the Dow logging an impressive 263 points on the day. Here’s more background from Wolf Street:
“But just when some profusely sweating souls on Wall Street thought that the bottom was falling out, a savior appears. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard got on Bloomberg TV and pressed the red panic button (and) handed them what they wanted….That was enough.
Using declining inflation expectations as a pretext, he proposed to delay the end of QE. The Fed should continue buying $15 billion in securities a month…. it instantly turned around the markets. The spoiled brats on Wall Street were ecstatic to imagine that the Fed might continue to deliver the goodies they’ve become addicted to, and without which life seems unbearable.” (This Market is Driven by Psychology and Momentum,’ which ‘Works Really Painfully on the Way Down, Wolf Street)
For those readers who still think that the Fed doesn’t meddle in the markets: Think again. Friday’s stock surge had nothing to do with productivity, price, earnings, growth or any of the other so called fundamentals. It was all about manipulation; telling people what they want to hear, so they do exactly what you want them to do. The pundits calls this jawboning, and the Fed has turned it into an art-form. All Bullard did was assure investors that the Fed “has their back”, and , sure enough, another wild spending spree ensued. One can only imagine the backslapping and high-fives that broke out at the Central Bank following this latest flimflam.
As most people now realize, stocks haven’t tripled in the last 5 years because the economy is expanding. Heck, no. The economy is still on all-fours and everyone knows it. The reason stocks have been flying-high is because the Fed added a hefty $4 trillion in red ink to its balance sheet. Naturally, when someone buys $4 trillion in financial assets, the price of financial assets go up.
Who would’ve known?
And here’s something else to chew on: On Thursday I wrote an article titled “Stocks Plunge 460 Points on QE Exit”. Among the 2 or 3 thousand other articles on the topic in the mainstream, not one mentioned the fact that QE was set to end at the end of October. Instead, they pointed to sluggishness in Europe and China, and weaker-than-expected economic data in the US as the proximate causes of the downturn.
So let me ask you this, dear reader, if the end of QE was not the real trigger for the Dow’s 460 point bungee jump, then why did the markets do a quick 180 right after Bullard made his statement on Thursday? In fact, the media even admits that point now. Check out this article on Marketwatch on Friday titled “Bullard’s surprise suggestion of continuing QE lifts markets”:
“A comment from a hawkish Federal Reserve official on Thursday that central-bank bond buying should continue beyond its scheduled end lifted stock markets and surprised many observers.
The Federal Reserve should consider extending its bond-buying program beyond October due to the market selloff to see how the U.S. economic outlook evolves, said James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed, on Thursday. …
If the economy is still as robust as I am describing it, then I think we could just end the program in December. But if the market is right, and this is portending something more serious for the U.S. economy, than the committee would have an option of ramping up QE at that point,” he said.
The S&P 500 SPX, +1.65% jumped from its session low of a 0.9% drop after Bullard’s remarks came out.” (Bullard’s surprise suggestion of continuing QE lifts markets, Marketwatch)
How do you like that? Just one word from the Fed and the markets do an immediate about-face. Now that’s power.
It’s too bad the Fed can’t put in a good word for the real economy while they’re at it. But, oh, I forgot that the real economy is stuffed with working stiffs who don’t warrant the same kind of treatment as the esteemed supermen who trade stocks for a living. Besides, the Fed doesn’t give a rip about the real economy. If it did, it would have loaded up on infrastructure bonds instead of funky mortgage backed securities (MBS). The difference between the two is pretty stark: Infrastructure bonds put people to work, circulate money, boost economic activity, and strengthen growth. In contrast, MBS purchases help to fatten the bank accounts of the fraudsters who created the financial crisis while doing bupkis for the economy. Guess who the Fed chose to help out?
Do you really want to know why the Fed isn’t going to end QE? Here’s how Nomura’s chief economist Bob Janjuah summed it up:
“I want to remind readers of a message that may be buried in the past: When QE1 ended, the S&P 500 fell just under 20% in a roughly three-month period before the QE2 recovery.
When the QE2 ended, the S&P 500 fell about 20% in a three-month period before the next Fed-inspired bounce (aided by the ECB). QE3 is ending this month…”
Is that why the Fed started jawboning QE4, to avoid the inevitable 20 percent correction?
You bet it is. But what’s odd is that stocks hadn’t even dropped 10 percent before the Fed hit the panic button. Why is that?
Could it be that they have no confidence in the market? Could it be that they know that their loosy-goosey monetary policies have inflated the biggest bubble of all time which has created a fragile, crisis prone system that can’t even withstand a measly 10 percent drop before bank balance sheets start going up in flames and the whole wobbly financial house of cards comes crashing to earth in a thud?
Of course, it is. They’re scared sh**less, which is why they dispatched bigmouth Bullard to promise investors the moon as long as they keep loading up on equities. Yellen an Co. are going to do everything in their power to keep this runaway train from going off the cliff, even if they kill us all in the process.
Now check out this blurb from Allianz ‘s chief economic adviser, Mohamed A. El-Erian, one of the few analysts who got it right:
“Due to excessive confidence in central banks, investors eagerly decoupled high market valuations from what was warranted by the sluggish fundamentals.”… That disconnect has been undermined over the last few weeks by signs that the global economy’s fundamentals are weaker than they seemed and concern that the European Central Bank will not adequately fight that continent’s economic drift…” (New York Times)
What El Erian is saying, is that, stocks are vastly overpriced given “sluggish fundamentals”. The only reason investors have been buying is because the Fed has been shoving money into the market hand-over-fist. That’s what’s kept equities airborne. But on Wednesday, investors woke up and said to themselves, “Hey, the economy’s circling the plughole, the Fed is bailing out, and I’m left with a boatload of dodgy stocks that might be worth $.30 on the dollar. Maybe I’ll get out now while I still can.” That’s why the market tanked.
So, what’s the lesson here?
The lesson is that the Fed is driving the markets. The whole “free market” trope is baloney. No one is loading up on stocks because they’re a good deal or because they think the economy is going gangbusters. Investors are buying stocks because they still believe in the power of money. They still think the Fed can pump a few more wisps of helium into the equities balloon and keep the rally going for a bit longer. And that’s why stocks surged on Friday, because, at least for now, greed still trumps fear.
But what’s the overall effect of this loony policy on the economy, or is that a fair question to ask after 6 years of falling incomes, flatlining wages, widening inequality and widespread economic stagnation?
The truth is, we already know what the impact is: The rich have gotten richer while the poor have been shunted off to tent cities, food pantries and under freeway off-ramps. Isn’t that what’s happened? Get a load of this brief summary in Friday’s WSWS:
“The richest one percent of the world’s population now controls 48.2 percent of global wealth, up from 46 percent last year, according to the most recent global wealth report issued by Credit Suisse, the Swiss-based financial services company.
Hypothetically, if the growth of inequality were to proceed at last year’s rate, the richest one percent for all intents and purposes would control all the wealth on the planet within 23 years.
The report found that the growth of global inequality has accelerated sharply since the 2008 financial crisis, as the values of financial assets have soared while wages have stagnated and declined…
The study revealed that the richest 8.6 percent of the world’s population—those with a net worth of more than $100,000—control 85 percent of the world’s wealth. Meanwhile, the bottom 70 percent of the world’s population—those with less than $10,000 in net worth—hold a mere 2.9 percent of global wealth.
The growth in inequality is bound up with a worldwide surge in paper wealth, fueled by the trillions of dollars pumped into the financial system by central banks via zero interest rate and “quantitative easing” policies…
As the report noted, “The overall global economy may remain sluggish, but this has not prevented personal wealth from surging ahead during the past year. Driven by … robust equity prices, total wealth grew by 8.3% worldwide … the first time household wealth has passed the $250 trillion threshold.” (Richest one percent controls nearly half of global wealth, Andre Damon)
That says it all, doesn’t it? The widening chasm between rich and poor is traceable to the policies that were adopted in 2008. That’s why things are so fu**ed up, it’s because the “surge in paper wealth, fueled by the trillions of dollars pumped into the financial system by central banks via zero interest rate and “quantitative easing” policies.”
In other words, it’s all deliberate. Robbing the poor and giving to the rich is all part of the plan.
That strikes me as an important point, and one that’s worth mulling over for awhile; that crushing the middle class isn’t an accident. It’s what they want. It’s the policy.
October 25, 2014 by Guest Columnist
“…that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
– James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America (1931)
The American Dream has been defined many ways by writers of both poetic and prosaic bent, but its essentials tend to involve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or property, depending on your source).
The Declaration of Independence, upon which an entire nation was radically brought into existence, asserts that not only are all men created equal but that this is a “self-evident” truth. By this “unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” a contract was agreed to, that their union would be founded on this principle. Thus, America was endowed with its dream at the moment of its conception: the freedom to succeed.
The United States has promoted a self-congratulating exceptionalism for decades, waving its Declaration and Constitution in the faces of other sovereign nations as if the latter had never considered such concepts. Our capital F “Freedom” sets us apart from the rest of the world, as the political rhetoric has repeated ad nauseam, no matter the freedoms enjoyed by democracies on almost every continent. And yet our basic freedom, the freedom to succeed, America’s contractual promise, has been shrinking for thirty years.
The freedom to succeed transcends economic systems but it is most potently expressed by capitalist gains. The ability to go “from rags to riches” is ingrained in this nation’s ethos and there is nothing intrinsically immoral about that goal. However, the current state of American inequality reveals a very real and expanding gap between the rich and poor that betrays the foundational endowment of this Union. When the freedom to succeed is denied every citizen, their equality is equally denied.
Recently, the Pew Research Center released a poll on what international citizens consider the greatest threat to the planet. Conducted between March 17 and June 5 of this year, the survey received answers from 48,643 respondents in 44 countries. In the U.S. and Europe, the growing gap between the rich and the poor was overwhelmingly considered the greatest danger to world prosperity. Over a quarter of Americans ranked “Inequality” as number one, above Religious & ethnic hatred, Pollution, Nuclear weapons and Infectious diseases.
This is hardly startling news considering that the median net worth of American households fell by 35 percent ($106,591 to $68,839) between 2005 and 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is, however, disturbing that inequality remains so prevalent five years after the Great Recession.
Capitalism is not the problem. The problem is that we have let inequality advance in this country so gradually that its obviousness is masked by its familiarity. Below, I outline eight facts about inequality in America that every American should know.
1) 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined. This ratio has been verified by Politifact and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. To put it into context, last year the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there were over 316 million people living in the United States. That means 400 Americans have more money than over 158 million of their fellow citizens. Their net worth is over$2 trillion, which is approximate to the Gross Domestic Product of Russia.
One explanation for the vast discrepancy in wealth is the definition of “worth,” which includes everything a person or household owns. This means savings and property but also mortgages, bills and debt. Poorer households can owe so much in debt that they possess a negative net worth.
2) America has the second-highest level of income inequality, after Chile. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development studies thirty-four developed countries and ranks them both before and after taxes and government transfers take effect (government transfers include Social Security, income tax credit and unemployment insurance). Before taxes and government transfers, America ranks tenth in income inequality. After taxes and transfers, it ranks second. Whereas its developed peers reduce inequality through government programs, the United States’ government exacerbates it.
3) The current state of inequality can be traced back to 1979. After the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the gap between the rich and the poor began to narrow. For fifty years, wages differed between the upper- and working-classes, but a robust middle-class took shape and there remained ample opportunity for working-class individuals to ascend.
In his book, “The Great Divergence,” journalist Timothy Noah traced today’s inequality to the beginning of the 1980s and the widening gap between the middle- and upper-classes. This gap was influenced by the following factors: the failure of American schools to prepare students for new technology; poor immigration policies that favor unskilled workers and drive down the price of already low-income labor; federally-mandated minimum wage that has failed to keep pace with inflation; and the decline of labor unions.
4) Non-union wages are also affected by the decline of unions. The Economic Policy Institute claims that 20 percent of the growth in the wage gap between high-school-educated and college-educated men can be attributed to deunionization.
Between 1978 and 2011, union representation for blue-collar and high-school educated workers declined by more than half. This has also diminished the “union wage effect,” whereby the existence of unions (more than 40 percent of blue-collar workers were union members in 1978) was enough to boost wages in non-union jobs – in high school graduates by as much as 8.2 percent. Not only did unions protect lower- and middle-class workers from unfair wages, they also established norms and practices that were then adopted by non-union employers. Two prime examples are employee pensions and healthcare.
Today, about 13 percent of workers belong to unions, which has reduced their bargaining power and influence.
5) There is less opportunity for intergenerational mobility. In December 2011, President Obama spoke at Osawatomie High School in Kansas. He was very clear about the prospects of the poor in today’s United States:
“[O]ver the last few decades, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity have grown farther and farther apart, and the middle class has shrunk. You know, a few years after World War II, a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50-50 chance of becoming middle class as an adult. By 1980, that chance had fallen to around 40 percent. And if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues, it’s estimated that a child born today will only have a one-in-three chance of making it to the middle class – 33 percent.”
As refreshing as that honesty is, Obama promised no fix beyond $1 trillion in spending cuts and a need to work toward an “innovation economy.”
In a speech one month later, Obama’s Chairman of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, elaborated on the dire state of America’s shrinking middle-class. The contraction, he stated, could partially be attributed to “skill-biased technical change”: work activities that have become automated over time, reducing the need for unskilled labor and favoring those with analytical training. He also highlighted the 50 year decline in tax rates for the top 0.1 percent, increased competition from overseas workers, and a lack of educational equality for children. Poor children are denied the private tutors, college prep and business network of family and friends available to their wealthier peers, which locks them into the class they are born into.
6) Tax cuts to the wealthiest have not improved the economy or created more jobs. Krueger also revealed that the tax cuts of the 2000s for top earners did not improve the economy any better than they did in the 1990s (meanwhile, income growth was stronger for lower- and middle-class families in the 1990s than in the last forty years).
Tax rates for the top income earners in America peaked in 1945 at 66.4 percent. Following decades of gradual reductions, they have since been cut in half. During the same time, the payroll tax has increased since the 1950s and individual income tax has bounced between 40-50 percent through the present day. Conversely, corporate tax declined from above 30 percent in the 1950s to under 10 percent in 2011.
All of these tax cuts are made ostensibly to improve the economy and create jobs. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded that it is young companies, “regardless of their size,” that are the real job creators in America. Tax cuts to the wealthiest do not create jobs.
7) Incomes for the top 1% have increased (but the top 0.01% make even more). Between 1979 and 2007, the average incomes of the 1 percent increased 241 percent. Compare that to 19 percent growth for the middle fifth of America and 11 percent for the bottom fifth. Put another way, in 1980 the average American CEO earned forty-two times as much as his average worker. In 2001, he earned 531 times as much.
Average income across the 1 percent is actually stratified into widely disparate echelons. Compare the $29,840 average income for the bottom 90 percent to the $161,139 of the top 10 percent. Compare the $1 million average income of the top 1 percent to the $2.8 million of the top 0.1 percent. Yet both still pale beside the $23 million average income of the top 0.01 percent.
If those numbers seem a bit overwhelming, Politizane has created a video that illustrates this staggering inequality:
8) The majority of Congress does not feel your pain. Empowered by the Constitution to represent their constituents, United States Congress members are, for the first time in history, mostly millionaires. The 2012 financial disclosure information of the 534 current Congress men and women reveals that over half of them have a net worth of $1 million or more.
After the past seven facts it is difficult to read this last one and believe that these 268 legislators have the best interests of the remaining 99 percent at heart. But if that is too presumptuous a leap, it is not too bold to say that wealthier donors, lobbyists and special interest groups enjoy greater access to these lawmakers than the average American.
In January, Congress failed to extend emergency benefits for unemployment, leaving 1.3 million people without federal aid. Congress then went on a weeklong recess that kept them from debating the issue until the end of the month. The bill was too divisive for Republicans and Democrats to reach an agreement on, though unemployment was then above 7 percent nationally.
Thankfully, the unemployed have their Congress working for them. And at $174,000 annual pay, those representatives are sure to return from their vacations committed to fresh solutions.
October 21, 2014 by Sartre
Attitudes toward medical ailments and treatment vary widely, usually based upon the degree of trust in the type of health care practice that a patient believes to be the best healing method. The AMA is an advocacy association that promotes the validity of medical therapy heavily based upon manufactured designer drugs. The establishment corporatist scientists have a tendency to claim a corner on proof. However, they often expound on their accepted view using selective memory. Facts can stand in the way of implementing the master plan when the “so called” humanitarian benefits remain elusive or worse, detrimental.
The high priestess of orthodox medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes on their site, Possible Side-effects from Vaccines, and provides the obligatory disclaimer.
“Remember, vaccines are continually monitored for safety, and like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. However, a decision not to immunize a child also involves risk and could put the child and others who come into contact with him or her at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease.”
A far more factual viewpoint is presented on Weigh the Risks of Vaccination.
“A common assumption is that vaccines’ benefits outweigh the risks. But given evidence that the increase in the number of vaccines since the late 1980’s may be linked to corresponding increases in many chronic childhood health conditions, do the benefits outweigh the risks of the current USA vaccination schedule? To answer this question, we undertook a theoretical analysis to calculate the risk from diseases to an unvaccinated child in the first 5 years of life, and then compare that to the risk of vaccine-injury in the first 5 years of life if that child is vaccinated per the USA schedule. To make a valid comparison of disease risks to the unvaccinated child, we sought to calculate risk of injury from disease in two cases: 1) the risk in a highly vaccinated population and 2) the risk in a population with low vaccination. Where there is current evidence in the USA of herd immunity for a disease, this effect is considered in the highly vaccinated case (see A SmartVax Discussion on Herd Immunity). To perform the analysis, we made several assumptions about how to calculate risk (see Assumptions for Weigh The Risks Analysis) including a decision to focus on only four of the childhood chronic health conditions that may be vaccine-induced: Asthma, Autism, ADHD, and Allergies.”
The results from studies that conflict with the myths that are central to the pharmacology industry cannot be allowed to go “mainstream” and influence the public. Generating money is a foremost ingredient in the profit pill paradigm. Notwithstanding, a far more sinister objective lingers in the bowels of the medical eugenics labs.
Christina England writes in the essay, Bill Gates’ Polio Vaccine Program Eradicates Children, Not Polio.
“In the depths of cyberspace lurks a press release written by the CDC, confirming that the OPV, or oral polio vaccination, given to millions of children throughout the developing world, is causing them to develop vaccine-induced polio. Instead of banning the vaccination, as one would expect, the CDC has decided in its wisdom that the best way to tackle the problem is to maintain a high rate of vaccination in all countries!”
The report, Depopulation: Gates pushes nanoparticle vaccine, Giant leap against mankind links to some disturbing information.
“Depopulation might take a giant leap if a Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HCI) proposal in “Grand Challenges Explorations” is granted as it will have a million Gates Foundation US dollars to develop a nanoparticle vaccine on contact with human perspiration according to a written statement released Wednesday. Bill Gates, who has stated in a TED presentation that vaccines are a favored method of depopulation, is promoting this project touted as a way to save lives, but raising concerns about negative eugenics and violation of the human right to self-determination including right to informed consent.”
The video, Bill Gates Admits Vaccines Are Used for Human Depopulation reveals the ultimate objective of the vaccine strategy.
Alas, karma comes home to roost for the master programmer of the vaccine dispenser. Wonder how long it will take for the magic seeds from Monsanto to strangle the international courts?
India Holds Bill Gates Accountable For His Vaccine Crimes, “A recent report published by Health Impact News has reported that the Gates Foundation has found itself facing a pending lawsuit, due to an investigation that is being carried out by the Supreme Courts of India.”
Health Impact News stated:
“While fraud and corruption are revealed on almost a daily basis now in the vaccine industry, the U.S. mainstream media continues to largely ignore such stories. Outside the U.S., however, the vaccine empires are beginning to crumble, and English versions of the news in mainstream media outlets are available via the Internet.
One such country is India, where the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and their vaccine empire are under fire, including a pending lawsuit currently being investigated by the India Supreme Court.”
Is it not ironic that the guru of internet infections wants to be the anti-virus specialist? Being in charge of reducing the animal kingdom must have its attraction for Bilderberg surgeons of the human matrix. While one of those nasty facts is that the bulk of the mankind idiots do not understand the nature of the global struggle, it is a monumental immoral leap to devise an injected answer to implement an angel of death solution, to eliminate ignorance in order to protect the self-appointed and purported enlightened.
Jon Rappoport authors the article; we come to vaccines and depopulation experiments which should be read in its entirety.
“You have to understand that every promoted so-called “pandemic” is an extended sales pitch for vaccines.
And not just a vaccine against the “killer germ” of the moment. We’re talking about a psyop to condition the population to vaccines in general.
There is much available literature on vaccines used for depopulation experiments. The research is ongoing. Undoubtedly, we only know a fraction of what is happening behind closed laboratory doors.”
Mr. Rappoport’s zinger that you will not hear about on MSNBC.
“Depopulation has several objectives. Along one vector, it is an elite strategy designed to get rid of large numbers of people, in key areas of the world, where local revolutions would interfere with outside corporations staging a complete takeover of fertile land and rich natural resources.
An astonishing journal paper. November, 1993. FASEB Journal , volume 7, pp.1381-1385. Authors—Stephan Dirnhofer et al. Dirnhofer was a member of the Institute for Biomedical Aging Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
A quote from the paper: “Our study provides insights into possible modes of action of the birth control vaccine promoted by the Task Force on Birth Control Vaccines of the WHO (World Health Organization).”
A birth control vaccine?
A vaccine whose purpose is to achieve non-pregnancy where it ordinarily could occur. This particular vaccine was apparently just one of several anti-fertility vaccines the Task Force was promoting.“
This essay is a thorough summary of the health scares and the comprehensive program to reduce the useless eaters. What an accommodating medical system that breeds the artful practice of implementing the pro-choice termination outcome, when actual choice is never given.
Martin S. Pernick, PhD addresses Eugenics and Public Health in American History, which provides U.S. legal precedent and standard for mandatory compliance.
“Forcible sterilization of the unfit like-wise drew on both the values and the example of infection control laws. The main legal precedent cited in Buck v Bell, the 1927 Supreme Court decision upholding involuntary eugenic sterilization, was Jacobson v Massachusetts, the 1905 case allowing mandatory smallpox vaccination. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes explained in Buck v Bell, ‘The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian.”
In making this connection, the Court identified three key values that compulsory sterilization shared with vaccination laws. First, preventing disease was better than coping with its consequences. Second, the collective well-being of society could outweigh the interests of individuals who posed an alleged health menace. And third, state power could compel compliance with health measures when persuasion alone appeared inadequate.”
Maybe this criterion is lost in the Ebola panic by the CDC and the Obama administration. However, the underpinning that vaccine treatment are automatically the health miracle that infectious diseases medicine would have you believe mostly goes unchallenged within the political establishment.
The huge windfall profit to the pharmaceutical labs that claim to have a cure for the Ebola epidemic may in fact be a side show. More likely the psyops exercise may well be part of an experimental trial run to prepare the public for the eventual compulsory shots directives.
If vaccines carry substantial risks under normal treatment, just what should the compliant sheeple expect when a true global militaritized pandemic is released by the NWO elites?
October 21, 2014 by Frosty Wooldridge
Continuing to allow airplane flights into America loaded with people streaming out of Ebola-ravaged Africa must be the dumbest act that Congress, the Center for Disease Control and Barack Obama could possibly perpetrate on the American people.
To send 3,000 of our young men and women over to Ebola-ravaged Africa with some kind of insane idea that we could stop the epidemic, must be the second dumbest idea of Barack Obama and his band of incompetent advisors. Anyone with a room-temperature IQ and an ounce of common sense would take logical action in the face of such a virulent virus.
As a superintendent of a school system, you wouldn’t invite sick students with chicken pox, small pox, mumps, measles and polio into your school. You would mandate they stay home to protect the students and teachers in your school. Why? Infectious diseases guaranteed to jump from student to student!
If I stood at the helm in the White House: I would immediately stop all flights into the United States from Africa. I would not subject one single American to Ebola unnecessarily.
The president’s authorizing a call-up of the reserves or the National Guard to fight a virulent disease like Ebola in Africa with no idea of the outcome—must rank up there with the movie, “Dumb and Dumber.” Instead of saving Africa from itself, those 3,000 troops may well become disease vectors themselves that bring Ebola back to America in greater numbers, or, simply kill a bunch of our country’s finest soldiers.
“Africa’s biggest problem is not drought, disease, or dictators,” Dr. Don Boys. “But drinking and defecation are the biggest problem! This is true of India, Asia, and areas of South America. Eighty per- cent of diseases in developing countries are caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Africa, India, and some areas in South America are open cesspools where children play, parents wash clothes and get drinking water, workers irrigate crops, etc. In those areas, fresh water is unknown and open defecation (OD) is common.”
Very few Americans comprehend the gutter-level hygiene that encourages diseases like Ebola, cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis and other bugs that proliferate in third world countries. Africa suffers incredibly contaminated water, food and soil.
“Now for the first time in human history most people live in cities, often in the slums,” said Boys. “More than 70 percent of Africa’s urban population lives in slums! Around one-third of the urban population in developing countries, nearly one billion people, live in slums. There is one toilet for every 500 people in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. However, the biggest problem is in rural areas where the problem can be more quickly solved but not without difficulty. Nearly 540 million people, more than 60 percent of Africa’s population, currently practice open defecation according to the African Development Bank Group.”
Americans stand no chance of changing African culture to leap into the 21st century standards of sanitation. You might as well ask a mosquito to fly to the moon.
The same stands true for countries like India where 1,000 children die 24/7 of diarrhea and dysentery. Utter misery faces citizens of Pakistan, Nepal and Mexico every day of the year.
The World Health Organization Public Health Director lamented, “What is shocking…is this picture of someone practicing open defecation and in the other hand having a mobile phone.”
I remember hiking in Asia when I saw water buffalo defecating along the trail. Women immediately grabbed the pile of dung in their hands to take it off to a drying rack for fuel. When you see it firsthand, you gag, but then, you get used to it. It’s sickening, but that’s how they operate in the third world. Several billions of people around this planet don’t use a toilet, but do use the land as their latrine.
Is it any wonder that diseases like TB kill 2,000,000 (million) people annually? That Chagas infects 14 million in South America? That AIDES killed 25 million in 30 years in Africa?
So, does it make sense to you that Obama, Congress and the CDC expect to import more and more Ebola patients back into the USA? Are you excited that your kids or you could very well become the next victims? Are you going to stand by to wait for it to happen in your community?
For this obviously incompetent man sitting in the White House to send our soldiers over to a hot zone of Ebola infections must rate with a madman thinking he can walk into an AIDS ward to have sex with all the victims and walk out untouched with the disease.
But in this case, Obama sends our kids over to Ebola hot zones in Africa, not his kids.
Right now, two innocent nurses in Texas face death because of the importation of Mr. Duncan from Liberia who later died. Who allows this kind of insanity?
If nurses can’t fend off the disease in a hospital while wearing haz-mat suits, how in the name of common sense and rational thought will 3,000 soldiers fend off Ebola with M-16’s? Somebody in high places shows criminal stupidity on a scale heretofore unimaginable.
You can see on the CDC website we find this unsettling phrase:
“No FDA-approved vaccine or medicine (e.g., antiviral drug) is available for Ebola.”
As with the Iraq War, few Americans protested the stupidity of invading that country under the lie of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” As with 9/11, our presidents and Congress failed to stop illegal immigration.
Call your Congressman/woman; governor; senator; newspaper, radio and TV station to scream that you want all flights cancelled coming in from Africa. Scream that you don’t want 3,000 of our kids to go over to Africa to be infected by Ebola.
To sit silent and let the incompetent in the White House and incompetents in Congress invite America’s Ebola epidemic—makes no sense whatsoever.
October 21, 2014 by Jane Stillwater
When I saw the movie “Saving Mr. Banks” during one of my interminably-long plane rides back from Syria, I liked it so much that I actually went out and bought a copy of the 1964 “Mary Poppins” Disney classic it was based on — the one with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke frolicking across the rooftops of London.
And much to my surprise, I discovered that Mary Poppins might have been one of the world’s first hippies. Who woulda thought! And what was even more amazing is that Mary Poppins was one of the first people to warn us about the dangers and perfidy of big bankers and big banks.
And fortunately for those of us living here in America one hundred years later, Elizabeth Warren has now become the new Mary Poppins — also warning us about the dangers and perfidy of big bankers and big banks.
If only Americans would start paying attention to Elizabeth Warren as much as they paid attention to Julie Andrews!
“Hey, Elizabeth!” I also want to shout on the rooftops like Dick VanDyke, “voters aren’t listening to you!” Maybe if Disney studios made a movie about you too? Then maybe voters would finally start to listen.
According to Warren, the American middle class has been absolutely decimated by the banking and credit-card lobbies.
And yet voters still keep falling for all those glossy ads and happy lies that still keep getting pro-big-bank candidates elected to the White House and Congress even though voters can clearly see that they themselves are losing their jobs, having their homes repossessed, becoming slaves to their student loans and getting ripped off bigtime by credit-card debt. But then I guess that those syrupy ads actually do prove that “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” after all.
In the heroic country of Iceland, their well-informed voters have vigorously fought back against bankster greed and have even re-written their constitution in order to make lending-bubbles and bank fraud illegal.
But in America, the opposite happens. Here in America our very own government, the very one that bank lobbyists have chosen for us to elect, is handing over billions of our very own hard-earned dollars to big banks just as fast as it can. And Congress is always writing new bankruptcy laws that favor banksters over the middle class every time. Mary Poppins would be livid, of course, but nobody else seems to even notice these days — except for Elizabeth Warren.
And even the Federal Reserve is dancing over the rooftops in glee as it too gives away our money to the banksters just as fast as it possibly can, singing “Step in Time” as gleefully hands over giant bags of taxpayers’ money to Chase, Bank of America, CitiBank and Goldman Sachs.
Plus the Senate just vetoed a bill that would have given students a break from paying up to 12% interest on their college loans too. According to Warren, “This isn’t complicated. It’s a choice – a choice that raises a fundamental question about who the United States Senate works for. Does it work for those who can hire armies of lawyers and lobbyists to protect tax loopholes for billionaires and profits for the big banks? Or does it work for those who work hard, play by the rules, and are trying to build a future for themselves and their families?”
Not to mention the hidden (and not-so-hidden) fees that banks gleefully charge us customers for no reason at all.
To try to completely understand how banksters and their toadies in Congress and the Department of Justice are robbing the rest of us blind, you just gotta watch this video of Bill Moyers interviewing bank-fraud expert Thomas K. Black. Seriously. You really should watch this: http://vimeo.com/107916659
In this video, Black describes how Obama was elected by the banking industry and how Obama has totally paid back his debt to the banksters by handing them all “get out of jail free” cards. Is being elected president really worth selling us Americans out to the banksters? Apparently so.
“There’s no threat to capitalism like capitalists,” continues Black. “They are destroying its underpinnings. And when dishonest people gain an advantage in the marketplace, bad ethics drive good ethics out. This is why we need the rule of law.” Doesn’t Thomas K. Black sound just like Dick VanDyke, er, I mean Burt the Chimney Sweep here — as Black proposes that it’s high time to sweep clean our banks.
And now let’s talk about America’s ratings on the so-called “Misery Index”. Apparently America rates higher on the misery charts now than it ever has, even back in the Great Depression — and probably even as high as did Mary Poppins’s 1910 London. Thanks a lot, banksters.
Isn’t it time that American voters finally join up with Elizabeth Warren and Mary Poppins — and tell big banks and banksters to go “fly a kite!”
PS: Speaking of money, look how much of it is being spent in the Middle East — and not here at home where it is needed!
According to a recent blog-post at thehill.com, the first official estimates of the ISIS price tag from the Pentagon showed that, “the costs of intervention between mid-June and late-August was $7.5 million per day. At that rate, the U.S. has spent $850 million on operations against ISIS as of October 8, adding up to about $2.74 billion per year. The Pentagon has since revised the estimate up to as high as $10 million per day, or $3.65 billion per year. In reality, both of those numbers are quite likely to be underestimates of what’s to come.”
Looks like the US military is just as bad as the US banksters when it comes to cleaning out America’s pocketbooks — after they both have put us to sleep with false promises and false news https://www.youtube.com/watch?
What we Americans really need to do these days is to once again take Mary Poppins’s advice and “Stay Awake”! https://www.youtube.com/watch?
October 21, 2014 by Marsha West
Bill Johnson is no stranger to controversy. For one thing, he claims to be an apostle, as in the unique position held by the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. He was given this high honor by C. Peter Wagner who holds many titles himself, including president of Global Harvest Ministries, chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute, convening apostle of theNew Apostolic Roundtable, and my personal favorite: presiding apostle of International Coalition of Apostles (ICA). So for the purpose of this article I’ll dub him Presiding Apostle Peter or PA Peter for short. What’s important to know about him is that he’s sort of like the pope of the “new apostolic-prophetic movement.”
Following is ICA’s definition of modern day apostle:
An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.
What role do the so-called apostles play? There are a couple of tasks, says PA Peter. First, apostles are to “set things in order” and “they’re to assure that the body of Christ is operating on the basis of sound, biblical doctrine.”
Sound biblical doctrine my Aunt Fanny!
PA Peter and his self-proclaimed apostles and prophets are out-and-out false teachers! These men and women (yes, there are women apostles) are well aware that accusations of heresy have been leveled against them by a large number of highly regarded orthodox Bible scholars and still they continue the pretense.
In this two part series you’ll discover the many twists and turns the new apostolic-prophetic movement has taken over the years and why those of us who are in an online discernment ministry believe it is a clear and present danger to the Body of Christ, thus we will continue warning the brethren. (Acts 20:31)
Now, keep in mind that the men and women involved in this heretical movement are sincere in their belief that they’re in the same league as the Old Testament prophets and the Lord’s hand-picked disciples who later became the Twelve Apostles. The leaders have convinced their followers that the office of apostleship is not reserved for a select few, as the Bible teaches. Moreover, they’ve led people to believe that Christ is once again choosing apostles and prophets to preside over His Church. Listen to Got Questions’ dire warning:
Those claiming the office of apostle seek authority equal to, or at least rivaling, the authority of the original twelve apostles. There is absolutely no biblical evidence to support such an understanding of the role of apostle today. This would fit with the New Testament’s warning against false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13).
So – if it’s true that Christ is giving authority to a select few apostles and prophets why, pray tell, would our Lord give it to individuals who possess questionable character? I’ll have more on this in a moment.
Suffice it to say C. Peter Wagner and Bill Johnson believe that the Lord has given them the authority to rule over the Church. So – if it’s also true that the so-called apostles arecalled by Christ to form a government to control the Church and that they will hold Church leaders accountable then who, pray tell, is going to hold them accountable?
Without getting too far afield, since the new apostolic-prophetic movement’s inception it has been referred to in a number of different ways, i.e. Dominionism…Latter Rain…Joel’s Army…Manifest[ed] Sons of God…Kingdom Now…Charismatic Renewal…Positive Confession and a few others. Its current handle, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), was coined by Presiding Apostle Peter in the 1990s. He “reinvigorated the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God false prophecies about a great endtime revival accompanied by signs and wonders.” As I said, NAR leaders teach that God is restoring the lost offices of church governance – and they are His chosen ones to bring it to fruition!
Do not be surprised:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,;and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths 2 Timothy 4:3
In Paul’s final warning to the Church he never suggested that they embrace new movements. On the contrary, he warned that they would not listen to the truth. CommentatorMatthew Poole clarifies:
Having itching ears; for their ears itch, and they must have those that will scratch them. The disease of lust in their souls brings forth an itch in their ears, that they will have a mind to hear only such as will by scratching please them.
Shall they heap to themselves teachers, will be finding out teachers, not according to God’s, but to their own hearts; and there will be plenty of them to be found, they shall heap them up, choosing them without any judgment, regarding nothing but whether they will not be smart upon their lusts. (emphasis in original)
Paul’s message throughout his entire letter was that the church must “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me” (1:13); “guard the good deposit entrusted to you (1:14); “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2:2).
Unity Over Doctrine
Now to Bill Johnson, head pastor of Bethel Church (BC). BC’s leadership holds to the theology of the Word of Faith (WoF) movement. WoF doctrine teaches the occult belief that:
He [God] framed the world with His words. You can’t build without substance. He took words — faith-Filled words were God’s substance. Here, essentially, is what God did. God filled His words with faith. He used His words as containers to hold His faith and contain that spiritual force and transport it out there into the vast darkness by saying ‘Light be!’ That’s the way God transported His faith causing creation and transformation. (Source)
One word: unscriptural!
BC also has its roots in the early1980s movement dubbed by C. Peter Wagner the Third Wave (TW).
Following is an excerpt from Apologetics Index. What they’ve laid out here should help prevent people from getting drawn into TW:
[D]istinctives of the Third Wave movement include — but are not limited to — the following:
- The baptism with the Holy Spirit is identified with conversion. This is unlike other Pentecostal movements, in which the baptism with the Spirit is either a separate and/or a recurring experience.
- the belief that the spiritual gifts are valid for today; that Christians can ask for, receive and learn how to use these spiritual gifts (and become better at using them with practice.
- the belief that the primary use of the spiritual gifts is for ministry in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit – both to bless and heal those inside the church and to minister to those outside the church (“Power Evangelism.”). This ministry includes healing the sick, casting out demons, prophesying, etcetera.
- active promotion of unity — sometimes at any cost (e.g. the Toronto Blessing Movement ‘s acceptance of certain Word-Faith teachers. “Unity over doctrine“
- the belief that people, Christians included, can be possessed (or ‘demonized’ — or ‘oppressed,’ something seen as a lesser form of possession) by evil spirits with or without their consent
- the belief that objects or places can project evil influence and act as conduits for demonic oppression
- the belief that traumatic events, either in our lives or in our ancestral past, can make us particularly vulnerable to demonic influence, possession or oppression
- the belief that some Christians — using appropriate spiritual gifts — can identify and cast out demonic spirits
- a general acceptance of Kingdom Now theology, which has led to the practice of so-called ‘Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare‘ or SLSW — an unbiblical concept in which Christians identify (through ‘spiritual mapping‘) and then target (with SLSW) ‘Territorial Spirits.’ (all links are AI’s) (Source)
WoF and TW leaders are false teachers. (You’ll find the names of these as well as many other false teachers on my website.) Over the years self-proclaimed apostles and prophets have managed to coax undiscerning individuals to involve themselves in some of the strangest physical manifestations imaginable. Those who participate in church services where “signs and wonders” take place like to blame their crude behavior on the Holy Spirit. Now, try to imagine giants of the faith such as John, Peter, James or even Paul “drunk in the spirit,” crawling on all fours barking like a dog, clucking like a chicken, jerking and twitching, rolling on the floor, laughing themselves into a convulsive state. People involved in NAR have done these things in the past and continue them to this day. When I think about it, it really wouldn’t surprise me to witness Apostle Bill on all fours, nose in the air, howling like a wolf. But I digress.
Two Super Apostles Restore A Fraud
During the alleged Lakeland Outpouring aka Lakeland Revival in Florida, a story hit the news that put NAR evangelist Todd Bentley in a bad light. It was revealed that that the rock-star evangelist was in an adulterous relationship with a female intern – and suddenly all hell broke loose. In my column “We have had enough of false prophets” I scrutinized the NAR’s leaders and pointed out that Apostle Bill,
calls those who exposed Todd Bentley as a false prophet “sharks.” He also says:
“I’ll never blame the opponents [sharks] of this outpouring for Todd’s choices [sin]. However, it had a greater effect on the outcome than any of his critics will likely own up to in this lifetime. History proves this.”
Apostle Bill and fellow apostate – oops! — apostle-prophet Rick Joyner decided to involve themselves in Bentley’s “restoration process.” Just so you know, Rick Joyner’s the founder and Executive Director of MorningStar Publications and Ministries and is a big promoter of the “new breed” of apostles and prophets.
Both Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner, who are seasoned apostle-prophets, claim to hold the title “Super-Apostle” and/or “Super-Prophet” which is comparable to holding the high office of cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Chew on that for a moment. As an aside I should mention that some “Super-Apostles” have been accused of using cultic mind control techniques on those they prey upon.
Listen to Apostle Rick pontificate about how he sees himself:
Even though I have not been able to go to journalism school, or even Bible school, in many ways I would not trade my education for anyone’s. Like Paul, I can say that what I received I did not receive from men.
I mean, really, are we supposed to believe him? And why would we?
Now, back to Bentley. Bringing this man under submission took place following his divorce and after he married the Proverbs 7 woman, who, by the way, wasn’t the only woman he had an extra marital affair with. Apostle Bill was well aware that the fraud-evangelist had had a prior dalliance. Both “Super-Apostles” knew that he was drunk during his Lakeland stage act yet they chose to return him to ministry. But, then, no one has ever accused NAR leaders of doing much of anything by The Book.
Todd Bentley is no more qualified for ministry than is disgraced televangelist/prosperity preacher Jim Bakker, who was incarcerated for fleecing the flock (fraud). After his release from prison, what did Bakker do? Still craving attention, he returned to public ministry.
So – how should churches handle a person in a leadership role when he/she brings shame on the Name of our Lord Jesus? I’ve already addressed this topic in my column entitledDoes the Bible Really Say We’re Not to Judge? In a nutshell the biblical way to handle it is for the church hierarchy to apply an appropriate level of discipline necessary to bring the person to true repentance. Church leaders who have a “moral failing” must publically repent of his/her sin against God. They then must seek spiritual guidance and accountability and move out of the limelight altogether. Once the person’s restored, he/she’s most often encouraged to serve the Lord behind the scenes. Sadly, this hasn’t been the case with Todd Bentley. And the reason for this is that the self-appointed Super Apostles Bill and Rick found it in their hearts—not in the Bible—to reinstate the man to public ministry.
I’ll close part 1 with a plea from a genuine apostle:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18)
Part 2 coming up!
Strange Fire Conference Q&A—Phil Johnson interviews John MacArthur
The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson–By John Lanagan
- Peter Wagner launches WLI Seattle, Sonrise Chapel, Feb. 3, 2008–Around 54:00 into the session, Wagner responds to a question during the Q&A. He tells the audience that when the Holy Spirit stopped revealing things through the written Word, He kept on revealing new things to us through the “Rhema Word.” He claims that the Holy Spirit still speaks to us today by giving us information that you cannot find in the 66 books of the Bible, info that the Bible doesn’t address, but it’s not contradictory.
Why I Must Speak Out Against the NAR and Bethel Church—Tony Miano, host of Cross Encounters radio, discusses, among other things, the music of BC’s music team Jesus Culture (more below). Listen to Tony tell of his Twitter chat with Beni Johnson, Bill’s pastorette wife.
Bill Johnson…scroll down—Apologetics Index
New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism –On Solid Rock Resources
Bethel Church’s Music & Entertainment:
The Holy Spirit Makes A Movie? I Don’t Think So…—Amy Spreeman
Watch And Weep:
Try this Bethel Redding Snack Pack—My Word Like Fire