“…that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
– James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America (1931)
The American Dream has been defined many ways by writers of both poetic and prosaic bent, but its essentials tend to involve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or property, depending on your source).
The Declaration of Independence, upon which an entire nation was radically brought into existence, asserts that not only are all men created equal but that this is a “self-evident” truth. By this “unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” a contract was agreed to, that their union would be founded on this principle. Thus, America was endowed with its dream at the moment of its conception: the freedom to succeed.
The United States has promoted a self-congratulating exceptionalism for decades, waving its Declaration and Constitution in the faces of other sovereign nations as if the latter had never considered such concepts. Our capital F “Freedom” sets us apart from the rest of the world, as the political rhetoric has repeated ad nauseam, no matter the freedoms enjoyed by democracies on almost every continent. And yet our basic freedom, the freedom to succeed, America’s contractual promise, has been shrinking for thirty years.
The freedom to succeed transcends economic systems but it is most potently expressed by capitalist gains. The ability to go “from rags to riches” is ingrained in this nation’s ethos and there is nothing intrinsically immoral about that goal. However, the current state of American inequality reveals a very real and expanding gap between the rich and poor that betrays the foundational endowment of this Union. When the freedom to succeed is denied every citizen, their equality is equally denied.
Recently, the Pew Research Center released a poll on what international citizens consider the greatest threat to the planet. Conducted between March 17 and June 5 of this year, the survey received answers from 48,643 respondents in 44 countries. In the U.S. and Europe, the growing gap between the rich and the poor was overwhelmingly considered the greatest danger to world prosperity. Over a quarter of Americans ranked “Inequality” as number one, above Religious & ethnic hatred, Pollution, Nuclear weapons and Infectious diseases.
This is hardly startling news considering that the median net worth of American households fell by 35 percent ($106,591 to $68,839) between 2005 and 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is, however, disturbing that inequality remains so prevalent five years after the Great Recession.
Capitalism is not the problem. The problem is that we have let inequality advance in this country so gradually that its obviousness is masked by its familiarity. Below, I outline eight facts about inequality in America that every American should know.
1) 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined. This ratio has been verified by Politifact and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. To put it into context, last year the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there were over 316 million people living in the United States. That means 400 Americans have more money than over 158 million of their fellow citizens. Their net worth is over$2 trillion, which is approximate to the Gross Domestic Product of Russia.
One explanation for the vast discrepancy in wealth is the definition of “worth,” which includes everything a person or household owns. This means savings and property but also mortgages, bills and debt. Poorer households can owe so much in debt that they possess a negative net worth.
2) America has the second-highest level of income inequality, after Chile. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development studies thirty-four developed countries and ranks them both before and after taxes and government transfers take effect (government transfers include Social Security, income tax credit and unemployment insurance). Before taxes and government transfers, America ranks tenth in income inequality. After taxes and transfers, it ranks second. Whereas its developed peers reduce inequality through government programs, the United States’ government exacerbates it.
3) The current state of inequality can be traced back to 1979. After the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the gap between the rich and the poor began to narrow. For fifty years, wages differed between the upper- and working-classes, but a robust middle-class took shape and there remained ample opportunity for working-class individuals to ascend.
In his book, “The Great Divergence,” journalist Timothy Noah traced today’s inequality to the beginning of the 1980s and the widening gap between the middle- and upper-classes. This gap was influenced by the following factors: the failure of American schools to prepare students for new technology; poor immigration policies that favor unskilled workers and drive down the price of already low-income labor; federally-mandated minimum wage that has failed to keep pace with inflation; and the decline of labor unions.
4) Non-union wages are also affected by the decline of unions. The Economic Policy Institute claims that 20 percent of the growth in the wage gap between high-school-educated and college-educated men can be attributed to deunionization.
Between 1978 and 2011, union representation for blue-collar and high-school educated workers declined by more than half. This has also diminished the “union wage effect,” whereby the existence of unions (more than 40 percent of blue-collar workers were union members in 1978) was enough to boost wages in non-union jobs – in high school graduates by as much as 8.2 percent. Not only did unions protect lower- and middle-class workers from unfair wages, they also established norms and practices that were then adopted by non-union employers. Two prime examples are employee pensions and healthcare.
Today, about 13 percent of workers belong to unions, which has reduced their bargaining power and influence.
5) There is less opportunity for intergenerational mobility. In December 2011, President Obama spoke at Osawatomie High School in Kansas. He was very clear about the prospects of the poor in today’s United States:
“[O]ver the last few decades, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity have grown farther and farther apart, and the middle class has shrunk. You know, a few years after World War II, a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50-50 chance of becoming middle class as an adult. By 1980, that chance had fallen to around 40 percent. And if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues, it’s estimated that a child born today will only have a one-in-three chance of making it to the middle class – 33 percent.”
As refreshing as that honesty is, Obama promised no fix beyond $1 trillion in spending cuts and a need to work toward an “innovation economy.”
In a speech one month later, Obama’s Chairman of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, elaborated on the dire state of America’s shrinking middle-class. The contraction, he stated, could partially be attributed to “skill-biased technical change”: work activities that have become automated over time, reducing the need for unskilled labor and favoring those with analytical training. He also highlighted the 50 year decline in tax rates for the top 0.1 percent, increased competition from overseas workers, and a lack of educational equality for children. Poor children are denied the private tutors, college prep and business network of family and friends available to their wealthier peers, which locks them into the class they are born into.
6) Tax cuts to the wealthiest have not improved the economy or created more jobs. Krueger also revealed that the tax cuts of the 2000s for top earners did not improve the economy any better than they did in the 1990s (meanwhile, income growth was stronger for lower- and middle-class families in the 1990s than in the last forty years).
Tax rates for the top income earners in America peaked in 1945 at 66.4 percent. Following decades of gradual reductions, they have since been cut in half. During the same time, the payroll tax has increased since the 1950s and individual income tax has bounced between 40-50 percent through the present day. Conversely, corporate tax declined from above 30 percent in the 1950s to under 10 percent in 2011.
All of these tax cuts are made ostensibly to improve the economy and create jobs. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded that it is young companies, “regardless of their size,” that are the real job creators in America. Tax cuts to the wealthiest do not create jobs.
7) Incomes for the top 1% have increased (but the top 0.01% make even more). Between 1979 and 2007, the average incomes of the 1 percent increased 241 percent. Compare that to 19 percent growth for the middle fifth of America and 11 percent for the bottom fifth. Put another way, in 1980 the average American CEO earned forty-two times as much as his average worker. In 2001, he earned 531 times as much.
Average income across the 1 percent is actually stratified into widely disparate echelons. Compare the $29,840 average income for the bottom 90 percent to the $161,139 of the top 10 percent. Compare the $1 million average income of the top 1 percent to the $2.8 million of the top 0.1 percent. Yet both still pale beside the $23 million average income of the top 0.01 percent.
If those numbers seem a bit overwhelming, Politizane has created a video that illustrates this staggering inequality:
8) The majority of Congress does not feel your pain. Empowered by the Constitution to represent their constituents, United States Congress members are, for the first time in history, mostly millionaires. The 2012 financial disclosure information of the 534 current Congress men and women reveals that over half of them have a net worth of $1 million or more.
After the past seven facts it is difficult to read this last one and believe that these 268 legislators have the best interests of the remaining 99 percent at heart. But if that is too presumptuous a leap, it is not too bold to say that wealthier donors, lobbyists and special interest groups enjoy greater access to these lawmakers than the average American.
In January, Congress failed to extend emergency benefits for unemployment, leaving 1.3 million people without federal aid. Congress then went on a weeklong recess that kept them from debating the issue until the end of the month. The bill was too divisive for Republicans and Democrats to reach an agreement on, though unemployment was then above 7 percent nationally.
Thankfully, the unemployed have their Congress working for them. And at $174,000 annual pay, those representatives are sure to return from their vacations committed to fresh solutions.
“Financial markets are faced with uncertainty that isn’t going away. The slowdown in Europe is probably in the early innings, the Fed hasn’t begun to raise interest rates, and geopolitical crises seem to pop up by the day.” Jeff Cox, Finance editor, CNBC
Six years of zero rates and trillions of dollars of asset purchases couldn’t stop stocks from falling sharply on Wednesday. All three major indices moved deep into the red, with the Dow Jones leading the pack, dropping an eye-watering 460 points before rebounding nearly 300 points by the end of the session. Risk-free assets, particularly US Treasuries, rallied hard on the flight-to-safety move with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield slipping to a Depression era 1.87 percent before climbing back above the 2 percent mark. US financials were the worst hit sector, taking it on the chin for 9 percent by mid-day, while Brent crude was soundly walloped, falling to a 47-month low on oversupply and deflation fears. Stock market gains for the year had nearly been wiped out before a miraculous about-face turned Armageddon into a so-so day with survivable losses. Even so, analysts have already started paring back their estimates for 4th quarter growth while traders stocked up on antacid for Thursday’s opening bell.
The proximate cause of Wednesday’s bloodbath was weaker than expected economic data from Europe–which is sliding towards its third recession in five years– droopy retail sales in the US, and a report from Department of Labor showing that wholesale prices for producers are edging closer towards deflation, the opposite of what the Fed is trying to achieve via its aggressive monetary policy.
But the real trigger for the selloff was not the dismal data, but the policies that have been in place since the Financial Crisis of 2008. While the Obama administration has steadily decreased demand by shaving the deficits which provide vital fiscal stimulus for the economy, (On Wednesday, the USG announced the budget deficit fell to $483 billion, the lowest since 2008) the Federal Reserve has been providing trillions of dollars of cheap money to the banks and brokerages. The result of this one-two combo has not only been the biggest transfer of wealth in human history, but also “a fundamental breakdown in the functioning of the global capitalist economy.” As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted in a recent paper on the global recovery: “a pickup in investment has not yet materialized…reflecting concerns about low medium-term growth potential and subdued private consumption.” Demand shortfalls in the advanced countries “could lead to sustained global economic weakness over a five-year period.” (IMF report records global economic breakdown, Nick Beams, World Socialist Web Site)
Simply put: The Fed’s policies have made investors richer, but they haven’t created opportunities for recycling profits, which is a critical part of capitalism’s so called virtuous circle. Anemic investment, means less hiring, less spending, weaker demand and slower growth, all of which are visible in today’s sluggish, underperforming economy. Pumping money into financial assets (QE) can fatten the bank accounts of rich speculators, but it doesn’t do jack for the economy. It just creates bubbles that burst in a flurry of panic selling. Here’s more from Larry Elliot at the Guardian:
“Six years after the global banking system had its near-death experience, interest rates are still at emergency levels. Even attaining the mediocre levels of activity expected by the IMF in the developed countries requires central banks to continue providing large amounts of stimulus. The hope has been that copious amounts of dirt-cheap money will find its way into productive uses, with private investment leading to stronger and better balanced growth.
It hasn’t happened like that. Instead, as the IMF rightly pointed out, the money has not gone into economic risk-taking but into financial risk-taking. Animal spirits of entrepreneurs have remained weak but asset prices have been strong. Tighter controls on banks have been accompanied by the emergence of a powerful and largely unchecked shadow banking system. Investors have been piling into all sorts of dodgy-looking schemes, just as they did pre-2007. Recovery, such as it is, is once again reliant on rising debt levels. Central bankers know this but also know that jacking up interest rates would push their economies back into recession. They cross their fingers and hope for the best.” (World leaders play war games as the next financial crisis looms, Larry Elliot, Guardian)
The policies implemented by the Obama administration and Fed have achieved precisely what they were designed to achieve; they’ve enriched the voracious plutocrats who run the system but left everyone else scraping by on less and less. An article in the Washington Post explains what’s going on in greater detail. Here’s a short excerpt from the piece titled “Why is the recovery so weak? It’s the austerity, stupid”:
“Welcome to Austerity U.S.A., where the deficit is back below 3 percent of GDP and growth is still disappointing—which aren’t unrelated facts.
It started when the stimulus ran out. Then state and local governments had to balance their budgets amidst a still-weak economy. And finally, there was the debt ceiling deal with its staggered $2.1 trillion of cuts over the next decade. Add it all up, and there’s been a big fiscal tightening the past few years, something like 4 percent of potential GDP. Indeed, as Paul Krugman points out, real government spending per capita has been falling faster now than any time since the Korean War demobilization. (chart)
Fiscal Impact Measure
Source: Hutchins Center
And, as you can see above, all this austerity has been hurting GDP growth since 2011. It shows the Hutchins Center’s new “fiscal impact measure,” which looks at how much total government tax-and-spending decisions have helped or harmed growth. The dark blue line is what policy has actually done, and the light blue one is what a neutral policy would have done. So, in other words, if the dark blue line is below the light blue one, like it has the last three years, then policy has subtracted from growth.” (Why is the recovery so weak? It’s the austerity, stupid. Washington Post)
By cutting the deficits, Obama reduced the blood flow to the real economy and weakened demand. That’s what torpedoed the recovery. In contrast, stocks and bonds have done remarkably well, mainly because the Fed pumped $4 trillion into financial assets which was a taken as a greenlight by risk takers everywhere to load up on everything from overpriced equities to low-yield junk. Now, after more than three years without as much as a 10 percent correction, the momentum has shifted, volatility has returned, earnings are looking wobbly, and the fear is palpable. Stocks appear to be headed for a major repricing event. Here’s how investment guru John Hussman sums it up in his Weekly Market Comment:
“Our concerns at present mirror those that we expressed at the 2000 and 2007 peaks, as we again observe an overvalued, overbought, overbullish extreme that is now coupled with a clear deterioration in market internals, a widening of credit spreads, and a breakdown in our measures of trend uniformity…
…it has become urgent for investors to carefully examine all risk exposures. When extreme valuations on historically reliable measures, lopsided bullishness, and compressed risk premiums are joined by deteriorating market internals, widening credit spreads, and a breakdown in trend uniformity, it’s advisable to make certain that the long position you have is the long position you want over the remainder of the market cycle. As conditions stand, we currently observe the ingredients of a market crash.” (The Ingredients of a Market Crash, John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hussman Funds)
Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? And Hussman is not alone either. The bearish mood on Wall Street is gaining pace even among those who focus more on geopolitical issues than fundamentals, like the Bank for International Settlements’ Guy Debelle who said in an interview on CNBC on Tuesday that he was concerned about the possibility of a “violent” market drop, particularly in bonds.
“If I had told you that there were heightened tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, uncertainty about the turning point in U.S. monetary policy, a succession of strong U.S. job numbers, uncertainty about the future direction of policy in Europe and Japan, as well as increased concern about the strength of the Chinese economy, you would not be expecting that to make for a benign time in financial markets,” Guy Debelle of the BIS said. “But that is what we have seen for much of this year.” (CNBC)
But stocks aren’t cratering because of tensions in the Middle East or Eastern Europe. That’s baloney. And they’re not falling because of decelerating global growth, plunging oil prices or Ebola. They’re falling because no one knows what the heck is going to happen when QE stops at the end of October. That’s what has everyone in a lather.
Keep in mind, that 20 percent of the current market cap (more than $4 trillion) is stock buybacks, that is, corporations that have bought their own shares to juice prices. Do you really think that corporate bosses are going to play as fast and loose after the Fed stops its liquidity injections?
Not on your life. They’re going to pull in their horns and see what happens next. And if things go sideways, (which they very well could) they’re going to cash in and call it a day. That’s going to drive down stock prices and send markets reeling.
Stocks have nearly tripled since March 2009 when the Fed started this “credit easing” fiasco. So if stocks rode higher on an ocean of Fed liquidity, then how low are they going to go when the spigot is turned off? There are some, like technical strategist Abigail Doolittle, who think the S and P 500 could suffer a major heart attack, dropping as much as 60 percent before equities touch down. Check it out from CNBC:
“(Abigail) Doolittle, founder of Peak Theories Research, has made headlines lately suggesting a market correction worse than anyone thinks is ahead. The long-term possibility, she has said, is a 60 percent collapse for the S&P 500.
In early August, Doolittle was warning both of a looming “super spike” in the CBOE Volatility Index as well as a “death cross” in the 10-year Treasury note.
And so it’s come to pass at least for the VIX, which has jumped 74 percent over the past three months and crossed the 20 threshold that historically has served as a dividing line between complacency and fear. That’s its highest level in nearly two years. From Doolittle’s perspective, the spike represents a bad-news/bad-news scenario … that the near-term selling action is likely to continue and even accelerate…
…she thinks “violent waves of selling action” could send the VIX all the way to 90—even beyond its peak during the financial crisis.” (CNBC)
Now maybe Doolittle is just exaggerating or paranoid, but her conclusions do seem to square with CNN Money. Here’s a clip from yesterday’s article:
“CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index is a good indicator of market momentum. Today it hit zero. That’s a huge red flag and showcases extreme fear in the stock market. The only other time the index ever touched that low point is in August 2011 — shortly after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. debt.
Volatility — or what some are calling “market whiplash” — is clearly back in the market. The VIX, an index that measures volatility and is one of the factors that goes into the Fear & Greed Index — spiked again today. It’s up a whopping 60% in the past week alone.” (Extreme Fear in stock market, CNN Money)
So fear and volatility are back, but liquidity has suddenly gone missing. That sounds like a prescription for disaster to me. So what can we expect in the weeks to come?
Well, more of the same, at least that’s how Pimco’s former chief executive officer Mohamed El Erian sees it. Here’s how he summed it up on Wednesday in a Bloomberg editorial:
“Though unlikely to be as dramatic as today, market volatility can be expected to continue in the days and weeks to come as two forces compete: first, the forced deleveraging of certain investors, particularly overstretched hedge funds registering big October losses; second, central banks scrambling to say all sorts of reassuring things. All of this will serve to reinforce October’s longstanding reputation as a threatening month for investors around the world.” (October’s Wild Ride Isn’t Over Yet, Mohamed A. El-Erian, Bloomberg)
Did he say “forced deleveraging”?
Uh huh. So, after a 6 year bacchanal, the Fed is finally going to take away the punch bowl and force the revelers to pay down their debts, clean up their balance sheets, and take a few less risks. Is that it?
Yep. It sure looks like it. But, that could change in the blink of an eye, after all, the Fed has its friends to think of. Which means that Ms. Yellen could announce QE4 any day now.
A recent study by Harvard Business School found that United States corporate executives make over 300 times as much as the average worker. Based on a $30,000 annual worker income and a 40 hour week the CEO gets $4326.00 an hour while the worker gets $14.42.
In the mid-thirties during the depth of a serious depression executives at General Motors were making 200 times as much as their workers. It was this disparity that helped set the stage for a power shift from the corporate moguls to John L .Lewis and his CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations). John L. Lewis and hundreds of thousands of disgruntled workers succeeded in forcing well-armed and well connected corporate executives to allow collective bargaining which ultimately unionized large portions of the U. S work force.
It was a struggle of epic proportions that bared the fangs of the power elite against the will and leadership of the workers. It began at the Chevrolet Body Plant in Cleveland, Ohio and spread to Flint, Michigan then to Atlanta, Kansas City, Pontiac, and finally to Detroit itself. Nearly half a million workers were involved. At Flint they staged a sit in where the workers sat at their stations day and night. Machine guns were brought in. The courts got involved. Finally an injunction was issued.
The strike began on December 28, 1936. The edict ordered prison sentences and million dollar fines if the strike was not stopped by February 3rd. Governor Frank Murphy of Michigan called out the National Guard who along with strike breakers armed with clubs and crowbars surround the Flint Plant.
According to William Manchester’s account in “The Glory and the Dream” Governor Murphy was ready to send the bayonets of the National Guard against the workers when at the last moment he called John L. Lewis asking what he should do. Lewis replied, “You want my answer, sir? I shall personally enter General Motors Chevrolet Plant Number Four. I shall order the men to disregard your order, to stand fast. I shall walk up to the largest window in the plant, open it, divest myself of my outer raiment, remove my shirt and bare my bosom. Then when you order your troops to fire, mine will be the first breast that those bullets will strike. And as my body falls to the ground, you will listen to the voice of your grandfather as he whispers in your ear, ‘Frank, are you sure you are doing the right thing?’” (Murphy’s grandfather had been hanged in an Irish uprising.)
Fourteen strikers were wounded during the night but Murphy backed down and finally ordered GM not to prevent the strikers from carrying food to the sitting strikers. With President Roosevelt silent and Governor Murphy aiding the strikers the corporate elites succumbed, signing contracts for collective bargaining. Unionization spread rapidly into other big corporations.
Globalization was anathema to union workers. When the rape of United States markets was set in place by our elected officials through ratification of international trade legislation a great burden was placed on unions. The rush to be competitive in world markets was diametrical to unionism.
Justice is a prerequisite to peace. When human power is concentrated and not prescribed ghastly actions often result. God’s overarching legal system provides perfect justice and a necessary restraint; when it is cast off the power swings that marked unions and management replace it.
In our time a more insidious power structure threatens our well-being. For at least a century a systematic plan has been in place to bring the nations of the world under international law. Nation after nation has been subverted by monstrous, opaque centralized power. Every major nation of the Western world has been subjected to stealth control. Debt is the weapon. Since Islam forbids most debt, Muslim nations are harder to conquer. Military force is necessary and the United States is being used as an instrument of conquest.
Corporate mergers have created behemoths that have little competition and are tyrannical in their own rite. The furtive power seekers are not planning a free society. Their vision appears to be a controlled environment similar to China. As economic pressure drains wealth from the United States and oppression ramps up, our standard of living falls, eventually bringing us to par with third world labor. It is like a 007 movie where James Bond has accepted a bribe to join Blofeld.
Globalization is marred by the illegal procedures used to bring it about. Wealthy and powerful men and women conspired to burglarize, undermine, and tyrannize the entire population of the world. Their methods are bribery and intimidation and the results of their evil intentions are apparent around the globe.
One wonders if an honest, forthright free-will proposition had been presented to the people of Western Civilization they might have voluntarily participated in bringing the Far Eastern Nations into their economic circle and endorsed an international legal code that would guide global trade. Conspiracies are sometimes successful but they are wicked and harsh.
Recently, the National Press Club hosted a debate on War and the Constitution between Bruce Fein, a Ron Paul adviser and resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America, and John Yoo, a wily Korean born Constitutional Lawyer and prominent Bush II adviser. C-Span carried the debate. Yoo maintained that the increase in the power of the Executive Branch of our government was a result of congressional acquiescence and Fein maintained that it is up to the people to elect officials that will abide by the Constitution.
The contending positons were logical and convincing but as with all of public discourse the core issues were evaded. No one mentioned the fact the incumbent elected official have the political clout to codify unconstitutional and tyrannical law while continuing to garner enough votes to stay in office. Yoo claimed that congressional leaders are regularly consulted on Executive Orders and other major decision.inclosed sessions; no one mentioned that this plotting is inimical to the well-being and health of the nation.
Consider the repercussions if a nuclear bomb had been dropped on the city of Detroit! Legislation passed by our elected officials has caused similar damage. In a recent interview a Detroit official said that there are 80,000 derelict homes in the city. They are being demolished in a process that is similar to cleaning up after a major attack. The destruction of this once great city is a result of the heretical actions of our own government and it has been done without as much as a whimper from our citizens.
Fein was right when he placed responsibility with the people but at this point the statement was mute for not only has the damage been done but our people are still inert and deluded. Because we have forsaken the Creator and cleaved to the creature our delusion has allowed us to sink so far into the quicksand that escape seems improbable.
Rousas Rushdoony writes “To control the god of any system is to control the men within it. The long battle between church and state has this fact at its roots. Orthodox Christianity gives us a God who is beyond the control of church and state alike. Hence the God of Scripture has been resented by civil governments, and attempts to subvert orthodox Christianity and its churches have been legion. The church too often has been restless under so sovereign a God; churchmen too prefer a god who can be put into man’s pocket.”
The citizens of the United States of America worship humanistic gods. Our deities are designed and controlled by human beings. These gods, created in human minds, have been in place for most of United States history.
Now the chickens have come home to roost!
Human beings were not created to govern themselves and when the anarchy of human opinion gains leverage over society, absurdity, chaos, and tyranny soon follow.
In the Harvard survey U. S. citizens guessed that corporate executives were making about 30 times the average worker’s wage. Citizens in other nations made similar errors in estimates.
It is readily apparent that the captain of the ship fills a more important role than a kitchen worker but to accurately measure and quantify that difference is difficult.
What is interesting, however, is that the U. S. tops the world in the size of its wage inequity. Switzerland is 2nd and Germany is 3rd, both have disparities of about 150 times the average worker or half that of the U. S. Wage inequity is not the only area in which our nation excels: We incarcerate the larger percentage of our citizens than any other nation in the world (including China and Russia); we have the world’s largest army. We had the world’s largest economy before the power barons began to dismantle it. We are probably the most violent nation. Violence brought the United States independence, violence freed the slaves and preserved the nation, violence conquered the West, it was the instrument of land acquisition, and of efforts to subdue rebels. Now it is being used to subdue the Muslim world.
When we are too lethargic to stop voting in elections that are rigged and too lazy to verify that our news is mostly propaganda and lies, we have no chance of helping to bring our profligate nation back under the sovereignty of the One True God.
God’s Law provides perfect justice. Peace is impossible without justice. When injustice becomes ingrained in a society that society comes under judgment and God’s judgment can be grueling. If Bruce Fein’s charge to U. S. citizens ever finds fertile ground it must start with Christians. Christians are required to be the light of the world. Light reveals what darkness hides. It is long past time for Christians to discern and reveal the evil that confronts us.
The cozy relationship between financial institutions and their respective regulators has long been known. Concern from reformers and activists comes from all stripes of ideological perspectives. With the attention that Carmen Segarra, the whistleblower of Wall Street, has gained, the noise from the banking establishment pushes back. Here comes the expected spin from the Fed, The New York Fed Slams Tape-Recording Whistleblower, Says She Was Fired After Just 7 Months Over Performance. Read their Statement Regarding New York Fed Supervision. So what is this controversy all about?
How dare a mere low level regulator document the goings on within the financial establishment, Inside the New York Fed: Secret Recordings and a Culture Clash, writes.
“As ProPublica reported last year, Segarra sued the New York Fed and her bosses, claiming she was retaliated against for refusing to back down from a negative finding about Goldman Sachs. A judge threw out the case this year without ruling on the merits, saying the facts didn’t fit the statute under which she sued.
At the bottom of a document filed in the case, however, her lawyer disclosed a stunning fact: Segarra had made a series of audio recordings while at the New York Fed. Worried about what she was witnessing, Segarra wanted a record in case events were disputed. So she had purchased a tiny recorder at the Spy Store and began capturing what took place at Goldman and with her bosses.
Segarra ultimately recorded about 46 hours of meetings and conversations with her colleagues. Many of these events document key moments leading to her firing. But against the backdrop of the Beim report, they also offer an intimate study of the New York Fed’s culture at a pivotal moment in its effort to become a more forceful financial supervisor. Fed deliberations, confidential by regulation, rarely become public.”
In an attempt at damage control, the Fed was looking for a favorable review. What they got was not what they wanted, N.Y. Fed Staff Afraid to Speak Up, Secret Review Found.
“The investigation, conducted by Columbia University finance professor David Beim, was initially confidential but was later released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
Mr. Beim’s report called on the New York Fed to demand that its regulatory staffers maintain a “more distanced, high-level and skeptical view” of how the banks they oversee make money.”
A Short History of the Breathtaking Cluelessness of U.S. Financial Regulators, is outlined by the Motley Fool analysis. Any serious observer of the cozy relationships that permeate the financial community knows all too well, that the revolving door turns when favorable regulation decisions spin in the right direction.
The significance of this latest scandal, points out just how the regulation process is conducted in the suites of money manipulation. This next account is most telling; You Should Listen To The Goldman New York Fed Story.
“This American Life has a banking supervision story that turns on secret recordings made by a former employee of the New York Fed, Carmen Segarra, and it’s pretty good, because it shows how regulators basically do a lot of their regulating of banks through meetings, with no action items after. That’s weird, and it’s instructive to see how intertwined banking and supervision are. There’s a killer meeting after a meeting with Goldman Sachs where Fed employees talk about what happened, and – though we don’t know what was left on the cutting room floor – the modesty of the regulatory options being considered is fascinating. Nothing about fines, stopping certain sorts of deals, stern letters, or anything else. The talk is self-congratulation (for having that meeting with Goldman) and “let’s not get too judgmental, here, guys.”
The takeaway of the story, which is blessedly not an example of the “me mad, banksters bad!” genre, is that this kind of regulation isn’t very effective. It clearly hasn’t prevented banks from being insanely profitable until recently, in a way that you’d think would get competed away in open markets.”
Why is Goldman exempt from any meaningful oversight? William D. Cohen over at Politico provides an answer to the question, Why the Fed Will Always Wimp Out on Goldman.
“Although Michael Silva, Segarra’s superior, didn’t doubt that the Goldman-Santander transaction was legal, he didn’t think it passed the smell test. “It’s pretty apparent when you think this thing through that it’s basically window dressing that’s designed to help Banco Santander artificially enhance its capital position,” he told his New York Fed team before a meeting on the topic with Goldman executives.”
Segarra thought her boss’s pre-occupation with whether Goldman “should” have done the deal, or been allowed to do the deal, was all just a big waste of time and obfuscated the larger issue that Goldman, and other Wall Street banks, were busy pushing around a key regulator – the New York Fed – rather than the other way around. She worried that her bosses were focusing on “fuzzy” and “esoteric” issues such as Goldman’s “reputational risk.” Silva also shared with Segarra that it was all moot anyway, because Tom Baxter, the New York Fed’s general counsel, had, he said, “reined him in” on the subject. “I was all fired up, and he doesn’t want me getting the Fed to assert powers it doesn’t have,” Silva tells Segarra, according to the tape recording.”
Breaking down all the details and dialogues that transpire in the normal course of banking reviews comes down to the undeniable fact that Goldman is in charge of the process. The ownership of the Federal Reserve, a private entity, is ultimately owned by the shadow families that control the major financial institutions. Only a very naïve analysis or a compromised minion of the financial elite Plutocracy would dispute the power and clout that is applied to the political nature of regulatory oversight.
Bankster’s earn this graphic title by the way they conduct their protection racket. Courageous regulators like Carmen Segarra are treated as traitors to a system that is designed to facilitate every abuse that firms like Goldman can devise. Now you know who really owns the gold, because they make up whatever rules that foster their financial corruption.
The ongoing failures of the Secret Service to provide proper protection for the President have political careerists in a tizzy. Scares that harm could come to the commander-in-chief, also worries the press. Ordinary citizens on principle, accept that the White House should be secure grounds. Rotating blame usually means that the buck does not stop on the oval office desk. Indeed, who could expect any President to be responsible for their own safety? Surely, policy decisions made as a government could not possibly have any bearing on the lunatics that harbor ill will towards our fearless leaders.
Refreshing your memory, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy got whacked. Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were targets of serious assassination attempts.
With all the Secret Service trial and tribulations experienced in the last years, the popular assessment is that the Praetorian Guard bodyguards have become a dysfunctional band of self-indulgent thrill seekers.
How much money is enough to spend on Presidential security? Some like ousted Secret Service Director Julia Pierson presumably would say a price tag cannot be placed on keeping the leader alive and safe from assassination. Though, Pierson failed to provide fresh start for Secret Service that administration wanted, proves that the culture of political privilege deems their importance to be most costly.
“Homeland Security requested $1.49 billion in operating funds for the Secret Service, a $60 million dip from last fiscal year. But even spending-conscious Republicans said that was too much. So Congress instead agreed to a rare increase over the administration’s request, giving the agency $1.53 billion.”
Such benevolence must come from a motivation to avoid another national tragedy. Absent in budget hearings is a serious debate if the propensity for violently eliminating presidents comes from pragmatic power political expediency as opposed to the usual conclusion that madmen (or women) are acting alone. Well, it is a nice myth if keeping the public living in a dream is the intent. Names like Lawrence, Guiteau, Czolgosz, Fromme and Moore do not carry the same notoriety as icons of assassins like Booth and Oswald, but official accounts paint them all as deranged.
Heads of state are far more cautious and seldom fall into the trap that their greatest danger comes from lone guns. There is good reason for Argentina president claims US plotting to oust her.
“Argentinian opposition politicians have accused the country’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, of being “completely out of touch with reality” after she gave a rambling televised address in which she claimed the US may be behind a plot to overthrow her government and possibly even assassinate her.
“If something should happen to me, don’t look to the Middle East, look to the North,” Fernández said during the address on Tuesday night, in which she alluded to an alleged plot against her by local bankers and businessmen “with foreign help”.
Is Ms. Fernández paranoid or just expressing a healthy appreciation of practices that have long been condoned?
When FDR approved Operation Vengeance, the killing of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, it was during WWII. The NDAA Actually Gives Obama the Legal Authority to Kill. Just ponder the perversion in the meaning of the term legal. Examples of killing the king in history usually means the victor won the war. Somehow justifying NDAA methods as acceptable demeans every citizen who pledges their allegiance to a constitutional republic.
The New York Times confirms that the Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will, but that begs the theoretical question what authority endows the right to even accept that a kill list is principled, much less a sensible decree of any government? Just where does the moral imperative enter into the craft of statesmanship?
“Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.”
Those American values in the 21th century have little in common from those practiced at the inception of the country. Covert agencies on missions of foreign intrigue are commonly practiced. The use of “special forces” and ex-military contractors seek to enjoy the cover and exoneration that fighting terrorists is the biggest growth industry on the planet. Delineating war loosely without a declared and defined enemy state provides broad discretion to place any antagonist in the crosshairs.
Truth Lies Deception and Cover-ups argues The Presidents Kill List and State Sponsored Assassination is far more dangerous and frequently employed than publically admitted.
“If the “Kill List” nominally exists in the interest of National Security – it is fair to predict that, particularly in a country that estimates it’s own domestic enemies (who are tracked with their surveillance systems) to be in the order of millions – it would be easy to tack journalists or whistle-blowers on to such a list.
This would not be because journalists and whistleblowers present a risk to National Security – but, they present a risk of embarrassing the ruling elite in the government, government agencies, government contractors and the financial giants (or other cronies that lurk in the shadows and pull the strings of politicians and other officials with influence).”
Recall the evidence surrounding the Suspicions Growing Over Death of Journalist Probing NSA and CIA Abuses. The malicious culture that routinely orders foes neutralized by means once considered abhorrent, now defy restraints of civilized society.
“When the Obama administration was exposed spying on journalists earlier this year, the investigative reporter blasted what he referred to as the president’s “war” on journalism. “The Obama administration has clearly declared war on the press. It has declared war on investigative journalists — our sources,” he said during a recent TV interview, blasting the administration’s lawless behavior, obsession with secrecy, and vicious persecution of whistleblowers. Beyond simple criticism, though, Hastings openly said it was time for journalists to fight back.”
Government cover-ups operate as bait and switch sophistry. Exposing corruption once was the pursuit of the art of refined reporting. Now, serious investigative journalism is a threat to any imperial administration.
Revealing and documenting subversion is viewed as endangering the Oval Office. Threats to authoritarian presidents are not limited to high powered rifles. Without regard to life and limb, earning a place on the enemy list is becoming deadly serious.
If the Secret Service has the charge to protect the life of the President, the entire military-intelligence-security complex functions as a hit squad for the institution of the presidency itself. While conflicting factions within the government vie for their own parochial seats of power on a continuous basis the precarious real national security declines. Blowback against the country is evident in every foreign policy arena. Such resentment unsurprisingly places the President in a self-induced greater risk of retaliation.
However, it must be acknowledged that the successful presidential assassinations (and several of those that failed) aimed their fatal bullet at an office holder who defied the ruling cabal that actually controls the financial and economic establishment.
It is difficult to believe that a truly independent and patriotic warrior could ever campaign through the election process and vote count to become President. The enormous entourage that protects the Chief Executive has grown to become its own cottage industry. Lost in the concern for protecting one man is that the White House Continuity of Government Plan makes the elimination of a President merely a lateral move.
Since responsible citizens value the life and safety of legitimate authority, the task of reversing the State sponsored assassination culture is imperative. When your own government conducts their “Murder Inc.” bureau as part of their survival plan, people need to question the degree of loyalty which that same government deserves.
Clint Eastwood’s latest movie production ‘American Sniper’ about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle will hopefully compliment ‘In Line of Fire’ in which he starred as a secret service agent present at the JFK assassination. The other side of the assassination equation is mostly ignored.
Sorrowfully, government officials are locked into a denial mindset that disassociates any relationship and connection between increased levels of risks to officials and the sanctioned killings approved by their governments. Review 82 pages of a list of assassinated heads of state. It is hard to believe that such a record of terminal violence will end any time soon.
Royal guards have an impossible task, no matter how much their budget allows. Until the power structure “gets religion” and renounces their evil ways, the system will never permit a civilized society. Assassination is wrong and adopting such an approach only invites backfire threats. Keeping the President safe begins in implementing moral conduct and renouncing the killer elite mentality.
Seldom does the enormous bond market turn on the fate of a single trader. Well, the news that Bill Gross was leaving Pimco under suspicious circumstances did not go unnoticed. The WSJ writes:
“The yield on the 10-year benchmark Treasury note was hovering around 2.506% immediately before the disclosure that Mr. Gross was leaving the hundreds-of-billions of dollars in Treasurys and other debt he oversaw at Pimco to go to rival firm Janus Capital Group Inc.
Within a half-hour, the yield jumped to 2.546%. While a move of 0.04 percentage point may not seem like much in that period of time, it was perceptible enough in the $12 trillion Treasury market that several traders and strategists attributed it to the news about Mr. Gross.”
Attempting to explain the reasons for his departure, The Economist speculates in the essay, Overthrowing the Bond King. “There appear to be three main reasons behind Mr Gross’s abrupt exit. The immediate cause was his abrasive management style . . . Moreover, Mr. Gross’s public behavior has grown increasingly peculiar of late . . . Such mis-steps might have been forgiven had Mr. Gross’s charmed streak as an investor continued. But over the past three years, several misjudgments have caused his funds to lag.”
At this point What You Need to Know About SEC’s Investigation of Pimco, centers on a relatively small $3.6 billion ETF, exchange-traded fund.
“Apparently, Pimco went around buying up small blocks of bonds, known as “odd lots,” at discounts. Pimco then marked their prices upwards using estimates of their values derived from larger blocks of bonds.
If Pimco really couldn’t resell the bonds at the new, higher prices it seems off base. But it also seems plausible the bonds might genuinely be worth more in Pimco’s hands than they were in the hands of whoever sold them.”
The mystic that Pimco enjoyed in bond trading may have sunk from the implications of SEC snooping. Gross seems like he is sprinting for the exit, but is this all that is in play? Investor’s Business Daily paints a smiley face on the open door that Gross’ transfer of loyalties as a positive for Janus Capital Group.
Now step back from these headlines and examine the concerns that have been floated about the bond market for a very long time. Money Beat in an account suggests that aBond Bubble Will Burst in a ‘Very Bad Way’ and reports on the recent Bloomberg’s Markets Most Influential Summit.
“Bonds are at ridiculous levels,” Julian Robertson, founder of one of the earliest hedge funds in Tiger Management Corp., said on a panel at the Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit. “It’s a world-wide phenomenon that governments are buying bonds to keep their countries moving along economically.”
Howard Marks, the chairman of Oaktree Capital Group LLC, said interest rates are “unnaturally low today.” Leon Cooperman, founder of Omega Advisors Inc. and former partner at Goldman Sachs, said bonds are “very overvalued.”
Forecasting the direction of government bonds usually focuses on predicting what central banks will do to drive interest rates, either up or down. Since consensus in market watchers has long announced that U.S. Bonds yields are unnaturally low, the calls for a turn upward in interest rates seem ridiculously overdue in coming.
All that seems reasonable; however, the Federal Reserve is playing a much different game from the responding to the normal business cycle.
Since the financial meltdown of 2008-2009, the charts and metric gauges for predicting market movements require a complete overhaul. Betting on U.S. Bonds no longer is based solely on domestic factors.
ZeroHedge cites David Tepper Is Back, Sees “Beginning Of The End” Of Bond Bubble.
“Empirically, Tepper may be right: in the past every time a central bank has launched a massive easing program (think QE1, QE2, Twist, QE3, etc.) it resulted in aggressive stock buying offset by bond selling. The issue is when said programs came to an end, and led to major selloffs in equities, pushing bonds to newer and lower record low yields. So perhaps for the time being, we may have seen the lows in the 10Year and in the periphery. The question is what happens when Europe’s latest “Private QE” operation comes to an end: just how massive will the bond bid be when all the money currently invested in risk assets decided to shift out all in one move.
More importantly, it also explains why central banks now have to work in a constant, staggered basis when easing, as the global capital markets simply cannot exist in a world in which every single central bank stops cold turkey with the “market” manipulation and/or liquidity injections.”
Within this context, why all the hullabaloo over Bill Gross jumping ship? While price inflation is real and grossly underreported, currency deflation still persists over the last six years. Now some may claim this phenomenon proves that stability in the bond market exists. Conversely, if this measure is acceptable to institutional bondholders, are they not accepting very low returns out of fear that the economy still hangs on a precipice.
Always remember that bonds are loans that have an obligation for repayment. Stability is maintained in the core indebtedness with the reimbursement settlement of the principal. Most governments are able to string along the unavoidable roll over so that new funds are raised to refinance.
Not so in every case from private or corporate debt. Just ask the bond holders from GM, better known as “Government Motors”.
Government bonds make up the essential float in the paper trade. As long as the global collateralization of bonds is honored, the planet may be able to avoid the fate of Greece. Pimco is but a pimple when compared to the Federal Reserve’s monetization of U.S. Treasury debt.
Bond professional traders look for an edge. Firms may risk their own capital, but most brokers look to skim an easy commission. It’s the institutions who have the most at stake and need a stable bond market. When not if, the bubble busts or deflates, the air is going to escape and blow over average investors.
“Equal pay for equal work!” the mantra goes. “Women get only 73 cents on a man’s dollar!” These are oft-heard slogans, and we may well hear them again during the fall campaign with the War on Women afoot. Now, going beyond the rhetoric, it’s not widely known but nonetheless true that the intersex pay gap is attributable to different career choices men and women make: women tend to choose less lucrative fields (e.g., soft sciences instead of hard ones), work shorter hours even when “full time,” are more likely to value personal fulfillment and job flexibility over money, are more inclined to take time off, generally have less job tenure and more often decline promotions. But while I’ve examined these factors at length in the past, the topic today is something more fundamental. This is that there would be a problem with even a well-intended equal-pay-for-equal-work scheme:
Hardly anyone knows what equal work is.
And the government hasn’t the foggiest idea.
Recently I mentioned how women tennis players now receive the same prize money as the men at Grand Slam events (Wimbledon; and the US, French and Australian opens) and how this is hailed as a victory for “equality.” Yet since the women still only play best of three sets but the men best of five, this actually means the men must work longer for the same pay. Even this, however, doesn’t truly illuminate the issue: what actually constitutes “equal work” in professional tennis?
I’ll introduce the point with another example. The top 10 female fashion models earned 10 times as much as their male counterparts in 2013. Is this unequal pay for equal work? Not really.
While I don’t know if women models’ job is more labor intensive, I know they don’t get paid because they’re capable of posing, wearing clothing, standing under hot lights or parading down runways. It’s because their “work” helps to satisfy a market — and it satisfies a bigger market than the men’s work does.
Note here that while people today frown upon discrimination based on innate qualities, integral to doing the women models’ work is being female. If the male models were women, they might be able to do the same “work” and satisfy the market equally.
Likewise, does the “work” in tennis directly have to do with number of sets played? As an aspiring 12-year-old tennis nut, I’d sometimes play 10 sets a day under the sweltering summer sun, but no one thought of compensating me and I never felt oppressed. Professional tennis players earn money because they satisfy a market, and the men’s “work” does this more effectively than the women’s. And how would we characterize this more valued work?
It is success on the men’s tour — people want to see the grandest stage in the game.
Thus, the only way a woman in tennis could do work equal to that of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal is to compete on, and succeed equally on, the ATP Tour. Of course, a woman who could would not only enjoy the same prize money (it’s greater in men’s tennis overall), but would become a sporting sensation and might very well receive endorsements dwarfing the men’s. So her “work” then could actually be greater.
There are endless more mundane examples. A woman gynecologist I know will only hire female assistants because she believes it makes her patients more comfortable. Not only is this an example of why sex discrimination is often justifiable, but what if she was forced to hire a man? If the patients were indeed less comfortable — and, therefore, perhaps less likely to visit her practice — would that man truly be doing “equal work”?
Now consider female police officers. Forget for a moment that standards on forces were long ago lowered to accommodate women based on “disparate impact” theory and that Eric Holder is currently suingthe Pennsylvania State Police for treating women equally. Imagine a study found that people in general, and the criminally inclined in particular, found male officers more imposing and therefore were more likely to mind their p’s and q’s around them. Would, then, even a highly competent female officer be able to perform “equal work”? And if not, and reflecting the phenomenon with fashion models, wouldn’t being male (or at least appearing so, to head the “transgender” argument off at the pass) be integral to the “work” of policing?
What of a female reporter in male athletes’ locker rooms? Not only wouldn’t it be allowed if the sexes were reversed, but if those men were less comfortable and less likely to be forthcoming in their comments — or even if they just had to modify their behavior — could her “work” really be equal to that of a male reporter’s?
Next, my local hardware store provides knowledgeable workers, all men, who render valuable advice on products and how to perform various home repairs. If it was determined that people found a female in that role less credible and were then not quite as likely to buy from the establishment, would even a highly competent woman be able to do “equal work” in that capacity?
What about the little West Indian restaurant, with all-black workers, I loved when I spent a few weeks in Tampa? If hiring a white person made the eatery seem less authentic and negatively affected its appeal, would that individual be able to do “equal work”? The same, of course, could be asked about a black person working in a German restaurant. In these cases race would be integral to the “work.”
And what of a homosexual Boy Scout troop leader? If his presence made parents less likely to enroll their boys in the organization, could he be capable of “equal work”?
Of course, one knee-jerk reaction here is to say that people “shouldn’t” view female cops or hardware specialists, or homosexuals differently than anyone else. But this is a moral argument of questionable morality, as it applies a bias in selectively objecting to market biases. People take little issue with gynecologists or day-care centers that won’t hire men, with male models being paid less or with ethnic restaurants hiring only non-whites. But try only hiring only male cops or employees; compensating a male hardware specialist more handsomely; or, as with Abercrombie a few years back, valuing employees who don’t wear hijabs over those who do. You may have an experience with the DOJ or EEOC that’ll make a dance with the IRS seem pleasant.
We could also talk about how we “should” value work. If we were deific or at least angelic, we would certainly value a mother-of-four’s labors or Mother Teresa’s loving charity more than Facebook and completely devalue rappers’ vulgarity. And even though I earn less than mainstream-press profferers of pablum, I consider my work infinitely more valuable. But flawed though market determinations may be, they’re still the best guide available.
Even within this worldly context, though, some may say there’s more nuance to the matter of work than my examples express. They may contend, for instance, that female police and hardware specialists might have strengths that counterbalance or even outweigh their weaknesses. And guess what?
My examples could possibly be lacking.
And this just buttresses the point: virtually no one — if anyone — can properly assess what constitutes equal work in every situation.
This is yet another reason why the matter of work and pay is none of the government’s business. Are bureaucrats, politicians and judges qualified to determine what equal work might be in the thousands of professions in America? Government isn’t God; it’s not even the market, which can be defined as economic democracy expressed through purchasing decisions. When it intrudes into the economy it’s more like Hitler trumping his generals during WWII and deciding on military strategy: an autocratic agency as incompetent as it is arrogant.
Thus far this election cycle has been a dud. Hardly a sweat is broken in the rarified air of partisan politics punditry. The only consistent factor that can always be counted upon to amuse is the reams of paper wasted on the false promises and prevarication made by the esteemed party regulars. It is easy to simply blame the entrenched incumbents or the current crop of insurgents, but it goes much deeper when an entire nation remains mute in the face of the worse run and most condemnable conduct, coming out of the District of Criminals in decades. The party in power traditionally will suffer huge losses in Congress, while the gang of “pols” out of power will start contacting real estate agents within the beltway.
What passes for political news today is not even fit to wrap fish. The meat and potatoes of journalism, once upon a time, were made up of scandals. Under the protection racket department of the media government alliance, the abuse of power never reaches the point of national saturation. The Obama administration has outdone the nastiest of offenses under Lyndon Johnson and William Clinton. The Democrats in the Senate allow Harry Reid to be the sickest dictatorial tyrant in living memory.
Customarily, the party with the majority takes the blame for failures. Yet, with each new transgression and unlawful activity, the purported opposition crew of RINOs shirks their constitutional responsibility and shutter out of fear of being labeled a racist. How sad. But that is exactly the condition and lack of courage out of the GOP leadership.
One might think the Democrats just keep digging the hole deeper that they created. Then again, many partisans will look to shift blame and pin shared responsibility on the Republican deadheads in Congress. Forgotten in the fog out of foggy bottom is that Obama owns the failed policies that have been followed after five and a half years in office.
The chaos at the border is intentional. Failure to revive the economy and implement policies that favor job creation is also deliberate. Perpetuating a foreign policy based upon defiance of international law is maintained in the proud tradition of interventionist empire building. Truly this is the institutional synergism, between both parties, that steer career politicians to the dark side. Lastly, the infamous and destructive Obamacare fiasco is the apex of social engineering.
So why won’t the political establishment respond to this laundry list of malfeasance and repeal bad legislation and caustic regulation or change the direction of national policy? It is very difficult for most Americans to accept that the political class is actively working for the downfall of the country and the substitution of a constitutional republic for the dictatorship of permanent privileged elites.
What makes this faction of ruling vermin different from previous ages is that the overriding sentiment for dominance is based upon the systematic dismantling of the nation state. The façade of protecting the homeland is pure hogwash. With the rise of the internationalism culture for governance, the motivation to legislate as if a representative was a sincere patriot has evaporated.
There are not many reasons to even project an appearance of restoring an independent and self-sustaining national economy, a civilization based upon individual liberties and a society where opportunity builds a viable middle class. No, the day that politicians had sincere respect and devotion to institutions of lawful administration and beneficial programs that actually advanced the public interest are long gone.
So why do the hard core political junkies get so exercised over the latest news on how a particular race is turning? With the bipartisan gerrymandering that takes places after each census, every state gets their chance to game the election system. Since there are a small number of elections that can be described as truly competitive, the attention garnished on the few races that could be decided by greater campaign efforts, goes under the microscope.
Back in 2010 the decisive involvement of the genuine grassroots Tea Party captured the House of Representative for the GOP. How did that work out? For traditional conservatives, this freshman class made a substantial attempt to rock the floor of the chamber. Nevertheless, let no good Congressperson go left unpunished. The leadership of the do nothing and gutless Republicans, could not bring themselves to demonstrate fiscal prudence or foreign policy statesmanship.
Sorry folks, the NeoCons are still very much in control.
For this election cycle, the Senate seems to be in play by nearly all accounts. Races for a Senate seat in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and Kansas are most often talked about holding the keys to the cloakroom. It is incomprehensible that majority leader Senate Harry Reid could muster even the lowest level of respect for the way he has conducted himself in the role of the perfect obstructionist. Yet, Democrat loyalists come to the rescue of his tainted honor, no matter how offensive his behavior and conduct degenerates.
Optimism that Reid will be relegated to the closet motivates discontented votes in the few States that matter. OK, even if the slimy and seedy boss of the Democrat crime syndicate gets demoted, what might be reasonably expected from a Republican majority in the Senate?
Most would expect that the remainder of the Obama Presidency will be dead in the water. Oh, how nice if that would be true. However, be prepared. For what you have already seen from this pathological liar and pretender, who have more in common with Mobutu the African despot, may well foretell an explosive ending.
The nihilism and the mental illness that marks the behavior of this egomaniac gives little reason to think that anything will restrain his one man one rule arrogance. If you watched the blushing admiration that Barry Soetoro showered on the biggest crook that even headed up the Department of Injustice, Eric Holder; you know that this psychotic president flaunts his disgust for America, has more insults left to inflict.
The fact that Republican representatives had no stomach to impeach this madman illustrates the nature of the existential problem that plagues the very foundation of legitimacy and threatens the civil liberties of every honest citizen.
Would a GOP Senate interject backbone into the jelly spines of the legislature branch and commence a revival of in an era of “good government”? Excuse me again, only the dreamers believe that an ethical administration can and will emerge, when morality in its most basic application, is almost nonexistent in the popular culture and the secular society.
Back in the ancient days of the network news monopoly, the three broadcast organizations would sometimes pool their resources to access the same voter count. Tallying ballots always presented the risk of voter fraud. Now, the projection and predicting prognostications are so much more refined. Voter scams are so advanced, using electronic machines to program in the results that only a Boss Tweed could fully appreciate.
Ah, just knowing the time wasted on campaigning is reward enough for those who rate congressional candidates lower than your latest terrorist splinter group. The suspense for the 2014 season better start to build soon or the media moguls will need to invent a different realty show to stage.
Maybe a slight threat of citizen participation could have a remote chance to influence the results in a primary run, but that time has passed. Tuesday, the 4th of November has all the making of another day of shame. Not because there is no qualified champion to support, you already know that to be the case. But for the reason that the likelihood that if a “good” person could be elected, merely means that he or she will be destroyed by the professional caste of political untouchables.
Play ball or your days are numbered. That’s the game and what better chamber exemplifies the experience of blackmail than the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body”.
If some stubborn and obstinate reformer sticks to their guns, just bring in the NSA for the maximum level of authoritarian extortion.
By now you should all be psyched up for making your X. Soon the latest round of illegal invaders will be getting their identity credentials and drive on over to the booth to pick their macho man official. How many more of these futile elections will it take before the pretense of voting will be just as silly as those candidate projected appearances of being a trustworthy representative of the populace?
This year’s Election Day recommendation has not changed. Show up, be vocal, express your disgust, vote third party or make a point that none of the above is your real selection. The charade of a loyal opposition to the party in power has never been so clear for even the densest “true believer” to come to their senses.
Little ever changes for the good and nothing actually reverses the direction towards national suicide. The reason is clear, it is the plan and every system is firing on all cylinders. The rest of the Obama term is poised to have deceased Americans turning in their graves. For those who claim they are still alive, prove it – show your outrage.
Remember the days when an entrepreneur would perfect their whiz kid ideas in a garage and bring them to market? Did Steve Wozniak ever envision the behemoth that Apple would become and the cult camp that worships every new product that flows from their robotic coolie assembly lines? Riots Over Rotten Apple Mania describes an example of the forbidding underbelly of corporatist business model that Apple exemplifies so dramatically. Notwithstanding this record of 21th century sweat factories, do the venture vulture capitalists of Silicon Valley interject added value in the products and services they fund or do this culture of touting IPO offerings simply game a system to print money based upon imaginary dreams?
The Economic Policy Journal article, Silicon Valley Investor Joins The Corporatism March, cites Ron Conway, a Silicon Valley angel investor, who has backed many of the tech companies that we know and love.”
“Conway wrote a piece for Techcrunch where he’s calling for the other Fascism. Remember the Fascist Mussolini from Italy. It was he who said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
“Gone are the days when the tech community can innovate and run their businesses in spite of government. As we saw with the SOPA/PIPA debate, public policy has a direct and significant impact on startups and the investors who support them.
Whether it is regulations that stifle innovation or tax policies that hinder job creation, government has a major role in the success or failure of a startup. It is critically important for the tech community to engage in public policy.”
Silicon Valley companies are not limited to IT development, just as much as investment funding is not wholly occupied from Wall Street firms. The principle is the same wherever the money comes from, as the Rise of the “venture corporatists” explores in an account about John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
“None of the alternative energy sources being developed today – solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass–is close to financial sustainability, which means that the supersize returns V.C. funds depend on will require massive government subsidies, regulations, and mandates… So Doerr has launched an audacious campaign to invest millions in handpicked political candidates and influential political action committees, to push for subsidies and pro-greentech policies and require the government to purchase the kinds of fuels and technologies his startups will be marketing. Since 2000, Doerr and his wife, Ann, have contributed more than $31 million to political candidates and causes.
In essence, Doerr is helping to create the biggest new market the world has seen since the dawn of the oil industry–and asking for taxpayer dollars to do it.”
“Green” alternative energy has more to do with replicating money than producing sustainable energy. Instead of writing code for computer-generated speech, the paradigm at play buys the ambassadors of government policy, circuitously as part of the business plan.
Lachlan Markay sums up the paradox for investors and the public in The Venture Corporatists. “As long as green technology remains not simply an economic venture but a moral one, taxpayers will continue to nobly lose money as politically connected “social entrepreneurs” reap a windfall.”
Here lies the rub. What exactly is the moral imperative? The lament of Alex Shud Bayley in No, I still don’t want to work for Google makes a universal point.
“Since I’ve been out of the Silicon-Valley-centred tech industry, I’ve become increasingly convinced that it’s morally bankrupt and essentially toxic to our society. Companies like Google and Facebook — in common with most public companies — have interests that are frequently in conflict with the wellbeing of — I was going to say their customers or their users, but I’ll say “people” in general, since it’s wider than that. People who use their systems directly, people who don’t — we’re all affected by it, and although some of the outcomes are positive a disturbingly high number of them are negative: the erosion of privacy, of consumer rights, of the public domain and fair use, of meaningful connections between people and a sense of true community, of beauty and care taken in craftsmanship, of our very physical wellbeing. No amount of employee benefits or underfunded Google.org projects can counteract that.”
The notion that Silicon Valley business enterprises automatically advance civilization and improve the human condition is one of the most disturbing viewpoints that have infected the smart phone sect. Placing the blame solely on tech executives avoids the reprehensible relationship that Ron Conway is so eager to exploit.
The article, Why DC And Silicon Valley Don’t Mix Well seems to agree.
“The thing that DC should be most focused on is “fixes to previous government efforts that tried but failed to fix a problem that turned out not to need a regulatory solution.” Other industries seem to want handouts and investments and the like, but you don’t see that much in Silicon Valley.”
However, some executives excel in screwing up a once reliable service. Silicon Valley corporatist companies often fail. The next likely candidate for a downfall is Yahoo. Marissa Mayer’s tenure as CEO may be numbered according to Eric Jackson, founder and managing partner of hedge fund Ironfire Capital.
“Jackson says that since Mayer took over she has spent $2 billion buying companies and that most of those acquisitions have been for naught.
“Can you name any other acquisition Yahoo has made besides Tumblr? If not, what does that say about them?” Jackson writes at Forbes. “If these small acquisitions were mostly talent-driven as characterized by management, why was it necessary to spend, say, $30 million to hire 3 people from a dying company? Was this really the best use of shareholder capital? Yahoo should not [be] responsible for bailing out VCs from their failed investments. This isn’t TARP.”
Deplorably, many tech corporatists are mismanaged like Yahoo. Divesting a significant portion of Yahoo’s stake at the Alibaba IPO, raises a much needed current valuation, but what does this transaction do to improve the service? The Corporatists only care about tapping the rigged markets for immediate gain.
With election time almost upon us, here’s a rather sobering thought: By spending as little as a mere two billion dollars, anyone with that amount of money can now afford to buy an entire American election — Congress, the White House, governorships and all.
“But Jane,” you might ask, “why would anyone even want to do that?” Why? Just look at all the immense amount of loot you can score with just this tiny investment. Access to national park land, bank deregulation, profits from weapons production, corporate monopoly status, pro-pollution laws, judges’ rulings in your favor…need I go on?
For instance, eleven trillion dollars has been recently spent on escalating and pursuing fake wars. So if you “invest” in American elections and still only receive, say, just ten percent of those eleven trillion singles for your weapons-manufacturing services or whatever the heck else companies like Halliburton do, you still have just grown your measly two-billion-buck investment at least a thousand times over. Forever War really pays off!
Or if you are guys like Obama, Bush and Cheney — and can’t resist playing with war toys? Then you get to buy your very own wars! Lots and lots of wars. You get to play with actual life-sized GI Joe dolls and call yourself “Commander in Chief”. You get to bomb Libya and Ukraine and Iraq and Syria. What fun! Two billion dollars can buy you a hecka lot of war toys — eleven trillion dollars worth to be exact.
Or let’s say that your net worth is approximately 100 billion dollars, like, say, the Koch brothers’ worth is. You spend less than three percent of that money on buying elections — and voila! You too get over a thousand percent return on every dollar you spend. What kind of crazy-good investment is that!
Or let’s say you are a member of the notorious WalMart family, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. You spend just a few paltry billion on election buyouts — and suddenly us taxpayers are paying for all of your employees’ healthcare. And we’re throwing food stamps into the bargain too. Brilliant idea!
Or what if you own a giant coal company, oil company, car company, power company or some other major polluter? Common sense tells us voters that we need to cut down on polluting the atmosphere so as to avoid drastic climate change that even now threatens to kill off the whole human race.
We could have been using solar power all this time for instance — and also cleaned up our rivers and even eliminated the need for fossil fuel. But no. For a few (billion) dollars more at election time, you can potentially doom the entire human race. America, are we having fun yet?
Or let’s say for instance that you are AIPAC, that Israeli political action committee. Spend just two billion dollars to buy every election in America — up to and including the dog catcher? What a deal! And since Israel is already receiving three billion dollars every year from America, guaranteed, voted by Congress, you don’t even have to risk using your own moolah. You can use ours. Fabulous investment. http://www.counterpunch.org/
Plus you also get permission to bomb Gaza, take over the West Bank, design America’s stupid “Bomb Syria” policy, have red-carpet access to the entire Middle East (as in red carpets of blood) and get away with committing all kinds of other violations of the Nuremberg precedents and Geneva war crime conventions too.
According to Middle East expert Paul Larudee, “Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu infamously bragged that ‘America is a thing you can move very easily’.” Apparently all you need is just two billion bucks. Hell, Attila the Hun never even had that kind of power. Or even Josef Stalin. All he ever got out his American investments was the freaking Cold War.
But don’t worry, Josef! The Cold War is about to heat up again, thanks to AIPAC. Hell, now AIPAC is even an unofficial member of NATO (and apparently its most influential member too). And, as such, Israeli war hawks seem hell-bent on fomenting World War III. Does the American public really want to go there? I think not.
Or you could invest your capital in running America’s prison-industrial complex? Just think of all the cheap labor you’ll get! For much less than two billion in folding money, you don’t even have to ship your goods over from China any more. Plus you get to have them stamped “Made in America” too. Definitely a win-win for you.
Or what if you are Monsanto or Big Pharma or Bank of America or CitiCorp or Goldman Sachs or General Electric? For far less than two billion dollars, you can get rid of unions, create your own monopolies, write your own “regulations”, appoint your own “regulators” and rake in the profits. And if you are Big Media, our publicly-owned airwaves now belong to you. Think Rupert Murdock. Or net neutrality up in smoke. Think AT&T. Boo-yah!
Yep, America is for sale for really cheap these days. The total assets of the United States of America is currently 188 trillion dollars. And just think. For just a mere two billion simoleons, all that can be yours! Buy a little false advertizing, do a bit of voter-suppression, get your hands on a few electronic voting machines, tell a few lies on Fox News and CNN and, boom shake the room, you can own all of that. All $188,000,000,000,000.00 worth. “Worth playing for?” Yeah.
My country these days has become like some aging cheap whore, selling herself on street corners to the first two-bit John who comes along and offers her a couple of dollars.
America these days isn’t even a high-priced call girl any more.
“French aircraft were due to begin their first reconnaissance flights over Iraq,” France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on September 15. Britain is already flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq. Several other countries – Arab ones included – say they are willing to support the air campaign. None seem interested in pledging any ground troops, however.
“Well, you will hear from Secretary Kerry on this over the coming days. And what he has said is that others have suggested that they’re willing to do that. But we’re not looking for that right now,” Chief of Staff Denis McDonough waffled on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, September 14. “We’re trying to put together the specifics of what we expect from each of the members,” he added, which is one way of saying the United States is finding it hard to persuade other countries to provide ground forces – something the self-designed leader of the “coalition” is unwilling to do. Also on “Meet the Press” James Baker noted that the biggest problem “of course, is who are our, quote, ‘partners on the ground’ that the president referred to in his speech. And I don’t know where they come from.” Let it be noted that Baker put forth an ad-hoc strategic plan that was, in fact, far better than the one outlined by Obama. He suggested joining forces with China, Russia, Iran, Syria and others, following a non-UN-sponsored international conference of genuine international leaders.
There are no “partners on the ground” for now, and those that the Administration wants to groom for the role are worse than none: McDonough conceded that ground troops are needed, “that’s why we want this program to train the [Syrian] opposition that’s currently pending in Congress.” In my curtain-raiser on President Obama’s much-heralded speech of September 10, posted two days before he delivered it (“Obama’s Non-Strategy”), I warned that he – disastrously – still counts on the non-existent “moderate rebels” in Syria to come on board, and still refuses to talk to Bashar al-Assad, whose army is the only viable force capable of confronting the IS now and for many years to come. In short, “he has no plan to systematically degrade the IS capabilities, no means to shrink the territory that they control, and certainly no strategy to defeat them.”
Obama’s address to the nation on September 10 confirmed all of the above, but it also contained numerous non sequiturs, falsehoods, and delusional assertions that need to be addressed one by one. (The President’s words are in italics.)
I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.
This is an audacious statement of intent: not what the U.S. and America’s unnamed “friends and allies” will try to do, but what they will do to destroy an effective fighting force of some 30,000 fanatical jihadists at the time of this writing, and rapidly rising – an army, in fact, which is well armed and equipped, solvent, and highly motivated. Regardless of the coherence of Obama’s proposed methods – more of that later – what he announced is the beginning of yet another open-ended Middle Eastern war in which the United States will be fully committed and in which the “job” will not be considered “done” until and unless the IS is “destroyed.” Newt Gingrich is already salivating at the prospect of America spending “half of a century or more hunting down radicals, growing reliable self-governing allies, and convincing friends and neutrals to be anti-radical.” This nightmare is good news – at home – only for the military-industrial complex, and abroad for the jihadists of all color and hue. “Half a century or more” of such idiocy can only accelerate this country’s road to bankruptcy, financial as well as moral.
Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Osama bin Laden’s death did not make one scintilla of difference. Al Qaeda’s (AQ) leadership is not a snake but a hydra: you can “take out” a hundred of its leaders today, and another hundred will take their place tomorrow. Successfully killing scores or thousandsof jihadists should not be confused with winning against jihad. More importantly – and Obama seems to be oblivious to the fact – al Qaeda is not a hierarchical organization, but a state of mind and a blueprint for action. Its non-affiliates, too – in Nigeria, Libya, Syria, the Philippines, Kashmir etc. – follow the same guiding principles and seek the same millenarian objectives. As any counterterrorism expert can tell you, “targeted” drone killings are doing more damage than good by angering local populations – which suffer “collateral damage” – thus providing an inexhaustible pool of fresh recruits for the jihadists (quite apart from legal and moral considerations).
We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia.
It is breathtaking that Obama should imply that Yemen and Somalia are his administration’s success stories that should be emulated in the campaign against the IS. As Nicholas Kristof noted in The New York Times, “Obama may be the only person in the world who would cite conflict-torn Yemen and Somalia as triumphs.”
Yemen is an ever-growing hotbed of terrorist activity regardless of (and more likely partly due to) more than 100 American airstrikes since 2002, which killed some 500 militants and over a hundred civilians. (When Yemeni kids are disobedient, their parents have a new tool of enforcing discipline: “A big American drone will come and get you!”) The Department of state admitted in its most recent worldwide terrorism report that “of the AQ affiliates, AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) continues to pose the most significant threat to the United States and U.S. citizens and interests in Yemen.” Its success, according to the report, is “due to an ongoing political and security restructuring within the government itself” [i.e. no effective government and no reliable security forces]. “AQAP continued to exhibit its capability by targeting government installations and security and intelligence officials, but also struck at soft targets, such as hospitals,” and it continues to expand territory under its control. Somalia is an utterly failed state with no functioning government, and al-Shabaab’s terrorist base from which complex operations are launched against soft targets in neighboring countries (notably last year’s attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall, which killed at least 67 people).
If this is the model for the anti-IS campaign, then even a century of Newt’s “hunting down radicals, growing reliable self-governing allies, and convincing friends and neutrals to be anti-radical” will be a fiasco – albeit on an infinitely grander scale.
We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.
The fruits of the war in Iraq are all too visible. It cannot be stated often enough that America’s war against Saddam – who never threatened the United States, and opposed Islamic terrorism – produced the IS, which is now treated as an existential threat which requires another American war to eliminate.
In Afghanistan the Taliban is well poised to make a comeback one, two, at most three years after the end of the American combat mission. It is able to carry out attacks in the center of the capital, Kabul, the latest of which – on September 16 – killed three members of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Safer, indeed.
Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.
This is surreal. Obama may have been born and raised a Muslim, but he claims not to be a Muslim now; it is therefore as preposterous for him to pass judgments on the Islamic bona fides of Muslim entities as it would be for the Saudi king to decide whether the Orange Order of Ulster or the Episcopal Church are “Christian” (a purely technical parallel, of course). In any event, Obama’s theological credentials were established with clarity in the aftermath of James Foley’s beheading by the IS, when he declared (also in the context of absolving Islam of any connection with the IS) that “no just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.” Since they did what they did, this unambiguous statement means that – in Obama’s opinion – either there is no God, or God is not just.
Contrary to Obama’s assurances, Islam does condone the killing of infidels (non-Muslims) and apostates (Shiites) – they are not “innocents” by definition. And of course Muslims have been killing other Muslims – often on a massive scale – ever since three of the four early caliphs, Muhammad’s immediate successors, were murdered by their Muslim foes. It is immaterial whether ISIS is true to “Islam” as Obama chooses to define it. It is undeniable that it is true to the principles and practices of historical Islam.
Obama either does not know what he is talking about, or he is practicing a variety of taqiyya. As Nonie Darwish put it bluntly in the American Thinker on September 12, Obama does not want to go down in history as the one who destroyed and extinguished the dream of resurrecting the Islamic State. Under his watch Islam was placed on a pedestal and that helped revive the Islamic dream of the Caliphate:
Muslims felt that Obama was their man, under whom they had a chance to achieve their powerful Islamic state. Obama himself was not happy with the military takeover and destruction of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Jihadist ambition had to move away from Egypt to war-torn Syria and Iraq. For more than two years, Islamists have carried out flagrant and barbaric mass terrorism – beheadings, torture, kidnapping, and sexual slavery of women, men, and children. Obama ignored the problem until it blew up in our faces with the beheading of two Americans.
Even if he could defeat ISIS, Darwish argues, that would turn him into an infidel enemy number one of Islam – one who supported Muslims in their dream of the Caliphate by looking the other way, only to later crush it. Obama therefore cannot be honest about this dilemma regarding ISIS; “a dilemma between his duty to the USA, the country he chose to lead, and his dream of becoming the hero of the Muslim World who taught the West a lesson on how to treat Muslims. Obama will not obliterate ISIS but will contain it, as he said. He will eventually kick the can to the next administration, not only because he hates wars as he claims, but because he does not want to be enemy number one of Islam and the Muslims.” That is Obama’s dirty little secret that explains his paralysis before ISIS, Darwish concludes: “Ironically, the man who claimed to have healed the relationship between the West and the Muslim world will go down in history as the one who helped the rise and the bloody fall of the Islamic State and perhaps America itself.”
And ISIL is certainly not a state… It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.
Obama does not know the feelings of some ten million people under IS control. Many of those who did not cherish life under its black banner have already fled to Damascus, Baghdad, or Erbil. There is no doubt that it is successful in attracting thousands upon thousands of new recruits every month. And as I wrote in the current issue of Chronicles, the Caliphate is a “state” whether we like it or not:
Traditional international law postulates the possession of population, of territory, and the existence of a government that exercises effective control over that population and territory: a state exists if it enjoys a monopoly on coercive mechanisms within its domain, which the caliphate does. After all, unrecognized state entities such as Transnistria, Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh command their denizens’ overwhelming loyalty and exercise effectively undisputed control over their entire territory. Some international jurists may cite the ability of the self-proclaimed state’s authority to engage in international discourse, but that is a moot point. The capacity to control a putative state’s territory and population almost invariably leads to such ability, regardless of the circumstances of that state’s inception: South Sudan is a recent case in point, and the creation of Israel in 1947 also comes to mind.
ISIS controls an area the size of Montana in northeastern Syria and western and northwestern Iraq. It has substantial funds at its disposal, initially given it by the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Turks, Qataris, Bahrainis, UAE donors, et al., and augmented to the tune of half a billion dollars looted from the Iraqi government vaults in Mosul and Tikrit. It is effective in collecting taxes, tolls, and excise duties. With no debts or liabilities, the existing stash and ongoing cash flow makes the emerging Caliphate more solvent than dozens of states currently represented in the UN. It has enough oil and derivatives not only for its own needs, but also to earn the foreign exchange needed to buy all the food and other goods it needs from abroad.
ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple.
It is not that (see above). This statement reflects a conceptual delusion which ab initio cannot provide the basis for a sound strategy. Obama’s own State Department declared as far back as July 23 that “ISIL is no longer simply a terrorist organization” – or at least that is what Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran, told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on that day. “It is now a full-blown army seeking to establish a self-governing state through the Tigris and Euphrates Valley in what is now Syria and Iraq.”
And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.
It does have a vision. That vision is eminently Islamic in its millenarian strategic objectives, in its tactics, and in its methods. It is no more utopian than Obama’s vision of an “indispensable” America, which – as he put it at the very end of his speech – stands for “freedom, justice and dignity,” an America which defends those “timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.”
In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, the IS claims – in principle – religious authority over all Muslims in the world, and ultimately aspires to bring all Muslim-inhabited lands of the world under its political control. Last June ISIS published a document which announced that “the legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the khilafah’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas.” It rejects the political divisions established by Western powers in the Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1917. Its self-declared immediate-to-medium-term goal is to conquer Iraq, Syria and other parts of al-Sham – the loosely-defined Levant region – including Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and southeastern Turkey. It is a bold, even audacious vision, but a vision it most certainly is.
In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide.
There is absolutely nothing “unique” in the IS fighters’ brutality. They are only following the example of their prophet. Muhammad executed Meccan prisoners after the battle of Badr in 624AD. He condoned the killing of women and children besieged in Ta’if in 630. He and his followers enslaved, raped and forced into marriage Jewish women after he massacred the men of the Jewish tribes of Banu Qurayzain 627 and Banu Nadir in 629. He even “married” one of the captured Banu Nadir women, Safiyya bint Huyayy captured after the men Banu Nadir were massacred. He did not “threaten” the Jews of the Arabian peninsula with genocide, he carried that genocide so thoroughly that not a trace of them remains to this day. Christians living in the IS who want to remain in the “caliphate” face three options according to IS officials: converting to Islam, paying a religious tax (jizya), or “the sword.” This choice is as conventionally Islamic as it gets, having been stipulated many times in the Quran and hadith.
But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days… I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.
The would-be coalition of Sunni Muslim “partners” includes those who had been aiding and abetting ISIS for years, and who have neither the will nor the resources to fight it. As I wrote here last week, those countries’ military forces are unable to confront an enemy which consists of highly motivated light infantry, knows the terrain, enjoys considerable popular support, and operates in small motorized formations:
On the basis of its poor showing in Yemen it is clear that the Saudis in particular are no better than the Iraqi army which performed so miserably last June. Even when united in their overall strategic objectives, Arab armies are notoriously unable to develop integrated command and control systems – as was manifested in 1947-48, in the Seven-Day War of 1967, and in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Their junior officers are discouraged from making independent tactical decisions by their inept superiors who hate delegating authority. Both are, inevitably, products of a culture steeped in strictly hierarchical modes of thought and action. Furthermore, their expensive hardware integrated into hard to maneuver brigade-sized units is likely to be useless against an elusive enemy who will avoid pitched battles.
An additional unresolved problem is Turkey, which is staying aloof and will not allow even U.S. facilities in its territory to be used for the air campaign. Erdogan is definitely not a “partner,” and Turkey continues to tolerate steady recruiting of ISIS volunteers in its territory as well as the passage of foreign jihadists across the 550-mile borderit shares with Syria and Iraq.
The most important problem in creating a coalition with Obama’s “Arab partners” is religious, however. The leaders of all Sunni Arab countries and Turkey are well aware that, contrary to Obama’s claims, ISIS is a Muslim group firmly rooted in the teachings and practices of orthodox Sunni Islam. They are loath to ally themselves with the kuffar in fighting those who want to fulfill the divine commandment to strive to create the Sharia-based universal caliphate. Those leaders are for the most part serious believers, and they do not want to go to hell.
Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy. First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts … so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense.
The Shia-dominated Iraqi army is not to be counted upon, as attested by its flight from Mosul, and it cannot be counted upon to cooperate with the armed forces of the overtly anti-Shia regimes, even if in the fullness of time they provided ground troops. The Kurdish pershmerga also would be loath to treat Saudis or Qataris as brothers-in-arms. Even if they were capable of major operations, which they are not, both the Iraqi army and the peshmerga would be perceived by the Sunni Arab majority in northwestern Iraq as an occupying force with the predictable result that the “caliphate” could count on thousands of fresh volunteers. Obama’s “regional allies” could end up helping their Sunni coreligionists fight the Shia “apostates.” They regard the IS in western Iraq and northeastern Syria as a welcome buffer against the putative Shia crescent extending from Iran to the Lebanese coast. As for the “Iraqi forces,” they are devoid of any offensive potential now and that will not change for years to come.
Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition… In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.
“The Syrian opposition” is ideologically indistinguishable from the IS, militarily ineffective, internally divided, and far keener to renew its stalled fight against Bashar al-Assad than to fight the Caliphate. America’s would-be “coalition” partners have indirectly indicated that they are aware of this fact: several mentioned Iraq when announcing the proposed military measures last Monday, but none made any mention of the challenge next door.
Obama’s present heavy reliance on the “Syrian opposition” is at odds with his own doubts about its viability, which were openly expressed in an interview with New York Times’s Tom Friedman only a month earlier:
“With ‘respect to Syria,’ said the president, the notion that arming the rebels would have made a difference has ‘always been a fantasy. This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.’”
Now, however, Obama is rejecting cooperation with Damascus – the only realist course with any chance of success – and is relying on a “fantasy” scenario to create some boots on the ground. No lessons have been drawn from Libya’s collapse into bloody anarchy, or from the failure of America’s decade-long effort to train and equip the Iraqi army, which disintegrated when faced with the IS three months ago. Such fiascos notwithstanding, Obama wants to build up a Syrian rebel force as one of the pillars of his strategy – that same force of which he said to Friedman on August 8 that “there’s not as much capacity as you would hope.”
We will continue providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.
“Tens of thousands of Christians” is a hundred-fold reduction of the magnitude of the problem that long-suffering community has faced in the region since the start of the Iraqi war in 2003. Obama’s statement is the exact numerical and moral equivalent to saying that “hundreds of thousands of European Jews” were at grave risk at the time of the Wannsee conference. As Peggy Noonan wrote the other day in the Wall Street Journal, “genocide” is the right word to describe the plight of the region’s Christians, noting that “for all his crimes and failings, Syria’s justly maligned Assad was not attempting to crush his country’s Christians. His enemies were – the jihadists, including those who became the Islamic State.” As well as those, let us add, who are now being groomed by the President of the United States to fight the Islamic State. No wonder he is deliberately and cynically minimizing the plight of his protégés’ Christian victims.
This is our strategy.
Lord have mercy!
This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.
My Administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL.
This is disputable. Obama refers to the authorization originally concerning action against al-Qaeda, treating as a blank check for starting a new war of unknown magnitude and duration.
This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.
Deja-vu all over again. On the grimly positive note, more Yemeni and Somali-like “successes” may be needed to accelerate America’s eventual return home.
America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.
It would be a cliché to state that Obama is either deluded or stunningly cynical. He is both, of course, I’d say roughly 60:40.
Our technology companies and universities are unmatched; our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history.
Cringe again: tasteless, self-serving inanities that have nothing to do with ISIS or strategy. Obama’s psychopatic narcissism trumps that of the Clintons, impossible as it may have seemed.
Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.
“The world,” indeed, minus Russia, China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Iran, South Africa, and scores of lesser powers on all continents (save Australia) which have the capacity and the will to reject Obama’s audacious and increasingly absurd notions of global leadership.
It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America – our scientists, our doctors, our know-how – that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people – or the world – again.
There is no “Russian aggression,” and “the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny” was brazenly undermined by the State Department/CIA-engineered coup d’etat in Kiev last February. It is preposterous for Obama to take credit for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons – it was Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic coup which got Obama off the hook when Congress and the public at large expressed their opposition to the intended bombing of Syria. But yes, American scientists and doctors definitely “can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola.” That was the only true statement in Obama’s address. Its relevance to his anti-IS strategy is unclear.
And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.
… especially in places like Marseilles, Antwerp, Malmo, Dortmund, and Dearborn, Michigan.
America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia – from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East – we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding.
Obama wouldn’t know the founding values if they hit him in the head. He is the worst president of the United States in history after all. That is no mean feat, considering the competition.
If I pointed out that involvement in every major 20th-century conflict the US was part of occurred on liberals’ watch, it might not be entirely fair. True, there was WWI under Wilson, WWII under FDR, Korea under Truman, and Vietnam under Kennedy and Johnson. But the second Great War needed to be fought, four conflicts aren’t exactly a scientific sample, and some could contend that these men were, to some extent, victims of timing and circumstance. It also should be said that with modernity’s characteristic flaw of relativism causing ever shifting social visions, yesterday’s liberals aren’t like today’s. As to this, some may mention that it’s a tad tendentious to limit the conflict timeframe to the 20th century, with George W. Bush getting us into Iraq and Afghanistan. But like his father, Bush was always a traditional statist, an old-line liberal in the mold of JFK. Moreover, our Middle East adventures weren’t quite like Korea or Vietnam: the wars were won fast. The problem was winning the peace.
But, fair enough, the historical record itself isn’t sufficient to indict liberals as warmongers. No matter, though, because I don’t claim liberals are warmongers. They are ignorance and naïveté mongers.
Avoiding disastrous war is the stuff of foreign policy, and foreign policy involves dealing with other humans; as such, it can only be as good as your understanding of human nature. Thus, just as in the schoolyard or the street, your ability to avoid disastrous international fights will be commensurate with your understanding of human nature. Can you read people — some of whom are potential threats — well? Can you differentiate between a gathering storm that needs to be nipped in the bud and a situation exacerbated by meddling? Do you know what’s your business and what isn’t? Can you strike the balance between projecting the strength that deters aggression and seeming as a threat yourself? Complicating matters is that foreign policy is about dealing with foreign human beings, people sharing your basic nature but not your basic conception of the world.
Given this, it’s clear that a leader can only avoid unnecessary or disastrous war insofar as he grasps man’s nature. And how do liberals measure up in this area?
During the 1990s budget battles, liberals said that with the alleged Republican “budget cuts,” the elderly would have to eat dog food to afford medicine. Spoofing this, radio host Rush Limbaugh said that he purchased a new can opener for his mother “so that she can get the dog food easier when she has to eat it.” The next day, liberal Congresswoman Pat Schroeder took to the House floor and said, flabbergasted, “[T]his is what it’s come to! …Rush Limbaugh actually said he’s going to buy his mother a can opener so she can have dog food. Wow!”
Yeah, wow. Schroeder took seriously the most obvious of jokes. Talk about an inability to read people. Talk about a foreign human being.
Exhibit B: at a 1990s feminist conference in my area, I made a rather articulate statement during the question-and-answer session, prompting some agitated feminist organizers to subsequently approach me and ask if I represented some group. Finding me unpalatable, they ultimately begged out of the conversation by offering to send me literature and asking for my address. I consented but quipped, “As long as you don’t send a hit squad to my house.”
You guessed it. Schroederesquely, they took me seriously and said sternly, “We don’t do things like that.” Bizarre. Just bizarre.
Then I think of Charles Jenkins, an American soldier who spent 39 years in North Korean captivity. After finally returning to the US, he said about his arch-leftist captors, “[W]hen you lie they think you are telling the truth, and when you tell the truth they think you are lying. You learn real quick to say no when you mean yes, and yes when you mean no.” I guess the North Koreans are just like our leftists — only more so.
My last example concerns the nuclear-war scare of 1983. When the CIA reported that the Soviets actually thought NATO command-post exercise Able Archer 83 might be a prelude to a nuclear attack, President Ronald Reagan was shocked. Reagan’s deputy CIA director Robert Gates would later write, “Was the Soviet leadership so out of touch that they really believed a preemptive attack was a real possibility?”
Yes, they were.
They were leftists.
Of course, it’s no put-down to mention that just as the Soviets misread Washington, Reagan and, it appears, all his advisors misread the Soviets. We all fail in this regard at times, mistaking a joke for a serious comment, taking offense when none was intended or something else. Discernment is a continuum. But while some people occupy the Amazing Kreskin end of the scale, others populate the Schroeder end. And having such a person in power can mean the bitter end.
And what of Obama? Is he at all a mind-reader or just a Teleprompter reader? He misread ISIS, calling it the “JV team.” He misread the tribalistic, Muslim humans in Iraq, saying they had a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant” “representative government.” He misread the Middle East in general, stating “the tide of war is receding.” As the usually sympathetic New York Times wrote about the president, “Time and again, he has expressed assessments of the world that in the harsh glare of hindsight look out of kilter with the changed reality he now confronts.”
Moreover, just last week Obama said in Estonia that an attack on that nation (alluding to Russian aggression) would be considered an attack on all of NATO and be met with the “armed forces of the United States of America.” Huh? As Pat Buchanan pointed out, such a statement about Russia’s sphere of influence is unprecedented and is something Obama’s “Cold War predecessors would have regarded as certifiable madness.” Would the president really risk nuclear war over tiny Estonia? Was it prudent to enter Vladimir Putin’s backyard and saber rattle? Was Obama wise to send the message that he’s either the world’s worst bluffer or its most insane leader?
But, again, liberals are the Braille bunch of human understanding. Just consider their prescriptions for deterring criminals, disciplining children, interpreting sexual inclinations or perceived statuses, encouraging productivity, avoiding nuclear war (unilateral disarmament), dealing with bullies in schools, thwarting school shootings (gun-free zones) or just about anything else that involves understanding man’s nature. Like old Patsy, who mistook a most comedic comment for the most serious callousness, they don’t just get others wrong — they get things completely backwards.
Why is this? Because liberals live lives of rationalization, something debating them reveals. You can make an airtight point and a leftist not only won’t cede it, he’ll disgorge a completely absurd denial of reality. Of course, that’s what a rationalization is: when you lie to yourself, bend reality for yourself. And when you deny reality habitually, year after year — refusing to see one pixel here, another there, and a thousand others in different places — you never assemble enough elements of reality to see the big picture; this is called being out of touch with reality. Yet living in a Matrix of his own design, the person doesn’t know he’s thus detached. But the consequence is that he has difficulty discerning truth; he misreads people, events, life, the Universe and everything.
What explains liberals’ propensity for rationalization? Note here that by “liberals” I mean people who are relativists, who don’t believe in Absolute Truth, because this defines liberals (generally speaking) at the deepest level: the philosophical. And while we all may rationalize, there is a difference. If a person believes in Truth, he’ll likely care about it and be less likely to deny one of its inconvenient or uncomfortable aspects. He’ll be wont to say, “Okay, I don’t like reality here, but, heck, the Truth’s the Truth; I’ll just have to man up and accept it.” He also may understand, or at least sense intuitively, that denial of Truth is a moral defect.
But the person fancying that morality is just values and values are man-made, that everything is relative, approaches things differently. You can’t be denying Truth if Truth doesn’t exist; you’re just denying a different perspective. Moreover, even in matters of outright deception, such as peddling forged documents damaging to George W. Bush, what of it? A lie can’t be any worse than the “truth” in a relativistic universe. For everything there boils down to occultist Aleister Crowley’s maxim, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
So what can we expect from our detached-from-reality ignorance mongers? Well, pondering this I’m reminded of a woman whose somewhat liberal husband would be namby-pamby with their son, let him take too many liberties and allow the tension to build, until he would explode and react to the boy inappropriately. That’s the danger with leftists. If anyone would get us into a really big war, it would be someone who misreads situations and other people, fails to take necessary preventive action, and then reacts rashly. It would be a liberal.
Of course, the bigger problem is the detached ignorance mongers who would elect an Obama — twice. But, hey, perhaps they can persevere if they maintain their ability to rationalize. After all, with the onset of a nuclear winter, there would be no reason to worry about global warming.
Well lookie here. Joyce Meyer, popular women’s conference speaker; health and wealth author; radio & TV teacher (whew!) has been invited to speak at the Onething Conference that will be held this December. The 4 day weekend supposedly draws 25,000 young adults. Visit Onething and you will find that the conference is “a gathering of believers who are setting their hearts to live with passion for Jesus.” Sounds like a conference most Christians would love to attend. What sincere believer wouldn’t want to share his/her passion for Jesus?
Not so fast. The group behind the event is none other than the International House of Prayer (IHOP) an evangelical mission organization that has its home base in Kansas City. IHOP-KC’s founder, Mike Bickle, has ties to the New Apostolic Reformation aka Dominionists; Kingdom Now; Latter Rain; Joel’s Army; Manifest Sons of God – the name has been changed to protect the guilty. Their aim is to transform society into the kingdom of God on earth. How? By controlling various aspects of society.
Before I fill you in on Meyer, you’ll need a bit of background on Bickle. A couple of decades ago he was in a heretical group known as the Kansas City Prophets,
who brought grandiose claims that a “new breed” of super prophets were beginning to arrive on planet earth who would change the world forever. These so-called prophets were a group of men that coalesced around a church known as the Kansas City Fellowship, pastored by Mike Bickle, that attracted a following of other likeminded churches in that region. (H/T Pastor Ken Silva)
So it’s not surprising that this self-professed “prophet” has been under scrutiny for his false teaching. Google his name and you’ll discover that he believes God speaks to him in an audible voice and claims that he’s been to heaven twice.
It’s important to note that last year Reformed pastor; author; conference speaker Francis Chan spoke at Onething where he declared “I love Mike Bickle.” Chan took a lot of heat for agreeing to speak at the conference. When friends and fans urged him to decline the invite, he admitted that he didn’t know much about Mike Bickle and IHOP so,
I kinda went on the Internet and started looking things up.
Whatever he found caused him to fall in love:
I go, man, there’s a lot of great things going on [at IHOP]. And today was the first time I ever met Mike Bickle. And, I love that guy. I do. And Mike knows—we talked about this—you know, there’s people who told me not to hang out with him.
Like, you know, words like “creepy” came up. And yet, I get to know this guy and I’m going, “Man, I love his heart. And I just want to publicly say I love Mike Bickle. (Source)
As you can see, Chan professed his love for the sort of person Jesus referred to as a ravenous wolf. (Mat. 7:15)
What Francis Chan failed to turn up in his investigation is that Mike Bickle has led countless young people astray. He’s a sort of a Pied Piper to those who journey to Kansas City from all over the globe to be a part of something “significant.” Once there, they stay for days, months…even years. You’ll find them in the prayer room praying. Prayer “led from a stage full of musicians and readers chanting repetitive phrasings of faith” goes on ‘round the clock.
The false prophet has filled the young sojourners’ heads with untruths such as “an elite end-time church defeats God’s enemies, and Jesus is ‘held in the heavens’ until it happens.” So they most “go forth and make ready.”
Apologist Matt Slick tells us that the major draw of IHOP is experience:
People often come to me citing their experience and go back again and again to experience “God” and the “Spirit” – [which is] no different than an emotional high. This is analogous to mysticism, which is defined as “the pursuit of deeper or higher subjective religious experience,” and “that spiritual reality is perceived apart from the human intellect and natural senses.”
Slick goes on to say:
One of the highest criticisms would be IHOP’s insidious Gnosticism. Gnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge.” The hallmark of Gnosticism is the idea of having “hidden knowledge” of the spiritual realm that is unavailable to others. This knowledge comes via prophecies, visions, and dreams that God specifically gives to a certain privileged group of people – in this case IHOP. In fact, IHOP has their own “prophecy rooms” where one can receive “prophecies,” and they used to have a practice of mailing out recorded tapes, of which I was asked by my friend’s mother to translate! (Source)
One last comment about Francis Chan. The name may not be familiar but he’s without question a popular speaker and author whose books sell like hot cakes. Sadly, when it comes to the questionable goings on at IHOP, Chan has shown an astonishing lack of discernment. It goes without saying that: (1) He must change direction and move away from those who involve themselves with the metaphysical cults. (2) He must spend more time researching the people he associates with.
More On Meyer
For decades Joyce Meyer has been called a false teacher. Why? Because she holds to Word of Faith/prosperity/health and wealth heresy. She mixes error with good practical information for women, which is why she’s so popular. There’s plenty of proof for those who wish to know the truth (see the links at the end), and still many women choose to believe that those who say she’s a false teacher are wrong.
Some of her fans know what’s going on at IHOP-KC, so she’s bound to get blow back both before and after her appearance at Onething. People will wonder: If I know about Mike Bickle and IHOP, how could Joyce not know? They may even conclude that it’s a sign that her ministry is about to align with the modern day “apostles and prophets” movement.
So why in heaven’s name is she hitching herself to a wagon loaded with theological garbage. As I pointed out earlier, “prophet” Mike Bickle is heavily into the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). That group’s theology is a load of garbage that should be hauled to the trash dump and burned.
But before I address the reasons Meyer has chosen to put her name on the marquee with Bickle’s, let’s follow the example set by the Bereans and compare her teaching to what Scripture says.
Truth Or Error, That Is The Question
One of the reasons Joyce Meyer is considered a false teacher is because she has taught that Jesus Christ atoned for our sins in hell:
The following quote is from her 1991 booklet, The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make, she teaches a hallmark doctrine of Faith theology, namely, that Christ had to suffer in hell to atone for our sins and be born again:
“During that time He entered hell, where you and I deserved to go (legally) because of our sin…He paid the price there.…no plan was too extreme…Jesus paid on the cross and in hell….God rose up from His throne and said to demon powers tormenting the sinless Son of God, “Let Him go.” Then the resurrection power of Almighty God went through hell and filled Jesus…He was resurrected from the dead ¾ the first born-again man.” (Source)
What she said here is not the view traditional orthodox Christianity holds to. The Bible says that Jesus atoned for our sins on the cross. Listen to John 19:30:
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Orthodox Christianity teaches that Jesus’ shed blood was sufficient for the atonement of our sins. The moment Jesus uttered the words “It is finished” our sin debt was paid in full.
As to her teaching on prosperity and success, listen to Joshua 1:8:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
So, does being prosperous mean Christians will be influential and financially secure? According to one commentary:
Many people think that prosperity and success come from having power, influential personal contacts, and a relentless desire to get ahead. But the strategy for gaining prosperity that God taught Joshua goes against such criteria. He said that to succeed Joshua must (1) be strong and courageous because the task ahead would not be easy, (2) obey God’s law, and (3) constantly read and study the Book of the Law – God’s Word. To be successful, follow God’s words to Joshua. You may not succeed by the world’s standards, but you will be a success in God’s eyes – and his opinion lasts forever.
For all you scoffers – it’s an undeniable fact that Joyce Meyer is a prosperity preacher, thus she’s a false teacher, a ravenous wolf.
Lifestyle Of The Rich And Famous
It’s no secret that she has been criticized for many things but first and foremost for her “conspicuously prosperous lifestyle.” The money her ministry rakes in doesn’t bother her fans in the least which is obvious as scores of them purchase her books, tune into her TV/radio shows, and flock to her conferences. They say her message is “uplifting.” For them doctrine isn’t important –hearing a positive message is what counts. And Joyce is all about making her fans feel good. She knows that they prefer a feel-good message over hearing the gospel. I mean, isn’t Christianity all about feeling good? Doesn’t becoming a believer mean we’ll be happy, healthy and wealthy? God loves us, yes He does. And because of His great love for His kids, He’s going to provide us with several homes—Joyce has several homes– and perhaps our own private jet so that we can fly all over the globe like she does.
Joyce Meyer’s prosperity preaching is right out of the Word of Faith (WoF) play book. That a person can create his/her own reality is the fairy tale Christianity she teaches and with no apology. So, it’s not helpful when a prominent Christian leader joins her on her TV show and instead of pointing out errors in her teaching he tells her (and the audience) that she’s a “great Bible teacher.”
Well, nothing could be further from the truth, and Ravi Zacharias, who gave her the compliment, should have known better. He of all people should know that she holds to WoF heresy. The compliment he gave her made it clear that he was oblivious to the fact that he was sitting next to a heretic. So, Ravi did for her what she’s doing for Mike Bickle, lending creditability when none is deserved.
Like Chan, if he would have done his homework before agreeing to the interview, it would have been patently obvious that he was going to be the guest of the Prosperity Priestess. It’s shocking that high-profile celebs such as Francis Chan and Ravi Zacharias don’t know who the wolves in the hen house are. Moreover, how could men of their stature not be aware that the NAR and WoF movements are at best aberrant and at worst cults?
Cults? you say with steam coming out of your ears. Let there be no doubt. These movements are viewed by some as cults for the reason that they’re “false, unorthodox, extremist” sects of Christianity (dictionary.com). In a word: counterfeit.
Now getting back the primary purpose for this article, why would Joyce Meyer agree to speak at a hugely controversial event with a notorious false teacher? Perhaps it’s because the Prosperity Priestess and the Pied Piper hold the same unbiblical theology, thus they’re birds of a feather. So it’s no big deal when they sit on a wire together.
Or perhaps it’s all about prosperity – hers! After hearing Joyce’s “uplifting” message people will flock to the book table to purchase her merchandise.
But that’s speculation. The point I want to drive home is this. More and more professing Christians are uniting with wolves in sheep’s clothing. Likewise, wolves and wolverines are joining forces with wolves from different wolf packs. The pack is growing. It’s getting stronger — and they’re cunning! False teachers now play a major role in the Christian community. As I mentioned above, in order to transform society into the kingdom of God on earth, wolves and wolverines must control things, such as entertainment; government; education; business/economy; media; and family — they’re heavily involved in pro-family organizations.
I’ll close with the words of a wise man, Pastor Ray Stedman:
So in this day of confusion, of uncertainty, which voice will you listen to? The voices of the occult world around us? The false prophets who are telling visions which they claim to be coming from the voice of God? The secular voices which tell us that things are not the way the Bible says they are? Which voice will you listen to? Whom will you follow? What will be the guideline for your actions?
Research Mike Bickle:
Stand Up For The Truth wrote a piece entitled Is IHOP a cult? One intern’s story and shared the story of Arial, a young woman who was an IHOP intern.
Mike Bickle Acknowledges Catholic Contemplative Influence on IHOP-KC—My Word Like Fire
Mike Bickle/IHOP research links–Apostasy Watch
New Apostolic Reformation research links—On Solid Rock Resources
Research Joyce Meyer:
In her own words…listen to Meyer preach the prosperity gospel. Hank Hanegraaff plays the clip and responds.
Joyce Meyer—Let Us Reason Ministries
Word of Faith/Televangelists research links—On Solid Rock Resources
In 1932, the third year of the Great Depression, 25 thousand homeless and destitute WWI veterans and their families camped around Washington, DC urging the government of President Herbert Hoover to make an immediate payment of about $500 which had been authorized by the Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 but was not due until 1945. Socialism had no yet grown roots and when these veterans lost their jobs they quickly fell into severe circumstances. They called themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF).
Drew Pearson wrote that they were “ragged, weary, and apathetic”. Will Rogers said they held, “the record for being the best behaved” of any “hungry men assembled anywhere in the world.” Though the soldiers and their families had no weapons and could not even be called able bodied the government acted as if it was under siege.
Yes, they were a nuisance. They stank and some of them begged. The government spread the rumor that they were Communists. Business men complained that they hurt business.
Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur and his assistants Major Dwight Eisenhower and Major George Patton were assigned to rid the city of the vermin. Eisenhower’s friend Brigadier General George Moseley suggested they arrest the BEF and others “of inferior blood” and ship them off to one of the remote Hawaiian Islands where “they could stew in their own filth”.
President Hoover announced that veterans were “entirely of the Communist element” and troops would “put an end to the rioting and defiance of civil authority”. Presently, led by Major Patton, troops of the 3rd Cavalry marched down Pennsylvania Avenue brandishing sabers followed by a machine gun detachment, men from the 12 Infantry, and six tanks. Major Patton’s cavalry turned and charged directly into the crowd of unarmed protestors shouting “clear our”. Tear gas was thrown and men women and children began a disorderly flight. Three children were killed.
The main BEF camp was across the Eleventh Street Bridge. In spite of the fact the MacArthur had been ordered not to cross the bridge, according to Eisenhower, he defied the order and allowed Patton’s cavalry to march into the camp throwing tear gas and burning everything that was combustible.
William Manchester tells this story at the beginning of his two volumes “The Glory and The Dream”. He writes that “well to do Washingtonians in yachts cruised close to look at the show. And at 11:15 P.M. they had watched Major George S. Patton, Jr. lead his cavalrymen in a final destructive charge. Among the ragged bonus marchers routed by their sabers was Joseph T. Angelino, who, on September 26, 1918, had won the Distinguished Service Cross in the Argonne Forest for saving the life of a young officer named George S. Patton, Jr.
As the book progresses Manchester supplies the detailed results of the Great Depression. In 1932, stocks listed on the Big Board had lost 80 percent of their value. General Motors and U. S. Steel were at 8 percent of their 1929 value. Five thousand banks failed. The Gross National Product fell from 104 billion dollars to 41 and 273,000 families were evicted from their homes.
Farm prices fell so that it was cheaper to burn corn than to sell it and buy coal. Thousands of mortgage foreclosures made farm families homeless. But in spite of the rural catastrophe city dwellers could still not afford .39 cent butter, .21 cent prime rib, or .20 a dozen eggs.
Men left their families and rode freight trains to other town seeking work; they got a free ride but no work. Some school teachers worked without pay and many schools were closed. One percent of the population owned 59 percent of the wealth.
While this tragic devastation was in full swing the nation’s newspapers were singing songs of recover. “BUSINESS PULSE BEATING FASTER, factories reopening all over the country”; “BOOM AWAKENS TEXTILE PLANTS IN NEW ENGLAND, capacity production reported in some cities”; “TRADE UPTURN WITHIN 90 DAYS NOW EXPECTED”. Manchester writes, “Nowhere in any of these newspapers was there mention of the remarkable fact that in the United States of America, the richest country in the world, more than 15 million men were looking for jobs that did not exist.”
The suicide rate tripled and thousands packed union square in New York to hear Communist speakers. When upstart Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected by a landslide it was noted that the popular vote for Norman Thomas tripled. In some cities mobs broke into grocery stores and rifled the shelves, state houses were occupied, in Chicago teachers broke into the banks.
Peacenik Henry Ford began to carry a gun. The moneyed gentry retreated to their country homes and mounted machine guns on their roofs. The fuse was short and the nation was near anarchy when Roosevelt took over the presidency.
The Great Depression was an effective instrument to increase control over the populace by creating a dependent class. If that was the goal, it was a great success. President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt assumed dictatorial powers with the blessing of many elected officials of both parties. This situation was dire and volatile. Roosevelt was able to remove the fuse and to employ an array of Socialist programs that became permanent parts of American life.
Jumping ahead to the present era, the United States of America, formerly the richest country in the world, is now a tyrannical socialist state where millions of citizens depend on government welfare. The current depression is not yet as brutal as its predecessor but in spite of the propaganda that things are getting better millions of Americans remain out of work and millions more are severely under employed. Now, as then, veterans have become social flotsam and are often treated with suspicion by the government they served.
If severe economic depressions are unavoidable and not intended by devious power centers with ulterior motives, government assistance has been beneficial; so far we have survived without the guillotines of the French Revolution. Martial law would have been imposed long ago if government support had not calmed the populace. As the strong arms of government keep us from falling it must be noted that the cost of the strength of governments must be paid by its citizens – governments produce nothing.. When the wealth well runs dry the inevitable results of bankruptcy will explode and government will have secured ultimate power.
There are glaring parallels between our current situation and the 1929 debacle. Depressions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
America’s armed forces are attempting to subdue the Muslim world which forbids usury and is less susceptible to the Currency Lords. This strategy will destroy America and subdue Islam killing two major impediments to world government.
When governments wiggle out from under the dominion of the One True God (Lex Rex) and begins to see themselves in divine terms (Rex Lex) the world begins to march down a deadly road. It has been marching down that road for several decades and we are beginning to see the mother of all empires in the distance.
The current attempt to subdue the entire continent under a single Rex Lex government is a deadly misadventure that the One True God is allowing because the citizens of the world have forsaken His dominion in favor of the dominion of men.
We are living under a tyrannical government because we have chosen to rule our own lives and to appoint human rulers who rule according to their evil proclivities. When God’s people begin to humble themselves and seek His Will (obedience to His Law) instead of their own faulty reasoning we will be able to progress toward freedom.
Nations, rulers, leaders, pastors and citizens must attend to the Law of the Creator if we ever expect to see freedom again.
Appearing in part 1 is the phrase “low-information voter” (LIV) which is oft used by a popular radio talk show host. The host suggests that those who make up this population set are individuals who vote for a candidate or important issue having little or in most cases zero knowledge about either. LIVs are highly opinionated even when they have no idea what they’re talking about.
Also included in part 1 was the following quote from D. Edmund Wright. I appreciate the way he expands on the LIV concept:
But forget low-information voters for just a minute; the malignancy that is really destroying this country is low-information people with high-profile power and/or influence. You know, people who would lobby for, comment on, advocate for, or vote on laws like ObamaCare without any understanding of its real-world impact. Such felonies are then carried out by low-information bureaucratic microbes with the power to destroy lives and businesses with impunity, and a political and talking-head class with the access and sway to codify these common malfeasances. Destruction of private property and liberty – and these two concepts are not divisible – takes place in government cubicles every minute of every day across the country. And why not? (Source – emphasis in original)
His thoughts fit nicely with what I’ve come to believe about many leaders in the evangelical community. Specifically, a large number of them are uninformed people with high-profile power and/or influence. The LIVs Wright’s pointing a finger at are liberals. Likewise many of the evangelicals that came to mind for me are liberals but because liberal has a negative connotation they prefer “progressive Christian” or “social justice Christian.” Take your pick. But whichever one you go with has its roots in communism.
So to Christianize the LIV phrase I simply changed “voter” to “evangelical,” thus it became “low-information evangelical” (LIE). I defined the LIE in this way:
Reminiscent of the LIV, the high-profile LIE does not understand the impact that his unorthodox view has on the visible church. When it comes to the Bible, the LIE has opinions on a variety of challenging topics. Even when his opinion is decidedly unbiblical, he presents it as the gospel truth. The LIE’s arguments are often based, not on what God’s Word clearly teaches but instead on esoteric experiences he’s had or what he’s picked up from LIE celebrities.
More on esoteric experiences in a moment.
There’s also a group of evangelicals that fall into the category of undistinguished LIE (ordinary folk). The term I bestowed on them is u-LIE. This group is also uninformed on many things (both Christian and otherwise). They are often biblically illiterate. In part 1 I made this observation:
Sadly, some undistinguished low information evangelicals (u-LIEs) assume that popular pastors, teachers and best-selling authors would never steer them wrong. But nothing could be further from the truth!
Last but not least, I coined the phrase LIE-celebs. These individuals are prominent Christian leaders who are uninformed people with high-profile power and/or influence. Many of them are false teachers who do not speak for God.
LIE-celebs And Their Vain Hopes
God tells us how we are to handle false teachers:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:16).
We are to pay these folks no mind.
One example of a LIE-celeb is popular women’s Bible teacher Beth Moore. In part 1 I reported on Moore’s claim that she receives personal direct revelation from Almighty God. In other words, God tells her things. According to her, He calls her “baby” and “honey.” I’ll have more to share on this modern day prophetess in a moment.
LIE-celeb Joyce Meyer also claims that she receives extra biblical revelation or “revelation knowledge” from the Almighty. Both Moore and Meyer’s respective claims clearlydeny the sufficiency of Scripture. Equally troubling is that Joyce holds to heretical Word of Faith (WoF) theology. So naturally her students are swallowing the poisonous prosperity health and wealth gospel that does not save anyone. Following is an erroneous assertion made by her:
The Bible can’t even find any way to explain this. Not really. That is why you have got to get it by revelation. There are no words to explain what I am telling you. I have got to just trust God that he is putting it into your spirit like he put it into mine. (Source)
Why do I say this is erroneous? Because it’s not taught in the Bible. She made it up. How do I know this? I searched the scriptures. (Acts 17:10-15) Nowhere does Scripture teach that God’s people are given special “revelation knowledge.”
“The fact that contemporary evangelicals seek ‘fresh’ revelations from God,” says Larry DeBruyn, “indicates that they no longer consider Holy Scripture to be sufficient and authoritative in matters of faith (2 Timothy 3:16). This seeking is Gnostic and mystic. Harvie Conn …a former missionary in Korea, noted that the ‘central feature of mystical religion is its ‘belief in special revelation outside the Bible.’ Yet if the Bible is no longer considered sufficient, the coming of “new revelations” raises the following conundrum. I repeat it.
“If added revelations repeat what’s in the Bible, they are unnecessary. If new revelations contradict the Word of God, they are heresy. And if they supplement God’s Word, then the new revelations imply Scripture’s insufficiency, and about this Proverbs warns: ‘Add thou not unto his [God’s] words, lest he [God] reprove thee, and thou be found a liar’ (Proverbs 30:6, KJV).” (Source – emphasis added.)
Gnosticism is esoteric mysticism – a desire to “know the unknowable.” One of the obstacles the early church faced was Gnosticism. The Gnostics believed that the masses are not in possession of spiritual knowledge, and only the truly “enlightened” can experience God. The Apostles condemned Gnosticism as a heresy.
But Gnosticism is not the issue; the issue at hand is this: how can one know for certain if Meyer’s so-called revelation came from God? “Is she on par with the apostles who received revelation knowledge from God himself?” asks apologist Matt Slick. He continues:
Or how about the Old Testament prophets? Does she, like them, also receive revelation knowledge from God? If so, how would we know if it were true or not? The answer is simple: we test what she says against Scripture, and it is obvious that she is getting a lot of things from somewhere else that contradict the word of God. (Source)
More On Moore
In part I brought the reader up to speed on Beth Moore’s slide into mysticism and also gave a heads up on her unbiblical teaching and had planned to leave it at that. But then the news came that she made an appearance on Joyce Meyer’s TV show. This is the sort of news Beth fans should be made aware of, so I decided to include a bit about it here. Just before her appearance Beth tweeted:
I have the great privilege of sitting down w/@ Joyce Meyer in her studio today to talk about unity. Pray for Jesus to be so present & pleased.
The unity Meyer and Moore espouse is man centered, not Christ centered.
Scoffers And Bullies And Meanies, Oh My!
So – Beth Moore sitting down for a chat with a WoF heretic is a problem in and of itself. But the reason she gave for appearing on the show was to talk about unity. The obvious question is why would a “solid Bible teacher,” as she is called, choose to unite with a woman who preaches a false gospel? Although their tête-à-tête is troubling it’s not the only concern people have with her. As I pointed out in part 1, she’s been under fire for, among other things, engaging in Christian mysticism, likewise for her acceptance of “charismania” which is odd for someone who’s an SBC Lifeway Bible teacher. Another problem arose when she appeared on Life Today with “Protholic” and big time promoter of ecumenism James Robison and proceeded to advise the audience to tune out the “scoffers”:
We’re going to have people that are honestly going to want to debate and argue with us about awakening and downpours … But there will be scoffers and they will be the far bigger threat, the one within our own brothers and sisters, our own family of God — far, far more demoralizing. And yes, it will come from bullies, and yes, it will come from the mean-spirited. (Source)
Beth’s attempt to shut people up who question her teaching should be concerning to Christian women who read her books and participate in Bible studies she has written.
For those of you who are Joyce Meyer fans, it’s imperative that you wake up to the fact that some of this woman’s teaching is outright heresy. Anyone who continues learning from her is choosing to remain under the teaching of what Jesus referred to in Mat. 7:15 as a ravenous wolf. Listen to John’s warning:
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. (2 John 9-11)
Sadly, a growing number of LIE-celebs, likewise u-LIEs, are taking part in the wicked works John spoke of.
We are living in perilous times, brethren. It’s now common place for professing Christians to dabble in mysticism. The result? Many believers boast of having subjective magical mystical experiences such as visions; dreams; impressions; hearing inner voices; experiencing private illumination; and angel visitations. Warning! Christians who engage in esoteric mysticism deny sola Scriptura – the sufficiency of Scripture.
God’s people must come to grips with the fact that historic orthodox Christianity holds to the belief that everything we need to know about our Triune God is contained within the pages of the Bible. (Psalm 119:105)
Stranded In Spiritual Infancy
Following is an observation by apologist and author Bill Muehlenberg from a post entitled Kindergarten Christianity:
We have millions of believers who may have been saved decades ago, but are still acting like spiritual infants. They have not grown much, they have not progressed much in their walk with Christ, and their spiritual condition is rather anaemic [sic] and shallow.
They have not become genuine disciples in other words, and they are still stranded in a spiritual infancy. They can’t even handle the deep truths of God as revealed in Scripture. Indeed, many of them hardly even read their Bibles, barely pray, or engage in in-depth fellowship.
No wonder they are still floundering around as babies. They have not moved beyond the nursery. They are all stuck in day care. They are permanent residents of Christian kindergarten. Sadly this is so very widespread today in our churches.
This brings me back to the low information evangelical. As Muehlenberg pointed out, many Christians prefer milk to solid food. (1 Cor 3:1-3) Consequently they’re biblically illiterate…which is the reason for the colossal lack of discernment among Christians. So it should come as no surprise that the worst sort of unbiblical teaching has reared its ugly head in the visible church, thanks largely to diaper-wearing milk-fed u-LIEs who rarely, if ever, go to the Bible to scrutinize someone’s teaching. (1 John 4:1) These same u-LIEs are the ones who put on a pedestal/promote/pay tribute to and finance the lavish lifestyles of LIE-celebs, some of whom are prosperity preaching/health and wealth televangelists. What will it take to get professing Christians to understand that they’re propping up heretics?
Before I close I must also mention that the liberal media seems to think that all Protestants are evangelicals – and that includes WoF heretics such as Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen,T.D. Jakes and Oprah’s pal New Age/New Thought/Emergent guru Rob Bell. Nowadays evangelical is such a broad term that it has lost its meaning. Even Red-letter ChristiansTony Campolo and Jim Wallis, who have abandoned the biblical gospel for the “social gospel,” call themselves evangelicals.
Campolo, Wallis, Osteen, Bell, et al can say they are monarchs and wear a crown if they so desire. But as I’ve said many times, a mouse in the cookie jar is not a cookie.
Beth Moore recommends ‘Jesus Calling’ book—Apprising Ministries
Contemplative Prayer–On Solid Rock Resources
Cults and Heretical Teaching—On Solid Rock Resources
Emergent/Emerging Church—On Solid Rock Resources
New Age/New Thought Spirituality—On Solid Rock Resources
Occult—On Solid Rock Resources
Word of Faith/Televangelists—On Solid Rock Resources
Learning is a noble pursuit, but the ancient Greek text is one of the few places where the Socratic Method survives. Sanctioned political doctrine of required thinking is the mainstay in today’s august temples of purification. Forget about a classroom, the curriculum core of New Age studies has no room for the classics, much less instructions into the process of thinking itself. Except, of course for the need to electronically check off the loan applications and assign grants to the business office. In the end, university is big business and developing intelligent graduates happens as an afterthought, if at all.
College Education Economics has become a black hole for most students. Even wealthy families bear a heavy burden to ship their offspring to an experience that continually produces diminished cash flow benefits to offset the costs. Parents know there is a profound disconnect. However, when attempts for making significant changes to the way the higher learning cartel does business, the usual suspects ride to the rescue of the established order.
Jordan Weissmann in a Slate article, Smash the System?, slams Senator Mike Lee for proposing “A dangerous plan to make college cheaper by busting “the college cartel.” What else would you expect from a DC Metro and Associate Editor at The Atlantic? Nothing is more important than defending a failed system and attacking innovative ideas on how to re-create a viable and relevant education model. Quoting Mr. Weissmann,
“In January, Lee introduced legislation that would give states a major role in the accreditation process. The bill has nods of approval from potential presidential contenders Marco Rubio, who has his own proposal on the issue, and Paul Ryan, who dedicated a little-discussed section of his anti-poverty plan to “shaking up the accreditation status quo.”
The hope is that once Washington breaks the hold of today’s accrediting agencies, new, high-tech approaches to education can flourish.”
Nor dare challenge the sacred philistines of detached inculcation, might be a more appropriate title.
Over a year ago, the Washington Examiner looked at the Higher education is a government-created cartel and focused upon how the Federal Government exerts dominance over the accreditation process.
“The Department of Education has deputized eight regional accreditation entities that serve as gate keepers for the entire higher education industry. If you are not approved by one of the Department of Education approved eight regional accreditation agencies, then none of your students can qualify for Pell grants or federally subsidized student loans. With the federal government alone pumping almost $30 billion into higher education every year, if a school is not approved by a regional accreditor, it is essentially dead.”
Why is the issue and control of accreditation of such importance? Even the most naive believer in the ritual of dunking your sheep into the college culture wants to obtain some kind of gradation certification, in the end when the money runs out. Accordingly, the Federal Government uses their time test method of bribes and sanction to shape the kind of education expected from the degree mill. Inducements of low cost loans to the students and embargos to any institution of higher learning, who dares waver from the accepted low standards of fleecing enrollees.
Debating if it is worth the investment to jump through the hoops of perpetual financial indebtedness, for the implied promise that future earning power will be the reward has certainly come into doubt in the last few decades.
Going back twenty-five years, Professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo wrote the Americas OPEC: The Public School Cartel, which describes the monopoly of state and local public school districts. When he cites a case in point of how the public schools have been a cartel designed primarily to benefit the public school bureaucracy, not the public; he could substitute the corporate trust of allied Association of American Colleges and Universities in place of public schools. The primary difference is that government schools primarily operates for the benefit of teachers unions, while a federation of colleges and universities lobby for their own profit advantages in complete cooperation with the federal government.The parents and students are stuck with the bill, just as the property owner gets to pay their school tax. The only saving difference is that attending higher learning sessions are voluntary, if you have the courage to ignore all the guilt-ridden advertisement that pushes ill equipped and confused students into financial ruin, paying for overpriced and useless schooling.
The cartel of higher learning has infected the minds of “PC” conditioned meatheads. Government bureaucrats love pushing innocent adolescents into circumstance of useless education so the acclimation process adapts them to working their lives at minimum wage.
It is crucial to separate the academia component of an educational school with their financial planning and business operations. Courses vary in content and quality depending on the skills and dedication of the instructors. However, the fiscal stability and future expansion opportunities often depend upon perpetuating the myth of the indispensible necessity of becoming an alumnus.
More families become aware of this hoax and start searching for other alternatives. Teaching, once was the staple and primary purpose of renowned traditions, now are shifting towards research as reported in the UK, Universities putting research before teaching. Major US research institutions grow into closer associations with government projects and their accompanying budgets. Distinction between the gift of teaching falls short to the science of commercialization or defense.As long as the student loan bubble keeps expanding, the windbags in the liberal press will keep defending the inept higher education establishment. The true accreditation one seeks to learn comes from the success from your own learning experience, not from some, hand- picked government board that has a budget increase when additional student loans are booked.
If cartels are bad in business, they are even worse when run as a tag team effort between universities and government. Accreditation is a state matter and the federal government has no lawful authority to curtail competition in higher learning.