Until a week ago it appeared that the government in Belgrade would give up the last vestiges of its claim to Kosovo for the sake of some indeterminate date in the future when Serbia may join the European Union. A series of unreciprocated concessions over the past few months have encouraged the KLA regime’s mentors in Washington and their European backers to expect the final capitulation. In the end they overplayed their hand by demanding everything and offering nothing.
The demands have been escalating for years. The final objective was stated in December 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel came to Serbia to declare that the “path of Serbia into the EU can only lead through the normalization of its relations with Kosovo”—i.e., Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo. This precondition was stated with her customary subtlety and diplomatic tact, but at least it had the quality of candor which made it difficult for Boris Tadić and his eurofanatical Democrats to pretend that “the European path” did not entail eventual surrender.
The defeat of Tadić last May and the subsequent establishment of a new, allegedly nationalist coalition government in July did not result in any change of course. Quite the contrary: Washington and Brussels were surprisingly comfortable dealing with Šešelj’s former No. 2, Tomislav Nikolić, as president, and a former Milošević loyalist, Ivica Dačić, as prime minister. The key “Westerner” in the triumvirate is Aleksandar Vučić, known for his embarrassingly groveling statements on visits to Germany and the U.S.
There were no dividends, however. Last October Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Serbs must accept that they cannot change Kosovo’s borders. “We oppose any discussion of territorial changes or reopening Kosovo’s independent status,” Mrs. Clinton declared in Priština after meeting with Kosovo’s self-styled prime minister,Hashim Thaci. “These matters are not up for discussion. The boundaries of an independent, sovereign Kosovo are clear and set.”
Last December, under EU pressure, Serbia agreed to the establishment of a fully-fledged border management system. It provided a visible symbol of Belgrade’s loss of nerve. Furthermore, Dačić was forced to agree to joint passport and customs controls, with equal numbers of Serbian and “Kosovar” officials on duty. Accepting Priština’s right to collect customs duties on goods coming from central Serbia was a significant milestone on what seemed like a terminal slide. Unsurprisingly, the Albanians saw the border as another step toward international recognition.
Serbia’s government policy guidelines made public last January no longer focused on the claim of sovereign rights over the entire province, but on the modest demand for an autonomous status for some 60,000 Serbs living in four northern municipalities. Prime Minister Ivica Dačić even hinted that Serbia could agree to a UN seat for Kosovo, which caused a political storm in Belgrade, although he later withdrew the statement. But asTed Carpenter noted in The National Interest, both U.S. and EU leaders had reacted to previous conciliatory gestures from Serbia with intransigence bordering on contempt:
A majority of countries in the European Union, most crucially Germany, have adopted a similar rigid stance. U.S. and EU leaders assume that Serbia wants membership in the European Union so badly that Serb leaders will ultimately adopt a policy of unconditional surrender regarding the Kosovo issue. That may well be a dangerous miscalculation. The current government … has already moved far beyond Serbian public opinion in offering possible diplomatic compromises.
True to form, during the latest round of negotiations the EU managed to break the camel’s back by refusing to offer even a fig leaf to the Belgrade troika, not even on the minimal demand that the Serbs be allowed to form an association of municipalities in the north.
There was no “deal” on offer from Brussels, and at the same time Germany’s lawmakers presented an incredible list of seven demands which Serbia has to complete if she is to be granted… no, not the EU membership, but a date for the commencement of negotiations that may eventually lead to membership:
- To fulfill all 96 points presented by the European Commission in early 2011;
- To find and prosecute the demonstrators who attacked the German embassy in Belgrade; in February 2008, a day after Berlin recognized Kosovo’s independence;
- To accept, and not deny, that a “genocide” was committed in Srebrenica;
- To make visible progress in resolving all open issues in direct dialogue with Kosovo.
- To abolish all Serbian “parallel institutions” in northern Kosovo (such as schools and hospitals), and to stop financing them;
- To apply pressure on northern Kosovo Serbs to “actively cooperate” with EULEX and Kfor;
- To display visible readiness for legally binding normalization of relations with Kosovo.
The only logical explanation for this piece of 1930’s-style diplomatic brutality is that the Germans want to push Serbia into Russia’s arms as part of establishing an elaborate geopolitical partnership with Moscow. Putin has already responded with $500m soft loan to Belgrade, with the promise of more to come. He would not have done it had Nikolić and Dačić not accepted that the long, futile quest for Serbia’s place under the Western sun is over. One likely consequence is that the dispute over Kosovo will remain frozen for years to come, as it should.
Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular.
In his new book, “The Invention Of The Land of Israel”, Israeli academic Shlomo Sand, manages to present conclusive evidence of the far fetched nature of the Zionist historical narrative – that the Jewish Exile is a myth as is the Jewish people and even the Land of Israel.
Yet, Sand and many others fail to address the most important question: If Zionism is based on myth, how do the Zionists manage to get away with their lies, and for so long?
If the Jewish ‘homecoming’ and the demand for a Jewish national homeland cannot be historically substantiated, why has it been supported by both Jews and the West for so long? How does the Jewish state manage for so long to celebrate its racist expansionist ideology and at the expense of the Palestinian and Arab peoples?
Jewish power is obviously one answer, but, what is Jewish power? Can we ask this question without being accused of being Anti Semitic? Can we ever discuss its meaning and scrutinize its politics? Is Jewish Power a dark force, managed and maneuvered by some conspiratorial power? Is it something of which Jews themselves are shy? Quite the opposite – Jewish power, in most cases, is celebrated right in front of our eyes. As we know, AIPAC is far from being quiet about its agenda, its practices or its achievements. AIPAC, CFI in the UK and CRIF in France are operating in the most open manner and often openly brag about their success.
Furthermore, we are by now accustomed to watch our democratically elected leaders shamelessly queuing to kneel before their pay-masters. Neocons certainly didn’t seem to feel the need to hide their close Zionist affiliations. Abe Foxman’s Anti Defamation League (ADL) works openly towards the Judification of the Western discourse, chasing and harassing anyone who dares voice any kind of criticism of Israel or even of Jewish choseness. And of course, the same applies to the media, banking and Hollywood. We know about the many powerful Jews who are not in the slightest bit shy about their bond with Israel and their commitment to Israeli security, the Zionist ideology, the primacy of Jewish suffering, Israeli expansionism and even outright Jewish exceptionalism.
But, as ubiquitous as they are, AIPAC, CFI, ADL, Bernie Madoff, ‘liberator’ Bernard Henri Levy, war-advocate David Aaronovitch, free market prophet Milton Friedman, Steven Spielberg, Haim Saban, Lord Levy and many other Zionist enthusiasts and Hasbara advocates are not necessarily the core or the driving force behind Jewish Power, but are merely symptoms. Jewish power is actually far more sophisticated than simply a list of Jewish lobbies or individuals performing highly developed manipulative skills. Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not ‘right wing’ Zionists who facilitate Jewish power, It is actually the ‘good’, the ‘enlightened’ and the ‘progressive’ who make Jewish power the most effective and forceful power in the land. It is the ‘progressives’ who confound our ability to identify the Judeocentric tribal politics at the heart of Neoconservatism, American contemporary imperialism and foreign policy. It is the so-called ‘anti’ Zionist who goes out of his or her way to divert our attention from the fact that Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and blinds us to the fact that its tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols. It was the Jewish Left intellectuals who rushed to denounce Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, Jeff Blankfort and James Petras’ work on the Jewish Lobby. And it is no secret that Occupy AIPAC, the campaign against the most dangerous political Lobby in America, is dominated by a few righteous members of the chosen tribe. We need to face up to the fact that our dissident voice is far from being free. Quite the opposite, we are dealing here with an institutional case of controlled opposition.
In George Orwell’s 1984, it is perhaps Emmanuel Goldstein who is the pivotal character. Orwell’s Goldstein is a Jewish revolutionary, a fictional Leon Trotsky. He is depicted as the head of a mysterious anti-party organization called “The Brotherhood” and is also the author of the most subversive revolutionary text (The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism). Goldstein is the ‘dissenting voice’, the one who actually tells the truth. Yet, as we delve into Orwell’s text, we find out from Party’s ‘Inner Circle’ O’Brien that Goldstein was actually invented by Big Brother in a clear attempt to control the opposition and the possible boundaries of dissidence.
Orwell’s personal account of the Spanish Civil War “Homage To Catalonia” clearly presaged the creation of Emmanuel Goldstein. It was what Orwell witnessed in Spain that, a decade later, matured into a profound understanding of dissent as a form of controlled opposition. My guess is that, by the late 1940’s, Orwell had understood the depth of intolerance, and tyrannical and conspiratorial tendencies that lay at the heart of ‘Big Brother-ish’ Left politics and praxis.
Surprisingly enough, an attempt to examine our contemporaneous controlled opposition within the Left and the Progressive reveal that it is far from being a conspiratorial. Like in the case of the Jewish Lobby, the so-called ‘opposition’ hardly attempts to disguise its ethno-centric tribal interests, spiritual and ideological orientation and affiliation.
A brief examination of the list of organisations founded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) presents a grim picture – pretty much the entire American progressive network is funded, partially or largely by a liberal Zionist, philanthropic billionaire who supports very many good and important causes that are also very good for the Jews. And yet, like staunch Zionist Haim Saban, Soros does not operate clandestinely. His Open Society Institute proudly provides all the necessary information regarding the vast amount of shekels it spreads on its good and important causes.
So one can’t accuse Soros or the Open Society Institute of any sinister vetting the political discourse, stifling of free speech or even to ‘controlling the opposition’. All Soros does is to support a wide variety of ‘humanitarian causes’: Human Rights, Women’s Rights. Gay Rights, equality, democracy, Arab ‘Spring’, Arab Winter, the oppressed, the oppressor, tolerance, intolerance, Palestine, Israel, anti war, pro-war (only when really needed), and so on.
As with Orwell’s Big Brother that frames the boundaries of dissent by means of control opposition, Soros’ Open Society also determines, either consciously or unconsciously, the limits of critical thought. Yet, unlike in 1984, where it is the Party that invents its own opposition and write its texts, within our ‘progressive’ discourse, it is our own voices of dissent, willingly and consciously, that are compromising their principles.
Soros may have read Orwell – he clearly believes his message – because from time to time he even supports opposing forces. For instance, he funds the Zionist-lite J Street as well as Palestinian NGO organisations. And guess what? It never takes long for the Palestinian beneficiaries to, compromise their own, most precious principles so they fit nicely into their paymaster’s worldview.
The Visible Hand
The invisible hand of the market is a metaphor coined by Adam Smith to describe the self-regulating behaviour of the marketplace. In contemporary politics. The visible hand is a similar metaphor which describes the self-regulating tendency of the political-fund beneficiary, to fully integrate the world view of its benefactor into its political agenda.
Democracy Now, the most important American dissident outlet has never discussed the Jewish Lobby with Mearsheimer, Walt, Petras or Blankfort – the four leading experts who could have informed the American people about the USA’s foreign policy domination by the Jewish Lobby. For the same reasons, Democracy Now wouldn’t explore the Neocon’s Judeo-centric agenda nor would it ever discuss Jewish Identity politics with yours truly. Democracy Now will host Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein, it may even let Finkelstein chew up Zionist caricature Alan Dershowitz – all very good, but not good enough.
Is the fact that Democracy Now is heavily funded by Soros relevant? I’ll let you judge.
If I’m correct (and I think I am) we have a serious problem here. As things stand, it is actually the progressive discourse, or at least large part of it. that sustains Jewish Power. If this is indeed the case, and I am convinced it is, then the occupied progressive discourse, rather than Zionism, is the primary obstacle that must be confronted.
It is no coincidence that the ‘progressive’ take on ‘antisemitism’ is suspiciously similar to the Zionist one. Like Zionists, many progressive institutes and activists adhere to the bizarre suggestion that opposition to Jewish power is ‘racially motivated’ and embedded in some ‘reactionary’ Goyish tendency. Consequently, Zionists are often supported by some ‘progressives’ in their crusade against critics of Israel and Jewish power. Is this peculiar alliance between these allegedly opposing schools of thoughts, the outcome of a possible ideological continuum between these two seemingly opposed political ideologies? Maybe, after all, progressiveness like Zionism is driven by a peculiar inclination towards ‘choseness’. After all, being progressive somehow implies that someone else must be ‘reactionary’. It is those self-centric elements of exceptionalism and choseness that have made progressiveness so attractive to secular and emancipated Jews. But the main reason the ‘progressive’ adopted the Zionist take on antisemitism, may well be because of the work of that visible hand that miraculously shapes the progressive take on race, racism and the primacy of Jewish suffering.
We may have to face up to the fact that the progressive discourse effectively operates as Israel’s longest arm – it certainly acts as a gatekeeper and as protection for Zionism and Jewish tribal interests. If Israel and its supporters would ever be confronted with real opposition it might lead to some long-overdue self-reflection. But at the moment, Israel and Zionist lobbies meet only insipid, watered-down, progressively-vetted resistance that, in practice, sustains Israeli occupation, oppression and an endless list of human rights abuses.
Instead of mass opposition to the Jewish State and its aggressive lobby, our ‘resistance’ is reduced into a chain of badge-wearing, keffiyeh-clad, placard-waving mini-gatherings with the occasional tantrum from some neurotic Jewess while being videoed by another good Jew. If anyone believes that a few badges, a load of amateur Youtube clips celebrating Jewish righteousness are going to evolve into a mass anti-Israel global movement, they are either naïve or stupid.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll revealed that current Americans’ sympathy for Israel has reached an All-Time High. 64% of Americans sympathise with the Jewish State, while only 12% feel for the Palestinians. This is no surprise and our conclusion should be clear. As far as Palestine is concerned, ‘progressive’ ideology and praxis have led us precisely nowhere. Rather than advance the Palestinian cause, it only locates the ‘good’ Jew at the centre of the solidarity discourse.
When was the last time a Palestinian freedom fighter appeared on your TV screen? Twenty years ago the Palestinian were set to become the new Che Guevaras. Okay, so the Palestinian freedom fighter didn’t necessarily speak perfect English and wasn’t a graduate of an English public school, but he was free, authentic and determined. He or she spoke about their land being taken and of their willingness to give what it takes to get it back. But now, the Palestinian has been ‘saved’, he or she doesn’t have to fight for his or her their land, the ‘progressive’ is taking care of it all.
This ‘progressive’ voice speaks on behalf of the Palestinian and, at the same time, takes the opportunity to also push marginal politics, fight ‘Islamism’ and ‘religious radicalisation’ and occasionally even supports the odd interventionst war and, of course, always, always, always fights antisemitism. The controlled opposition has turned the Palestinian plight into just one more ‘progressive’ commodity, lying on the back shelf of its ever-growing ‘good-cause’ campaign store.
For the Jewish progressive discourse, the purpose behind pro-Palestinian support is clear. It is to present an impression of pluralism within the Jewish community. It is there to suggest that not all Jews are bad Zionists. Philip Weiss, the founder of the most popular progressive pro-Palestinian blog was even brave enough to admit to me that it is Jewish self -interests that stood at the core of his pro Palestinian activity.
Jewish self-love is a fascinating topic. But even more fascinating is Jewish progressives loving themselves at the expense of the Palestinians. With billionaires such as Soros maintaining the discourse, solidarity is now an industry, concerned with profit and power rather than ethics or values and it is a spectacle both amusing and tragic as the Palestinians become a side issue within their own solidarity discourse.
So, perhaps before we discuss the ‘liberation of Palestine’, we first may have to liberate ourselves.
On April 4 the Pentagon announced that it was sending a mobile missile defense system to Guam as a “precautionary move” to protect the island from the potential threat from North Korea. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) comprises ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, as well as naval vessels capable of shooting down missiles.
On the same day, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that North Korea posed a “real and clear danger” to the island, to U.S. allies in the region, and even to the United States. Its leaders have “ratcheted up their bellicose, dangerous rhetoric,” Hagel told the National Defense University in Washington. Areas at risk include South Korea and Japan, he added, as well as Guam, Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. “We have to take those threats seriously,” he said.
It is the job of defense secretaries to take all threats seriously, but there is less than meets the eye to this one. While media coverage of tensions with North Korea makes it appear that its recent threats in response to the ongoing “Foal Eagle” U.S.-South Korean military exercises came unexpectedly, Pyongyang has a long history of objecting vehemently to such war games. North Korea is using bizarre rhetoric—as it has done many times before—but there is no “real and present danger,” because the country’s nuclear and missile delivery capabilities are rudimentary now and will remain so for years to come. Its three nuclear tests thus far—in 2006, 2009 and on February 12 of this year—amounted to a total yield of around 10 kilotons, or less than one-half the power of the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki in August 1945. At least two, and possibly all three, of those tests used plutonium as the fissile material. Crude and bulky, plutonium devices cannot be fitted onto a missile.
North Korea’s claims to have miniaturized its latest device are unproven and probably untrue: no tell-tale isotopes indicative of weapons-grade uranium have been detected. In addition, at the moment, its uranium-enrichment facilities are not producing requisite quantities of highly-enriched uranium (HEU). The Yongbyon site—the country’s main nuclear facility—has been limited to electricity generation for the past five years, as part of a disarmament-for-aid deal signed in September 2005. The agreement’s implementation was always wrought with difficulties, however. Last month, the regime vowed to restart all facilities at Yongbyon—presumably including uranium enrichment to weapons-grade levels (HEU). They have the technical ability to do this, but even if the enrichment program proceeds immediately North Korea will be several years away from producing a deliverable device on a reliable missile.
In the final months of Kim Jong-il’s life it appeared that the talks with the U.S. on the control of North Korea’s nuclear facilities would be restarted. After he died in December 2011, his young son and successor Kim Jong-un soon shifted emphasis from hoped-for cooperation to confrontation. In February 2012, Pyongyang unexpectedly announced that it would suspend nuclear activities and observe a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for American food aid. That agreement was suspended after North Korea unsuccessfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite a year ago, which caused major embarrassment to the regime. A successful launch came last December, swiftly followed by the tightening of international sanctions in January (this time supported by China), a third nuclear test in February, and the ongoing escalation of warlike rhetoric since early March.
That rhetoric is a mix of bluster and bravado. Even if it had the theoretical wherewithal to threaten the United States—which it does not have—North Korea could not do it credibly: a single missile, or two, or five, would be fairly easy to intercept and destroy, and the ensuing retaliation would turn much of the People’s Democratic Republic into a parking lot. In the fullness of time the North may develop a device capable of fitting into a warhead, but it will have no guidance system necessary for accuracy and no re-entry technology to bring an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) back to Earth. According to the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, North Korea has something that can hit American shores, but a “functioning nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile is still at least several years away.”
Even if it were to miniaturize a half-dozen nuclear weapons and perfect some form of functioning delivery system, North Korea would not be able to use them as a means of blackmail to alter the regional balance of power. The U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan, and Israel have possessed nuclear weapons for decades. None of them has ever been able to change the status quo in its favor by threatening to use the bomb. The possession of nuclear weapons by one of the parties did not impact the outcome in Korea in 1953, or Suez in 1956, or prevent the two superpowers’ defeats, in Vietnam and Afghanistan respectively. It makes no difference to China’s stalled efforts to bring Taiwan under its control. South Africa had developed its own nuclear arsenal in the 1980s—it has been dismantled since—but this did not enhance its government’s ability to resist the pressure to dismantle the Apartheid in the early 1990’s. The political effect of a country’s possession of nuclear weapons has been to force its potential adversaries to exercise caution and to freeze the existing frontiers. There is no reason to think that North Korea will be an exception to the rule.
The root causes of North Korea’s apparently reckless behavior are predominantly domestic, as usual. Kim Jong-un, the third absolute ruler in the dynasty established by his late grandfather Kim Il-sung, is young (29), untested and insecure. When his father Kim Jong-il died on December 17, 2011, the military and Party leadership accepted his third son as the designated successor, but it was not immediately clear whether Jong-un would in fact take full power right away. A cult of personality started developing right away. With no track record of achievement and no sign of outstanding talent, he was hailed as the “great successor to the revolutionary cause,” “outstanding leader of the party, army and people,” “respected comrade identical to Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il,” even as “a great person born of heaven”—an eccentric metaphor for a society nominally based on the teaching of dialectical materialism. The titles followed: within days of his father’s death, Kim Jon-un was declared Supreme Commander of the Korean Peoples Army, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and “supreme leader of the country.” In March of last year, he was appointed first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea; three months later, he was awarded the rank of a field marshal.
The plethora of titles does not mean that Kim Jong-un automatically commands the same level of authority and unquestioning obedience enjoyed by his father and grandfather before him. According to a psychological profile put together by U.S. intelligence, Kim Jong-un may feel compelled to prove just how tough he is in order to make up for his inexperience. One of the CIA’s former top experts on North Korea, Joseph DeTrani, regards him as a young man insufficiently well prepared for the position, with limited foreign exposure, who has the urge to prove his toughness to his own military by emulating his grandfather, Kim Il-sung. But the heir is unlikely to start a general war, which he knows he cannot win, and in which China—his often reluctant backer—would likely remain aloof. “It would probably mean his defeat, and his defeat would probably mean the downfall of his regime and, very probably, the end of him as well,” according to the Telegraph’s David Blair. “Assuming that he’s not suicidal, he is very unlikely to start a general conflagration.” The danger remains, however, that North Korea, having ratcheted up the rhetoric for so long and having issued so many blood-curdling threats, feels that it has to do something.
My hunch is that in the end Kim the Third will do nothing. South Korea refrained from retaliation when one of its naval vessels was sunk under mysterious circumstances in disputed waters in March 2010, or when North Korea bombarded the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in November of that year. This time the leaders in Seoul appear determined to respond to any hostile act. While China is urging all sides to tone it down, its warnings are primarily directed at North Korea. Beijing has conveyed a warning to Pyongyang that any incident would subject the North to swift and vigorous retaliation. It is noteworthy that there are no significant troop movements along the 38th parallel, and the feverish tone of North Korea’s state media appears to have abated in recent days. The specific warnings that preceded the Yeonpyeong attack are now absent. The regime is well aware of North Korea’s inadequacies in the nuclear and missile technologies. Economically it is a mess. According to the CIA economic assessment issued last month, North Korea’s industrial and power output have receded to pre-1990 levels, while frequent crop failures since the catastrophic 1995 famine have produced chronic food shortages and malnutrition. Its people depend for survival on international food aid deliveries, mainly from China.
Once this latest teacup storm is over, a coherent long-term American response should address the question as to why North Korea feels it needs nuclear weapons in the first place. This is not because Kim Jong-un plans to reunify the peninsula by force—that he cannot do, with or without the bomb—but because Pyongyang regards the United States as a real threat. North Korea is one of the tightest despotisms in existence, but ever since it was designated the eastern pivot of the “Axis of Evil” in President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address its leaders have rational grounds to feel threatened. According to President Obama, the nuclear test offered only an illusion of greater security to North Korea. This is incorrect. The possession of nuclear weapons, far from providing an “illusion” of greater security, is the only reliable insurance policy to those states that Washington may deem fit for regime change. Had Serbia had the bomb in 1999 or Iraq in 2003, they would not have been subjected to illegal American attacks on patently spurious grounds.
Some imagination is needed in Washington, including a rethink of the old orthodoxy that nuclear proliferation is inherently dangerous. It is not. Since 1945, there have been many wars, but no catastrophic ones on par with 1914-1918 or 1939-1945. This long peace—lasting for close to seven decades thus far—is due almost entirely to the existence of nuclear weapons and to their possession by an expanding circle of powers. Contrary to the will of the United States—whose leaders do not want other countries to possess what America has possessed, and used, since 1945—nuclear proliferation has been a major factor in the preservation of peace. The “Balance of Terror” is a grim term which denotes a comforting reality, and its logic applies to the lesser powers, such as India and Pakistan, which went to war three times after the Partition—in 1947, 1965, and 1971—but not since then. On previous form, the violence in Kashmir in March 2008 and the Pakistani-linked terrorist attacks in Bombay in November of that year would have reignited the conflict—but they did not. The possession of nuclear weapons by both adversaries has been a major war-inhibiting factor for over four decades, and it will likely remain so for many years to come.
What is valid for the Subcontinent should apply to the North Korean peninsula. Sanctions or no sanctions, Pyongyang will not give up its bomb. For the sake of regional peace and stability, South Korea should acquire one as well—and there is no reason for Japan not to follow suit. Back in the 1970’s, the Ford Administration induced South Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program in return for not withdrawing American soldiers. Now is the time to reverse the sequence. Washington should grant a free nuclear hand to Seoul in return for the mutually agreed U.S. troop withdrawal. The latest crisis strengthens the case for the long-overdue withdrawal of the remaining 28,000 American troops from the Korean peninsula. It is high time to let the countries directly affected by Pyongyang’s actions—South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia—deal with North Korea themselves, to the best of their abilities.
As you read in the First Basic Law of Stupidity, our U.S. Congress works on yet another mass amnesty for 20 million illegal alien migrants now working and residing in our country in violation of dozens of our laws. Notice that Congress failed to enforce the employment laws from the 1965 Immigration Reform Law as well as the 1986 Amnesty that gave four million Mexicans instant citizenship. All totaled, those two new laws by Congress flooded this country with over 120 million more people since 1965. This next amnesty will flood the country with yet another 100 million immigrants at the bare minimum.
Today, we live in 2013 with a few other interesting facts Congress bestowed on the American people:
- Congress placed our country into a $16.5 trillion national debt. It’s wrecking the foundation of our republic and our financial ability to survive.
- Congress waged two useless, worthless and meaningless wars for the past 10 years at a cost of $3 trillion. Trillions more when it comes to the emotional, physical and psychological chaos incurred by our military veterans.
- Congress outsource, insourced and offshored millions of US jobs so we now suffer 14 million unemployed and 7 million underemployed.
- Congress killed so many jobs and job training that 47 million Americans subsist on food stamps in April of 2013.
- Congress refuses to enforce internal immigration employment, housing and transport laws—so that we face 20 million illegal aliens scamming American workers out of jobs as well as using $346 billion annually in taxpayer services like education, medical care, anchor babies, incarceration, drug distribution, shop lifting and more.
- Congress refuses to aid lawful American citizens with jobs, but it works its magic in allowing over eight million illegal aliens full time work in our country—and much of it off the books and no taxes collected, but we subsidize their children, health care and prison costs.
- Congress huddles in Washington, DC to gift another 20 million illegal aliens with instant citizenship and all the cash and welfare benefits that entails. Heritage Foundation estimates $3 to $5 trillion for the cost of this new amnesty paid for by you, the legal American taxpayer.
Which brings us to the “Second Basic Law of Stupidity” by Carlo M. Cipolla, Professor of
Economics, UC Berkeley in Whole Earth Review, Spring 1987
Cipolla said in the Second Basic Law of Stupidity, “Cultural trends now fashionable in the West favor an egalitarian approach to life. People like to think of human beings as the output of a perfectly engineered mass production machine. Geneticists and sociologists especially go out of their way to prove, with an impressive apparatus of scientific data and formulations that all men are naturally equal and if some are more equal that others, this is attributable to nurture and not to nature.
“I take an exception to this general view. It is my firm conviction, supported by years of observation and experimentation, that men are not equal, that some are stupid and others are not, and that the difference is determined by nature and not by cultural forces or factors. One is stupid in the same way one is red-haired; one belongs to the stupid set as one belongs to a blood group. A stupid man is born a stupid man by an act of Providence.”
The collective IQ of America declines below three digits. Notice that 7,000 high school kids drop out or flunk out of high school every day in America. Notice those failure rates correspond to the millions of third world immigrants imported into America. Not only does our Congress import illiteracy, it imports poverty and cultures of poverty. One look at Los Angeles today provides ample proof where a teenager cannot read the bus schedule. Unemployment screams off the charts and immigrants ride the welfare gravy train like a new art form.
“Although convinced that fractions of human beings are stupid and that they are so because of genetic traits,” said Cipolla. “I am not a reactionary trying to reintroduce surreptitiously class or race discrimination, I firmly believe stupidity is an indiscriminate privilege of all human groups and is uniformly distributed according to a constant proportion. This fact is scientifically expressed by the Second Basic Law with states that: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.”
Today in America 42 million Americans cannot read, write or perform simple math problems. Another 50 million cannot read past the 4th grade level. It will be interesting when we import the projected 100 million more immigrants from the burgeoning third world by 2050—as to what kind of a completely stupid, dumb, dysfunctional and totally illiterate civilization the majority of our citizens will have become.
The democrats and republicans will probably tell us we need more immigrants to revitalize the nation, freshen it and bring new ideas to solve all our problems.
Would you believe that the United States tried to do something that was not nice against Hugo Chávez?
In a secret US cable to the State Department, dated November 9, 2006, and recently published online by WikiLeaks, former US ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, outlines a comprehensive plan to destabilize the government of the late President Hugo Chávez. The cable begins with a Summary:
During his 8 years in power, President Chavez has systematically dismantled the institutions of democracy and governance. The USAID/OTI program objectives in Venezuela focus on strengthening democratic institutions and spaces through non-partisan cooperation with many sectors of Venezuelan society.
USAID/OTI = United States Agency for International Development/Office of Transition Initiatives. The latter is one of the many euphemisms that American diplomats use with each other and the world – They say it means a transition to “democracy”. What it actually means is a transition from the target country adamantly refusing to cooperate with American imperialist grand designs to a country gladly willing (or acceding under pressure) to cooperate with American imperialist grand designs.
OTI supports the Freedom House (FH) “Right to Defend Human Rights” program with $1.1 million. Simultaneously through Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), OTI has also provided 22 grants to human rights organizations.
Freedom House is one of the oldest US government conduits for transitioning to “democracy”; to a significant extent it equates “democracy” and “human rights” with free enterprise. Development Alternatives Inc. is the organization that sent Alan Gross to Cuba on a mission to help implement the US government’s operation of regime change.
OTI speaks of working to improve “the deteriorating human rights situation in” Venezuela. Does anyone know of a foreign government with several millions of dollars to throw around who would like to improve the seriously deteriorating human rights situation in the United States? They can start with the round-the-clock surveillance and the unconscionable entrapment of numerous young “terrorists” guilty of thought crimes.
“OTI partners are training NGOs [non-governmental organizations] to be activists and become more involved in advocacy.”
Now how’s that for a self-given license to fund and get involved in any social, economic or political activity that can sabotage any program of the Chávez government and/or make it look bad? The US ambassador’s cable points out that:
OTI has directly reached approximately 238,000 adults through over 3000 forums, workshops and training sessions delivering alternative values and providing opportunities for opposition activists to interact with hard-core Chavistas, with the desired effect of pulling them slowly away from Chavismo. We have supported this initiative with 50 grants totaling over $1.1 million.
“Another key Chavez strategy,” the cable continues, “is his attempt to divide and polarize Venezuelan society using rhetoric of hate and violence. OTI supports local NGOs who work in Chavista strongholds and with Chavista leaders, using those spaces to counter this rhetoric and promote alliances through working together on issues of importance to the entire community.”
This is the classical neo-liberal argument against any attempt to transform a capitalist society – The revolutionaries are creating class conflict. But of course, the class conflict was already there, and nowhere more embedded and distasteful than in Latin America.
OTI funded 54 social projects all over the country, at over $1.2 million, allowing [the] Ambassador to visit poor areas of Venezuela and demonstrate US concern for the Venezuelan people. This program fosters confusion within the Bolivarian ranks, and pushes back at the attempt of Chavez to use the United States as a ‘unifying enemy.’
One has to wonder if the good ambassador (now an Assistant Secretary of State) placed any weight or value at all on the election and re-election by decisive margins of Chávez and the huge masses of people who repeatedly filled the large open squares to passionately cheer him. When did such things last happen in the ambassador’s own country? Where was his country’s “concern for the Venezuelan people” during the decades of highly corrupt and dictatorial regimes? His country’a embassy in Venezuela in that period was not plotting anything remotely like what is outlined in this cable.
The cable summarizes the focus of the embassy’s strategy’s as: “1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez’ Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5) Isolating Chavez internationally.” 1
The stated mission for the Office of Transition Initiatives is: “To support U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance peace and democracy in priority countries in crisis.” 2
Notice the key word – “crisis”. For whom was Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela a “crisis”? For the people of Venezuela or the people who own and operate United States, Inc.?
Imagine a foreign country’s embassy, agencies and NGOs in the United States behaving as the American embassy, OTI, and NGOs did in Venezuela. President Putin of Russia recently tightened government controls over foreign NGOs out of such concern. As a result, he of course has been branded by the American government and media as a throwback to the Soviet Union.
Under pressure from the Venezuelan government, the OTI’s office in Venezuela was closed in 2010.
For our concluding words of wisdom, class, here’s Charles Shapiro, US ambassador to Venezuela from 2002 to 2004, speaking recently of the Venezuelan leaders: “I think they really believe it, that we are out there at some level to do them ill.” 3
The latest threats to life as we know it
Last month numerous foreign-policy commentators marked the tenth anniversary of the fateful American bombing and invasion of Iraq. Those who condemned the appalling devastation of the Iraqi people and their society emphasized that it had all been a terrible mistake, since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein didn’t actually possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This is the same argument we’ve heard repeatedly during the past ten years from most opponents of the war.
But of the many lies – explicit or implicit – surrounding the war in Iraq, the biggest one of all is that if, in fact, Saddam Hussein had had those WMD the invasion would have been justified; that in such case Iraq would indeed have been a threat to the United States or to Israel or to some other country equally decent, innocent and holy. However, I must ask as I’ve asked before: What possible reason would Saddam Hussein have had for attacking the United States or Israel other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide? He had no reason, no more than the Iranians do today. No more than the Soviets had during the decades of the Cold War. No more than North Korea has ever had since the United States bombed them in the early 1950s. Yet last month the new Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, announced that he would strengthen United States defenses against a possible attack by [supposedly] nuclear-equipped North Korea, positioning 14 additional missile interceptors in Alaska and California at an estimated cost of $1 billion. So much for the newest Great White Hope. Does it ever matter who the individuals are who are occupying the highest offices of the US foreign-policy establishment? Or their gender or their color?
“Oh,” many people argued, “Saddam Hussein was so crazy who knew what he might do?” But when it became obvious in late 2002 that the US was intent upon invading Iraq, Saddam opened up the country to the UN weapons inspectors much more than ever before, offering virtually full cooperation. This was not the behavior of a crazy person; this was the behavior of a survivalist. He didn’t even use any WMD when he was invaded by the United States in 1991 (“the first Gulf War”), when he certainly had such weapons. Moreover, the country’s vice president, Tariq Aziz, went on major American television news programs to assure the American people and the world that Iraq no longer had any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons; and we now know that Iraq had put out peace feelers in early 2003 hoping to prevent the war. The Iraqi leaders were not crazy at all. Unless one believes that to oppose US foreign policy you have to be crazy. Or suicidal.
It can as well be argued that American leaders were crazy to carry out the Iraqi invasion in the face of tens of millions of people at home and around the world protesting against it, pleading with the Bush gang not to unleash the horrors. (How many demonstrations were there in support of the invasion?)
In any event, the United States did not invade Iraq because of any threat of an attack using WMD. Washington leaders did not themselves believe that Iraq possessed such weapons of any significant quantity or potency. Amongst the sizable evidence supporting this claim we have the fact that they would not have exposed hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the ground.
Nor can it be argued that mere possession of such weapons – or the belief of same – was reason enough to take action, for then the United States would have to invade Russia, France, Israel, et al.
I have written much of the above in previous editions of this report, going back to 2003. But I’m afraid that I and other commentators will have to be repeating these observations for years to come. Myths that reinforce official government propaganda die hard. The mainstream media act like they don’t see through them, while national security officials thrive on them to give themselves a mission, to enhance their budgets, and further their personal advancement. The Washington Post recently reported: “A year into his tenure, the country’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, has proved even more bellicose than his father, North Korea’s longtime ruler, disappointing U.S. officials who had hoped for a fresh start with the regime.” 4
Yeah, right, can’t you just see those American officials shaking their heads and exclaiming: “Damn, what do we have to do to get those North Korean fellows to trust us?” Well, they could start by ending the many international sanctions they impose on North Korea. They could discontinue arming and training South Korean military forces. And they could stop engaging in provocative fly-overs, ships cruising the waters, and military exercises along with South Korea, Australia, and other countries dangerously close to the North. The Wall Street Journal reported:
The first show of force came on March 8, during the U.S.-South Korean exercise, known as Foal Eagle, when long-range B-52 bombers conducted low-altitude maneuvers. A few weeks later, in broad daylight, two B-2 bombers sent from a Missouri air base dropped dummy payloads on a South Korean missile range.
U.S. intelligence agencies, as had been planned, reviewed the North’s responses. After those flights, the North responded as the Pentagon and intelligence agencies had expected, with angry rhetoric, threatening to attack the South and the U.S.
On Sunday, the U.S. flew a pair of advanced F-22s to South Korea, which prompted another angry response from the North. 5
And the United States could stop having wet dreams about North Korea collapsing, enabling the US to establish an American military base right at the Chinese border.
As to North Korea’s frequent threats … yes, they actually outdo the United States in bellicosity, lies, and stupidity. But their threats are not to be taken any more seriously than Washington’s oft expressed devotion to democracy and freedom. When it comes to doing actual harm to other peoples, the North Koreans are not in the same league as the empire.
“Everyone is concerned about miscalculation and the outbreak of war. But the sense across the U.S. government is that the North Koreans are not going to wage all-out war,” a senior Obama administration official said. “They are interested first and foremost in regime survival.” 6
American sovereignty hasn’t faced a legitimate foreign threat to its existence since the British in 1812.
The marvelous world of Freedom of Speech
So, the United States and its Western partners have banned Iranian TV from North America and in various European countries. Did you hear about that? Probably not if you’re not on the mailing list of PressTV, the 24-hour English-Language Iranian news channel. According to PressTV:
The Iranian film channel, iFilm, as well as Iranian radio stations, have also been banned from sensitive Western eyes and ears, all such media having been removed in February from the Galaxy 19 satellite platform serving the United States and Canada.
In December the Spanish satellite company, Hispasat, terminated the broadcast of the Iranian Spanish-language channel Hispan TV. Hispasat is partly owned by Eutelsat, whose French-Israeli CEO is blamed for the recent wave of attacks on Iranian media in Europe.
The American Jewish Committee has welcomed these developments. AJC Executive Director David Harris has acknowledged that the committee had for months been engaged in discussions with the Spaniards over taking Iranian channels off the air. 7
A careful search of the Lexis-Nexis data base of international media reveals that not one English-language print newspaper, broadcast station, or news agency in the world has reported on the PressTV news story since it appeared February 8. One Internet newspaper, Digital Journal, ran the story on February 10.
The United States, Canada, Spain, and France are thus amongst those countries proudly celebrating their commitment to the time-honored concept of freedom of speech. Other nations of “The Free World” cannot be far behind as Washington continues to turn the screws of Iranian sanctions still tighter.
In his classic 1984, George Orwell defined “doublethink” as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” In the United States, the preferred label given by the Ministry of Truth to such hypocrisy is “American exceptionalism”, which manifests itself in the assertion of a divinely ordained mission as well in the insistence on America’s right to apply double standards in its own favor and reject “moral equivalence”.
The use of sanctions to prevent foreign media from saying things that Washington has decidedshould not be said is actually a marked improvement over previous American methods. For example, on October 8, 2001, the second day of the US bombing of Afghanistan, the transmitters for the Taliban government’s Radio Shari were bombed and shortly after this the US bombed some 20 regional radio sites. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the targeting of these facilities, saying: “Naturally, they cannot be considered to be free media outlets. They are mouthpieces of the Taliban and those harboring terrorists.” 8 And in Yugoslavia, in 1999, during the infamous 78-bombing of the Balkan country which posed no threat at all to the United States, state-owned Radio Television Serbia (RTS) was targeted because it was broadcasting things which the United States and NATO did not like (like how much horror the bombing was causing). The bombs took the lives of many of the station’s staff, and both legs of one of the survivors, which had to be amputated to free him from the wreckage. 9
- Read the full memo. ↩
- USAID Transition Initiatives Website ↩
- Washington Post, January 10, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, March 16, 2013 ↩
- Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2013 ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- PressTV news release ↩
- Index on Censorship online, the UK’s leading organization promoting freedom of expression, October 18, 2001 ↩
- The Independent (London), April 24, 1999, p.1 ↩
As any honest observer of the dire fiscal nature of U.S. budgets would conclude, the driving section of deficit expenditures are entitlements. The two areas, based upon predictable demographics, that scream out for rational and extensive surgery are Social Security and Medicare. The Obama administration has a long record of gutting Medicare as part of the Obama care malady that is transforming into a national plague as the detail regulations unfold. For a summary of reporting on the subject, review the media accounts on the Kaiser Health News. One of such analysis, found in the New York Times item, Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal, identifies the smoke and mirrors modifications, designed to push the Medicare medical reimbursement into insolvency.
“Mr. Obama’s budget will propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said. The idea, known as chained C.P.I., has infuriated some Democrats and advocacy groups to Mr. Obama’s left, and they have already mobilized in opposition.
Mr. Obama will propose other spending and tax credit initiatives, including aid for states to make free prekindergarten education available nationwide — a priority outlined in his State of the Union address in February. He will propose to pay for it by raising federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
In Medicare, the savings would mostly come from payments to health care providers, including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, but Mr. Obama also proposes that higher-income beneficiaries pay more for coverage.”
The mere notion that the Obama administration is submitting a budget at all may be news, but the devil is in the details, within the projected outline is expected. This political kabuki theatre gives little solace to the actuary process that crunches the numbers of an aging society.
The first acknowledgment out of the lack of a grand arrangement, cited by Money News in, Obama Proposes Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, calls for reductions in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs.
“Administration officials have said Obama would only agree to the reductions in benefit programs if they are accompanied by increases in revenue, a difficult demand given the strong anti-tax sentiment of House Republicans.”
The glaring omission from this, and any discussion on Social Security and Medicare, is the need to revise eligibility and age admission criteria. The political psyche of the public is stuck on the myth that an entitlement society can be funded on a systemic shortfall of revenue. The perennial cry for just raising taxes on the rich is a fool’s gameand does harm by continually reinforcing the denial of inevitable reality, that services and programs must be dramatically curtailed or eliminated.
Much of the partisan banter and face-off skirts this underlying issue. Feeding this self-denial culture is an electorate and a population that has become comfortable consuming their “so called” free lunch diet. The fact that the eating habits of the majority attempt to digest the social programs off the government menu, without paying for the cost of the meal is inescapable.
The longevity of recent age brackets has caused a fiscal crisis that has only one outcome, namely, national bankruptcy without fundamental changes to such programs. Impoverishment of the younger generations to fund a mathematically impossible obligation is the key element missing from any rational discussion or debate.
The central transformation of medical institutions from a proprietary return on assets system to a not for profit reimbursement corporative would allow for major reductions in the costs of medical delivery services, while enhancing patient recovery. The elimination of bureaucratic defensive medicine, driven by the practice of fear from legal litigation is absent within Obama’s budget.
The assault on holistic medicine in favor of pharmaceutical drugs is a core reason why Medicare is a failed approach to health and wellbeing. Individual Americans are walking cadavers waiting for their expected stroke or heart attack. The diet of the average consumer of fast food drives up the tolls of medical treatment and should not become a public burden upon taxpayers that strive to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
While any form of a socialistic medical payer system guarantees a reduction in the quality of medical services, the Medicare program has a large constituency and lobby influence upon legislation and administration. Only a total breakdown in health care under the Obamacare formula, might offer the slightest opportunity to revamp the entire governmental run fiasco that has an inane disconnect between treatment and the cost of the service.
Social Security has become an unfunded ponzi scheme that in unsustainable as the work force declines. Cutting the rate of growth by a recalculation of the already shaded inflation statistics is the very definition of kicking the can down the road. This time that canister might just injure your toe to the point of needing medical assistance that is certainly not covered under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.Postponing a dialogue on serious entitlement reform or preferably dramatic scale back is playing with national suicide. As the country dissolves into a more democratic frenzy, the addition of millions of more illegal immigrants will add gasoline to the fiscal inferno that is already burning out of control.
Regrettably, the will for an electoral resolution through the ballot box, when the voter has an insatiable desire to live off the tax payments of others, guarantees a day of reckoning. The eugenics outcome that leads to euthanasia acceptance certainly will not be one of the cuts in the federal budget.
The long path to nationwide insanity is paved with governmental programs that claim to help citizens, while pushing the fiscal burden unto the unborn, millions upon which are aborted. Money in government is like poison to a drug addict. In this case, the junkie does not die it only spends more. Good health demands rational behavior.
If you listen to the alarm coming out of the imperium empire media, you would think that missiles would be flying at any moment. That medieval torture regime noted for starving their population is boasting that a bellicose attack is imminent. Of course, their propagandists are pointing the finger at the Yankee bully that is the perennial bogyman posed to snuff out the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Such an earthly paradise is billed as a “genuine workers’ state in which all the people are completely liberated from exploitation and oppression. The workers, peasants, soldiers and intellectuals are the true masters of their destiny and are in a unique position to defend their interests.”
Indeed such a freedom loving society takes pride in professing their government is the rightful leadership for the entire Korean peninsula. Such bold determination to dominate the imposter that has set up shop in the south must mean that the Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-Il dynasty will prevail. Both adopted the Songun, or “military-first” policy in order to strengthen the country and its government. North Korea is the world’s most militarized country, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. Now the grand Kim Jong-un general in chief is ready to hit the nuke button as a sign of his manhood.
Does it really matter that North Korea Defies World Body with Third Nuke Test, or is this just another opportunity for the world community to play the role of the white knight as it slays an infantile dragon that causes trepidation among his commie mentors?
“Still, three Security Council resolutions – in 2006, 2009 and 2013 – critical of North Korea’s nuclear program and tightening sanctions on Pyongyang – had the blessings of China, a permanent member with veto powers.
But the harshest of possible sanctions – a naval blockade, an oil embargo or a cutoff of economic aid from China – have escaped Security Council resolutions, at least so far.
The 15-member Council met in an emergency session Tuesday and issued a predictable statement condemning the test as “a grave violation” of its three resolutions and describing North Korea as a country which is “a clear threat to international peace and security”.”
When the Guardian newspaper writes, Now North Korea defies even China, should we really believe that the true Asian tiger is powerless to reign in the unhinged stepchild.
“In this tense game of diplomatic-military poker, South Korea is not even the North’s principal adversary. Kim Jong-il is now blithely defying all the major regional actors – the US, China, Russia and Japan – while actively exploiting differences between them. It makes little difference whether his aim is recognition and security guarantees; economic and financial assistance; or the succession of his son. Kim is playing off the great powers against each other, to see what he can get out of them. The result is virtual diplomatic meltdown.
Just look at what has happened since last month’s bombardment of Yeonpyeong island. China, the North’s only influential ally, has come under strong US pressure to pull its supposed client into line. China’s perceived failure to do so is straining relations with Washington. James Steinberg, the US deputy secretary of state, visited Beijing today carrying the message: China must do more, fast.”
China saved the original North Korean dictatorship from defeat with their intervention of troops back in November 1950. Mao and Stalin fired up the cold war into a blood stained conflict that never ended. The uneasy armistice at the cease of arms, supposedly now terminated, allows for active deployment of the most sophisticated weapons. Is this a fragile standoff or should the prudent student of the global gulag conclude, that the Chinese and even the Russians, are eager to confront the Western allies through a standalone surrogate?
The New York Times hints at the answer in the article, China Looms Over Response to Nuclear Test by North Korea.
“The Chinese military, and to a lesser extent the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party, assert strong influence on China’s Korea policy, and both powerful entities prefer to keep North Korea close at hand, Chinese and American analysts say.
While the People’s Liberation Army is not even able to conduct military exercises with the North Koreans – the government in the North forbids such contact with outsiders – Chinese military strategists adhere to the doctrine that they cannot afford to abandon their ally, no matter how bad its behavior, analysts here say.
At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party looks upon the North Korean Communist Party – led by Kim Jong-un, the grandson of the nation’s founder – as a fraternal brotherhood. Indeed, relations between the two countries are conducted largely between the two parties rather than between the two foreign ministries, the more normal diplomatic channel.
In an early sign that Mr. Xi is unlikely to veer from past policy, the state-run news agency, Xinhua, criticized the United States and its allies for essentially forcing the North’s aggression by causing the country to feel insecure.”
Blame the U.S. for causing insecurity, when the sordid record of capitulation to the repeated game of North Korean chicken, resembles a farmers feed the world that largely benefits corporate agriculture. Putting and keeping Kim Jong-un on a short choke chain leash is certainly within the power of the Chinese.
Since China is the preferred economic model of the globalists and North Korea is the chosen police state version for social repression, what possible reason would China have to intervene by stopping the challenge to the American military?
The Storm Clouds Gathering video, The North Korean Nuclear Crisis What You Aren’t being Told, provides a perceptive analysis of the current confrontation.
The proper method to interpret Sino-American foreign policy is through a lens of transnational monopoly control. The real masters of Asian industrialization and American decline operate above and beyond national sovereignty. The best explanation of perceived unstable skirmishes that lead to deployed conflicts, must accept that it is good business for the globalists to keep tensions high with frequent warfare.
The bondage cult that adores the North Korean regime is an expendable ritual killer machine that excels in making threats, but comes up short, when faced with superior force defense. The mission assigned for North Korea is to stir the pot for state of war stress, while backing down without losing face domestically.
Defense News offers a familiar establishment appeasement attitude viewpoint in the report, Has China Had Enough of N. Korean Antics? Maybe Not.
“North Korea’s continuous provocations defying China’s demands, warnings and brazen neglect of China’s key strategic and security interests certainly drive many in China, both in the public and among elites, to ‘soul-searching’ on its North Korea policy,” said Wang Dong, director, School of International Studies, Center for Northeast Asian Strategic Studies, Peking University, Beijing.
China will join the international community in tightening sanctions against the regime, “but it will also carefully ensure the sanctions do not ‘threaten’ another key goal of China, which is peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” Wang said.”
Get real folks! The notion that North Korea is defying Chinese interests is ridiculous. The actual international community consensus that controls worldwide politics, seeks to dismantle the global influence of America and deepen damage on the U.S. political system.
Fear of a nuclear exchange with Kim Jong-un military is rooted in the false premise that North Korea can and would operate separately from Chinese or Russian direction. Ratcheting up the threats makes high drama, but produces a low probability for an actual attack.
The prospects for direct negotiations with the AmeriKan “Beloved Leader”, Barack Hussein Obama might well take place at a Tehran Conference II. What a great diplomatic coup for a peacemaker of banksters’ interests to immerge as the capitulator in chief. Averting WWIII by compliance and singing an international ecumenical anthem is the ultimate game plan from this latest trumped up crisis.
Do not rule out a false flag incident. The dogs of war like to play in the killing fields of properly planned out maneuvers. However, that threatened surge of a 10 million horde, breaching the 38th parallel, has a greater likelihood that the rush would be to seize Samsung electronics, than to mop up the debris from depleted uranium.
An inevitable World War III will be fought under the direction of unworldly principalities. Kim Jong-un is a cartoon caricature and a paper tiger, more suited for his 15 minutes of fame, than a reincarnated Napoleon.
Watch for the real fallout from this episode of “true grit”. Keep your eye on the monetary radioactive dust cloud. The threat of war is the best cover for a heist of global propositions. When in trouble, the great powers mobilize for pillage. The North Korea gulag is a nightmare that readies replication for the rest of the world. The cabal of globalists is the actual warmongers.
What does the Islamic world and Europe have in common? There are actually many similarities, but one is this: in neither place are Christians allowed to fully express their beliefs without fear of persecution.
As for Eurasia, its Ministry of Truth’s latest handiwork is the arrest and punishment of an American street preacher who dared speak of sin in that land once known as Scotland. The victim is 47-year-old New Yorker Shawn Holes, who was on a UK tour when he was arrested in Glasgow after running afoul of UK hate-speech laws. Writes Pink News:
He said that while preaching, a number of gay couples stopped to listen and asked him about his views, which he said seemed like a “set-up”.
…When asked about his views on homosexuality, Holes said: “Homosexuals are deserving of the wrath of God – and so are all other sinners – and they are going to a place called hell.”
For this Oldspeak transgression, Holes’ arrest was followed by the imposition of a £1,000 fine, which is a harsher penalty than even some Britons who commit violent crimes must endure.
I’ve said much about “hate speech” laws over the years, and I won’t rehash the old arguments except to again point out that all hate-crime law is an attempt at thought control. Instead, I’m going to point out another bias relating to this situation and others like it.
At a UK blog called Harry’s place, writer Peter Tatchell defends Holes, saying, “[I]n a democratic, free society it is wrong to prosecute him. Criminalisation is not appropriate.” Yet he also takes pains to polish up his politically correct credentials and writes, “Mr Holes is obviously homophobic and should not be insulting people with his anti-gay tirades. He should be challenged and people should protest against his intolerance.” And this attitude is reflected in the title of Tatchell’s piece: “Freedom of speech must be defended… even for homophobes.”
It’s also echoed in reader comments on the Holes case, where respondents focus on the man’s alleged “homophobia.” But, question: why the fixation on the preacher’s homosexual commentary? Note that what he said was, “Homosexuals are deserving of the wrath of God – and so are all other sinners….” In other words, it doesn’t seem that Holes is nearly as fixated on homosexuality as are his critics. After all, his frame of reference was all sinful behavior — so he is perhaps better described as “sinphobic” (as we all should be) — yet all the “homophiliacs” do is take issue with his condemnation of one particular sin.
Oh, I do understand the situation. Unlike homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, and apostates aren’t “protected groups” under British law. It’s also true that homosexuality is the one sin Holes mentioned by name. Yet this might only have been because homosexuals were asking him questions about their behavior. What would have been the focus had the preacher been approached by militant adulterers?
But even this isn’t the point. It is rather that there are no militant adulterers to speak of, but there is an organized homosexual movement. And like all leftist causes, it has been very successful at framing the debate.
It works like this: the left takes something, in this case homosexuality, out of the closet and tries to normalize it. Then, when traditionalists simply play defense and try to preserve the status quo, the leftist social engineers shout, “Why are you so hung up on homosexuality!”
It’s as if a man comes up to you, starts wildly directing blows at your head and then, when you put your hands up to block, says, “Why are you getting so violent! You’re a hater!” Yeah, I guess I am. I hate having my head bashed in for no reason.
And some of us also don’t want Truth, tradition, and virtue bashed in for no reason. But it isn’t hate that drives the best of us, for we are true soldiers who, to paraphrase Chesterton, fight not mainly because we hate what is in front of us, but because we love what is behind us.
I don’t really know who is going to end up burning in hellfire, as that’s God’s judgment. I do know, however, that the left has set the whole West on fire — and then accuses traditionalists of being hung-up on flames when we simply attempt to douse the blaze. And with civilization threatened with being reduced to ash, it just makes one wonder if it isn’t time for another great flood.
The American Middle Class Is Almost Gone…
The culture of the United States of America is beginning to adjust to the new economic status brought on by the trade treaties and the world government legislation passed by our elected officials. The vibrant middle class that was a Hallmark of the nation has succumbed to the exportation of millions of high paying jobs to cheaper locales and the retail outlets that were supported by that former affluence are beginning to close their doors.
A poorer society cannot support the broad selection of retail opportunities American shoppers have enjoyed and store closings are beginning to restrict the selection in marginal cities.
Prior to the Real Estate debacle the Florida town where I live was expanding at a record rate. A South Florida developer had purchased a large horse farm and gotten approval to construct homes and a major outdoor shopping center. Construction began. Dillards opened, Dicks Sporting Goods, Old Navy, Barnes and Noble, Kohls, H. H. Gregg, McAllisters Deli, Panera Bread and McDonalds. Scores of additional stores were constructed and several small businesses leased space. The real estate crash halted construction. Many of the smaller stores went out of business leaving acres of newly constructed retail spaces and residential lots that may never be used. The anchor stores now stand as lonely lumps in an emaciated skeleton starved by the death of the middle class.
On the other side of a major highway an older indoor shopping Mall has lost two anchor stores and has several vacancies. The Gap just closed. New renters are textile stores on short leases; some of these have opened and closed within a month or two. A new shop just opened offering a Chinese foot massage. The Mall was built in the 1980s and the high end jeweler that closed the beginning of this year and the men’s clothing store that just closed a couple of months ago were anchor stores. These are stores that like The Gap have been supported by the upper Middle class.
Wikipedia has a list of significant business failures by year going back into the 1930s. I counted the failures during the last decade of the Twentieth Century and the First decade of the Twenty First Century. My figures may not be exactly accurate but the comparative rates are astounding. I counted 87 failures during the 1990s compared to 327 from 2000 through 2010. Read recent statistics here.
According to a Pew survey the middle class net worth dropped 28 percent in the decade following 2001 while the upper one percent edged higher. They attributed this distinction to plummeting home values that impacted the middle class while wealthier people held broader based assets. While inflation has torn away at the value of the dollar middle class family income has declined by about 4 percent in the new century. From 1970 into the new century the percentage of total income enjoyed by the wealthy has risen from 29 percent to 46 percent while the middle class share has declined from 62 percent to 45 percent. Read the results of the survey here.
In this new world created over the heads of the American people the United States will bear no resemblance to the proud, affluent and powerful nation that emerged victorious after WWII. The objective is to flatten out the nations of the world making them more homogeneous and easier to govern. United States wealth is long gone replaced by trillions of dollars of debt that will enslave its citizens for generations..
Hitler’s Germany has been propagandized as the primary Satan of the Twentieth Century but it is a myth created to hide the wholesale wickedness of the Russian Revolution. Several decades ago Norman Dodd, then Director of Research to the Reece Committee, visited Alan Gaither, President of the Ford Foundation to explain why Congress was investigating foundations. Before he could explain, Mr. Gaither said, “Mr. Dodd, all of us who have a hand in the making of policies here, have had experience operating under directives, the substance of which is, that we use our grant-making power so as to alter life in the United States that it can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.”
It seems apparent now that what Henry Kissinger and President Nixon promised the Chinese during their visits in 1971 and 1972 was the United States of America offered up like the head of John the Baptist. No wonder the Chinese were interested! A scant 30 years later China is not only beneficiary of our manufacturing base but it also holds mortgages on our massive supplies of coal and oil.
A stupendous world change has occurred during the past several decades. Assets of the world’s wealthiest nation were peacefully removed by a legislative agenda sold to the people as beneficial and passed by their democratically elected politicians. This legislative agenda was planned in advance with the wile of The Serpent and as the devastating results set in a War on Terrorism was used to hide them and to deflect the animosity. The United States of America has now become the puppet of the money powers who have cannily used debt to enslave the world.
The time for redemption has passed. The horse is out of the barn. America cannot be redeemed! We are no longer a nation of pseudo-Christians with European roots. Immigration policies have filled our fruited plains with a variety of hungry immigrants who have been granted an opportunity made possible by several generations of hard working legally upright citizens. It was given away as if it had no value and used as a tool to balkanize and divide the country. Consensus is now extremely difficult. The goal has been accomplished, it cannot be stopped.
It has been the biggest peaceful coup in the history of mankind
While giant, world-wide, corporations spawned and nourished in America are forced to move their production to low wage countries by international agreements made over the heads of citizens, our balkanized nation must compete with this cheap labor. The competition includes China, Japan, India, Singapore, and Korea. These are nations of hungry, intelligent, well educated, industrious people that are willing to work seven days a week to acquire some of the luxuries Americans have enjoyed for decades. This transition will take more than a generation and by the time it is over the United States will be an insignificant part of the world.
It was not honest competition that sank the good ship America but a massive burglary carried out in darkness. So far the theft has been successful. We know who the burglars are but they are holding the citizens hostage while they remain free..
We are no longer the righteous nation that Alexis de Tocqueville so brilliantly described nearly two centuries ago. The transition started in earnest with the success of the ACLU’s legal challenges to Christianity. Under the false assumption that separation of church and state meant that Christianity had to be removed from government and from the public square the ACLU conducted a legal war against Christianity that succeeded in banning any overt conduct of the nation’s primary religion. This Kosher war against Christianity was not only evident in government but included our institutions of higher learning as well. The Christian Church failed to mount an aggressive counter attack allowing Satan’s minions to achieve a victory.
Now, as the American middle class disappears and businesses begin to close we can begin to see the fruition of what Alan Gaither of the Ford Foundation said to Norman Dodd over fifty years ago. We are beginning to resemble the Soviet Union.
One variant of a well-known law of bureaucracy says that the amount of time spent discussing a budgetary decision is inversely proportional to the magnitude of the budget in question. Judging by what I witnessed on March 20 at the European Parliament—at the Committee on Budgets’ hearing on the “Financing of the Eastern Partnership”—the Brussels machine functions entirely in accordance with this adage.
The money involved is substantial: 2.8 billion euros ($3.6 billion) over 5 years. The project’s stated purpose is to promote “shared values”—democracy, human rights and the rule of law—in six former Soviet states deemed to be of “strategic importance” to the European Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, andUkraine. Promoting the principles of market economy, sustainable development, civic society and “good governance” is also among the objectives.
In their opening remarks, the officials involved in running the Eastern Partnership Program were self-congratulatory about its alleged achievements. That much was to be expected: lots of sinecures, cushy jobs and expense-padded missions can be extracted from a few billion. Nevertheless, the entire construct’s numerous problems and shortcomings could not be concealed:
- Conceptually, there is no clear consensus within the EU on what exactly it is trying to promote in its eastern neighborhood under the bombastic slogans of “shared values, collective norms and joint ownership.” What does it all mean, if anything, in the real world?
- Empirically, the program has followed, and still follows, a “top-down” approach of deciding in Brussels what are the goals, then telling the eastern “partners” what they need to do, and finally rewarding them accordingly—rather than developing genuine partnerships based on those countries’ real needs and attainable objectives.
- Managerially, in order for the funds allocated to the “Partnership” to be optimally utilized, they would require elaborate apparatuses of deployment, supervision and evaluation. On the basis of the presentations last Wednesday, it is clear that the EU has neither the institutional mechanisms nor the supervisory bodies capable of insuring that this is the case.
- Substantially, the elephant in the room was the issue of EU enlargement—or, rather, the extreme unlikelihood of further enlargement after Croatia’s accession next July. Without the realistic prospect of an eventual path to full membership, the EU lacks meaningful leverage over the political elites in the six eastern countries to make them change their ways.
Far from being addressed, these problems are bypassed by the tendency of the EU bureaucracy to close its eyes to the reality on the ground in the countries concerned—or, worse, still, to misrepresent that reality for reasons of institutional self-preservations. The result, to put it succinctly, is that billions of European taxpayers’ cash are poured into a bottomless pit of post-Soviet corruption, graft, and pork-barrel politics. “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us,” went the old Soviet joke. Its modern-day “Eastern” equivalent should be “We pretend to reform, and they pretend that we are doing a good job.” Instead of being properly perceived as part of the problem, terminally corrupt political “elites” are treated as partners in finding solutions.
Moldova is the prime example. On per-capita basis, this backwater squeezed between Romania and Ukraine—the poorest country in Europe—has received far more money than the other five “partners,” and the EU pretends that its objectives are being met. While I was at the European Parliament, the European Commission presented its own regional report on the implementation of the Eastern Partnership. It asserted that “significant progress was made in the implementation of the Eastern Partnership” and singled out Moldova for “showing significant progress,” “stepping up efforts to implement judicial and law enforcement reform,” and “continuing to implement reforms in the areas of social assistance, health and education, energy, competition, state aid and regulatory approximation to the EU acquis.” Moldova’s government was asked to “continue to vigorously advance reforms in the justice and law enforcement systems” as well as intensify the fight against corruption.
This is surreal, on par with the Soviet Communist Party congresses exalting the great and glorious achievements of socialism in the years of terminal decline under Brezhnev. In reality, Moldova is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, according to independent analysts, who also claim that the majority of EU assistance is being misused by local officials. The Warsaw-based EaP Institute warns that the EU is devoting considerable sums to Moldova for very little return in terms of progress in the country’s reform process: “It begs the question: Why is the EU throwing money like this at a black hole of corruption, when there is so much to do in the EU’s own member states?”
It does, indeed. Moldova has already received some €482m from the EU Eastern Partnership, which is about 110 euros ($145) for every man, woman and child in the dirt-poor country—the equivalent of an average two-weekly wage. Nobody knows for certain where it went, but we have a fair idea. Recent opinion polls say that the majority of citizens of Moldova consider their current coalition government as “totally corrupt.” According to the Transparency International 2012 report, Moldova is among the most corrupt places in Europe, with Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia topping the list. But the EU says it is doing well, because an unhealthy symbiotic relationship has been developed between the unelected and mostly unaccountable bureaucrats managing enormous funds earmarked for nebulous purposes and their foreign “clients” who gloat at the mouth-watering prospect of placing a major portion of those funds into their own pockets.
After last Wednesday’s introductory presentations, several experts and members of European Parliament (MEPs) expressed misgivings about the Eastern Partnership policy. Olaf Osica, director of the centre for eastern studies in Warsaw, declared that “in four years the policy had failed to produce any tangible political or social results.” A prominent Polish MEP and former senior government minister, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, said the entire edifice should be “completely revised”:
There are a whole multitude of projects which, as we have heard at the hearing, no one seems able to follow or understand… What we are doing is creating the illusion that the EU is helping to transform these eastern European countries when, in fact, the naked truth is that the EU is losing its eastern neighbors. What is actually needed is for the EU—and that means both the Commission and Parliament—to totally revise and revisit its Eastern Partnership policy.
All this was in stark contrast to the earlier assurances by senior officials that the current picture was “confused,” but the EU was nevertheless “doing quite well” in addressing concerns about the transparency and accountability of its funding for the six countries (Marcus Cornaro); or that the EU was determined to push ahead with closer cooperation with those countries that have “demonstrated a commitment to the reform process” (Richard Tibbels).
The lenient attitude of EU officials regarding the patchy record of their “Eastern partners” on corruption, democratisation, and the rule of law is in stark contrast with the ever-moving goal posts for a half-dozen aspiring EU members in the Western Balkans. None of them will join the EU for a decade at least, of course, and a realistic reassessment of their political and economic policies is long overdue. The EU is in a state of chronic institutional and financial crisis, and trying to get on board at this point is equal to betting on Romney last November 5. Alternatives do exist, but they call for the cold-blooded diversification of long-term strategies. Belgrade and Kiev in particular should take note.
Hurrah, 17 Senate Democrats crossed the aisle to support the keystone pipeline. No doubt, these stalwart energy proponents are looking ahead to their 2014 races. “The vote puts new pressure on the Obama Administration to approve the pipeline project. The southern portion of the pipeline, which didn’t require White House approval, is already under construction. The Senate vote indicates that even Democrats are growing impatient with the delay.” But before the champagne is uncorked, the Green army of diehard crazies form ranks to make their last stand. Putting the issue in proper perspective, the reliable Robert Bryce warns – While opponents protest, oil companies turn to railroads.
Prior to the environmental cohorts starting a run on shorting railroad stocks, opponents move to stop Keystone pipeline, altogether. “The opposition effort is now focused on Secretary of State John Kerry, who will make a recommendation to President Barack Obama on whether to green-light the project.”In order to leap to the high moral ground, that fearless leader of foreign policy must be instilled with a new sense of abandoning the Middle East oil rich gulf region for a new austerity on fossil fuel resources. Here is a sample of the tortured logic from the Barron of restraint and sacrifice.
John Kerry: The Science Is Screaming At Us, states:
“Though he uses the flip side of Pascal’s Wager, which he restates as “What’s the worst that can happen?” Kerry adopts the same basic argument in his Ross Sea speech, in which he makes the case against climate change skeptics:
“What if the other people are wrong and we are right; what’s the worst that can happen? The destruction of the ecosystem as we live with it today.”
Given that choice, as a matter of public responsibility it makes common sense to configure public policy around the available science and adopt a vigorous plan to reduce carbon emissions.”
Sure the global warming fear mongers want you to adopt their weird science as fact, while they go to extreme means to deny or suppress the economic realities that all of us must deal with. Remember that the transportation of choice for attending Keystone Pipeline demonstrations are fueled by gasoline or diesel, not their hallowed wind generated electric vehicles.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs report, In Support of Canadian Oil Sandscounters the hysteria of often-criticized techniques used to extract liquid gold from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) in Alberta, Canada.
“Now, the environmental concerns. Canada works hard to mitigate the impact of oil sands development. In August we took a trip to visit a national laboratory devoted to this pursuit entirely. Canada’s practices are equal or better than anything required in the U.S. Yes, oil sands mining operations are not pretty, but then again, neither is coal mining or heavy industry – in the U.S. or elsewhere. The focus should be on whether the activities are carried out with appropriate environmental protections and attention to reclamation. Moreover, most future growth in oil sands development will use so-called in situ technologies that extract oil without surface mining, resulting in less environmental impact and a lower greenhouse gas footprint.”
As for environmental concerns for the Keystone Pipeline itself, The Edmond Suneditorial sums up quite nicely.
“Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of State revised an environmental impact statement for the 875-mile Keystone XL pipeline. The report contains no conclusive environmental reason for the pipeline not to be built, said Congressman James Lankford, R-Edmond.
“Fortunately for people in my state of Oklahoma and states around us, the administration is running out of excuses to continue delaying the Keystone XL pipeline,” Lankford said. “The last major pipeline from Canada took 27 months to approve by the Obama Administration State Department. So far, the Keystone XL pipeline has consumed 53 months in permitting and administration delays.”
The Washington Times item, Unlocking the Keystone pipeline illustrates some of those nasty facts that cause the political blockage from an administration that is bent on fostering an unrealistic energy policy.
“While Mr. Obama says he’s all in for boosting oil and gas production, a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service contradicts him. The record of fossil-fuel production during his tenure reveals that nearly every recent increase in oil and natural-gas production was on state-owned and private property, not federal land. U.S. oil production has increased by 1.1 million barrels per day between fiscal 2007 and 2012 on state and private land, but has fallen by 7 percent on federal land. For natural gas, production since 2007 has grown by 4 trillion cubic feet – up 40 percent on state and private land, but down by 33 percent on federal land.
The Congressional Research Service places partial blame on a slowdown in the federal drilling-application process. From 2006 to 2011, the average time needed to approve applications has risen from 218 days to 307 days. The complexity of paperwork involved in getting the government’s approval of drilling sites inhibits production and contributes to higher prices at the pump.”
Significance of the Seven Reasons Why Obama Will Approve the Keystone Pipeline arguments what should be of especial concern for John Kerry at the State Department:
“If the oil doesn’t head south of the Canadian border, it will head west to China, which craves cheap oil for its military build-up and its metastasizing territorial claims in East Asia, which it is Obama’s stated policy to vigorously oppose.”
The Oil Roustabout Economy is here to stay for the near future. If the country is to reduce reliance on foreign oil from unstable sources, the manifest alternative is to tap our friendly neighbor to the north and the resources domestically in the route of the Keystone Pipeline. “Since the environmentalists base their cosmos on shifting sand, why not go for the real stuff?” Commerce in petroleum is fluid and spongeable, crossing all borders. The artificial political obstruction, which delayed and added gratuitous costs to a utilitarian project, violates our real national security.
Contrary to popular belief, Brussels is not the only major European capital which is away from the seacoast as well as devoid of a river. The Senne is a far cry from the similar-sounding Seine further south, however: it is a nasty, brutish, mercifully short waterway. By the mid-1800’s it had become so putrid and unstable that the city elders decided to cover it—the massive project was known as the voûtement de la Senne—and to build boulevards and public edifices on top. The city did not gain much in charm, but its denizens’ life expectancy was instantly improved. (Whether living a long life in Belgium’s capital is a blessing or a curse is a separate issue.)
There is an equally nasty but infinitely more brutish monstrosity in today’s Brussels that cannot be dealt with so neatly. The European Union today is like the “Socialist Community” under Leonid Brezhnev in his dotage: totalitarian yet inefficient, glorified by its self-serving nomenklatura yet unloved by its subjects, devoid of any unifying ideology beyond the worn-out phrases and platitudes parroted by the absurd men and repulsive women in dull suits.
For the reality of this “United Europe,” as it is today, let us be dryly empirical for a moment and look at a few EU-related news items reported on one day—Thursday, March 14, 2013:
- EU leaders gathered in Brussels for a two-day summit in an attempt to negotiate the dilemma between austerity and growth. Thousands of protestors from all over the 27 member nations converged outside the EU HQ.
- Eurozone employment dropped by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the third, despite the Christmas shopping season. Experts say the unemployment rate will remain above 11% until early 2018.
- European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi says that “generally unsatisfactory economic developments in Europe” will improve in the course of 2013, but only if governments implement austerity measures and structural reforms. His fellow-Eurocrat, EU-appointed Italian prime minister Mario Monti, nevertheless says he will have to ask his EU partners to grant Italy more “flexibility” in its budget deficit reduction targets.
- The troika of international lenders—the EU, the ECB, and the IMF—left Greece without resolving a dispute with the government in Athens over further budgetary cuts. In the meantime, Greek shipyard workers protested outside the development ministry and hundreds of Greek students blocked up the education ministry to protest cuts resulting from EU-imposed austerity measures.Unemployment in Greece is 26%, up from 24.8% in the third quarter of 2012. Among under-24’s it is 57.8%. The percentage of unemployed Greeks who have been looking for a job for more than one year is 65.3%.
- In Spain, eviction proceedings against defaulters have soared since 2007 to 450,000. The number of repossessions ending in evictions increased by 135% in 2012 from the year before, indicating worsening trends. Spanish retail sales dropped 10.2% in the year to January, continuing the decline of the past 31 months.
- Cyprus bailout talks are crucial to next stage of crisis, but deep divisions remain over how to manage a bailout. Without a cut in the €17bn cost, Cypriot sovereign debt will reach 145% of GDP, by far the highest in the eurozone except for Greece.
- President François Hollande has said that France won’t be able to cut the public deficit to the EU limit of 3% of GDP this year; it was more likely to reach 3.7%. Amazingly, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble subsequently corrected Hollande, saying not that he “hoped,” or “expected,” but that he was “sure that France would, like us, respect the rules” on the public deficit. (Perhaps Herr Schäuble knows a thing or two about France’s future finance policy that Monsieur le Président de la République does not!)
- Germany, meanwhile, smugly claims that its finances are the model for all humanity. Its 2014 budget plans, revealed on March 13, show the structural deficit dropping to zero. “With all modesty [sic!], this is a result of historic proportions,” economy minister Philipp Rösler declared on that occasion. “Germany is in the vanguard in Europe. Our success with a policy of growth-oriented consolidation is the envy of the world.” Ach, modesty—the quintessential German weakness…
This is but a quick selection on a randomly selected day—the day of this writing. The tenor and substance have not changed much in recent months and years; and things will likely change for worse—OK, with that oneenviable exception, perhaps—in the months and years ahead.
Unsurprisingly, anti-EU feeling is escalating all over the continent. On March 1, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party was beaten into third place in the Eastleigh by-election, in southern England, by a party that wants Britain to leave the EU. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) supporters were once described by Cameron as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”—but they accounted for 28 percent of the vote in the traditionally Tory constituency. UKIP leader Nigel Farage declared the vote “a protest against an entire political class.” Under pressure from UKIP, Cameron had earlier promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017 if he wins the next election, but many British Euro-skeptics see this as a mere ploy to deflect the threat from UKIP.
Marine Le Pen, who finished third in the French presidential election, also demands a referendum on France’s membership. On Mach 3 she declared that the FN wants France to leave the EU unless four reforms are agreed: the return to the franc; the abolition of the Schengen single-borderarea; the primacy of France’s economic interests over “Europe’s”; and the primacy of national law over EU law. Otherwise, Le Pen has promised to transform the European elections a year from now into a referendum for or against Europe. Having polled 18% of the vote in the presidential election last year, Mlle Le Pen has a solid base to build upon.
In Italy, two anti-austerity, anti-euro parties—led by Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo—captured over half the vote and paralyzed the political system. Berlusconi returned from the dead to take just over 29% of the vote, less than one half of one percentage point behind the first-placed Center-Left. Newcomer Grillo’s Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S, Five Star Movement), entirely created via the web outside the traditional party system, took just over 25% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies—and demolished Italy’s balance of political forces. Pro-EU Monti’s coalition came fourth with a paltry ten percent.
Even in Germany, the apparent hegemon, there is little popular enthusiasm for the Euro-project. The recently-founded Alternative for Germany (AfD) is not even a political party yet, but expects to be a serious player come federal elections on September 22. It demands dissolution of the “coercive euro association,” an orderly end of the monetary union, and a referendum to decide if “the Basic Law, the best constitution that Germany ever had,” was violated to allow the transfer of sovereignty to the EU. Dr. Bernd Lucke—the AfD co-founder, economics professor and a life-long CDU supporter until he turned against Merkel in 2011 over her bailout policies—is adamant that Germany “has a government that has failed to comply with the law… and has blatantly broken the word that it had given to the German people.” With 14,000 paid members thus far, the AfD is respectable and distinctly upper-middle-class, with a higher concentration of PhDs than any party. Among its early supporters is Hans-Olaf Henkel, ex-president of the Federation of German Industry representing 100,000 businesses. Let it be added that as of now 26% of Germans say they would consider voting for a party committed to leaving the monetary union.
It will be a tough fight. Political, media and cultural elites in the leading countries of the Union are overwhelmingly pro-EU, pro-euro, pro-immigration, and vehemently opposed to any sign of national or ethno-linguistic coherence. If those elites have their way, there will be many more “Europeans” by the end of this century than today—some atheist, but mostly Muslim; some black, but mostly brown—but there will be precious few great-grandchildren of Europeans. The native populations are aborting and birth-controlling themselves into minorities. If Euro-elites have their way, disused churches will be converted into teeming mosques. Just over a decade ago, they refused to acknowledge Christian heritage as an element of European identity—but today they insist Islam is essential to that identity. Brussels rejects the notion that Europeans are defined by blood ties, collective memories, emotional bonds, culture, and kinship. Instead, “Europe” marches along the path of “civilization, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived… to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world…”
This is the mindset of 1792 and 1917 all over again. Its derivative expressions are foreseeable. The EU relentlessly encourages abortion, sexual deviancy, and population replacement as “basic human rights.” Its political process means the manufacture of ideologically correct outcomes as defined by the unelected Brussels machine, before the quasi-democratic machine of the European Parliament and the member countries’ institutions are set in motion. The preamble of the EU Charter on Human Rights claims to be “based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law” (implying the two were not in conflict), and concludes that “Enjoyment of these rights entails responsibilities and duties with regard to other persons, to the human community and to future generations.” Those rights are naturally demarcated by those who reserve the right to decide what exactly one’s obligations to “the human community” and “future generation” happen to be.
The true meaning of “the rule of law” is defined by the European Arrest Warrant, a hideous device created by the Lisbon Treaty, under which any citizen of a member country—or even a visitor from outside the Union—is liable to arrest and extradition at the behest of a judge in any other EU member country, under one of 32 categories of “crime.” Those offenses include murder, terrorism, as well as “racism and xenophobia.” The EU thus came to equate beliefs, opinions and sentiments with the worst of actual crimes, in the best tradition of Soviet and Nazi jurisprudence.
The workings of the machine are mainly in the hands of the European Commission (EC), whose members are appointed by the 27 prime ministers who make up the Council. The EC has the authority to create and impose policies, but it cannot be removed or held accountable by any electorate. Its duty is to uphold the interests of the Union as such: its members swear that they will discard any vestige of loyalty to any nation. The only EU institution that has any claim to democratic credentials is the European Parliament, the least powerful of the three key bodies.
How and why did the monstrosity get this way? Gradually at first, with a great deal of patience and cunning exercised by its visionary creators. In 1945 Western Europe was in ruins, a shadow of what it had been only four decades previously. The old, pre-1914 balance-of-power system had collapsed, and the interwar mechanisms of collective security were neither collective nor secure. The beginnings were seemingly pragmatic: the 1951 European Coal and Steel Community—as engineered by Robert Schuman—seemed like a sound idea, a plus-sum-game if there ever was one. But the upholders of Euro-federalism had a bigger fish to fry. From the outset they held that a sense of common history had to be developed, as well as a sense of an existing and growing common identity, to complement those early economic integration mechanisms. As Jean Monnet, the father of the project (and, significantly, a man never elected to a public office), admitted six decades ago, “Europe has never existed; one has genuinely to create Europe.”
Monnet and his disciples had a long way to go. The initial ideological basis for the project was de Gaulle’s distinctly non-federalist vision of l’Europe des patries. A concert of nation-states, brought together by a common interest, would seek the withering away of their old hostilities—with France and Germany leading the way—but all of them would retain their substance and identity regardless of the institutional arrangement. This was the “Europe” of the Six, a logical heir to the pragmatic Coal and Steel Community. Euro-integralists—notably Belgium’s prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak and Monnet himself—nevertheless kept their powder dry for a more opportune moment when the European Economic Community might be steered in the direction of a political union. De Gaulle and his immediate successor, Georges Pompidou, did not want that; and until the early 1970’s the institutional framework remained essentially the same.
Then came the notion of Europe’s unity in diversity, the reverse of the Europe of the Fatherlands. (In 2000 In varietate concordia was adopted as the official motto of the European Union.) The new concept coincided with the European Community’s expansion to the Nine, then to the Twelve. Its proponents claimed that Europe was not only a mosaic of cultures but an organic whole. The implication that this whole required a single source of decision-making authority gave rise to the method of European integration Monnet had advocated from the outset: a series of gradual yet regular transfers of small slices of national sovereignty—in ostensibly technical areas—from national capitals to Brussels. The Community apparat made a quantum leap toward this goal with the Single European Act (SEA, July 1987). It was a thorough revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, but in the direction of a super-authority rather than a superstate.
The distinction is essential. The standard Eurosceptic accusation that the Brussels machine is plotting the creation of a single federal state is incorrect. The people who run the Brussels machine have never wanted the end result to be a superstate modeled after the United States. In the context of pan-European federal statehood they would be held more accountable and would come under far greater public scrutiny than if they remained faceless and continued to operate from the corridors of the monstrous EU HQ at Barleymont. The strategy was for the states to be drained gradually of statehood and their power transferred to Brussels, but without the unwelcome trappings and limitations of statehood itself. Its guiding spirit was then-Commission PresidentJacques Delors, a French Socialist. From the SEA on, the EU became—in the words of British MEP Roger Helmer—“a slow-motion coup d’etat.” In addition to the creation of the eurozone 12 years ago, which has grown to 17 member-states since, the Schengen Agreement (1990), the Maastricht Treaty (1992), the Amsterdam Treaty (1998), the Treaty of Nice (2000), and the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) have transferred vast powers from national capitals to Brussels.
The era of Delors coincided with the rise of the Generation of 1968 to the positions of power. The activists had cut their hair, put on suits and ties, and discovered that it was more fruitful and comfortable to take the Gramscian long road through the institutions than to blow them up. The veterans of the hard-left era, like Catherine Ashton and Jose Manuel Barroso, still subscribe to the concept of permanent revolution, but it is wrapped into the open-ended evolution of the EU that they now control. The result is a European Union in a state of indeterminacy and permanent flux, a postmodern edifice within which the meaning of sovereignty is relativized and the separation of foreign and domestic policies blurred to the point of interchangeability. What all of these Euro-enthusiasts share—as John Laughland has noted—is a love of indeterminacy and permanent change, and a hostility to what they regard as inadequate, old-fashioned, and simplistic certainties of classical sovereign statehood.
Far from being the “capital of Europe,” Brussels is the regional HQ of the post-Christian anti-Europe, just as Washington DC has morphed into the global HQ of the same project. The goals of the project managers are the same because their degenerate minds are the same. They cannot be shamed into changing their ways through arguments or defeated through the ballot box any more than a malignant cancer can be arrested with aspirin. A stronger medicine is needed.
To paraphrase a bad man from a time much better than our own, écrasez l’infâme!
Barak Obama’s journey to the Holy Land hardly resembles the trek of Moses through the wilderness. Nonetheless, his flee from accountability does remind of that often professed transparency. In this case, he cannot hide from his misdeeds. An open question remains, will public outrages banish the POTUS under the weight of his transgressions. Alternatively, will the powers of Pharaoh succeed in suppressing his enemies?
“Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” (NRSV Exodus 2:14)
This deed is the event that sends Moses on his long journey. The Old Testament is careful to say that Moses killed the Egyptian when no one was around. Yet the implication in the Bible is that you can run, but you cannot hide. Barry S. Roffman’s Ark Code offers an esoteric, if not bizarre theory that attempts to make a connection with the Hebrew Torah.
Barak OBAMA – REINCARNATION OF PHARAOH, KING OF EGYPT, may be a stretch by most mainstream standards. However, the political point that Obama seeks to dictate to others certainly has the stain of Pharaoh.
“This matrix was originally posted in conjunction with President Obama’s overt hostility toward Israel. When the crisis arose in Egypt where there was widespread opposition to President Mubarak, Obama declared, “What is clear — and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak — is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, and it must begin now.” The demands made by the U.S. President had a tone that made it sound like he was also elected as President of Egypt. There seemed to be no concept of Egyptian sovereignty, or of the need for Egypt to solve its own problems internally. On the matrix, BARACK OBAMA is the axis term. His name is shown at its 6th lowest ELS in wrapped Torah (which requires more than one computer pass through the 304,805 letters of Torah to find). It is directly crossed by one of the Torah’s 8 uses of the term PHARAOH KING OF EGYPT. Perhaps President Obama has a distant memory of being Pharaoh, King of Egypt in a past life. Indeed, there is a statue that backs this idea in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo that was attacked in the rebellion, and which was at the heart of the rebellion in Cairo’s Tahrir Square!
Who will play the role of Pharaoh? As shown above, a statute in the Cairo Museum offers a huge clue. It and the actions of Obama, when combined with the Torah Code matrix above, and the odds below appear to make the answer rather apparent.
The p value of the match of BARACK OBAMA and PHARAOH KING OF EGYPT is just ~0.015. It equates to about one chance in 66 that we could find such a match. By itself this is only of mild interest. However, when the matrix is expanded to just 170 letters, a second occurrence of PHARAOH KING OF EGYPT is seen. With just 7 remaining such terms to match, the p value of the larger matrix is now adjusted to 0.000104, which is about one chance in 9,607 – highly significant.”
Mr. Roffman’s conclusion: “It is not certain who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, butone suspect is Akhenaten. His statue is found in the Cairo Museum, and it is a dead ringer for President Obama.”
For an op-ed viewpoint authored by ANDRÉ ACIMAN, in the New York Times, The Exodus Obama Forgot to Mention, illustrates the complexity of living together, much less in harmony.
“PRESIDENT OBAMA’S speech to the Islamic world was a groundbreaking event. Never before has a young, dynamic American president, beloved both by his countrymen and the nations of the world, extended so timely and eager a hand to a part of the globe that, recently, had seen fewer and fewer reasons to trust us or to wish us well.As important, Mr. Obama did not mince words. Never before has a president gone over to the Arab world and broadcast its flaws so loudly and clearly: extremism, nuclear weapons programs and a faltering record in human rights, education and economic development — the Arab world gets no passing grades in any of these domains. Mr. Obama even found a moment to mention the plight of Egypt’s harassed Coptic community and to criticize the new wave of Holocaust deniers. And to show he was not playing favorites, he put the Israelis on notice: no more settlements in the occupied territories. He spoke about the suffering of Palestinians. This was no wilting olive branch.
It is strange that our president, a man so versed in history and so committed to the truth, should have omitted mentioning the Jews of Egypt. He either forgot, or just didn’t know, or just thought it wasn’t expedient or appropriate for this venue. But for him to speak in Cairo of a shared effort “to find common ground … and to respect the dignity of all human beings” without mentioning people in my position would be like his speaking to the residents of Berlin about the future of Germany and forgetting to mention a small detail called World War II.”
Viewing the Ed Show video, from the progressive media, Netanyahu Sets US Conservatives Straight on ‘Anti-Israel’ Obama, attempts to give the impression that playing nice with Bibi Netanyahu implies progress. Just how realistic is this assessment, when examined in light of the record of the administration?
How far the daring darling of the peace process has fallen from grace among the Middle East Semites, should not be a surprise. Even the pro-Israel establishment Daily Beast questions Obama’s ability and commitment to engage the eternal feud in the article, How Obama Became Netanyahu.
“When it comes to the Palestinians, Obama is also governed by political fear. Obama’s own dovish instincts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are clear.
Before he won the Democratic nomination in 2008, Obama spoke openly about Palestinian suffering, about the narrow confines of the Israel debate inside the United States, and about his dim view of Likud. But ever since his bruising, and ultimately futile, conflicts with Netanyahu over settlements in 2009 and the 1967 lines in 2011, Obama has gone to great lengths to avoid Israel-related fights. During the past 18 months, he’s barely uttered a public word about settlements or the 1967 lines. Last year’s Democratic platform excised previous language pledging a “personal” presidential “commitment” to the peace process. And now Obama is traveling to Israel without any specific plans for moving toward a Palestinian state.
Obama is essentially telling Palestinians to keep their heads down until an Israeli leader comes along who wants to create a viable Palestinian state. Or until ordinary Israelis stop worrying about the ultra-Orthodox and the price of cottage cheese and create another peace movement. Or until politics change in Washington. He’s telling Palestinians to relinquish every form of counterpressure they have and put themselves at Israel’s and America’s mercy, even though this trip itself is evidence that without Palestinian counterpressure, America and Israel will do little else except entrench the status quo.”
Woe is I, for the “so called” reincarnated Pharaoh; his pilgrimage to the Promise Land is not exactly a vacation in Eden. No “parting of the waves” on this visit for the Tempter look alike. Even on the home front, ‘The Bible’ viewers: Seeing Obama in Satan gains traction.
“The similarity was seen and commented upon by people hostile to the president by people who because of the their general political opinions, found it quite “obvious” that the Devil and the president should look so much alike.
Plenty of the president’s biggest fans also saw the similarity and went to social media to spread the word about it. Why? Because, according to them, it was all part of the producers’ plan to smear the president and appeal to the “Bible thumpers” who oppose him.
In other words, both groups saw the president in the Devil – one group because they see the Devil in the president, and the other because they see the Devil in those who strongly oppose the president.”
If not a Pharaoh or a Beelzebub, what precisely is Barak Obama? While he surely would like to be the sheikh of the last days, he certainly is no vessel of revealed scripture. The “born again” Netanyahu – Obama love fest, is no transcendental relationship. Only by answering, Who made you a ruler and judge over us?, can serious minded brothers of good will cross over into the promise land of honest accountability.
Obama is a creature of satanic control and implements global Talmudic law. With the abandonment of Mosaic Law and the New Testament gospel, the international community is executing a worldwide inferno of hatred and death. “Let my people go” applies to all of humanity. The exodus from perdition needs universal acceptance that only obedience to God is the path to paradise.
The descent was gradual—a slide into the tawdry, the trivial and the inane, into the charade on cable news channels such as Fox and MSNBC in which hosts hold up corporate political puppets to laud or ridicule, and treat celebrity foibles as legitimate news. But if I had to pick a date when commercial television decided amassing corporate money and providing entertainment were its central mission, when it consciously chose to become a carnival act, it would probably be Feb. 25, 2003, when MSNBC took Phil Donahue off the air because of his opposition to the calls for war in Iraq
Donahue and Bill Moyers, the last honest men on national television, were the only two major TV news personalities who presented the viewpoints of those of us who challenged the rush to war in Iraq. General Electric and Microsoft—MSNBC’s founders and defense contractors that went on to make tremendous profits from the war—were not about to tolerate a dissenting voice. Donahue was fired, and at PBS Moyers was subjected to tremendous pressure. An internal MSNBC memo leaked to the press stated that Donahue was hurting the image of the network. He would be a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war,” the memo read. Donahue never returned to the airwaves.
The celebrity trolls who currently reign on commercial television, who bill themselves as liberal or conservative, read from the same corporate script. They spin the same court gossip. They ignore what the corporate state wants ignored. They champion what the corporate state wants championed. They do not challenge or acknowledge the structures of corporate power. Their role is to funnel viewer energy back into our dead political system—to make us believe that Democrats or Republicans are not corporate pawns. The cable shows, whose hyperbolic hosts work to make us afraid self-identified liberals or self-identified conservatives, are part of a rigged political system, one in which it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, General Electric or ExxonMobil. These corporations, in return for the fear-based propaganda, pay the lavish salaries of celebrity news people, usually in the millions of dollars. They make their shows profitable. And when there is war these news personalities assume their “patriotic” roles as cheerleaders, as Chris Matthews—who makes an estimated $5 million a year—did, along with the other MSNBC and Fox hosts.
It does not matter that these celebrities and their guests, usually retired generals or government officials, got the war terribly wrong. Just as it does not matter that Francis Fukuyama and Thomas Friedman were wrong on the wonders of unfettered corporate capitalism and globalization. What mattered then and what matters now is likability—known in television and advertising as the Q score—not honesty and truth. Television news celebrities are in the business of sales, not journalism. They peddle the ideology of the corporate state. And too many of us are buying.
The lie of omission is still a lie. It is what these news celebrities do not mention that exposes their complicity with corporate power. They do not speak about Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, a provision that allows the government to use the military to hold U.S. citizens and strip them of due process. They do not decry the trashing of our most basic civil liberties, allowing acts such as warrantless wiretapping and executive orders for the assassination of U.S. citizens. They do not devote significant time to climate scientists to explain the crisis that is enveloping our planet. They do not confront the reckless assault of the fossil fuel industry on the ecosystem. They very rarely produce long-form documentaries or news reports on our urban and rural poor, who have been rendered invisible, or on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or on corporate corruption on Wall Street. That is not why they are paid. They are paid to stymie meaningful debate. They are paid to discredit or ignore the nation’s most astute critics of corporatism, among them Cornel West, Medea Benjamin, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky. They are paid to chatter mindlessly, hour after hour, filling our heads with the theater of the absurd. They play clips of their television rivals ridiculing them and ridicule their rivals in return. Television news looks as if it was lifted from Rudyard Kipling’s portrait of the Bandar-log monkeys in “The Jungle Book.” The Bandar-log, considered insane by the other animals in the jungle because of their complete self-absorption, lack of discipline and outsized vanity, chant in unison: “We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true.”
When I reached him by phone recently in New York, Donahue said of the pressure the network put on him near the end, “It evolved into an absurdity.” He continued: “We were told we had to have two conservatives for every liberal on the show. I was considered a liberal. I could have Richard Perle on alone but not Dennis Kucinich. You felt the tremendous fear corporate media had for being on an unpopular side during the ramp-up for a war. And let’s not forget that General Electric’s biggest customer at the time was Donald Rumsfeld [then the secretary of defense]. Elite media features elite power. No other voices are heard.”
Donahue spent four years after leaving MSNBC making the movie documentary “Body of War” with fellow director/producer Ellen Spiro, about the paralyzed Iraq War veteran Tomas Young. The film, which Donahue funded himself, began when he accompanied Nader to visit Young in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
“Here is this kid lying there whacked on morphine,” Donahue said. “His mother, as we are standing by the bed looking down, explained his injuries. ‘He is a T-4. The bullet came through the collarbone and exited between the shoulder blades. He is paralyzed from the nipples down.’ He was emaciated. His cheekbones were sticking out. He was as white as the sheets he was lying on. He was 24 years old. … I thought, ‘People should see this. This is awful.’ ”
Donahue noted that only a very small percentage of Americans have a close relative who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan and an even smaller number make the personal sacrifice of a Tomas Young. “Nobody sees the pain,” he said. “The war is sanitized.”
“I said, ‘Tomas, I want to make a movie that shows the pain, I want to make a movie that shows up close what war really means, but I can’t do it without your permission,’ ” Donahue remembered. “Tomas said, ‘I do too.’ ”
But once again Donahue ran into the corporate monolith: Commercial distributors proved reluctant to pick up the film. Donahue was told that the film, although it had received great critical acclaim, was too depressing and not uplifting. Distributors asked him who would go to see a film about someone in a wheelchair. Donahue managed to get openings in Chicago, Seattle, Palm Springs, New York, Washington and Boston, but the runs were painfully brief.
“I didn’t have the money to run full-page ads,” he said. “Hollywood often spends more on promotion than it does on the movie. And so we died. What happens now is that peace groups are showing it. We opened the Veterans for Peace convention in Miami. Failure is not unfamiliar to me. And yet, I am stunned at how many Americans stand mute.”
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Where’s the Kingfish Now That We Really Need Him?
Wrong. The truth is that support for capitalism has been steadily eroding since the Great Crash of ’08 when markets tumbled and housing prices plunged wiping out $8 trillion in home equity and leaving 5 million homeowners facing foreclosure. After that dose of cold water in the face, support for the free market system dropped precipitously from 80% (in 2002) to a titch above 54% by 2010. Interestingly, in France (according to the Economist) only 6% of the people now “strongly” support the free market. Here’s more from the article in the Economist:
“Capitalism’s waning fortunes are starkly visible among Americans earning below $20,000. Their support for the free market has dropped from 76% to 44% in just one year. The research was conducted by GlobeScan, a polling firm. Its chairman Doug Miller says American business is “close to losing its social contract” with average families.” (“Market of Ideas: Capitalism’s waning popularity”, The Economist)
“Social contract”? What social contract? You mean the social contract that allows the banks to fleece your ass at every opportunity with no chance of being held accountable?
While the report is 2 years old, it indicates something that’s fairly obvious to many, that Americans are generally pragmatic people who judge a system by its results not by the public relations blabber issuing from the business channel. “Show me the beef”, that’s what the average working slob cares about, not some horseshit about “the wondrous symmetry of the self-correcting market”. What a load of malarkey. If we’d applied the theories of the market fundamentalists after Lehman Brothers collapsed, the 10 biggest banks in the country would have been euthanized (as they should have been) and we’d be well on our way to a true recovery. Instead, the economy is still hopelessly mired in a long-term slump that shows no sign of ending. The only thing that’s “corrected” is the profit margins on Wall Street which are at record highs. Get a load of this from the WSWS:
“As the US government prepares to furlough 1 million federal workers and slash hundreds of billions in social spending, corporate executives in the United States are receiving among the highest payouts in history. USA Today reported Thursday that at least ten CEOs took in $50 million apiece in 2012, largely as a result of cashing in stocks that have soared in value with the rising market. According to the newspaper, “Early 2013 proxy filings detailing 2012 compensation show a growing number of CEOs reaping $50 million or more, gains that could prove unmatched in breadth and size since the Internet IPO craze enriched tech company executives more than a decade ago…..
Among the top pay packages according to preliminary calculation is that of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, which included stock options valued at $103.3 million this year, on top of $30 million in other compensation and stock, as well as $10.2 million in vested shares, according to USA Today.” (“US corporate executives cash in”, World Socialist Web Site)
Geez, I sure hope Mr. Starbucks can make ends meet on a measly $130 mil a year. He might have to cutback on his trips to Walmart, don’t you think?
The whole thing is laughable. This is a free market? Give me a break! The Fed is pumping $85 billion per month into financial assets pushing up stock prices, while everyone else faces the grinding deprivation of austerity. Who can support a system like that? Everything about it is a lie. Now take a look at this from Trimtabs:
“…there has been a record number of buybacks announced since the start of February. There have also been a bumper crop of new cash takeovers. The number of shares grows when companies and or insiders sell new shares. …
Here’s why this is such a big deal. In essence over the last seven weeks companies have given shareholders $120 billion in cash in exchange for shares. Compare that $120 billion with just $50 billion of new money going into all equity mutual and exchange traded funds so far for all of 2013.
Remember, 80% of US stocks are held by institutions. Institutions typically have a constant rate of cash holdings, whether 1% or 5%. When the number of share held by institutions shrinks by $100 billion, or around 80% of $120 billion, that means those institutions have more money with which to buy the fewer shares available in the equity markets. Therefore, the price of the remaining shares should go up.” (“Record Buybacks Creating Massive Float Shrink”, Trimtabs)
There’s your great stock market rally in a nutshell. 100% fake. The Fed is juicing the system, so the guys with money are following Bernanke’s lead and buying back their own stinking shares, thus, pushing prices even higher. They make boatloads of cash while you and I get bupkis. That’s fair, isn’t it?
The whole thing is a joke. There’s no free market; it’s just PR-hype geared to dupe people out of their hard-earned money. Did you know that the nation’s biggest corporations are giving record amounts of cash back to investors via dividends because they don’t have anything to invest in? Here’s the story:
“The New York Times reported earlier this month that S&P 500 companies are expected to hand investors $300 billion in dividends this year, an increase over last year’s payout of $282 billion. American corporations bought back $117.8 billion in their own stock last month, the highest total on records going back to 1985.”
Of course, the reason they have nothing to invest in because everyone is broke. Unemployment is still high, wages are falling, and the average working family is up-to-their-eyeballs in debt. So, where’s the demand for more widgets? There isn’t any. The behemoth financial institutions have cannibalized the system to the point where nothing is left but a stripped carcass. There’s no sense in investing in plants and machinery when everyone is flat busted. You’re better off just giving money back to your rich friends so they can buy another bauble at Tiffany’s. And, that’s what they’re doing.
But, at least housing rebounding, right? I mean, it’s not all bad. Here’s the scoop from the country’s Number 1 housing cheerleader, Calculated Risk, from a post titled “Existing Home Sales in February: 4.98 million SAAR, 4.7 months of supply”:
“Sales in February 2013 (4.98 million SAAR) were 0.8% higher than last month, and were 10.2% above the February 2012 rate. “
Sounds pretty good, eh? Prices are up, sales are up, and all is well with the world. There’s only one little glitch; it’s all bullshit. In fact, disproving the “Housing is Back” theory is so easy, it’s ridiculous. If you can read a chart, you can grasp why housing is NOT rebounding. Look carefully at the chart above. See where we are now as far as existing housing sales. Sales are back to what they were in 2002, right? Now–ask yourself this– what happened in 2002 that might have impacted housing sales?
Does “housing bubble” ring a bell?
There was a sharp uptick in sales due to the fact that the banks started selling homes to anyone who could fog a mirror, right? Remember the subprimes, ARMs, no-down, interest only, liar’s loans, piggybacks, ALT As, and the whole panoply of freakish mortgages that boosted sales and sent housing prices into the stratosphere? That all started right around 2002. In other words, the bubble was caused by extending credit to people who were not creditworthy to begin with, people who the banks knew, would never be able to repay the loan. THEY KNEW THAT. That WAS the scam. Sure, low interest rates did play a role, but not nearly as big a role as criminally lax lending standards that put people in homes that they would eventually lose to foreclosure.
So, now sales are back to their historic trend, which is good. But it’s silly to expect prices and sales to return to bubble-era highs unless regulations are jettisoned (again) and the banks start issuing loans to anyone who stumbles into their office. That’s not to imply, that the banks and industry leaders are not working as hard as they can to weaken lending rules and to gut the new “Ability to Repay” provision of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) “Qualified Mortgage” regulation. They are! In fact, they appear to be making great strides in that regard. (See: MBA Applauds Bill to Clarify Points and Fees Calculation for Qualified Mortgage Rule, RISMedia.)
But the point is, unless the banks are able to sabotage the new guidelines for lending, (for gov-insured mortgages) there is not going to be another housing bubble. At best, prices will rise at their traditional 1 to 2% appreciation per year. And at worst, they will resume their downward slide when the speculators (who now make up roughly 25% of all sales) flee the market for greener pastures. Bottom line: There’s nothing in the recent data that suggests that housing prices will continue to rise. It’s all interest rate stimulus, inventory suppression and aggressive mortgage mods. (keeping underwater borrowers in their homes)
When the average guy reflects on the way he got raped in the housing swindle, or the twisted way the banks were bailed out, or the way the Fed forks over $85 billion per month to his crooked friends on Wall Street (while teachers, firefighters and other public workers get their pink slips month after month); he doesn’t get a real warm and fuzzy feeling about the system. He knows the system is rigged against him, that Bernanke’s thumb is planted on the scale, and that he’s getting bent-over by lowlife vipers and miscreants. He knows all that, which is why his support for free market capitalism is tenuous at best. Just take a look at this recent survey by Gallup and you’ll see that majorities on both sides of the aisle support big government programs that put people back to work.
Majority of Party Groups Favor Each Jobs Proposal
A majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents support each of the three job creation proposals tested in a new Gallup poll. Republicans are much more supportive of business tax breaks than the new job programs, and Democrats are more likely to favor the job creation programs, while independents show roughly equal support for all three.
Implications: “Job creation proposals enjoy widespread public support, including majority backing among all party groups, even when the issue of government spending is raised in an era when deficit reduction is one of the major priorities for the federal government.” (Gallup)
Can you believe it? Even the Republicans support government jobs programs. So all that gibberish about “hating big government and loving the free market” is just a load of crap. Americans don’t hate socialism; What they hate is the word which conjures up images of the Berlin Wall, Joe Stalin and Soviet troops marching through Red Square. One of the country’s greatest political visionary’s was died-in-the-wool socialist; a man who worked his entire life to put the rich in their place and spread the wealth to ordinary working stiffs. He was America’s Hugo Chavez and his name was Huey P. Long, Governor of Louisiana, aka the “Kingfish”. Here’s a short video of Long giving speech to Congress.
“How many men ever went to a barbecue and would let one man take off the table what’s intended for 9/10th of the people to eat? The only way to be able to feed the balance of the people is to make that man come back and bring back some of that grub that he ain’t got no business with!
Now we got a barbecue. We have been praying to the Almighty to send us to a feast. We have knelt on our knees morning and nighttime. The Lord has answered the prayer. He has called the barbecue. “Come to my feast,” He said to 125 million American people. But Morgan and Rockefeller and Mellon and Baruch have walked up and took 85 percent of the victuals off the table!
Now, how are you going to feed the balance of the people? What’s Morgan and Baruch and Rockefeller and Mellon going to do with all that grub? They can’t eat it, they can’t wear the clothes, they can’t live in the houses.
Giv’em a yacht! Giv’em a Palace! Send ‘em to Reno and give them a new wife when they want it, if that’s what they want. [Laughter] But when they’ve got everything on God’s loving earth that they can eat and they can wear and they can live in, and all that their children can live in and wear and eat, and all of their children’s children can use, then we’ve got to call Mr. Morgan and Mr. Mellon an Mr. Rockefeller back and say, come back here, put that stuff back on this table here that you took away from here that you don’t need. Leave something else for the American people to consume. And that’s the program.”
Where’s Kingfish now that we need him?
“Every man a king, but no one wears a crown.” – Huey P. long, Governor of Louisiana
President Obama’s recent closed-door sessions with Republican congressmen to reach a “grand bargain” has roused suspiciously little attention in the mainstream media. What scant reporting has occurred presents the following narrative: President Obama is a “middle ground” politician attempting to breach political divides with erstwhile Republican opponents. In reality these meetings are not between political opposites, but kindred spirits; perfectly matched ideologies that differ only in implementation, and only by degrees.
Here’s a summary of the meetings by the Conservative Economist magazine:
“On March 6th he [Obama] took 12 Republican senators out to dinner at a posh hotel in Washington… The [Republican] guests noted with surprise and delight that he [Obama] listened more than he talked…The next day Mr. Obama invited [Republican] Paul Ryan to lunch at the White House…This week he is paying three visits to Congress on three consecutive days, to make his pitch for a grand bargain to each party’s caucus in both chambers.”
The article fails to remind us what the definition of a “Grand Bargain” is, nor its political/historical significance. Essentially the Grand Bargain is a bi-partisan plan that does two things: 1) reduces the national deficit by cutting so-called “entitlement programs” (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, etc.) and 2) raises revenue via taxation (not necessarily from the wealthy and corporations).
Does this make Obama a treacherous renegade of the Democratic Party? Not quite.
Many Democrats are leading the attack on popular “entitlement” programs erected under Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal (Social Security) and enhanced by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs (Medicare). These are the bedrock social programs of the modern Democratic Party. But even bedrock turns into quicksand over time. The Democrats of today have been radically transformed, thanks to a monsoon of corporate cash that has eroded the parties affiliation to its past.
The corporate Democrats in the Senate have been so complicit in the Grand Bargaining that the pro-Democrat New York Times recently congratulated them for putting forth their own proposed budget, in an attempt to separate them from the political fallout that would come if a Grand Bargain actually came to fruition. The New York Times reports:
“It’s been four years since the Democrats who control the Senate produced a budget. That has meant four missed opportunities to demonstrate what they stand for, in hard numbers and clear spending priorities. On Wednesday, the chamber’s leaders stiffened their spines and issued a 2014 budget.”
In reality it’s not about stiff spines but saved faces. This Grand Bargain conversation has been happening in the media since Obama was elected in 2008, and only now, when the chapter’s final paragraph is being written, do Senate Democrats put forward an alternative ending they know won’t pass.
But what about the progressive caucus Democrats in the House of Representatives? They too are complicit in the crimes of the corporate Blue Dog Democrats. For example, you would be hard pressed to find even the most progressive Democrat publicly denounce Obama’s scheming to cut Social Security and Medicare; instead, these progressive Democrats spend their time pointing out the obvious — that Republicans would like to cut these popular programs.
This type of distraction provides vital political cover for Obama to continue his right wing policies. The progressive caucus thus minimizes or ignores the sins of its leadership, guaranteeing that the rightward drift of the Democrats will continue.
It’s true that the progressive caucus released a progressive budget as an alternative to the Republican’s — and Obama’s — budget. But this budget has no chance of being passed, and progressive caucus Democrats have no intention of building a movement that might give life to such a budget, since it would make their leadership look bad and divide their party.
At the end of the day the progressive Democrats will fall in line with the Democratic leadership, as they typically do. If Obama needs the votes, the progressives will cough them up. One of the first “progressive” Democrats to jump on the Grand Bargain bandwagon is Congressmen Sheldon Whitehouse, who, in speaking about the President’s Grand Bargain hunting said:
“We will have your [Obama's] back, you will have ours, together we will give President Obama all the support he needs during these [Grand Bargain] negotiations.”
This progressive caucus complicity was also noted recently by Norman Solomon, (a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) who noticed that curiously little progressive caucus members had signed onto a letter that pledged to vote against any budget that included cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The political winds have shifted to the right, and the progressives would like to stay Democrats, which now means supporting cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
This wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who had read the recent article by John Stauber, who traced the origins of the “Progressive Movement,” which was set up by the rich Democrats who lead the party, as a way to counteract the Republicans media savvy. The point of the Progressive Movement and progressive Democrats is not to change society, but to beat Republicans in elections by creating the appearance of a groundswell of support for Democratic Party policies.
At the end of the day a so-called progressive Democrat is still a Democrat, and the Democratic Party has re-made its image to reflect the interests of its new big donors from Wall Street, who now feel as comfortable buying Democrats as they do purchasing a Republican politician.
Both Republicans and Democrats know that a Grand Bargain comes with gigantic political risks, most notably political suicide, since the party that cuts Social Security and Medicare will earn the hatred of 99% of Americans. Their ingenious answer is to blame each other. The progressive Democrats and Tea Party Republicans who stand on the sidelines during this fiasco — without taking any real action to stop it — stand to benefit from the outcome, and will loudly denounce the treachery post-treachery, their own names remaining unbesmirched.
But the majority of people in the U.S. will see through such blatant opportunism, and will trust neither party again. The far right will thus rush to organize a new political party, while the labor and community groups supporting the Democrats will either do the same or continue hitching their fortunes to a flagship sinking to the bottom of the ocean.