Obama’s “No Growth, No Jobs, No Recovery”
The world’s biggest economy ground to a standstill in the first quarter of 2015 wracked by massive job losses in the oil sector, falling personal consumption, weak exports and droopy fixed investment. Real gross domestic product (GDP), the value of the production of goods and services in the US, increased at an abysmal annual rate of just 0.2 percent in Q1 ’15 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis demonstrating conclusively that 6 years of zero rates and Large-Scale Asset Purchases (LSAP)– which have enriched stock speculators, inflated the largest asset-price bubble in history, and exacerbated inequality to levels not seen since the Gilded Age– have done nothing to improve the real economy, boost demand or reduce unemployment. As the BEA data illustrates, the US economy is basically DOA, a victim of criminal congressional negligence and Central Bank chicanery.
From the BEA release: “The deceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter reflected a deceleration in PCE, downturns in exports, in nonresidential fixed investment, and in state and local government spending, and a deceleration in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a deceleration in imports and upturns in private inventory investment and in federal government spending.”
Translation: The economy is in the shitter. Consumers aren’t spending because the crap-ass jobs they landed after the crisis pay half as much as the jobs they lost when Wall Street blew up the financial system. Personal savings are up and spending is down because households face an uncertain future where pensions are being trimmed and Social Security is under attack. Also, spending is impacted by the historic low (employment) participation rate which indicates that joblessness is much higher than the government’s phony numbers suggest. When workers are unemployed they don’t spend, activity drops, and the economy tanks. It’s that simple. Today’s data just confirms what most people already know, that the economy stinks and that they’re being ripped off by a voracious oligarchy that’s stacked the deck in their favor.
The US economy is stuck in the mud because our bought-and-paid-for congress has relinquished all authority and handed over the management of the economy to the industry-controlled Federal Reserve. Whereas our current budget deficits are in the range of 2 percent per annum, the government should be spending a lot more to compensate for the slowdown in private sector spending and investment. In the past, the congress and president would initiate sensible Keynesian fiscal stimulus programs to keep the economy sputtering along while households repaired their balance sheets or businesses struggled with weak demand. Those tried-and-true remedies have been jettisoned for the new monetarist orthodoxy that requires that all the nation’s wealth be filtered through the Wall Street casino so that the pampered thieves who destroyed the country with their mortgage-securities-Ponzi-scam be further rewarded for their insatiable greed.
Manufacturing, retail sales, MBA purchase applications, business investment etc, are all in the toilet. There’s a very good chance the economy is already in recession which will undoubtedly send stocks even higher since every proclamation of bad news generates a buying frenzy by clever speculators who anticipate that the Fed will continue to extend the zero rates and easy money to infinity.
It’s worth noting that the economy had been hanging on by the skin of its teeth mainly do to strong activity in the oil patch where credit expansion, intensive corporate investment, and high-paying jobs (which supported 4 additional jobs in the local economy!) contributed more than $200 billion per year to GDP. Now domestic oil production is in deep distress. Layoffs recently surpassed the 100,000 milestone (See: Oil Layoffs Hit 100,000 and Counting, Wall Street Journal) and borrowing has dried up. Economist Warren Mosler explains the impact the cutbacks in domestic oil have had on GDP in this video from RT that I have transcribed:
“The price drop in oil has turned out to be the unambiguous negative that we had talked about before….where income saved by the consumer, is lost by another consumer. For every dollar not spend by one consumer, another doesn’t get it. ..so you’re just left with the collapse in capital expenditures. (business investment) It turns out, there was about $150 borrowed in the sector last year, driving what modest growth we had last year. Since that disappeared, all the numbers have been going straight down. Unless something steps up to the plate to replace the lost borrowing-to-spend from chasing $100 oil, I see no hope whatsoever.” (Warren Mosler Interview, RT)
Economic recovery requires credit expansion, business investment and jobs. All three of these were severely impacted by the Obama’s goofy plan to push down oil prices in order to destroy the Russian economy. Here’s a brief summary:
“John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, allegedly struck a deal with King Abdullah in September under which the Saudis would sell crude at below the prevailing market price. That would help explain why the price has been falling at a time when, given the turmoil in Iraq and Syria caused by Islamic State, it would normally have been rising.” (Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia, Larry Eliot, Guardian)
As indicated by today’s ghastly GDP data, Obama not only shot himself in the foot, he might have blown off his whole leg. Aside from the colossal growth in private inventories–which will be a drag on future growth–todays report was nothing short of a disaster.
Blaming the 1% for diminished prosperity avoids the real reasons for designed poverty. In round terms, the seven billion souls that populate this planet translate into seventy million to be part of the 1%. Well, that amount is still a very large number to blame for the systemic transfer of riches into the hands of the few. A far more relevant approach is to examine the .001% or around seven million that fall into the mover or shakers of asset and possessions. Before targeting this group of mega wealth, that figure includes a very significant number, who are non players when it comes to global politics or transnational finance.
Recent record art sales illustrate the insulated existence that wraps the super rich in a different world from ordinary people. The Washington Post writes, What it looks like when the .001 percent fights over art.
“Welcome to Christie’s,” Pylkkanen said, without missing a beat.
It was that kind of night, with Christie’s selling a record $852.9 million worth of contemporary and post-war art. There were new records for 11 artists, including Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Peter Doig, Martin Kippenberger and Seth Price, according to figures released by Christie’s.”
Not exactly familiar household art celebrities, this version of trickledown economics is only for the in crowd. A Reuter report, Life continues sweetly for the .001 percent, continues.
“Art envy isn’t the only sign that the Occupy Wall Street din isn’t being heard on penthouse terraces. Sanford Weill, the former chief executive of Citigroup (C.N), put his 6,700-square-foot, top-floor residence on Central Park West on the market for $88 million. That’s twice what he paid for it four years ago and would be a Manhattan record. Weill said he plans to donate proceeds from the sale to charity, but for the time being would still have it as a deduction to apply against his taxable income.
The point is, the besieged banker class is still going about its business — and wielding considerable clout. That’s a lesson celebrity chef Mario Batali learned after likening bankers to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin at a media event. After news of the comments swept across Wall Street and sparked talk of boycotts among Batali’s well-heeled clientele, he apologized. With the 99 percent rallying against them, the rich clearly can’t afford to turn on themselves.”
While the uber rich are not exactly a monolith, there are certain factors that go unchallenged. List of 80 People With as Much Money as 1/2 of Humanityprovides a starting point. Then examine the growth in their wealth. In 2015, there was a record of 1,826 people on the list with a total net worth of $7.05 trillion, up from $6.4 trillion in 2014. The bible of financial registry is the Forbes billionaire list which is wholly inadequate as a comprehensive tally. Notwithstanding, the seven trillion figure is but a fraction of the estimated $241 trillion which represents total global combined wealth of all the people in the world.
This disparity just does not compute when compared to the commonly held dogma of the holdings of the 1%. Even the rarified air of the .001% will not account for the difference. The missing link is that people, as individuals, do not control the vast majority of resources, assets, money and wealth.
Governments, financial institutions, corporations, transnational conglomerates, NGO’s, trusts, estates and hidden hybrid ownership truly controls the global economy that dictates, who benefits from the consolidation of capital and oversight of natural resources.
The mandates that pass as national laws and international treaty relations share a common composition. Protecting the superstructure that facilitates elite domination over the masses of world population is the object of the game. The rest of us are left with distractions, illusions and misdirect narratives of a false reality that embodies the popular culture.
The mass media message is consistent. It paints the ruling class as benevolent and caring. The collectivist administrations of different regimes are planned as a huge dependence machine. Some countries are more dominant than others, by all practice institutional autocracy as a condition of allowing their citizens the privilege of conditional government sustenance.
Individual liberty is besieged as a frightening threat to the system. Actual free economic markets are destroyed as a matter of course. Cartels, cabals and monopolies rule as cronyism with the decision makers dictate the direction of the technocratic socialism that has engulfed world society.
The reason why human circumstances continue to deteriorate is clear to anyone who has the honesty to admit that the dire consequences are not accidental or unintentional. However, coming to grips with the architectures of international finance is just too painful to endure. A comment from a leaving subscriber of the BATR RealPolitik Newsletter, sums up perfectly a core reason why the world totalitarian system continues with such little opposition. “Your site does an excellent job of exposing the truth but this imposes too high a price on my daily mental attitude and overall health”.
Life is seldom fair, and more often painful, but a cop out of unpleasant reality guarantees that the Rothschild manipulated model of world slavery will achieve their ultimate goal of massive population extinction for the dependency populace.
A primary failure of the “Looney Left” is placing their faith into the role of government to correct the punitive excesses of global internationalism. The nature of the contrived interdependency is based upon the power of fiat finance to own and dictated policy to their state sponsored lackeys.
Those brave hearted dissenters to the “international community” are driven from office, discredited by a media assault or killed if they become too much of a threat.
Jack Lessenberry offers this assessment in, Politics and Prejudices: What’s really ruining America.
“Income inequality in this nation is not only bad and getting worse, but most of us are either brainwashed, in total denial, or too gutless to even talk about it. Why don’t you hear Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren screaming about this, as they should be?
For two simple reasons: First, they’re afraid they’ll instantly be accused of wanting to start “class warfare,” a term that, like socialism, evokes bad nightmares of — shudder — Communist dictatorships.
But more sadly, they probably don’t think there’s anything they can do about it, other than maybe slow the trend a little bit.”
This critique of the “so called” daring progressives actually reveals that both play up to the establishment. Bucking the true world power brokers is very dangerous. Ask JFK, RFK, George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. Satanic megalomaniacs are committed to the impoverishment of the masses and their eventual total demise.
When was the last time that a real populist grassroots movement was able to overthrow the ruling elites? The deplorable answer is never in our lifetime.
The systemic wealth destruction that has rendered former Middle America to borderline poverty came as no accident. Don’t blame all those new faces in the billionaire crowd; they only have large bank accounts. Focus on the dynasty families that share the same bloodline and pull the strings on government puppets that administer the all-inclusive enslavement of humanity as their primary goal.
Collectivism is a deadened scheme, originated by the globalists to deceive the struggling “unwashed” to look toward government for a better future. Wow, what a miserable fiasco.
Having money is better than being poor, all other factors relative. However, earning wealth the old fashion way, by working hard is virtually a non starter today. The casino economy is a stacked deck against the industrious.
Only a total reputation of the Free Trade corporatist plantation that has de-industrialized America could remotely turn the tide. But before any boom could begin and restore national hope, the political organized crime syndicates must be recognized as the enemy of the people and driven from their power centers and debt created money schemes.
Just like the burnt out aforementioned BATR reader, the remaining moral participants that do battle with a corrupt system must risk having their head cut off, for any chance of returning to prosperity.
The task is great and little time is left. The NYT reports that a Deal Reached on Fast-Track Authority for Obama on Trade Accord, will expand the globalist fiefdom even more.
“To further sweeten the deal for Democrats, the package includes expanding trade adjustment assistance — aid to workers whose jobs are displaced by global trade — to service workers, not just manufacturing workers. Mr. Wyden also insisted on a four-year extension of a tax credit to help displaced workers purchase health insurance.”
This is a clear example of collectivism at play. Government subsidies that replace real employment, does not create wealth for our own people or for the country as a whole. It is high time to admit that the 99.9% is screwed as long as this same old globalist trade fraud continues to impoverish our domestic economy.
Rally against the globalists and refuse any legitimacy to a system that is designed to distract with class warfare, while the central banksters own the vast total wealth and control the power structure.
“It is essential to recognize that Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapons program, nor does it possess a nuclear weapon. On February 26, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Ayatollah Khomenei, the supreme leader of Iran, ended his country’s nuclear weapons program in 2003 and “as far as we know, he’s not made the decision to go for a nuclear weapon.” This repeats the “high-confidence” judgement of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) that was first made in November 2007.” -Micah Zenko, Putting Iran’s Nuclear Program in Context, Council on Foreign Relations
It always helps to start with the truth, and in Iran’s case, the truth is quite simple. Iran has no nuclear weapons, it has no nuclear weapons program, and it’s never been caught diverting nuclear fuel for other purposes. Iran has pursued nuclear technology for peaceful purposes alone.
These are the facts. They may not jibe with the lies propagated in the western media, but they are the facts all the same. Iran is not guilty of anything. It’s merely a victim of Washington’s power-crazy attempt to control vital resources in the Middle East and enhance Israel’s regional hegemony. That’s what’s really going on. It’s all geopolitics. It has nothing to do with nukes.
Media coverage of the so called nuclear negotiations in Laussanne and now in Vienna has focused maniacally on the number of centrifuges, IAEA monitoring programs, uranium enrichment capability, and myriad other arcane topics that are meant to divert attention from the fact that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and no interest in developing one. By poring over the details of these issues in excruciating detail, the reader is left feeling that Iran must be hiding something and therefore must pose a real threat to US national security. But of course that’s precisely what the authors of these articles hope to achieve, they want to pull the wool over the public’s eyes and get people to believe something that is transparently false.. The fact is, Iran is not doing anything underhanded or illegal. They are merely demanding that their right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the terms of the NPT be respected. Iran will not allow itself to be bullied by the US or treated like a second class citizen. Iran has behaved honorably from the beginning, which is a helluva a lot more than can be said of the US.
The media doesn’t want to discuss the “additional protocols” that Iran accepted in order to build confidence among members on the United Nations, because then people would realize that Iran has gone the extra mile many times in the past only to be slapped with more spurious accusations of noncompliance or foul play. But where’s the evidence of noncompliance or foul play? There isn’t any. It’s all just fear-mongering speculation and vitriolic BS spewed by the dissembling media. There’s not a word of truth to any of it.
The media’s latest scam centers on the term “breakout time”, which refers to the amount of time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon if it was so inclined, which it isn’t.
“Breakout time” is the new propaganda buzzword reiterated thousands of times in the media suggesting that Tehran is just hours away from building an atomic weapon that it will immediately use to annihilate Israel. It’s a ridiculous fairy tale that assumes that–since the US is a rouge-homicidal state that goes around bombing the bejesus out of anything that moves–that other states are bound to behave the same if given half a chance. This is wrong on many levels. First of all, Iran doesn’t want nukes and, secondly, leaders in other countries are not power-mad megalomaniacs whose only joy in life is reducing broad swathes of the planet to smoldering rubble. That behavior is particular to US leaders alone. Others don’t suffer from the same sociopathic disorder.
The nuclear issue has nothing to do Iran’s fictitious nuclear weapons program. That’s just a smokescreen. The real problem is that Iran is a sovereign country with an independent foreign policy. Washington doesn’t like independent nations. Washington likes nations that shut up and do what they’re told. Nations that refuse to take orders are Washington’s enemies, they’re placed on a hit list. And that’s where the sanctions come into play. Sanctions are the way that Washington weakens its enemies before bombing them to kingdom come. They’re the stick the US uses to beat its rivals into submission.
If you’ve been following the news lately, you know that something very strange is going on. The US has done an about-face and changed its policy towards Iran. It’s a shocking development. The US has maintained the same savage policy towards Cuba for 60 years without changing a thing. Whether the policy works or not, has never mattered; what matters is inflicting maximum pain on the people Washington’s doesn’t like. So why the sudden change with Iran? Why is Obama trying to reach an agreement with a country that US elites openly despise?
And, keep in mind, that what Obama’s doing is extremely unpopular with many powerful groups; the congress, the media, Israel and even high ranking officials in his own State Department. Could it be that the powerbrokers who pull Obama’s strings and tell him what to do have suddenly seen the light and want to open a new era of reconciliation and friendship with Iran?
Of course not. No one believes that. The only reason Obama would strike a deal with Iran is because the US wants something in return. And the US does want something in return. The US wants a substitute for Russian gas flowing to the Europe so it can destroy Russia economically and implement its strategic plan to spread US power across Asia so US mega-corporations can maintain their dominant position in the global economy. Obama is playing nice with Iran so he can pivot to Asia as easily as possible.
So how plausible is it for Iran to replace Russian gas in the lucrative EU market?
Check out this clip from an article written in 2014 that anticipated the very scenario we see developing today, that is, the US trying to prevent an integrated EU-Russian free trade zone that would dwarf the US GDP and leave the exceptional nation to face years of precipitous decline. The article is titled “EU turns to Iran as alternative to Russian gas”:
The European Union is quietly increasing the urgency of a plan to import natural gas from Iran, as relations with Tehran thaw, while those with top gas supplier Russia grow colder…
“Iran is far towards the top of our priorities for mid-term measures that will help reduce our reliance on Russian gas supplies,” the source said. “Iran’s gas could come to Europe quite easily and politically there is a clear rapprochement between Tehran and the West.”….
While sanctioned itself, Iran has the world’s second largest gas reserves after Russia and is a potential alternative given talks between Tehran and the West to reach a deal over the Islamic Republic’s disputed nuclear programme.
“High potential for gas production, domestic energy sector reforms that are underway, and ongoing normalization of its relationship with the West make Iran a credible alternative to Russia,” said a paper prepared for the European parliament…
“Given Russia’s current strategy politically, which is one of confrontation with Europe, I see the EU having little choice but to find alternative gas supplies,” he added…
“Iran’s interest to deliver gas to Europe is very big. Parts of Iran’s economical and political elite as well as Western companies are preparing for an end of the sanctions,” said Frank Umbach, energy research director at King’s College in London…
Iran has long lobbied to build a designated pipeline that would connect its huge South Pars gas field with European customers – the so-called Persian Pipeline.
“It’s an extremely ambitious project,” Handjani said. “Even if half of it gets built it would be major accomplishment for both Europe and Iran.”…
Independent feasibility studies show that if sanctions were to be eased and investments started soon, Iran could supply 10-20 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year to Turkey and Europe by the early 2020s.
(EU turns to Iran as alternative to Russian gas, euractiv.com)
This is why Obama wants to ease sanctions; it’s because he needs to find an alternate source of gas for Europe while he prosecutes his war on Russia. Defeating Russia has become Washington’s top strategic priority. The United States is willing to risk everything –even nuclear war– to maintain its stranglehold on global power and to extend its hegemony into the next century.
“The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests…..We must, however, be mindful that…Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.”
“For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia…and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.”
-THE GRAND CHESSBOARD – American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, page 30, Basic Books, 1997
The Laussanne negotiations between Iran and the so called P5+1 group (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany) have nothing to do with nuclear proliferation. They are, in fact, another attempt to weaken and isolate Russia by easing sanctions, thus allowing Iranian gas to replace Russian gas in Europe. Laussanne shows that Washington still thinks that the greatest threat to its dominance is the further economic integration of Russia and Europe, a massive two-continent free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok that would eventually dwarf dwindling US GDP while decisively shifting the balance of global power to Asia. To counter that threat, the Obama administration toppled the elected government of Ukraine in a violent coup, launched a speculative attack on the ruble, forced down global oil prices, and is presently arming and training neo-Nazi extremists in the Ukrainian army. Washington has done everything in its power to undermine relations between the EU and Russia risking even nuclear war in its effort to separate the natural trading partners and to strategically situate itself in a location where it can control the flow of vital resources from East to West.
Laussanne was about strategic priorities not nukes. The Obama administration realizes that if it can’t find an alternate source of gas for Europe, then its blockade of Russia will fail and the EU-Russia alliance will grow stronger. And if the EU-Russia alliance grows stronger, then US attempts to extend its tentacles into Asia and become a major player in the world’s most prosperous region will also fail leaving Washington to face a dismal future in which the steady erosion of its power and prestige is a near certainty. This is from an article titled “Removing sanctions against Iran to have unfavorable influence on Turkey and Azerbaijan”:
“If Washington removes energy sanctions on Iran…then a new geopolitical configuration will emerge in the region. Connecting with Nabucco will be enough for Iran to fully supply Europe with gas…
Iran takes the floor with inexhaustible oil and gas reserves and as a key transit country. Iran disposes of the 10% of the reported global oil reserves and is the second country in the world after Russia with its natural gas reserves (15%). The official representatives of Iran do not hide that they strive to enter the European market of oil and gas, as in the olden days. Let’s remember that the deputy Minister of Oil in Iran, Ali Majedi, offered to revive project of Nabucco pipeline during his European tour and said that his country is ready to supply gas to Europe through it…
“Some months earlier the same Ali Majedi reported sensational news: ‘two invited European delegations’ discussed the potential routes of Iranian gas supply to Europe,” the article reads.” … It is also noted that the West quite materially reacted to the possibility of the Iranian gas to join Nabucco.” (Removing sanctions against Iran to have unfavorable influence on Turkey and Azerbaijan, Panorama)
So, is this the plan, to provide “energy security” to Europe by replacing Russian gas with Iranian gas?
It sure looks like it. But that suggests that the sanctions really had nothing to do with Iran’s fictitious nuclear weapons program but were merely used to humiliate Iran while keeping as much of its oil and gas offline until western-backed multinationals could get their greasy mitts on it.
Indeed, that’s exactly how the sanctions were used even though the nuclear issue was a transparent fake from the get go. Get a load of this from the New York Times:
“Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.” (U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb, James Risen, New York Times, February 24, 2012)
See? The entire US intelligence establishment has been saying the same thing from the onset: No Iranian nukes. Nor has Iran ever been caught diverting nuclear fuel to other purposes. Never. Also, as nuclear weapons physicist, Gordon Prather stated many times before his death, “After almost three years of go-anywhere see-anything interview-anyone inspections, IAEA inspectors have yet to find any indication that Iran has — or ever had — a nuclear weapons program.”
The inspectors were on the ground for three freaking years. They interviewed everyone and went wherever they wanted. They searched every cave and hideaway, every nook and cranny, and they found nothing.
Get it? No nukes, not now, not ever. Period.
The case against Iran is built on propaganda, brainwashing and bullshit, in that order. But, still, that doesn’t tell us why the US is suddenly changing course. For that, we turn to an article from The Brookings Institute titled “Why the details of the Iran deal don’t matter” which sums it up quite well. Here’s a clip:
“At heart, this is a fight over what to do about Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East and the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia. Proponents of the deal believe that the best way for the United States to deal with the Iranian regional challenge is to seek to integrate Iran into the regional order, even while remaining wary of its ambitions. A nuclear deal is an important first step in that regard, but its details matter little because the ultimate goal is to change Iranian intentions rather destroy Iranian capability.” (Why the details of the Iran deal don’t matter, Brookings)
Notice how carefully the author avoids mentioning Israel by name although he alludes to “the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies”. Does he think he’s talking to idiots?
But his point is well taken; the real issue is not “Iranian capability”, but “Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East”. In other words, the nuclear issue is baloney. What Washington doesn’t like is that Iran has an independent foreign policy that conflicts with the US goal of controlling the Middle East. That’s what’s really going on. Washington wants a compliant Iran that clicks its heals and does what its told.
The problem is, the strategy hasn’t worked and now the US is embroiled in a confrontation with Moscow that is a higher priority than the Middle East project. (The split between US elites on this matter has been interesting to watch, with the Obama-Brzezinski crowd on one side and the McCain-neocon crowd on the other.) This is why the author thinks that easing sanctions and integrating Iran into the predominantly US system would be the preferable remedy for at least the short term.
Repeat: “The best way for the United States to deal with the Iranian regional challenge is to integrate Iran into the regional order.” In other words, if you can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em. Iran is going to be given enough freedom to fulfill its role within the imperial order, that is, to provide gas to Europe in order to inflict more economic pain on Russia. Isn’t that what’s going on?
But what effect will that have on Iran-Russia relations? Will it poison the well and turn one ally against the other?
Probably not, mainly because the ties between Iran and Russia are growing stronger by the day. Check this out from the Unz Review by Philip Giraldi:
“Moscow and Tehran are moving towards a de-facto strategic partnership, which can be easily seen by the two groundbreaking announcements from earlier this week. It’s now been confirmed by the Russian government that the rumored oil-for-goods program between Russia and Iran is actually a real policy that’s already been implemented, showing that Moscow has wasted no time in trying to court the Iranian market after the proto-deal was agreed to a week earlier. Providing goods in exchange for resources is a strategic decision that creates valuable return customers in Iran, who will then be in need of maintenance and spare parts for their products. It’s also a sign of deep friendship between the two Caspian neighbors and sets the groundwork for the tentative North-South economic corridor between Russia and India via Iran.” (A Shifting Narrative on Iran, Unz Review)
But here’s the glitch: Iran can’t just turn on the spigot and start pumping gas to Europe. It doesn’t work that way. It’s going to take massive pipeline and infrastructure upgrades that could take years to develop. That means there will be plenty of hefty contracts awarded to friends of Tehran –mostly Russian and Chinese–who will perform their tasks without interfering in domestic politics. Check this out from Pepe Escobar:
“Russia and China are deeply committed to integrating Iran into their Eurasian vision. Iran may finally be admitted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the upcoming summer summit in Russia. That implies a full-fledged security/commercial/political partnership involving Russia, China, Iran and most Central Asian ’stans’.
Iran is already a founding member of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); that means financing for an array of New Silk Road-related projects bound to benefit the Iranian economy. AIIB funding will certainly merge with loans and other assistance for infrastructure development related to the Chinese-established Silk Road Fund…” (Russia, China, Iran: In sync, Pepe Escobar, Russia Today)
Get the picture? Eurasian integration is already done-deal and there’s nothing the US can do to stop it.
Washington needs to rethink its approach. Stop the meddling and antagonism, rebuild relations through trade and mutual trust, and accept the inevitability of imperial decline.
Asia’s star is rising just as America’s is setting. Deal with it.
That notorious time of the year is upon us again; the income tax deadline. It is an affected date because the tax system tells it is so. The torment and extortion of organized theft goes on all year long, but April 15 has a special place in the gut of every victim of larceny by government. Oh sure, paying taxes is supposed to be the price of maintaining civilization, but when was the last time that government protected , much less promoted, the mythical “Good Society”. The notion that paying tribute to a federal self ordained authority as a duty is only accepted by delusional proponents of a fantasy existence of welfare recipient beneficiaries.
For the productive wealth creators, the government pensioners aid and abet the tax distribution scheme that extracts revenue from the private sectors and rewards public scavengers. This entire arrangement is based upon fear. The axiom is that your money is not your own and that tax rates run on an arbitrary scale and deductions are granted to privileged sympathizers.
If you buck the tax swindle, folks expect to be harassed and targeted. However, when law abiding citizens become the focus of financial molestation, the checks and balances in the legal adjudication, hypothetically should grant relief. The manner by which Tea Party groups were persecuted by the IRS division under the direction of Lois Lerner reach new heights of bureaucratic tyranny.
With the announcement that DOJ Will Not Prosecute IRS’s Lois Lerner for Contempt of Congress, righteous outrage builds among the remnant of justice seeking organizations.
“The American Center for Law and Justice has represented dozens of the conservative groups targeted by the IRS. It says the decision not to prosecute Lerner “is troubling but not surprising.”
“This latest development reflects what has become standard operating procedure for the Obama Administration in its so-called investigation of this unlawful targeting scheme by the IRS. One year ago, the Justice Department refused to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the unconstitutional actions of Lerner and others at the IRS.
“Now, by refusing to pursue criminal contempt charges against Lerner…the Justice Department is making a mockery of our criminal justice system. This is just one more example of an administration that refuses to hold anyone accountable for a scheme that unlawfully targeted conservative groups.”
Read the conclusion in the full letter from the Department of Justice letter to John Boehner, Speaker of the House, from Ronald C. Machen Jr.
We wish to assure you that the Department of Justice does not question the authority of Congress “to summon witnesses before either House or before their committees,” or “to pass laws ‘necessary and proper’ to carry into effect its power to get testimony.” See Adams v. Maryland, 347 U.S. 179, 183 (1954) (citing U.S. Const. art. I, $ 8). Thus, in appropriate circumstances, a United States Attomey’s Office will refer to a grand jury under Section 192 witnesses who contumaciously withhold testimony or other information that Congress has legitimately sought to compel in the exercise of its legislative or oversight responsibilities. Because, however, the authority of any branch of the United States government to compel witness testimony is limited by the protections of the Constitution, and Ms. Lerner did not waive those protections in this matter, the United States Attorney’s Office will not bring the instant contempt citation before a grand jury.
Robert W. Wood over at Forbes, provides invaluable background in, No Criminal Charges For Lois Lerner Of IRS, Keeps Bonuses, Nice Retirement.
“There is considerable back story. Ms. Lerner and Justice Department officials met in 2010 about going after conservative organizations after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case. In August 2010, the IRS distributed a ‘be on the lookout’ list for Tea Party organizations. By March 2012, amid reports of targeting, former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman testified there is “absolutely no targeting” by the IRS.
On November 9, 2012, Mr. Shulman stepped down, replaced by Steven Miller. On May 10, 2013, Ms. Lerner admitted targeting, calling it “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.” Four days later, on May 14, 2013, the Inspector General issued a report confirming targeting. Attorney General Eric Holder announced an FBI investigation, and Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resigned.
On May 22, 2013, Ms. Lerner professed her innocence, then took the Fifth. Next day, she was placed on administrative leave. On September 24, 2013, Ms. Lerner’s retirement was announced with full pension. President Obama said there is “not a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS, but the Committee on House Oversight and Reform issues a report on Lois Lerner.”
The substantiation and source evidence within this chronicle of corruption should alarm all Americans. Especially if the arguments and historic accounts in the essay, Proof that Paying Federal Income Tax is Voluntary, are operationally sound. Nonetheless, the punitive powers of autocratic administration operate under their own selective rulings, applying penalties to any group or individual who threatens the Federal Hydra Dragon.
The pattern of protective cover for arrogant and vicious operatives from the politicization of an IRS goon squad to destroy the Tea Party is undeniable. Jim Kouri writes in the article Sens. McCain and Levin urged IRS to target Tea Party, conservative groups, that a compelling reason for the protective status for Lerner came from familiar political crooks.
“Government documents obtained by a top “Inside the Beltway” watchdog group and released on Thursday reveal that Internal Revenue Service’s Lois Lerner was strongly urged by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, her assistance in attacking certain non-profit political groups. The organizations they selected for targeting by Lerner were part of the Tea Party and conservative movements.”
When Senators undermine the legitimate investigatory efforts of a House committee, the prospects for confidence in tax compliance is demolished. Few people expect the Department of Injustice to hold corrupt officials accountable. But when the Statists within Congress act as co-conspirators to block honest government, all the public suffers.
Apologists for the IRS exaction machine are tapping taxpayers for record amounts. First Time Ever: Federal Tax Revenues Top $1 Trillion Thru January; Gov’t Still Runs $194B Deficit.
“For the first time ever, real federal tax revenues topped $1 trillion in the first four months of the fiscal year–October through January–according to data released Wednesday by the U.S Treasury.
Federal tax revenues hit a record $1,046,224,000,000 for fiscal year 2015 through January, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement, but the federal government still ran a $194,209,000,000 deficit during that time.”
In spite of the record flow of cash into government coffers, the culture of deficit spending still continues. Bleeding the public while paying the pension of the likes of Lois Lerner epitomizes the mental illness that is the crux conduct of the tax collection force.
When Eric Holder’s shysters tweet their perversion of the law, anyone even remotely concerned about defending a constitutional framework are demeaned. DOJ acted as a prosecutor of the House, while giving a pass to the governance agent doing the dirty work for the establishment.
The WSJ reports on a reaction to the announcement, Lois Lerner Won’t Be Prosecuted on Contempt of Congress Charges.
“Once again, the Obama administration has tried to sweep IRS targeting of taxpayers for their political beliefs under the rug,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “But unaccountable federal bureaucrats using their power to attack the First Amendment strikes at the heart of our democracy, and the American people deserve the truth.”
As the flood of 1040 returns hit the processing facilities of the IRS, make April 15th a day of disgust, symbolic of the Lois Lerner retirement contribution fund. Deplorably, the rule of law has been relegated to the safekeeping of the most corrupt Attorney General in memory. By comparison, John Mitchell was an angel when stacked up to the careerist criminal Eric Holder.
The image of illegal defiance from Lois Lerner should invoke Congressional outrage to purge the Fifth Column traitors that make a vocation of persecuting Middle America, while maintaining a bipartisan alliance to destroy entirely all constitutional restraints.
Calls to abolish the IRS and replace revenue collection with a flat or consumption tax requires a ground swell to jump start a national movement. However, the likelihood that an additional VAT tax will be imposed before any actual remedy would be enacted is more probable.
Lois Lerner is the embodiment of all that is wrong with the tax shakedown racket. Funding of limited legitimate government expenditures must start with breaking the corrosive culture of bureaucratic benefits and retirement rewards. Maintaining employment and promoting the vile LL character model, dooms the system to continuous despotism.
In an Obamacare world of further scrutiny, the IRS will become even more selective with their targeting. It is not about collecting revenue, it is all about punishment and retribution to anyone resistant to Federal mandates. As long as the likes of Lerner and Holder escape accountability, the system will sink even lower into the abyss.
“The interventions of US imperialism, with the direct collaboration of the Saudi monarchy, have plunged the entire Middle East into chaos and bloodshed—from the destruction of Iraq, to the transformation of Libya into a militia-ravaged “failed state,” to the ongoing carnage inflicted upon Syria … This predatory imperialist offensive threatens to ignite a region-wide conflagration, even as Washington deliberately ratchets up military tensions with both Russia and China. The threat of these separate conflicts coalescing into a third world war grows by the day.”
— Bill Van Auken, Obama’s criminal war against Yemen, WSWS
“Will the reactionary rulers of Saudi Arabia manage to break the legitimate hopes and enthusiastic dreams burning in the hearts of thousands of young people of the Arabian Peninsula? Never!”
— Gamal Abd al-Nasser, President of Egypt 1956 to 1970
In its ongoing effort to prevent the rise of “any popularly supported government in the region”, the US has joined Saudi Arabia’s savage war of annihilation against Yemen’s northern tribal rebels, the Houthis. The Pentagon has expedited the delivery of bombs, ammunition and guidance systems to assist the Saudi-led campaign and is providing logistical support to maximize the impact of its bombing raids. The US has also set up a “joint fusion center”, provided “aerial re-fueling platforms” and “advanced US-made weaponry” with the explicit intention of suppressing a militant group that overthrew the US-backed puppet government in the capital of Sanaa in the fall of 2014. The level of coordination between the makeshift Arab coalition (The Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC) and the US suggests that Washington is not only fully aware that food depots, water facilities, refugee camps and critical civilian infrastructure are being deliberately targeted and destroyed, but that the White House has given the green light to actions that will inevitably lead to widespread famine and social collapse. Here’s a little background from an article in The National:
“Yemen Economic Corporation, one of Yemen’s largest food storage centres, was destroyed by three coalition missile strikes in Hodeidah last Tuesday, according to the Houthi-controlled defence ministry. The corporation had enough food for the entire country. The government’s military food storage centre in Hodeidah was also targeted and destroyed on Tuesday, according to the defence ministry.
Also in Hodeidah, country’s second largest dairy plant was hit by five Saudi missiles on Wednesday, killing at least 29 people, mostly employees, and injuring dozens of others.” (Yemeni civilians struggle to get by amid conflict, The National)
This is from Channel News Asia:
DUBAI: Warships from the Saudi-led coalition have blocked a vessel carrying more than 47,000 tonnes of wheat from entering a Yemeni port, demanding United Nations guarantees that the cargo would not go to military personnel, shipping sources said on Thursday.” (Saudi-led coalition bars wheat ship from entering Yemen port – sources, Channel News Asia)
This is from WSWS:
“Airstrikes as well as fighting on the ground has knocked out electrical infrastructure, cutting off power in many urban areas and stopping the operation of crucial pumps that supply Yemen’s cities with drinking water. “We’re worried that this system will break down shortly; Aden is a dry, hot place, and without water people will really suffer,” UNICEF representative Harneis told reporters…
The no-fly zone and blockade enforced by Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners has effectively blocked the delivery of medical aid and supplies for the last two weeks, exacerbating the developing crisis.” WSWS
Live reports on the ground confirm that food depots have been bombed across the country; ” in Asr (west) hit as well as Urdhi complex (center) & Noqum (east).
This is how America fights its wars, by precipitating massive humanitarian crises that help it to achieve its political objectives. If that isn’t terrorism, then what is?
Here’s more from the Washington Post:
“As tons of desperately needed medical supplies await clearance to be flown into Yemen, aid workers warned Tuesday of an unfolding humanitarian crisis, saying at least 560 people, including dozens of children, have been killed, mostly in a Saudi-led air campaign and battles between Shiite rebels and forces loyal to the embattled president. More than 1,700 people have been wounded and another 100,000 have fled their homes as fighting intensified over the past three weeks, the World Health Organization said.” (560 dead amid fears of humanitarian collapse in Yemen, Washington Post)
The Saudis launched this latest aggression invoking the thinnest of pretexts, that it wanted to “restore the legitimate government” and protect the “Yemeni constitution and elections.” As CNN’s Ali Alahmed sardonically quipped:
“The need to protect constitutions and elections is a rather strange message from the representative of an absolute monarchy … The kingdom’s real motives seem clear if one looks at Saudi monarchy’s history of not allowing regional competition of any kind, while consistently combating efforts to build democratic governments that empower the people…
The Saudi goal is simple: Prevent the rise of any popularly supported government in the region that seeks self-determination. And the excuse of “resisting Iran’s influence,” meanwhile, appears to be nothing but sectarian bluster.” (What Saudi Arabia wants in Yemen, CNN)
While we agree with Alahmed’s basic thesis, we think the rule applies more to the United States than Saudi Arabia. After all, it’s the US that has gone from one country to the next, toppling governments, installing puppets, and spreading anarchy wherever it goes. Whatever role the Saudis might have played in Washington’s grand plan to redraw the map of the Middle East and project US tentacles into Eurasia, it is quite small by comparison. It’s the US that refuses to allow an independent government to emerge in a region that it’s committed to control. And it’s the US that is facilitating the attacks on innocent Yemenis by providing the bombs, weaponry and logistical support to the reactionary Saudi leadership. Check this out from Gregory Johnson at Buzzfeed:
“A consensus appears to be building in Riyadh, Cairo, and Islamabad toward inserting ground troops into the conflict in Yemen. One Egyptian military official told BuzzFeed News the decision had already been made. “Ground forces will enter the war,” the official said on condition of anonymity in order to discuss classified military operations.
The timing of such a move, which would be a significant escalation in the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, is still being discussed. But the Egyptian military source said it could happen as soon as “two or three days.” (Ground Forces Seen Joining Bloody War In Yemen, Buzzfeed)
So after two weeks of nonstop bombing, the coalition is now planning to intensify the conflict by putting boots on the ground. But that will only prolong the hostilities and plunge the country deeper into crisis. It will also increase the risk of Houthi retaliation, which appears to already be taking place. According to Al Arabiya English, fighting broke out in the Southern Saudi city of Narjan on April 11. (#BREAKING Asiri: Houthi militias are amassing close to the Saudi-Yemeni border… #BREAKING: Asiri: clashes reported near the Saudi city of Najran)
While no one expects the Houthis to invade their northern neighbor, there are some analysts who think the monarchy has taken on more than it can chew and will eventually suffer blowback from its incursion. One such critic is Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of the Lebanese paramilitary organization Hezbollah. In a recent interview, Nasrallah suggested that the Houthis have the means to curtail vital energy supplies, strike a blow against Saudi Arabia, and send financial markets tumbling at the same time. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
“There is now a demand on the Yemeni leaders… who have not taken the decision to close (the strategic Strait) of Bab al-Mandeb, which they could do at any time. (It is only 20 kilometres-large, they are quite capable of it.) And they could also hit targets inside Saudi Arabia with missiles, or even enter the interior of Saudi Arabia, although they have not yet made this decision, so far … There is currently a Yemeni popular demand: “Let us go to Saudi Arabia.” Leadership thus far has not taken such a decision. I wanted to indicate this.”…
Nasrallah again: “I am absolutely certain that Saudi Arabia will undergo a major defeat. And its defeat will impact its internal situation, the royal family … and the entire region.” (“Hassan Nasrallah: The war in Yemen announces the end of the House of Saud”, The Vineyard of the Saker)
So the Houthis could close the Bab Al Mandeb straits and prevent millions of barrels of oil from getting to market? That changes the calculus entirely. How would that effect Washington’s plan to crash Russia’s economy with plunging oil prices? How would it impact global stock markets which are already jittery over the Fed’s projected rate hikes? What effect would it have on al Nusra, ISIS and other Al Qaeda-linked groups that would then seek to launch similar attacks against critical energy infrastructure as the best way to achieve their aims?
There are things the Houthis can do to discourage Saudi aggression. They can take matters into their own hands and strike where it hurts most. Washington is so convinced of its own invincibility, that no one has even thought of this. Without the slightest hesitation, the Obama troupe has embroiled a key ally in bloody conflagration that could backfire and seriously undermine US interests in the region. Saudi Arabia is the cornerstone of US power in the Middle East, but it is also its Achilles heel. By supporting the attack on the Houthis instead of seeking a political solution, Washington has strengthened Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) which poses the greatest single threat to the monarchy. As Nasrallah notes: “they (the US and SA) protect Al Qaeda and Daesh in Yemen, and more, they drop them weapons by air. This is an achievement? This goes against the interests of Saudi Arabia.”
Indeed, it does. Al Qaeda has much greater ability to infiltrate Saudi Arabia and either launch terrorist attacks or foment popular revolution. The Houthis present no such security threat, they’re only interest is to maintain their own sovereignty, borders, and independent foreign policy. A 2003 article in the Atlantic by CIA Bureau Chief Robert Baer titled “The Fall of the House of Saud” provides a window into Riyadh’s vulnerabilities and draws the ominous conclusion that the kingdom’s days are numbered. Here’s a clip from the article:
“Saudi oil is controlled by an increasingly bankrupt, criminal, dysfunctional, and out-of-touch royal family that is hated by the people it rules and by the nations that surround its kingdom…
Signs of impending disaster are everywhere, but the House of Saud has chosen to pray that the moment of reckoning will not come soon—and the United States has chosen to look away. So nothing changes: the royal family continues to exhaust the Saudi treasury, buying more and more arms and funneling more and more “charity” money to the jihadists, all in a desperate and self-destructive effort to protect itself.
The most vulnerable point and the most spectacular target in the Saudi oil system is the Abqaiq complex—the world’s largest oil-processing facility, which sits about twenty-four miles inland from the northern end of the Gulf of Bahrain. All petroleum originating in the south is pumped to Abqaiq for processing. For the first two months after a moderate to severe attack on Abqaiq, production there would slow from an average of 6.8 million barrels a day to one million barrels, a loss equivalent to one third of America’s daily consumption of crude oil. For seven months following the attack, daily production would remain as much as four million barrels below normal—a reduction roughly equal to what all of the opec partners were able to effect during their 1973 embargo…
I served for twenty-one years with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in the Middle East, and during all my years there I accepted on faith my government’s easy assumption that the money the House of Saud was dumping into weaponry and national security meant that the family’s armed forces and bodyguards could keep its members—and their oil—safe … I no longer believe this … sometime soon, one way or another, the House of Saud is coming down.” (The Fall of the House of Saud, Robert Baer, The Atlantic)
Neither the United States nor Saudi Arabia have any right to interfere in Yemen’s internal affairs or to install their own political puppets to head the government. That is the right of the Yemeni people. And while the current process of regime change might be messy and violent, the Houthi rebels better represent the interests of the indigenous population than anyone in Riyadh or Washington. The Saudi-US war is merely aimed at controlling the outcome so Yemen remains within the imperial grip. As Nasrallah says, “The real goal of the war is to retain control and domination of Yemen (but) the Yemeni people will not put up with this aggression and humiliation. They will fight to defend their dignity, their existence, their families, and their territory. And they will be victorious.”
So you thought that the unimaginable could not happen. The signal is heard loud and clear. Keeping your money in a fiduciary account will not only earn no interest; there will be an actual cost of parking your funds in a bank relationship. The madness that has engulfed the financial sector is preparing to escalate the systematic looting of saved capital. Ponder the consequences of negative bank rates and ask, what exactly can anyone do or where can they place their money for safekeeping. The first objective of entrusting your funds to a financial institution is to have the ability to obtain access to the return of your capital.
The Less Than Zero article analysis explains accordingly.
“Since central banks rates provide a benchmark for all borrowing costs across a country’s economy, yields on a range of fixed-income securities – including government bonds of countries like France and Germany – also slipped below zero. Banks are reluctant to pass on negative rates to retail depositors for fear of losing customers, even though that hurts their profit.
In theory, interest rates below zero should reduce borrowing costs for companies and households, driving demand for loans. In practice, there’s a risk that the policy might do more harm than good.”
Only a dullard would believe that banking institutions will not eventually drop their interest rate pay outs to depositors, as their own costs are taxed or central banking policy demands that the value of the currency must be diminished.
The example that Australia Wants To Tax Bank Deposits: Will The US Follow? This report poses an obvious question for anyone keeping money in the depository system.
“Several months ago, the government of Australia proposed to tax bank deposits up to $250,000 at a rate of 0.05% (5 basis points). To be clear, the proposal seems to plan on taxing the banks based on the amount of deposits they’re holding—but it’s pretty obvious this will be passed on to consumers in the form of lower interest rates.”
- Taxes on bank deposits are generally the same as negative interest rates.
- Taxes always start small… then increase over time.
- Taxes are rarely used for their stated purpose.
- If this can happen in Australia, is anyone foolish enough to think it can’t happen in the US or Europe?
Reuven Brenner, in The Potentially Devastating Consequences of Negative Rates, published in Real Clear Markets, the admittedly benedictory of this planned policy.
“The fact that the U.S. stock market has been – at least nominally – at an all-time high is not particularly surprising in such an environment. The problem is that stock-market signals no longer convey the information they did during normal times of positive interest rates. According to Bloomberg, companies have been buying back their shares at $5 billion per day, or roughly 2 percent of the value of shares traded on U.S. exchanges. Since 2009, they have bought back more than $2 trillion of their shares, spending about 95% of their earnings on buybacks and dividends, while issuing bonds at the low interest rates. Central banks’ zero interest rate experiment brought about the profitable financial engineering and increased nominal stock prices. The latter do not signal improved real prospects, but only that the buying of one’s own shares is a good investment with zero or negative interest rates.”
Individual net wealth has declined and real income has been in the tank since the 2008 meltdown is indisputable for the average family. Retirees have been hurt the most. The Negotium essay, Low Interest Rates Impoverish Savers makes the case that minuscule interest rates harm savers and concludes: “The submissive banking customer needs to take a hard look on continuing their depositing relationship with the commercial saving establishment.”
This determination is based upon pure common sense. The tangible purchasing power of the U.S. Dollar in this deflationary income scenario is buffeted by higher prices for staple and necessary costs. The end result is a loss of wealth and dim prospects of recouping the decrease in value of their cash.
What actions can be taken while your paper money can still be used to buy assets?
Even if a dramatic implosion of the international financial system can be forestalled or in a perfect world, avoided; the slow drop by drop decline in the marginal liquidity of the personal resources will accelerate even faster. All fantasyland prospects of prosperity returning as indebtedness continues are pure poppycock.
Going to cash presents another risk as author, Pater Tenebrarum’s assessment in The Consequences of Imposing Negative Interest Rates, indicates. “In the US, private persons who are found in possession of large amounts of cash must fully expect that it will be confiscated without trial or any evidence of a crime by means of the “civil forfeiture” procedure.”
Even if ready Federal Reserve notes are not stolen, the other danger is a currency recall. The “crayola currency” substitution, which has already taken place with hardly a whimper from the public, trained the population for a very real possibility that the U.S. Dollar may go extinct and a new fiat medium with a substantially lower purchasing power would be introduced.
Protecting capital in equities or bonds keeps your money at the mercy of the Corporatocracy. Stashing your notes in a saving account where a charge for keeping a deposit is certainly painful. None of these options are safe much less foolproof.
Buying physical metals has a strong historic record of preserving your remaining wealth. However, how long do you think it will take to criminalize holders of gold when the financial dam busts?
The only certainty known is that only the NWO elites have prepared their vision for global enslavement through the credit and debit paper transactions that they control. Populism demands a new era of monitory accountability and honest money.
Only from the ashes of central banking pillage through a political realignment of decentralized power can the world crawl back to solvency.
Regular readers of this Corporatocracy series should have a firm grasp on the concept of Corporatism. However, the uninitiated might presume that a corporation is merely a vehicle for protecting the owners of the enterprise from the liability risks of conducting business. Much attention has been devoted to the economic conditions and aspects when examining the corporate structure. But modest effort is found in business journals that discuss the social consequences of consolidating the entire hierarchy of political favoritism, access to capital and protection from competition that is at the heart of the corporatist model.
Corporatism as Theory and Practice by Joseph R. Stromberg offers a historic perspective.
“Corporatism and corporations are not yet the same subject. The key word is “yet.” If there is a relationship, it is historical. Very briefly, corporations — legally privileged from birth, pampered by courts, subsidized by Congress, with a social “in” with the most important state personnel — were likely, as ideal engines for accumulating capital, to produce unbalanced economic outcomes, mass discontent, and political unrest. Combine those engines with inherited dysfunctional institutions such as fractional-reserve banking, eminent domain, primitive military accumulation (e.g., the Indian wars), governmental distribution of resources, a venal party system, and a mighty executive, and you have a recipe for crisis. American elites recognized the danger fairly early. By trial and error they put together “corporate syndicalism” (Williams), “political capitalism” (Kolko), corporatism (varii), or “interest-group liberalism” (Lowi). It remained to be seen who (business or state?) would dominate the partnership. Hoover himself reflected in 1922 on the danger of “a syndicalist nation on a gigantic scale.”
Out of such a context the 21th century version of corporatism maintains little effort to satisfy mass discontent of the populace, because the will to achieve an independent livelihood has been stamped out so wholly by the merged state/corporate system. Viewing this alliance as a partnership vying for dominance is a false outlook. In this new millennium, the globalist economy is under total control by a financial dictate that makes laws, writes regulations, enforces compliance, bankrupts companies not in the club, subsidizes crony ventures, and imposes access to capital as a reward for playing ball.
This is not Capitalism, it is demented Corporatocracy.
Don Quijones writes in Crunch Time for the Global Corporatocracy about the closed door negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the US-EU trade deal (TIPP) and TISA.
“The hyper-secret Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which seeks to bind together the U.S., the EU and 22 other Western-aligned nations under a new system of laws and regulations covering telecoms, water, gas, electricity, transport, financial and legal services, software design, electronic data, tourism, healthcare and a whole lot more, is infinitely worse. The treaty’s text is designed to be almost impossible to repeal, and is to be “considered confidential” for at least five years after being signed.”
Basically, the nature of all these destructive trade agreements is reducible to “The fact that we now live in a world dominated by highly undemocratic and unaccountable supranational organizations (the IMF, World Bank, WTO, EU…) is no mere accident.”
Corporatism 101 is not taught in school or even debated in the mass media. It falls to online publications like Naked Capitalism to feature another persuasive argument by Mr. Quijones, which concludes.
“The rise of investor-state dispute settlements and the broad application of arbitration procedures are the ultimate victory in the global corporatocracy’s decades-long coup d’état. If allowed to take universal effect, the system will impose above you, me, and our governments a rigid framework of international corporate law designed to exclusively protect the interests of corporations, relieving them of all financial risk and social and environmental responsibility. From then on, every investment they make will effectively be backstopped by our governments (and by extension, you and me); it will be too-big-to-fail writ on an unimaginable scale.”
It seems that all the attention provided in business news is diverted away from the totality of integration under the auspices of a pseudo and hostile legal framework that only deepen the aggregate control over the social, political, economic and global functions, is silent by design.
So when Suarez-Villa, Luis, publishes in Globalization and Technocapitalism: the political economy of corporate power and technological domination, page 203, we all should take notice.
“It should not surprise, therefore, that a major objective of the fast neo-imperialism is to establish corporatocratic governance whenever and wherever campaigns of conquest happen to be carried out. Fast militarism thereby comes into the scene, whenever aggression is executive. Military conquest for its own sake is pointless, and the fast neo-imperialism has no real reason for being, unless the imposition of corporatocracy is part of the end game of conquest.”
The re-establishment of a neo-feudalism is not a function of privatization, when market forces are unleashed from the choke hold that keeps real competition at bay. Allowing businesses to vie for consumer favor is healthy under a free market economy. Today, there are few examples where the corporatocracy allows for free trading in goods and services.
This is the important lesson that techno corporatism refuses to accept. As the bondage economy expands, the serfs become expendable. Since the consumer economy is shifting into a financial speculation arena, the elites see little reason for continued subsistence of the bottom feeders, since they are not needed to till their estates.
Knowing this object lesson is the actual answer to the Corporatism 101 studies.
Maybe Bruce E. Levine PhD should be teaching class. Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite, argues that “individuals must recover self-respect, and a people must regain collective confidence that they can succeed at eliminating top-down controls. Get Up, Stand Up describes how we can recover dignity, confidence, and the energy to do battle.”
It all starts with a required understanding that the Corporatocracy economy is inherently destructive to individual liberty. If people are unable to learn this fact, life on earth will sink into oblivion.
“We shall have world government, whether or not we like it. The question is only whether world government will be achieved by consent or by conquest” Paul Warburg at U. S, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, February 17, 1950.
“The tumultuous noise of the nations, their rejoicings and lamentation, the pleadings of their prayer, the groans of their despair, the cry of their imprecations, their wrath, their love, their hate!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Introduction, “Christus: A Mystery”
The world that is presented to every current inhabitant is a world of extensive diversity; a vast array of different languages, cultures, and values. No living creature had anything to do with creating this tiny planet or with the vast universe that surrounds it. All are temporary residents of space they do not and cannot entirely understand.
Amy Chua is a brilliant, American born, Chinese woman; educated at Harvard, employed for a time at Duke and now a Law Professor at Yale. Her husband, Jeff Rubenfeld, is also a Law Professor at the same institution.. She has authored four books: “World on Fire”, “Day of Empire”, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, and, “The Triple Package”.
Her writing is legible and wears well. Each book provides interesting, and extensive coverage. The books are distinctly different but they have a strong common theme.
The subtitle of the 2002 book, “World on Fire”, is “How exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic hatred and Global Instability”. The book describes in detail nation after nation that is dominated by a small minority who live in luxury off the labor of poor, uneducated minions that have no hope of progress. Invariably the massive poor minority hates the wealthy owners who are often not indigenous to the nation.
Chua contends that Democracy exacerbates the problem. She writes, “—in the numerous countries around the world with a market dominated minority, the simultaneous pursuit of free markets and democracy has led not to widespread peace and prosperity, but to confiscation, autocracy, and mass slaughter. Outside the industrialized West, these have been the wages of globalization.” (Pg. 125)
In 2007 “Day of Empire” used detailed descriptions of historic empires to promote the theory that tolerance was the glue that allowed empires to flourish and remain intact. In 344 pages the book begins by delving into the Persian Empire, 559 – 330 BC, it continues through the Chinese Qin (212 BC) andTang (618-907 AD) dynasties and records the Great Mongol Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries AD, then Rome, the Dutch, the British and finally the United States of America, a “hyperpower”. In each tyranny Chua carefully describes tolerance as the glue that held the empire together and intolerance as responsible for its demise..
In 2011 she published “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, a description of her determination to produce exceptionalism in her two daughters. Her methods reminded me of Vince Lombardi’s quintessential coaching career at Green Bay. She insisted on excellence and would not accept failure. Her daughters hated her during the process but loved her for the result. Reviews of the content in this book were often negative.
In 2013 came “The Triple Package” an attempt to define the components of success in the United States. Chua and her husband came up with the following traits: a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control. They listed the following ethnic groups that have enjoyed success: Chinese, Jewish, Indian, Iranian, Lebanese, Nigerians, Cuban exiles, and Mormons.
Race and power flow through all of Chua’s writing. She assents to globalism but her books belie its implementation by describing racial, cultural, and social distinctions that run deep and are intransigent. Over and over again they document the universal existence of predator classes that tyrannize the masses and exploit them for their own benefit. The injustices that allow alien overlords to exploit an entire race often result in a resentment-filled overthrow that is brutal, anarchic and an affront to humanity itself.
In “World on Fire” Chua describes the Rwanda genocide. The Tutsis though they were only 14 percent of the population were the ruling class. Though the two races married, lived side by side and the Hutus were allowed to achieve Tutsi status there was resentment when a Tutsi become king. Then the Belgian colonists, as a method of control, declared the Tutsis superior to the Hutus and began providing Tutsis with better educations and promoting them to positions of authority over the Hutu. Eventually the Hutus were forced into permanent servitude.
Buoyed by the rhetoric of political leaders in the spring and summer of 1994, the Hutus rose up and in just a hundred days used machetes to hack to death some eight hundred thousand Tutsi. Chua quotes Philip Gourevitch, “Neighbors hacked neighbors to death in their homes, and colleagues hacked colleagues to death in their workplaces. Doctors killed their patients, and schoolteachers killed their pupils. Within days, the Tutsi population of many villages was all but eliminated….” (Pg. 169)
The Chinese in the Philippines, the Jews in Russia, the Indians and Lebanese in Africa, and so on, “World on Fire” documents the exploitation of nations and their citizens often by better educated foreigners who siphon off both labor and resources. She believes that free market democracy, the medium of globalism, exacerbates this travesty.
In The Day of Empire the fascinating detailed description of past empires is used as a backdrop to assess the ability of the United States of America to create a world empire. The book is critical of the Iraq War and dubious that USA will be able to find a “glue” that will allow large scale hegemony.
The collapse of the Soviet Union could have made the world ready for U. S. leadership but, “Instead, the ironic result of the United States “democratic world dominance” has been rampant, raging anti-Americanism. Today, America faces billions of people around the world, most of them poor, who know that the American Dollar is the world’s dominant currency, that English is the world’s dominant language, that American corporations are the most powerful and visible in the world, and that American brands are the most pervasive and coveted.… In short, large numbers of people all over the world feel dominated by – but no connection or allegiance to – the United States.” (Pg. 328)
“The Triple Package” digs out the motivations that produce success in the United States. Chua’s husband, Jeb Rosenfeld, is Jewish and her two daughters are being raised in the religion of Judaism. Although both the Chinese and Jewish races are dominant and both are adroit at becoming market dominant minorities in other nations Chua makes the Jews the standard by using them to describe other tyrannical races: i.e. Indians as the “Jews of East Africa”. (Pg. 115)
Dominance is an underlying theme in all four of Chua’s books. She is conflicted by her excellent description of the intense resentment that results from the numerous market dominated minorities and her support for Globalization which takes the form of a critique of the U. S. go-it-alone policy and questions its decisions. She seems to want dominance to succeed while her research shows that it is failing. In the Acknowledgements at the beginning of “World on Fire” Chua cites Strobe Talbot as a contributor to the book. In 1992, Talbot was quoted by Time Magazine, “In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.”
In the “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, Chua describes the stout discipline she used to produce top one percent children. While she wants her girls to be cream her writing shows sympathy for the milk.
On Page 189 of “World on Fire” Chua writes, “Take the United States. While some ethnic minorities have outperformed others, the United States economy is absolutely not controlled by any ethnic minority. On the contrary, if any group can be said to dominate our economy, it is the White majority.
Jeb Rosenfeld’s “genius and kindness” (cited in the Acknowledgements for “World on Fire”) has over whelmed Chua’s research. Jews may not be the wealthiest Americans but they are by far the most powerful. It is power, not wealth per se that allows minority market dominance and Jewish power in United States comes through almost total dominance of the press, media, and publishing. Add total control of the Federal Reserve, the World Bank, Goldman Sachs, and other commercial banks; plus dominance over scores of major corporations and hegemony over many of our institutions of higher learning and you have market dominant minority of distinction.
Without Jewish backing no one can be elected to the U. S. Presidency or to the House or Senate. From the book reviews aired on C-Span it seems that eighty percent of the books published in the United States are by Jewish authors. Now even C-Span’s iconic Brian Lamb’s guest interviews seem to favor Jewish authors.
There are two major factors that allow Jews to sustain a successful market dominate minority in the United States: One, motion pictures and the media have allow them to create ample amounts of sympathy by dramatizing the Holocaust, and two, they enjoy the total support of hundreds of thousands of severely deluded Dispensational Christians.
It is ironic that Chua denies Jewish dominance in one book and acknowledges it in another (“The Triple Package”).
Several years ago my wife and I had a very enjoyable min-vacation in San Francisco. One of the highlight of our visit was riding the city bus through China Town. This section of the city houses one of the largest and most authentic Chinese settlements in the nation…Our hotel was new, well appointed, and comfortable. It was Chinese owned. I remember saying to my wife that in another decade or so the Chinese will dominate the city – maybe they already do.
We have several market dominate minorities in the United States. The Jews have been here longest and have accumulated major hegemony. Indians have cornered the motel business, and the ubiquitous gasoline stations and convenience stores. The Chinese are quietly successful and their wealth is seldom publicized. Iranian Muslims are newcomers but they are already making waves in Michigan. Mexicans have become the majority population in parts of the West and are talking annexation. Whites and Blacks who have lived here longest are destined to minority status.
Chua’s extensive research provides ample evidence that Globalism is in trouble. Various races around the Globe seek to maintain their own culture. They want to live in their own unique ways and enjoy their possessions as they see fit. They do not want to be dictated to or tyrannized. They may accept foreigners but they quickly resent state tyranny and non-indigenous dominance.
Chua gropes for solutions and lists some possibilities: Redistribution through tax and transfer programs, give the poor legally defendable property rights, give or provide a way for the underprivileged to own stock in international corporations, and finally, government intervention with affirmative action programs.
She describes reality with extensive research to support her conclusions. I concur with her summations but contend with her intent. She is a globalist and her search for ways to bring the world’s array of languages and cultures under the globalist tent is the same spirit that is creating the malevolent resentment her research describes.
Most of the world’s cultures are made up of people that want to be left alone. Many are satisfied with lives that sophisticated Westerners would consider deprived but, nevertheless, still want to solve their own problems. United States is promoting globalism and democracy by force and Chua is on target when she describes the resentment it causes.
Missing in all of the books is the fact that Globalism is being foisted on the world by a global dominate minority which is creating a global resentment larger and more virulent than the national problem she describes. Chua writes, “If global free market democracy is to be peaceably sustainable, then the problem of market dominant minorities, however unsettling, must be confronted head on.” (Pg. 164 “World on Fire”) It is globalism itself that should be confronted head on. Since Chua’s research clearly shows the fervent desire of most of the world’s population to live without outside interference, globalism will not come peacefully. Many of the world’s nations will fight foreign domination.
In “Systematic Theology” R. J. Rushdoony quotes George Orwell, “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship”….. (RJR writes) ”Fallen men are bramble men; their expression of the will to power varies only in terms of the courage and opportunities. Fallen man thus becomes more unproductive as he becomes more powerful in his role over others.” Pg. 1032
If the Global Dominate Minority would begin to use their God-given grey matter to study the Law God gave to His sin ridden people they would understand that the problems of the world can be alleviated without force in any nation that freely accepts and enforces it. Eugenics is a dirty word in most civilized society but there are rumors that the Global Dominate Minority thinks in that realm.
Humanistic eugenics is evil but the eugenics incorporated into God’s Law is a righteous method of creating a peaceful society. Freedom is impossible in anarchic societies. Our Founders understood that the government they set up was designed for an obedient people; that wide spread disobedience would quickly destroy freedom.
We are not created equal and there will always be those that are smarter and stronger. The Bible even contains instructions on how to periodically reset the playing field. God’s Law is wiser than man’s law – peace in our world waits for men to realize it.
“False centers will not hold. Things fly apart, confusion reigns, and only taxes hold the state together. Powers now do lie within oppressor’s hands, and men are cold toward virtue, prone to sin and treason.” R. J. Rushdoony, “The Luxury of Words”, Pg. 127
Entrepreneurs’ versus the corporatists’ mode of business culture are separated by a vastly different view of enterprise. The former deems his work as innovative, creative and beneficial to customers. The later see the corporate organization as an institution end of itself. Competition makes the business pioneer sharp and driven, while any competitor is targeted for demise within the corporative culture. Buyouts of ventures that show promise may be a payoff reward for the struggling enterpriser, but the corporatist CEO sees the absorption of new technology as a twofold gain. Acquiring the means to create or advance market share and stamping out any future competitive threats.
This corporatist culture actually has merged with the definitive enforcement partner; namely, the state. The morphing of anti-trust safeguards into a system of crony alliance protection is the current standard for the globalist economy. The implication is that a company needs to pay to play and become “Free Trade” proponents to even remain in business.
Thomas E. Woods Jr. cites a prime example of the contemporary corporate-government fascism that controls the global economy, with the example of Government Electric. In The Cultural Costs of Corporatism: How Government-Business Collusion Denigrates the Entrepreneur and Rewards the Sycophant, the formula is set.
The best case study in political entrepreneurship may be General Electric. CEO Jeffrey Immelt pretty clearly laid out his approach in a letter to stockholders in the depths of the 2008–9 recession, and just days after the inauguration of Barack Obama, who promised to “remake America.”
“The global economy, and capitalism, will be “reset” in several ways. The interaction between government and business will change forever. In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner. . . . Successful companies won’t just “hunker down”; they will seek out the new opportunities in a reset world.”
Later in the letter, Immelt stated more directly that GE saw the government as its best potential customer:
“GE’s broad technical portfolio positions us as a natural partner as the role of government increases in the current crisis. Over the past decade, we have positioned GE to lead in the “big themes.” These include emerging market growth, clean energy, and sustainable healthcare. . . .
Governments will invest to stimulate their economies, solve societal problems, and create jobs. GE’s broad portfolio and expertise position us as a natural partner. Tackling important problems together will require teamwork and respect between business, government, and society. We know how to do this and intend to play an important part in solving these essential challenges.”
If success is measured by the amount of retained money or return on assets and especially how little taxes are paid, the GE mold is frightening. Corporatism: The Real World of Corporate Favoritism reports.
“General Electric’s annual SEC 10-K filing for 2011 (filed February 24, 2012) reveals that the company paid at most 2.3% of its $81.2 billion in U.S. pretax profits in federal income taxes over the last 10 years.
Indeed, General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, paid no federal corporate taxes in the United States in 2010, according to a report in The New York Times.”
The book, Rescuing Capitalism from Corporatism by John David Rose documents the long record of GE’s criminal price fixing going back to 1911 anti-trust violations. By any reasonable criteria, over a century of predatory pricing and monopolist market domination is a definite cultural deficiency.
Corp Watch contributor Charlie Cray lists a series of General Electric transgression topics and examples. Some of the more relevant items are:
Defense Contracting Fraud
Violations of Securities Laws
History of GE Labor Relations
Environment and product safety
Anti-competitive and consumer protection
Unlawful Debt Collection Practices
It would be difficult to explain away such a pattern of conduct as merely the side effects of becoming a prevailing behemoth. More to the point, the mentality that allows and encourages such behavior is a fundamental component that invigorates transgressions against ethical business practices. The net effects upon society, encourages the corporatist mindset to consolidate their state sponsor cronyism.
It seems unnecessary to dispute the negative consequences of “too big to fail” after the 2008 collapse. However, the concept of The Economic System of Corporatism offers this assessment.
“Coupled with the anti-market sentiments of the medieval culture there was the notion that the rulers of the state had a vital role in promoting social justice. Thus corporatism was formulated as a system that emphasized the positive role of the state in guaranteeing social justice and suppressing the moral and social chaos of the population pursuing their own individual self-interests. And above all else, as a political economic philosophy corporatism was flexible. It could tolerate private enterprise within limits and justify major projects of the state. Corporatism has sometimes been labeled as a Third Way or a mixed economy, a synthesis of capitalism and socialism, but it is in fact a separate, distinctive political economic system.”
Yes, once again, let’s called this synthesis by its true name; fascism. Just how well has the government achieved this utopian and fantasy notion that government is in the business of dispensing social justice?
At the heart of the corporatist mindset is control of markets and elimination of competitors. Government survives on deceiving the public and transnational corporations thrive on working their partnership relations with official authorities.
GE may be one of the most obvious offenders; nonetheless, the formulation of politics picking winners and losers based upon bribes and favoritism is a dreadful system. Preference for an actual free market based upon a decentralized merchant economy is the only alternative to globalism, which is enslaving the world.
The corporatist culture fuels the despotism, which society is so willing to accept. Voting how to spend your money is one of the few options a consumer has. Business collaborators with government crooks feed the abuses that GE perfects so well. This confederation in crime naturally harms ordinary citizens.
The immortal words uttered by Prince Hamlet as he contemplates death and suicide, applies for an entire society. The enormous gravity that permeates William Shakespeare’s tragic hero represents the same fate confronting the normal mortals, who make up the ranks of Americans. The rapid decline in intelligence and moral character has approached epidemic levels. The ROT which has seeped into the popular culture has become a metamorphosis Reign of Terror. The transformers from a heritage of principle, courage and honor have sunk to a level of Slouching Towards Gomorrah. Such a fate was feared by our Founding Fathers.
Such a band of brothers would be hung together today, for daring to defy the established order. This ageless conflict between those with imposing power and the subjects, who suffer from the rule of tyrannical madmen, never ends. Well before the era of the Bard of Strafford-upon-Avon, the playwrights of the original Greek theater operated as the model for an establishment governance.
From the venerable 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica volume 20 page 144 the pattern of human domination is illustrated.
“The success of the oracle led at last to the establishment of the rule that Herodotus declares to be almost universal in Greece, namely, that no leader of a colony would start without consulting Delphi. Doubtless in many cases the priesthood only gave encouragement to a pre-conceived project. But they were in a unique position for giving direct advice also, and they appear to have used their opportunities with great intelligence.
They could have for it was not by any means far-reaching conscious of no mission to preach Apollo, for his cult was an ancient heritage of the Hellenic stocks. Only the narrower duty devolved upon them of impressing upon the consultants felt the religious obligation of sending tithes or other offerings.
Nevertheless their opportunity of directing the religious ritual and organization of the public worships was great; for Plato’s view that all questions of detail in religion should be left to the decision of the god ” who sits on the omphalos ” was on the whole in accord with the usual practice of Greece. Such consultations would occur when the state was in some trouble, which would be likely to be imputed to some neglect of religion, and the question to the oracle would commonly be put in this way “to what god or goddess or hero shall we sacrifice”?
The oracle would then be inclined to suggest the name of some divine personage hitherto neglected, or of one whose rites who fallen into decay.
Again, Apollo would know the wishes of the other divinities, who were not in the habit of directly communicating with their worshippers; therefore questions about the sacred the goddesses at Eleusis would be naturally referred to land of him. From both these points of view we can understand why Delphi appears to have encouraged the tendency towards hero-worship which was becoming rife in Greece from the 7th century onwards.”
The lesson from placing submission in the hands of ruling elite goes back to antiquity. Usually that obedience was based upon physical threats of coercion, slavery or death. The cradle of Democracy interjected a cultural element into the mix that the priesthood class could intercede with the gods on behalf of a civil society of implied, free men.
The notion that citizens could vote on public issues, and confer consent was earth shattering. Making appeals to pagan deities is not unique. Access to “consultations” with the gods, followed a procedure that was strictly maintained by the prevailing order. The standard that saved the city-state required divine approval. Today regimes are protected by controlling mass allegiance through a cultural assault of rigid conformity to basic compliance of laws that is acceptable to the establishment authority.
None of this social dominance is healthy for a free society. Yet, those who give a superficial reading of Robert H. Bork’s book, risk missing the balance needed to protect individual common law rights.
“Slouching Towards Gomorrah is a penetrating, devastatingly insightful exposé of a country in crisis at the end of the millennium, where the rise of modern liberalism, which stresses the dual forces of radical egalitarianism (the equality of outcomes rather than opportunities) and radical individualism (the drastic reduction of limits to personal gratification), has undermined our culture, our intellect, and our morality.”
In order to promote legitimate individualism and personal freedom, the fundamental canons of natural rights must be the core criterion. Ethical conduct requires personal choices and conscious decisions for behavioral conduct.
Being part of the establishment means that acceptance of the system goes mostly unquestioned. Anti-establishment sentiment does not mean becoming a social misfit is the only path. There is no practical way to drop off the planet altogether and remain alive. Hamlet is correct in questioning his very existence, but few surviving participants in the daily grind of the rat race ever make time to contemplate their own place in the world.
Essentially, being Stuck on Stupid finds a delusive comfort and a false security in acquaintance to the status quo, even if that mode of interaction is wholly corrupt and destructive.
Until the masses make a commitment to be honest and honorable, no effective campaign can be waged against the establishment. Those who vigorously defend the actions of the establishment are lost. Seeking the guidance of the symbolic Delphi requires a total break with hero-worship of establishment proponents.
Radical egalitarianism is a cornerstone of the establishment, in their effort to become the Lord Master of the system. The madness that Hamlet experience drove him to express, “To die, to sleep-/No more“, is based upon his torture and fear that there might not be peace even in death. Likewise the torment of thinking social critics understands that current ruling institutions and authorities are rotten to the core.
Trust worthy traditional conservatism offers a cogent, proven and utilitarian approach to achieve a renaissance for Western Civilization. In order to plant the seeds of individual Liberty, a populist message and a spiritual re-awakening must be adopted.
Society as it is presently configured is doomed to a catastrophic upheaval. Now is the time to prepare for personal survival, because the governmental safety network systems are unsustainable.
After the collapse, as the substantive re-alignment struggle is fought out, each of us will need to answer the primary question: Will you obey the Fascist Police State elites or you will you overcome Hamlet’s fear of continual existence and resist the tyranny?
The saying often associated about the place one resides: “Where Life is Worth Living”, should apply to America. For most of its history this attitude was true. More people than ever are not so sure that the nation once revered deserves to survive.
A new Gallup poll indicates that “Americans continue to view government as their single greatest problem. While the economy and unemployment have given the government a run for its money over the last year, in recent months government has taken a clear lead for the ignominious title.”
The establishment most closely is associated with the government. However, the social culture ultimately accepts the system even when vocal activists are protesting. The reason is simple, fear of the unknown. Like Hamlet, death may not be relief in the end. Nevertheless, Abu Bakr’s quotation regretfully is all too true. “Cursed is the man who dies, but the evil done by him survives”.
How does one respond when the death of humanity comes as the cost of the survival of the establishment? The sickness that has become today’s political, social and economic environment is a wholly owned dividend from the establishment’s war on God.
Seeking the console of the Delphi to intercede with Apollo is like applying for a government grant to endure one more day of food rations. The dependency milieu is designed with a kill switch. Nothing is more philistine in a stance than to keep accepting that the establishment is a legitimate authority.
While there are few Plato’s among us, there are many despotic followers of his ideal Republic despotism. One can explain away that Plato was promoting his Philosopher King, but there is no excuse to execrate the long list of democratic leaders who work tirelessly to establish their kingdom here on earth.
For God’s sake! If not for your own; then seek righteousness for His. Remaining dumb and stupid is no defense for encouraging the establishment by providing willful assent. The notion that we can reform ourselves out of this dilemma is folly. Every day the situation deepens into a Shakespearian tragedy. It is too late to avoid the slide into Gomorrah because we are already in the pre Hellstone and brimfire danger zone.
People seldom learn from the past because they are living examples of denial. This experience is different from previous ages when life was short and often came to a violent end. Survivors understood the nature of tyranny. Now the soft kill culture does the dirty work, while most remain silent.
“In order to survive and preserve its leading role on the international stage, the US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, (and) to cut economic ties between Europe and Asia-Pacific Region … Russia is the only (country) within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance… is a vitally important task for America.”
-Nikolai Starikov, Western Financial System Is Driving It to War, Russia Insider
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
-The Wolfowitz Doctrine, the original version of the Defense Planning Guidance, authored by Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992
The United States does not want a war with Russia, it simply feels that it has no choice. If the State Department hadn’t initiated a coup in Ukraine to topple the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, then the US could not have inserted itself between Russia and the EU, thus, disrupting vital trade routes which were strengthening nations on both continents. The economic integration of Asia and Europe–including plans for high-speed rail from China (“The New Silk Road”) to the EU–poses a clear and present danger for the US whose share of global GDP continues to shrink and whose significance in the world economy continues to decline. For the United States to ignore this new rival (EU-Russia) would be the equivalent of throwing in the towel and accepting a future in which the US would face a gradual but persistent erosion of its power and influence in world affairs. No one in Washington is prepared to let that happen, which is why the US launched its proxy-war in Ukraine.
The US wants to separate the continents, “prevent the emergence of a new rival”, install a tollbooth between Europe and Asia, and establish itself as the guarantor of regional security. To that end, the US is rebuilding the Iron Curtain along a thousand mile stretch from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Tanks, armored vehicles and artillery are being sent to the region to reinforce a buffer zone around Europe in order to isolate Russia and to create a staging ground for future US aggression. Reports of heavy equipment and weapons deployment appear in the media on nearly a daily basis although the news is typically omitted in the US press. A quick review of some of the recent headlines will help readers to grasp the scale of the conflict that is cropping up below the radar:
“US, Bulgaria to hold Balkans military drills”, “NATO Begins Exercises In Black Sea”, “Army to send even more troops, tanks to Europe”, “Poland requests greater US military presence”, “U.S. Army sending armored convoy 1,100 miles through Europe”, “Over 120 US tanks, armored vehicles arrive in Latvia”, “US, Poland to Conduct Missile Exercise in March – Pentagon”
Get the picture? There’s a war going on, a war between the United States and Russia.
Notice how most of the headlines emphasize US involvement, not NATO. In other words, the provocations against Russia originate from Washington not Europe. This is an important point. The EU has supported US-led economic sanctions, but it’s not nearly as supportive of the military build up along the perimeter. That’s Washington’s idea and the cost is borne by the US alone. Naturally, moving tanks, armored vehicles and artillery around the world is an expensive project, but the US is more than willing to make the sacrifice if it helps to achieve its objectives.
And what are Washington’s objectives?
Interestingly, even political analysts on the far right seem to agree about that point. For example, check out this quote from STRATFOR CEO George Friedman who summed it up in a recent presentation he delivered at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs. He said:
“The primordial interest of the United States, over which for centuries we have fought wars–the First, the Second and Cold Wars–has been the relationship between Germany and Russia, because united there, they’re the only force that could threaten us. And to make sure that that doesn’t happen.” … George Friedman at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, Time 1:40 to 1:57)
Bingo. Ukraine has nothing to do with sovereignty, democracy or (alleged) Russian aggression. That’s all propaganda. It’s about power. It’s about imperial expansion. It’s about spheres of influence. It’s about staving off irreversible economic decline. It’s all part of the smash-mouth, scorched earth, take-no-prisoners geopolitical world in which we live, not the fake Disneyworld created by the western media. The US State Department and CIA toppled the elected-government in Ukraine and ordered the new junta regime to launch a desperate war of annihilation against its own people in the East, because, well, because they felt they had no other option. Had Putin’s ambitious plan to create a free trade zone between Lisbon to Vladivostok gone forward, then where would that leave the United States? Out in the cold, that’s where. The US would become an isolated island of dwindling significance whose massive account deficits and ballooning national debt would pave the way for years of brutal restructuring, declining standards of living, runaway inflation and burgeoning social unrest. Does anyone really believe that Washington would let that to happen when it has a “brand-spanking” trillion dollar war machine at its disposal?
Heck, no. Besides, Washington believes it has a historic right to rule the world, which is what one would expect when the sense of entitlement and hubris reach their terminal phase. Now check out this clip from an article by economist Jack Rasmus at CounterPunch:
“Behind the sanctions is the USA objective of driving Russia out of the European economy. Europe was becoming too integrated and dependent on Russia. Not only its gas and raw materials, but trade relations and money capital flows were deepening on many fronts between Russia and Europe in general prior to the Ukraine crisis that has provided the cover for the introduction of the sanctions. Russia’s growing economic integration with Europe threatened the long term economic interests of US capitalists. Strategically, the US precipitated coup in the Ukraine can be viewed, therefore as a means by which to provoke Russian military intervention, i.e. a necessary event in order to deepen and expand economic sanctions that would ultimately sever the growing economic ties between Europe and Russia long term. That severance in turn would not only ensure US economic interests remain dominant in Europe, but would also open up new opportunities for profit making for US interests in Europe and Ukraine as well…
When the rules of the competition game between capitalists break down altogether, the result is war—i.e. the ultimate form of inter-capitalist competition.” (The Global Currency Wars, Jack Rasmus, CounterPunch)
See? Analysts on the right and left agree. Ukraine has nothing to do with sovereignty, democracy or Russian aggression. It’s plain-old cutthroat geopolitics, where the last man left standing, wins.
The United States cannot allow Russia reap the benefits of its own vast resources. Oh, no. It has to be chastised, it has to be bullied, it has to be sanctioned, isolated, threatened and intimidated. That’s how the system really works. The free market stuff is just horsecrap for the sheeple.
Russia is going to have to deal with chaotic, fratricidal wars on its borders and color-coded regime change turbulence in its capital. It will have to withstand reprisals from its trading partners, attacks on its currency and plots to eviscerate its (oil) revenues. The US will do everything in its power to poison the well, to demonize Putin, to turn Brussels against Moscow, and to sabotage the Russian economy.
Divide and conquer, that’s the ticket. Keep them at each others throats at all times. Sunni vs Shia, one ethnic Ukrainian vs the other, Russians vs Europeans. That’s Washington’s plan, and it’s a plan that never fails.
US powerbrokers are convinced that America’s economic slide can only be arrested by staking a claim in Central Asia, dismembering Russia, encircling China, and quashing all plans for an economically-integrated EU-Asia. Washington is determined to prevail in this existential conflict, to assert its hegemonic control over the two continents, and to preserve its position as the world’s only superpower.
Only Russia can stop the United States and we believe it will.
Common wisdom has China as the future model for the Globalist economy. Also, conventional thinking has the Western financial debt created money system as the backbone of the New World Order. The big question is, are both components of the same intentional plan? When China Has Announced Plans For A ‘World Currency’, the world is put on notice that a fundamental shift is about to take place.
“What you are about to see is rather startling, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. When it comes to economics and finance, the Chinese have always been playing chess while the western world has been playing checkers. Sadly, we have gotten to the point where checkmate is on the horizon.
The following comes from CNBC …
The tightly controlled Chinese yuan will eventually supersede the dollar as the top international reserve currency, according to a new poll of institutional investors.
The survey of 200 institutional investors – 100 headquartered in mainland China and 100 outside of it – published by State Street and the Economist Intelligence Unit on Thursday found 53 percent of investors think the renminbi will surpass the U.S. dollar as the world’s major reserve currency.
Optimism was higher within China, where 62 percent said they saw a redback world on the horizon, compared with 43 percent outside China.”
Before the celebration begins that the game is up for the Federal Reserve mastery from the days of the Bretton Woods Conference, look a little closer. While gold and its fixed price were instrumental to that monitory standard, the freeing from fixed rates has generated the madness of floating currency speculation that now dominates the financial markets.
The cunning and patient Chinese built their export economy on cheap priced goods into their importing customer economies. Saving is a noble objective in the East, while going into debt is the hallmark of Western practices. The Chinese have applied their huge balance of trade surpluses to buying up commodities. Most notable is gold.
The article, Could China actually have 30,000 tonnes of gold in reserves? Makes the strongest argument that China is poised to become the new superior currency is based upon the potential of establishing a convertible relationship between the renminbi and bullion.
“China has much more gold than it is allowing the world to see. As Alasdair Macleod, probably the world’s number one analyst of the gold market, wrote that between 1983 and 2002 China probably accumulated 25,000 tons of gold. Thus, its current gold holdings are probably north of 30,000 tons in contrast to the USA which has either sold or leased most of its gold.” Now this statement coming from one of the usual gold megabulls might be ignorable, but Hunt does not fall into this category and has a good track record of insights into China’s strategic initiatives as far as metals and minerals are concerned.”
Before the rush to the door to dump your U.S. Dollars for whatever store of wealth one believes will maintain its purchasing value, consider what the voice of the global financial establishment, the IMF says. Stating the outlook from the central Bankster’s perspective in, Will the Renminbi Rule?, the message is that paper money, burdened by debt, is still firmly in place.
“Given China’s size and growth prospects, it is widely seen as inevitable that the renminbi will eventually become a reserve currency. To gauge the likelihood and timing, it is necessary to consider the typical attributes of a reserve currency and evaluate China’s progress in each of these dimensions. The factors that generally affect a currency’s reserve status includes:
- Economic size
- Macroeconomic policies
- Flexible exchange rate
- Open capital account
- Financial market development
The IMF concludes:
“The renminbi is unlikely to become a prominent reserve currency—let alone challenge the dollar’s dominance—unless it can be freely converted and China adopts an open capital account.”
Now for anyone even remotely schooled in the manners and maturations of the financial elites, turning the other cheek to a pretender, is not in the lesson book.
Investment manager, Richard Harris offers in a report, Time to create new Chinese-Hong Kong dollar, an interesting possibility.
“The HK dollar itself is a dead unit having been pegged first to the pound and later to the US dollar, with the current rate fixed in 1983. The prevailing view about depegging is that it would be too dangerous. The unit only floated for a relatively short period from 1974-1983 and, I recall, without much confidence in its success.
The obvious answer is to combine the dead HK dollar with the embryonic CNH. This would be a completely independent, floating currency. The CNY would be used for current account transactions such as exports and imports, whilst the new “Chinese Dollar” (HKD/CNH combined) would cater for capital account financial transactions.”
Keeping paper money in place as the international medium of exchange is fundamental to the New World Order. While China may never implement an actual redemption of gold for their renminbi, there is a real possibility that some gold weighted backing for Chinese paper instruments could be introduced.
The U.S. Dollar maintains illusionary worth, only because the central bankers are all in with their dollar dominated derivatives. Moreover, the Chinese are very much dependent upon their exports to keep their economy going. Settlement in Federal Reserve notes is crucial for the American system to keep buying from overseas.
Just the mere threat of payment in the renminbi for all the Chinese goods that Walmart imports could be devastating. Allowing for a gradual transition into a semi-reserve renminbi status keeps the Bankster’s game going.
The prudent analysis suggests that the NWO created China’s emergence into an economic power through off-shoring domestic industries in their subject countries. Nonetheless, the international cabal is not about to starve their interest paying indebted nations by letting the Chinese accumulate even greater cash reserves.
Expect a downturn in China’s prospects, as soon as any ascendency for their currency begins gaining a reserve acceptance.
“The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington’s power to act unilaterally abroad…. Suddenly the United States found itself to be the Uni-power, the ‘world’s only superpower.’ Neoconservatives proclaimed ‘the end of history.’”
— Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury
“Don’t blame the mirror if your face is crooked.”
— Russian proverb
Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the 43rd Munich Security Conference that created a rift between Washington and Moscow that has only deepened over time. The Russian President’s blistering hour-long critique of US foreign policy provided a rational, point-by-point indictment of US interventions around the world and their devastating effect on global security. Putin probably didn’t realize the impact his candid observations would have on the assembly in Munich or the reaction of powerbrokers in the US who saw the presentation as a turning point in US-Russian relations. But, the fact is, Washington’s hostility towards Russia can be traced back to this particular incident, a speech in which Putin publicly committed himself to a multipolar global system, thus, repudiating the NWO pretensions of US elites. Here’s what he said:
“I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue.”
With that one formulation, Putin rejected the United States assumed role as the world’s only superpower and steward of global security, a privileged position which Washington feels it earned by prevailing in the Cold War and which entitles the US to unilaterally intervene whenever it sees fit. Putin’s announcement ended years of bickering and deliberation among think tank analysts as to whether Russia could be integrated into the US-led system or not. Now they knew that Putin would never dance to Washington’s tune.
In the early years of his presidency, it was believed that Putin would learn to comply with western demands and accept a subordinate role in the Washington-centric system. But it hasn’t worked out that way. The speech in Munich merely underscored what many US hawks and Cold Warriors had been saying from the beginning, that Putin would not relinquish Russian sovereignty without a fight. The declaration challenging US aspirations to rule the world, left no doubt that Putin was going to be a problem that had to be dealt with by any means necessary including harsh economic sanctions, a State Department-led coup in neighboring Ukraine, a conspiracy to crash oil prices, a speculative attack of the ruble, a proxy war in the Donbass using neo-Nazis as the empire’s shock troops, and myriad false flag operations used to discredit Putin personally while driving a wedge between Moscow and its primary business partners in Europe. Now the Pentagon is planning to send 600 paratroopers to Ukraine ostensibly to “train the Ukrainian National Guard”, a serious escalation that violates the spirit of Minsk 2 and which calls for a proportionate response from the Kremlin. Bottom line: The US is using all the weapons in its arsenal to prosecute its war on Putin.
Last week’s gangland-style murder of Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, has to be considered in terms of the larger geopolitical game that is currently underway. While we may never know who perpetrated the crime, we can say with certainly that the lack of evidence hasn’t deterred the media or US politicians from using the tragedy to advance an anti-Putin agenda aimed at destabilizing the government and triggering regime change in Moscow. Putin himself suggested that the killing may have been a set-up designed to put more pressure on the Kremlin. The World Socialist Web Site summed up the political implications like this:
“The assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is a significant political event that arises out of the US-Russia confrontation and the intense struggle that is now underway within the highest levels of the Russian state. The Obama administration and the CIA are playing a major role in the escalation of this conflict, with the aim of producing an outcome that serves the global geo-political and financial interests of US imperialism….
It is all but obvious that the Obama administration is hoping a faction will emerge within the Russian elite, backed by elements in the military and secret police, capable of staging a “palace coup” and getting rid of Putin….
The United States is not seeking to trigger a widespread popular revolt. (But) are directed entirely at convincing a section of the oligarchy and emerging capitalist class that their business interests and personal wealth depend upon US support. That is why the Obama administration has used economic sanctions targeting individuals as a means of exerting pressure on the oligarchs as well as broader sections of the entrepreneurial elite….
It is in the context of this international power struggle that one must evaluate Nemtsov’s murder. Of course, it is possible that his death was the outcome of his private dealings. But it is more likely that he was killed for political reasons. Certainly, the timing of the killing—on the eve of the opposition’s anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow—strongly indicates that the killing was a political assassination, not a private settling of accounts.” (“Murder in Moscow: Why was Boris Nemtsov assassinated?“, David North, World Socialist Web Site)
Just hours after Nemtsov was gunned down in Moscow, the western media swung into action releasing a barrage of articles suggesting Kremlin involvement without a shred of evidence to support their claims. The campaign of innuendo has steadily gained momentum as more Russia “experts” and politicians offer their opinions about who might be responsible. Naturally, none of the interviewees veer from the official storyline that someone in Putin’s charge must have carried out the attack. An article in the Washington Post is a good example of the tactics used in the latest PR campaign to discredit Putin. According to Vladimir Gel’man, Political Scientists European University at St. Petersburg and the University of Helsinki:
“Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of political opposition, was shot dead nearby the Kremlin. In my opinion, it has all the hallmarks of a political assassination provoked by an aggressive Kremlin-induced campaign against the “fifth column of national traitors”, who opposed the annexation of Crimea, war with the West over Ukraine, and further decline of political and civil freedoms in the country. We may never know whether the Kremlin ordered this killing, but given the fact that Nemtsov was one of the most consistent critics not only of the Russian regime as such but also of Putin in person, his dissenting voice will never upset Putin and his inner circle anymore.” (“What does Boris Nemtsov’s murder mean for Russia?“, Washington Post)
The article in the Washington Post is fairly typical of others published in the MSM. The coverage is invariably long on finger-pointing and insinuation and short on facts. Traditional journalistic standards of objectivity and fact-gathering have been jettisoned to advance a political agenda that reflects the objectives of ownership. The Nemtsov assassination is just the latest illustration of the abysmal state of western media.
The idea that Putin’s agents would “whack” an opposition candidate just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin is far fetched to say the least. As one commenter at the Moon of Alabama blog noted:
“Isn’t the image of a dead political opponent lying on a bridge overlooked by the Kremlin a bit rich? I mean, short of a dagger lodged between his shoulder blades with the inscription “if found, please return to Mr Putin”, I can’t think of a more over-egged attempt at trying to implicate the Government. And on the night before an opposition rally Nemtsov hoped to lead. I mean, come on.”
While there’s no denying that Moscow could be involved, it seems unlikely. The more probable explanation is that the incident is part of a larger regime change scheme to ignite social unrest and destabilize the government. The US has used these tactics so many times before in various color-coded revolutions, that we won’t reiterate the details here. Even so, it’s worth noting that the US has no red lines when it comes to achieving its strategic goals. It will do whatever it feels is necessary to prevail in its clash with Putin.
The question is why? Why is Washington so determined to remove Putin?
Putin answered this question himself recently at a celebration of Russia’s diplomatic workers’ day. He said Russia would pursue an independent foreign policy despite pressure in what he called “today’s challenging international environment.”
“No matter how much pressure is put on us, the Russian Federation will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy, to support the fundamental interests of our people and in line with global security and stability.” (Reuters)
This is Putin’s unforgivable crime, the same crime as Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Syria and countless other nations that refuse to march in lockstep to Washington’s directives.
Putin has also resisted NATO encirclement and attempts by the US to loot Russia’s vast natural resources. And while Putin has made every effort to avoid a direct confrontation with the US, he has not backed down on issues that are vital to Russia’s national security, in fact, he has pointed out numerous times not only the threat that encroaching NATO poses to Moscow, but also the lies that preceded its eastward expansion. Here’s Putin at Munich again:
“I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee….
Where are these guarantees?”
Where, indeed. Apparently, they were all lies. As political analyst Pat Buchanan said in his article “Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?”:
“Though the Red Army had picked up and gone home from Eastern Europe voluntarily, and Moscow felt it had an understanding we would not move NATO eastward, we exploited our moment. Not only did we bring Poland into NATO, we brought in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and virtually the whole Warsaw Pact, planting NATO right on Mother Russia’s front porch. Now, there is a scheme afoot to bring in Ukraine and Georgia in the Caucasus, the birthplace of Stalin….
… though Putin gave us a green light to use bases in the old Soviet republics for the liberation of Afghanistan, we now seem hell-bent on making those bases in Central Asia permanent.
… through the National Endowment for Democracy, its GOP and Democratic auxiliaries, and tax-exempt think tanks, foundations, and “human rights” institutes such as Freedom House,… we have been fomenting regime change in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and Russia herself….
These are Putin’s grievances. Does he not have a small point?” “(Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?”, Pat Buchanan, antiwar.com)
Now the US wants to deploy its missile defense system to Eastern Europe, a system which–according to Putin “will work automatically with and be an integral part of the US nuclear capability. For the first time in history, and I want to emphasize this, there are elements of the US nuclear capability on the European continent. It simply changes the whole configuration of international security…..Of course, we have to respond to that.”
How can Putin allow this to happen? How can he allow the US to situate nuclear weapons in a location that would increase its first-strike capability and undermine the balance of deterrents allowing the US to force Russia to follow its orders or face certain annihilation. Putin has no choice but to resist this outcome, just as has no choice but to oppose the principle upon which US expansion is based, the notion that the Cold War was won by the US, therefore the US has the right to reshape the world in a way that best suits its own economic and geopolitical interests. Here’s Putin again:
“What is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, it refers to a type of situation where there is one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. At the end of the day, this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within…..
I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world…. the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization….” (Munich, 2007)
What sort of man talks like this? What sort of man talks about “the moral foundations for modern civilization” or invokes FDR in his address?
Putin: “‘Security for one is security for all’. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the first few days that the Second World War was breaking out: ‘When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger.’ These words remain topical today.”
I urge everyone to watch at least the first 10 minutes of Putin’s speech and decide for themselves whether they think the characterization (and demonization) of Putin in the media is fair or not. And pay special attention to Minute 6 where Putin says this:
“We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?” (“Vladimir Putin’s legendary speech at Munich Security Conference“)
While Putin is making this statement, the camera pans to John McCain and Joe Lieberman who are sitting stone-faced in the front row seething at every word uttered by the Russian president. If you look close enough, you can see the steam emerging from McCain’s ears.
This is why Washington wants regime change in Moscow. It’s because Putin refuses to be pushed around by the United States. It’s because he wants a world that is governed by international laws that are impartially administered by the United Nations. It’s because he rejects a “unipolar” world order where one nation dictates policy to everyone else and where military confrontation becomes the preferred way for the powerful to impose their will on the weak.
Putin: “Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts…The United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way….And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this — no one feels safe.” Vladimir Putin, Munich 2007
Putin isn’t a perfect man. He has his shortcomings and flaws like everyone else. But he appears to be a decent person who has made great strides in restoring Russia’s economy after it was looted by agents of the US following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He has lifted living standards, increased pensions, reduced poverty, and improved education and health care which is why his public approval ratings are currently hovering at an eye-watering 86 percent. Even so, Putin is most admired for standing up to the United States and blocking its strategy to pivot to Asia. The proxy war in Ukraine is actually a struggle to thwart Washington’s plan to break up the Russian Federation, encircle China, control the flow of resources from Asia to Europe, and rule the world. Vladimir Putin is at the forefront of that conflagration which is why he has gained the respect and admiration of people around the world.
As for “democracy”, Putin said it best himself:
“Am I a ‘pure democrat’? (laughs) Of course I am. Absolutely. The problem is that I’m all alone, the only one of my kind in the whole world. Just look at what’s happening in America, it’s terrible—torture, homeless people, Guantanamo, people detained without trial or investigation. And look at Europe—harsh treatment of demonstrators, rubber bullets and tear gas used in one capital after another, demonstrators killed on the streets….. I have no one to talk to since Gandhi died.”
Well said, Vladimir.
Varoufakis vs. The Troika…
“Will the United States, Germany, the rest of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund – collectively constituting the International Mafia – allow the new Greek leaders of the Syriza party to dictate the conditions of Greece’s rescue and salvation? The answer at the moment is a decided “No”.
— William Blum, The Greek Tragedy, Veracity Voice
“The Greek economy is finished…. There is no power, no force within the Greek economy, within Greek society that can avert – it’s like – imagine if we were in Ohio in 1931 and we were to ask: What can Ohio politicians do to get Ohio out of the Great Depression? The answer is nothing.”
— Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Finance Minister
A disagreement over the terms of a deal to provide a bailout extension for Greece, has set the stage for a final clash between the Eurogroup and members of the Greek ruling party, Syriza. Although the agreement was approved on Tuesday when a list of reforms were submitted by Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to the Eurogroup, Varoufakis believes that changes to the original program give him greater flexibility to implement policies that will end austerity, reduce the ailing country’s primary budget surplus, and ease the humanitarian crisis that has persisted for 6 years. Regrettably, no one at the ECB, the European Commission or the IMF shares Varoufakis’s views on the subject. The so called “troika” thinks that Greece has signed on to essentially the same program that was in place before the negotiations, give or take a few cosmetic changes in the language. And because the program is the same, they think Varoufakis should stick with the same policies as his predecessor and ignore mounting public opposition to austerity. Given the irreconcilable differences between the two parties, there’s bound to be a violent confrontation in the near future that will lead to heated recriminations and, eventually, a Grexit.
To illustrate the widening chasm between Varoufakis and the members of the Eurogroup, consider the fact that, going into the negotiations, Varoufakis was determined to end the bailouts and secure a “bridge” loan that would shield Greece from default for a six month period of adjustment after which basic changes to the current austerity regime would be re-negotiated. While the Eurogroup agreed to change the term “program” to “agreement” and “troika” to “institutions”, in the minds of the EU finance minsters, the substance of the original deal, which was laid out in the hated Memorandum of Understanding, remained the same. Take a look at this excerpt from a letter from ECB president Mario Draghi and Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem and you’ll see how this is playing out:
“I assume that it is clear, that the basis of concluding the current review, and also any future arrangements, will be the existing commitments in the current Memorandum of Understanding and The Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP). In this context we note that the commitments outlined by the authorities differ from existing programme commitments in a number of areas. In such cases, we will have to assess during the review whether measures which are not accepted by the authorities are replaced with measures of equal or better quality in terms of achieving the objectives of the programme.” (Naked Capitalism)
What Draghi is saying is that Varoufakis’s changes will be put under a microscope to see if they conform with the memorandum which Varoufakis believes no longer applies. The way this will work on a practical basis, is that additional money will only be meted out incrementally depending on compliance with, you guessed it, the old agreement. In other words, Varoufakis will not have a 4 month grace period to experiment with his pro-growth, anti-austerity economic policies. He’ll be expected to toe the line from Day 1.
Varoufakis either doesn’t understand what he signed or thinks he can implement his own plan without too much interference from the Eurogroup. Either way, there’s probably going to be a confrontation given the vast disparity in the way the agreement is being interpreted. In a Tuesday interview with CNBC, Varoufakis said that the new deal is fundamentally different than the previous agreement. He said:
“Some people have been insisting that the program that we’ve been under must surely be the program that we shall remain under simply refuse to understand that this has changed. So they keep insisting that that program is still on-going. Let me give you a very simple number. The program that we challenged compelled to the Greek government to extract 4.5% of the primary surplus every year in a depressed economy. We’ve changed that. Now surely that is not dismissed as simply a non-event and it’s business as usual, so it’s not business as usual we have a fresh start and now what matters is to use the opportunity of that fresh start in order to build something good on top of it. And we will endeavor to do this.” (“CNBC Exclusive Interview: Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis“, CNBC)
See? He sincerely believes that the old deal is history. But the troika, the Eurogroup, and the majority of people who have analyzed the new arrangement, disagree. They think everything is the same (which explains why critics on the right and left have repudiated the deal as a “climb-down, a capitulation and a sellout.)
In an interview with Nikos Hatzinikolaou on REAL FM, Greece, Varoufakis rejected the Memorandum while claiming that the new agreement represents “a huge success’ in ending the “recessionary measures” that are needlessly prolonging Greece’s Great Depression. Here’s what he said:
Varoufakis: “The current government (Syriza) wants to say things with their name. I will explain it to you in very simple terms, Mr. Hatzinikolaou. As long as our debt is what it is, as long as Greece was bounded within this iron cage of primary surpluses that were impossible to achieve without killing whatever is left in the private sector, and as long we have a negative sign in investments (essentially, real investments), it was impossible to achieve this exit.
What we are trying to do – and have succeeded in doing so; it was a huge success, I’d say – is to create a four-month bridge during which we achieve the following:
First, the cancelation of the recessionary measures and the implementation of a transitional program we ourselves have made, one the Greek society will be able to withstand. This will help us negotiate during this four-month period a new contract between us and our partners with the goal of solving this system of three equations with three unknowns.
Hatzinikolaou: Thus, we are talking about a new Memorandum? ….
Varoufakis: OK. Let us be careful with the words. What does the Memorandum mean? … Let me remind you of what it comprises. It comprises the logic of continuous domestic [or internal] devaluation, of huge primary surpluses in an economy that does not have a real credit system, where investments are negative, and at the same time where we have a series of measures that empower this recession. This is the MoU. It is the automation, the a-politicization, and the subjection to the crisis.” (“The juicy interview of Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis“, Greek Analyst)
Varoufakis appears to be saying that, in his view, the new agreement constitutes a rejection of the memorandum and, thus, is a de facto repudiation of austerity. The question is whether Varoufakis is stretching the facts to give himself greater latitude to relieve Greece’s humanitarian crisis and to put Greece back on a sound path to growth. While those are worthy goals, they are not likely to win the Eurogroup’s support. Check out this excerpt from a letter from the IMF to Dijsselbloem concerning the vagueness of Varoufakis’s reform package:
“In quite a few areas, however, including perhaps the most important ones, the letter is not conveying clear assurances that the Government intends to undertake the reforms envisaged in the Memorandum on Economic and Financial Policies. We note in particular that there are neither clear commitments to design the envisaged comprehensive pension and VAT policy reforms, nor unequivocal undertakings to continue already-agreed policies for opening up closed sectors, for administrative reforms, for privatization, and for labor market reforms. As you know, we consider such commitments and undertakings to be critical for Greece’s ability to meet the basic objectives of its Fund-supported program, which is why these are the areas subject to most of the structural benchmarks agreed with the Fund.” (Excerpt IMF letter posted at Naked capitalism)
Repeat: “We consider such commitments and undertakings to be critical for Greece’s ability to meet the basic objectives of its Fund-supported program.” In other words, Greece should not expect to get its loan extension unless it follows the troika’s explicit orders on pensions, VAT (sales taxes), government cutbacks, privatization and labor market reforms.
So, what is Varoufakis’s approach to these benchmarks?
Let’s take a look at pension reform. In an interview with CNBC’s Julia Chatterley on Tuesday, Chatterley asked Varoufakis point blank, “So you’re ruling out pension cuts?”
Varoufakis: “Of course over the next four months there will be no such thing.” (CNBC)
How about raising the VAT tax?
Same thing. And in the interview on REAL FM Varoufakis covered the other policies that the troika sees as “critical”. Listen to this exchange:
Hatzinikolaou: My fundamental question about the e-mail is whether or not it entails layoffs in the public sector …, if it entails pension reductions … if it entails wage reductions?
Varoufakis: I will answer to all these questions, since these are very specific questions, and it is best that we speak forthrightly. My answer to all of these questions is NO, in NO WAY.”
Let’s summarize: No pension cuts, no higher VAT taxes, no lower wages for public workers, and no layoffs. While I admire what Varoufakis is suggesting, I can’t figure out how he’s going to convince the troika to give him more money. Apparently, he thinks that streamlining the government and aggressively pursuing tax cheats will do the trick. Or maybe he has something else up his sleeve, like ignoring the terms of the agreement long enough to generate growth in the economy, lower unemployment, and create an improved environment for foreign investment. He might think that that will force the troika to acknowledge that austerity has failed and that pro-growth Keynesian strategies actually produce positive results. Of course, that’s just a guess on my part. It’s impossible to know for sure.
Here’s more of the interview with CNBC:
Varoufakis: “The reason why we have this 4 month period is to re-establish bonds of trust between us and our European partners as well as the IMF in order to build a new, we call it, contract between us and our partners so as to put an end to this spiral, the debt inflationary spiral; reform Greece; and make sure that CNBC doesn’t care about Greece anymore, because we don’t want to be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.” (“CNBC Exclusive Interview: Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis“, CNBC)
The “bonds of trust” are going to put to the test if Varoufakis doesn’t comply with the troika’s diktats, that’s for sure.
Varoufakis assumes that the troika doesn’t understand the impact of its belt-tightening policies. He seems to think that the punishment that’s being inflicted on Greece is just the unfortunate byproduct of debt reduction policy and not a deliberate attempt to crush the unions, roll back progressive reforms, decimate the welfare state, and reduce the country to a condition of “permanent colonial dependency.” But that viewpoint is shockingly naïve, after all, the IMF has been in the looting biz for a long time and has a pretty good grasp of the effects its toxic policies. They know what they’re doing, just like know that austerity is just a refinement of the “shock doctrine” which is the traditional way the elites exploit crises by imposing harsh, economy-demolishing reforms that only benefit themselves and their class. The men who conjure up these thieving schemes aren’t likely to be hoodwinked by Varoufakis’s vague reforms. They’re going to force Varoufakis to jump through all their respective hoops before he gets one dime of their precious money. Here’s Varoufakis again:
“There is going to be a great deal of toing and froing between us and the institutions and our partners but what we have established through stubborn refusal to succumb to the notion that elections change nothing over the past couple of months or weeks I should say is the notion that this government deserves to have a degree of room for policy-making that allows us to reform Greece and to carry the great multitude out there with us. This is the government for the first time in Greece that has the people behind it and it would be a terrible waste not just for us but for our partners to allow this wave of support to dissipate through non-action.” (CNBC)
Does Varoufakis really think he can pull this off? Does he really think he can out-fox the slimy, authoritarian brigands and leg-breakers who run these extortionist institutions and who will use every means possible to extract the last drop of blood from their victim be he an aspiring, but penniless student at the university or a destitute pensioner huddling homeless and frozen in an abandoned doorway in downtown Athens?
This isn’t going to end well. Varoufakis had one card to play–the threat of leaving the Euro–and he failed to play it. Now his leverage is gone and the roof is about to cave in. Just wait and see.
The troika isn’t going to convene another dreary round of negotiations to rehash the same old nonsense. Those days are over. They’re simply going to withhold the money, curtail liquidity assistance, and torpedo the Greek banking system. Kaboom! That’s the way this thing is going to go down. The mood among the EZ finance ministers has soured considerably since the last meeting. They want to put this whole thing behind them. They’re sick of it. They want closure. They’re not going to quibble over issues they’ve already gone over and clarified a million times. Varoufakis will either have to get with the program or face the consequences. That’s the way it works in Mafia-land; you either pay the piper or you find yourself in the East River in cement booties.
Who knows: maybe this is what Varoufakis wanted from the beginning, a ferocious clash ending in banishment, a Grexit. Well, he won’t have to wait long now.
“Though it’s happening to a stricken country, on the edge of Europe, the choices presented to Greece are being understood throughout Europe… Obey or leave.”
— Paul Mason, Channel 4 News Blog
It’s not easy to negotiate with a gun to your head. Nevertheless, that’s the situation Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis found himself in on Friday preceding a crucial meeting with the Eurogroup. According to one report, the objective of the last-ditch confab “was to prepare a consensus text that would be the basis for the discussion” with the EU’s finance ministers. That might sound innocent enough, but it doesn’t come close to explaining the real purpose of the meeting which was far more sinister. Check out this blurb from Costas Efimeros at the Press Project:
“According to a Greek official who doesn’t want to be named, the Greek delegation were yesterday subject to outright blackmail. Our ‘partners’ informed us that if Eurogroup doesn’t result in an agreement, on Tuesday the Greek government will be forced to implement capital controls. It seemed that they had taken the decision to strangle the Greek economy by cutting off funding to the banks through the ELA system. Furthermore, it seemed that the big Greek banks already knew this. Leaks from the ECB, after all, had suggested that they were preparing for a GREXIT.” (“Europe trashed democracy“, Costas Efimeros, The Press Project)
It’s nice to know that EU leaders ascribe to the same basic moral code as Don Corleone, isn’t it?
The fact is, a slow motion bank run has been underway in Greece for more than a month draining roughly 40 billion euros from the Greek banking system. If a deal hadn’t been struck on Friday, the ECB would have pulled the plug on its liquidity assistance program and blown the whole system to kingdom come. That’s how the Eurocrats planned to say goodbye to their long-struggling member, Greece, by giving them a sharp jolt to the groin before razing their economy to the ground. That tells you everything you need to know about the Eurogroup.
If Greece got the boot on Friday, it’s humanitarian crisis would have deepened overnight while the blow to the capital markets would have paved the way for another financial crisis. Fortunately, the catastrophe was averted mainly because Varoufakis was able to cobble together a viable plan for meeting the Eurogroup’s basic requirements while creating significant opportunities to ease conditions in Greece. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a perfect deal by any stretch, but it is the best deal that could have been reached given the circumstances and the unbridled hostility from German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who was eager to scuttle the whole project and throw Greece to the wolves. Varoufakis managed to out maneuver the irascible Schaeuble and get some of what he wanted, but only through stiff-necked resolve and significant compromise. As a result, Greece is still a member of the Eurozone, but just barely. A rejection of its reform package today (Monday) could push the beleaguered country out of the 19-member Union for good.
Keep in mind, the Eurogroup made it perfectly clear from the beginning that they weren’t going to restructure Greece’s debts or end the austerity program. The issues weren’t even on the table. So, those who think that Varoufakis should have given the Eurogroup an ultimatum (“Reduce our debts or we’ll leave.”) simply don’t understand the nature of the negotiations. Varoufakis was forced to operate within very strict parameters. Given those limitations, he nabbed a very respectable deal. Even so, it’s only natural for people to feel let-down, especially since Syriza had promised much more than they could deliver. But that doesn’t mean Varoufakis is a traitor or a sellout. Not at all. It merely means that Syriza’s belief that it could end austerity but keep Greece in the Eurozone proved to be unfounded. In fact, German opposition has made it nearly impossible. The larger point is this: Syriza had no mandate to spearhead a Grexit. That is not what the people voted for or what they want. Varoufakis’s was asked to do the impossible, square the circle. In that regard, he failed. But still, the deal he hammered out should mitigate Greece’s slump to some extent, although one should not expect a full-blown economic recovery, not without a healthy dose of fiscal stimulus which is nowhere in sight.
Varoufakis managed to change the terms of the deal which is now referred to as the “existing arrangement” rather than a “program”. According to Norbert Haring, this new “arrangement”…”is not a “technical” extension of the “program” any more, but an extension of the funding arrangement, plus vague conditionality.” (“Was it worth it? Concessions to Greece relative to the rejected draft of 16 February“, Nobert Haring)
It all sounds very tedious and legalistic, but the change is significant. You see, the real fight between Varoufakis and the Eurogroup was over this precise issue, that is, changing the inflexible, ironclad austerity “program” into a looser “arrangement” where polices can be altered via–what Varoufakis dubbed –“constructive ambiguity.” Varoufakis objective is to create enough gray area for Greece to regain sovereign control over its own economic policies. Constructive ambiguity will help to achieve that, provided the reforms meet the Eurogroup’s fiscal targets.
Here’s more from Haring’s post: “There is no mention any more of “successful conclusion of the program”, nor of “program” in the text. Instead a successful conclusion of the review of the “conditions in the current arrangement” is the new condition. This allows the Greek government to continue to say that the old program cannot be successful. It also allows for changes in the program, as “conditions of the arrangement” is deliberately more vague.” (“Was it worth it? Concessions to Greece relative to the rejected draft of 16 February”, Nobert Haring)
This isn’t just legal claptrap. It’s a critical change in the way the policy is implemented. Once again, Varoufakis has loosened the financial straitjacket in which Greece finds itself, which can only be seen as progress.
The new deal also allows Greece to decide its own reform package rather than the troika dictating what government expenses to cut or which publicly owned assets to sell. Here’s another excerpt from Haring’s post: “Most important change of the whole document: Addition of “The institutions will, for the 2015 primary surplus target, take the economic circumstances in 2015 into account.” Excessive, self-defeating austerity is off. Only the target for 2015 is mentioned, because everything further out would have to be part of a new arrangement, still to be negotiated.”
So Varoufakis has achieved his goal of reducing austerity. Not only is there greater flexibility operationally but, also, Greece will control the levers of decision-making in the “field of tax policy, privatisation, labour market reforms, financial sector, and pensions”. Naturally, the lower the primary surplus, the more fiscal stimulus is available for economic growth. (Running a surplus during a depression is absolute madness, but this is the lousy hand Varoufakis was dealt.)
Haring’s final comments are a good summary of Varoufakis’s achievement:
“Was it worth the hassle to reject the draft of 16 February, just to accept the statement four days later? For Athens it most certainly was. It got the promise that no self-defeating, excessive austerity would be asked of it any more, the assurance that it could devise its own economic and social policies, as long as they did not impact negatively on the interests of its partners, rather than having to execute and leaving in place all the measures accepted by the former government and strongly rejected by the people. These are huge improvements for Athens, with no significant counterbalancing downside compared to 16 February.” (“Was it worth it? Concessions to Greece relative to the rejected draft of 16 February”, Nobert Haring)
Clearly, this is a good deal for Greece, but let’s not go overboard; the basic situation still stinks to high heaven, mainly because the Eurogroup would rather lecture and punish than give a struggling member a helping hand. Had the Eurozone evolved into a viable political union that distributed fiscal transfers to the weaker states on the periphery, Greece would have emerged from its recession years ago. Instead, the fiasco drags on endlessly punctuated by infrequent outbursts from EU leaders who vehemently defend belt-tightening measures that have only made matters worse. If anything, this experience should help the Greek people decide whether there’s a future for them and their children in the Eurozone or not. Dealing with authoritarian boneheads (The Eurogroup) may eventually prove to be more trouble than its worth. (A Grexit looks better by the day!)
As for Varoufakis, well, he passed the finance minister’s test with flying colors. He distinguished himself as a capable horse trader and managed to squeeze more concessions out of the EU’s austerity-obsessed representatives than anyone thought possible. The man proved that he’s neither a “sell out” or a “traitor”.(as some claim.) Quite the contrary, he kept his word and did exactly what the Greek people asked of him.
At the very least, he deserves credit for a valiant effort.