People Control Both…
Libertarianism has become popular. But is it really the answer to the despotic regimes that have characterized the history of human society? Some who claim the name are close but many are far into utopian fantasies.
I like Lou Rockwell. His internet page is always a source of truth and commendable prose. I saved a quote where he said that the “moral law applies across the board, and that one is not exempted from it by a government suit.” That is a good starting point as long as the source of the moral law is the Word of the Christian Triune God. Unfortunately, God’s Law is rarely, if ever, mentioned in Libertarian circles.
Most Libertarians are pedagogic, articulate, intellectual, and industrious; they have no peers in chronicling the swift deterioration of our nation. Their primary moral code is that coercion is evil and freedom is righteous. Most envision a society free from restraints where everyone considers the rights of their fellows. Their objective is attractive and though its realization is murky and imprecise their ranks are growing.
Libertarianism has roots in the Godless intellectualism of the Enlightenment. Seventeenth Century French intellectual Rene Descartes declared “I think, therefore I am”. Deification of the human mind began the tragic and irrational march toward human divinity. Thomas Paine called it “The Age of Reason” and with the irreverence of a rebel and the brilliance of an intellectual he discarded the formal religion of the ages in favor of his own deistic opinions.
Intellectualism spawned the Enlightenment and like its progenitor Libertarianism is steeped in intellectualism. Free trade ala Ludwig von Mises takes on an almost divine character. The fractured condition of the movement provides insight into the results of the deification of the human mind.
Libertarian ranks include Liberals, Conservatives, Paleo-Conservatives, Anarchists, Minarchists, limited government rebels, mislead Christians, freedom loving intellectuals, and rebellious youth. There are Socialist Libertarians and Capitalist Libertarians. European definitions tend to be anarchic and politically left while American definitions are broader supporting free market capitalism. All tend to resist coercion and emphasize freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. There are moral Libertarians and immoral Libertarians. There are Koch Libertarians and Rockwell Libertarians. As with many Godless intellectual movements there is a wide acceptance of free sex.
Former Congressman Ron Paul has done as much as anyone to popularize the Libertarian Movement. His run for the Presidency was filled with wisdom and honesty that would serve us well but his defeat was programmed before he began his campaign. Peter Theil, an openly gay member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group, provided major support. I voted for Ron Paul and thought his financing was a result of large quantities of small contributions from internet sources. I now wonder if it was a setup to insure the election of Barak Obama.
Libertarianism lacks an anchor and is plagued with the anarchy of human opinion. When organizations become fractured by opposing opinions they become weak through diversity. Power results from a clear objective. There are too many voices in the movement. In a Business Insider article Eric Zuesse writes that Libertarians “entirely avoid the real question, which is: What type of government is good? As an “ideology,” libertarianism doesn’t even make it to first base: it’s fake, from the get-go. That’s why libertarianism fails.”
Allegiance to God’s overarching legal system provides an anchor and a big step forward for freedom. Opinions are a form of coercion with each proponent striving to dominate. Anthony Wile at the Daily Bell recently posted a fascinating interview with George Guilder. Guilder is a consummate insider who lost his father to WWII and was parented by David Rockefeller. Some of Guilder’s opinions are compatible with patriots, new world order opponents, and some Libertarians. The interview is here. It is an interesting interview of a very smart man. However, I am not as much interested in the interview itself as I am with the demeanor of Gilder’s responses. He responds with the assurance of the wealthy elite and Wile accepts his responses with the demeanor of the proletariat. Though they are just opinions Gilder expects them to be heeded; there is tyranny in his manner. An interview with Walter Block provides another example of dominate opinion. Block has the lofty credentials of an academic. He expects respect for his positions but with less dominance. Read his interview here.
Rejection of the Christian doctrine of original sin undergirds scores of disastrous social and political ventures. The government of the United States of America was founded and has been conducted under the assumption that government is a human domain. We live in a Democratic Republic which depends on the voting public to elect individuals who will abide by a Constitution.
God provided Commandments, not opinions. Commandments are authoritative and dominating, they demand compliance. Opinions vary from man to man and are subject to rejections. Commandments vest authority in God while opinions vest authority in the creature. One is God centered, the other is humanistic. God’s Commandments are simple and immutable; human law is voluminous, complex, emendable, and often obtuse.
The United States Constitution is a man made document that is being shredded by men and women who have taken a sacred oath to uphold it. These are evil, dishonest people. This kind of behavior is typical of the majority of kings, queens, and dictators that have enslaved and abused the earth’s population from antediluvian times. It would create severe problems in an anarchic Libertarian society.
Absolute freedom is like infinity, it is beyond the kin of mankind. We are captives in a body and captives in a universe. We had nothing to do with our birth and baring suicide we have little to do with our death. Our inclination is to fall into a captivity of action that imprisons our lives. Some of us become obsessed with business, some with learning, some with drugs, some with sex, some with ego, etc. A mature person in a properly governed society should be free to choose where he will use his life.
Al Benson began one of his recent columns with this paragraph: “We see in operation today two kingdoms in the world—the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man (the state). There are few legitimate governments anymore that really comprise the “state.” Most of the legitimate ones are gone, having been replaced with dictatorships, oligarchies, or fake “republics” that fool people with charades they refer to as elections and whose results have already been predetermined long before the “election” takes place. We recently had one of those in the United States.”
The human freedom being pursued by the Libertarian agenda is at war with the Kingdom of God and in spite of its popularity it cannot realize its objective. Freedom is rooted in Christianity. It is rooted in individual responsibility and obedience to God’s Commandments. God’s government is the opposite of the new world order; His government is decentralized. The family is the basic unit. The state acts as protector and the church is God’s agent.
The universal application of Law is the key to freedom. All of society; the individual, the church, and the state, must abide by God’s Law. Government cannot be allowed to pass laws to which they, themselves, are not subject; it always ends in tyranny.
Christians have been living in a dream world and the next few months and years may bring a big change in their religious perception. God’s Judgment has fallen on our world! R. J. Rushdoony wrote that “the Moloch state is a product of apostasy.” We are in the grip of a product of apostasy that is abolishing our freedom and conducting a war against God and His people. Hobby Lobby is resisting the new health care law which demands support for abortion. The Moloch state will require a massive daily fine for non-compliance. The state does not worship the Christian God of Hobby Lobby; its god is the anti-Christ.
Hundreds of thousands of Dispensational Christians are expecting world government to bring the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. It could happen but it is likely it will not. If they are wrong they will be shocked to find themselves living in a police state run by an evil cabal that hates their Savior. The dictionary defines apostasy as abandonment of a previous loyalty. We have abandoned the orthodox Reformed Christian Faith that was bequeathed by our fathers and followed a heresy that has allowed the humanistic hand of evil to invade our religion, our lives, our homes, and our nation.
As the horrors of the new world order afflict the Western World people will realize that government is not the source redemption. They will concede that we have not followed the gift of salvation with obedience and dominion; and that if we expect to live in freedom again we must turn from our sin and repent of our wicked ways.
Christians often quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God promises to remove His judgment “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”. I get many emails quoting this Bible passage but none of them specify what is meant by turning from our wicked ways. God’s judgment is not confined to abortion or to homosexuality or to disobeying the often questionable personal guidance that comes from God “speaking to” individuals. Judgment comes for disobedience to His Commandments (His Law).
We have lost our nation to Moloch because we have allowed a foreign religion to change our laws legalizing the evils of abortion, homosexuality, murder, dishonesty, theft, injustice, war, genocide, hate, pugnacity, greed, torture and independence. When a society allows its government to disobey God’s Law that society is on the road to ruin.
Freedom is not realized by abandoning government and allowing moral evil to run rampant, it is not a product of a lack of laws, nor can it be produced by intellectual endeavor. Freedom is a result of obedience to the Commandments of our Creator. Libertarians put the rational product of their minds above the Law of God. They are not the only ones who believe their opinions are superior to God’s. Our society is full of legal standards, folkways, and mores that are at odds with God. We are living in a cesspool created by our own vain laxity and many have not yet smelled the stench.
My friend RJ at http://www.topplebush.com/ just sent me a very interesting riddle: “Why are right-wingers always talking about cutting down on government spending and’red tape’ yet never ever try to cut down on military spending? Aren’t the armed forces part of the government too?” Ya got me stumped there.
Here’s another riddle I can’t seem to solve: How come us salt-of-the-earth American types who protest against all the banksters’ outrageous crimes get thrown in jail, while the criminals themselves are given ”get out of jail free” cards like it was Christmas? Except, of course, for Martha Stewart.
More riddles: “Why is it okay for Al Qaeda to be the good guys in Syria and Libya — but are the bad guys in Lower Manhattan?” I’m all confused.
Why is it okay to tax middle-income Americans for an arm and a leg but not okay to tax rich people? “I wonder.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
How come everybody bitches and moans about the obesity epidemic and the cancer epidemic and the heart attack epidemic and the autism epidemic and the bi-polar epidemic but still live on junk food, never exercise and watch too much TV? And still have enough balls left to complain about single-payer healthcare? Can someone please explain this? http://www.indiegogo.com/
How come American taxpayers get to pay for the costs of demolishing Christian and Muslim homes in East Jerusalem yet can’t get any tax relief when our own homes are being demolished in Detroit and Cincinnati?
How come statistics (and election results and Fox News) show that Americans are definitely being dumbed down these days, but no one wants to spend any money on improving American kindergartens — let alone on upgrading our colleges. What ever happened to Sputnik?
Why do people fear climate change so much but still happily drive their gas-hogs around like there’s no tomorrow?
How come I can’t resist playing free-cell solitaire by the hour when I should be out doing the laundry and saving the world?
How can anybody in their right mind vote for any candidate that spends millions of dollars on getting elected? You would think that if a politician had that kind of money he (or she) might want to just retire to the Bahamas. Or give it to us.
“Why does America need to own approximately 800 military bases throughout the ’Free World’?” Hell, if the freaking world is all that free, surely it doesn’t need all those American soldiers to keep it in line? And why does all this so-called freedom always end up costing us taxpayers trillions of dollars as well?
And how come most of “our” jobs are now located in places like China, Haiti and Burma? Isn’t that a really long commute?
And please explain the riddle of how all the top American industrial jobs here at home are now mostly being performed by prison labor? While the 1% sucks down Oxycontin and Prozac legally and the rest of us all get busted for using medical marijuana — just to make sure they have a large enough prison labor supply in jails?
And why are American labor unions that help the working class being given such a bum rap, but when Wall Street and War Street form unions that destroy the fabric of America’s economy, it’s called “Capitalism” and “Showing Initiative” – not welfare for the rich?
And why are the RepubliDems always saying that the fiscal cliff is a bad thing? If it is spozed to be such a terrible disaster, then why in the freak did they create it in the first place?
And why does 2013 still feel so much like 2012?
Hold your breath, the race to the bottom is ready to escalate. The consequence of the corporate consumerism economy has reached the tipping point. The old rules that mainstream spending will dig the way back to prosperity are permanently dead. The one sure implication that is indisputable is that taxes are set to rise at unprecedented levels. With Obamacare revenue obligations coming into effect, the latest phase of centralized medical socialism spreads like a virus. Under such circumstances, how can the patient regain their health?
The Rino Republicans have proven again their slimy deceit, as demonstrated inHighlights of Senate bill averting ‘fiscal cliff’. The bipartisan house is poised to make another deal with the devil. Such legislation that refuses to enact meaningful and significant spending cuts exemplifies the depth of the efforts to dismantle the economic wellbeing of the average taxpayer.
The only beneficiary out of the tax bill from hell will be the corporate/state axis. By setting aside the automatic sequestration program reductions for a typical irresponsible useless promise the McConnell, Biden reach tentative deal on sequester, con insults the intelligence of any rational taxpayer.
“The negotiating parties reached an agreement to delay it by two months with some spending cuts to offset the delay.”
Without a serious reduction in the rate of growth, much less a real shrinking in federal expenditures, deficit spending will shoot up higher than an addicted junkie. Examine the mess.
“According to the Congressional Budget Office, the last-minute fiscal cliff deal reached by congressional leaders and President Barack Obama cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.”
This factor alone provides ample evidence that the economy will sustain another substantial hit. Treading water is no way to save yourself when you are swimming inside a whirlpool of spiraling intensity or diving into a pool drained of water.
2013 is likely to be another generous year for the financial vultures. Mergers and acquisitions may well come back ‘with a vengeance’, as international corporatists push hard for even greater consolidation. The suspect “Free Trade” cabal has enormous support and protection from the selected public officials that administer a plutocrat economy. Even under the distractions of higher taxes on the super affluent, their wealth will grow dramatically, as public subsistence becomes more dependent on government handouts.
Business is very good for the governing bureaucrat. This New Year provides immense promises for government expansion. The crowding out of the credit markets for private business will continue as an inevitable result of public sector borrowing hitting new highs.
Private firms will struggle as disposable funds become rarer. The consumer has shown remarkable restrains since the 2008 meltdown, but the internal built up demand for lifestyle replacement standards will not generate the economic activity that so many financial experts tout.
Prospects of an intensified reoccurrence of the persistent recession are far more likely. The sustainability of Federal Reserve monetization has limits. The crucial test of this desperate repurchase of debt created obligations will play out in the bond market.
Another down grade of the U.S. credit status over the next political battle of raising the borrowing limit is a major concern. The potential free fall of the Dollar and international abandonment of the reserve currency standing is probably the greatest risk to the economy.
Any credit-based economy is at the mercy of the central banksters. Disregarding the phony political rhetoric of the governance ideologues, the basic constructs of economic facts cannot be separated from the harsh reality of a credit crunch.
Inflation is embedded in the under reported consumer pricing statistics. Grocery prices will rise, while food stamps proliferate. This SNAP economy is a telltale gauge of the wellness of the basic consumer. How can anyone believe that the prospects for a healthy economy are in the cards for 2013?
The one unassailable conclusion that is born out with every turn of the financial page is that the rich become richer, while the middle class struggles even harder to make ends meet.
Many will fall into the trap that rich people are the cause of the problem. Such social envy misses a proper perspective on wealth creation. The real reason why the economy scrambles to democratize medium affluence is that the monopolists of politically protected conglomerates suppress initiative and originative employment entrepreneurial enterprises.
The entire political and tax system operates to diminish the chances of small business to compete against the virtual unrestricted capital access of major public companies. 2013 will be a watershed year that regretfully will see the systemic demise of privately held endeavors.
The replacement of free enterprise, with state/capitalism has produced a fascist economy.
When the establishment operates under the favoritism principle, the inevitable result is that crony capitalists dig the graves of independent business operators, with publicly funded shovels. How under this formula can the ordinary citizen expect to prosper when the supplanting of individual intuitive is intentionally marginalized?
The financial markets reflect uncertainty in the face of record corporate receipts. The balance sheets of companies have been rebuilt from the depth of the housing implosion, with much assistance from public indebtedness. The globalist banks practice distress acquisitions, deliberately designed to solidify interdependency at the price of personal autonomy.
With this acceleration of financial austerity for the average citizen, the gap between the corporate economy and the main street market grows exponentially. Whatever degree of cash flow that the country enjoys in this New Year, the price that will be paid to stretch out one last celebration of former fortune, will inescapably result in national poverty.
Just blaming the one percent ignores the institutional corruption that perpetrates the war against the middle class. Hoping for a thriving 2013 dismisses the abject State of the Nation. The only relevant question unanswered is whether the beleaguered taxpayer will revolt or just swallow another dose of Obama collectivism.
The Rape of Syria…
Just as once in a while I go back to my favorite Hemingway passages, lately I’ve been going back to some footage I shot years ago of the Aleppo souk – the most extraordinary of all Middle Eastern souks. It’s like being shot in the back; I was as fond of the souk’s architecture as of its people and traders. Weeks ago, most of the souk – the living pulse of Aleppo for centuries – was set on fire and destroyed by the “rebels” of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).
In this Syrian tragedy, there is no Hemingway young hero, no Robert Jordan in the International Brigades fighting alongside.
Republican guerrillas against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. In the Syrian civil war, the international brigades are mostly of the mercenary, Salafi-jihadi, beheading and car-bombing type. And the (few) young Americans in place are basically high-tech pawns in a game played by the rapacious NATOGCC club (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its Arab puppets of the Gulf Cooperation Council).
The tragedy continues. The Syrian state, political and military security apparatus will maintain its mini-blitzkriegs – with no second thoughts for “collateral damage”. On the opposing side, “rebel” commanders will be betting on a new Saudi-Qatari-encouraged Supreme Military Council.
The Salafis and Salafi-jihadis of the al-Nusrah Front – 7th century fanatics, beheading enthusiasts and car-bombing operatives who do the bulk of the fighting – were not invited. After all, the al-Nusrah Front has been branded a “terrorist organization” by Washington.
Now check the reaction of a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) bigwig, Hama-born deputy comptroller general Mohammed Farouk Tayfour; he said the decision was “too hasty”. And check the reaction of the new Syrian opposition leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, at a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Morocco; the decision must be “reexamined”. Virtually all “rebel” outfits publicly declared their undying love for the hardcore al-Nusrah.
So with the al-Nusrah fanatics probably disguising their Islamically correct beards under a prosaic hoodie, expect plenty more “rebel” advances on Damascus – despite two major beatings (last July and then this month), courtesy of Syrian government counter-offensives. After all, that lavish training by US, British and Jordanian Special Forces has got to yield some results, not to mention the loads of extra lethal weapons provided by those paragons of democracy in the Persian Gulf. By the way, the al-Nusrah Front controls sections of devastated Aleppo.
Sectarian hatred rules
Then there’s the Orwellian, brand new National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces – a Washington-Doha co-production. Meet the new boss, same as the old (lousy) boss, which was the Syrian National Council (SNC). It’s just rhetoric; the only thing that matters for the “National Coalition” is to get more lethal weapons. And they love al-Nusrah, even if Washington doesn’t.
Qatar unloaded tons of weapons “like candy” (according to a US arms dealer) in “liberated” Libya. Only after the Benghazi blowback did the Pentagon and the State Department wake up to the fact that weaponizing the Syrian rebels may be, well, the road to more blowback. Translation: Qatar will keep unloading tons of weapons in Syria. The US will keep “leading from behind”.
Expect more horrible sectarian massacres as the one in Aqrab. Here is the most authoritative version of what may have really happened. This proves once again that what the NATOGCC “rebels” are actually winning is the YouTube war. So expect more massive, relentless waves of spin and propaganda – with Western corporate media cheerleading of the Syrian “freedom fighters” putting to shame the 1980s jihad in Afghanistan.
Expect more major distortions of context, as when Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, “The fighting will become even more intense, and [Syria] will lose tens of thousands and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of civilians… If such a price for the removal of the president seems acceptable to you, what can we do? We, of course, consider it absolutely unacceptable.”
Ergo, Russia is trying to do everything to prevent this from happening. And if NATOGCC “rebels” carry out their threats to attack the Russian and Ukrainian embassies in Damascus, they had better trim their beards and run for cover from the no-nonsense Spetnatz – Russian Special Forces.
Expect more sectarian hatred, as in Sunni Sheikh and al-Jazeera star Yusuf al-Qaradawi casually issuing a fatwa legitimizing the killing of millions of Syrians, be they military or civilian, as long as they are Alawites or Shi’ites.
Sectarian hatred will rule, with Qatar in the lead, followed by Saudis with large pocketbooks and assorted hardcore Islamists. Agenda; war against Shi’ites, against Alawites, against secularists, even against moderates, not only in Syria but all across the Middle East.
A Patriot vs Iskander face-off
The new Syrian Army strategy boils down to a major pull back from countryside backwaters and bases, concentrating their troops in cities and towns.
Expect the overall strategy of the NATOGCC club to remain more or less the same; bog down the Syrian Army in as many areas as possible; demoralize them; and keep oiling the terrain for a possible North Atlantic Treaty Organization intervention (the chemical weapons hype and the relentless carping over a “humanitarian catastrophe” are part of the extensive psy ops package).
The Syrian Army may have the heavy weapons; but when confronting a tsunami of mercenaries and Salafi-jihadists fully trained and weaponized by the NATOGCC club, the whole thing may take years, Lebanon civil war-style. That leads us to the next “best” option – which is in fact a spin-off; the death of the Syrian state by a thousand, make it a million, cuts.
What’s certain is that the “coalition of the willing” against Syria will have no trouble unraveling once the endgame is reached. Washington bets on a post-Assad regime run by the MB. No wonder King Playstation in Jordan is freaking out; he knows the MB will also take over Jordan and expel him to permanently shop at Harrods.
Those paragons of democracy – the medieval petro-monarchies in the Persian Gulf – are also freaking out; they fear the popular appeal of the MB like the plague. Syrian Kurdistan – now definitely on its way to total autonomy and eventually freedom – already keeps Ankara freaking out. Not to mention the future prospect of a tsunami of unemployed Salafi-jihadis merrily ensconced in the Syria-Turkish border and ready to run amok.
And then there’s the complex Turkey-Iran relationship. Tehran has already warned Ankara in no uncertain terms about the just-to-be-deployed NATO missile defense system.
That’s got to be the newspeak masterpiece of late 2012. Pentagon spokesman George Little has been adamant that “the United States has been supporting Turkey in its efforts to defend itself… [against Syria].”
Thus the deployment of 400 US troops to Turkey to run two Patriot missile batteries, to “defend” Turkey from “potential threats emanating from Syria”.
Translation; this has nothing to do with Turkey, it’s all about the Russian military in Syria. Moscow has given Damascus not only very effective, hypersonic Iskander surface-to-surface missiles (virtually immune to missile defense systems) but the ground-to-air, multiple target defense system Pechora 2M, a nightmare to the Pentagon if ever a no-fly zone is imposed over Syria.
Welcome to the Patriot vs Iskander face-off. And right in the line of fire, we find Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan – an outsized egomaniac harboring a deep inferiority complex in relation to the Europeans – left in the cold under NATO’s master plan.
Turkey’s Achilles heel (apart from the Kurds) is its self-promoted role of being a crossroads of energy between East and West. The problem is Turkey depends on energy supplies from both Iran and Russia; unwisely, it is antagonizing both, at the same time, with its muddled Syrian policy.
All I hear is doom and gloom
How to solve this tragedy? No one seems to be listening to Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa. In this interview with Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar, he stresses “the threat of the current campaign to destroy Syria, its history, civilization, and people… With every passing day, the solution gets further away, militarily and politically. We must be in the position of defending Syria’s existence.”
He does not have “a clear answer to what the solution may be”. But he has a road map:
Any settlement, whether starting with talks or agreements between Arab, regional, or foreign capitals, cannot exist without a solid Syrian foundation. The solution has to be Syrian, but through a historic settlement, which would include the main regional countries, and the members of UN Security Council. This settlement must include stopping all shapes of violence, and the creation of a national unity government with wide powers. This should be accompanied by the resolution of sensitive dossiers related to the lives of people and their legitimate demands.
This is not what the NATOGCC compound wants – even as the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are all engaged in their own divergent agendas. What the NATOGCC war has already accomplished is one objective – very similar, by the way, to Iraq in 2003; it has completely torn the fragile Syrian social fabric to shreds.
That is disaster capitalism in action, phase I; the terrain is already prepared for a profitable “reconstruction” of Syria once a pliable, pro-Western turbo-capitalism government is installed.
Yet in parallel, blowback also works its mysterious ways; millions of Syrians who initially supported the idea of a pro-democracy movement – from the business classes in Damascus to traders in Aleppo – now have swelled the government support base as a counterpunch against the gruesome ethnic-religious cleansing promoted by the “rebels” of the al-Nusrah kind.
Yet with NATOGCC on one side and Iran-Russia on the other side, ordinary Syrians caught in the crossfire have nowhere to go. NATOGCC will stop at nothing to carve – in blood – any dubious entity ranging from a pro-US emirate to a pro-US “democracy” run by the MB. It’s not hard to see for whom the bell tolls in Syria; it tolls not for thee, as in John Donne, but for doom, gloom, death and destruction.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at email@example.com
Source: The Asia Times
If there was any lingering doubt about the supremacy of the internationalist banker over the canons of law, the latest HSBC exemption from criminal charges proves that the real masters of the planet are the criminal banksters. If this settlement was an abnormality and not the rule, one might argue the expediency for pragmatism, while deployable, is necessary. Unfortunately, for the financial elites, the facts tell a very different story.
The Associated Press reports in Government outlines HSBC ties to drug money laundering.
“In court papers filed in federal court in Brooklyn, the federal government said the case against HSBC is related to the laundering of proceeds from narcotics trafficking via the Black Market Peso Exchange, a method by which money launderers convert cash narcotics dollars into Colombian pesos by buying and re-selling wholesale consumer goods.
“The lack of an effective anti-money laundering program at HSBC Mexico and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. contributed to the conduct charged” in the money-laundering case against narcotics traffickers, Justice Department prosecutors said in court papers.”
Published in the Globe and Mail account, HSBC failed to control drug-money laundering, Senate finds, indicates the political nature of this investigation.
“A year-long investigation by a Senate committee uncovered that HSBC acted as a conduit for drug money, disguised the sources of funds to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, and included among its clients businesses with alleged ties to terrorism. HSBC’s internal culture has been “pervasively polluted for a long time,” said Carl Levin, a senator from Michigan, who helped lead the investigation.”
Instead of prosecuting criminal charges, the U.S. Department of Justice slaps a fine and demands stricter but inadequate regulations. Some of the details are provided inBanks on alert as regulators step up pressure on HSBC. The facade of accountability is insulting. Ian Fraser presents a correct assessment. HSBC’s $1.9 Billion Settlement Sets (Another) Dangerous Precedent.
“Sending executives to prison has far more deterrent value that bringing a company down, since many will argue that employees who had nothing to do with the criminal activity would also be harmed.”
The muckraker Matt Taibbi gives a sober overview in a video that deserves watching,After Laundering $800 Million in Drug Money. His observations parallel that of Mr. Fraser.
“You can do real time in jail in America for all kinds of ridiculous offenses,”Taibbi says. “Here we have a bank that laundered $800 million of drug money, and they can’t find a way to put anybody in jail for that. That sends an incredible message, not just to the financial sector but to everybody. It’s an obvious, clear double standard, where one set of people gets to break the rules as much as they want and another set of people can’t break any rules at all without going to jail.”
The risk of going to jail for managing the enormous sums from the illicit drug trade is small, when governments are beholding for their contrived power to the banking cabals, which control the apparatus of fiat money.
In the seminal study by John Hoefle coming out of the Executive Intelligence Research,HSBC: Flagship Bank Of Britain’s Dope, Inc., the historic composition of dishonest business dealings that transcend even shady banking is documented.
“It should come as no surprise that British banking giant HSBC was caught laundering money for drug cartels and terrorist groups. HSBC, as we shall show, is the kingpin bank of the global drug trade, a bank which, since its founding in 1865, has been devoted to financing drug crops and laundering the proceeds. HSBC is, in fact, one of the key controlling institutions of the global illicit drug cartel we call Dope, Inc.
If you think that is an outlandish claim, consider the fact that EIR, through its book Dope, Inc., and in its affilicated War on Drugs magazine, published in the early 1980s by the National Anti-Drug Coalition, have made this charge for over 30 years, and have never been sued or challenged by the bank.”
Once a drug launderer it is an easy step to institutionalized money laundering.
Now watch the interview with Jeffrey Robinson on HSBC fine for money-laundering. Mr. Robinson’s appraisal rings similar with that of Fraser and Taibbi. This picture becomes clearer as more information becomes available. Even the establishment journal The Economist must conclude that Too big to jail is the reality in the world of international banking.
“The agreements put an end to uncertainty over the banks’ ability to operate within America, a key link in their global networks; their share prices both rose on the day the fines were announced. And the penalties are, in effect, levied on shareholders; not one corporate employee faces charges (although HSBC, at least, has clawed back payments to those responsible). Indeed, at a news conference this week Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, suggested that an outright prosecution of HSBC was considered and rejected because of how damaging the impact could be on the bank’s viability, and thus on jobs and the American economy. Has a handful of banks become not too big to fail, but too big to jail?”
The significance of rejecting criminal pursuance of HSBC, and the long list of other mega banks is Prima Facie validation that the global economy operates under the self-serving guidance and often the practical permission of the largest international banking organizations.
The pattern of selective prosecution by the Injustice Department is no revelation, when the war on drugs is so profitable for the diabolic alliances that run the drug trade. Banking and government by acquiesce is a historic construct that hide behinds the law, while dealing in bribes, payoffs and hidden offshore accounts. Drug trafficking continues to prosper because government needs the threat of an evil enemy, while the agencies charged with its eradication are often corrupt game players.
The HSBC’s of this world are dirty participants in the real drug triangle; namely, drug traffickers, crooked government elements and complicit moneychangers.
In his recent New York Times op-ed piece, Princeton professor and regular columnist for The New York Times Paul Krugman observed:
“The American economy is still, by most measures, deeply depressed. But corporate profits are at record high. It’s simple: profits have surged as a share of national income, while wages and other labor compensation are down. The pie isn’t growing the way it should — but capital is doing fine by grabbing an ever-larger slice, at labor’s expense.”
And then he adds with almost shocked incredulity: “Wait – are we really back to talking about capital versus labor? Isn’t that an old-fashioned, almost Marxist sort of discussion, out of date in our modern information economy?”
This is exactly the conflict that Marx identified as the fundamental, inescapable contradiction of the capitalist system that would eventually create the conditions of its downfall: there is a tendency for the owners of businesses, the capitalists, to accumulate ever-vaster wealth while the people who work for them experience a declining standard of living.
Marx supported this conclusion by offering a description of the fundamental operating mechanism of capitalism. Capitalism is based on the principle of private ownership and competition. Private businesses compete with one another for customers, and those who fail to attract a sufficient number eventually perish. But in order to attract customers, businesses must maximize the quality of their product while minimizing its price. If two products embody the same quality but one is cheaper, customers, in pursuit of their self-interest, will purchase the cheaper version, all other factors being equal.
This means that capitalists must constantly attempt to minimize the price of their product simply for the sake of their own survival. If a business devises a way to lower costs, it can capture the market. But, as Marx pointed out, labor costs are a huge factor in determining the price of a product. So those businesses that minimize labor costs can prevail in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism. For this reason, a downward pressure on wages and benefits is always operating to one degree or another.
But Krugman made no reference to this aspect of Marx’s analysis and instead identified two other factors that contribute to the growing inequality in wealth between capitalists and workers, both of which are discussed by Marx.
The first factor involves the introduction of technology into the labor process, i.e. “labor-saving” technology. In other words, machines replace workers or reduce the amount of skill required in the labor process. To give a current example, software has been developed that analyzes legal documents at a fraction of the time it takes lawyers while costing much less. Accordingly, many well-paid lawyers lose their jobs to such software. Living during the industrial age, Marx supplied many such examples.
Krugman referred to his second explanatory factor that increases inequality between capitalists and labor as the “monopoly power” of large corporations where “increasing business concentration could be an important factor in stagnating demand for labor, as corporations use their growing monopoly power to raise prices without passing the gains on to their employees.” Here Krugman is approaching the heart of Marxist theory.
Krugman is basically arguing that large corporations use their power to override purely economic trends and simply demand that their employees work for less. But this is precisely the point of Marxism, although from the other direction. Marx persistently argued that capitalism could not function without the willingness of the working class to perform the work. When workers organize and engage in collective action by withholding their labor, the balance of power shifts in favor of the workers who can then demand higher wages as a condition for their return to work, as the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) recently did on the West Coast and the teachers did in Chicago.
Amazingly, Krugman never mentions the decline of organized labor as a huge factor explaining the decline of the standard of living of working people, adding that there has been so little discussion of these developments. But others, especially former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, have discussed these trends and identified the decline of labor as a major factor.
In the 1930s when labor unions were tenaciously fighting for working people, huge gains were made in terms of salaries and benefits. They conducted militant sit-down strikes and mobilized tens of thousands of people from the community to support labor’s struggles. Their successes were to a large degree responsible for the emergence of the so-called middle class that thrived in the 1950s and 1960s.
Workers who are organized, acting both collectively and forcefully, can change the economic landscape. But once organized labor becomes complacent and relaxes its guard and ceases to struggle, the laws of capitalism ineluctably grind down their gains and the growing inequality returns until workers again rise up.
Marx argued that eventually workers would see the futility of this repeating cycle, reject capitalism altogether, and begin to construct a socialist society built on entirely humanistic and democratic principles.
In a recent New York Times article on unionizing workers at the bottom of the pay scale, a union organizer was quoted as saying, “We must go back to the strategies of nonviolent disruption of the 1930s.” Currently organized labor is all but dying out. Strikes are like an endangered species. Rather than engaging in militant struggles, union members are urged to elect Democrats who then call on workers to accept sacrifices.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has called on working people “to fight like hell” to resist cuts to Social Security and Medicare. But these are just words. To this date, the unions have failed to mobilize their members to stage massive demonstrations across the country against cuts to these popular social programs – demonstrations that could culminate in hundreds of thousands of working people descending on Washington, D.C. to make their demands clear to the Obama administration and the rest of the politicians. Without the unions taking the lead in this struggle, there is little individual workers will be able to accomplish. And if the unions refuse to return to their more militant roots but remain invisible, economists like Paul Krugman will continue to ignore their existence and overlook their current historic failure to defend working people.
As chaos again envelopes Egypt, the revolution is evolving in new directions, along contradictory and confusing channels. It’s tempting to immediately support the “opposition” to the Muslim Brotherhood’s apparent “power grab,” but the situation in Egypt is more complex. The recent events in Egypt are not simply signs of a healthy revolution, they also include immediate dangers.
Making sense out of a constantly changing, frantic revolution involving millions of people involves unpeeling layers of outer turmoil until the inner motives of different interest groups are exposed. At bottom, the groups vying for power have economic interests at stake; asking “who benefits” is still the best way to navigate a revolution.
For example, in Egypt the freshly-formed “opposition” — to the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood government — is a motley crew. After the President announced “emergency powers,” an opposition coalition formed, calling itself the “National Salvation Front,” consisting of different groups united with the ultimate aim to remove President Morsi from power (some members of the coalition revealed their actual motives when the President rescinded the emergency powers decree, but they retained their demand for him to immediately step down). Included in this coalition are sincere revolutionary youth, wealthy 1%’ers and western-backed bureaucrats, as well as “socialists”, unions, and even those with deep connections to the former Mubarak dictatorship like Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister under Mubarak.
The only thing that unites this group is their antagonism to the Muslim Brotherhood. But different groups within the opposition have different reasons for hating the Muslim Brotherhood. The revolutionary youth and socialists want a real democracy, both social and political, and correctly view a religious group in power as being inherently anti-democratic, since it automatically minimizes the rights of religious minorities, like the religious states of Saudi Arabia and Israel do.
However, others in the coalition are anti-Muslim Brotherhood for less virtuous reasons. Those who benefited from the former dictatorship simply want to be back in power where they controlled the government, using it as a giant money trough of parasitic corruption.
The other liberal and affluent groups in the opposition — those not connected to the former regime — aspire towards the same government money trough: they were excluded from state power by the Mubarak regime and now the Muslim Brotherhood dominates the state apparatus and all its perks. This exclusion from power is the real basis for many of these groups crying about democracy; they want a democracy with themselves in power.
In Egypt, the economic interests of different groups are consciously hidden behind religion and abstract notions of democracy. The very wealthy and corporations have no problem acting extra religious or especially democratic if it pushes their interests forward.
But to truly wield power during a revolution implies that you express the interests of the millions who crushed the Mubarak dictatorship. And although it’s true that the new opposition has led massive demonstrations in the streets, it’s also true that the Muslim Brotherhood has led much bigger demonstrations, a fact under-reported in the media.
Another ignored fact is that most people believe — including Egyptian opposition groups — that the Muslim Brotherhood will win the upcoming referendum vote, which is why the opposition is trying to prevent the referendum from happening by causing havoc in the streets, instead of waiting for a more democratic vote.
President Morsi has accused the organizers of these protests to be scheming towards a coup, and there’s likely more than a little truth in this (this was in part the reason he gave for granting himself emergency powers).
It’s certain that the former Mubarak officials in the opposition are thinking along these lines. Some have accused the military and police of provoking violence and intentionally not intervening in protests that killed several people and injured hundreds outside the presidential palace. Similar non-interventions during mob violence happened at a massacre at a soccer game where 75 died, and with attacks against Christian churches. The military are regulars at using such social crises to reclaim their powers via martial law and dictatorship. This threat is real and urgent in Egypt.
And although the Muslim Brotherhood has bent backwards trying to please the military, this can change quickly; the military has a weak allegiance to the Brotherhood and a long history of conflict. It would rather have military-associated politicians in power.
This isn’t to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood is politically supportable. They’re not. They have been far too friendly to the military and other criminals associated with the former regime. Nor have they done anything to address the economic and social issues that were the real fuel of the revolution. Millions of people participated in the revolution because they wanted to improve their lives. This hasn’t happened. And things are about to get worse under the Muslim Brotherhood government.
For example, the Brotherhood government recently signed off on a loan from the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF), which, as history has repeatedly shown, proves disastrous for the working and poor people of the debtor country by forcing economic policies that favor rich investors at everyone else’s expense.
Moreover, the IMF usually demands privatization of public services that are directed toward helping the poor. One example of a common IMF attack on the public sector is the elimination of government fuel subsides, which lower the price of gasoline and oil used for cooking. This IMF policy has created mini-Arab springs in Jordan and Nigeria; and now Egypt’s IMF loan includes the same attached string. A report on Reuters explains:
“If the [Egyptian] government does begin cutting the [fuel] subsidy and publishes a timetable for its eventual removal — probably a minimum IMF demand — then we would expect
funds from the IMF and other donor organizations to provide Egypt with breathing space [to fund its government].”
At the same time, the IMF loan also helped insure that Egypt’s Mubarak-era miniscule taxes for the wealthy and corporations stay where they are, at 25 percent.
Thus, in one stroke of the pen — signing the IMF debt deal — the Muslim Brotherhood proved in practice that it will continue the economic policies of the wealthy-dominated Mubarak dictatorship.
This economic policy of free-market capitalism of the IMF is agreed to by all of the large anti-Brotherhood “opposition” groups, with the exception of the revolutionary youth and socialist organizations. This is more proof that for many of these groups, the battle for “democracy” is a shallow one, a thin shell of political democracy that doesn’t penetrate into the larger economic sphere. The best expression of this razor-thin democracy is the leader of the opposition coalition, Mohamed ElBaradei, who said that:
“The demands of the revolution were for social justice, freedom and dignity.”
Of course “social justice” is vague enough to be misinterpreted to not include jobs, good wages, adequate social services — the core economic demands of the revolution.
And although the economic voice of the majority of Egyptians is not currently being expressed by any of the main groups vying for power, the demands of working people will inevitably find their way into the larger struggle for power. Voices expressing these demands are already emerging in various parts of the country, where labor and community issues are coming to the forefront. For example, the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions recently included in their demands:
- Re-form the Constituent Assembly with at least 50 percent of the members to be workers and peasants
- Guarantee trade union freedoms in the Constitution or the law
- Issue a new labor law guaranteeing workers’ rights
- Speed up the implementation of a law on minimum and maximum wages, and link these to rising prices
- Return of all workers to work who have lost their jobs
It has also been reported the important industrial city of Mahalla — known for its tradition of labor struggles — has declared itself “independent” from the government, and will be run by a “revolutionary council,” although details are still scarce.
Ultimately, the voice of the working Egyptians must be expressed if the revolution is to be pushed forward. However, an urgent question must still be answered immediately: Should the main demand of the opposition — for President Morsi to step down — be supported?
It seems that, at this time, the demand is premature, considering that there has been a recent election that overwhelmingly put the Muslim Brotherhood into power, and that even the opposition admits that the Brotherhood is likely to win its nationwide referendum vote (the large pro-government demonstrations seem to confirm this). The demand thus seems strangely at odds with the current political reality, and thus raises suspicions about some of those demanding it, especially the ex-Mubarak lackeys, who are likely using legitimate popular anger for the purpose of coup-making.
The opposition’s shallow version of democracy cannot be won by ignoring President Morsi’s recently won democratic election. The revolutionary youth in the anti-Brotherhood coalition should strive for an independent path for working people, far away from those associated with the last dictatorship and with those trying to tie Egypt’s economy to the short leash of the U.S. corporate-run IMF.
The fiscal cliff is the result of the inability to close the federal budget deficit. The budget deficit cannot be closed because large numbers of US middle class jobs and the GDP and tax base associated with them have been moved offshore, thus reducing federal revenues. The fiscal cliff cannot be closed because of the unfunded liabilities of eleven years of US-initiated wars against a half dozen Muslim countries–wars that have benefitted only the profits of the military/security complex and the territorial ambitions of Israel. The budget deficit cannot be closed, because economic policy is focused only on saving banks that wrongful financial deregulation allowed to speculate, to merge, and to become too big to fail, thus requiring public subsidies that vastly dwarf the totality of US welfare spending.
The hoax is the propaganda that the fiscal cliff can be avoided by reneging on promised Social Security and Medicare benefits that people have paid for with the payroll tax and by cutting back all aspects of the social safety net from food stamps to unemployment benefits to Medicaid, to housing subsidies. The right-wing has been trying to get rid of the social safety net ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt constructed it, out of fear or compassion or both, during the Great Depression.
Washington’s response to the fiscal cliff is austerity: spending cuts and tax increases. The Republicans say they will vote for the Democrats’ tax increases if the Democrats vote for the Republican’s assault on the social safety net. What bipartisan compromise means is a double-barreled dose of austerity.
Ever since John Maynard Keynes, economists have understood that tax increases and spending cuts suppress, not stimulate, economic activity. This is especially the case in an economy such as the American one, which is driven by consumer spending. When spending declines, so does the economy. When the economy declines, the budget deficit rises.
This is especially the case when an economy is weak and already in decline. A declining economy means less sales, less employment, less tax revenues. This works against the effort to close the federal budget deficit with austerity measures. Instead of strengthening the economy, the austerity measures weaken it further. To cut unemployment benefits and food stamps when unemployment is high or rising would be to provoke social and political instability.
Some economists, such as Robert Barro at Harvard University, claim that stimulative measures, the opposite of austerity, don’t work, because consumers anticipate the higher taxes that will be needed to cover the budget deficit and, therefore, reduce their spending and increase their saving in order to be able to pay the anticipated higher taxes.
In other words, the Keynesian effort to stimulate spending causes consumers to reduce their spending. I don’t know of any empirical evidence for this claim.
Regardless, the situation on the ground at the present time is that for the majority of people, incomes are stretched to the limit and beyond. Many cannot pay their bills, their mortgages, their car payments, their student loans. They are drowning in debt, and there is nothing that they can cut back in order to save money with which to pay higher taxes.
Many commentators are complaining that Congress will refuse to face the difficult issues and kick the can down the road, leaving the fiscal cliff looming. This would probably be the best outcome. As the fiscal cliff is a result, not a cause, to focus on the fiscal cliff is to focus on the symptoms rather than the disease.
The US economy has two serious diseases, and neither one is too much welfare spending.
One disease is the offshoring of US middle class jobs, both manufacturing jobs and professional service jobs such as engineering, research, design, and information technology, jobs that formerly were filled by US university graduates, but which today are sent abroad or are filled by foreigners brought in on H-1B work visas at two-thirds of the salary.
The other disease is the deregulation, especially the financial deregulation, that caused the ongoing financial crisis and created banks too big to fail, which has prevented capitalism from working and closing down insolvent corporations.
The Federal Reserve’s policy is focused on saving the banks, not on saving the economy. The Federal Reserve is purchasing not only new Treasury bonds issued to finance the more than one trillion dollar annual federal deficit but also the banks’ underwater financial instruments, taking them off the banks’ books and putting them on the Federal Reserve’s books.
Normally, debt monetization of this amount results in rising inflation, but the money that the Federal Reserve is creating in its attempt to manage the public debt and the banks’ private debt is hung up in the banking system as excess reserves and is not finding its way into the economy. The banks are too busted to lend, and consumers are too indebted to borrow.
However, the debt monetization poses a second threat that is capable of biting the US economy and consumer living standards very hard. Foreign central banks, foreign investors in US stocks and financial instruments, and Americans themselves observing the Federal Reserve’s continuous monetization of US debt cannot avoid concern about the dollar’s value as the supply of ever more dollars continues to pour out of the Federal Reserve.
Already there is evidence of central banks and individuals moving out of dollars into gold and silver bullion and into other currencies of countries that are not hemorrhaging debt and money. According to John Williams of Shadowstats.com, the US dollar as a percentage of global holdings of reserve assets has declined from 36.6% in 2006 to 28.7% in 2012. Gold has increased from 10.5% to 12.8% and other foreign currencies except the euro increased from 38.4% to 44.4%.
Russia, China, Brazil, India, and South Africa intend to conduct trade among themselves in their own currencies without use of the dollar as reserve currency. The EU countries conduct their trade with one another in euros, and although not reported in the US media, Asian countries are discussing a new common currency for trade among themselves.
The world is abandoning the use of the dollar to settle international accounts, and the demand for dollars is falling as the Federal Reserve increases the supply of dollars.
This means that the price of the dollar is threatened.
Concern over the dollar means concern over dollar-denominated financial instruments such as stocks and bonds. The Chinese hold some $2 trillion in US financial instruments. The Japanese hold about $1 trillion in US Treasuries. The Saudis and the oil emirates also hold large quantities of US dollar financial instruments. At some point the move away from the dollar also means a move away from US financial instruments. The dumping of US stocks and bonds would destabilize US financial markets and wipe out the remainder of US wealth.
As I have previously written, the Federal Reserve can create new money with which to purchase the dumped financial instruments, thus maintaining their prices. But the Federal Reserve cannot print gold or foreign currencies with which to buy up the dollars that foreigners are paid for their US stocks and bonds. When the dollars in turn are dumped, the exchange value of the dollar will collapse, and US inflation will explode.
The onset of hyperinflation can be as sudden as the collapse of a currency’s exchange value.
The real crisis facing the US is the impending collapse of the US dollar’s foreign exchange value. The US dollar’s value in relation to silver and gold has already collapsed. In the past ten years, gold’s price in US dollars has increased from $250 per ounce to $1,750 per ounce, an increase of $1,500. Silver’s price has risen from $4 per ounce to $34 per ounce. These price rises are not due to a sudden scarcity of gold and silver, but to a flight from the dollar into the two forms of historical money that cannot be created with the printing press.
The price of oil has risen from $20 a barrel ten years ago to as high as $120 per barrel earlier this year and currently $90 a barrel. This price rise has come about despite a weak world economy and without any supply restrictions other than those caused by the attempted US occupation of Iraq, the Western assault on Libya, and the self-harming Western sanctions on Iran, impacts most likely offset by the Saudis, still Washington’s faithful puppet, a country that pumps out its precious life fluid in order to save the West from its own mistakes. The moronic neoconservatives wish to overthrow the Saudi Arabian government, but what more faithful servant has Washington ever had than the Saudi royal house?
What can be done? For a number of years I have pointed out that the problem is the loss of US employment, consumer income, GDP, and tax base to offshoring. The solution is to reverse the outward flow of jobs and to bring them back to the US. This can be done, as Ralph Gomory has made clear, by taxing corporations according to where they add value to their product. If the value is added abroad, corporations would have a high tax rate. If they add value domestically with US labor, they would face a low tax rate. The difference in tax rates can be calculated to offset the benefit of the lower cost of foreign labor.
As all offshored production that is brought to the US to be marketed to Americans counts as imports, relocating the production in the US would decrease the trade deficit, thus strengthening belief in the dollar. The increase in US consumer incomes would raise tax revenues, thus lowering the budget deficit. It is a win-win solution.
The second part to the solution is to end the expensive unfunded wars that have ruined the federal budget for the past 11 years as well as future budgets due to the cost of veterans’ hospital care and benefits. According to ABC World News, “In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, 2,333,972 American military personnel have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or both, as of Aug. 30, 2011 [more than a year ago].” These 2.3 million veterans have rights to various unfunded benefits including life-long health care. Already, according to ABC, 711,986 have used Veterans Administration health care between fiscal year 2002 and the third-quarter of fiscal year 2011. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-veterans-numbers/story?id=14928136#1
The Republicans are determined to continue the gratuitous wars and to make the 99 percent pay for the neoconservatives’ Wars of Hegemony while protecting the 1 percent from tax increases.
The Democrats are little different.
No one in the White House and no more than one dozen members of the 535 member US Congress represents the American people. This is the reason that despite obvious remedies nothing can be done. America is going to crash big time.
And the rest of the world will be thankful. America along with Israel is the world’s most hated country. Don’t expect any foreign bailouts of the failed “superpower.”
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. paulcraigroberts.org
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
Among the long list of items bundled by consensus reality merchants under the banner of ‘conspiracy theory’, is a world without cash – where technocrats rule over the populace, and everything and anything is exchanged via plastic and RFID chips.
In this sterile and controlled Orwellian hi-tech society, the idea of cash being passed from hand to hand would be as archaic as the thought of carrying around a rucksack of tally sticks today.
Still, despite the incredible penetration of credit and debit card transactions into economic aggregate, and the boom in internet shopping, few will comfortably admit that a cashless society is nearly upon us. In part, it’s a natural denial by many fueled by the idea of our society is indeed on a collision course with the sort of dystopic impersonal future like that depicted in the 1970′s sci-fi film classic, ‘Logan’s Run’.
Cashless money is here, and growing rapidly.
Over the years, futurists and commentators alike seemed to agree that a cashless society would be a slow creep, and cash would automatically phase itself in simply by virtue of the sheer volume of electronic transactions that would gradually make paper less available and more costly to redeem and exchange. This is still true for the most part. What few counted on, however, was how the final push would take place, and why. Some will be surprised by these new emerging mechanisms, and the political and sinister implications they will ultimately lead to.
What’s the time frame on all this? Difficult to say, but what is certain is that the initial phases are already in motion…
Introduction of Parallel Currencies
There has been a lot made about the ‘cashless society’ in media, but this cannot fully happen until there is a cashless currency.
Every revolution needs a good crisis in order to germinate its seed. The cashless revolution is no different. It should be abundantly clear by now that the global financial meltdown has been engineered at every juncture of its unfolding by the very private central banks who expand and contract the money supply. A dollar or euro collapse will trigger a global economic crisis, which is a prime opportunity to introduce the next phase.
In the summer of 2012, at the height of the European Central Bank (ECB) ritualistic raping of the Greek economy, financial expert Max Keiser, alongside Mexican billionaire Hugo Salinas Price, traveled to Athens to promote the idea of a silver Drachma as a parallel currency to the ever-failing euro. In theory and in practice, this parallel currency was ‘sound money’ for individual Greeks and would allow them to retain some say in their financial destiny, and also allow them to accumulate real wealth. It should have caught on. But this great idea did not go down well with media moguls and technocratic elites loyal to their overlords in the ECB, Wall Street and the City of London. Still, too many people remain unaware of how money is created, entered into circulation and how their private central banks control inflation, and Greece is no different.
Watch this clip from Greek television:
The US dollar is pure fiat, but it does have a theoretical backer. It is an oil-backed currency – and for better of for worse, it’s on its way to losing its long-lived status as the world’s reserve currency. There are signals that China is moving towards a gold-backed currency and has already agreed to buy the majority of its oil supply from Russia off of the US dollar peg. This could mean two things: the US could be forced to fight a war to maintain dollar supremacy, or the dollar will begin to drop as the top dog. This shift will open up a window of opportunity for money masters to insert not only a brand new global currency, but also its universal cashless attributes as well.
Common sense and free market wisdom would expect to see a sound money option replace the current fiat disaster, but as we saw in Greece, a great solution was not taken up and straddled with the dysfunctional euro, that society will continue to pay the cost of that reality.
The euro crisis was a great opportunity to throw out the euro in favour of something that could create wealth, rather than debt. As the fiat currencies continue to slide downhill, globalist are preparing their solution behind closed doors.
Enter the Cashless Currency…
It’s arguable that we approaching the cusp of that US Dollar collapse, and perhaps a Euro implosion on the back end of it. Risks of hyper inflation are very real here, but if you control the money supply might already have a ready-made solution waiting in the wings, you will not be worrying about the rift, only waiting for the chaos to ensue so as to maximise your own booty from the crisis.
Many believed that the global currency would be the SDR unit, akaSpecial Drawing Rights, implemented in 2001 as a supplementary foreign exchange reserve asset maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). SDRs were not considered a full-fledged currency, but rather a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged for dollars, euros, yen or other central bankers’ fiat notes.
With the SDR confined to the upper tier of the international money launderette, a new product is still needed to dovetail with designs of a global cashless society.
Among the many worries Ben Bernanke listed in his speech at the New York Economic Club last week was the emergence of Bitcoin. But don’t believe for a second that these digital parallel currencies are not being watched over and even steered by the money masters. Couple this latest trend with done deals by most of the world’s largest mobile networks this month to allow people to pay via a mobile ‘wallet’, and you now have the initial enabler for a new global electronic currency.
These new parallel cashless currencies could very quickly end up in pole position for supremacy when the old fiat notes fade away as a result of the next planned economic dollar and euro crisis.
Both Bitcoin and Ven appear on their surface to be independent parallel digital money systems, but the reality is much different. In April 2011, Ven announced the first commodity trade priced in Ven for gold production between Europe and South America. Both of these so-called ‘digital alternatives’ are being backed and promoted through some of the world’s biggest and most long-standing corporate dynasties, including Rothschild owned Reuters as an example, which should be of interest to any activist who believes that a digitally controlled global currency is a dangerous path to tread down.
The Electronic Deutsche Mark
Much is made of Germany’s prominent financial position within the EU, with a popular talking point being that, “Germany is carrying the majority of the load in ‘bailing out’ countries such as Greece in the south”. If the Euro is ‘heading south’ as many a financial commentator are claiming, then how would a country like Germany – or even the US Federal Reserve for that matter, hedge their bets with an impending currency collapse looming just over the horizon?
Economics professor Miles Kimball from the University of Michigan thinks he knows the answer:
“In short, for a smooth transition, a reintroduced mark needs to be an electronic mark. I recently made the case for the electronic dollar in a previous Quartz column, “E-Money: How paper currency is holding the US recovery back.” The trouble with paper money is that the rate of interest people earn on holding paper money puts a floor on the interest rate they are willing to accept in doing any other lending. For the US, I proposed making the electronic dollar the “unit of account” or economic yardstick for prices and other economic values, and having the Federal Reserve control the exchange rate between electronic dollars and paper dollars to make paper dollars gradually fall in value relative to electronic dollars during periods of time when the Fed wants room to make the interest rate negative.
In the case of Germany, there would be no need to reintroduce a paper mark along with the electronic mark, since the euro itself could continue in its current role as a “medium of exchange” for making purchases in Germany, alongside the electronic mark. A “crawling peg” exchange rate could be used to let the electronic mark gradually go up in value relative to the euro, without causing a huge rush into the mark, since with no paper mark other than the euro itself, interest rates in Germany could be close to zero when measured in euros, which would make them strongly negative in terms of marks.”
A dollar or euro crash could be the perfect storm for the introduction of a major global digital currencies, and this will do nothing but fast-track our entry into the new cashless society.
This past year’s Summer Olympic was a beta testing exercise for a number of new programs. We witnessed troops deployed en mass for the first time to marshal the international sporting event and new facial recognition technology tested to monitor its attendees. One of the chief sponsors of London 2012 Olympic was VISA, used the event as a springboard to launch its new ‘contactless payment’ technology, acclimatising the international public to making routine payments via smartphones. VISA now predicts that this new method will carry 50 per cent of its transaction volume by the year 2020.
Mastercard has also rolled out its own version called Paypass, andBarclaycard has already implemented its own mobile phone payment chip in 2011. It conceivable here, that a bank like Barclays could one day takeover a major mobile service provider in order to streamline the endless profits it could accrue from monopolising cashless payment facilities for its customers. A recent edition of Marketing Week further explains how this is program is being rolled out:
“Barclays launched Pingit this year, a mobile payment service that allows customers to send and receive money with a mobile phone number, which has sparked The Payments Council to work on a similar project. And the three leading mobile operators in the UK – EE, Vodafone and O2 – are working on a joint project under the name Weve, one of the aims of which is to develop standardised technology for ‘digital wallets’ on mobile.
These industry innovations reflect the changing attitude and behaviour by consumers to cashless payments. Barry Clark, account director at Future Foundation, which identified the trend towards a cashless society in its recent report into the changing face of payments, explains that this move towards digital is a “banking nirvana” for brands, since replacing cash with electronic payments takes high costs out of the system.”
These mobile enablers will effectively cover the small services and contractor’s market for the cashless society. In addition, digital payment terminals like iZettle and Square (created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey), have brought in most small traders, including taxi drivers, plumbers etc, and street side retailers – meaning that the barrier for entry into the new cashless society has been effectively dissolved.
The Socialist ‘Oyster’
The darker aspect of a cashless society, is one which few are debating or discussing, but is actually the most pivotal in terms of scial engineering and transforming communities and societies. In London, the electronic touch payment Oyster Cardwas introduced in 2003, initially for public transport, and since that time the card has been co-opted to be used for other functions, as the UK beta tests the idea of an all-in-one cashless lifestyle solution.
Ironically, and alongside biometric chipping now in India, it’s the United States, supposedly the birthplace of modern capitalism, who is beta testing its own socialist technocracy. As the ranks of the poor and unemployed grow and dollar inflation rises in America, more and more people are dependent on traditional ‘Food Stamp’entitlements in order to feed their families. The US has now introduced its own socialist ‘Oyster’ to replace the old Food Stamp program. It’s called the ‘EBT’, which stands for “Electronic Benefit Transfer“, as a means of transferring money from the central government to people living below the poverty line. Advocate Mike Adams for Natural News describes it another way:
“EBT benefits have more than doubled during the Obama administration’s last four years, creating tens of millions of new dependents who now vote based almost entirely on who gives them the most handouts.
The purchase of vitamins is specifically prohibited by the EBT program. This is done as a way to keep EBT recipients sick and diseased while suffering from nutritional deficiencies, which is precisely what the federal government wants.
EBT cards create high-profit handouts to corporations, too: Pharmaceutical companies and the sick-care industry; Big Government which gets re-elected based on entitlement handouts; global banks which earn a percentage off every swipe; and even the processed junk food industry which preys upon nutritional ignorance of the poor.
In fact, for every dollar’s worth of food handed out to EBT recipients under the program, at least 50 cents is driven right into the profit coffers of wealthy corporations.”
Adams has pointed out the endgame here. Where collectivist technocrats are concerned, a global digital currency is not only a means for a centrally controlled economy, but also a centrally controlled society. And as Adams also pointed out, they can even control what you eat.
There’s also the small matter of the Verichip, or ‘class 2′ implantable medical devise, an RFID chip already set to be implemented through Obamacare. It will transmit medical records, bank accounts, keyless entry and much more. The technology could be a $100 Trillion industry over the coming decade.
Bottom line: We’ve got a big problem when the state can – and will cut-off your electronic financial lifeline should you fall foul of the system. No negotiations, no gray areas – and definitely no place for a free individual in this type of globalist system.
Social Networks Gradually Supplanting Real Communities
In 2011 Facebook launched its own virtual currency, which was taken up immediately by the games developer industry. Facebook created it’s own internal digital market overnight. If customers didn’t like it, they had two choices – jump ship, or stay in the biggest market place. That’s a lot of power to wield, and you can wield it if you have the big numbers.
A severe lack of choice in the world of online communities has unwittingly(or not) positioned Facebook to play the roles of not only data collector, but also as banker, retailer, archivist and governor.
As 2012 comes to a close, many people have certainly become, in one way or another, sans border citizens of the Facebook Nation. In the future, one corporation or cartel’s success in capturing a near global monopoly of membership to a particular online platform might give it the ability to dictate a digital economic mandate to both producers and consumer.
The digital data industry now claims in a recent study byfast.MAP, that consumer confidence in sharing personal information has risen. But the reality is that most people do not know which data is being used and to who it is being shared or sold to. Most users are unknowingly trading “access” to networks, as well convenient speed of registration – for data privacy. We do this on a daily basis now.
It’s a question of speculation at this point how deeply the new digital currencies will be integrated into social networking giants like Facebook, or Second Life - where users are already buying virtual property with virtual currency, but few can deny that the potential for consolidation in the early 21st century is already there.
History Will Repeat Itself
Whenever the status quo is seen as a failure, the architects of society will rarely allow the whole show to come to a grinding halt, for fear that new and non-centrally controlled organic systems of organisation will emerge. The ruling establishment will spare no opportunity to tell society this, over and over, making people truly believe that it is in their best interest to adopt whatever alternative is handed down to them. This is why, when faced with a crisis, society will almost always seek to implement a parallel alternatives, rather than rethink the whole system.
In 2008, the public had an opportunity to collapse the predatory banking system that has been trading insolvent and gambling on thin air. But the very same ruling establishment who engineered the crisis to begin with, masterfully presented their own solution as the remedy by establishing the precedent of the state bailing out any gambling losses incurred by the banking community.
In the end society relented, and with help of pro-banking political leadership on both sides of the Atlantic, they adopted the pre-packaged belief that a cluster of bloated and corrupt financial institutions were simply too big to fail. Aside from being a massive redistribution of wealth upwards into the hands of the speculative elite classes, this was merely a test by the establishment to see how far they could go in robbing the public, pushing up inflation, hoovering up real assets, robbing pension funds and enslaving taxpayers to generations of debt the bankers created – all in one swoop.
It has long been the dream of collectivists and technocratic elites to eliminate the semi-unregulated cash economy and black markets in order to maximise taxation and to fully control markets. If the cashless society is ushered in, they will have near complete control over the lives of individual people.
The financial collapse which began in 2007-2008 was merely the opening gambit of the elite criminal class, a mere warm-up for things to come. With the next collapse we may see a centrally controlled global digital currency gaining its final foothold.
The cashless society is already here. The question now is – how far will society allow it to penetrate and completely control each and every aspect of their day to day lives?
Source: Patrick Henningsen | 21stCenturyWire
In a caustic political environment that marks the rich to pay higher taxes because of their inordinate incomes, the outlook for a growing economy diminishes. The argument that well capitalized commercial enterprise owners provide the bulk of the small business jobs is well established. Certainly, not every proprietor is wealthy. On the contrary, many if not most employers struggle to meet their payroll. Even so, the political hysteria to raise the top rates stares directly into the eyes of every wageworker with the prospects of joining the unemployment lines.
What are the actual taxes paid by the small business owners that file under individual tax rates? Robert Frank in CNBC report, The Millionaires Who Pay the Highest Tax Rate, provides some interesting facts.
“According to new data from the IRS, people who make $1 million or more had an average tax rate of 20.4 percent in 2010. Tax filers who earned $30,000 to $50,000 paid an average rate of 4.8 percent, while those who made between $50,000 and $100,000 paid 7.7 percent. Those making under $30,000 had a negative effective rate, meaning they paid no federal income taxes after deductions and credits.
Put another way, millionaires pay a rate that’s more than four times that of the middle class.”
Lost in the debate on taxes is the distinction between the real producing economy and the investment return on capital speculation. The former is the genesis of all affluence, while the later is the manipulative abuse of Main Street prosperity. Wall Street finance is based upon fabricated fees, invented spreads, manufactured values and phantom riches. The notion that income from venture speculation is equated with the sweat equity of actual business endeavors is a root cause of the huge disparity that separates the leisure moneychanger cabal from the merchant class.
Still the Washington Examiner makes the following points in their editorial, If top 5% paid 40% of taxes, what is their ‘fair’ share?
“But income taxes, taken in isolation, do not tell the whole story, because lower-income Americans do pay payroll taxes. But even taking into account all forms of taxation, the top 1 percent still paid 22 percent of federal taxes while earning just 13.4 percent of household income. The top 5 percent paid 40 percent of all federal taxes, despite earning only 26 percent of all income. No matter how you slice the numbers, it’s hard to understand why anyone would think the wealthy aren’t already shouldering a burden commensurate with their blessings.”
What they miss is that not all income is equal. Money often begets more money. However, business income requires hard work to earn a minimum return. The question that is absent from the tax debate is whether the source of the profit, example passive vs. active income, should have much different tax treatment.
The quid essential crony capitalism corporatist, Warren E. Buffett, announces his remedy in the New York Times opinion page, Stop Coddling the Super-Rich. He admonishes Congress to hike rates on the top level of the wealthiest.
“Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.
But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.”
The idea that all capital gains are similar has dire consequences. Treating the sale of a family home in the same way as taxing derivative profits or algorithmic trading allows the systematic pillaging of unproductive financial instruments at the cost of Middle America. The Buffett plutocrats of privilege plunder, play the fairness card, while practicing the gaming of the buddy arrangement of State Capitalism.
As long as the small business owner is lumped into the identical tax category that enriches Bernie Madoff disciples, the dynamic and industrious elements of enterprise will suffer.
Since the banking community has shut off the loan faucet to small business, the erroneous argument that capital formation must be protected for a sound banking system, does not wash. As long as the banksters are using their capital to speculate and forego their stated function of providing constructive loans, the industry has lost what little honorable respect a vulture mercenary might claim.
The entrepreneur employing risk capital in the formation of a useful product or service is not focused on evading taxes. Such ventures employ the unemployed and provide the consumer with innovative and useful choices.
The ”Oracle of Omaha“ fails to disclose a significant point that the WSJ clarifies.
“What he doesn’t say is that much of his income was already taxed once as corporate income, which is assessed at a 35% rate (less deductions). The 15% levy on capital gains and dividends to individuals is thus a double tax that takes the overall tax rate on that corporate income closer to 45%.”
Taxing the predatory speculator that buys political favors and deals on inside information is quite different from penalizing the employer that earns a company profit on the efforts of a dedicated staff and prudential risk management.
The way to unlock the capital to expand the economy is to require commercial banks to conduct their function as lenders. Restoring that elusive fairness has never been more obvious then reenacting Glass–Steagall. However, the Wall Street Wizards hide behind the curtain of special tax treatment. Differentiate capital gains taxation much like the separation of investment and commercial banking.
When the Corporate Elite tells us we need to be afraid of something, they almost always expect to make some money off our fear.
From the same people who brought us the “Ground Zero Victory Mosque,” FEMA concentration camps, and every single George Soros conspiracy theory, comes a brand new hyper-paranoid threat-to-America’s-sovereignty that, they say, should scare the hell out of all of us.
It goes by the name of Agenda 21, which just so happens to be the title of Glenn Beck’s new dystopic novel.
Billed as, “more frightening than anything Orwell could have envisioned,” Beck’s Agenda 21 paints a disturbing picture of America following the implementation of the United Nation’s Agenda 21, which is actually a real life UN initiative, though not nearly as nefarious as Beck would have us all believe.
The book’s tagline reads: “This used to be called America. Now it is just ‘the Republic.’ There is no president. No congress. No freedom.”
Over at GlennBeck.com you can watch a movie trailer made specifically for the book featuring grizzled Americans lined up on the streets in a post-Soviet winter landscape reeking of desperation, waiting for tiny morsels of food to be parceled out by “the authorities.” Reminiscent of both Nazi concentration camps and the Book of Revelation, everyone’s foreheads are tattooed with identification numbers – and in homage to Sarah Palin’s “death panels,” one scene in the trailer depicts an emaciated, scraggly-haired old man loaded on to a conveyor belt and sent into a burning furnace.
Of course, this is all fiction. Whether you like him or not, Beck has made a fortune off sensationalism – and more recently televangelism – and this book will tap into a wellspring of paranoia on the fringe Right that will undoubtedly make a lot more money for multimillionaire Mr. Beck himself.
But whether Beck really believes in his depicted Agenda 21 future for America isn’t all that important. What’s important is that a lot of other powerful people do believe in it. To them, there’s nothing fictional at all when it comes to Agenda 21.
On October 11th this year, the Georgia state Capitol building hosted a four-hour briefing for Republican state senators on the issue of…Agenda 21. It was emceed by a man named Field Searcy who, according to MotherJones, is a local Conservative activist, whose Tea Party leadership was revoked after endorsing birther and truther conspiracy theories. But on that day, Searcy had the attention of his state’s most powerful lawmakers – including the Republican Party’s Senate Majority Leader, Chip Rogers – to warn them of President Obama’s wicked plot to use Agenda 21 to hand the United States off to the United Nations.
Searcy told the Georgia Republicans, and later spoke of it on the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, that President Obama is using a mind control procedure known as the “Delphi Technique” to slowly condition Americans to submit to the control of the United Nations’ Agenda 21, which will, according to Searcy, force mass migrations of Americans out of the countryside and into the cities, while handing over control of our rural lands to an international, one-world government.
The goal of the presentation was to influence Georgia lawmakers to follow in the footsteps of Tennessee and Kentucky Republican lawmakers who’ve already passed legislation to block Agenda 21 from being implemented in their states. In fact, earlier this year Republican Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers introduced legislation in Georgia to do just that.
Also on the “Fear Agenda 21″ bandwagon is newly-elected Tea Party Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. He devoted an entire section of his website, TedCruz.org, to Agenda 21 fearmongering. Under the title, “Stop Agenda 21: The Constitution should be our only ‘Agenda,” Cruz writes:
“The originator of this grand scheme is George Soros, who candidly supports socialism and believes that global development must progress through eliminating national sovereignty and private property… Agenda 21 attempts to abolish ‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads. It hopes to leave mother earth’s surface unscratched by mankind. Everyone wants clean water and clean air, but Agenda 21 dehumanizes individuals by removing the very thing that has defined Americans since the beginning—our freedom.”
Oh no! Not the golf courses! Luckily for the golfing community, Ted Cruz is headed to the United States Senate to stop George Soros and the UN from confiscating Augusta National.
Though, hopefully, someone will notify Cruz, perhaps by removing his tinfoil hat, that the United Nations has no interest whatsoever in turning Augusta National into a sustainable bio-dome. Likewise, hopefully someone will tell Mr. Field Searcy that the UN has no interest in forcibly removing Americans from the country-side, either.
Concerns coming from the Right about American sovereignty in the face of the United Nations aren’t anything new.
It’s true that FDR pushed the idea after World War Two, and Democratic President Harry Truman signed us up for the UN in 1945, and it’s also true that in signing up for the United Nations, the United States surrendered a small amount of our sovereignty, inasmuch as we can no longer unilaterally declare war on another nation – unless they attack us first – without getting the approval of the UN. Of course, this is true of every other nation in the UN as well. The UN was created to promote world peace, an idea that doesn’t sit well with the neocons and chickenhawks.
But, here’s what Agenda 21 really is. Standing for “Agenda 21st Century,” it’s a completely non-binding UN agreement that aims to address climate change and inequality by calling on local and federal governments, NGOs, and businesses, to develop plans to create more sustainable environments in their respective nations. The UN believes that by working together, and giving financial assistance to developing nations to promote sustainable living, wealth disparities can be reduced, indigenous populations can be protected, and the deterioration of ecosystems around the globe can be reversed.
If you ask the environmentalists who are growing more and more concerned with a warming, crowded planet what they think of Agenda 21, they’ll say it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Especially after new reports by the UN about record levels of greenhouse gases and the atmosphere, and a report by the World Bank on the global economic impacts of a planet that’s 7-degrees warming by 2100 as a result of climate change.
But, as you’d expect from a plan to reduce poverty worldwide and use resources and land in more eco-friendly ways, wealthy oil barons and banksters are opposed to it. When people, governments, or organizations talk about things like sustainable energy, corporate responsibility, and educating the world’s children, billionaires like the Koch brothers get a little uneasy.
So, right-wingers have employed their best charlatans in America, people like Glenn Beck, to reinvent Agenda 21 as something completely different: a nefarious plot by communist globalists to force redistribution of wealth and confiscation of private property, and ultimate devour American sovereignty. Or, according to Glenn Beck, an Orwellian takeover to purge the nation of its sick and elderly.
And it just so happens that legislation passed in Tennessee and Kentucky to block Agenda 21 comes straight from model legislation produced by the notoriously loony, yet well-funded, John Birch Society. The Koch Brothers dad, Fred Koch, who had no problem with state-controlled economies when he made his fortune working with Joe Stalin in the Soviet Union, was one of the founding members of the Jon Birch Society back in 1958.
The UN has provided right-wing fear mongers a lot of grandstanding opportunities over the years, but the UN has never lived up to their warnings that it’s coming to destroy America. Most people think of it as a toothless international body that’s been hijacked by the United States to protect its own interests and the interests of its allies.
And while the Bircher billionaire class continues to fret over the UN, they stay silent over the actual threat to our nation’s sovereignty in the form of the World Trade Organization, which has enforced free trade agreements through international courts that have overturned laws passed by our elected Congress and signed by our elected President. For example, laws banning the importation into the United States of poisonous additives to gasoline, products made by child labor, and tuna caught at the expense of dolphins have all been overturned by the “one-world government” that is the WTO.
Yet, not a peep from the same wealthy elite who are warning us about Agenda 21. That’s because there’s a lot of money to be made in so-called Free Trade, and not so much to be made in promoting sustainable living.
The same is true of why Glenn Beck isn’t writing a book about the $67 trillion global shadow banking system, which is extremely dangerous to our sovereign economy – yet making billions of dollars for banksters.
The point is, this latest scheme by the Corporate Elite to scare the hell out of all of us with Agenda 21 is just like every other scare tactic by the Corporate Elite – it’s meant to distract us. It’s a sleight-of-hand technique to keep us focused on bogeymen, while their ranks of Texas oilmen, outsourcing CEOs, and Wall Street banksters carry out the true destruction of the United States of America: the pillaging of the Middle Class at home and the construction of a WTO-style one-world corporate government to promote unfettered capitalism and free trade everywhere on the planet.
And in the process, useful quacks like Glenn Beck and Field Searcy can make a lot of money feeding the paranoid, Fox News-watching masses their latest conspiracy theories.
It’s true that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have many political differences. But they also agree on many essential policies; enough to make the next four years easily predictable, no matter who wins. Here are five predictions based on the most important shared beliefs of the two candidates:
1) The war on unions will continue. The Republicans are explicitly anti-union, while the Democrats are pro-union in words, but anti-union in practice. Obama’s much touted Race to the Top national education policy directly targets the heart of the teacher’s unions — the most powerful union in the country — by attacking seniority rights and restricting wages and benefits.
Also, Democratic and Republican governors on a state by state basis aim to either carve giant concessions from public employees, or take away their rights as unionists altogether — the lesser evil policy of demanding concessions (Democrats) is but one step from ending collective bargaining (Republicans).
As the recession grinds on, this bi-partisan anti-union policy will intensify, no matter who is president. The aim of this anti-union policy is to lower wages for all workers, since unions artificially skew the labor market to the benefit of workers in general; attacking the unions is thus an attack on all workers, organized or not, so that corporations can regain “profitability” by having their labor costs lowered.
2) The war on the environment will continue. Both parties treat the environment like they do organized labor. The Republicans openly degrade it and the Democrats make pro-environment statements while practicing the opposite. Whoever wins will continue to pander to Big Coal, and they will continue to advocate for dangerous arctic and Gulf oil drilling, wreak havoc by shale “natural gas” drilling, build the cross continental Keystone pipeline, while continuing to do little or nothing to build the absolutely necessary alternative energy infrastructure that would provide jobs and hope for humanity against climate change. Obama and Romney refuse to take the necessary actions to address the climate crisis because doing so would harm the profits of the big corporate polluters. Neither presidential candidates will do so much as begin an honest public discussion about the problem, ensuring that other countries will follow suit, to the peril of all of us.
3) Wall Street will reign supreme. During the debates it was made clear that no further action against Wall Street was necessary. But the banks are bigger under Obama than they were under Bush, which means they are still “too big to fail,” ensuring future bailouts paid by taxpayers. Federal Reserve policy is not controversial for either Republicans or Democrats: historic low interest rates combined with printing massive amounts of additional money — called “quantitative easing” — have both served the profits of Wall Street banks quite well, while everyone else sees their wages and benefits cut. Loans to working people are no easier to come by, while the banks and corporations are literally sitting on trillions of dollars of reserves in cash.
4) Post election national austerity cuts. The national deficit is the result of bank bailouts, foreign wars, and decades of continually lowering taxes for the rich and corporations. Obama and Romney both ignore these facts, and favor “trigger cuts” — massive cuts in jobs and social programs that would go into effect if Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on how many trillions of dollars of cuts to make (Obama’s proposed deficit cutting plan would make 4 $trillion in cuts; Paul Ryan wants 6 $trillion.)
And while Obama has made quite a bit of noise about “taxing the rich” to help fill the deficit gap, the same promises were made last election and amounted to naught when he extended Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. Taxing the rich is the only alternative to making cuts, since working people have so little left to tax. Instead, Obama is using the deficit to justify massive cuts to Medicare, public education, unemployment insurance, and likely Social Security and other programs. The Obama/Romney “rift” over the deficit is, in reality, a polite discussion of how best to slash and burn social programs, while differences are exaggerated for the sake of their election campaigns.
5) Foreign wars will continue. Listening to Obama and Romney debate foreign war was very much a Pepsi/Coke style debate. Both candidates love Israel, hate Iran and Syria, lie about a “time table” for Afghanistan (no serious foreign policy pundit believes the U.S. is leaving Afghanistan in 2014). Both are for continued drone bombings of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia which are obvious war crimes, while both candidates hypocritically accuse Syria of “human rights violations.” In short, both candidates argue over how best to push the Middle East and North Africa to the brink of regional war, without being blamed for it.
Ultimately, there do exist differences in social policy between President Obama and Mitt Romney. The above policies, however, will deeply affect all working people in the United States. The country is not in a typical recession. Most economists agree that, at best, the U.S. economy can expect a “lost decade” of economic stagnation — at worst, a double dip recession/depression.
The above policies are shaped with this worst case scenario in mind, with the understanding that for capitalism to re-stabilize itself, a “new normal” is needed that shifts the power in the U.S. even more towards the banks and corporations, who must be completely unrestrained by labor, environmental and other regulations to ruthlessly chase profit, to the detriment of us all.
Thus, the Democrats and Republicans have the same “big picture” agenda that all working people should find abhorrent, since corporate gains will come at our expense. Once workers feel compelled to organize themselves to put up a fight, as the Chicago teachers did, all illusions in the Democrats will begin to fade, as people see with their own eyes the Democrats not only refusing to help them but actively opposing them, just as they did to the teachers in Chicago. Developments like this will allow a real movement to emerge that can challenge the two-party corporate dominated agenda. Until labor and community groups can unite on a widespread basis in independent action against the above bi-partisan agenda, we’ll be forever dragged into rooting for one of two candidates, neither of who have our basic interests in mind.
Before one can understand the nature of partisan or party politics, a correct comprehension of The Choice of Ideology is essential.
“Contemporary Political Ideologies is a text book that has been around for a long time. Many of the usual suspects are covered: Capitalism, Socialism, Democracy, Conservatism, Liberalism, Nationalism, Marxism, Fascism, Anarchism, Libertarianism, Feminism and Environmentalism. Since written, additional offshoots have come to include: Neoconservatism, the Paleo versions of Conservatism and Libertarianism and what we will call “Inherit Populism”.
These broad based viewpoints have distinctions, sometimes subtle, often dramatic. The reason why partisan politics is a blood sport is that it is waged to achieve a false party line. BREAKING ALL THE RULES advocates a paleo-conservative philosophy based upon traditional values and moral principles. Consistent with the historic legacy of the founding of this Nation is a lament that most inhabitants are oblivious to our ingenious heritage and purpose of the American Revolution.
The article, Ideology Matters, But What Is It?, clearly repudiates the destructive ideologies that result in the suicidal course this country has taken, especially in the last century.
“The test for valid support is simple. The legacy of the New Deal to the Good Society has constructed a total reputation of American ideals. To deny this reality, is to associate yourself with the cause of depravity. There is no room to compromise on this axiom. The lines are clear, distinct and irrefutable. Career operatives rationalize their support for destructive policies as the price for civility. The notion that getting along with the opposition that is bent upon the destruction of the Nation is psychotic. When polls are cited that the public wants less ranker, leadership sinks into the cauldron of deceit and treachery of our heritage. Those of us who advocate a State responsive and accountable to the citizen, are left with few champions to carry the banner of limited government.”
Rejecting an artificial left/right template for a deeper analysis of the publically accepted nomenclature of liberal vs. conservative is a constructive leap to appreciate the differences that are so prevalent among different factions within society.
How individuals assess politics often rests upon their own personality and outlook. From a report in Clinician’s Digest, the following insights are useful.
“Personality differences are a leading candidate in the race toward understanding the rift between political liberals and conservatives. Using data compiled from nearly 20,000 respondents, Columbia University researcher Dana Carney and colleagues found that two common personality traits reliably differentiated individuals with liberal or conservative identifications. Liberals reported greater openness, whereas conservatives reported higher conscientiousness. This means that liberals (at least in their own estimation) saw themselves as more creative, flexible, tolerant of ambiguity, and open to new ideas and experiences. Across the political personality divide, conservatives self-identified as more persistent, orderly, moralistic, and methodical.
Evidence suggests that these personality differences between liberals and conservatives begin to emerge at an early age. A 20-year longitudinal study by Jack and Jeanne Block showed that those who grew up to be liberals were originally assessed by their preschool teachers as more emotionally expressive, gregarious, and impulsive when compared to those who became conservatives, who were considered more inhibited, uncertain, and controlled. Liberals may show greater tolerance for diversity and creativity, but they may also be more impulsive, indecisive, and irresponsible. On the flip side, conservatives may be organized, stable, and thrifty, but also have stronger just-world beliefs (leading to a greater tolerance for inequality), and stronger fears of mortality and ambiguity. Even recent neuroscience work published in Current Biology from University College London identifies fundamental differences in the partisan brain. Brain scans revealed a larger amygdala in self-identified conservatives and a larger anterior cingulate cortex in liberals, leading the researchers to conclude that conservatives may be more acute at detecting threats around them, whereas liberals may be more adept at handling conflicting information and uncertainty.”
Partisan party proponents, both Democrats and Republicans are practicing Statists. Mutual lust to control the levers of government closes ranks, when an external threat comes from dissenting citizens. This background brings us to examine the essay, Speaking Out Against Government is a Mental Disorder, by Susanne Posel.
“According to the psychiatric manual, the DSM-IV-TR, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a mental disease wherein free thinkers, non-conformists, civil disobedience supporters, those who question authority and are perceived as being hostile toward the government are labeled mentally ill. Psychiatrists refer to this mental defect as “Mentality III”.
This mental disorder is defined as: “a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that persists for at least 6 months.”
Ms Posel continues:
Symptoms of ODD include:
- negativistic and defiant behaviors are expressed by persistent stubbornness
- resistance to directions
- unwillingness to compromise, give in, or negotiate with adults or peers
- defiance may also include deliberate or persistent testing of limits, usually by ignoring orders, arguing, and failing to accept blame for misdeeds
- hostility can be directed at adults or peers and is shown by deliberately annoying others or by verbal aggression (usually without the more serious physical aggression seen in Conduct Disorder)
If this alleged ailment has, any legitimate clinical application, it seems that these warning signs, foremost apply to elected officials and party organizations. Reinforcing the practice of the partisan political psychopathic art, John D. Mayer in Psychology Today asks two questions. The first is relevant while the second is naive.
“If members of Congress and the executive branch extended genuine respect to one another, wouldn’t they recognize that it is more important to vote for that which is best for the country rather than for that which may promote their political party? If they truly respected one another, wouldn’t the best and brightest among them join in a thoughtful give-and-take to promote good legislation above partisanship?”
Where is the evidence that government has the objective of “doing what is best for the country”? Frankly, the body of facts is so overwhelming that every successive administration builds upon the treason of the last government, that only a faint memory of a constitutional Republic exists. The notion that power hungry grabbers are capable of transcending partisan rhetoric for a good purpose is patently absurd. The only cooperation that ever unites the party politics is to protect the despotism of the State.
“Haidt helped devise a questionnaire that gauged moral views by eliciting test-taker responses to statements in five categories: care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. Haidt likens these moral groupings to the five taste receptors of the tongue (sweet, sour, bitter, savory, salty). It turns out that liberal receptors failed to engage on questions of loyalty, authority, and sanctity. Conservatives, on the other hand, reacted to all five moral categories more or less equally. Haidt’s conclusion is that his fellow liberals are morally tone deaf. “Republicans understand moral psychology,” Haidt concedes. “Democrats don’t.”
It gets worse for liberals. Haidt and colleagues asked their subjects to answer their questionnaire as if they were liberals, as if they were conservatives, and as themselves. Liberals don’t know their political adversaries nearly as well as the right knows them. “The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who described themselves as ‘very liberal.’ The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives.” Liberals see caricatures when they see conservatives.
The thesis may prove cathartic for Republican readers. But it’s more useful to Democrats.”
As long as partisan political parties, ignore moral principles, and the “States Rights” framework of limited government the psychological disorders of the ultimate Statist mental illness will spread. It is always amusing when partisan critics rant about the lack of condemnation against opposing party foes, when their silence about the abuses of their patron party hacks goes unspoken.
It is bad enough how ignorant the average voter is when they cast their ballot. As long as people accept and tolerate the two party diatribes against viewpoints that challenge the establishment power cabal, there are no viable prospects for elective solutions. As of this writing, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll has, “Mitt Romney attracting support from 48% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%. One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided.”
How can any thinking and responsible American vote for either candidate? Both are tyrannical teammates for the globalist franchise. Those who speak out against the establishment order are not the ones with a mental illness. Those who vote for their own demise are one-step removed from the infective treachery coming out of the federal government. Paleo-conservative ideology is the righteous political philosophy for a Free People. What is the state of your own mental health?
Working for wages has never been the path for significant wealth. Most people are not equipped nor do they have the inclination to be engaged in business endeavors that will earn them a viable living. The reluctance that most workers bring to their occupation stems from their inability or unwillingness of properly understanding the related components that are essential in creating wealth. While many view work as a curse, the indispensable reconciliation for a practical and tolerable acceptance of universal plight is that no one is owed a living.
In a world of Totalitarian Collectivism, the powers that control international economies, seek to pacify the laboring hordes with crumbs from substandard minimum wage mandates. The foolishness that guarantees minimal scale for hourly toil can and will never produce a prosperous society. The entire economic interdependent scheme to destroy the last vestiges of a bona fide “free market” economy is at the heart of minimum wage mandates.Corporatists love higher minimum wage increases because small business is least equipped to absorb added costs in their operations. Corporatists are in the business of monopoly formation. Competition is a cardinal sin to the globalists. Any governmental imposition that creates added strain on the very viability of potential contenders, eagerly sought by crony capitalism, is destructive to labor.
Wall Street conglomerates intentionally hire few people, when compared to the total work force. The trend to slot part time positions with modest or no benefits or contract employees is the new model. This framework offers little opportunity for the unskilled or first time job seeker.
BalancePolitics.org offers reasons pro and con about minimum wage.
Abolish Minimum Wage Mandates
Keep Minimum Wage Mandates
|1. The vast majority of economists believe the minimum wage lawcosts the economy thousands of jobs.2. Teenagers, workers intraining, college students, interns, and part-time workers all have their options and opportunities limited by the minimum wage.
3. A low-paying job remains an entry point for those with few marketable skills.
4. Abolishing the minimum wage will allow businesses to achieve greater efficiency and lower prices.
5. When you force American companies to pay a certain wage, you increase the likelihood that those companies will outsource jobs to foreign workers, where labor is much cheaper.
6. Non-profit charitable organizations are hurt by the minimum wage.
7. The minimum wage can drive some small companies out of business.
8. A minimum wage gives businesses an additional incentive to mechanize duties previously held by humans.
9. Cost-of-living differences in various areas of the country make a universal minimum wage difficult to set.
10. Elimination of the minimum wage would mean more citizens and fewer illegals would be hired for low-pay hourly jobs, leading to greater tax revenues and less incentive for illegal immigration.11. The minimum wage creates a competitive advantage for foreign companies, providing yet another obstacle in the ability of American companies to compete globally.
12. The minimum wage law is just another example of government condescendingly controlling our actions and destroying personal choice. Citizens do have the ability to say no to a lower wage.
1. Adults who currently work for minimum wage are likely to lose jobs to teenagers who will work for much less.
2. Workers need a minimum amount of income from their work to survive and pay the bills.
3. Businesses have more power to abuse the labor market.
4. It forces businesses toshare some of the vastwealth with the people that help produce it.
The motivation to impose minimum wage conditions for employment is to control the workforce. Helping the downtrodden is a myth or an outright lie. Functioning businesses must be able to balance their books to survive. Employing productive labor translates into paying a scale that benefits both the business and the worker. In the age of systemic social welfare, it is insulting to claim that minimum wage laws grow the economy or increases labor opportunities.
Talk Of Liberty, in Abolish Minimum Wage makes the point:
“If you make minimum wage, most likely you are on government housing, food stamps, Medicaid, fuel assistance and all the other government goodies. My point is if this is the group you are worried about, you shouldn’t. That is the point of this countries welfare system. This is where the Liberals want to have their cake and eat it to. Get rid of welfare and its massive costs if you want higher wage laws, get rid of welfare.”
The proper way to hasten a true domestic economic revival is to adopt a “right to work” policy that allows independent businesses to hire people based upon the free exchange and responsibilities of agreed remunerations. Without profitable incentives and relief that small business can secure, taking the risk of employing additional “hired help” is purely academic.
Thomas Rustici, in his scholarly Cato paper, A PUBLIC CHOICE VIEW OF THE MINIMUM WAGE, identifies the nature of the impasse to achieving free markets.
“Before one can hope for the abolition of the minimum wage, the influence of the well-organized, special-interest groups that receive the bulk of the benefits from it must be reduced. There is, however, little chance that such groups as Northern unions and businesses, or interest groups in general, could be barred from the political process in the near future.”
The problem with any acceptance of government imposition of compulsory wage scales into private employment negotiations destroys opportunities for employees. A job presupposes that a business has a reason to hire added help and can afford the costs of a day’s pay for a day’s work.
A socialized economy inevitably ensures a stagnate workforce. People need to be encouraged to learn the skills that small business demands as the basis for injecting worth and value in order to earn a paycheck.
The answer to the Corporatists/State oppressive economic stranglehold is a workable free market of exchange, barter and consensual business relationships. Liberate your thinking before you can fatten your pocketbook.
Why, then, are government policies internationally still pursuing extremist measures? In the U.S., a third round of excess money printing —called Quantitative Easing — began recently in which banks are directly profiting by unloading their toxic mortgages on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet (another backdoor bailout paid by taxpayers).
After the U.S. presidential election, both Democrats and Republicans are committed to different versions of historic cuts to social services, education, Medicare, unemployment benefits, and very likely Social Security. This bi-partisan plan is often referred to as a “grand bargain,” the details of which both parties are still haggling over.
In Europe things are no better. After the Euro Zone central bank promised investors its full backing to bailout all Euro Zone members — by printing money — the world economy sighed a heavy relief. But still the Euro Zone — along with the U.S. — is pursuing a two-pronged solution for an extreme economic crisis: austerity measures and the less-discussed “structural reforms.”
What are these policies? Austerity is simple enough: government cuts to social spending, health care, education, pensions, etc. — to balance heavily indebted public budgets (at the expense of working people, rather than taxing the rich and corporations). Austerity can also be achieved through privatization, where once publicly run programs/facilities are sold cheaply to private firms to make a profit, thus taking the cost off the government’s budget.
Structural reforms on the other hand are meant to boost economic (corporate) growth, by government intervention in commodity markets — most commonly the labor market. It’s called structural reform because markets are usually relatively stable. For example, the labor market is deep-rooted in powerful social forces — wages, benefits, and working conditions are heavily influenced by unions, who use their organization and strike threat to pressure corporations and governments to pay living wages. Non-union workers benefit directly by the unions’ ability to alter the national labor market, since non-union companies have to compete with union companies for workers, who naturally go where wages are higher. Professional, higher-paid workers benefit too, since society expects them to get higher wages than, say a carpenter.
In Europe, structural reforms targeting the labor market — alongside austerity measures — are rousing the unions and broader community into the streets with massive demonstrations: Spain, Portugal, Greece, and other countries are fighting reforms that politicians are euphemistically calling “labor market flexibility.” This simply means that unions will be undermined by their inability to protect workers’ jobs, making firing easier (“flexibility”), which results in compelling workers into accepting lower wages and benefits.
The pro-corporate Economist magazine reports about Portugal:
“With his decision to finance a reduction in company [corporate] costs through a sharp cut in workers’ take-home pay, Pedro Passos Coelho, Portugal’s prime minister, appears to have taken reform past the limit of what is deemed acceptable by large sections of the electorate.”
“… [President] Hollande has given union leaders and bosses until December to negotiate [anti-union] labor-market changes. On the table are various options, including making it possible for firms [corporations] to reduce hours and salaries in a downturn against a guarantee of job security, along the lines introduced by [Germany's prime minister]… in 2003.”
“… the new [labor] law makes it easier and cheaper to lay off workers. For most firms, maximum lay-off payments [unemployment benefits] will be reduced from 42 months’ pay to 12 months… it will hugely boost business confidence.”
Reducing unemployment benefits is a very popular labor market structural reform for the 1%, since it makes workers more desperate for work, and thus more accepting of low-wage jobs — consequently lowering workers’ power in the labor market overall, as wages are lowered nationally.
And while Europe’s austerity and structural reforms are on the front page of international media — due to the giant protests and general strikes against them — the exact same policies have been pursued by the U.S. with barely a murmur. Were it not for the labor upsurges in Wisconsin and more recently Chicago, these policies would be completely off the public’s radar.
The Wisconsin uprising was in response to a labor-market structural reform pursued by Republicans, denying unions bargaining rights — effectively destroying the union. Democrats, however, are pursuing anti-labor structural reforms — weakening unions — as national policy also, though less directly, by demanding that unions across the country take massive concessions in wages and benefits — a slower, yet more effective form of labor market restructuring.
The teachers in Chicago went on strike against another form of anti-labor structural reform pursued by both Democrats and Republicans. The media-hype around “firing bad teachers” is really a labor-market reform in disguise; the real intention is to bust unions, who are only able to stay strong by their ability to protect the jobs of their members (of course there already exists ways to fire bad teachers).
Teacher merit pay is yet another labor reform measure aimed to weaken unions, since it effectively lowers wages by preventing raises (there is zero evidence that merit pay raises education standards, or that charter schools outperform public schools). It means that every teacher’s salary is negotiated individually, and it allows management to punish its critics by denying them merit pay raises.
The teachers are especially targeted in the U.S. because they are the strongest union in the country, due to their numbers, organization, and connections to the community. If they are forced to give “structural” concessions, other unions will be heavily pressured to do so, and thus the labor market will be altered to the benefit of the corporations.
The labor reform attacks — combined with austerity budget cuts — are happening in different forms on a city, state, and federal level with the full backing of the Democrats and Republicans (there is no “debate” in the presidential election about education policy). Thus, if not for the Wisconsin and Chicago struggles, there would be little social consciousness around these issues.
The reasons that austerity and structural adjustment have not produced a Europe-like movement yet is because most labor unions have increasingly accepted these concessions without putting up a real fight. Many labor leaders would simply rather accept these policies, since fighting them would put them in conflict with their “friends,” the Democratic politicians pursuing these anti-labor policies.
Hopefully, the post-Occupy movement can show the labor movement the way forward. On November 3rd there will be protest demonstrations against austerity in a number of cities across the country. These protests are targeting the ongoing state by state cuts — and federal post-election cuts — to education, transportation, health care, social programs, and public-sector workers. The protests are challenging the very concept of austerity, as working people refuse to pay for the crisis created by the rich and corporations. There is a potential for these protest demonstrations to teach the American public the word “austerity,” assuming they are large enough and connect with the broader community that directly experiences these policies.
Regardless of the results of November 3, demonstrations about the austerity issue in the U.S. will inevitably continue, since even mainstream economists mostly agree that there will be no return to the pre-recession economy. The policies of austerity and structural reform — along with war — are long-term survival strategies of capitalism, which is evolving to survive a global-wide crisis of corporate growth rates by creating a “new normal” of social expectations: lower wages and fewer social programs.
The first step in fighting these measures is mobilizing working people and the broader community in massive Europe-like demonstrations. This tactic educates the whole nation about the issues, which would otherwise remain in the dark. Once the 99% is in the streets together screaming collective demands with a united voice, the movement will decide how best to act, whether it be the general strikes or new political parties that have emerged in Europe.
The U.S. post-election austerity surprises will give new opportunities for millions of people to get into the streets. They will no longer be able or willing to remain ignorant about the nation’s new normal.
Many of us in the liberty movement find ourselves searching for a distinct root cause of the trials and tribulations of American culture — the Holy Grail catalyst that, if unraveled, would save this country and heal the septic wounds covering the landscape of our hobbled society. The obvious answer would be to remove the global elites who are poisoning the well from the picture entirely. Yes, this has to be done eventually. However, we must also identify how those elites have been able to so thoroughly con the masses of this nation for so long.
What inherent weakness has made us susceptible to manipulation? For this question, there are NO easy answers. But, if I had to choose a single frailty of our collective psyche as paramount to our downfall, I would say that Americans most of all are confounded by their own patriotism. We often embrace the ideal without knowing what it really means.
There are in fact two kinds of patriotism: the concrete, and the imagined. Many Americans fall haphazardly into the fantasy of being patriotic. They define patriotism upon the exploits of the mainstream and of the government in control at the time. They become cheerleaders for the establishment instead of stalwart champions of their country’s founding principles. In fact, true patriotism is NOT about blindly defending one’s nation or leadership regardless of its trespasses; true patriotism is about defending the philosophy that made one’s nation possible and prosperous in the first place — even if that means standing against the power structure in place today.
I often hear the uneducated and unaware claim that America and its principles have been a bane to the rest of the world. They say America is at the center of the vampire squid, flailing its vicious tentacles against innocent foreign civilizations. This is an oversimplification at best. The crimes that these well-meaning but naïve activists scorn cannot be attributed to “America” because the American ideal has been completely abandoned by those in the seat of power in our modern era. We do not live in “America” — at least, not the America that the Founding Fathers and authors of the Constitution created. Therefore, the original philosophy that gave birth to America is not the issue, the abuse and neglect of that philosophy is.
America has been ransacked and deformed into a hideous lampoon of its former self. This has been done for the most part through the destruction of the guiding principles we pretend we still hold onto as a culture, but in reality have cast aside. If we are ever to undo the damage that has already been done, we have to rediscover what the original design of America was. Wailing and growling about the inadequacies of the present does nothing unless we also establish where it is that we have fallen from grace. What is America supposed to be? What did the Founders truly intend?
America Is Supposed To Be Controlled By The People
The concept of a Republic revolves around a reversal of the traditional narrative of power. Throughout most of history, government stood at the top of the pyramid, where the hands of a few dominated the destinies of the citizenry. The future was a matter for the elites, not the peasants, to be concerned with. The American Republic, as designed by the revolutionary colonists who defeated the old oligarchy (at least for a time), flipped the role of government to servant rather than master. The goal was to make government tangible and accountable rather than abstract and untouchable. The America of today has no such accountability anymore.
We have a two-party system that pursues the mechanizations of globalism in tandem, not in contest. When both parties have the same desires and goals, when both parties collude to remove civil liberties rather than protect them, and when both parties are funded by the same corporate backers, there is no such thing as change through the process of elections. Anyone who claims that government corruption can be punished through the ballot box hasn’t the slightest clue how our system really functions. They think we are still living in the original “America,” one that values the voice of the people.
When the government decides to push through banker bailouts, the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, etc., all while ignoring opposition by a vast majority of citizens, it is clear that the paradigm has shifted and the American value of representation by and for the people is lost.
America Is Supposed To Prosper Through Free Markets
One of the first acts of the American Revolution in the fight against British tyranny was to decouple from British economic dominance. They stopped relying on goods produced in England and peddled by the European merchant class and began making their own. From homespun clothing to homemade rifles, Americans created a legitimate free-market environment. Free markets are systems controlled by the people, thriving on the natural functions of supply and demand. They are not administered by bureaucracies or corporate hierarchies that manipulate the economy to fit preconceived political and social ends.
Free markets are decentralized markets. Corporations, which obstruct decentralization, were never meant to exist according to Adam Smith, the architect of traditional free markets. Today’s framework operates on centralization and the removal of options and choices, which is facilitated by the imbalance and lack of accountability in the corporate legal structure.
I have to laugh every time I hear someone attack “capitalism” and free markets as the source of all our ills. America has not had the pleasure of free markets for at least 100 years (since the construction of the private Federal Reserve, a collusion between banking and government interests). No one alive today has ever seen an actual American “free market” beyond community barter, so to blame free markets for our modern failings is rather thoughtless. To summarize, the U.S. economy is nothing like what the founders envisioned and fought for.
America Is Supposed To Have A Reserved Foreign Policy
The Founding Fathers specifically sought to keep America out of foreign entanglements and haphazard alliances. They knew from experience that the elites and monarchies of Europe often used wars as a means of consolidating power and keeping populations in relative fear. They were well aware of the methodologies of Niccolo Machiavelli and knew that forced alliances were a trap used to ensnare nations into unnecessary conflict and financial dependency while keeping the masses subservient through false patriotism.
Today, our government has utterly violated the original principles of reserved foreign policy, especially in the past century. The excuse always used is that “we are under attack,” yet we usually discover later that these “attacks” were actually fabricated by our own leaders. From the sinking of the USS Maine, to the sinking of the Lusitania, to the Gulf of Tonkin and beyond, for the past 100 years, Americans have been presented with false flag threats used as leverage to convince us to become entangled in foreign engagements. This strategy has become so common that elitists now openly admit their intentions to commit future false flags in order to draw us into yet another war, this time with Iran.
The current policy of “exporting democracy” has not only been a complete failure (just look at Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.), it is also a total affront to the foundation of the American dynamic. Patriotism in the name of interventionism is foolhardy and decidedly un-American.
America Is Supposed To Respect Individual Rights
The Founders witnessed the extreme abuses of government firsthand: invasion of privacy, invasion of property, wrongful arrest and imprisonment, loss of representation, overt and malicious taxation, thuggish law enforcement, and the targeting of those who dared to dissent in their speech. The excuse used by the British for their tyrannical behavior was, essentially, national security. In the end, though, the elites’ actions had nothing to do with security for the populous and everything to do with what they saw as opposition to their hegemony. Our government has become a mirror image of the elitist power-mongers of Britain in the days of the revolution. Absolutely everything the colonists fought against has been re-established by the globalists in our political structure today, once again, all in the name of national security.
We have seen the enslavement of our money supply and general economy by the Federal Reserve; invasive and violent taxation through the Internal Revenue Service; loss of privacy through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance and the Patriot acts; loss of property rights through multiple agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS, the Food and Drug Administration, etc. (who claim their tightening fist is for our own safety, yet they constantly overlook corporate misdeeds that put the public in true danger while pummeling average citizens for minor or non-existent offenses); the militarization of law enforcement through the Department of Homeland Security and Federally dominated fusion centers; potential loss of Habeas Corpus through the NDAA; and even wrongful arrest against those who merely speak openly of their discontent (look into the case of Marine veteran Brandon Raub for a taste of what lay ahead).
What Have We Become?
Those who rally behind the modern concept of America rally behind a façade — an empty shell devoid of the heart and soul that gave life to this once great experiment. I do not support what America is. I support what America was and what it could be again if the truth is adequately smashed into the faces of the currently oblivious public. If this country is content to suckle from the putrid teat of globalism and forsake the moral force of conscience that gave it life, then it has become another place — an alien land.
I have heard the argument that America is meant to be a kind of chameleon built to change its stripes and adapt to the demands of the era. I have heard it argued that the Constitution and the principles of the Founding Fathers are outdated and inadequate for our new age of technological wizardry and terrorist ideologies. This is pure intellectual idiocy. The principles of freedom never expire. Individual liberty is inherent and eternal. It is the driving force of every great accomplishment in the history of mankind. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights embody the spirit of that eternal battle of individual liberty. There is no adaptation. There is only freedom or tyranny.
It is time for us to decide what kind of Americans we wish to be: the deluded rah-rah puppets of a desiccated totalitarian society, or the watchmen on the wall. Will we be the keepers and protectors of the vital core of the American identity, or will we be fly-by-night consumers of the flavor-of-the-day political carnival, eating every tainted sample from the elitist platter in an insane attempt to replace our free heritage with a sleek, sexy, rehashed form of top-down feudalism?
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market