When I was in India several years ago, I learned a lot about its historic caste system and the role of its “untouchables”. But I never put two and two together — that we might have “untouchables” and a caste system here in America too — until I saw photos of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, this August. http://www.stltoday.com/news/
When I was in the Peace Corps in South Africa, I learned all about its grim apartheid practices in the past. But I never actually figured it out — until Ferguson — that America practiced apartheid too, and that the old apartheid bantustans of South Africa strongly resemble modern African-American bantustans like Ferguson; deliberately kept isolated, controlled and apart from the rest of America until there is almost no hope of ever getting out of them except by doing hard time in prison. http://www.blackagendareport.
When I visited the slums of Kampala, I was struck by what a third-world country Uganda was, with many of its poorest citizens being jobless, homeless, hopeless and living a bleak hand-to-mouth existence. But it never occurred to me that parts of America have similar unemployment rates, sparse education systems and the hopelessness of a third-world country too — until Ferguson gave me that new perspective. http://www.
In Israel/Palestine, I saw people constantly discriminated against “not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin,” to paraphrase Martin Luther King. But not until Ferguson, where whites clearly hold all the power and use it corruptlyhttp://stlouis.cbslocal.com/
When I was embedded in Iraq, I saw American tanks and weaponry like you wouldn’t believe, used on Iraqi civilians to keep them in line. But it wasn’t until I saw videos of Ferguson that I realized that the use of tanks and military weaponry have become standard warfare procedure against civilians here in America too. http://readersupportednews.
When I was in Burma, I saw minorities being labeled as inferior, being called insulting names and constantly being accused of laziness, stupidity, immorality and violence to the point where in some cases the minorities actually started suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome and becoming all the things that they were constantly being labeled as — but I never really brought this connection back home until Ferguson. http://readersupportednews.
When I was in Honduras, I heard tales about how Ronald Reagan funded his brutal death squads there by having the CIA fly whole plane-loads of drugs into secret airfields in Arkansas via “Air America” and then sell all those drugs in the ghettos here at home.
I knew that, back in the 1980s, the sudden availability of cheap crack cocaine had hit America’s Black communities like a ton of bricks — but I hadn’t really realized how much this crack epidemic had hurt these communities, even decades later, until I saw what the results of this evil agenda of deliberately choreographing drug sales in America’s ghettos had done to the societal fabric of American cities and towns like Ferguson back in the 1980s — and how hard, even today, that “authorities” are still fighting to keep the residents of places like Ferguson from ever putting their lives back together again.
When I was in Afghanistan, I constantly heard all kinds of stories about how American military planes would arrive there all loaded up with military supplies and then fly back to America loaded down with heroin, and that the dirty-money made on these ventures would help finance the American military-industrial complex’s Forever Wars.
But I never thought to associate all of this foreign drug trafficking with the breakdown of African-American cultural norms due to the sudden availability of huge amounts of heroin in ghettos all across our own nation — at least not until Ferguson caused me to see that the break-down of cultural norms in American ghettos had been carefully orchestrated and planned to do just that. And while turning a profit too — so that our own impoverished ghetto bantustans here at home are actually helping to finance the American military-industrial complex’s grim slaughter-for-empire abroad. Think about it. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-
When I was an election observer in Syria last June, I soon learned not to trust anything the American and British mainstream media claimed about election fraud there. There was no election fraud there. Period. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Shame on me for so easily seeing all the bias, racism, apartheid, military brutality, corruption, caste systems and just down-right immoral behavior by ruling-class Brahmans that routinely happens in other countries — but failing to see that all these grim tactics are being used right here at home too. http://readersupportednews.
And shame on America for letting all this profiling, perfidy, pilfering and prejudice go on for so long back here at home — where we Americans are supposedly civilized and moral, and supposedly hold ourselves to the higher ideals of liberty, equality and democracy. http://vimeo.com/84249535
What a waste of human resources, human compassion and human life.
Something drastic must be done immediately to rectify this grim situation if we are ever going to pull the emergency brake on America’s rapid downward descent into feudalism and fascism — starting with using the trillions of dollars that we will save when we put a stop to ruthless military adventurism, and instead use that money to open world-class schools in every ghetto (and even in every non-ghetto) in the land, and to provide decent, chemical-free non-mutated food on every table too. http://www.
We now live in a nation where
doctors destroy health
lawyers destroy justice
universities destroy knowledge
governments destroy freedom
the press destroys information
religion destroys morals
and our banks
destroy the economy.
PS: Can American taxpayers really afford to pay for the occupation of Ukraine, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Ferguson? Plus why would we want to? http://www.
The American military-industrial complex is currently spending 1.5 million dollars a day on military operations in Iraq. Imagine if that money was being spent to send Black kids to college — or to supply a college education to all American kids too for that matter. http://www.theguardian.com/
Every single patriotic American who loves his or her country needs to immediately get on the phone (and not even just go on FaceBook either) and make calls to Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court — bluntly telling them, “I’m sick of war!” https://www.aclu.org/secure/
PPS: “But Jane,” you might say, “those people in Ferguson blatantly stole stuff and looted and defied the law.” Yeah they did. But then so did Cliven Bundy — and nobody seemed to object to that. Angry Ferguson-Americans obviously need to learn how to steal and loot and defy the law Bundy-style! Fox News will probably even make them heroes. And maybe Bundy could even give them some tips.
Or maybe the citizens of Ferguson can get some tips from the primitive horde of neo-Nazis that the American military-industrial complex has recently hired (for five billion dollars) to shoot up and loot Ukraine — including but not limited to that Malaysian airplane that we never read about any more after it became public knowledge that Ukrainian neo-Nazis, not Putin, shot it down. http://www.wsws.org/en/
When I was in Ukraine several years ago, everything was peaceful — but just look at it now. It’s a war zone. And just another example of our tax dollars at work abroad destroying people’s lives rather than fixing people’s lives here at home.
I wouldn’t mind at all if that five billion dollars had been spent here at home instead. It could have bought Ferguson a new library, several new schools and probably a new hospital too. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
A year ago Ann Jarrell was living in a house she loved. She had saved for years to buy it.
Her daughter, Jennifer, and new grandson, Logan, were living with her temporarily. Logan had been born December 11th. Watching Logan’s world grow, along with his reach, became a fascination for Ann she had missed while raising her own child.
Then, on March 29th, Ann, Jennifer, and Logan’s lives changed forever. Ann learned about the spill, which took place less than 1,000 yards from her home, when her daughter called her at work. Describing the concentration of emergency vehicles she said the smell was terrible. She was nauseated, her head ached.
Ann called the police to ask if they should evacuate. She was told “Don’t worry, it can’t hurt you or your family.”
Still worried, Ann asked a woman working for Exxon. She was again told there was not a sufficient ‘level of concern,’ to warrant leaving. Again reassured, they decided to wait out the smell.
Their symptoms grew worse.
Ann began making frantic calls to every agency she could find, always told ‘the level of concern’ was not sufficient to warrant action. No one would listen. No agency, or Exxon, would even take a report. Not a resident of Northwoods, where the spill took place, Ann was not permitted into scheduled meetings, even when she could discover when they were taking place.
Jennifer began having seizures. Logan needed suctioning for his lungs. He had infections in his lungs, sinuses, and his ears. His doctor could do nothing more for him. “Get a specialist,” he told them.
Logan’s eyes asked his grandma, “Why can’t I breathe?”
Ann began losing days of work to blinding headaches and dizziness. Her memory was affected and she could no longer articulate her thoughts. On August 20th her physician told her never to return to her home, not even to pick up items she needed. Find someone to do it for you, he said. Toxins build up in your body.
Today, Ann is paying the mortgage for a house she cannot enter and is, effectively, homeless.
Logan still needs a respirator. His doctor, the specialist, says this may be for life. Ann worries about what kind of life he will have. And she wants an answer to her question.
“Exxon, what constitutes a sufficient ‘level of concern?’” All of us need to know.
There’s good propaganda and bad propaganda. Bad propaganda is generally crude, amateurish Judy Miller “mobile weapons lab-type” nonsense that figures that people are so stupid they’ll believe anything that appears in “the paper of record.” Good propaganda, on the other hand, uses factual, sometimes documented material in a coordinated campaign with the other major media to cobble-together a narrative that is credible, but false.
The so called Fed’s transcripts, which were released last week, fall into the latter category. The transcripts (1,865 pages) reveal the details of 14 emergency meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in 2008, when the financial crisis was at its peak and the Fed braintrust was deliberating on how best to prevent a full-blown meltdown. But while the conversations between the members are accurately recorded, they don’t tell the gist of the story or provide the context that’s needed to grasp the bigger picture. Instead, they’re used to portray the members of the Fed as affable, well-meaning bunglers who did the best they could in ‘very trying circumstances’. While this is effective propaganda, it’s basically a lie, mainly because it diverts attention from the Fed’s role in crashing the financial system, preventing the remedies that were needed from being implemented (nationalizing the giant Wall Street banks), and coercing Congress into approving gigantic, economy-killing bailouts which shifted trillions of dollars to insolvent financial institutions that should have been euthanized.
What I’m saying is that the Fed’s transcripts are, perhaps, the greatest propaganda coup of our time. They take advantage of the fact that people simply forget a lot of what happened during the crisis and, as a result, absolve the Fed of any accountability for what is likely the crime of the century. It’s an accomplishment that PR-pioneer Edward Bernays would have applauded. After all, it was Bernays who argued that the sheeple need to be constantly bamboozled to keep them in line. Here’s a clip from his magnum opus “Propaganda”:
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Sound familiar? My guess is that Bernays’ maxim probably features prominently in editors offices across the country where “manufacturing consent” is Job 1 and where no story so trivial that it can’t be spun in a way that serves the financial interests of the MSM’s constituents. (Should I say “clients”?) The Fed’s transcripts are just a particularly egregious example. Just look at the coverage in the New York Times and judge for yourself. Here’s an excerpt from an article titled “Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”:
“The hundreds of pages of transcripts, based on recordings made at the time, reveal the ignorance of Fed officials about economic conditions during the climactic months of the financial crisis. Officials repeatedly fretted about overstimulating the economy, only to realize time and again that they needed to redouble efforts to contain the crisis.” (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)
This quote is so misleading on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin.
First of all, the New York Times is the ideological wellspring of elite propaganda in the US. They set the tone and the others follow. That’s the way the system works. So it always pays to go to the source and try to figure out what really lies behind the words, that is, the motive behind the smokescreen of half-truths, distortions, and lies. How is the Times trying to bend perceptions and steer the public in their corporate-friendly direction, that’s the question. In this case, the Times wants its readers to believe that the Fed members “misread the crisis”; that they were ‘behind the curve’ and stressed-out, but–dad-gum-it–they were trying their level-best to make things work out for everybody.
How believable is that? Not very believable at all.
Keep in mind, the crisis had been going on for a full year before the discussions in these transcripts took place, so it’s not like the members were plopped in a room the day before Lehman blew up and had to decide what to do. No. They had plenty of time to figure out the lay of the land, get their bearings and do what was in the best interests of the country. Here’s more from the Times:
”My initial takeaway from these voluminous transcripts is that they paint a disturbing picture of a central bank that was in the dark about each looming disaster throughout 2008. That meant that the nation’s top bank regulators were unprepared to deal with the consequences of each new event.”
Have you ever read such nonsense in your life? Of course, the Fed knew what was going on. How could they NOT know? Their buddies on Wall Street were taking it in the stern sheets every time their dingy asset pile was downgraded which was every damn day. It was costing them a bundle which means they were probably on the phone 24-7 to (Treasury Secretary) Henry Paulson whining for help. “You gotta give us a hand here, Hank. The whole Street is going toes-up. Please.”
Here’s more from the NYT:
“Some Fed officials have argued that the Fed was blind in 2008 because it relied, like everyone else, on a standard set of economic indicators. As late as August 2008, “there were no clear signs that many financial firms were about to fail catastrophically,” Mr. Bullard said in a November presentation in Arkansas that the St. Louis Fed recirculated on Friday. “There was a reasonable case that the U.S. could continue to ‘muddle through.’ (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)
There’s that same refrain again, “Blind”, “In the dark”, “Behind the curve”, “Misread the crisis”.
Notice how the Times only invokes terminology that implies the Fed is blameless. But it’s all baloney. Everyone knew what was going on. Check out this excerpt from a post by Nouriel Roubini that was written nearly a full year before Lehman failed:
“The United States has now effectively entered into a serious and painful recession. The debate is not anymore on whether the economy will experience a soft landing or a hard landing; it is rather on how hard the hard landing recession will be. The factors that make the recession inevitable include the nation’s worst-ever housing recession, which is still getting worse; a severe liquidity and credit crunch in financial markets that is getting worse than when it started last summer; high oil and gasoline prices; falling capital spending by the corporate sector; a slackening labor market where few jobs are being created and the unemployment rate is sharply up; and shopped-out, savings-less and debt-burdened American consumers who — thanks to falling home prices — can no longer use their homes as ATM machines to allow them to spend more than their income. As private consumption in the US is over 70% of GDP the US consumer now retrenching and cutting spending ensures that a recession is now underway.
On top of this recession there are now serious risks of a systemic financial crisis in the US as the financial losses are spreading from subprime to near prime and prime mortgages, consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans, student loans), commercial real estate loans, leveraged loans and postponed/restructured/canceled LBO and, soon enough, sharply rising default rates on corporate bonds that will lead to a second round of large losses in credit default swaps. The total of all of these financial losses could be above $1 trillion thus triggering a massive credit crunch and a systemic financial sector crisis.” ( Nouriel Roubini Global EconoMonitor)
Roubini didn’t have some secret source for data that wasn’t available to the Fed. The financial system was collapsing and it had been collapsing for a full year. Everyone who followed the markets knew it. Hell, the Fed had already opened its Discount Window and the Term Auction Facility (TAF) in 2007 to prop up the ailing banks–something they’d never done before– so they certainly knew the system was cratering. So, why’s the Times prattling this silly fairytale that “the Fed was in the dark” in 2008?
I’ll tell you why: It’s because this whole transcript business is a big, freaking whitewash to absolve the shysters at the Fed of any legal accountability, that’s why. That’s why they’re stitching together this comical fable that the Fed was simply an innocent victim of circumstances beyond its control. And that’s why they want to focus attention on the members of the FOMC quibbling over meaningless technicalities –like non-existent inflation or interest rates–so people think they’re just kind-hearted buffoons who bumbled-along as best as they could. It’s all designed to deflect blame.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying these conversations didn’t happen. They did, at least I think they did. I just think that the revisionist media is being employed to spin the facts in a way that minimizes the culpability of the central bank in its dodgy, collaborationist engineering of the bailouts. (You don’t hear the Times talking about Hank Paulson’s 50 or 60 phone calls to G-Sax headquarters in the week before Lehman kicked the bucket, do you? But, that’s where a real reporter would look for the truth.)
The purpose of the NYT article is to create plausible deniability for the perpetrators of the biggest ripoff in world history, a ripoff which continues to this very day since the same policies are in place, the same thieving fraudsters are being protected from prosecution, and the same boundless chasm of private debt is being concealed through accounting flim-flam to prevent losses to the insatiable bondholders who have the country by the balls and who set policy on everything from capital requirements on complex derivatives to toppling democratically-elected governments in Ukraine. These are the big money guys behind the vacillating-hologram poseurs like Obama and Bernanke, who are nothing more than kowtowing sock puppets who jump whenever they’re told. Here’s more bunkum from the Gray Lady:
”By early March, the Fed was moving to replace investors as a source of funding for Wall Street.
Financial firms, particularly in the mortgage business, were beginning to fail because they could not borrow money. Investors had lost confidence in their ability to predict which loans would be repaid. Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, sold itself for a relative pittance to Bank of America. Bear Stearns, one of the largest packagers and sellers of mortgage-backed securities, was teetering toward collapse.
On March 7, the Fed offered companies up to $200 billion in funding. Three days later, Mr. Bernanke secured the Fed policy-making committee’s approval to double that amount to $400 billion, telling his colleagues, “We live in a very special time.”
Finally, on March 16, the Fed effectively removed any limit on Wall Street funding even as it arranged the Bear Stearns rescue.” (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)
This part deserves a little more explanation. The author says “the Fed was moving to replace investors as a source of funding for Wall Street.” Uh, yeah; because the whole flimsy house of cards came crashing down when investors figured out Wall Street was peddling toxic assets. So the money dried up. No one buys crap assets after they find out they’re crap; it’s a simple fact of life. The Times makes this sound like this was some kind of unavoidable natural disaster, like an earthquake or a tornado. It wasn’t. It was a crime, a crime for which no one has been indicted or sent to prison. That might have been worth mentioning, don’t you think?
More from the NYT: “…on March 16, the Fed effectively removed any limit on Wall Street funding even as it arranged the Bear Stearns rescue.”
Yipee! Free money for all the crooks who blew up the financial system and plunged the economy into recession. The Fed assumed blatantly-illegal powers it was never provided under its charter and used them to reward the people who were responsible for the crash, namely, the Fed’s moneybags constituents on Wall Street. It was a straightforward transfer of wealth to the Bank Mafia. Don’t you think the author should have mentioned something about that, just for the sake of context, maybe?
Again, the Times wants us to believe that the men who made these extraordinary decisions were just ordinary guys like you and me trying to muddle through a rough patch doing the best they could.
Right. I mean, c’mon, this is some pretty impressive propaganda, don’t you think? It takes a real talent to come up with this stuff, which is why most of these NYT guys probably got their sheepskin at Harvard or Yale, the establishment’s petri-dish for serial liars.
By September 2008, Bernanke and Paulson knew the game was over. The crisis had been raging for more than a year and the nation’s biggest banks were broke. (Bernanke even admitted as much in testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2011 when he said “only one ….out of maybe the 13 of the most important financial institutions in the United States…was not at serious risk of failure within a period of a week or two.” He knew the banks were busted, and so did Paulson.) Their only chance to save their buddies was a Hail Mary pass in the form of Lehman Brothers. In other words, they had to create a “Financial 9-11″, a big enough crisis to blackmail congress into $700 no-strings-attached bailout called the TARP. And it worked too. They pushed Lehman to its death, scared the bejesus out of congress, and walked away with 700 billion smackers for their shifty gangster friends on Wall Street. Chalk up one for Hank and Bennie.
The only good thing to emerge from the Fed’s transcripts is that it proves that the people who’ve been saying all along that Lehman was deliberately snuffed-out in order to swindle money out of congress were right. Here’s how economist Dean Baker summed it up the other day on his blog:
“Gretchen Morgensen (NYT financial reporter) picks up an important point in the Fed transcripts from 2008. The discussion around the decision to allow Lehman to go bankrupt makes it very clear that it was a decision. In other words the Fed did not rescue Lehman because it chose not to.
This is important because the key regulators involved in this decision, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, and Timothy Geithner, have been allowed to rewrite history and claim that they didn’t rescue Lehman because they lacked the legal authority to rescue it. This is transparent tripe, which should be evident to any knowledgeable observer.” (“The Decision to Let Lehman Fail”, Dean Baker, CEPR)
Here’s the quote from Morgenson’s piece to which Baker is alluding:
“In public statements since that time, the Fed has maintained that the government didn’t have the tools to save Lehman. These documents appear to tell a different story. Some comments made at the Sept. 16 meeting, directly after Lehman filed for bankruptcy, indicate that letting Lehman fail was more of a policy decision than a passive one.” (“A New Light on Regulators in the Dark”, Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times)
Ah ha! So it was a planned demolition after all. At least that’s settled.
Here’s something else you’ll want to know: It was always within Bernanke’s power to stop the bank run and end to the panic, but if he relieved the pressure in the markets too soon (he figured), then Congress wouldn’t cave in to his demands and approve the TARP. Because, at the time, a solid majority of Republicans and Democrats in congress were adamantly opposed to the TARP and even voted it down on the first ballot. Here’s a clip from a speech by, Rep Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in September 2008 which sums up the grassroots opposition to the bailouts:
“The $700 bailout bill is being driven by fear not fact. This is too much money, in too short of time, going to too few people, while too many questions remain unanswered. Why aren’t we having hearings…Why aren’t we considering any other alternatives other than giving $700 billion to Wall Street? Why aren’t we passing new laws to stop the speculation which triggered this? Why aren’t we putting up new regulatory structures to protect the investors? Why aren’t we directly helping homeowners with their debt burdens? Why aren’t we helping American families faced with bankruptcy? Isn’t time for fundamental change to our debt-based monetary system so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks? Is this the US Congress or the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs?”
But despite overwhelming public resistance, the TARP was pushed through and Wall Street prevailed. mainly by sabotaging the democratic process the way they always do when it doesn’t suit their objectives.)
Of course, as we said earlier, Bernanke never really needed the money from TARP to stop the panic anyway. (Not one penny of the $700 bil was used to shore up the money markets or commercial paper markets where the bank run took place.) All Bernanke needed to do was to provide backstops for those two markets and, Voila, the problem was solved. Here’s Dean Baker with the details:
“Bernanke deliberately misled Congress to help pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He told them that the commercial paper market was shutting down, raising the prospect that most of corporate America would be unable to get the short-term credit needed to meet its payroll and pay other bills. Bernanke neglected to mention that he could singlehandedly keep the commercial paper market operating by setting up a special Fed lending facility for this purpose. He announced the establishment of a lending facility to buy commercial paper the weekend after Congress approved TARP.” (“Ben Bernanke; Wall Street’s Servant”, Dean Baker, Guardian)
So, there you have it. The American people were fleeced in broad daylight by the same dissembling cutthroats the NYT is now trying to characterize as well-meaning bunglers who were just trying to save the country from another Great Depression.
I could be wrong, but I think we’ve reached Peak Propaganda on this one.
(Note: By “good” propaganda, I mean “effective” propaganda. From an ethical point of view, propaganda can never be good because its objective is to intentionally mislead people…..which is bad.)
Matt Drudge, owner and publisher of the “Drudge Report,” recently tweeted a cryptic warning to his readers, “Have an exit plan.” Here is how Susan Duclos reported the story in BeforeItsNews.com:
“The economic indicators are bad, markets, the weakening dollar, banks preventing large withdrawals, news of China banks halting all cash transfers, in fact, economies across the globe are failing, and much more has led to a simple, four word Tweet from American political commentator and the creator and editor of the Drudge Report, Matt Drudge, that chillingly states ‘Have an exit plan.’”
Duclos also wrote, “Drudge’s words should be a warning to everyone, it is coming, it is almost here and ‘have an exit plan’ ready.”
See the report here:
The Drudge Report is one of the finest news sources on the Web. Matt is well connected. This is the first time I have known of him to write such a warning–as mysterious as it was. No, I do not know what Matt learned to cause him to write this warning; but I do believe we should all pay attention to it.
I know it’s hard for most Americans to believe that something cataclysmic could ever happen to this country, but all of the signs on the horizon indicate that things simply cannot continue as they are for a whole lot longer. The stock markets are being manipulated by the Feds, as are the precious metals markets. Unemployment is vastly greater than what is being officially reported. Hyperinflation is a looming probability. The Feds are printing money like there is no tomorrow. Congress is totally unwilling to control its spending habits no matter which political party is in the majority. Republicans and Democrats alike continue to smash the so-called “debt ceiling.” Federal courts are unwilling to rein-in an out-of-control White House that seems determined to trample and ignore the Bill of Rights. Several countries are desperately trying to find a way to dump the dollar. U.S. foreign policy has made enemies of practically every nation on earth–as has the NSA’s global snooping. Our military is weaker and more demoralized than at any time in recent memory–maybe ever. China and Russia continue to unite militarily. More Americans are expatriating out of the country than at any time in our country’s history. Local and State law enforcement personnel more and more resemble Storm Troopers rather than peace officers. The America that was once the most envied nation in the world is now the most despised. Government corruption at the highest levels mirrors those of banana republics. For the most part, the Church in America is impotent and irrelevant. And, culturally-speaking, honesty and decency are practically non-existent. This is a recipe for disaster.
Unlike the days of America’s first Great Depression, most of us now live in major metropolitan areas. Can one imagine what life would be like in any major city in America today should normalcy be interrupted for more than a few days? Has everyone forgotten what New Orleans looked like following Hurricane Katrina? In any kind of area-wide emergency, there are about four hours (you read it right: HOURS) worth of food and supplies on store shelves–and the same with fuel at the gas pumps. And can you imagine what that big city of yours is going to look like when the welfare checks are not delivered?
I know. I know. Every time I touch on this subject, I hear from hundreds of Christian people saying things like, “Chuck, my exit plan is Jesus is coming” or “God has it all under control,” etc. But most of those same people lock their doors at night and give their teenagers (or even children) cell phones “just in case.” Many have AAA or similar plans for travel emergencies. Most of them have car insurance and homeowner’s insurance. Most have some sort of retirement plan–or wish they did. Most of them tell their wives and daughters to avoid the “bad” parts of town. Every day they routinely put in practice commonsense plans for their family’s safety. So, why is it every time the subject of having a plan for some sort of a national emergency comes up, they get all holier-than-thou and start talking about Jesus coming back?
First of all, most of America’s pastors and churches are doing nothing to help their people make commonsense preparations for any number of looming disasters. In fact, they are fueling the passiveness and indifference most people are drowning in. In the second place, the establishment media is deliberately hiding and obfuscating the truth. In the third place, too many politicians are so consumed with their own lust for wealth and power, that they would do anything to keep the American people in the dark. And, yes, some of them are actually ignorant themselves and are immersed in their own darkness. And, beyond that, the American people continue to turn their backs on honest political candidates–who know what’s going on and would truly make a gallant effort to turn the ship of state around–and elect the same kinds of establishment elitists (regardless of party) who only want to maintain the status quo.
Ladies and gentlemen, this party is almost over. The charade is about to be exposed. Whether it be by divine judgment or the natural result of all of this corruption and graft (probably both), America is going to be forced to pay the bills. And it’s not going to be pretty.
Government agencies are not buying up millions of rounds of hollow-point ammunition for target practice. First it was the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), then it was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), then the Social Security Administration (SSA), then the Department of Education (DE), then the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and now it’s the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). That’s right. The Post Office is making mega-purchases of ammunition.
See this report:
But when Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) recently introduced a bill that would have overturned a federal ban that prohibits citizens who possess concealed weapon permits from carrying inside post offices, members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee voted to kill the bill–including Montana Senator Jon Tester, Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Obviously, elitists love it when government employees are armed but private citizens are not.
And I can tell you for a fact that there is a host of federal law enforcement personnel–who know what is going on–that are personally leading their own families to prepare for bad times. Many economists are doing the same thing.
The Scripture states, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 22:3 KJV) Famous Bible commentators Karl Keil and Friedrich Delitzsch quote the verse this way: “The prudent man arises from his perceiving an evil standing before him; he sees the approaching overthrow of a decaying house, or in a sudden storm the fearful flood, and betimes [early] betakes himself to a place of safety; the simple [foolish], on the contrary, go blindly forward into the threatening danger, and must bear the punishment of their carelessness.”
Ladies and gentlemen, America’s house is decaying; there is an evil standing before us; the fearful flood will come; and the sudden storm will strike. How we respond before that happens will reveal our prudence or our foolishness. I’m with Matt Drudge: “Have an exit plan.” This is especially true if you live in or near a big city.
P.S. I highly recommend Joel Skousen’s well-researched book, “Strategic Relocation.” It is chock-full of helpful information regarding dangerous and safe places and what to do about it. Learn about Skousen’s book here:
The only part of the government that really listens to what you have to say…
The New York Times (November 2) ran a long article based on NSA documents released by Edward Snowden. One of the lines that most caught my attention concerned “Sigint” – Signals intelligence, the term used for electronic intercepts. The document stated:
“Sigint professionals must hold the moral high ground, even as terrorists or dictators seek to exploit our freedoms. Some of our adversaries will say or do anything to advance their cause; we will not.”
What, I wondered, might that mean? What would the National Security Agency – on moral principle – refuse to say or do?
I have on occasion asked people who reject or rationalize any and all criticism of US foreign policy: “What would the United States have to do in its foreign policy to lose your support? What, for you, would be too much?” I’ve yet to get a suitable answer to that question. I suspect it’s because the person is afraid that whatever they say I’ll point out that the United States has already done it.
The United Nations vote on the Cuba embargo – 22 years in a row
For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):
|Year||Votes (Yes-No)||No Votes|
|1993||88-4||US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay|
|1995||117-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1996||138-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1997||143-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|2000||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2001||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2002||173-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2003||179-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2004||179-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2005||182-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2006||183-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2007||184-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2008||185-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2009||187-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2012||188-3||US, Israel, Palau|
Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.
Speaking before the General Assembly, October 29, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.
However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:
“The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens.”1
So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest 2 ; that their encampments were violently smashed up; that many of them were physically abused by the police.
Does Mr. Godard ever read a newspaper or the Internet, or watch television? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person?
As to “independent journalism” – what would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?
The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba? The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.
How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.” 3 Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted the suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.
The Cold War Revisited
I’ve written the Introduction to a new book recently published in Russia that is sort of an updating of my book Killing Hope. 4 Here is a short excerpt:
The Cold War had not been a struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. It had been a struggle between the United States and the Third World, which, in the decade following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, continued in Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere.
The Cold War had not been a worldwide crusade by America to halt Soviet expansion, real or imaginary. It had been a worldwide crusade by America to block political and social changes in the Third World, changes opposed by the American power elite.
The Cold War had not been a glorious and noble movement of freedom and democracy against Communist totalitarianism. It had typically been a movement by the United States in support of dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and corrupt oligarchies which were willing to follow Washington’s party line on the Left, US corporations, Israel, oil, military bases, et al. and who protected American political and economic interests in their countries in exchange for the American military and CIA keeping them in power against the wishes of their own people.
In other words, whatever the diplomats at the time thought they were doing, the Cold War revisionists have been vindicated. American policy had been about imperialism and military expansion.
Apropos the countless other myths we were all taught about the Soviet Union is this letter I recently received from one of my readers, a Russian woman, age 49, who moved to the United States eight years ago and now lives in Northern Virginia:
I can’t imagine why anybody is surprised to hear when I say I miss life in the Soviet Union: what is bad about free healthcare and education, guaranteed employment, guaranteed free housing? No rent or mortgage of any kind, only utilities, but they were subsidized too, so it was really pennies. Now, to be honest, there was a waiting list to get those apartments, so some people got them quicker, some people had to wait for years, it all depended on where you worked. And there were no homeless people, and crime was way lower. As a first grader I was taking the public transportation to go to school, which was about 1 hour away by bus (it was a big city, about the size of Washington DC, we lived on the outskirts, and my school was downtown), and it was fine, all other kids were doing it. Can you even imagine this being done now? I am not saying everything was perfect, but overall, it is a more stable and socially just system, fair to everybody, nobody was left behind. This is what I miss: peace and stability, and not being afraid of the future.
Problem is, nobody believes it, they will say that I am a brainwashed “tovarish” [comrade]. I’ve tried to argue with Americans about this before, but just gave up now. They just refuse to believe anything that contradicts what CNN has been telling them for all their lives. One lady once told me: “You just don’t know what was going on there, because you did not have freedom of speech, but we, Americans, knew everything, because we could read about all of this in our media.” I told her “I was right there! I did not need to read about this in the media, I lived that life!”, but she still was unconvinced! You will not believe what she said: “Yes, maybe, but we have more stuff!”. Seriously, having 50 kinds of cereal available in the store, and walmarts full of plastic junk is more valuable to Americans than a stable and secure life, and social justice for everybody?
Of course there are people who lived in the Soviet Union who disagree with me, and I talked to them too, but I find their reasons just as silly. I heard one Russian lady whose argument was that Stalin killed “30, no 40 million people”. First of all it’s not true (I don’t in any way defend Stalin, but I do think that lying and exaggerating about him is as wrong)*, and second of all what does this have to do with the 70s, when I was a kid? By then life was completely different. I heard other arguments, like food shortages (again, not true, it’s not like there was no food at all, there were shortages of this or that specific product, like you wouldn’t find mayo or bologna in the store some days, but everything else was there!). So, you would come back next day, or in 2-3 days, and you would find them there. Really, this is such a big deal? Or you would have to stay in line to buy some other product, (ravioli for example). But how badly do you want that ravioli really that day, can’t you have anything else instead? Just buy something else, like potatoes, where there was no line.
Was this annoying, yes, and at the time I was annoyed too, but only now I realized that I would much prefer this nuisance to my present life now, when I am constantly under stress for the fear that I can possibly lose my job (as my husband already did), and as a result, lose everything else – my house? You couldn’t possibly lose your house in Soviet Union, it was yours for life, mortgage free. Only now, living here in the US, I realized that all those soviet nuisances combined were not as important as the benefits we had – housing, education, healthcare, employment, safe streets, all sort of free after school activities (music, sports, arts, anything you want) for kids, so parents never had to worry about what we do all day till they come home in the evening.
* We’ve all heard the figures many times … 10 million … 20 million … 40 million … 60 million … died under Stalin. But what does the number mean, whichever number you choose? Of course many people died under Stalin, many people died under Roosevelt, and many people are still dying under Bush. Dying appears to be a natural phenomenon in every country. The question is how did those people die under Stalin? Did they die from the famines that plagued the USSR in the 1920s and 30s? Did the Bolsheviks deliberately create those famines? How? Why? More people certainly died in India in the 20th century from famines than in the Soviet Union, but no one accuses India of the mass murder of its own citizens. Did the millions die from disease in an age before antibiotics? In prison? From what causes? People die in prison in the United States on a regular basis. Were millions actually murdered in cold blood? If so, how? How many were criminals executed for non-political crimes? The logistics of murdering tens of millions of people is daunting. 5
Let’s not repeat the Barack fuckup with Hillary
Not that it really matters who the Democrats nominate for the presidency in 2016. Whoever that politically regressive and morally bankrupt party chooses will be at best an uninspired and uninspiring centrist; in European terms a center-rightist; who believes that the American Empire – despite the admittedly occasional excessive behavior – is mankind’s last great hope. The only reason I bother to comment on this question so far in advance of the election is that the forces behind Clinton have clearly already begun their campaign and I’d like to use the opportunity to try to educate the many progressives who fell in love with Obama and may be poised now to embrace Clinton. Here’s what I wrote in July 2007 during the very early days of the 2008 campaign:
Who do you think said this on June 20? a) Rudy Giuliani; b) Hillary Clinton; c) George Bush; d) Mitt Romney; or e) Barack Obama?
“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government which has failed to make the tough decisions which are important for their own people.” 6
Right, it was the woman who wants to be president because … because she wants to be president … because she thinks it would be nice to be president … no other reason, no burning cause, no heartfelt desire for basic change in American society or to make a better world … she just thinks it would be nice, even great, to be president. And keep the American Empire in business, its routine generating of horror and misery being no problem; she wouldn’t want to be known as the president that hastened the decline of the empire.
And she spoke the above words at the “Take Back America” conference; she was speaking to liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.
Think of why you are opposed to the war. Is it not largely because of all the unspeakable suffering brought down upon the heads and souls of the poor people of Iraq by the American military? Hillary Clinton couldn’t care less about that, literally. She thinks the American military has “succeeded”. Has she ever unequivocally labeled the war “illegal” or “immoral”? I used to think that Tony Blair was a member of the right wing or conservative wing of the British Labour Party. I finally realized one day that that was an incorrect description of his ideology. Blair is a conservative, a bloody Tory. How he wound up in the Labour Party is a matter I haven’t studied. Hillary Clinton, however, I’ve long known is a conservative; going back to at least the 1980s, while the wife of the Arkansas governor, she strongly supported the death-squad torturers known as the Contras, who were the empire’s proxy army in Nicaragua. 7
Now we hear from America’s venerable conservative magazine, William Buckley’s National Review, an editorial by Bruce Bartlett, policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan; treasury official under President George H.W. Bush; a fellow at two of the leading conservative think-tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute – You get the picture? Bartlett tells his readers that it’s almost certain that the Democrats will win the White House in 2008. So what to do? Support the most conservative Democrat. He writes: “To right-wingers willing to look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative.” 8
We also hear from America’s premier magazine for the corporate wealthy, Fortune, whose recent cover features a picture of Clinton and the headline: “Business Loves Hillary”. 9
Back to 2013: In October, the office of billionaire George Soros, who has long worked with US foreign policy to destabilize governments not in love with the empire, announced that “George Soros is delighted to join more than one million Americans in supporting Ready for Hillary.” 10
There’s much more evidence of Hillary Clinton’s conservative leanings, but if you need more, you’re probably still in love with Obama, who in a new book is quoted telling his aides during a comment on drone strikes that he’s “really good at killing people”. 11 Can we look forward to Hillary winning the much-discredited Nobel Peace Prize?
I’m sorry if I take away all your fun.
- Democracy Now!, “U.N. General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly Against U.S. Embargo of Cuba”, October 30, 2013 ↩
- Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012 ↩
- Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885 ↩
- Copies can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org ↩
- From William Blum, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (2005), p.194 ↩
- Speaking at the “Take Back America” conference, organized by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard on Democracy Now!’s website ↩
- Roger Morris, former member of the National Security Council, Partners in Power (1996), p.415 ↩
- National Review Online, May 1, 2007 ↩
- Fortune magazine, July 9, 2007 ↩
- Washington Post, October 25, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, November 1, 2013, review of “Double Down: Game Change 2012” ↩
You know, in spite of the visit from The Bone Lady when I was just three years old, and all the grim foreshadowing that she downloaded to me via direct intuition, I always held out hope that humanity could or would somehow turn things around on this planet, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
As long as there is breath there is always hope, that was my thinking for a long time, but I am no longer so sanguine.
As one of my friends recently remarked to me, there is, indeed, real evil abroad in this world. I don’t know how else to explain the wickedness of what is happening at Fukushima, in Japan, where the situation with the exploded and/or melted down nuclear reactors just goes from frightfully dire to unimaginably worse.
I frequently check the developments there at www.enenews.com and the latest news is very disturbing. I said from the outset, in the spring of 2011, that Tokyo would be evacuated. I still believe that to be inevitable. It is possible that much of Japan will be evacuated to elsewhere. The apocalyptic dimensions of the crisis are being covered up by TEPCO, the Japanese government, General Electric, and the USSA government. The reality is that there was at least one, and maybe more, really dirty nuclear blasts there in March of 2011, that wrecked the reactors and created a radioactive hell that no one knows how to remedy or bring under control. At the least we are probably looking at the failure and collapse of Japanese society with likely evacuation of tens of millions of people or more, and the fairly rapid death of vast portions of the Pacific Ocean, as deadly radioactive waste water continues to flow into the sea by the hundreds of tons, every day.
And when the cooling pool at reactor four collapses, the many tons of highly radioactive, spent, fuel rods that it contains will overheat and burn and or catastrophically fission, i.e., cause a runaway, nuclear reaction, or, in lay man’s terms, there will be another atomic explosion, along with a mushroom cloud, and tons of highly poisonous nuclear isotopes will be spread aloft into the atmosphere and/or will drain or be blown into the sea, to poison the Pacific Ocean even further.
This is worse than bad news. This is planetary chaos news. This is civilization ending news. This is species extinction level news, as in extinction of the human species on this planet. If you do not think so, all I can say is: wait. It won’t be long. Probably not ten years, not five, maybe even by Christmas this year, and you will begin to see what i mean, if you haven’t already.
And even if the cooling pool at reactor four doesn’t fail or collapse of its own accord in the near future, though that is very highly probable, TEPCO’s plan to manually remove the many tons of bent, mangled, fused, welded together, very highly radioactive fuel rods that remain in the pool, beginning in November of this year, is so fraught with peril that it is likely to spectacularly fail, with unimaginably negative consequences. Any slight mistake, miscue or dropped fuel rod could result in a fission criticality, a runaway nuclear chain reaction, to wit, an atomic explosion that will shower the northern hemisphere and the Pacific Basin with a fatal radioactive sleet that will persist for hundreds of thousands of years.
As I said, the situation is somewhere far south of dire, with a headlong, hellward trajectory.
The Nuclear Chain Reaction
Because what is inevitable, the longer the situation at Fukushima festers, is that the whole site will have to be abandoned. Due to the high radiation levels, no one will be able to work there without dying. So the workers will pull back, and the cooling pools and storage pools that contain thousands of tons of extremely radioactive, spent fuel rods will fail or collapse and there will be more explosions and radioactive fires. As the radioactively contaminated NO GO ZONE expands, as the population flees, the day will come when nuclear reactors at other, nearby power generating plants will also fail, melt down and/or explode, because the nuclear engineers and maintenance workers no longer come to work and operate them — BECAUSE THEY ARE DEAD.
And then there will be three or four more, and the radioactive No Go Zone will expand, widen, grow. And other nuclear power plants will then fail, melt down and/or explode, because their operators are also DEAD, and so do not come to work, do not maintain them.
There are over 50 nuclear power reactors in Japan, and they all have their spent fuel rod cooling pools. It doesn’t matter if the reactors themselves are shut down, because there are thousands and thousands of tons of highly radioactive, spent, nuclear fuel rods stored in the cooling pools all over Japan. So, given time, the crisis will continue to fester and worsen, and then it will begin to cascade, like a row of toppling dominoes, only it will be a series of failing nuclear power reactors, one after the other, heralding the end of the nuclear age, and quite possible the end of humanity.
It’s just that serious.
All of that will send a killing wave of radioactivity across the Pacific to North America. So what happens when the population on the west coast of the USSA flees in panic from the approaching killer wave of radioactivity? Well, there will be no one left to operate the nuclear power reactors in California, for example. or at Palo Verde, the massive nuclear power plant just to the west of Phoenix. So when those nuclear reactors and their spent fuel cooling pools fail, melt down, and/or blow up, the civilization-ending, planet-killing, Fukushima Syndrome will come home to America with a wicked vengeance.
All courtesy of General Electric. General Electric designed five out of the six reactors at Fukushima and built three of them, so what we see here is genocidal, planet-killing failure of American (alleged) “high technology” on a spectacular scale.
At the end of the day, all the differential calculus, the nuclear physics, the nuclear chemistry, the nuclear engineering, the corporate profits, the Madison Avenue advertising slogans, the multinational wheeling and dealing, all has conspired to assassinate the planet on which we, and they, all live. Make no mistake, the planet is now dying. The global poisoning process is so very far advanced that it probably cannot be stopped. Certainly, there is not now any serious, international effort to do so, not anything remotely commensurate with the level of danger that we are facing.
No doubt we are dealing with profound iniquity, a betrayal so complete of all that is human that no words exist to describe its foul dimension. The ones who have done this thing walk among us, though for how long? – understanding that they, too, will certainly drop dead along with countless millions of others, as a direct result of their abjectly arrogant ignorance.
All of their super-computers, the advanced mathematics, their (so-called) “hi-tech” industrial base, all of their billions of dollars of (so-called) “high finance” — and they kill the planet? And themselves and their posterity in the process? That’s the best they can do? They get a PhD in nuclear chemistry and use their (so-called) “knowledge” and (so-called) technical “expertise” to kill the planet? The planet that they also live on?
Geniuses. All of them.
Central Banking Middle East Madness
Then there is the very real prospect of a shooting, nuclear war, beginning in the Middle East. The USSA has a powerful fleet in the region. So do the Russians, as a counterpoint. Sadly for all humanity, the Washington, DC — City of London — Lower Manhattan — Tel Aviv — NATO cabal seems hell bent on war, and so we are on the slippery slope to war. Unfortunately, this psychopathic cabal is very heavily nuclear armed.
I saw all of this coming from waaaaaaay back, from way back in my infancy, since the age of three years, when The Bone Lady visited me and clued me in to realities that I still don’t want to think about, given their ghastly, hideous savagery. But I’ll tell you what, it’s enough to give a man insomnia, it’s enough to drive him out onto the nuclear missile silos, again and again, in a personal effort to inject a note of sanity and warning into a positively insane political and military climate, in an attempt to wake up anyone who may be susceptible to awakening.
My latest sally was 15 April 2010 in North Dakota, USA. I went over the security fence onto the H-8 Minuteman III nuclear missile silo in the Minot Air Force Base nuclear missile field, near Parshall, North Dakota, at the intersection of 33rd Street and 76th Avenue. I conducted a nonviolent, peace demonstration on the silo and was arrested by the USSA military and imprisoned for 100 days, almost all of the time served in the Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center in Rugby, North Dakota.
My Minot Manifesto explains my motivations, reasons and spiritual and political philosophy. It is one of the most important documents I have written in my entire life.
A Serious Message From The Heart of America was my personal statement that I mailed to the news media from jail in Rugby, North Dakota, on 14 July 2010, prior to being criminally tried and convicted in USSA federal court in Minot, North Dakota.
I explain the symbolism in my dress and accoutrements in the photo below, in the text of my lengthy Minot Manifesto. It’s thirteen pages, but worth the time and effort to read. It is a major life statement on my part, that reflects literal decades of deep thought, a very large quantum of concentrated life energy and hours, weeks, months and years of preparation, a statement that distills an important fraction of my life essence into human language. I invite you to partake of my gift by taking the time to read and reflect on what I have written, and then to take meaningful, principled, creative, nonviolent action yourself.
I don’t quite know what more to say, what more to do. In fact, were I to do more than I already have, and I have been out on the nuclear missile silos three times (and been jailed for my trouble all three times, in Arkansas, Missouri and North Dakota), I would run the very real risk of infringing on your right and your very real, personal RESPONSIBILITY to also courageously act. So what are you waiting for? Why are you here on this planet, at this time, reading this blog post, and articles like it?
Because make no mistake about it, the time to act, if you are going to act, is here. The time has arrived. The planet is on the brink. We face the very real prospect of a shooting nuclear war. Additionally, the Fukushima crisis, and the threat from nuclear power plants in general, ALL OF THEM, could not be more serious.
In recent days, I find myself musing about the closing scene from “Dr. Stramgelove,” with the haunting song by Vera Lynn, “We’ll Meet Again, Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When,” that was such a huge hit in World War II, for obvious reasons.
And it fills me with such melancholy and sorrow. Because if it starts, this ugly thing called nuclear war, and we are headed that way, can all unravel very rapidly. The machines will take over, and automated, pre-programmed orders of battle will be carried out, without human control, as machines battle machines with nuclear fire. Waves of missiles will come in, again and again, to batter the underground bases. I have read the declassified documents. Warhead after warhead will come in at 10 minute intervals. You cannot imagine the depths of the hell that is already programmed and waiting to be unleashed.
Back in the 1960s, the USSA military was counting on 140 million casualties in the mainland USSA alone. I know this because I have read the documents. I have done the research. The USSA population is much larger now, and much more urban, so the casualty rate would be even higher. Maybe 200 million? 250 million casualties in the USSA alone?
Do you think you will just watch that on CNN?
Refuge in the Southern Hemisphere
If you have read my previous writings you will know that I have said that IF humanity has a future, it is likely to be in the southern hemisphere, if only because the lion’s share of the nuclear weapons and nuclear power reactors are in the northern hemisphere. As the nuclear power plants fail, melt down, and/or explode most of them will be in the northern hemisphere. This is not an intellectual exercise — already we have had catastrophic failure of nuclear power plants at Chernobyl, Ukraine and Fukushima, Japan. They are just the first. There will be more.
Likewise, any shooting nuclear war is logically likely to be concentrated in the northern hemisphere, since all of the known, nuclear armed, military powers are in the northern hemisphere
But even then, there are enormous problems in the southern hemisphere. The vegetation in the Amazon region of South America produces something like 20 to 30% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. As the Amazon dies, and it is being destroyed right now, so too, is the Earth’s breathable oxygen supply being destroyed. I don’t know about you, but I breathe oxygen all day and all night, every day and every night of my life.
So even if we resolve the nuclear issue, and there is ZERO progress on that front right now, only to lose the Amazon, we all will still die, because none of us can survive with 20 to 30% less oxygen. Just cannot.
Right now, we, humanity, every last one of us, are in a life and death struggle for the life of our species, and the life of our planet.
If we win, we live. If we lose, we die. ALL OF US.
End of the story. End of our species’ genetic line. For ever and ever.
So maybe moving to Bolivia or Uruguay or Namibia or Madagascar or New Zealand will buy you a little time, a year or ten. However, if we fail to rein in and ABOLISH nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons, if we fail to reforest the Earth and cleanse it of radioactive contamination, then we are through. It’s the end for us.
This is our group decision. Right now we are on a self-destructive path to global extinction.
So Here Is My View
If you will act decisively, now is the time. Pick your issue and your spot and act creatively, courageously and nonviolently.
It’s your world and your life. Act like they both count for something.
And here’s the other thing. If you cannot, or will not act, then how about supporting those of us who have acted, and who continue to act?
In my case, I have paid a very heavy price, in earnings forever foregone, by putting my life on the line, repeatedly, for you, whom I do not even know. But because you are my human kin, I went out on the missile silos, again and again, and I went to jail. I lost more than a year and a half of productive labor. I lost, as well, the opportunity to have a whole wide range of well paying jobs, due to my arrest and prison record, even though I have multiple advanced university degrees, up to the doctorate level.
Subsequent to my arrival in South America, I immersed myself in Amazonian shamanic culture, the better to understand the Amazonian region, the jungle itself, and the shamanic human ecology of the region that interfaces with the hyper-conscious plants in the jungle, only to be very gravely assaulted by one of the said Amazonian shamans and hospitalized for more than four months with massive trauma to both my body and emotions. I am now pursing a criminal case against the shaman and that also costs heavily, several thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees, at the very time when so much of my time and energy is taken up with therapy and the sheer physical effort of getting around with impaired mobility. Nine months after the assault I still have physical nerve trauma in my lower extremities, a good deal of numbness and what is called drop foot. I walk with crutches. My electro-therapy also costs. At the moment I cannot go to electro-therapy, although I badly need it, because I only have $35 to my name.
I have run completely through my meager life savings and there is no more.
Additionally, I have this week begun the formal petition process to the government of Ecuador to request political asylum. My years-long record of anti-nuclear activism and repeated jailing by the USSA government is one factor in my decision, coupled with other factors such as recent revelations of universal NSA surveillance and espionage, the secret arrest and indefinite military detention provisions of the NDAA of 2012 and 2013, the recently revealed, previously secret 2011 FBI documents that blatantly discuss plans to murder Occupy Movement activists by sniper fire, including in San Antonio, Texas, where I lived and worked as a window washer from 2000 to 2009, and all of this in the context of an all encompassing pattern of unbridled lawlessness and pervasive lying with regard to EVERYTHING by the American government. All of this and more, has brought home to me the seriousness of this moment that we are living now.
I have the obligation to safeguard my own liberty and safety. It is clear to me that politically I am freer and safer in Ecuador than in the USSA. The American government has taken a hard, dictatorial turn towards neo-fascism. That is the plain truth. The harsh, repressive treatment of Edward Snowden and Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning makes that clear enough. We are in altogether different territory now. And so I have petitioned for political refuge in Ecuador.
This also entails paying an attorney, to assist me in my interactions with the administrative, legal and political system in Ecuador. It is my life on the line and I am proceeding very carefully, every step of the way.
But it is also your life on the line, in that my anti-nuclear activism, my immersion in the Amazonian culture, and my pursuit of political refuge in Ecuador all have profound implications far beyond just me. What happens to me also has broad implications for you. The consequences of nuclear war are too horrific to contemplate, and if it is to be avoided, it is because of actions such as mine. Similarly, we simply cannot afford to lose the Amazon, and yet we are losing it right now. If we are to save it, a big part of that will be due to the personal efforts of those who come to the region and get personally involved in the nitty-gritty, even life-threatening struggle for the soul of the Amazon, because more than anything, we are involved in a pitched battle for the very spirit and soul of the Amazon and of the rest of this planet.
Similarly, if I, with my history of activism, book writing, researching, blogging, public speaking, interviews, and repeated nonviolent civil disobedience and consequent jail record, cannot obtain political refuge abroad, then what hope do you have? You’re boxed in, that’s what. You’re in a cage with no exit.
And so, if you cannot or have not done the things that I and others like myself have done and are doing, then can you please, will you at least please support us?
I desperately need your support now. My legal fees run to thousands of dollars, and my therapy is ongoing. I appreciate and really need your generosity. Please communicate with me at: email@example.com or via Skype at richard.sauder333 as to how to donate.
Come Ye That Love The Lord
I am a native Virginian, and have lived, worked, traveled, studied and gone to jail all over the American South, from the Virginias and Maryland, all the way across to South Texas, and numerous points in between. A very large block of my life has been spent down South. Although I am not now a church attending man, I have in the past been in all kinds of Christian churches, both Black and White, in big cities and small country towns.
Some of the most memorable sermons I have ever heard have been by Black pastors in rural areas of the deep South. One of the things I like about the traditional Black style of hymn singing down South is the way that the head deacon or pastor will frequently line out a hymn, especially the first line or two of a verse, and then the other deacons or members of the choir will join in, accompanied by riffs on the organ, if there is an organist, and there are some really gifted organists playing in southern Black churches.
I well remember a sermon that I once chanced to hear, decades ago, by a Black lay preacher, one sultry, Sunday night, in a tiny little town way down South, about as far south as you can go, and still be in the South and not somewhere else. The ceiling fans lazily stirred the muggy summer air, as the moths flitted vainly around the naked incandescent light bulbs hanging from the ceiling overhead. The windows were flung wide open and the pale light from the sanctuary washed feebly out through the rusted screens and flooded onto the close cropped lawn that surrounded the church. It was one of the most extraordinary public speaking performances I ever witnessed. The preacher used as his text Ezekiel 37, the theme being dry bones and systematically connecting them one to the other, the purpose being to reassemble and restore “them dry bones” to life. As he spoke, I saw that he fell into a trance, that he entered another state of consciousness, that he was self-hypnotized and that the sermon itself had a sort of existence independent of him, that the message took on a life of its own and was using his mind, his mouth, his body, to project itself into the ears, hearts and minds of the sparse assemblage present that evening. As he finished, he collapsed exhausted backwards into his armchair and lined out the first words of the hymn that he wanted the choir to sing. I don’t anymore remember exactly what song he called for, but it could well have been this: Come Ye That Love The Lord
If there is to truly be a new world order, as distinct from the obscene power that currently holds sway on this planet today, then we will need to see a completely new order of human being on this world, a species of human being motivated by love for the Creator and by devotion to inward and outward service to the sacred life impulse. We don’t see that now, and the human species may go extinct on this planet for its want.
I do believe in God and have been profoundly privileged to see some of His servants face to face. I find their company congenial.
Come, ye that love the Lord,
And let your joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne.
Let those refuse to sing
That never knew our God,
But children of the heavenly King
May speak their joys abroad.
The God of heaven is ours,
Our Father and our love ;
His care shall guard life’s fleeting hours,
Then waft our souls above.
There shall we see his face,
And never, never sin;
There, from the rivers of his grace,
Drink endless pleasures in.
Yes, and before we rise
To that immortal state.
The thoughts of such amazing bliss
Should constant joys create.
Children of grace have found
Glory begun below:
Celestial fruits on earthly ground,
From faith and hope may grow.
The hill of Sion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.
Then let our songs abound,
And ev’ry tear be dry;
We’re trav’lling through Immanuel’s ground,
To fairer worlds on high.
(John Wesley, ca. 1703- 1791)
Source: Richard Sauder | Event Horizon Chronicle
Clarksville High School in Arkansas will be the first high school to utilize state laws that allow armed security guards in schools to arm teachers.
Training is underway now that will facilitate teachers carrying concealed weapons when classes resume.
David Hopkins, superintendent for Clarksville explained: “The plan we’ve been given in the past is, ‘Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best.’ That’s not a plan.”
Twenty teachers, including volunteers and other facility are training with a private security firm to turn them into licensed guards. Those in the program will receive 9-mm Walter PPS and holster; including $1,100 for a total of $50,000 the school in spending.
To make sure these participants are full trained, they will receive 53 hours which is 5 times the requirements for security guards in Arkansas.
Hopkins said : “They’re not gonna be in a uniform, and they’re not gonna be wagging their gun on their side. We’re going to be very discrete about it, but yet we’re going to be trained professionals, and we’re going to be able to provide security for our kids in a matter of seconds instead of minutes.”
Instead of hiring an independent security firm, Hopkins asserts : “We’re not tying our money up in a guard 24/7 that we won’t have to have unless something happens. We’ve got these people who are already hired and using them in other areas. Hopefully we’ll never have to use them as a security guard.”
Students will not know which teachers are armed and which are not to ensure that Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are able to assist at a moment’s notice.
CERT is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These are trained members of each community educated in “disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.”
Donna Morey, former president of the Arkansas Education Association (AEA) said: “We just think educators should be in the business of educating students, not carrying a weapon.”
Arkansas and 6 other states; such as Ohio, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Washington State have adopted measures to place armed guards in public schools.
School districts in Florida, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Alabama and New Jersey have hired armed police officers to patrol and protect their campuses based on Vice President Joe Biden’s national recommendations last January.
Like those other schools, Sidwell Friends School, where President Obama’s two daughters attend, have 11 security officers and is seeking tohire armed police officers to patrol the campus.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) School Resource Officer program offers government certified law enforcement officers to patrol campuses as part of a national initiative.
Sheriff Douglas Harp of Nobile County, Indiana suggested deputizing teachers in order to carry handguns in classrooms just after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Last January, a scheduled Code Red lockdown was performed at Cary-Grove High School in Illinois.
This drill was complete with the firing of blanks into a hallway to give the students the very real impression that they were being attacked. Officialsclaimed that this exercise would help teachers and students “recognize the sound and react quickly should an active gunman situation occur.”
According the school website: “The drill will begin with a public address announcement about the lockdown. After staff have secured their rooms, Cary police and administrators will sweep the building to ensure all students made it into secure locations and assess any potential issues that may become apparent from the practice. Following this, a second PA announcement will be made informing students and staff that gunfire will be simulated so that they might be able to recognize the sound and react quickly, should an active gunman situation occur.”
They went on to explain: “Following the drill, a discussion will ensue between the students and their classroom teacher. We will utilize this feedback as a building and police department to assess our security and make any necessary adjustments to our building plan. Our sole purpose for utilizing the blanks is to fully prepare our students and staff.”
Parents whose children attend the school were concerned that the simulated gunfire was going beyond necessities. One parent said: “If you need to run a drill, you run a drill. They run fire drills all the time, but they don’t run up and down the hallway with a flamethrower.”
Students were upset by the crassness of the drill. Some participants pointed out that not all guns sound the same when fired. And a substitute teacher suggested that there be proactive training on what do to in such a situation instead of the terrifying drill that was conducted by school officials.
Jeff Puma, spokesperson for the high school explained that the administration is working with the Cary Police Department who recommended that this drill take place. Puma said: “It was their recommendation that we do this in order to create the knowledge necessary to keep our students safe in an active crisis situation.”
Puma said that the police referred to the students as “sitting ducks” while in their classrooms should a shooter enter the building. The police intimated that the students remain in their classrooms for “safety reasons” rather than try to escape through a window or run out a door.
Source: Susanne Posel | Occupy Corporatism
The antagonistic, mendacious, gangster like character of American politics has at times caused citizens to avoid it entirely and as the frantic pursuit of pleasure has become the core of life, the nation’s health is too often ignored. A spate of detrimental occurrences and a wide spread feeling of impotence has wounded the electorate. Recently a survey found that only 10 percent of Americans trust our congress to act in the best interests of the nation.
Though I believe it is futile to argue that our Constitution is a Christian document, in a world where freedom is scarce it is an outstanding and unique construct that has serve the nation well. Americans have enjoyed two centuries of liberty and prosperity unequalled in the civilized world.
This is where we were:
The taste of freedom that our ancestors experienced when they entered the hard life of pioneer America created a ferocious will to defend it. When Patrick Henry said “Give me liberty or give me death” he spoke for thousands of immigrants who had been living in European bondage for centuries. Feudalism was a form of slavery. Vassals could not own land. They spent their lives working and fighting for wealthy Lords. In America they could clear, till, harvest and own their land. The contrast was stark and of great value.
Unfortunately freedom was like a new car that had been driven a few thousand miles, lost its new smell, and acquired a few dents. In our time it has lost some of its value and is no longer washed, shined, inspected, and admired.
A number of factors have worked together to bring down the United States of America. The American Indians who were the rightful owners of the new found continent soon became enemies of the European immigrants who began settling land that Indians had historically hunted, fished, and occupied. The Indians were the first terrorists. Their ways of war were inferior and their weaponry was archaic. Justice was on their side but power overcomes justice and injustice wears a righteous cloak.
England became the next enemy seeking to enslave the new freedom addicts with taxes and oppressive troops. The settlers would have none of it. Freedom was seen as a religious right and Christian ministers urged their congregants to fight for it Though the nation was divided in its loyalty there were enough who believed liberty was worth fighting for to produce a rag tag army that was able to defeat the distance impaired British troops.
The next challenge to freedom came when Abraham Lincoln confirmed the odiferous fears of Patrick Henry (He smelled a rat!) by determining to preserve the Union by force. The Southern States who seceded for both economic and social reasons through ignominious defeat became prisoners in a union they deplored. The Union was preserved but freedom was dealt a serious blow.
As wealth and independence increased an omnipotent spirit began to overcome the America populace; the Indians were slaughtered, the continent was either purchase on the cheap or won by force. Florida; the Philippines and Cuba came from Spain; California, a part of Mexico, was won by the army; and Louisiana http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase was purchased from France (Included in this purchase were parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and some of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan). It was an unconstitutional purchase but pragmatism started early in the new nation.
Through what many settlers thought was “Manifest Destiny” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
This is how we got to where we are:
Itinerant Jews became wise in banking and the use of money. They accumulated fortunes that could bail out nations and finance empires. They not only understand banking and money but also the need of nations for unlimited funds. They understand war and its potential for profit and became adept at manipulating nations into conflicts. They pull the power strings in the majority of nations throughout the world and are today a strategic force in the implementation of world government. Though not widely known Jewish financier, Hayman Solomon, was instrumental in providing funds to finance the American Revolution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haym_Solomon
The United States of America has succumbed to the persistent debilitation caused by powerful, amoral bankers. They and their Talmudist kin occupy all of the power centers of our nation. They control the news you hear and do not hear, they control the movies you watch, the books and newspapers you read, they control our elections, they are responsible for persistent war and the suffocating quantity of immigrants that are destroying our culture. They are consistent promoters of conflicts and have defeated our Christian institutions and destroyed morality. The Federal Reserve banking system is controlled by the moneychangers. They create inflation and depression and then at the expense of the American taxpayer provide solutions to both. International banking is controlled by the same wise bankers who use debt to enslave nations throughout the world. They are a powerful and wily bunch..
This is where we are going:
Wholesale immigration will soon result in the indigenous White inhabitants becoming a minority in their own nation. Our European Christian based culture is being replaced by a secular legal system that is diametrical to the Law of the Bible. Obedience to these new legal codes is being actively enforced. We have been hijacked into a perpetual war that benefits a new world order program that is inimical to the best interests of the nation and threatens to start a much larger world conflict. The perpetual war and the social give away programs are creating a debt that even if the nation is fortunate enough to survive will saddle future generations with an insurmountable obligation. This is particularly true since the wealth producing manufacturing engine that used to eradicate our debt has been shipped overseas leaving us unable to satisfy even small obligations.
The astounding thing about all this is that many Americans are not only unaware of what is happening but unwilling to learn. They would rather not know.
Little by little the choices that have created freedom in United States are being lost. The tsunami of corporate mergers has driven out small businesses and severely reduced the choices of consumers who now are forced to deal with a small number of remote suppliers who give no heed to the individual. The depression has forced numerous retail establishments out of business reducing consumer choices. Chinese goods are being forced on American consumers because there is nothing else available. It has been decades since we had competitive daily newspapers and magazines have now become archaic. There is no longer a popular choice of political candidates which are preselected and promoted by a unified media owned by a handful of like minded oligarchs. The choices prosperity availed us are no longer there for the average American the work week has increased while his pay has decreased. Both husbands and wives are now working to sustain a standard of living that is inferior to a single wage family a half century ago.
Someone asked in today’s Letters to the Editor if the rape of the middle class was over. It is not over.
“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” - – Voltaire (1694-1778)
NEWS RELEASE – (Mayflower, AR) – Green Fields Renewal, a partner company for Rebuild America, today issued a statement on the disaster. The statement urged all parties to focus on the core issues. These, the statement said, are to ensure the long term survival of residents and to clean up the spill, minimizing damage which continues to spread.
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, an officer of Green Fields, said, “While much attention has been given to organizing a class action law suit, the sad fact is that given the history of Exxon for the last two generations, many of the people involved could be dead before a dime is ever paid for resident’s health by Exxon. This kind of irresponsibility can no longer be tolerated.”
The statement continued, “Instead, we propose Exxon offer to relocate ALL impacted families and individuals whose homes may now be dangerous to health to new homes. For Exxon, this cost is minimal for a spill of this magnitude. For the people it might literally be life and death. Exposure to toxic Tar Sands can become a death sentence, which Exxon well knows. People in Mayflower are already struggling with health issues, bewildered, and desperate for answers.
CNN reported, few of the over 10,000 who helped clean up the Exxon Valdez Spill almost 25 years ago are alive today and Exxon has still failed to pay all of the ordered reparations. We cannot permit this to happen again.
We can make this the turning point for America, rejecting the systemic irresponsibility of corporations like Exxon, establishing accountability for oil companies to ensure that people are not dying to improve their profits.”
Pillsbury-Foster closed her comments urging people to go to their website, read it, and take action in conjunction with David Lincoln, who is on the ground in Mayflower to provide coordination. Dave can be reached by phone to 870-321-0251 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We propose a negotiated settlement using a Qualified Settlement Trust. This works to help you limit the damage done to you and your family so you can move on with your lives, while at the same time creating a precedent which will protect others in the future.
When citizens are affected by large pollution events, such as a pipeline spill, they are often left little recourse to ensure compensatory damages for their losses. A Qualified Settlement Trust is a tool used in negotiating an appropriate and long-term model to assist community members who have been impacted.
The fund is established under §468B of the Internal Revenue Code. This Code section permits Exxon to deposit money or property into a trust and receive a full and complete release of liability. Once the funds are deposited, Exxon is entitled to a current deduction from income tax for the amount paid into the fund.
A QST provides a way for the entire community to stand together and be secured. Individuals can still retain legal counsel; this could bring a fair and just reaction from Exxon or the court systems in the event that Exxon does not fulfill their obligations.
This takes into account the well documented history of Exxon and other oil companies for delay and intimidation of those impacted.
Otherwise, the strategy Exxon and other oil companies follow is ruthless, and intended to avoid creating any precedent for alleviating the problems created or assisting those harmed.
This approach protects you, and everyone in your community. To learn more, talk to Dave, and sign up, go to OUR GOALS
Our proposal for you is to rebuild your homes outside the impacted area, but still within your community, to remove you permanently from the danger zone.
As part of the restitution for what you have already suffered, and for impacting your lives and health, we propose those homes be entirely paid for by Exxon and built to allow you to focus less on the problems you will still face, and more on ensuring your health and the health of your families is not further impacted.
Moving the subdivision should include everyone, both owners who are resident and renters. Owners who were not resident should be paid the full price for the loss of the house because all of the homes in the subdivision have been permeated with toxic fumes and are no longer safe for habitation.
Follow-Up Health Insurance
All who have been impacted, including clean-up personnel, should receive no cost to them coverage for twenty years, again paid for by Exxon along with heath professionals to provide assessments on an ongoing basis.
The land and water remain impacted. We propose Exxon do a thorough clean-up using the technologies now in use in other parts of the world for exactly these problems. This technology leaves the land and water clean and fertile in a far shorter period of time and helps avoid the problems which are already occurring as the waste seeps into other areas downstream.
This proposal would cost Exxon far less than litigation – but would create the precedent for accountability all of us need. You can ensure this happens, benefiting yourselves and all Americans – if you stand firm.
We will provide multiple forms of documentation, proving the point, to you and to the media directly through this site.
Today, you face years of health risks. Many have died of exactly what you face today.
The mainstream media covered the inauguration of Barack Obama with breathless anticipation on Monday, but should we really be celebrating another four years of Obama? The truth is that the first four years of Obama were an absolute train wreck for the U.S. economy. Over the past four years, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has fallen, median household income has declined by more than $4000, poverty in the U.S. has absolutely exploded and our national debt has ballooned to ridiculous proportions. Of course all of the blame for the nightmarish performance of the economy should not go to Obama alone. Certainly much of what we are experiencing today is the direct result of decades of very foolish decisions by Congress and previous presidential administrations. And of course the Federal Reserve has more influence over the economy than anyone else does. But Barack Obama steadfastly refuses to criticize anything that the Federal Reserve has done and he even nominated Ben Bernanke for another term as Fed Chairman despite his horrific track record of failure, so at a minimum Barack Obama must be considered to be complicit in the Fed’s very foolish policies. Despite what the Obama administration tells us, the U.S. economy has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline has accelerated in many ways over the past four years. Just consider the statistics that I have compiled below. The following are 37 statistics which show how four years of Obama have wrecked the U.S. economy…
1. During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans on food stamps increased by an average of about 11,000 per day.
3. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
4. The number of Americans receiving money directly from the federal government each month has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 tomore than 128 million today.
5. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income” at this point.
6. The unemployment rate in the United States is exactly where it was (7.8 percent) when Barack Obama first entered the White House in January 2009.
8. During the first four years of Obama, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” soared by an astounding 8,332,000. That far exceeds any previous four year total.
9. During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans collecting federal disability insurance rose by more than 18 percent.
10. The Obama years have been absolutely devastating for small businesses in America. According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
11. Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
12. The economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for the hordes of young people now entering the workforce. Approximately 53 percentof all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed in 2011.
13. According to a report from the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.
14. Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among “the working poor”. Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.
15. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all of the jobs in the United States are “good jobs” at this point.
16. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
17. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States is losinghalf a million jobs to China every single year.
18. The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
19. According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percentof all global economic activity in 2001. That number declined steadily over the course of the next decade and was only at 21.6 percent in 2011.
20. The United States actually has plenty of oil and we should not have to import oil from the Middle East. We need to drill for more oil, but Obama has been very hesitant to do that. Under Bill Clinton, the number of drilling permits approved rose by 58 percent. Under George W. Bush, the number of drilling permits approved rose by 116 percent. Under Barack Obama, the number of drilling permits approved actuallydecreased by 36 percent.
21. When Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.84. Today, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is$3.26.
22. Under Barack Obama, the United States has lost more than 300,000 education jobs.
24. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 now have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
25. More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as were sold in 2012.
26. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
27. Health insurance costs have risen by 29 percent since Barack Obama became president.
28. Today, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
29. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
30. The total amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has grown by 32 percent since Barack Obama became president.
31. The Obama administration has been spending money on some of the most insane things imaginable. For example, in 2011 the Obama administration spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
32. U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.
33. The U.S. government has run a budget deficit of well over a trillion dollars every single year under Barack Obama.
35. During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
36. As I wrote about yesterday, when you break it down the amount of new debt accumulated by the U.S. government during Obama’s first term comes to approximately $50,521 for every single household in the United States. Are you ready to contribute your share?
37. If you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
But despite all of these numbers, the mainstream media and the left just continue to shower Barack Obama with worship and praise. Newsweek recently heralded Obama’s second term as “The Second Coming“, and at Obama’s pre-inauguration church service Reverand Ronald Braxton openly compared Obama to Moses…
At Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Braxton reportedly crafted his speech around Obama’s personal political slogan: “Forward!”
Obama, said Braxton, was just like Moses facing the Red Sea: “forward is the only option … The people couldn’t turn around. The only thing that they could do was to go forward.” Obama, said Braxton, would have to overcome all obstacles – like opposition from Republicans, presumably, or the bounds of the Constitution. Braxton continued, “Mr. President, stand on the rock,” citing to Moses standing on Mount Horeb as his people camped outside the land of Israel.
But it wasn’t enough to compare Obama with the founder of Judaism and the prophet of the Bible. Braxton added that Obama’s opponents were like the Biblical enemies of Moses, and that Obama would have to enter the battle because “sometimes enemies insist on doing it the hard way.”
So what do you think the next four years of Obama will bring?
Source: The Economic Collapse
When I’ve written about our listing mis-education system, my focus has mainly been on rampant political correctness, on how students learn few of the right things partially because of emphasis on teaching the wrong things. Yet there’s another problem: in some cases the teachers couldn’t teach the right things even if they wanted to — they don’t know them.
Professor Walter Williams treated this in his latest syndicated column, “Dishonest Educators.” He introduces the topic by talking about the fairly recent cheating scandals in places such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Detroit, and other large cities (in areas that, not coincidentally, also have high rates of vote fraud and other criminality). These are shocking instances in which teachers would commit transgressions such as reading answers aloud in class during the National Assessment of Educational Progress test. How did they justify this? Well, Williams quotes one teacher who told a fellow “educator,” “I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell.”
But it seems the kids aren’t the only ones. Now we learn that some teachers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi paid surrogates between $1,500 and $3,000 to take the Praxis exam for them, the passing of which is necessary for teacher certification in 40 states. And how challenging is this test that some would fork over a few grand to a ringer sit-in? Williams describes a couple of representative questions, writing:
Here’s a practice Praxis I math question: Which of the following is equal to a quarter-million — 40,000, 250,000, 2,500,000, 1/4,000,000 or 4/1,000,000? The test taker is asked to click on the correct answer. A practice writing skills question is to identify the error in the following sentence: “The club members agreed that each would contribute ten days of voluntary work annually each year at the local hospital.” The test taker is supposed to point out that “annually each year” is redundant.
Forget about the fact that adults would find such questions challenging; it’s a sad statement about our society that we’d set the bar for teacher certification so low in the first place. I had to think: how young was I when I didn’t know the answers to the above two questions? Ten? Nine? Maybe even eight? Idiocracy has arrived.
Professor Williams also touches on a third rail of American social commentary, mentioning that most of the teachers hiring the surrogates are likely black — and that most of the surrogates may very well be white. Now, before anyone thinks of “Summerizing” Williams (not as I have. Rather, this refers to application of the kind of politically correct social pressure that drove Larry Summers from Harvard), know that he is black himself. And his point in addressing race is that our leftist mis-educators’ tolerance of low-information black teachers puts the lie to their claim that they care about blacks. After all, as he writes in his closing line, “If they [the teachers] manage to get through the mockery of teacher certification, at what schools do you think they will teach?”
But never fear, Dr. Williams. I’m sure these molders of young minds are well versed in afro-centrism, critical-race theory, and the principles of white privilege.
As of November of 2012, a mind-numbing 47.7 million Americans subsist on taxpayer-funded food stamps. One in seven Americans cannot feed himself or herself with a job or work of any kind. What constitutes the irony to this national tragedy? Answer: our U.S. Congress imports 100,000 legal immigrants into the USA with green cards every 30 days.
No matter how much poverty and unemployment blacks, whites and Hispanic Americans suffer– the leaders of this country continually pound more humans into the mix without pause. At the same time, food banks go belly up with bare shelves. Over 13 million American children live in destitute poverty and cannot secure three square meals per day.
While Congress supports our enormous military spending into the trillions of dollars and two 10 year long wars that devour (ed) money—it fails to create jobs and feed our poorest. It fails the fundamental rights of our own citizens to work and eat.
The gross statistics created by our U.S. Congress: (Source:hubpages.com)
#1 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#3 Right now, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
#4 It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#5 According to new numbers that were just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans living in poverty increased to a new all-time record high of 49.7 million last year.
#6 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.
#7Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the federal poverty level.
#8According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for children living in the United States is about 22 percent.
#9 Overall, approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
#10 In the United States today, close to 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.
#11 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.
#12 Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6 percent poverty rate.
#13 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.
Once you research the numbers, you cannot help but look to your own U.S. Senators and House reps and see failure, duplicity and corruption. No excuses! How could men and women who are supposed to represent American citizens continually leave American citizens in the grips of poverty, joblessness and homelessness?
Some kind of moral, ethical and spiritual wrong grows in the nation’s capitol all the way up to the president. American citizens become its victims.
Do you think there is any chance of it changing and becoming better as that same U.S. Congress adds over 3.1 million immigrants every year on our way to adding 100 million immigrants within the next 38 years?
Solving problems with violence is as American as apple pie…
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has become public enemy number one amongst left-leaning Americans since the most recent incident of random shooting. Is blaming the NRA a convenient way for Americans to avoid some necessary soul searching: a refusal to address the deeply-rooted cultural problem of violence being the preferred method of conflict resolution and most popular source of entertainment in areas that include sports, movies, TV, and video games? In essence, violence provides the backdrop to nearly all aspects of life in the United States. The government has glamorized violence by conducting endless wars, maintaining a gargantuan prison system, and keeping the death penalty legal. The US economy has increasingly become a war economy since 2001, and the business of death is booming. Recruitment centers for the US military are popping up in every high school and shopping mall. Television and cinema advertisements for the Marines have the slick and sexy look of Hollywood trailers. “Be all you can be!” says Uncle Sam, who carefully omits from his sales pitch that the main requirements for the job are the willingness to kill and get killed.
Can one blame the NRA when the US president runs a kill list from the White House?
A couple of days after the assassination of Osama bin Laden, president Obama’s approval rating jumped up more than five percent. Mr. Obama was proud and excited to take responsibility for the extrajudicial killing: “shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda.” Everywhere, newspaper headlines shouted “We took him out!” and the US public glowed from the pleasure of doing away with their favorite bogeyman. Killing people for the US federal government has become a quite simple affair that can even be done remotely, as in a video game, with drones that reach anywhere in the world from Yemen to Pakistan. The countless innocent victims of these drone attacks are called “collateral damage.” Most people in the US could care less about them, the understanding being that it is all right to kill people who had the bad luck to go to a market, mosque, or wedding at the wrong time.
So a man loses his job and kills his boss and numerous colleagues at his place of work. This has become so common that it is called “going postal,” or more politely, “workplace violence.” Every year, more than 10 Americans on average are gunned down in such workplace killing sprees. The enemy is quite close, especially for women. For example, of 429,729 homicide FBI files examined by evolutionary psychologist David Buss, 13,670 (or 3%) were cases in which a husband killed his wife. Thus, in their more intimate roles as jilted lovers or unloved sons, a small fraction of men murder not only their mates or parents but also everyone else who happens to be nearby at the wrong time. Why should collateral damage be solely the purview of the President? After all, he is considered to be the country’s ultimate role model. And why should Americans be surprised by an endemic violence problem when their role model, their foremost example of what one does with power, runs an assassination program directly from the White House?
Guns and America: A love affair
One week after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mr. Wayne LaPierre broke the NRA’s silence with a press conference. LaPierre argued that only more guns in the hands of “good guys” could stop America’s killing spree.
“I call on Congress today to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. Innocent lives might have been spared if armed security was present at Sandy Hook. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said LaPierre. Besides this “good guy with gun” versus “bad guy with guns” argument, reminiscent of a John Wayne Western movie cliche, LaPierre blamed the mass shootings on popular culture like “vicious, violent video games” such as ‘Bulletstorm’, ‘Grand Theft Auto’, ‘Mortal Kombat’ and ‘Splatterhouse’ and on movies such as ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Natural Born Killer’ for “portraying life as a joke and murder as a way of life. In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing on ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes,” added LaPierre.
The supposed adverse effect of popular culture on vulnerable minds is a perennial argument that gets brought up after each shooting, although the details vary. But this argument is about as sound as blaming a flood on the movie “Waterworld.” Violence is ubiquitous in American life, and it is quite natural that it should pervade American fantasies and popular culture.
Who are LaPierre’s “good guys?” Might they be the policemen who routinely criminalize and kill innocent black youths in urban centers? Might they be part of the growing security sector? Or could they be the teenage students who meet a life-size cardboard cutout of a machine-gun toting soldier at the entrance to their high schools every day? One moment of impatience about growing into full adulthood is all it takes for them to sign away their lives. Thus the dear children survive elementary school, junior high school, and finally high school, only to be sent off to kill people in places like Haiti, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There they learn not to distinguish those who are defending their countries from invasion from those who either cannot fight (like children and the elderly) or choose not to fight. The cost is their very soul. Many return hollowed out and suicidal.
A culture of death
By far the most violent practice of the US is capital punishment, in which a person is made completely defenseless and then killed in cold blood by the state with the collusion of its citizens. The shooters, who are well aware of this, typically conclude their sprees in a quick suicide, thus depriving the state of the sadistic process involving a protracted stay on death row and numerous appeals. The practice of the death penalty is all the more gruesome for its discrimination based on race and the innocence of many of those killed. An Innocence Project study in 2011 discovered that, of 230 individuals exonerated in the US by DNA Testing, 17 had been sentenced to die.
For US presidential candidates, the support of capital punishment has become a rite of passage: the ultimate proof of their willingness to kill the innocent so as to support an expansion of US wars and weapons sales. Former US President Clinton suspended his presidential campaign so he could return to Arkansas to make sure Ricky Ray Rector was executed. Rector was so mentally impaired and clueless about his fate that, before his execution, he asked the guards to save his pecan pie “for later.” On the evening of George W. Bush’s inauguration as Governor, the state of Texas executed Mario Marquez, who was brain damaged and had the skills of a seven-year old; later, when Mr. Bush was a presidential candidate, he mocked Karla Faye Tucker in an interview a year after her execution. On November 6, while Mr. Obama celebrated his reelection with an elated public by hugging his wife, mentally-ill Oklahoma inmate Garry Allen, who had been watching the election with great enthusiasm, was executed.
The violence of the state, domestically and abroad, is pervasive. It is celebrated: even sexy. Violence breeds more violence and, in a sense, we have become collateral damage.
Source: News Junkie Post
Of all the many, many stupid things that most Americans do, nothing is more insane than the ritual every two years of reelecting incumbent members of Congress. Countless opinion polls find that the public has incredibly low levels of positive regard for Congress. Just one in 10 Americans approves of the job Congress is doing, according to a Gallup poll released a few weeks ago, tying the branch’s lowest approval rating in 38 years.
Yet this year as in past years, unless Americans take back control of their country, voters will again reelect nearly all incumbents. Often, some incumbents do not even have any significant opposition. For example, in the 2000 election cycle, out of 435 House seats, 64 members had no major-party opponent, and in 2008 every House race in Arkansas was uncontested by a major party according to the Center for Voting and Democracy. Political redesign of congressional districts, gerrymandering, is widely done to ensure reelection of incumbents or one party.
The main way that incumbents get removed from office these days is when they lose in a party primary election, or die, or get themselves into a sex or corruption scandal. Primaries often replace the incumbent with someone else from the same party who will, in time, become an incumbent. That replacement is often a more extreme partisan than the previous incumbent.
The usual rationale for this survival of incumbents given by political analysts and writers is that although the public correctly sees Congress as a whole as incompetent, dysfunctional and incapable of serving critical public interests, they somehow think that their own Representatives and Senators are worth reelecting. This, of course, makes no sense. If this had validity, then cumulatively and nationally it would make sense to keep incumbents in office and Congress would get better and better with each election. In fact, Congress has become worse and worse with each election. This holds true in a genuine bipartisan sense, as nearly all incumbents, regardless of party, do not deserve to be reelected.
If Congress as a whole stinks, which it clearly does, then it is only logical to believe that this bleak condition must result from nearly all incumbents contributing to the mess. The exceptions are not defined by simply being the ones on your ballot.
How can a democracy function and have any deserved credibility when the electorate stubbornly refuses to act honestly and appropriately to get rid of the elected representatives who have proven themselves incapable of governing with competence and honor?
There must be better explanations.
Here is a likely one. Most Americans have become beholden to one of the two major political parties even if they are not officially members of them and may even consider themselves as uncommitted or independent. Moreover, a majority of people find themselves living in places where their favored party has predominated. When election time rolls around they cannot get themselves to vote for the candidate from the “other” party and they refuse to vote for third party candidates. Or they are so fed up with an awful government and political system that they do not vote at all, or not for congressional races.
Another contributing factor might be related to the lesser evil mode of thinking. The incumbent loser that you know is, somehow, thought to be better than the competing candidate you do not know, especially one from the “other” party. Reelecting incumbents is like some form of hallucinatory fantasy deemed the safer choice as if keeping them in office will magically turn out to be different and better than in previous times. They have seen the light, gotten the message, turned the corner, become what they once promised to be, and so on. Nuts. Congressional experience is not to be rewarded; it must be penalized for rotten performance.
Third, incumbents almost always have the most money because they have already been corrupted by money. More money means more advertising and more lies. Lies work. Especially for the many information-poor voters that are easily swayed by campaign propaganda. The big popular lie of omission these days is staying completely away from their congressional record. No incumbent wants to be seen as an experienced Washington insider. If you failed on the job, why would you?
In our country effective representative government is crucial. To keep reelecting congressional incumbents that nearly always deserve to be fired is unpatriotic, subversive and antithetical to the ideals of our constitutional republic.
This year ten Senators and 42 Representatives are not running for reelection. Odds are that far fewer incumbents will be voted out of office, if historic trends continue. For House elections from 1982 to 2008 only one in three voters did not vote for a winning House representative and 73 percent of House races were won by landslide margins of at least 20 percentage points. The power of incumbency reduces much needed political competition which a healthy democracy requires.
If the royalty of incumbency does not stop there is no hope whatsoever of putting the nation on a much better track. It does not matter who is elected president. In the end, if the fractured Congress we have witnessed for years perseveres the US is doomed to join the list of once great global powers that went down the toilet.
Flush congressional incumbents out. Now. Or be complicit in the death of American democracy. Stop making excuses, rationalizing. Throw incumbent turds out of office. Even more important than not voting for the challenger or incumbent from the “other” party is not voting for the incumbent of your party, even if it threatens party control of the House or Senate.
If you do not help fire Congress, then you deserve to suffer personally from what the federal government does or does not do. Make you voice really heard this year.
An aerial view of drought affected Colorado farm lands, 74 miles east of Denver, Colorado on Saturday, July 21, 2012 [Photo: USDA]
Severe drought spread rapidly across the central US this week, further damaging staple crops and heightening the risk of a global food crisis. The Midwest, where roughly one-third of the world’s staple grains are produced, is experiencing the deepest dry spell in over half a century.
The National Drought Mitigation Center in a statement Thursday reported “tremendous intensification of drought through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska, and into part of Wyoming and South Dakota in the last week.” Almost 30 percent of the Midwest is under extreme drought, triple that of the previous week.
Every state in the country had some counties under abnormally dry or drought conditions, making the disaster the most widespread US drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared 1,369 counties across 31 states disaster areas—officially the largest US disaster on record.
“It’s getting to the point where some of the damage is not reversible,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the center. “The damage is done, and even with rain, you’re not going to reverse some of these problems, at least not this growing season.”
With temperatures remaining in the triple digits across the Midwest, scattered rainstorms did little to restore moisture to topsoil. Iowa State University agronomist Roger Elmore said that over the week, “most of the state got a quarter- to half-inch of rain. We lose the equivalent of a quarter-inch of moisture every warm, sunny day.”
Meteorologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center have warned that the high heat and dry spell could extend through October. Through June, the year has been the hottest ever recorded for the US. Globally, land temperatures likewise broke all previous records last month. The extreme weather corresponds to projections issued by climatologists over the past three decades, indicating the worsening impact of global warming.
“This year is very emblematic of the type of thing we worry about with climate change,” David Lobell of global warming monitor Climate Central told ABC News. “The new normal for agriculture is going to be frequent episodes of very high temperatures. Temperatures at which pretty much any crop does not do very well.”
For the seventh consecutive week, the USDA on Monday downgraded its assessment of corn and soybean crops. For the week ending July 22, the portion of the corn crop rated in “poor” and “very poor” condition rose to 45 percent. Thirty-five percent of soybean acreage was rated poor to very poor. Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt told the World Socialist Web Site in a recent interview that a rating of “very poor” likely meant such crops were “approaching no yield.”
Since June 3, the portion of corn rated in “good” to “excellent” condition plummeted from 72 to 26 percent. Seven of the largest corn-exporting states now have only one percent or less of corn acreage assessed as “excellent.” A similar plunge was recorded in soybean acreage (65 to 31 percent).
The assessment is the worst since the drought of 1988, when small farmers went out of business en masse after a decade-long rural economic crisis.
The impact of the agricultural disaster on the global food supply is compounded by a speculative frenzy on grain futures on the Chicago Board of Trade. Last week corn futures surpassed all-time records at $8.2875 a bushel, before falling back on news of rain. As of Friday, corn for September delivery was trading at $7.9375 a bushel. Some analysts have suggested that corn futures for December delivery could fetch $9 or more per bushel in August if climate predictions prove correct.
With pastures in ruin and feed prices driven up in trading, smaller US livestock producers are facing the prospect of liquidating their herds. As a result, supermarket prices for beef, pork, and other meats are likely to surge in the coming year, after the initial influx of slaughtered herds. Prices for quick-to-market meats such as chicken and eggs, as well as dairy products, will likely rise more swiftly.
The USDA on Wednesday announced that supermarket prices would rise in coming months. Currently it projects beef prices will rise 4 to 5 percent, and dairy products 3.5 to 4.5 percent.
However, large meat producers are warning that cheaper meats such as pork and chicken will become “luxuries” if Washington does not suspend a program enabling the energy industry to secure up to 40 percent of the US corn crop for ethanol production.
“I’ll use the word catastrophe—that’s my definition,” Larry Pope, head of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, told the Financial Times. In June, Smithfield moved to lock in feed costs on the futures markets before corn broke $8 a bushel. “I thought that $6 corn was the end of the world,” he said. “I never could have realized that I would be thankful to be buying it at $7.”
“Beef is simply going to be too expensive to eat,” Pope said. “Pork is not going to be too far behind. Chicken is catching up fast… Are we going to really take protein away from Americans?” He said US meat prices would rise by “significant double digits” per year.
Even a less drastic price increase in protein food sources would compell millions of low-income Americans to choose what they can afford to buy over the nutritional value provided.
The disaster bears brutal consequences for the populations of import-dependent countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. In 2008, riots erupted in more than 30 countries after a similar confluence of severe weather and speculation drove up staple food prices. Among the billions of people living on $2 a day or less, the cost of food consumes as much as three-quarters of a family’s income.
Grain suppliers are beginning to default on deals with importers in Egypt, Libya, and Iraq. Egypt, the world’s largest consumer of wheat, is turning to Russia as the US drought deepens. However, Russia has also cut its wheat outlook by 3 million tons.
The US corn outlook negatively impacts wheat exports, as a poor corn harvest tends to mean wheat is held more tightly for domestic use. Because Egypt imports half of its wheat, and a quarter of its wheat imports originate in the US, any fluctuation in the grain’s price or supply sharply impacts living conditions in the country. Forty percent of the Egyptian population subsists on $2 a day or less.
The world’s population is subjected to the irrationality of the market, and the disjointed global food system. Barges loaded with Southeast Asia-bound grain have clogged Indian ports, creating delays of up to 25 days. Spotty rains in Asian growing regions may further compound food shortfalls and inflation.
“The deficit in rainfall will definitely cause food inflation to go up,” Dun & Bradstreet economist Arun Singh told Reuters. “The extent of the impact will be known only after the monsoon is over.” With monsoon season half over, some agricultural areas of the country have seen rainfall 68 percent lower than average. Food inflation in India is already 10.81 percent, significantly higher than general inflation; on lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, and other staples, the rise is far higher.
Source: Naomi Spencer | wsws.org
Walmart’s explosive growth has gutted two key pillars of the American middle class: small businesses and well-paid manufacturing jobs.
Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas, 50 years ago this month. Sprawled along a major thoroughfare outside the city’s downtown, that inaugural store embodied many of the hallmarks that have since come to define the Walmart way of doing business. Walton scoured the country for the cheapest merchandise and deftly exploited a loophole in federal law to pay his mostly female workforce less than minimum wage.
That relentless focus on squeezing workers and suppliers for every advantage has paid off since July 1962. Walmart is now the second-largest corporation on the planet. It took in almost half-a-trillion dollars last year at more than 10,000 stores worldwide.
Walmart now captures one of every four dollars Americans spend on groceries. Its stores are so plentiful that it’s easy to imagine that the retailer has long since reached the upper limit of its growth potential. It hasn’t. Walmart has opened over 1,100 new supercenters since 2005 and expanded its U.S. sales by 35 percent. It aims to keep on growing that fast. With an eye to infiltrating urban areas, Walmart recently introduced smaller “neighborhood markets” and “express” stores.
Community members rally against Walmart in New York City (asterix611 / Flickr)
While the big-box business model Sam Walton pioneered half a century ago has been great for Walmart, it hasn’t been so great for the U.S. economy.
Walmart’s explosive growth has gutted two key pillars of the American middle class: small businesses and well-paying manufacturing jobs.
Between 2001 and 2007, some 40,000 U.S. factories closed, eliminating millions of jobs. While Walmart’s ceaseless search for lower costs wasn’t the only factor that drove production overseas, it was a major one. During these six years, Walmart’s imports from China tripled in value from $9 billion to $27 billion.
Small, family-owned retail businesses likewise closed in droves as Walmart grew. Between 1992 and 2007, the number of independent retailers fell by over 60,000, according to the U.S. Census.
Their demise triggered a cascade of losses elsewhere. As communities lost their local retailers, there was less demand for services like accounting and graphic design, less advertising revenue for local media outlets, and fewer accounts for local banks. As Walmart moved into communities, the volume of money circulating from business to business declined. More dollars flowed into Walmart’s tills and out of the local economy.
In exchange for the many middle-income jobs Walmart eliminated, all we got in return were low-wage jobs for the workers who now toil in its stores. To get by, many Walmart employees have no choice but to rely on food stamps and other public assistance.
Walmart’s history is the story of what has gone wrong in the American economy. Wages have stagnated. The middle class has shrunk. The ranks of the working poor have swelled. Whatever we may have saved shopping at Walmart, we’ve more than paid for it in diminished opportunities and declining income.
And the worse things get, the more alluring Walmart’s siren call of low prices becomes. While the Ford Motor Co. once profited by creating a workforce that could afford to buy its cars, today Walmart profits by ensuring that Americans cannot afford to shop anywhere else. The average family of four now spends over $4,000 a year at Walmart.
Such market concentration is unprecedented in U.S. history, as is the concentration of wealth it has engendered. Sam Walton’s heirs own about half of Walmart’s stock and have a net worth equal to the combined assets of the bottom one-third of Americans — about 100 million people. This year alone, the Waltons will pocket $2.7 billion in dividends from their Walmart holdings.
They are among the few Americans who have reason to celebrate Walmart’s 50th birthday. As for the rest of us, the milestone offers a good moment to reflect on the company’s business model and where it might lead us if we allow Walmart’s growth to continue full-steam for another 50 years.