President Barack Obama’s commencement address at West Point on May 28 managed to displease pretty much everyone in the nation’s commentariat. Before making an overall assessment of its significance, it is necessary to examine the validity and implications of Obama’s individual statements.
“[B]y most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise – who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away – are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.”
This key assertion, made at the beginning of the President’s address, does not stand to empirical scrutiny. In economic terms, America was far stronger vis-à-vis the rest of the world in 1945 than she is today. In more recent times, U.S. share of world GDP peaked in 1985 with just under 33 percent of global GDP (nominal). Between 2004 and 2014, United States’ share of global gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) has fallen from 22.5 percent to 18.5 percent, and it is expected to continue falling. By the end of this year China will overtake the United States in gross domestic product, which had originally been projected to happen by the end of this decade. Analysts concede will gradually shift the ability to confer advantages or disadvantages on other countries – in other words, power – in China’s favor.
In military terms, while America enjoyed the nuclear monopoly in 1945-49, her period of undisputed unipolar dominance was between 1991 (the collapse of the USSR) and 2008 (Russia’s counterattack in South Ossetia). Although the Pentagon budget will drop from $600 billion this year to $500 billion in 2015, it will continue to account for over a third of the global total. The unsatisfactory outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan and dented America’s image of military invincibility. As the Economist commented on May 3, “The yawning gap between Uncle Sam and his potential foes seems bound to shrink.” The prevailing view among most critical analysts is that over the past decade the U.S. has suffered military reverses, and now faces severe global competition.
As for the “global leadership,” it is unclear what exactly Obama had in mind. Russia and China are creating a powerful Eurasian counterweight to what they rightly perceive as Washington’s continuing bid for the global hegemony. India’s new prime minister is a potential partner at best, and certainly loath to acknowledge America’s “leadership.” In the Islamic world, Obama’s attempts at appeasement – which started with the Cairo speech in 2009 – have not worked: The U.S. is now even more unpopular in the Muslim world than it was under George W. Bush. America is heartily disliked even in Turkey and Jordan, presumably our allies, not least because of the continuing drone strikes. American influence in Latin America is weaker now than at any time since Theodore Roosevelt, as manifested in the unanimous rejection of Washington’s efforts to effect a regime change in Venezuela. Members of the American elite class are hard pressed to name a single country with which the U.S. has better relations today than five years ago. The NSA global spying network has infuriated even some otherwise reliable American friends in Western Europe. Most “Old Europeans” are remarkably resistant to U.S. pressure to agree to serious sanctions against Russia.
On balance it appears that Barack Obama is the one misreading history and engaging in partisan politics.
“Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative.”
In reality, by most value-neutral parameters the American economy is chronically weak and insolvent:
- Far from growing, the economy contracted in the first three months of this year at the annualized rate of one per cent, and it is unclear where future growth would come from. Gross domestic income is also falling sharply, for the first time in years.
- There are fewer workers, they are less efficient than a decade ago, and new employment is mostly in low-paying part-time jobs. Labor force participation (the percentage of Americans at work) is low, at levels not seen since the stagnant economy of the 1970s. One-fifth of 80 million American families do not have a single employed member.
- Government dependence has reached epidemic levels: the number of Americans getting money or benefits from the federal government exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million. Welfare spending and entitlement payments account for 69 percent of the federal budget.
- One-third of all American households are living hand-to-mouth, one paycheck from poverty. The median annual income is 7.5 percent lower than in January 2008.
- The inflation-adjusted S&P500 is back to where it was in 2007. The single biggest buyer of stocks are the companies of the S&P500 itself. At $4 trillion, stock buybacks account for one-fifth of the total stock market value. The biggest buyback in market history added zero productive value to the companies concerned.
- The mountain of debt is nearing $17.5 trillion. The drivers of growing deficits and debt in the future are unfunded entitlement programs that are designed to transfer resources from working people to retirees. When the government pension and health care commitments which are missing from official budget figures are accounted for, the total national debt is nearly $95 trillion, more than seven times the published figure.
- The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is almost over. Russia and China have joined forces in “de-dollarization” of their mutual transactions and are looking for a more productive and safe use for their monetary reserves. Their recent gas deal is the beginning of the end for the petrodollar. Eventually Washington will have to choose between an outright default and hyperinflation, and the rest of the world is waking up to that fact.
Some “dynamism,” some “innovation”…
“America continues to attract striving immigrants.”
Obama’s statement is correct. It does not illustrate America’s alleged strength as was his intent, however; it underscores this country’s major weakness. Illegal immigration is spiraling out of control, the Border Patrol is overwhelmed. If the influx continues at current high levels, the U.S. population will increase to almost half a billion in 2060 – more than a 50 percent increase. New immigrants – mostly from the Third World, unskilled, uneducated, and a net drain on American resources – and their descendants will account for over one hundred million of that increase. On current form, English-speaking Americans of European origin will become a minority in their own country four decades from now. They will inhabit an increasingly overpopulated, polluted, lumpenproleterized, permanently impoverished country. America unfortunately does continue “to attract striving immigrants,” mostly illegal ones and of poor quality. This is far greater threat to the survival of the United States in a historically or culturally recognizable form than terrorism or any conceivable alliance of foreign powers. Barack Obama does not understand this, or does not care, or – just as likely – cherishes the prospect.
“The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe.”
By “public squares” Obama was probably alluding to Kiev’s Maidan. Indeed, it has propelled some “new movements” to global prominence, such as the Svoboda party and the Right Sector. The Founding Fathers would be horrified to learn that, in the opinion of the President of the United States, their values have inspired Messrs. Tyahnybok, Yarosh, and other blood-soaked heirs to Stepan Bandera. This is on par with Senator Joseph Lieberman saying, “The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
“And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or schoolgirls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine, it is America that the world looks to for help.”
Obama is mixing apples (natural disasters) and pears (man-made ones). The problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria was exacerbated by the refusal of the Department of State under Hillary Clinton to place Boko Haram (“Secular Education is Sinful”) on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen. The de facto protection thus given to Boko Haram has enabled it to morph into a state-within-the-state with an estimated 300,000 followers.
It would be ironic if “the world” were to look to America for help in Ukraine (which in any event it does not), since the course of crisis there has been, overwhelmingly, of Washington’s own making, as manifested in Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call to Ambassador Pyatt. The new Drang nach Ostenmakes sense from the point of view of the liberal globalist-neoconservative duopoly: there is no better way to ensure U.S. dominance along the European rimland in perpetuity than drawing Europe back into NATO (i.e. U.S.) security orbit in general and subverting the Russo-German rapprochement in particular. The “masked men” in buildings are a direct consequence of American meddling.
“So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come.”
It has never been true, it is not true now, and it never will be true. Madeleine Albright’s famous dictum was an arrogant statement by an immigrant ignorant of American history and a sign of her well-attested instability. It was reiterated in Bill Clinton’s 1996 speech, where he explained why he intervened, disastrously, in Bosnia: “The fact is America remains the indispensable nation. There are times when America, and only America, can make a difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression, between hope and fear.” That Obama has chosen to recycle such rubbish is a sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. “Indispensable” to whom, exactly? It is unimaginable for the leader of any other country in the world – Vladimir Putin, say, or Xi Jinping – to advance such a claim. It is tasteless at best and psychotically grandomaniac at worst, a latter day “Manifest Destiny” on steroids. The problem is that such hubristic delusions easily translate into non-negotiable foreign policy objectives. Resisting the will of the “indispensable nation” is ipso facto evil: Susan Rice’s condemnation of Chinese and Russian vetoes of the U.S.-supported UN Security Council resolution on Syria as “disgusting,” “shameful” and “unforgivable” comes to mind.
“Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors.”
Quite apart from the genesis of the crisis in Ukraine, to which “Russia’s aggression” hardly applies, Obama’s use of the term “former Soviet states,” plural, implies that in his opinion Ukraine is not the only “victim of Russia’s aggression.” Presumably he means Georgia, the only “former Soviet state” with which Russia has had a conflict since the collapse of the Soviet Union. If so, and there is no other explanation for his turn of his phrase, Obama has a dangerously flawed understanding of the August 2008 Georgian crisis.
Georgian then-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s order to attack South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali, was a breathtakingly audacious challenge to Russia, to which she was bound to react forcefully. That response was promptly exploited, for the first time since Gorbachev, by the American mainstream media machine and the foreign-policy community in Washington to paint Russia as a rogue power that is not only dangerous but intrinsically malignant. The vehemence of that rhetoric exceeded anything ever said or written about jihad, before or after September 11. To be fair, Saakashvili was led to believe that he was tacitly authorized to act as he did. President George W. Bush had treated Georgia as a “strategic partner” ever since the Western-engineered “Rose Revolution” five years earlier, and in early 2008 he strongly advocated NATO membership for Georgia. Washington had repeatedly supported Georgia’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which implied the right to use force to bring South Ossetia and Abkhazia to heel, just as it is supporting “resolute action” in Donetsk and Lugansk today. Saakashvili may be forgiven for imagining that the United States would have bailed him out if things went badly. It is noteworthy that he was not disabused of such notions. The calculus in Washington appears to have been based on a win-win scenario, not dissimilar to the current Ukrainian strategy. Had Georgian troops occupied South Ossetia in a blitzkrieg operation modeled after Croatia’s “Operation Storm,” while the Russians remained hesitant or ineffective, Moscow would have suffered a major strategic and (more importantly) psychological defeat after almost four years of sustained strategic recovery. If Russia intervened, however, she would be duly demonized and the U.S. would push for NATO consolidation with new vigor. “Old” Europeans – the Germans especially – would be pressed to abandon their détente with Moscow. A resentful Georgia would become chronically anti-Russian, thus ensuring a long-term American presence in the region.
In the event, like the Ukrainian army today, the Georgian army performed so poorly that a military fait accompli was out of its reach. Excesses against Ossetian civilians – just like the shelling of schools in Slavyansk today – made the “victim of aggression” narrative hard to sell, Obama’s “aggression” rhetoric notwithstanding.
“The question we face… is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.”
It is unclear how, if at all, America will secure her own “peace and prosperity” in the years and decades to come, let alone how she can extend it “around the globe.” If this is a statement of Obama’s grand strategy, it is flawed in principle and unfeasible in detail. In this statement there is not a hint of an overall blueprint for action that matches our country’s resources to her vital interests. A sound grand strategy enables a state to deploy its political, military, economic, and moral resources in a balanced and proportionate manner, in order to protect and enhance its security and promote its well-being, never mind “the globe.” In Obama’s universe, however, there are no brains behind “indispensable,” heavy-handed diplomacy and military power. Obama creates a false dilemma (“the question we face”) unsupported by facts. China, India, Russia, the Muslim world and Latin America do not want to be “led,” quite the contrary. Old Europe is reluctant at best. Subsaharan Africa is an irrelevant mess. The question we face is not global leadership, but national survival.
“Regional aggression that goes unchecked, whether in southern Ukraine or the South China Sea or anywhere else in the world, will ultimately impact our allies, and could draw in our military. We can’t ignore what happens beyond our boundaries.”
This simultaneous dig at Russia and China reflects a hubristic world view that is unmatched by conflict-management resources. A sane American relationship with Moscow demands acceptance that Russia has legitimate interests in her “near-abroad.” Obama’ four-nation tour of East Asia last Aprilescalated existing U.S. military commitments to the region, created some new ones, deeply irritated China, and emboldened American allies and clients to play hardball with Beijing. Obama does not understand that it is extremely dangerous for a great power to alienate two of its nearest rivals simultaneously. The crisis in Ukraine is going on, but the situation in Asia is potentially more volatile. Dealing with both theaters from the position of presumed strength and trying to dictate the outcomes is perilous, as many would-be hegemons (Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler), blinded by arrogance, have learned to their peril. Obama has continued the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. U.S. overreach led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in the gas deal signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony, pardon, “leadership.” In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.”
The notion that “the world stage” demands a “leader” is flawed. It is at fundamental odds with the balance-of-power paradigm, which has historically secured the longest periods of peace and unprecedented prosperity to the civilized world. Today’s world is being multipolarized, whether Obama the Exceptionalist likes that or not. The very idea of the self-awarded “world leadership” would appear absurd in the days of Bismarck or Metternich. Washington has neither the resources nor the minds for such a role, even if it were called for.
“The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.”
None of the above applied in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya… but enough of Obama. There was more rhetoric at West Point, including an ode to American exceptionalism and further references to America’s global leadership, but it just as tedious, vacuous and intellectually wanting as the first ten minutes of his address.
Overall, it is evident that the United States in Barack Obama’s final term has not given up the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the management resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. It will be a belated equivalent of the Franco-Russian alliance of 1893 – the predictable result of an earlier great power, Wilhelm’s Kaiserreich, basing its strategy on hubristic overestimation of its capabilities. U.S. overreach has led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in last month’s energy agreement signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony.
In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. It is unfortunate that America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
Judging by the West Point address, for the remaining two and a half years of Obama’s term U.S.-initiated global confrontations will continue as before. Instead of de-escalating the bloody mess to which she has made a hefty contribution, Victoria Nuland will continue encouraging her blood-soaked protégés in Kiev to seek a military end-game in the East. Instead of calming the South China Sea, Washington will continue encouraging its clients to be impertinent. And Putin and Xi will draw their conclusions: that they do have a powerful common enemy, a rogue regime not amenable to reason or rational calculus.
It cannot be otherwise, considering the Obama Administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, which is but a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words from two years ago, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserts that the task of the United States is to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” This is not a grand strategy but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the interventionists’ urge to “confront and defeat” not only aggression as such but also “aggression” resulting from internal conflicts irrelevant to the American interest (Syria, Ukraine) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran).
Obama is a more reluctant interventionist than McCain or Romney would have been, but he, too, does not recognize the limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. He fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. He rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again, while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline. Obama’s absence of a viable grand strategy produces policies that are disjointed, nonsensical, and self-defeating. He is prone, no less than his predecessor, to equate any stated political objective in some faraway land with America’s vital interests, without ever offering a coherent definition of those “vital” interests.
On both sides of the duopoly, the ideology of American exceptionalism and the doctrine of global dominance reign supreme. At a time of domestic economic weakness and cultural decline, foreign policy based on the American interest requires prudence, restraint, and a rational link between ends and means. Abroad, it demands disengagement from distant countries of which we know little; at home, a sane immigration policy.
It will not happen.
How corrupt has America become? It has become as corrupt as globalism itself, a byproduct in international greed, where the gutting of good paying jobs has relegated the United States to being nothing more than a third rate country with a first rate war machine. An essential aspect to what we regard as the American economy today is its reliance on fraud and corruption, from the banking sector to corporations exporting and outsourcing good jobs with the help of a political class that is not only fraudulent but treasonous to the extreme, they are driving America towards an abyss that it will not come back from.
Waging international war for resources under false pretenses is a globalists wet dream, and under the cloak of the nefarious “war on terror,” multinational defense and security firms have made trillions of dollars over the last decade. They destroy so they can rebuild, and all the human collateral damage is just an unsightly part of doing business.
Another perverse aspect to globalism is massive illegal immigration under the disreputable banner of multiculturalism, for some shady businesses in America the profit margins can increase exponentially by hiring illegal workers over Americans.
Corporations hire illegal workers to keep wages low, and benefits to an absolute minimum. Americans are shunned for unquestioning cheep labor, and governments allow and foster this fraud to the detriment of many Americans. Some Americans, if you can still call them Americans, profit greatly in this perverse atmosphere of fraud. The Federal government consistently places the interests of illegal aliens and businesses who hire them over and above American workers and the ‘rule of law’.
A case in point is Oklahoma, specifically Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has become a hotbed of greed and corruption. Tulsa is what some call a sanctuary city, where tens of thousands of illegal workers are in jobs that Americans are obviously not occupying. This ugly fact is good for some corporations and businesses, expanding their profits by paying undocumented workers low wages with no real benefits. What does it cost the American tax payers when these illegal workers have babies and use the medical industry with false identities, who foots the medical bills? It defiantly is not businesses or the governments.
Another case in point is a company called Name Brand Clothing; based in Tulsa, it has stores in six states, the company sells salvage clothing at 75 percent off retail and it prefers to hire illegal workers instead of Americans. It is the proverbial ‘poster child’ for corporate greed and corruption in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Why does it hire illegal workers? Well, first of all, it is about greed, making some people rich at the expense of everyone else. The managers at Name Brand Clothing generate outrageous bonuses by essentially suppressing wages on all hourly paid employees year after year. They choose illegal workers because illegal’s do not complain about being stuck on minimum wage for years on end with no real medical benefits and no paid holidays.
The owners and managers of Name Brand Clothing knowingly and willingly submit false identifications and Social Security Numbers to the IRS and to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, which is of course contrary to both federal and state laws. They have been doing this for over a decade, and they can commit these criminal acts because Federal and State governments are currently as corrupt and dishonest as companies like Name Brand Clothing.
Veracity Voice interviewed a long time worker at Name Brands Clothing for an inside examination into the workings of corporate greed and corruption that currently plagues corporate America.
We are protecting the person’s identity because the person is still currently employed by the company. We will refer to that person as the ‘Employee’.
Veracity Voice: How long have you been working for Name Brands?
Employee: I rather not say exactly since I still work for them, lets just say that I have been employed at Name Brands for about 10 years, give or take a couple of years.
Veracity Voice: What do you do there?
Employee: Again, I rather not say exactly, lets just say I worked in the head office, and have seen the corruption first hand.
Veracity Voice: Why have you decided to speak out at this time, and not before?
Employee: Actually I did in a way speak about this before; I wrote a letter to the Sheriff’s department, and the FBI about 4 years ago. I also wrote letters too FOX 23 and Channel Six News, concerning the outlandish fraud and corruption happening at Name Brands, and absolutely nothing came of it. It seems that it is not PC to talk about this issue in Tulsa; the mainstream media won’t touch it. That is why I am talking with Veracity Voice; the only outlet whistleblowers have today in America is in the alternative media.
Veracity Voice: Are you saying that the mainstream media is covering it up?
Employee: In a way they are by not reporting all the law breaking going around Tulsa as far as hiring illegal workers by businesses, they certainly seem to be part of the club, and will not rock the boat.
Veracity Voice: What Club?
Employee: Corrupt businesses, Local, State and Federal governments that allow the criminal behavior, the police departments that will not enforce the law and mainstream media that will not report any of it. It is one big corrupt club.
Veracity Voice: What kind of fraud and corruption have you seen at Name Brands?
Employee: Well, you can compare the greed and corruption at Name Brands along the lines of what’s happening in Wall Street and the financial system, some people are profiting greatly through outright fraud and thievery at the expense of everyone else, and government is engaged in helping the criminality.
At Name Brands, the fraud is done by submitting false ID’s and Social Security Numbers (SSN) to the IRS. I’ve seen with my own eyes management turn away American workers seeking work then turn around and hire illegals. The main reason they do this, Is because the illegals are content to work for minimum wage with no real benefits. Essentially, they keep everyone’s wages stagnant except for management.
Veracity Voice: What do you mean except for management?
Employee: The lower the costs for running the business, the higher the bonuses for management, its classic corporate greed. Management at Name Brands make large sums of money in the form of bonuses while all other workers do not receive real medical benefits or paid holidays except for two, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and those two paid holidays are highly conditional.
Veracity Voice: Highly conditional?
Employee: Yes, two weeks prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas if an employee is late for work for any reason Name Brands will not pay you for the holiday.
Veracity Voice: You’re kidding right?
Employee: No, unfortunately I’m not kidding. At Name Brands it’s a culture of nepotism and greed, like the saying goes “there is no honor among thieves” there is no honesty, no real integrity, just godless corruption. There is one woman, who has worked for the company for 17 years, and she has only received one 5 cent raise not counting minimum wage increases. It’s outright disgusting how they treat workers.
Veracity Voice: Why does she stay?
Employee: Well, some people have problems, and finding other employment can be difficult.
Veracity Voice: What kind of problems?
Employee: All sorts of problems like emotional and mental problems, in some cases drug problems, other cases workers being ex-convicts, finding employment can be difficult. Like some parasite, companies like Name Brands like to take advantage of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society, that’s why they like illegals; they can thieve from them without any complaint, protected by corrupt governments. Most self-respecting Americans will not work for a company that treats hourly workers like trash.
Veracity Voice: Let’s get back to the fraud, how many illegals are they employing?
Employee: At TPC which is Name Brands production center in North Tulsa, they usually have around 80 illegals working there, and at their store in South Tulsa there are about 10.
Veracity Voice: That many?
Employee: Yes, it’s absolutely incredulous and in your face. It is both frustrating and depressing at the same time to see this traitorous conduct on a daily basis. It is time for Americans to take a stand against these globalists that are profiting through corruption.
Veracity Voice: Who are the people that run Name Brands Clothing in Tulsa?
Employee: As far as I know, Rusty Gaddy is the CEO, Jim Stevenson and Jim Breese are VP’s. At TPC there is Reid Lewellin and Jason Garman, both managers, and Brent Daily is the manager at the Tulsa Store, they all commit fraud on a daily bases. They do not care for America or Americans, all they care about is increasing their bonuses at the expense of everyone else, and what really bothers me is that the governments, both at the local and federal level engage in the same fraud, they do absolutely nothing about it. The Federal government knows very well that Name Brands has for well over a decade submitted thousands of false ID’s and SSN’s. This is criminal behavior at both the local and Federal level when the government chooses not to enforce its own laws.
Veracity Voice: What do you think should be done with these people?
Employee: These people are more than thieving fraudsters, they are traitors to the country and its people, so I say arrest Rusty Gaddy, arrest Jim Breese, arrest Jason Garman and Reid Lewellin, and arrest all of the crooks that run the criminal enterprise called Name Brands Clothing. These people are also very cowardly, if they find out that any employee is against their corruption they will slander him or her with false accusations, they will make up stuff to make that employee look bad. The two most egregious slanderers at Name Brands are Jason Garman and Jim Breese, they will slander and harass you to the point of desperation, and people will quit their jobs because of the continual harassment.
Veracity Voice: Job harassment is a crime.
Employee: Yes, and they get away with that too.
Veracity Voice: Talk a little bit about the one man that has used more than one ID to work at Name Brands.
Employee: Ya, he has three different aliases. I do not know which one is his real name, all I know is that Name Brands went out and got him a new fake ID, when they found out that the old ID the man was using belonged to a another man.
Veracity Voice: Where did they get the fake ID?
Employee: I do not know for sure, I heard that they went to some website run by the Federal government, and it provided Name Brands with a fake ID.
Veracity Voice: What do you think should be done with companies that choose to break the law as a regular part of doing business?
Employee: Again, arrest and prosecute the criminals, if law enforcement will not do their jobs, then Americans need to start fighting back by boycotting corporations like Name Brands that fragrantly and openly break the law. I mean these people act like it’s the turn of the 20th century or something; these anti-American globalists – at the end of the day that’s what these people really are – Name Brands conducts business like multinationals that run sweatshops all over the third world. They help create the culture of illegal behavior, by giving employment to illegals, which allows the illegals to stay in the city, drive vehicles without drivers licenses and insurance, use emergency Heath Services at taxpayer cost, they currently function ‘above the law’ and all accountability. Real Americans need to stand up against these criminals before they completely destroy this country.
Veracity Voice: Many in the business sector and in the political establishment will argue that the illegals fill jobs that Americans will not do, this reasoning is also pushed by the mainstream media, what do you say to this reasoning?
Employee: I think it is a false argument, I’ve seen with my own eyes Name Brands turn away Americans willing to work, in some cases desperate for a job, they are turned away in favor of hiring illegals. So, that kind of reasoning is nothing more than an illusion.
Veracity Voice: Some will charge you with racism for holding these views, how do you respond to this kind of slander?
Employee: It has been my experience that those that accuse people of being racist are in fact racists themselves. They falsely accuse others of being racist so they could push their nefarious agenda by smearing the reputations of those that are opposed to their mendacity and corruption. The charge of racism holds no water in the case of illegal immigration.
Veracity Voice: Why don’t you look for another job?
Employee: I am its not easy finding work these days. And if I quit, I probably will not be able to collect unemployment benefits if I can’t find a job.
Veracity Voice: Why?
Employee: Because Name Brands will fight against your right to obtain unemployment insurance, its company policy. They will send their managers to testify against your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and they will without any hesitation, lie and malign anyone applying for the benefits.
Veracity Voice: They have done this before, entered false information against former employees to the Unemployment Bureau?
Employee: Yes, many times, and they get away with that too, companies like Name Brands function ‘above the law,’ and it must stop now.
Veracity Voice: Thank you for your time.
Employee: You’re welcome.
The massive unrestrained flux in illegal immigration has changed the demographics of Tulsa, forcing many businesses to provide bilingual services, including city and state government services at great cost to the taxpayer. It is the ongoing balkanization of the city where east Tulsa is now known as little Mexico, a criminal and negative phenomenon that is currently occurring in many cities across the nation.
“I liken the economy to a car on a flat road that has no momentum. When you take your foot off the gas, the car just stops moving.” — Stephanie Pomboy, Interview Barron’s
If you follow the stock market, you probably think the economy is sizzling. But if bonds are your thing, then you probably think we’re still in recession.
So which is the better gauge of what’s going on in the real economy; stocks or bonds?
The bond market is more accurate. And recently, long-term yields have been dropping like a stone which is not a good sign for the economy. Investors seem to think that slow growth and low inflation are here to stay, and they could be right. According to Bloomberg, “Falling yields on longer-term Treasuries historically reflect periods of lackluster growth. Since 1960, they have predicted seven of the last eight recessions when 10-year yields fell below 3-month bill rates.” As of today, the benchmark 10-year UST is a dismal 2.44 percent.
The reason investors have been piling back into Treasuries is because is the labor market is weak and there’s no sign of inflation anywhere. When wages stagnate and incomes drop–as they have since the slump ended– then there’s no upward pressure on prices because everyone is making less dough, so there’s less demand, less growth and, hence, less inflation. Of course, Obama could have fixed the situation by holding off on slashing the deficits or by increasing the amount of stimulus in his fiscal package. That would have circulated more money into the economy boosting employment and revving up growth. But that would have put the economy back on its feet again which was not what he wanted. What he wanted was to grind working people into the ground by keeping the economy on life-support while his chiseling Wall Street buddies made out like bandits on the latest stock market bubble. The Wall Street Journal explains what’s going on:
“Bond yields are – once again – plunging worldwide. The reason for this revived buying among fixed-income investors is that central banks are – once again – signaling their intent to ease monetary conditions in yet another bid to kick-start sluggish economies and forestall a downward spiral in prices, or deflation. The prospect that central banks will continue to inject money into the world’s bond markets…has acted as a green light for the world’s bond buyers.”
So investors think the Fed will have to taper the “Taper” and start buying more government paper. But why?
Because they have no choice. Many of the usual buyers of US Treasuries have cut back on their monthly purchases or stopped buying altogether. That means that rates will have to rise to attract more buyers unless the Fed makes up the difference. Check out this blurb from Barron’s interview with Stephanie Pomboy:
“Foreigners are buying about $10 billion a month of Treasuries. This compares with deficit financing needs for the U.S. government of roughly $40 billion a month, based on this year’s deficit. So the Fed needs to pick up roughly $30 billion a month in slack. When the Fed slashed its buying to $25 billion, effective this month, it for the first time opened up a demand deficit for Treasuries. If they continue to taper, that gap will expand, and things could get bumpy in the Treasury market. Rates won’t go up five basis points before the Fed would start talking about more QE.” (Barrons Interview Posits Weak US Economy, Barron’s)
It’ll get bumpy alright, real bumpy. Higher rates will send housing and stocks into freefall. The Fed will have no choice but to step in to stop the bleeding.
The economy is already suffering from chronic lack of demand. Add higher rates to the mix, and cost-conscious consumers are going to cut back on everything from auto loans to nights-on-the-town. Yellen’s not going to let that happen. She’s going to come up with some cockamamie excuse for buying more USTs and hope-like-hell that wages and incomes rebound so she can start tapering again.
This illustrates the conceptual flaw in Central Bank policy. QE and zero rates are supposed to reduce the price of money, thereby enticing consumers to take out loans and spend like crazy. That, in turn, is supposed to generate more activity and stronger growth. But there’s a slight glitch to this theory, that is, consumers aren’t the brain-dead lab rats the Fed thinks they are. Most people don’t base their spending decisions on price alone. Sometimes, for example, it doesn’t make sense to borrow money no matter how cheap it is. The average working stiff doesn’t give a rip if he can get a loan at 3.5 percent when his credit card is already maxed out and the only job he can find is working graveyard at Jack in the Box. That guy doesn’t need more debt, he needs a decent paying job. Here’s how the managing partner of MBMG Group, Paul Gambles explained the phenom in an interview on CNBC:
“People and businesses are not inclined to borrow money during a downturn purely because it is made cheaper to do so. Consumers also need a feeling of job security and confidence in the economy before taking on additional borrowing commitments.” (Washington’s blog via Zero Hedge)
Bingo. Of course, the members of the Fed know that this whole “cheap money” thing is bogus, but they keep reiterating the same blather so they can keep the wampum flowing to their crooked friends on Wall Street. It’s worth noting that: since the end of the recession, “one-third of all income increases in this country went to just 16,000 households, 95 percent of it went to the top 1 percent, and the bottom 90 percent’s incomes fell, and they fell by 15 percent.”
In other words, the Fed knows exactly how QE works, (and who benefits) and it has nothing to do with extending credit to working people. That’s malarkey. It’s all about providing limitless liquidity for financial speculators so they can send stocks into the stratosphere and rake in record profits. Here’s a blurb from a piece by Zero Hedge that helps to illustrate what’s going on:
“According to the most recent CapitalIQ data, the single biggest buyer of stocks in the first quarter were none other than the companies of the S&P500 itself, which cumulatively repurchased a whopping $160 billion of their own stock in the first quarter!
Should the Q1 pace of buybacks persist into Q2 which has just one month left before it too enters the history books, the LTM period as of June 30, 2014 will be the greatest annual buyback tally in market history.” (Here Is The Mystery, And Completely Indiscriminate, Buyer Of Stocks In The First Quarter, Zero Hedge)
Why are companies buying shares of their own stock, you ask, when buybacks add no productive value to a company at all?
It’s because it gooses stock prices which makes shareholders happy. It’s a complete scam. And it’s a huge scam, too. Currently, total stock buybacks represent a whopping $4 trillion or 20 percent of the total stock market value. Just think of the walloping prices are going to take when these same shareholders decide it’s time to bail out? Look out below!
Now get a load of this clip from Action Forex:
“Disappointment over the pace of economic growth explains at least some of the downturn in yields. The U.S. economy very likely contracted in the first quarter of the year, perhaps by as much as 1.0% annualized … Even with a strong bounce back in the second quarter … – the average pace of growth in the first half of the year will be a tepid 2.0%, about the pace it’s been since the end of the recession…
The retrenchment in yields also reflects events abroad … However, there is perhaps another reason for the decline in yields that is more pernicious. There is the realization that even after the recovery has run its course, economic growth is likely to be slower than it has been in the past. Slower growth means that as the fed funds rate eventually moves off the floor, it will not go back to the 5.25% it was prior to the Great Recession or even the 4.0% it averaged over the quarter of a decade prior. Expectations of “lower forever”…increasingly appear to be built into longer-term interest rates.” (A year in the bond market, Action Forex)
Did you catch that part about “lower forever”?
What the author means is that the economy has reset at a lower level of activity and will not return to normal. This is an admission that the managers of the system have no intention of fixing what’s wrong; cleaning up the banks, writing down the debts, regulating the system, increasing workers buying power (boosting demand) or providing sustained fiscal stimulus until unemployment and growth are back where they should be. Instead, basic macro has been replaced with public relations, that is, a swindle that’s spearheaded by faux-liberal icons Krugman and Summers who are pushing the “secular stagnation” folderol which is just a lame excuse for maintaining the status quo plus a few anemic add-ons, like infrastructure projects. Big whoop. It’s all a fig leaf for maintaining the same wealth shifting monetary policies that are in place today.
So this is it? Are we really doomed to a future of high unemployment and slow growth?
The IMF seems to think so. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Nick Beams which gives a rundown on a recent IMF report that was ignored by the media. The article is titled “No end to economic breakdown”:
“Almost six years after the eruption of the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has effectively ruled out any return to the economic growth rates that preceded September 2008.
Two major chapters of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook … provide a gloomy assessment of the state of the world economy. In the advanced economies, investment is falling as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), while in the “emerging markets,” there is no prospect for growth rates to return to pre-2007 levels.
The IMF notes that real interest rates have been declining since the 1980s and are “now in slightly negative territory.” But this has failed to boost productive investment. On the contrary, what it calls “scars” from the global financial crisis “have resulted in a sharp and persistent decline in investment in advanced economies.” Between 2008 and 2013, there was a two-and-a-half percentage point decline in the investment to GDP ratio in these countries. The report adds that ratios “in many advanced economies are unlikely to recover to pre-crisis levels in the next five years.”
This conclusion is of immense significance given the critical role of investment in the functioning of the capitalist economy … Investment…is the key driving force of capitalist economic growth … But if investment stagnates or declines, the circle turns vicious. This is what is now taking place.” IMF report: No end to economic breakdown (april), wsws
So no return to normal, after all. The American people are now facing a long period of high unemployment and slow growth that will shrink the middle class and change the country in ways we can hardly imagine. It’s unavoidable. It’s the policy.
NOTE: As this piece was going to press, the Wall Street Journal announced that “revised” First Quarter GDP contracted at a 0.6% annual rate. So while stocks have been setting records almost daily due to the massive injections of money from the Fed, the economy is steadily sliding towards recession.
Memorial Day is when we commemorate our war dead. Like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day is being turned into a celebration of war.
Those who lose family members and dear friends to war don’t want the deaths to have been in vain. Consequently, wars become glorious deeds performed by noble soldiers fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Patriotic speeches tell us how much we owe to those who gave their lives so that America could remain free.
The speeches are well-intentioned, but the speeches create a false reality that supports ever more wars. None of America’s wars had anything to do with keeping America free. To the contrary, the wars swept away our civil liberties, making us unfree.
President Lincoln issued an executive order for the arrest and imprisonment of northern newspaper reporters and editors. He shut down 300 northern newspapers and held 14,000 political prisoners. Lincoln arrested war critic US Representative Clement Vallandigham from Ohio and exiled him to the Confederacy. President Woodrow Wilson used WWI to suppress free speech, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt used WWII to intern 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent on the grounds that race made them suspect. Professor Samuel Walker concluded that President George W. Bush used the “war on terror” for an across the board assault on US civil liberty, making the Bush regime the greatest danger American liberty has ever faced.
Lincoln forever destroyed states’ rights, but the suspension of habeas corpus and free speech that went hand in hand with America’s three largest wars was lifted at war’s end. However, President George W. Bush’s repeal of the Constitution has been expanded by President Obama and codified by Congress and executive orders into law. Far from defending our liberties, our soldiers who died in “the war on terror” died so that the president can indefinitely detain US citizens without due process of law and murder US citizens on suspicion alone without any accountability to law or the Constitution.
The conclusion is unavoidable that America’s wars have not protected our liberty but, instead, destroyed liberty. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”
Southern secession did pose a threat to Washington’s empire, but not to the American people.Neither the Germans of WWI vintage nor the Germans and Japanese of WWII vintage posed any threat to the US. As historians have made completely clear, Germany did not start WWI and did not go to war for the purpose of territorial expansion. Japan’s ambitions were in Asia. Hitler did not want war with England and France. Hitler’s territorial ambitions were mainly to restore German provinces stripped from Germany as WWI booty in violation of President Wilson’s guarantees. Any other German ambitions were to the East. Neither country had any plans to invade the US. Japan attacked the US fleet at Pearl Harbor hoping to remove an obstacle to its activities in Asia, not as a precursor to an invasion of America.
Certainly the countries ravaged by Bush and Obama in the 21st century–Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen posed no military threat to the US. Indeed, these were wars used by a tyrannical executive branch to establish the basis of the Stasi State that now exists in the US.
The truth is hard to bear, but the facts are clear. America’s wars have been fought in order to advance Washington’s power, the profits of bankers and armaments industries, and the fortunes of US companies. Marine General Smedley Butler said, “ I served in all commissioned ranks from a second Lieutenant to a Major General. And during that time, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”
It is more or less impossible to commemorate the war dead without glorifying them, and it is impossible to glorify them without glorifying their wars.
For the entirety of the 21st century the US has been at war, not war against massed armies or threats to American freedom, but wars against civilians, against women, children, and village elders, and wars against our own liberty. Elites with a vested interest in these wars tell us that the wars will have to go on for another 20 to 30 years before we defeat “the terrorist threat.”
This, of course, is nonsense. There was no terrorist threat until Washington began trying to create terrorists by military attacks, justified by lies, on Muslim populations.
Washington succeeded with its war lies to the point that Washington’s audacity and hubris have outgrown Washington’s judgment.
By overthrowing the democratically elected government in Ukraine, Washington has brought the United States into confrontation with Russia. This is a confrontation that could end badly, perhaps for Washington and perhaps for the entire world.
If Gaddafi and Assad would not roll over for Washington, why does Washington think Russia will? Russia is not Libya or Syria. Washington is the bully who having beat up the kindergarden kid, now thinks he can take on the college linebacker.
The Bush and Obama regimes have destroyed America’s reputation with their incessant lies and violence against other peoples. The world sees Washington as the prime threat.
Worldwide polls consistently show that people around the world regard the US and Israel as the two countries that pose the greatest threat to peace. http://www.ibtimes.com/gallup-poll-biggest-threat-world-peace-america-1525008 and
The countries that Washington’s propaganda declares to be “rogue states” and the “axis of evil,” such as Iran and North Korea, are far down the list when the peoples in the world are consulted. It could not be more clear that the world does not believe Washington’s self-serving propaganda. The world sees the US and Israel as the rogue states.
The US and Israel are the only two countries in the world that are in the grip of ideologies. The US is in the grip of the Neoconservative ideology which has declared the US to be the “exceptional, indispensable country” chosen by history to exercise hegemony over all others. This ideology is buttressed by the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines that are the basis of US foreign policy.
The Israeli government is in the grip of the Zionist ideology that declares a “greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates. Many Israelis themselves do not accept this ideology, but it is the ideology of the “settlers” and those who control the Israeli government.
Ideologies are important causes of war. Just as the Hitlerian ideology of German superiority is mirrored in the Neoconservative ideology of US superiority, the Communist ideology that the working class is superior to the capitalist class is mirrored in the Zionist ideology that Israelis are superior to Palestinians. Zionists have never heard of squatters’ rights and claim that recent Jewish immigrants into Palestine–invaders really–have the right to land occupied by others for millenniums.
Washington’s and Israel’s doctrines of superiority over others do not sit very well with the ”others.” When Obama declared in a speech that Americans are the exceptional people, Russia’s President Putin responded, “God created us all equal.”
To the detriment of its population, the Israeli government has made endless enemies. Israel has effectively isolated itself in the world. Israel’s continued existence depends entirely on the willingness and ability of Washington to protect Israel. This means that Israel’s power is derivative of Washington’s power.
Washington’s power is a different story. As the only economy standing after WWII, the US dollar became the world money. This role for the dollar has given Washington financial hegemony over the world, the main source of Washington’s power. As other countries rise, Washington’s hegemony is imperiled.
To prevent other countries from rising, Washington invokes the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines. To be brief, the Brzezinski doctrine says that in order to remain the only superpower, Washington must control the Eurasian land mass. Brzezinski is willing for this to occur peacefully by suborning the Russian government into Washington’s empire. ”A loosely confederated Russia . . . a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” In other words, break up Russia into associations of semi-autonomous states whose politicians can be suborned by Washington’s money.
Brzezinski propounded “a geo-strategy for Eurasia.” In Brzezinski’s strategy, China and “a confederated Russia” are part of a “transcontinental security framework,” managed by Washington in order to perpetuate the role of the US as the world’s only superpower.
I once asked my colleague, Brzezinski, that if everyone was allied with us, who were we organized against? My question surprised him, because I think that Brzezinski remains caught up in Cold War strategy even after the demise of the Soviet Union. In Cold War thinking it was important to have the upper hand or else be at risk of being eliminated as a player. The importance of prevailing became all consuming, and this consuming drive survived the Soviet collapse. Prevailing over others is the only foreign policy that Washington knows.
The mindset that America must prevail set the stage for the Neoconservatives and their 21st century wars, which, with Washington’s overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, has resulted in a crisis that has brought Washington into direct conflict with Russia.
I know the strategic institutes that serve Washington. I was the occupant of the William E.Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, for a dozen years. The idea is prevalent that Washington must prevail over Russia in Ukraine or Washington will lose prestige and its superpower status.
The idea of prevailing always leads to war once one power thinks it has prevailed.
The path to war is reinforced by the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Paul Wolfowitz, the neoconservative intellectual who formulated US military and foreign policy doctrine, wrote among many similar passages:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere [China], 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.”
In the Wolfowitz Doctrine, any other strong country is defined as a threat and a power hostile to the US regardless of how willing that country is to get along with the US for mutual benefit.
The difference between Brzezinski and the Neoconservatives is that Brzezinski wants to suborn Russia and China by including them in the empire as important elements whose voices would be heard, If only for diplomatic reasons, whereas the Neoconservatives are prepared to rely on military force combined with internal subversion orchestrated with US financed NGOs and even terrorist organizations.
Neither the US nor Israel is embarrassed by their worldwide reputations as the two countries that pose the greatest threat. In fact, both countries are proud to be recognized as the greatest threats. The foreign policy of both countries is devoid of any diplomacy. US and Israeli foreign policy rests on violence alone. Washington tells countries to do as Washington says or be “bombed into the stone age.” Israel declares all Palestinians, even women and children, to be “terrorists,” and proceeds to shoot them down in the streets, claiming that Israel is merely protecting itself against terrorists. Israel, which does not recognize the existence of Palestine as a country, covers up its crimes with the claim that Palestinians do not accept the existence of Israel.
“We don’t need no stinking diplomacy. We got power.”
This is the attitude that guarantees war, and that is where the US is taking the world. The prime minister of Britain, the chancellor of Germany, and the president of France are Washington’s enablers. They provide the cover for Washington. Instead of war crimes, Washington has “coalitions of the willing” and military invasions that bring “democracy and women’s rights” to non-compliant countries.
China gets much the same treatment. A country with four times the US population but a smaller prison population, China is constantly criticized by Washington as an “authoritarian state.” China is accused of human rights abuses while US police brutalize the US population.
The problem for humanity is that Russia and China are not Libya and Iraq. These two countries possess strategic nuclear weapons. Their land mass greatly exceeds that of the US. The US, which was unable to successfully occupy Baghdad or Afghanistan, has no prospect of prevailing against Russia and China in conventional warfare. Washington will push the nuclear button. What else can we expect from a government devoid of morality?
The world has never experienced rogue states comparable to Washington and Israel. Both governments are prepared to murder anyone and everyone. Look at the crisis that Washington has created in Ukraine and the dangers thereof. On May 23, 2014, Russia’s President Putin spoke to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a three-day gathering of delegations from 62 countries and CEOs from 146 of the largest Western corporations.
Putin did not speak of the billions of dollars in trade deals that were being formalized. Instead Putin spoke of the crisis that Washington had brought to Russia, and he criticized Europe for being Washington’s vassals for supporting Washington’s propaganda against Russia and Washington’s interference in vital Russian interests.
Putin was diplomatic in his language, but the message that powerful economic interests from the US and Europe received is that it will lead to trouble if Washington and European governments continue to ignore Russia’s concerns and continue to act as if they can interfere in Russia’s vital interests as if Russia did not exist.
The heads of these large corporations will carry this message back to Washington and European capitals. Putin made it clear that the lack of dialogue with Russia could lead to the West making the mistake of putting Ukraine in NATO and establishing missile bases on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Putin has learned that Russia cannot rely on good will from the West, and Putin made it clear, short of issuing a threat, that Western military bases in Ukraine are unacceptable.
Washington will continue to ignore Russia. However, European capitals will have to decide whether Washington is pushing them into conflict with Russia that is against European interests. Thus, Putin is testing European politicians to determine if there is sufficient intelligence and independence in Europe for a rapprochement.
If Washington in its overbearing arrogance and hubris forces Putin to write off the West, the Russian/Chinese strategic alliance, which is forming to counteract Washington’s hostile policy of surrounding both countries with military bases, will harden into preparation for the inevitable war.
The survivors, if any, can thank the Neoconservatives, the Wolfowitz doctrine, and the Brzezinski strategy for the destruction of life on earth.
The American public contains a large number of misinformed people who think they know everything. These people have been programmed by US and Israeli propaganda to equate Islam with political ideology. They believe that Islam, a religion, is instead a militarist doctrine that calls for the overthrow of Western civilization, as if anything remains of Western civilization.
Many believe this propaganda even in the face of complete proof that the Sunnis and Shi’ites hate one another far more than they hate their Western oppressors and occupiers. The US has departed Iraq, but the carnage today is as high or higher than during the US invasion and occupation. The daily death tolls from the Sunni/Shi’ite conflict are extraordinary. A religion this disunited poses no threat to anyone except Islamists themselves. Washington successfully used Islamist disunity to overthrow Gaddafi, and is currently using Islamist disunity in an effort to overthrow the government of Syria. Islamists cannot even unite to defend themselves against Western aggression. There is no prospect of Islamists uniting in order to overthrow the West.
Even if Islam could do so, it would be pointless for Islam to overthrow the West. The West has overthrown itself. In the US the Constitution has been murdered by the Bush and Obama regimes. Nothing remains. As the US is the Constitution, what was once the United States no longer exists. A different entity has taken its place.
Europe died with the European Union, which requires the termination of sovereignty of all member countries. A few unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels have become superior to the wills of the French, German, British, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese peoples.
Western civilization is a skeleton. It still stands, barely, but there is no life in it. The blood of liberty has departed. Western peoples look at their governments and see nothing but enemies. Why else has Washington militarized local police forces, equipping them as if they were occupying armies? Why else has Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, and even the Postal Service and Social Security Administration ordered billions of rounds of ammunition and even submachine guns? What is this taxpayer-paid-for arsenal for if not to suppress US citizens?
As the prominent trends forecaster Gerald Celente spells out in the current Trends Journal, “uprisings span four corners of the globe.” Throughout Europe angry, desperate and outraged peoples march against EU financial policies that are driving the peoples into the ground. Despite all of Washington’s efforts with its well funded fifth columns known as NGOs to destabilize Russia and China, both the Russian and Chinese governments have far more support from their people than do the US and Europe.
In the 20th century Russia and China learned what tyranny is, and they have rejected it.
In the US tyranny has entered under the guise of the “war on terror,” a hoax used to scare the sheeple into abandoning their civil liberties, thus freeing Washington from accountability to law and permitting Washington to erect a militarist police state. Ever since WWII Washington has used its financial hegemony and the “Soviet threat,” now converted into the “Russian threat,” to absorb Europe into Washington’s empire.
Putin is hoping that the interests of European countries will prevail over subservience to Washington. This is Putin’s current bet. This is the reason Putin remains unprovoked by Washington’s provocations in Ukraine.
If Europe fails Russia, Putin and China will prepare for the war that Washington’s drive for hegemony makes inevitable.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest books are, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and How America Was Lost. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/
With the FCC policy to allow a two-speed internet, the die is cast that corporate favoritism is the focus of government, as Internet 2 accelerates to replace the network that has served the public so well for decades. Internet 2 turns 15, asks. Has it delivered on its promise?
“Internet 2 was created by 34 university research institutions in 1996, when the commercial and non-commercial branches of the Internet’s evolutionary tree split off and went their separate ways. The mission of Internet 2 was to provide reliable, dedicated bandwidth to support the ever-growing demands of the research and educational communities, and in doing so, to develop technologies that would advance the state of the ‘commodity’ Internet.”
As major ventures like the 16 Major Technology Companies Announce Cloud Service Partnerships to Benefit the Nation’s Universities, collaborate to control and store the data stream certainly benefits the corporatist economy, but significantly reduces if not eliminates the independence of personal choices on the web. Make no mistake about it, the big tech giants are so deep in bed with government dominance freaks, that advancing opportunities for constructive commerce would be a mere byproduct to the new system.
Can two different internet platform steams coexist? Do not confuse the rise of the “Social Internet” with the higher speed gateway IN2 interconnect. Intra academic connect-ability is poised to include the next generation of corporate affiliations. With this association, the quaint notion of academic freedom will never pass the algorithm test.
The recent EU Court Decision in Google Search Info Removal Case Appalls Analysts article is a warning of restrictions to come.
“A court decision in the European Union that could force Google to remove offensive information in searches at the request of individuals is receiving harsh criticism from IT analysts who say that such a policy could ultimately diffuse the credibility of the Internet itself.”
In an Internet 2 environment, the influence of government lawmakers, agencies and courts will be far more prevalent then the experience that seldom blocked “Politically Incorrect” results. Any surfer of the search engines knows that restricting, and even eliminating, content once freely accessed, has become routine. Today a Google search (both text and images) provides sites that restrict outcomes that were once available. Imagine the greater degree of limitations under a supervised bureaucratic culture that relegates critical conclusions of the governance society under Internet 2.
Whenever the corporatists see the prospects to carve out, more efficient monopolies, they seize the opportunity. The deist’s that idolize the synergism partnership of the corporate-state, play into the hands of the non-compete economy.
Townhall the NeoCon publication maintains a political partisan position in the article, Neutrality Nuts Won’t Be Happy Until Government Controls the Internet. Author Phil Kerpen criticizes the Free Press opposition to the FCC endorsement of a paid priority internet.
“Together we’ll dance, drum and shout that the agency must throw out its destructive plan and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. This is the only way to restore real Net Neutrality.”
“Restore” is an odd word choice, because the reclassification of broadband Internet as a Title II telecommunications service, also known, ironically, as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), would bring about total government economic control on the Internet that has never previously existed.”
Now where do you suppose the corporatist will come down on greater regulation? Yep, you guessed it! When you write the legislation and dominate the lobbying of regulators, squeezing out the upstarts or free market entrepreneurs, is right up your alley.
Assigning utility status to the Internet, especially when the U.S. is on the path to turn over administration of the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), to international control, is another step to total global Corporatocracy.The introduction of an Internet 2 connection will foster requirements for playing in the sandbox of the tech titans. Opine all you want, the need for speed comes at a great price, far more than just financial changes. A mobile world of ads and trivia breeds functional illiterates. Texting is not a skill, but a curse.
Burying an uncensored internet is the goal that corporate governance wants. Their draconian design for an OpenID Connect may usher in a new era of federated online identity, is part of the Internet 2 wish list.
“Here’s the nut of this issue: governments need ways to authenticate the growing numbers of citizens going online to access digital services. Around the globe, hundreds of millions of people want digital services, increasingly provided through connected mobile devices. For instance, just think about renewing a driver’s license or passport, reserving space in public parks, or accessing records.Driven by policy needs and political realities, the Obama administration put forward a National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) in 2011 that adopted a federated approach to online identity, enabling people to use a validated identity from a private entity to identify themselves to government. Governments verify and validate identity providers under trust frameworks. After years of development, NSTIC pilots for federated identity are now being tested in Michigan and Pennsylvania, along with other locales and agencies.”
After inducing the public into accepting the promises of anytime video steaming, the Internet 2 future will suck in the instant gratification set, while relegating the cost conscience consumer into a second-class existence. Once critical mass is established, and the package of greater government regulation is in place, the plug is ready for pulling free expressive content at will. When DAPRA funded the research that developed the crucial internet protocols, and CERN contributed to making information exchange more efficient, the world was not able to demand a digital identity for every inhabitant.So much of world commerce, now conducted on the internet, necessitates that the corporate elites want their government agents to safeguard their financial interests, often at the sacrifice of personal liberty. Hence, the overwhelming need for balance at every stage of transition in the Internet, so that individual rights are as protected for the public as for business.
In 2008, Houston police pulled over CIA agent Roland Carnaby on what appeared to be a routine traffic stop. A few seconds later, Carnaby was dead.
It is illegal to detain a CIA agent under any circumstances. They may carry any weapon, anywhere, anytime, and request assistance from any law enforcement official with more than certainty.
Why then would this incident be part of a highly classified Russian intelligence report? Could it, perhaps, be that Carnaby, answering directly to former President and CIA Director, George H.W. Bush, was murdered to silence his participation in the theft and sale of American nuclear warheads?
Carnaby was holding a trove of documents outlining the theft and transfer of hundreds of nuclear warheads from the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. Weapons sent there for disassembly were transshipped to Israel and, from there, refurbished, their cores remachined and then sold around the world or stored in Israeli embassies and consulates around the world.
The Russian report outlines a very different view of the past 30 years, a “view” that “fits like a glove.”
DIMONA OUT OF ACTION
The report not only confirms Israel’s nuclear weapon inventory but outlines the program of subterfuge and piracy required to keep Israel as a nuclear power after their facility at Dimona suffered a critical “event” in 1988.
“Dimona is a standard 75-megawatt thermal open top reactor as used in France for their plutonium weapons production program, their version of Stanford (Editor’s note: Probably “Hanford”).
Due to overuse as a fast breeder reactor by the Israelis, Dimona suffered a “steam explosion” IE a flash over indecent due to neutron criticality back in the late 1980′s under Bush 1. This shut down its operation for many years until repairs could be made.
It know only operates at very low power levels due to neutron absorption damage to the containment vessel. Now mainly use for isotope production. This forced the Israelis to turn to stolen nuclear stockpiles from the US for the continuation of their nuclear program.”
The highly classified Russian report, released, experts believe, to demonstrate American hypocrisy over recent events in the Ukraine, is a litany of horror stories. If this is a “first shot over the bow” by Russian intelligence, American officials can only dread what may be to come.
48 hours ago, the retired chief of Russia’s counter-intelligence effort for the Middle East released a highly classified report designed to embarrass the United States and demonstrate their servitude to Israel and complicity in broad acts of nuclear proliferation.
The report, loaded with “shock value” intelligence and backed by reams of supporting documents including classified nuclear weapons plans demonstrated that Russia has been able to maintain a high level of penetration of not just American nuclear weapons labs but security agencies as well.
ROUND ONE, 9/11
The report, carefully structured for maximum shock value, begins with 9/11, the watershed event of our era:
“The type of nuclear devices used on 911 were a modified version of the W-54 nuclear artillery shells that were covertly provided to the Israelis between 1988 and 1998 from US surplus stockpiles illegally exported during the Bush/Clinton era.
Chemical analysis done by DOE Sandi was able to identify the chemical/radiation footprint or fingerprint of the warheads based on samples taken after 911 of the fallout at ground zero.”
According to the report, 911 was an Israeli operation facilitated by blackmail of Bush 41 and 43, threatening them with “outing” for their personal financial involvement in the sale of 350 primarily w54 nuclear artillery rounds, sold through Israel but distributed to a number of nations.
The Russian report further outlines that NATO partners, particularly Britain and France, were involved every step of the way. 911 was cover for stolen gold, stock fraud and the looting of the American economy. The “wars for profit” were the Bush boys cashing in on their own.
THE “HOW” OF 911
A number of theories have been introduced to explain the mysterious effects seen at ground zero on 9/11. In an article on the Press TV website, evidence of a widespread cover-up of an epidemic of radiation exposure-related cancers tied to 9/11, was presented.
Not only has Russia confirmed the Press TV findings, they present evidence of nuclear weapons use, evidence from a suppressed report based on findings by the Department of Energy’s Sandia Laboratories.
“Only a 2 kiloton device was needed to drop the buildings. A 2 kiloton device will produce a fireball of apx 150 to 200 feet in diameter at over 4000 degrees Centigrade. Just large enough to melt the I beams of the central core of the building and drop them in place. The light flash would last less than 1 second and primarily be in the UV light range. Overpressure would only be at 60PSI max and directed upwards with the blast.
Fallout would be minimal and located to within ground zero range only. Radiation would drop to acceptable levels within 72 hrs. after the blast. Most fall out was trapped in the cement dust thus causing all of the recent cancer deaths that we are now seeing in NYC amongst first responders.”
The report continues with details that close the door on speculation about 9/11, putting an end to conspiracy theories and, in particular, the wildest one of all, the pseudo-science fairy tale broadly rejected by the 9/11 Commission but allowed to stand as America descended into an Islamophobic frenzy.
“Fallout would be minimal and located to within ground zero range only. Radiation would drop to acceptable levels within 72 hrs. after the blast. Most fall out was trapped in the cement dust thus causing all of the recent cancer deaths that we are now seeing in NYC amongst first responders.
Melted steel and iron oxide or “nano thermite” is a byproduct of the very high gamma ray / Neutron flux induced into the central steel core. The radiation dissolves the steel into iron oxide consuming the carbon and silicone in the steel.”
This explains the missing steel columns and the very important clue of the “vaporized” 20 ton antenna tower atop the south tower. The upward blast of radiation literally vaporized it. Video evidence proves this to be true.
The total (redacted) data file from DOE Sandia on the 911 event is well over 72 MB. “P.S. Snowden didn’t have a Q clearance so he missed this one.”
The scope of the Bush/Cheney/Israeli nuclear proliferation operation, according to the report, is well beyond anything imagined. Here, Russia places the blame, naming not only Vice President Dick Cheney and former White House Chief of Staff Ram Emanuel but Tom Countryman, tasked, according to Russian sources, with actually managing the program that spread nuclear weapons to Brazil, North and South Korea, Saudi Arabia and a number of other nations.
“Illegal distribution of US nuclear material to foreign allies was not limited to Israel. Virtually all NATO allies were in on this scam too. Dick Cheney was the bad guy on this one. Bush2/Cheney traded nuclear pits to foreign country as IOU’s in order to get what they wanted. Tom Countryman a well-known Israeli operative is curiously now in charge of N.N.P. at the State Department under Obama. He was put there by Ram Emanuel.”
REACTIVATING “DEAD NUKES”
Only nuclear weapons that had deteriorated but could be recommissioned were of use to Israel. The Russian report outlines the basis for selecting the W-54 warhead and exacting details on how weapons were created out of America’s “nuclear scrap heap.”
“A total of over 350 pits were transferred to the Israelis over a 10 to 20 year period of time. The W-54 type of pit design were the most desirable due to the 2 point implosion pit design. This is the easiest to re manufacture and modify as compared to other circular pit designs.
The pill shaped design of the W-54 type weapon contains over 1.5 times more plutonium than a standard pit. This would allow enough Plutonium to be recovered that was still of weapons grade use even after 32 plus years of age. Americium build up in the pit over time eventually makes the Pit unusable as a weapon so they have a limited shelf life based on how fast or slow the Plutonium was produce in the reactor at Stanford.
Usually it was about 150 days max. Irradiation time in the reactor during production determines the shelf life of the pit as weapons grade material. All of the micro nukes used by the Israelis are re-manufactured W-54 type series devices.”
According to the Russian report, Israel used remanufactured W-54 warheads, reconfigured as micro-nukes, for terror bombings in Bali, London and to destroy the Fukashima nuclear reaction site in Japan.
With weapons around the world, stored in embassies and consulates, and their powerful friends in the American “right,” Israel has managed to maintain nuclear superpower status without a real production facility, using only pirates and traitors, something America, according to our Russian sources, seems to have no shortage of.
Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, a combat infantryman, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defense technologies or acting as diplomatic representative for UN humanitarian and economic development efforts. Gordon Duff has traveled to over 80 nations. His articles are published around the world and translated into a number of languages. He is regularly on TV and radio, a popular and sometimes controversial guest.
Source: Veterans Today | Press TV
“Comrade Wolf knows who to eat, and he eats without listening to anyone.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin referring to the United States…
The Ukraine crisis has its roots in a policy that dates back nearly 20 years. The origins of the policy can be traced to a 1997 article in Foreign Policy magazine by Zbigniew Brzezinski, titled “A Geostrategy for Eurasia.” The article makes the case that the United States needs to forcefully establish itself in Central Asia in order to maintain its position as the world’s only superpower. While many readers may be familiar with Brzezinski’s thinking on these matters, they might not know what he has to say about Russia, which is particularly illuminating given that the recent uptick in violence has less to do with Ukraine than it does with Washington’s proxy-war on Russia. Here’s what Brzezinski says:
“Russia’s longer-term role in Eurasia will depend largely on its self-definition…Russia’s first priority should be to modernize itself rather than to engage in a futile effort to regain its status as a global power. Given the country’s size and diversity, a decentralized political system and free-market economics would be most likely to unleash the creative potential of the Russian people and Russia’s vast natural resources. A loosely confederated Russia — composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic — would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with its neighbors. Each of the confederated entitles would be able to tap its local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow’s heavy bureaucratic hand. In turn, a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, A Geostrategy for Eurasia, Foreign Affairs, 76:5, September/October 1997.
So is this the goal of US policy, to create “A loosely confederated Russia” whose economy can be subsumed into America’s market-based system?
Notice how easily Brzezinski chops Russia into smaller, bite-size statelets that pose no threat to US imperial expansion. Brzezinski undoubtedly envisions a Russia that will sell its vast resources in petrodollars and recycle them into US Treasuries further enriching the corrupt rent-skimmers in Washington and Wall Street. He foresees a Russia that will abdicate its historic role in the world and have no say-so in shaping global policy. He imagines a compliant Russia that will help facilitate US imperial ambitions in Asia, even to the point where it will pay to police its own people on behalf of US oligarchs, weapons manufacturers, oil magnates, and 1 percenters. Here’s the paragraph in Brzezinski’s piece that sums up Washington’s objectives in Ukraine, Russia and beyond. It is fittingly headlined with the following words in bold print:
“Defining the substance and institutionalizing the form of a trans-Eurasian security system could become the major architectural initiative of the next century. The core of the new transcontinental security framework could be a standing committee composed of the major Eurasian powers, with America, Europe, China, Japan, a confederated Russia, and India collectively addressing critical issues for Eurasia’s stability. The emergence of such a transcontinental system could gradually relieve America of some of its burdens, while perpetuating beyond a generation its decisive role as Eurasia’s arbitrator. Geostrategic success in that venture would be a fitting legacy to America’s role as the first and only global superpower.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, “A Geostrategy for Eurasia,” Foreign Affairs
Translation: The United States will police the world, dispatch troublemakers, and eliminate potential threats wherever it finds them. It will impose its neoliberal dogma (Austerity, privatization, structural adjustment, anti labor reforms, etc) across-the-board and on all participants. Also, minor partners–”Europe, China, Japan, a confederated Russia, and India”–will be expected to provide security for their own people at their own expense in order to “relieve America of some of its burdens.”
Nice, eh? So you even have to pay for your own jailers.
And what is “Transcontinental Security” anyway? Isn’t it just a fancy way of saying “one world government”?
Indeed, it is. It’s the very same thing. Here’s more from Brzezinski:
“Failure to widen NATO…would shatter the concept of an expanding Europe… Worse, it could reignite dormant Russian political aspirations in Central Europe.”
This is an oddly convoluted statement. In the first sentence, Brzezinski supports the idea of an “expanding Europe”, and then in the next breath, he worries that Russia might want to do the same thing. It’s another case of the pot calling the kettle black.
What’s clear, is that –in Brzezinski’s mind– EU and NATO expansion will help Washington achieve its hegemonic aspirations. That’s all that matters. Here’s what he says:
“Europe is America’s essential geopolitical bridgehead in Eurasia…A wider Europe and an enlarged NATO will serve the short-term and longer-term interests of U.S. policy… A politically defined Europe is also essential to Russia’s assimilation into a system of global cooperation.”
“Bridgehead”? In other words, Europe is just a means to an end. But what would that “end” be?
Global domination. Isn’t that what he’s talking about?
Of course, it is.
What makes the Ukrainian crisis so hard to understand, is that the media conceals the policy behind the impenetrable fog of daily events. Once the fog lifts though, it’s easy to see who’s causing all the trouble. It’s the party that’s calling the shots from abroad, the good old US of A.
Putin doesn’t want this war and neither do most Ukrainians. The whole thing was conjured up by Uncle Sam and his minions to stop the flow of Russian gas to Europe, to push NATO further eastward, and to break the Russian Federation into little pieces. That’s what it’s really all about. And these madmen are willing to raze Ukraine to the ground and kill every living organism within a 3,000 mile radius of Kiev to get their way. After all, isn’t that what they did in Iraq? They sure did. And did I mention that, according to this week’s Wall Street Journal, “Iraq’s Oil Output Surged to Highest Level in Over 30 Years” with all the usual suspects raking in hefty profits.
The point is, if they’d did it in Iraq, they’ll do it in Ukraine too. Because what Washington cares about is constituents not carnage. Carnage they can handle.
Brzezinski is not the only one supporting the current policy either. There’s also fellow traveler, Hillary Clinton. In fact, it was Secretary of State Clinton who first used the term “pivot” in a 2011 article in Foreign Policy Magazine titled “America’s Pacific Century”. Clinton’s op-ed described a “rebalancing” plan that would open up new markets to US corporations and Wall Street, control the flow of vital resources, and “forge a broad-based military presence” across the continent. Here’s an excerpt from the text of Clinton’s seminal speech:
“The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.
As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region…
Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology…..American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia…The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia…
…as I talk with business leaders across our own nation, I hear how important it is for the United States to expand our exports and our investment opportunities in Asia’s dynamic markets.” (“America’s Pacific Century”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton”, Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011)
“Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama”?
Does that sound like someone who wants to cultivate a mutually-beneficial relationship with their trading partners or someone who wants to move in, take over and run the show?
Washington’s plan to shift its attention from the Middle East to Asia is all about money. Clinton even says so herself. She says, “The region generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade…Asia’s markets … provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and…a vast and growing consumer base.”
Money, money, money. The upside-profit potential is limitless which is why Madame Clinton wants to plant Old Glory right in “the center of the action”, so US corporations can rake in the dough without fear of reprisal.
Brzezinski says the same thing in his magnum opus “The Grand Chessboard” Here’s an excerpt:
“A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania (Australia) geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.” (Zbigniew Brzezinski, “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives”, page 31)
Get the picture? It’s a gold rush! Having successfully looted every last farthing from the battered US middle class and left the economy in a ghastly shambles, Brzezinski, Clinton and Co. are headed for greener pastures in Central Asia, home of the world’s largest oil producing nation, boundless reserves in the Caspian Basin, and zillions of voracious consumers who’ll need everything from I Pads to leisure wear, all graciously provided by US-owned corporations. Cha-ching!
So don’t get tripped up on the daily events in Ukraine. This isn’t a clash between pro-government forces and anti-government activists. This is the next big phase of Washington’s plan to conquer the world, a plan that will inevitably pit Moscow against the amassed military power of the United States of America. This is David vs. Goliath, Mother Russia vs. the Great Satan, Vladie Putin vs. Comrade Wolf.
Ukraine is just Round 1.
China is an economic powerhouse. It’s the world’s second largest economy. It’s heading for number one status.
Perhaps sooner than most expect. It’s growth way outdistances America. It’s multiples greater.
Russia matches Washington’s military might. It does so in nuclear weapons strength. With sophisticated delivery systems.
Able to strike global targets accurately. With hugely destructive force. Enough to decimate potential adversaries. Perhaps to discourage potential aggression.
Russia is rich in what China needs most. Oil and gas mainly. Technological expertise. Industrial equipment. Sophisticated weapons.
Each nation is significant separately. They’re able to challenge America responsibly.
Together they’re a powerful combination. A force for world peace. For multi-polarity. For humanity. For weakening Washington’s imperium.
Sino-Russian ties stress unity. They’re strategically important. They’re stronger than ever in modern times.
They’re deepening. They expanding. Washington is increasingly concerned. It’s going all-out to subvert what weakens its strength.
It’s waging political, economic and cyberwar. It’s fighting a losing battle. Sino/Russian unity is odds on to prevail.
Especially with committed ties. With deepening ones. With stronger than ever ones.
On Tuesday, Putin arrived in Shanghai. It’s China’s financial capital. He came to finalize a “Holy Grail” trade deal. It’s enormously important.
It bonds both countries more closely together. It does so politically economically, commercially and militarily.
Both countries will trade increasingly in their own currencies. They’ll strengthen them. They’ll bypass dollar transactions. They’ll weaken it.
Russia will supply China with around 38 billion cubic million meters of natural gas annually. For the next 30 years.
It may double in size ahead. Depending on China’s internal needs.
Other increased trade was agreed on. In technological, industrial, and commercial sectors. In military hardware.
Growing Sino-Russian trade lessens reliance on increasingly undependable Western sources. It gives them less access to their markets.
Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping reject irresponsible US-led Western bashing. They called sanctions political tools.
They condemned “encouraging and financing” Washington’s regime change agenda.
The President of Russia’s web site headlined “Russian-Chinese talks.” Both leaders met in Shanghai.
They “signed a Joint Declaration of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the new stage of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between the two countries.”
They “witnessed the signing of a package of intergovernmental, interdepartmental and commercial documents on cooperation in the economy, trade, energy and the humanitarian areas.”
They issued a joint statement. “(A)mbitious goals” were agreed on, it said. “(L)ong-term milestones” were established.
“(I)mportant bilateral documents” were signed. “Relations between Russia and the People’s Republic of China are developing successfully and have reached a new level of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation,” it stressed.
“(S)pecial attention (was on) economic issues. China is Russia’s leading foreign trade partner.”
A Sino/Russian Investment Committee was established. Its mandate is expanding economic and financial ties.
It’s “diversifying trade.” It’s “reducing…dependence on global economic” conditions.
It’s promoting cooperation in “technology-intensive areas.” They include industrial, commercial, banking and military areas.
They’re increasing bilateral ruble/renminbi trade. It bears repeating. Doing so bypasses dollar transactions. It weakens dollar strength.
Putin said “the historical memory of the great heroism of our peoples in World War II brings Russia and China even closer.”
Both leaders agreed to hold joint celebrations. They’ll commemorate “the 70th anniversary of Victory.”
Other international issues were discussed. They include common geopolitical ones. Similar priorities are shared. Closer coordination is planned.
Sino/Russian unity, partnership and friendship were strengthened. It’s a “new stage” in “strategic relations.”
Strong bilateral relations are a force to be reckoned with. It promises to be more so ahead.
Moscow remains justifiably angry. It’s enraged about Washington elevating Kiev putschists to power. Rogue EU partners share blame.
Putin and Xi said crisis conditions can only be resolved diplomatically. They demand dialogue. They reject confrontation.
They “urged all Ukrainian regions and public and political groups to enter in broad nationwide talks…”
They want responsible governance. They want legitimate constitutional development.
They want “universally recognized rights and freedoms of people” observed.
Sergey Lavrov said Russian/EU/US-led NATO relations need fundamental reconsideration.
They require “essential rethinking,” he said. Disagreements must be resolved diplomatically, he stressed.
US-led NATO created Ukrainian crisis conditions. Russia targeting followed.
Western forces irresponsibly expand eastward. Encroaching on Russia’s borders threatens its heartland.
Bilateral relations are jeopardized. East/West confrontation is risked. So is world peace.
The road to Moscow runs through Kiev. Junta power has no legitimacy. Fundamental freedoms are targeted.
Eliminating them altogether is planned. Hardline rules runs things. Opposition isn’t tolerated.
Free expression is verboten. Putschists want their message alone getting out. They want vital truths suppressed.
Independent journalists aren’t safe. Russian LifeNews ones were targeted.
Oleg Sidyankin and Marat Saichenk were harassed. They were arrested. They’re detained. They’re held incommunicado.
Their lives potentially are endangered. They’re charged with “aiding terrorist groups.”
They released damning video images. They showed Kiev military forces using UN-marked attack helicopters against their own people.”
Air and ground assaults murder them in cold blood. Kiev wants this type information buried.
It wants reliable news sources eliminated. RT International’s stringer journalist Graham Phillips was arrested.
He explained by phone before silenced incommunicado, saying:
“I’m sitting at a blockade post in a portacabin. The dialogue is quite interrogation oriented.”
His car was searched. His laptop, equipment and personal belongings were confiscated.
“At the moment I’m with the Ukrainian forces…near Mariupol,” he said. “I’ve been here for over two hours and I’ve been described, my status, as being detained in terms of I can’t leave.”
“I would also say I’m being treated OK…I believe that someone is coming.”
“They’ve done checks on my documentation. They found my reports and clips I’ve done and they’re now looking through them asking me my position on things, asking if I’m a spy, and asking me quite thorough questions.”
“They’ve checked all my documentation and photos, my laptop and the car. So that’s who I’m with at the moment.”
He was asked about separatism. About working with RT. He “describ(ed) (his) position on Crimea.”
He called its referendum legitimate. He stands by his position, he said.
He called Kiev’s government illegitimate. It “isn’t democratic. I don’t support this current situation in the east of Ukraine,” he said.
In Donetsk and Lugansk regions. He called attacking Eastern Ukrainians “completely wrong.”
At the same time, he “maintains complete objectivity and neutrality as a correspondent.”
His bulletproof jacket and helmet were confiscated. He’s unharmed so far, he said. Incommunicado since cut off there’s no way to know for sure.
Right Sector thugs targeted him. They put a bounty on his head. They offered $10,000 for his capture.
They called him a “Russian spy.” His life’s endanger in their hands. Or in sight to be shot in cold blood.
Radicalized Kiev elements posted a Facebook comment. He “works for terrorists,” it said.
“(H)e photographs and publishes the location of Ukrainian troops…”
He “spreads disinformation. (He publishes) Putin’s propaganda in the media.”
“He must be immediately detained by Ukrainian forces ad deported from Ukraine.” Orders come from “EuroMaidan leaders,” it claimed.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned his detention. Its human rights commissioner Konstantin Dolgov called it media obstruction.
“This is another step…made by Ukrainian authorities to curb the activities of unwanted journalists,” he said.
They “work professionally and show an objective picture, the ugly side of the outrages made by ultranationalists, the results of (Kiev putschists’) punitive operation in the southeast,” he stressed.
Seizing Phillips constitutes an “unlawful seizure, detention of Russian journalists.” Moscow demands all lawlessly detained media representatives be released.
Kiev “continues its vicious line,” Dolgov added. Coup-appointed officials spurn their “international obligations concerning freedom of speech.”
They target media freedom. They want it eliminated altogether. They want their message alone reported. They want truth buried.
They want fascist putschist power enhanced. They deplore democratic values.
They want ordinary Ukrainians having no say. Polls show their popularity eroding. They risk losing it overwhelmingly.
Perhaps nationwide rebellion will follow. When ruthlessness exceeds levels too great to tolerate, all bets are off.
The only solution is nonviolent revolution. Perhaps just a matter of time. It can’t happen a moment too soon.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
On the surface, the economic atmosphere of the U.S. has appeared rather calm and uneventful. Stocks are up, employment isn’t great but jobs aren’t collapsing into the void (at least not openly), and the U.S. dollar seems to be going strong. Peel away the thin veneer, however, and a different financial horror show is revealed.
U.S. stocks have enjoyed unprecedented crash protection due to a steady infusion of fiat money from the Federal Reserve known as quantitative easing. With the advent of the “taper”, QE is now swiftly coming to a close (as is evident in the overall reduction in treasury market purchases), and is slated to end by this fall, if not sooner.
Employment has been boosted only in statistical presentation, and not in reality. The Labor Department’s creative accounting of job numbers omits numerous factors, the most important being the issue of long term unemployed. Millions of people who have been jobless for so long they no longer qualify for benefits are being removed from the rolls. This quiet catastrophe has the side bonus of making it appear as though unemployment is going down.
U.S. Treasury bonds, and by extension the dollar, have also stayed afloat due to the river of stimulus being introduced by the Federal Reserve. That same river, through QE, is now drying up.
In my article The Final Swindle Of Private American Wealth Has Begun, I outline the data which leads me to believe that the Fed taper is a deliberate action in preparation for an impending market collapse. The effectiveness of QE stimulus has a shelf-life, and that shelf life has come to an end. With debt monetization no longer a useful tool in propping up the ailing U.S. economy, central bankers are publicly stepping back. Why? If a collapse occurs while stimulus is in full swing, the Fed immediately takes full blame for the calamity, while being forced to admit that central banking as a concept serves absolutely no meaningful purpose.
My research over many years has led me to conclude that a collapse of the American system is not only expected by international financiers, but is in fact being engineered by them. The Fed is an entity created by globalists for globalists. These people have no loyalties to any one country or culture. Their only loyalties are to themselves and their private organizations.
While many people assume that the stimulus measures of the Fed are driven by a desire to save our economy and currency, I see instead a concerted program of destabilization which ismeant to bring about the eventual demise of our nation’s fiscal infrastructure. What some might call “kicking the can down the road,” I call deliberately stretching the country thin over time, so that any indirect crisis can be used as a trigger event to bring the ceiling crashing down.
In the past several months, the Fed taper of QE and subsequently U.S. bond buying has coincided with steep declines in purchases by China, a dump of one-fifth of holdings by Russia, and an overall decline in new purchases of U.S. dollars for FOREX reserves.
With the Ukraine crisis now escalating to fever pitch, BRIC nations are openly discussing the probability of “de-dollarization” in international summits, and the ultimate dumping of the dollaras the world reserve currency.
The U.S. is in desperate need of a benefactor to purchase its ever rising debt and keep the system running. Strangely, a buyer with apparently bottomless pockets has arrived to pick up the slack that the Fed and the BRICS are leaving behind. But, who is this buyer?
At first glance, it appears to be the tiny nation of Belgium.
While foreign investment in the U.S. has sharply declined since March, Belgium has quickly become the third largest buyer of Treasury bonds, just behind China and Japan, purchasing more than $200 billion in securities in the past five months, adding to a total stash of around $340 billion. This development is rather bewildering, primarily because Belgium’s GDP as of 2012 was a miniscule $483 billion, meaning, Belgium has spent nearly the entirety of its yearly GDP on our debt.
Clearly, this is impossible, and someone, somewhere, is using Belgium as a proxy in order to prop up the U.S. But who?
Recently, a company based in Belgium called Euroclear has come forward claiming to be the culprit behind the massive purchases of American debt. Euroclear, though, is not a direct buyer. Instead, the bank is a facilitator, using what it calls a “collateral highway” to allow central banks and international banks to move vast amounts of securities around the world faster than ever before.
Euroclear claims to be an administrator for more than $24 trillion in worldwide assets and transactions, but these transactions are not initiated by the company itself. Euroclear is a middleman used by our secret buyer to quickly move U.S. Treasuries into various accounts without ever being identified. So the question remains, who is the true buyer?
My investigation into Euroclear found some interesting facts. Euroclear has financial relationships with more than 90 percent of the world’s central banks and was once partly owned and run by 120 of the largest financial institutions back when it was called the “Euroclear System”. The organization was consolidated and operated by none other than JP Morgan Bank in 1972. In 2000, Euroclear was officially incorporated and became its own entity. However, one must remember, once a JP Morgan bank, always a JP Morgan bank.
Another interesting fact – Euroclear also has a strong relationship with the Russian government and is a primary broker for Russian debt to foreign investors. This once again proves my ongoing point that Russia is tied to the global banking cabal as much as the United States. The East vs. West paradigm is a sham of the highest order.
Euroclear’s ties to the banking elite are obvious; however, we are still no closer to discovering the specific groups or institution responsible for buying up U.S. debt. I think that the use of Euroclear and Belgium may be a key in understanding this mystery.
Belgium is the political center of the EU, with more politicians, diplomats and lobbyists than Washington D.C. It is also, despite its size and economic weakness, a member of an exclusive economic club called the “Group Of Ten” (G10).
The G10 nations have all agreed to participate in a “General Arrangement to Borrow” (GAB) launched in 1962 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The GAB is designed as an ever cycling fund which members pay into. In times of emergency, members can ask the IMF’s permission for a release of funds. If the IMF agrees, it then injects capital through Treasury purchases and SDR allocations. Essentially, the IMF takes our money, then gives it back to us in times of desperation (with strings attached). A similar program called ‘New Arrangements To Borrow’ (NAB) involves 38 member countries. This fund was boosted to approximately 370 billion SDR (or $575 billion dollars U.S.) as the derivatives crisis struck markets in 2008-2009. Without a full and independent audit of the IMF, however, it is impossible to know the exact funds it has at its disposal, or how many SDR’s it has created.
It should be noted the Bank of International Settlements is also an overseer of the G10. If you want to learn more about the darker nature of globalist groups like the IMF and the BIS, read my articles, Russia Is Dominated By Global Banks, Too, and False East/West Paradigm Hides The Rise Of Global Currency.
The following article from Harpers titled “Ruling The World Of Money,” was published in 1983 and boasts about the secrecy and “ingenuity” of the Bank Of International Settlements, an unaccountable body of financiers that dominates the very course of economic life around the world.
It is my belief that Belgium, as a member of the G10 and the GAB/NAB agreements, is being used as a proxy by the BIS and the IMF to purchase U.S. debt, but at a high price. I believe that the banking elite are hiding behind their middleman, Euroclear, because they do not want their purchases of Treasuries revealed too soon. I believe that the IMF in particular is accumulating U.S. debt to be used later as leverage to absorb the dollar and finalize the rise of their SDR currency basket as the world reserve standard.
Imagine what would happen if all foreign creditors abandoned U.S. debt purchases because the dollar was no longer seen as viable as a world reserve currency. Imagine that the Fed’s efforts to stimulate through fiat printing became useless in propping up Treasuries, serving only to devalue the domestic buying power of our currency. Imagine that the IMF swoops in as the lender of last resort; the only entity willing to service our debt and keep the system running. Imagine what kind of concessions America would have to make to a global loan shark like the IMF.
Keep in mind, the plan to replace the dollar is not mere “theory”. In fact, IMF head Christine Lagarde has openly called for a “global financial system” to take over in the place of the current dollar based system.
The Bretton Woods System, established in 1944, was used by the United Nations and participating governments to form international rules of economic conduct, including fixed rates for currencies and establishing the dollar as the monetary backbone. The IMF was created during this shift towards globalization as the BIS slithered into the background after its business dealings with the Nazis were exposed. It was the G10, backed by the IMF, that then signed the Smithsonian Agreement in 1971 which ended the Bretton Woods system of fixed currencies, as well as any remnants of the gold standard. This led to the floated currency system we have today, as well as the slow poison of monetary inflation which has now destroyed more than 98 percent of the dollar’s purchasing power.
I believe the next and final step in the banker program is to reestablish a new Bretton Woods style system in the wake of an engineered catastrophe. That is to say, we are about to go full circle. Perhaps Ukraine will be the cover event, or tensions in the South China Sea. Just as Bretton Woods was unveiled during World War II, Bretton Woods redux may be unveiled during World War III. In either case, the false East/West paradigm is the most useful ploy the elites have to bring about a controlled decline of the dollar.
The new system will reintroduce the concept of fixed currencies, but this time, all currencies will be fixed or “pegged” to the value of the SDR global basket. The IMF holds a global SDR summit every five years, and the next meeting is set for the beginning of 2015.
If the Chinese yuan is brought into the SDR basket next year, if the BRICS enter into a conjured economic war with the West, and if the dollar is toppled as the world reserve, there will be nothing left in terms of fiscal structure in the way of a global currency system. If the public does not remove the globalist edifice by force, the IMF and the BIS will then achieve their dream – the complete dissolution of economic sovereignty, and the acceptance by the masses of global financial governance. The elites don’t want to hide behind the curtain anymore. They want recognition. They want to be worshiped. And, it all begins with the secret buyout of America, the implosion of our debt markets, and the annihilation of our way of life.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
What does the United States have in common with Japan’s economy? Demographics of an aging population have consequences for both countries. As Japan News reports, National debt hits record high.
“Japan’s national debt totaled a record-high ¥1.02 quadrillion as of the end of March, up ¥33.36 trillion from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said.
The central government debt, which increased ¥7.01 trillion from the end of December last year, kept rising mainly due to ballooning social security costs in line with the aging of the population.”
Last year Forbes viewed their debt crisis as staggering. “Currently at 240% of GDP, the International Monetary Fund estimates that it will get to 250% by year-end. Why is this an issue? Well, when you have government debt at 24x government revenue and interest expenses taking up 25% of government revenue, it becomes a very big issue.”
Around the same time, Matt Phillips wrote that with a quadrillion in debt, there’s only one way out for Japan, jumpstart growth.
“So, yes, while Japan does have a ton of debt, the outright level is not the best way to keep track of it. The more important gauge is debt as a percentage of the country’s annual economic output, or GDP. And at more than 200%, Japan’s debt load is the highest among all developed nations.
But still, how will Japan ever manage to pay it off it’s debt? Well, actually, it won’t.
The goal for countries isn’t paying off debt, it’s getting its debt-to-GDP ratio in better shape.”
There is a huge problem with growing a GDP when the international economy is still suffering from the global financial meltdown, when your own nation has fewer spending consumers as the population ages. OECD warns Japan’s economy may suffer inflation without wage growth. “The Paris-based club of 34 advanced nations said in its biannual report that the world’s third-biggest economy would expand 1.2 percent this year, downgraded from its November forecast of 1.5 percent in terms of inflation-adjusted gross domestic product growth.”
Added to this sluggish and lackluster forecast, the WSJ article that Japan Current Account Surplus Smallest on Record, indicates a serious downward trend in foreign trade earnings.
“The ¥789.9 billion ($7.76 billion) surplus in the broadest measure of a nation’s trade with the rest of the world was sharply lower than the ¥4.2 trillion surplus registered a year earlier, data from the Ministry of Finance showed Monday. Until recently, the country routinely produced a surplus in excess of ¥10 trillion a year.”
Is the day on the horizon when Japan will mirror the trade deficits that have so long plagued the American economy? Just look to the practice that many Japanese manufacturers are shifting their production offshore. Besides, the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has the country consuming more imported fossil fuels to meet energy needs.
If you are looking for answers, you better read the essay by Alan Gula in Wall Street Daily, Japan’s Most Valuable Resource is Vanishing. “Through quantitative easing and large budget deficits, Abenomics has produced currency weakness and higher stock prices… but it’s failed to generate real wage growth.Currency weakness has contributed to soaring energy prices, and the recent sales tax increase will effectively exacerbate inflation and crimp consumer spending. So despite an escape from the jaws of deflation, problems persist in Japan.
In fact, it’s likely that Japan has stagnated because of 15 years of zero interest rate policy (ZIRP), not in spite of ZIRP.”
Finally, Mr. Gula’s points to the fact that, “children under 15 make up just 12.8% of the Japanese population, the lowest ratio among nations with populations of at least 40 million people.” When you factor in that Japan ranks number eight among developed economies in household debt, the persistent legend that Japanese are the world’s savers, is rapidly vanishing.
Over ten years ago Research at Shorenstein APARC, Stanford addressed theCauses of Japan’s Economic Stagnation. However, the global economy has changed dramatically after 2008. In many ways, Japan has experienced several major setbacks.
“If Japan’s current account surplus turns into a current account deficit, the country will have to attract money into its financial markets in order to pay its bills. That may be difficult given that Japan has some of the lowest interest rates and highest debt in the world. Interest rates would probably have to rise substantially, which would worsen the government’s finances and could cause a crisis – causing the yen to weaken even further.
To make matters worse, if the government is successful in its drive to raise the inflation rate, that will only further reduce the real interest rate on Japanese bonds, which is already the lowest of the major bond markets. That’s going to be a hard sell and that’s why I expect the yen to trend lower over the next several years.”
The global financial system, based upon debt fiat money, affects industrial countries the most. Japan was once an island nation, immune from international intervention. The Princeton Press published a paper, Why Study Japanese Political Economy?Most analysis of economic developments in foreign countries only glosses over the political factor that influence and often shape economic policy.
Looking at Japan may well be a valuable mirror on the future of American society. The Japanese tragedy, very easily can turn into the lost decades for our own marketplace. The notion that domestic business or for that matter, the global economy can continue to operate on ever rising debt obligations is paternally absurd. Better, learn this lesson now, before it is too late.
Quite a stir occurred with the academic presentation, How Technology Is Destroying Jobs, by Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee. Both “have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine.”
“Perhaps the most damning piece of evidence, according to Brynjolfsson, is a chart that only an economist could love. In economics, productivity—the amount of economic value created for a given unit of input, such as an hour of labor—is a crucial indicator of growth and wealth creation. It is a measure of progress. On the chart Brynjolfsson likes to show, separate lines represent productivity and total employment in the United States. For years after World War II, the two lines closely tracked each other, with increases in jobs corresponding to increases in productivity. The pattern is clear: as businesses generated more value from their workers, the country as a whole became richer, which fueled more economic activity and created even more jobs. Then, beginning in 2000, the lines diverge; productivity continues to rise robustly, but employment suddenly wilts. By 2011, a significant gap appears between the two lines, showing economic growth with no parallel increase in job creation. Brynjolfsson and McAfee call it the “great decoupling.” And Brynjolfsson says he is confident that technology is behind both the healthy growth in productivity and the weak growth in jobs.”
Building upon this study, MSM provides a three part series on, Loss of middle-class jobs compounded by tech advances. The following admission by the technological behemoth should give pause for future generations.
“Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What’s more, these jobs aren’t just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren’t just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.
The global economy is being reshaped by machines that generate and analyze vast amounts of data; by devices such as smartphones and tablet computers that let people work just about anywhere, even when they’re on the move; by smarter, nimbler robots; and by services that let businesses rent computing power when they need it, instead of installing expensive equipment and hiring IT staffs to run it.”
This reality is all around us, but the full impact yet appreciated, is that the cloud of computing is not increasing business employment for the main street economy. For more bad news look at the results from the Associated Press analysis of employment data from 20 countries in, Can smart machines take your job? Middle class jobs increasingly being replaced by technology, which found that “almost all the jobs disappearing are in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000. Jobs that form the backbone of the middle class in developed countries in Europe, North America and Asia.”
“In the United States, half of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession paid middle-class wages, and the numbers are even more grim in the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency. A total of 7.6 million midpay jobs disappeared in those countries from January 2008 through last June.”
The article then goes on to cite that more information now crosses the Internet every second than the entire Internet stored 20 years ago. Other examples note that:
- The British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto announced plans last year to invest $518 million in the world’s first long-haul, heavy-duty driverless train system at its Pilbara iron ore mines in Western Australia.
- Dirk Vander Kooij’s furniture-making company in the Netherlands needs only a skeleton crew — four people. The hard work at the Eindhoven-based company is carried out by an old industrial robot that Vander Kooij fashioned into a 3D printer.
Soon to come are pilotless airliners joining the several Japanese rail lines already run by themselves. Add the smart utility meter deployment and soon the employee reader, banished to a wax museum, becomes just another sign of “so called” progress.
Missing in all this corporate excitement for slashing payroll is the indisputable fact that the general standard of living is dropping like a rock for the average family. Couple this deadly trend with the unnerving prospects forecasted by Bob Lord in, Our First Trillionaire: Only a Matter of Time.
“The unavoidable result: Wealth at the top is growing at a faster rate than aggregate wealth. That’s where the arithmetic comes in to play. If the wealth of one group within a nation grows at a faster rate than the nation’s aggregate wealth, that group’s share of the aggregate wealth must increase over time. That’s a mathematical certainty. And the level of subsequent wealth concentration has no limit.”
Technological development coupled with favorable political treatment is regularly the formula for massive accumulation of fortune. However, the horrendous social distortions that inexorably follows such distortions in income, much less the fact that the disappearance in living wage employment of the masses cannot be ignored without fundamental political upheaval.
Once innovated technology of a Henry Ford raised the living standards and was a benefit for society. Today’s objective is to remove or eliminate the middle class as the gap in meaningful employment widens. Added leisure time has no significance if spent on playing games on an IPAD, while living off welfare government programs.
Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s breakdown is a chilling look at a bleak future and the goodbye kiss to a populist beneficial economy.
For the record, I don’t believe Cliven Bundy is a “racist.”
For the record, I don’t even care.
Such indifference to that damnable failing, that thing we all know is the worst thing one can be, must make me a damnable man. But I am flexible. I just want equality. I’m perfectly willing to demonize “racists,” provided we give other sinners equal time.
I just want to hear, for example, “Forget the facts of the matter! The man is lustful!” or “Don’t listen to that miscreant. He’s guilty of sloth!” Or let’s say a fellow posits an opinion on, oh, taxation. Our very intellectual response could be, “Hey, didn’t I hear you talkin’ to your girlfriend about how you scarfed down four cheeseburgers at the barbecue and binged on ice cream in your easy chair? Look, everyone, he’s a glutton!”
This isn’t to say that being a bigot — the word “racist” is in quotation marks because it’s an invention of leftist language manipulators — is a good thing. Not at all. But neither is being lustful, slothful or gluttonous. Yet people who couldn’t name three of the Seven Deadly Sins and are thoroughly guilty of at least six, will claim they can disqualify a person, and his point of view, from debate based on their assessment of his moral state. What blindness — and hubris.
Bigotry is simply a sub-category of wrath, one part of one-seventh, not the moral end-all and be-all. And even if Bundy did have racial hang-ups, would it follow that he was wrong about his case or on federal power in general? Can a man be flawed, and even sinful, but yet right on a matter? Can he still have virtues? Albert Einstein could be lewd and lascivious, Galileo an irascible jerk, Ernest Hemingway was a drunkard.
This isn’t to say, as certain people with poor character once averred, that character doesn’t matter. It’s not to say a person’s vices can’t speak to motivations; it’s valid to point it out if a judge who rules that pornography has First Amendment protections habitually views porn himself. But it’s not valid to fixate on the allegedly “racist” tendencies of a judge who rules that racial commentary enjoys such protections (at least not within the context of analyzing the ruling). The difference is that since the former is wrong, there’s good reason to believe that his personal inclinations corrupted his judgment on the matter; with the latter judge, however, dwelling on the supposed flaw in question would only serve to discredit a legitimate ruling.
The point is that we all have flaws, yet all can be correct about a whole host of things. I wouldn’t have wanted Einstein to care for a teenage daughter or be president, but I wouldn’t deny that E=mc2.
Of course, it really is true that some flaws are more unequal than others — there is a hierarchy of sin — but moderns’ sense of proportion is highly askew. G.K. Chesterton said that a “Puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.” Today we have Impuritans, complete reprobates worshipping at hedonism’s altar, who pour their indignation onto others in a vain attempt to wash their own souls clean of sin. But there is much more to being a “good” person than simply not being bigoted.
To further illustrate this askew sense of proportion, consider again the gluttony example. Gluttony is a sin, no doubt. But now let’s say that our society considered it the ultimate disqualifier. Let’s say we might scrutinize a person, asking “What are his food bills?” “Do cookbooks figure too prominently in his library?” “Does he wile away excessive time watching Emeril Live?” “Is he the one who cleared the buffet table like a hurdler?” And imagine we visited pariah status on the person after deeming him guilty.
Would you think this society’s greater fault was gluttony — or being hung-up about it? I’d think it exhibited a gluttonous zeal for eradicating gluttony.
The problem is that man always swings from one extreme to another. The early to mid 20th century saw the embrace of eugenics and racial-superiority dogma, which was then discredited by the loathsome Nazis. But now we just as zealously impose a dogma denying the reality of group differences and mandating equality of outcome among races.
This tendency toward true extremism — meaning, extreme deviation from Truth — brings to mind C.S. Lewis’ observation that evil always tries to persuade us to exaggerate our flaws, telling the militant he’s too pacifistic and the pacifist that he’s too militant. As an example, today we have Impuritans who, awash in the Great Sexual Heresy, will still lament how “Puritan” America is so sexually “repressed.” Evil tells the pervert he’s too prudish, just as it tells self-hating whites that they’re too anti-black.
But what we should be is anti-“racism.” I don’t mean what you think. We need to oppose both the word and the concept — at least how the latter is often conceptualized.
Bigotry is bad by definition, and that definition is commonly agreed upon. But “racism” often has a different meaning, one whose influence is readily apparent in the reaction to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s much reported comments. Al Sharpton, who once used the term “white interlopers” and once said, “White folks was in caves while we were building empires…,” called for a boycott of the NBA. Former hoop star Larry Johnson reacted to a man who didn’t want blacks around by saying he didn’t want whites around, as he suggested creating an all-black basketball league. Spike Lee told CNN he wished that white NBA players would speak out against Sterling, which is a bit like John Gotti having wished that someone would speak out against racketeering. And Barack Obama took time away from destroying our world standing, healthcare system, social policy and economy to say that “comments reportedly made by Sterling are ‘incredibly offensive racist statements,’ before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must confront,” wrote CBS DC. He then opined, “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything; you just let them talk” (you don’t have to do anything except, I suppose, “confront” a “legacy of slavery and segregation”). But, okay, I’ll just let Obama talk.
Now, opportunism is often a factor in such hypocrisy, but there is something else: a striking sense of entitlement. This is why many black people will condemn a white person for making a bigoted comment with an equally bigoted comment without batting an eye; when whites are bigoted, it’s “racist”; when blacks are, it’s something else. And, in fact, this idea is encapsulated in the definition of “racism” I alluded to earlier. It’s one you’ve probably heard:
Only whites can be “racist” because a prerequisite for “racism” is not only bigoted intent, but the power to act upon it.
And, actually, they’ll get no argument from me. As I’ve said before, the left originated the word “racism,” so they may define it. They may have it.
And if they ask, I’ll tell them where they can stick it.
The problem is that conservatives, being conservative — meaning, conserving yesterday’s liberals’ social victories — parrot the word. It’s another example of how, forgetting that the side defining the vocabulary of a debate, wins the debate, conservatives slavishly use the Lexicon of the Left.
Of course, eventually this will all be left in the dustbin of history. Movements, peoples and civilizations come and go, and we’ll get over our fixation with one part of one-seventh of the Deadly Sins. And then man will swing to another extreme, as he goes on to the next great mistake.
During the 1990’s the conventional economic wisdom supported the repeal of Glass-Steagall. However, “10 years later, the end of Glass-Steagall has been blamed by some for many of the problems that led to last fall’s (2008) financial crisis. While the majority of problems that occurred centered mostly on the pure-play investment banks like Lehman Brothers, the huge banks born out of the revocation of Glass-Steagall, especially Citigroup, and the insurance companies that were allowed to deal in securities, like the American International Group, would not have run into trouble had the law still been in place.”
This assessment by Cyrus Sanati, also seems to be the typical perception, now that the anemic rescue of the economy struggles to claw back to pre 2008 levels. The separation of commercial banks and investment banking was a cornerstone in finance, since the Banking Act of 1933 established a protective firewall. The Corporatocracy culture that operates as todays dominate economic model, adopts the “Too Big To Fail” paradigm. Tapping an unending stream of capital for acquisitions, mergers and poison pill financing to fend off unwanted suitors, is a continued requirement to survive in a global investment environment, where soveriegn wealth funds operate as preparatory pirates.
Commercial banks once had a clear mission statement and purpose, underwriting business and mortgage loans. Since Investment Banks, now allowed to access the Federal Reserve discount window programs, because they are now considered depository institutions, the impact of the repeal of Glass-Steagall becomes evident.
The financial mortgage meltdown, as a primary cause of the collapse of the economy, has never been resolved. Bloomberg reports in Basel Spurs Big-Bank Borrowing From U.S. Home Loan Banks.
“Lending at the 12 regional Home Loan Banks rose 30 percent to $492 billion between March of 2013 and December 2013, largely the result of advances made to JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and Citigroup Inc., according to a report released today by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General.
The concentration of Home Loan Bank lending in four large institutions could present safety and soundness risks, the report said. In addition, auditors questioned whether lenders created to support housing finance should be providing funds so banks can meet standards set under the international Basel III accord.”
Now does anyone seriously expect that the money center banks dedicated their capital to fund mortgages for the masses? The notion that such mega institutions prefer to function as commercial lenders is a stretch at best. Nevertheless, the investment banking culture is changing out of necessity. The Volcker rule has taken its toll on the whales of finance.
Over two years ago, the announcement that Citigroup to Close Prop Trading Desk, was news. Even before that shift, the banksters began plotting to circumvent the regulator restrictions. “In October 2010, the proprietary trading group at Goldman Sachs left the bank to start a similar operation at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity giant. JPMorgan Chase moved its proprietary desk out of its investment bank and into its asset management unit last year, and Morgan Stanley has said it will spin its proprietary operation into a separate entity later this year.”
A prominent proponent of restoring Glass-Steagall has been the Larouche Pac.
“Glass-Steagall is the indispensable first step to global economic recovery. It will immediately halt the onset of hyperinflation, remove government commitment from bailing out toxic debts, end too-big-to-fail banks, and force a separation of commercial banking functions from investment banking functions, thus cleaning up the nation’s banking system to make way for real, long-term investments.
There are now two bills in each house calling for the restoration of President Roosevelt’s 1933 Glass-Steagall law. H. R. 129 & its Senate companion bill S. 985, introduced by Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Senator Tom Harkin respectively, and most recently, S. 1282, known as the “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act,” championed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose companion House bill, H.R. 3711 was recently introduced on December 11, 2013.”
It is disappointing that progressive collectivists are leading the effort for a return to a law that served well for decades. The absence of bipartisan support is disturbing. Lefty loons embrace Elizabeth Warren for many foolish reasons. In spite of this, her claim that, “Reintroducing Glass-Steagall will make it so depositor’s money cannot be used for the derivatives market” is a desired objective.
When Yaron Brook and Don Watkins argue in Forbes, Why The Glass-Steagall Myth Persists, they seem indifferent about accelerating the “Too Big To Fail” mentality that became the operative political concern, as the megabanks took on more leverage and risk.
“In 1999, President Clinton signed GLB into law. Although it left the bulk of Glass-Steagall in place, it ended the affiliation restrictions, freeing up holding companies to own both commercial and investment banks.
There is zero evidence this change unleashed the financial crisis. If you tally the institutions that ran into severe problems in 2008-09, the list includes Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, none of which would have come under Glass-Steagall’s restrictions. Even President Obama has recently acknowledged that “there is no evidence that having Glass-Steagall in place would somehow change the dynamic.”
Of course, the establishment political class would never admit that their financial donors and patrons must hinder their unbridled trading strategies. The point of the proposed bill, 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2013 or any other legislation that attempts to reign in the excesses of the banking system is that the political will is entirely absent to go against the banksters. Enactment of an updated Glass-Steagall is certainly not the definitive answer to an unsustainable debt ridden financial fiat banking system. Yet, where does one start to build public critical mass to replace the private Federal Reserve monopoly on money, with economic commerce, that is not the prisoner of banking exploitation? The disastrous institution that fails us all is the current banking cartel.
“While Russia has been making efforts to de-escalate and resolve the crisis, the Kiev regime has chosen to launch airstrikes on peaceful residential areas, literally destroying the last hope for preserving the Geneva accords.” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman
“The crisis in Ukraine is not the result of ‘Russian aggression,’ but of a criminal strategy by the US and its European allies to install a hostile regime on Russia’s borders in Ukraine and, ultimately, dismember Russia itself.” Johannes Stern, NATO boosts military build-up against Russia as protests spread in east Ukraine, WSWS
Fighting broke out on Friday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk when Kiev’s coup government deployed military helicopters to fire on the city while troops and armored vehicles stormed checkpoints. At the time this article went to press, two helicopters had been shot down killing at least two pilots while one was captured. In an impassioned statement on Russian TV, Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, appealed to allies in the EU to do whatever they could to persuade Ukrainian authorities to call off the operation and stop the violence.
“We are calling on the European capitals, the United States of America to give an assessment of the current events and are of course calling on those carrying out airstrikes on residential areas to…immediately end the punitive operation and any violence against its own people…”
So far, there has been no response from Washington although it’s clear that the Obama administration had a hand in organizing the crackdown. Not only were the State Department and CIA directly involved in the putsch that removed democratically-elected president Viktor Yanukovych from office, but Washington has also been implicated in punitive operations directed against ethnic Russian protestors in east Ukraine. Both CIA Director John Brennan and Vice President Joe Biden visited Kiev just hours before two previous crackdowns were ordered by imposter-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. As Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blandly noted, It’s clear that Washington is “calling the shots”.
On Thursday, it looked like violence might be avoided when coup-President Oleksandr Turchynov said that he had lost control of the situation. In an exasperated message to the media, Turchnov said, “It is hard to accept but it’s the truth, but the majority of law enforcers in the east are incapable of performing their duties.”
Turchynov was referring to the fact that Ukrainian troops have refused to attack their own countrymen. The mutiny has reportedly spread from elite airborne units to local police who sympathize with the protestors. The only group that’s willing to carry out Washington’s proxy war is the Right Sector neo-Nazis who helped topple the Yanukovych government. Just last week, members of this openly fascist party, commemorated “the perpetrators of the massacre of Yanova Dolina,” where “600 Poles were murdered by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in what is now Bazaltovoye. The massacre marked the beginning of ethnic cleansing in what is now western Ukraine, where tens of thousands of Poles were killed within a few months.” (World Socialist Web Site)
These are Obama’s new allies in America’s war against Russia. Now check this out from Reuters:
“The International Monetary Fund warned that if Ukraine lost territory in the east it would have to redesign a $17 billion bailout of the country, probably requiring additional financing.” (Ukraine attacks rebel city, helicopter shot down, Reuters)
Tell me, dear reader, when was the last time you heard of the IMF threatening to withhold funds if a political leader didn’t wage war on his own people? Anyone with half a brain can see that the IMF is just acting on orders from the White House. This is Obama’s war. His fingerprints are all over the policy. Obama is determined to draw Russia into a bloody guerilla war that leaves Ukraine in the same condition as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria.
Here’s a clip from the New York Times:
“Through stealth and misdirection, and in defiance of Western sanctions, Russia has managed to achieve its immediate goal of what Western and Ukrainian officials believe is rendering Ukraine so chaotic that it cannot guarantee order, mend its teetering economy or elect new leaders to replace Mr. Turchynov.” (Not Getting Through to Mr. Putin, New York Times)
Putin wants a “chaotic” failed state on Russia’s border? Have you ever read such nonsense in your life?
Putin didn’t topple the Ukrainian government. The US State Department did. (Victoria Nuland’s hacked phone calls prove it.) And Putin didn’t violate the Geneva agreement less than 24 hours after the deal was signed by launching a crackdown on civilian protestors in the east. That was US-puppet Yatsenyuk. Nor did Putin deploy the military to surround cities, cut off their water supplies and deploy helicopter gunships to fire missiles at civilian infrastructure and terrorize the local population. That was the work of Obama’s fascist junta in Kiev. Putin had nothing to do with any of the trouble in Ukraine. It’s all part of the US “pivot to Asia” strategy to encircle and (eventually) dismember Russia in order to seize vital resources and control the flow of energy to China. Washington wants to reduce Ukraine to Mad Max-type pandemonium to justify establishing NATO bases on Russia’s perimeter. It’s all part of the plan to control Central Asia and rule the world.
Putin has acted as peacemaker throughout the crisis, but Obama is determined to provoke the Russian president by attacking and killing ethnic Russians. Consider the statement by Russia’s Foreign Ministry following the helicopter incident on Friday morning:
“As we have warned many times before, the use of the army against its own people is a crime and is leading Ukraine to catastrophe…By supporting the organizers of the Kiev coup in their strategy of violently putting down protests, the US and EU are taking on a huge responsibility, essentially closing the door to a peaceful solution to the crisis.” (Putin says Geneva agreement no longer viable after Ukrainian military action, Guardian)
It’s clear now that Obama merely used the Geneva agreement to buy time to move troops and military hardware to Poland and the Balkans. It’s also clear that Obama invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Washington so that it would appear that Europe is united behind the US in its proxy war on Russia. But what does Obama hope to achieve by stirring up this hornet’s nest? He knows that Putin cannot afford to back down on Crimea, so what’s the point? And, more importantly, what is Ukraine going to look like when Washington is finished using it as a staging-ground for its geopolitical landgrab? Here’s an insightful piece by Russian academic, Andrei Fursov, who thinks he knows what Obama wants and explains the impact the policy is going to have on Ukraine for years to come.
“The Americans need controlled chaos and civil war…Moreover, it is clear that this country (post-coup Ukraine) is intended to be absolutely anti-Russian, nationalist, Banderite and neo-Nazi. So the dual goal of establishing this anti-Russian state is to constantly apply pressure on the Russian Federation…
As Bismarck (said) ‘We must cultivate among the Ukrainians, a people whose consciousness is altered to such an extent, that they begin to hate everything Russian.’ …
Thus we are talking about a historical psy-op, an information-psychological sabotage, whose purpose is to establish Russophobic Slavs… They are the means to separate Ukraine from Russia and to oppose Russia as a kind … totalitarian empire. This was all devised under the Galician Project, on which the intelligence services of Austro-Germany and Kaiser German worked, followed by the intelligence service of the Third Reich, later – CIA and BND…
Banderastan, if that’s what Ukraine is fated to become, as designed by the puppet-masters across the ocean, is to be an oligarchic, terroristic, Russophobic state…An oligarchic Banderite…oligarchy is the ideal vehicle for external control. Clearly, this will suit both the oligarchs and the West.” (Battleground Ukraine: A Comprehensive Summary, Zero Hedge)
So, there it is: Divide and rule. We saw the Bush administration pull it off with the Shia and Sunnis in Iraq, and now Obama wants to do the same with the Ukrainians and Russians. Same strategy, different continent.
This is Obama’s plan for the “New Ukraine” a fascist-ruled failed state that follows Washington’s directives and puts pressure on Russia thorough endless provocations, belligerence, and war. Ukraine will be Washington’s pit bull in the East, separating Moscow from crucial sources of revenue and thwarting efforts at greater EU-Russia economic integration. This is how Washington hopes to insert itself into Eurasia, to improve its prospects in the Great Game, and to establish global hegemony into the next century.
(Note: “Banderite” refers to Stepan Bandera, who was a Ukrainian nationalist leader who collaborated with the Nazis. Bandera headed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) According to the World Socialist Web Site: “The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) carried out numerous massacres of the Polish population in western Ukraine…The UPA served as a military executive organ of the OUN. It was founded in the spring of 1943 and recruited primarily from Nazi collaborators who were previously active in the SS.”)
At this time, our U.S. Congress rates a nine percent approval rating. It means nine percent of the American public registers “brain-dead.”
Those 535 members over the past 40 years deformed our nation from the largest creditor country in the world to the largest debtor nation in the world. We enjoyed less than $1 trillion in national debt to our current $18 trillion debt. That same Congress forced our young men and women into four hopeless, futile and asinine wars that killed tens of thousands of them and sent millions home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, drugs and alcoholism. Not to mention dismembered limbs.
That Congress danced to the Military Industrial Complex’s tune of contrived wars benefiting the bankers and corporations that outfitted and fed those young soldiers. Those executives made millions while our kids came home in coffins or missing arms and legs and their minds.
That same Congress turned our nation from a rich manufacturing country into a multi-trillion dollar deficit nation where we import everything we once manufactured, to today where we buy everything from China to make their citizens rich. So rich, in fact, that we owe them $1.4 trillion in trade deficits. Ironically, China now owns many U.S. corporations and buys land for its own beachhead here in America, not to mention Vancouver, BC, Canada where it displaced most of the Canadians in the past 30 years. Chinese now dominates the language in once-English speaking Vancouver, BC.
That bunch of hot shot Congressional Critters took our vibrant economy and turned it into 15 million unemployed and 48 million food stamp users. Those same reps allowed 20 million illegal alien migrants to come into our country and work for crooked employers like Chipotle’s, Marriot Hotels, Holiday Inns, McDonald’s, Hormel, Tyson Chicken, Swift, painting, landscape and construction firms at minimum wages. They and the presidents that headed this country refused to enforce our laws. That’s why you MUST press “1” for Spanish and “2” for English.
Today, we face enormous consequences from their actions. Yet, U.S. voters return 96 percent of incumbents—such as Boxer, Feinstein, Hatch, McCain, Kyle, Schumer, Lindsey Graham, Levin, Udall, Bennet, Rangel, Jackson, DeGette and hundreds of other failed Congressional Critters.
So are they stupid or are they corrupt?
One reader named Brad said, “They are not necessarily stupid. It’s just that most of these psychopaths are bought. The wealthy buy their services and they get remuneration by jobs when they leave “service”, by getting to indulge in insider trading (again – was cut out, but quietly reinstated) etc.
“Just allowing insider trading makes EVERY decision with any economic consequence suspect, as they will have a vested personal income interest in helping corporations increase profits by any means. Thus the repeal of clean air and water regulations. They allow oil fracking to use 2 million gallons of water per well, pour over 530 toxic chemicals into the aquifer to poison and ruin it, and remain exempt from EPA oversight.
“Some may not be bought. Some not all the time. The sad fact is that enough ARE compromised that essentially the damages get done consistently.
“Most in office are so stupid (such as California’s Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who is also corrupt in the league with former Congressman Tom Delay of Texas) that they accept stupid, flawed societal paradigms like “what’s good for business is good for America” and we can see how well that’s working out.
“The parasitic wealthy class is stealing record profits in some of the worst working economy in history – why? Because they have the true entitlement society in which they get tax breaks, tax exemptions, no bid contracts, inflated government costs, subsidizations and most likely a ton of things we never hear about. Simply by allowing industry execs into the alphabet organizations like FDA, USDA, etc., allows them to regulate competition to a ridiculously low level, and to leverage their income, influence, and profits at everyone else’s expense.”
The greatest flaw facing all U.S. citizens remains “career politicians” that create a “good-old boy” network of cronyism and corruption.
If we citizens fail to press for a maximum of 12-year term limits, we face a downward spiral into poverty and failed government not seen since the 1930s. The majority of Congress remains corrupt. That’s why things in the USA don’t get better, but continue on the downward path.
Remember: power corrupts; long-term power corrupts absolutely.
The leaders of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), released a draft bill on Sunday that would provide explicit government guarantees on mortgage-backed securities (MBS) generated by privately-owned banks and financial institutions. The gigantic giveaway to Wall Street would put US taxpayers on the hook for 90 percent of the losses on toxic MBS the likes of which crashed the financial system in 2008 plunging the economy into the deepest slump since the Great Depression. Proponents of the bill say that new rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) –which set standards for a “qualified mortgage” (QM)– assure that borrowers will be able to repay their loans thus reducing the chances of a similar meltdown in the future. However, those QE rules were largely shaped by lobbyists and attorneys from the banking industry who eviscerated strict underwriting requirements– like high FICO scores and 20 percent down payments– in order to lend freely to borrowers who may be less able to repay their loans. Additionally, a particularly lethal clause has been inserted into the bill that would provide blanket coverage for all MBS (whether they met the CFPB’s QE standard or not) in the event of another financial crisis. Here’s the paragraph:
“Sec.305. Authority to protect taxpayers in unusual and exigent market conditions….
If the Corporation, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, determine that unusual and exigent circumstances threaten mortgage credit availability within the U.S. housing market, FMIC may provide insurance on covered securities that do not meet the requirements under section 302 including those for first loss position of private market holders.” (“Freddie And Fannie Reform – The Monster Has Arrived”, Zero Hedge)
In other words, if the bill passes, US taxpayers will be responsible for any and all bailouts deemed necessary by the regulators mentioned above. And, since all of those regulators are in Wall Street’s hip-pocket, there’s no question what they’ll do when the time comes. They’ll bailout they’re fatcat buddies and dump the losses on John Q. Public.
If you can’t believe what you are reading or if you think that the system is so thoroughly corrupt it can’t be fixed; you’re not alone. This latest outrage just confirms that the Congress, the executive and all the chief regulators are mere marionettes performing whatever task is asked of them by their Wall Street paymasters.
The stated goal of the Johnson-Crapo bill is to “overhaul” mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so that “private capital can play the central role in home finance.” (That’s how Barack Obama summed it up.) Of course, that’s not really the purpose at all. The real objective is to hand over the profit-generating mechanism to the private banks (Fannie and Freddie have been raking in the dough for the last three years) while the red ink is passed on to the public. That’s what’s really going on.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the bill will
“construct an elaborate new platform by which a number of private-sector entities, together with a privately held but federally regulated utility, would replace key roles long played by Fannie and Freddie….”
“The legislation replaces the mortgage-finance giants with a new system in which the government would continue to play a potentially significant role insuring U.S. home loans.” (“Plan for Mortgage Giants Takes Shape”, Wall Street Journal)
“Significant role”? What significant role? (Here’s where it gets interesting.)
“The Senate bill would repurpose the firms’ existing regulator as a new “Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp.” and charge the agency with approving new firms to pool loans into securities. Those firms could then purchase federal insurance to guarantee payments to investors in those bonds. The FMIC would insure mortgage bonds much the way the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. provides bank-deposit insurance.”
Unbelievable. So they want to turn F and F into an insurance company that backs up the garbage mortgages created by the same banks that just ripped us all off for trillions of dollars on the same freaking swindle?
You can’t be serious?
More from the WSJ: “Mortgage guarantors would be required to maintain a 10% capital buffer against losses and to have that capital extinguished before the federal insurance would be triggered.”
10 percent? What the hell difference does 10 percent make; that’s a drop in the bucket. If the banks are going to issue mortgages to people who can’t repay the debt, then they need to cover the damn losses themselves, otherwise they shouldn’t be in the banking biz to begin with, right?
This is such an outrageous, in-your-face ripoff, it shouldn’t even require a response. These jokers should be laughed out of the senate. All the same, the bill is moving forward, and President Twoface has thrown his weigh behind it. Is there sort of illicit, under-the-table, villainous activity this man won’t support?
Not when it comes to his big bank buddies, there isn’t. Now check out this clip from an article by economist Dean Baker. Baker refers to the Corker-Warner bill, but the Crapo-Johnson fiasco is roughly the same deal. Here’s Baker:
“The Corker-Warner bill does much more than just eliminate Fannie and Freddie. In their place, it would establish a system whereby private financial institutions could issue mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that carry a government guarantee. In the event that a large number of mortgages in the MBS went bad, the investors would be on the hook for losses up to 10 percent of its value, after that point the government gets the tab.
If you think that sounds like a reasonable system, then you must not have been around during the housing crash and ensuing financial crisis. At the peak of the crisis in 2008-2009 the worst subprime MBS were selling at 30-40 cents on the dollar. This means the government would have been picking up a large tab under the Corker-Warner system, even if investors had been forced to eat a loss equal to 10 percent of the MBS price.
The pre-crisis financial structure gave banks an enormous incentive to package low quality and even fraudulent mortgages into MBS. The system laid out in the Corker-Warner bill would make these incentives even larger. The biggest difference is that now the banks can tell investors that their MBS come with a government guarantee, so that they most they stand to lose is 10 percent of the purchase price.” (“The disastrous idea for privatizing Fannie and Freddie”, Dean Baker, Al Jazeera)
Just ponder that last part for a minute: “The bill would make these incentives even larger.”
Do you really think we should create bigger incentives for these dirtbags to rip us off? Does that make sense to you? Here’s more from Baker:
“The changes in financial regulation are also unlikely to provide much protection. In the immediate wake of the crisis there were demands securitizers keep a substantial stake in the mortgages they put into their pools, to ensure that they had an incentive to only securitize good mortgages. Some reformers were demanding as much as a 20 percent stake in every mortgage.
Over the course of the debate on the Dodd-Frank bill and subsequent rules writing this stake got ever smaller. Instead of being 20 percent, it was decided that securitizers only had to keep a 5 percent stake. And for mortgages meeting certain standards they wouldn’t have to keep any stake at all.
Originally only mortgages in which the homeowner had a down payment of 20 percent or more passed this good mortgage standard. That cutoff got lowered to 10 percent and then was lowered further to 5 percent. Even though mortgages with just 5 percent down are four times as likely to default as mortgages with 20 percent or more down, securitizers will not be required to keep any stake in them when they put them into a MBS.”
Hold on there, Dean. You mean Dodd Frank didn’t ”put things right”? What the heck? I thought that “tough new regulations” assured us that the banks wouldn’t blow up the system again in five years or so. Was that all baloney?
Yep, sure was. 100% baloney. Once the banks unleashed their army of attorneys and lobbyists on Capital Hill, new regulations didn’t stand a chance. They turned Dodd Frank into mincemeat and now we’re back to square one.
And don’t expect the ratings agencies to help out either because they’re in the same shape they were before the crash. No changes at all. They still get paid by the guys who issue the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) which is about the same as if you paid the salary of the guy who grades your midterm exam. Do you think that might cloud his judgment a bit? You’re damn right, it would; just like paying the ratings agencies guarantees you’ll get the rating you want. The whole system sucks.
And as far as the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, well, you guessed it. The banks played a role in drafting the new “Qualified Mortgage” standard too, which is really no standard at all, since no self-respecting lender would ever use the same criteria for issuing a loan or mortgage. For example, no banker is going to say, “Heck, Josh, we don’t need your credit scores. We don’t need a down-payment. We’re all friends here, right? So, how much do you need for that mortgage old buddy, $300,000, $400,000, $500,000. You name it. The sky’s the limit.”
No down payment? No credit scores? And they have the audacity to call this a qualified mortgage?
Qualified for what? Qualified for sticking it to the taxpayers? The real purpose of the qualified mortgage is to protect the banks from their own shifty deals. That’s what it’s all about. It provides them with “safe harbor” in the event that the borrower defaults. What does that mean?
It means that the government can’t get its money back if the loan blows up. The qualified mortgage actually protects the banks, not the consumer. That’s why it’s such a farce, just like Dodd Frank is a farce. Nothing has changed. Nothing. In fact, it’s gotten worse. Now we’re on the hook for whatever losses the banks run up peddling mortgage credit to anyone who can fog a mirror.
We’ll leave the last word for Dean Baker, since he seems like the only guy in America who has figured out what the hell is going on:
“In short, the Corker-Warner plan to privatize Fannie and Freddie is essentially a proposal to reinstitute the structure of incentives that gave us the housing bubble and the financial crisis, but this time with the added fuel of an explicit government guarantee on the subprime MBS. If that doesn’t sound like a great idea to you then you haven’t spent enough time around powerful people in Washington.”
The Johnson-Crapo bill doesn’t have anything to do with “winding down” Fannie and Freddie or “overhauling” the mortgage finance industry. It’s a bald-face ripoff engineered by two chiseling senators who are putting the country at risk to beef up Wall Street’s bottom line.
It’s the scam of the century.