Report and Appeal to the International community to support a process of dialogue and reconciliation in Syria between its people and Syrian government and reject outside intervention and war.
BY Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace laureate. Spokesperson for Mussalaha International
Peace delegation to Lebanon/Syria l-llth May, 2013,
After a 10 days visit to Lebanon and Syria, leading a 16 person delegation from 8 countries, invited by Mussalaha Reconciliation Movement, I have returned hopeful that peace is possible in Syria, if all outside interference is stopped and the Syrians are allowed to solve their own problems upholding their right to self-determination.
An appeal to end all violence and for Syrians to be left alone from outside interference was made by all those we met during our visit to Syria. We have tried to forward it to the International community in our Concluding Declaration(l).
During our visit we went to refugee camps, affected communities, met religious leaders, combatants, government representatives, opposition delegations and many others, perpetrators and victims, in Lebanon and Syria.
1. Visits to refugee camps: In Lebanon we visited several refugee camps, hosted by Lebanese or Palestinian communities. One Woman said: “before this conflict started we were happy and had a good life (there is free education, free healthcare, subsidies for fuel, in Syria ,) and now we live in poverty”. Her daughter and son-in-law (a pharmacist and engineer) standing on a cement floor in a Palestinian refugee camp, with not even a mattress, told us that this violence had erupted to everyone surprise’s and spread so quickly they were all still in shock, but when well armed, foreign fighters came to Homs, they took over their homes, raped their women, and killed young males who refused to join their ranks, so the people fled in terror. They said that these foreign fighters were from many countries like Libyans, Saudis, Tunisians, Chechens, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Emiratis, Lebanese, Jordanians, Turkish, Europeans, Australian, and these gangs are financed and trained by foreign governments. They attach suicide vests around peoples’ bodies and threaten to explode them if they don’t do what they are told. One refugee woman asked me ‘when can we go home’? (To my great delighted a few days later in Damascus I met a woman working on a government programme which is helping refugees to return to Syria and over 200 have returned to date).
Religious and government leaders have called upon people not to flee Syria and it is to be hoped many will heed this call, as after seeing so many Syrian refugees living in tents and being exploited in so many ways, including sexually, I believe the best solution is the stability of Syria so its people feel safe enough to stay in Syria. If refugees continue to flee Syria then surrounding countries could be destabilized, causing the domino effect and destabilizing the entire Middle East.
Many people have fled into camps in surrounding countries like Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon, all of whom are trying to manage the huge influx of Syrian refugees. Although the host countries are doing their best to cope they are overwhelmed by refugee numbers. (UNHCR’s official figure of refugees is one million). Through our meetings we have been informed that Turkey invites Syrian refugees into the country and forbid them to go back home. It is documented that Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan are mistreated. Some young Syrian refugee girls are sold for forced marriage in Jordan. From OHCHR reports we know that more than 4 million Syrians are displaced inside their own country, living in great need.
A representative from Red Cross, told us that there is freedom to do their work throughout Syria for all NGO and the Syrian Red crescent in co-ordination with the Ministry of Social affairs and under such dire circumstances, they are doing their best, providing services to as many people as possible. However there is a great shortage of funds for them to cope with this humanitarian tragedy of refugees and internally displaced population. The economic sanctions, as in Iraq,are causing great hardship to many people and all those whom we met called for them to be lifted. Our delegation called for the lifting of these illegal US-led sanctions that target the Syrian Population for purely political reasons in order to achieve regime change.
2- Hospitals: We visited the hospitals and saw many people injured by shootings, bombings, and armed attacks. A moderate Sunni Imam told me how he was abducted by jihadists, who tortured him, cut off his ear, tried to cut his throat, slicing his legs, and left him for dead. He said when he goes back to his mosque they will slaughter him. He told us “these men are foreign fighters, jihadists from foreign countries, well armed, well trained, with money, they are in our country to destroy it. They are not true Muslims but are religious extremist/fundamentalists terrorizing, abducting, killing our people”. The government spokesman also confirmed that they have in detention captured foreign fighters from 29 countries, including Chechens, Iraqis, and many others. The Ministry of Health showed us a documentary on the terrible killings by Jihadists and the terror caused by these foreigners with the killing of medics and destruction of medical infrastructure of the Syrian State which has made it difficult to answer the needs of the population.
3- Meeting with Opposition: Our delegation participated in an open forum with many representatives of internal opposition’s parties. One political opponent who was in prison 24 years under the Assad regime, and has been out for 11 years, wants political change with more than 20 other internal opposition components, but without outside interference and the use of violence. We met with ‘armed’ opposition people in a local community who said they had accepted the governments offer of amnesty and were working for a peaceful way forward. One man told me he had accepted money from Jihadists to fight but had been shocked by their cruelty and the way they treated fellow Syrian muslims considering them as not real Muslims. He said foreign Jihadists wanted to take over Syria, not save it.
The 10th May a part of our delegation headed to Homs, invited by the opposition community of Al Waar city where displaced families from Baba Amro, Khalidiyeh and other rebel’s strongholds seek refuge. The Delegation saw all the conditions of this city and is studying a Pilot Project for Reconciliation and peaceful reintegration between this community and the surrounded non rebel communities (Shia and Alaouites) with whom 15 days ago an agreement of non belligerence has been signed through the auspices of Mussalaha.
4 – Meeting with Officials: Our Delegation met, and spoke, at the Parliament, and also with the Governor, Prime Minister and 7 other Ministries. We were given details of the new Constitution and political reforms being put in place, and plans for elections in 2014. Government Ministers admitted that they had made mistakes in being slow to respond to legitimate demands for change from civil community but these were now being implemented. They told us when the conflict started it was peaceful for change but quickly turned into bloodshed when armed men killed many soldiers.
In the first days soldiers were unarmed but when people started asking for protection the government and military responded to defend the people and in self defence.
When we enquired from the Prime Minister regarding the allegation that the Syrian Government had used Sarin gas, he told us that as soon as news came from Aleppo that allegedly gas had been used, his government invited immediately the UN to come into investigate, but heard nothing from them. Most recently however, a UN investigator, High Commissioner Carla Del Ponte, has confirmed that it was rebels, not Syrian government, who used Sarin gas. During meeting with Justice Minister, we requested that a list of 72 non-violent political dissidents currently detained be released. The justice Minister said after checking those listed were indeed non-violent political dissidents, he would, in principal, agree to the release of these nonviolent detainees. He also informed us they they do not implement the death penalty and it is hoped that when things settle in Syria they will move to have the death penalty abolished. We also asked the Justice Minister (an international lawyer) about Syrian Government’s Human rights abuses, namely the artillery shelling into no-go areas being held by jihadists and armed opposition. The Minister accepted those facts but alleged that the Government had a duty to clear these areas. We suggested there was a better way to deal with the problem than artillery shelling but he insisted that the government had responsibility to clear the areas of rebel forces and this was the way in which they were doing it
The Ministers and Governor said that President Assad was their President and has their support. There were many people we spoke to who expressed such sentiments. However, some young people said they support the opposition but in order to protect the Unity of Syria from outside destruction, they will support the government and President Assad, until the election next year and then they will vote for the opposition. They said the Doha Coalition in Qatar does not represent them and that no one outside Syria has a right to remove President Assad but the Syrian people through the elections next year. The journalists in Syria are in great danger from the religious extremist/fundamentals,and during my visit to a television station a young journalist told me how his mother was killed by jihadists and he showed me his arm where he had been shot and almost killed.
5- Meeting with religious leaders: We attended in the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus a prayer gathering led by the Grand Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic, Dr. Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun and the Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham with the delegate of Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X Yazigi, and clerics of all traditions. The Assembly prayed for the peace and unity of Syria and the non-interference of outsiders in their country. They stressed the conflict in Syria is not a religious conflict, as Muslims and Christians have always lived together in Syria, and they are,(in spite of living with suffering and violence much of which is not of their own making), unified in their wish to be a light of peace and reconciliation to the world. The Patriarch said that from the Mosque and Christian churches goes out a great movement of peace and reconciliation and asked both those inside and outside Syria, to reject all violence and support the people of Syria in this work of dialogue, reconciliation and peacemaking.
The Muslim and Christian Spiritual Leaders are very conscious if the religious extremist/fundamentalists gain momentum and control Syria, the future of those who are not supportive of fundamentalists like moderate Muslims, Christians, minorities, and other Syrians is in great danger. Indeed the Middle East could loose its precious pluralistic social fabric with the Christians, like in Iraq, being the first to flee the country. This would be a tragedy for all concerned in this multi-religious, multi-cultural secular Syria, once a light of peaceful conviviality in the Arab world.
Following many authorized reports in the mainstream Medias and our own evidences I can stress that the Syrian State and its population are under a proxy war led by foreign countries and directly financed and backed mainly by Qatar who has imposed its views on the Arab League. Turkey, a part of the Lebanese opposition and some of the Jordan authorities offer a safe haven to a diversity of jihadist groups, each with its own agenda, recruited from many countries. Bands of jihadists armed and financed from foreign countries invade Syria through Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon porous frontiers in an effort to destabilize Syria. There are an estimated 50,000 foreign jihadist fighters terrorizing Syria. Those death squads are destroying systematically the Syrian State infrastructures (Electricity, Oil, Gas and water plants, High Tension Pylons, hospitals, schools, public buildings, cultural heritage sites and even religious sanctuaries). Moreover the country is submerged by snipers, bombers, agitators, bandits. They use aggression and Sharia rules and hijack the freedom and dignity of the Syrian population. They torture and kill those who refuse to join them. They have strange religious beliefs which make them feel comfortable even perpetrating the cruelest acts like killing and torture of their opponents. It is well documented that many of those terrorists are permanently under stimulant like Captagon. The general lack of security unlashes the terrible phenomenon of abduction for ransoms or for political pressure. Thousands of innocents are missing, among them the two Bishops, Youhanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, many priests and Imams.
UN and EU economic sanctions as well as a severe embargo are pushing Syria to the edge of social collapse. Unfortunately the international media network is ignoring those realities and is bent on demonizing, lying, destabilizing the country and fuelling more violence and contradiction.
In summary: the war in Syria is not as depicted a civil war but a proxy war with serious breaches of International laws and the Humanitarian International laws.. The protection of the foreign fighters by some foreign countries among the most powerful gives them a kind of an unaccountability that pushes them with impunity to all kind of cruel deeds against innocent civilians. Even war conventions are not respected incurring in many war crimes and, even, crimes against Humanity.
During our visit to Syria, our delegation was met with great kindness by everyone and I offer to each one who facilitated or hosted our Delegation my most sincere feelings of gratitude. We witnessed that the Syrian people have suffered very deeply and continue to do so. The entire population of 23 million people are under tremendous threat of continued infiltration by foreign terrorists. Many are still stunned by the horrors and suddenness of all this violence and worried their country will be attacked and divided by outside forces, and are all too aware that geopolitical forces are at work to destabilize Syria for political control, oil and resources. One Druze leader said ‘if westerns want our Oil – both Lebanon and Syria have oil reserves – let us negotiate for it, but do not destroy our country to take it’. In Syria memories of next door Iraq’s destruction by US/UK/NATO forces are fresh in people’s minds, including in the minds of the one and a half million Iraqis who fled Iraqi’s conflict, including many Christians, and were given refuge in Syria by the Syrian Government.
The greatest hope we took was from Mussalaha, a non political movement from all sections of Syrian society, who have working teams throughout Syria and is proceeding through dialogue to building peace and reconciliation. Mussalaha mediates between armed gunmen and security forces, help get release of many people who have been abducted, and bring together all parties to the conflict for dialogue and practical solutions. It was this movement who hosted us, under the leadership of Mother Agnes-Mariam, Superior of Saint James’ Monastery, supported by the Patriarch Gregory III Laham, head of the Catholic Hierarchy of Syria.
This great civil community movement building a peace process and National Reconciliation from the ground up, will, if given space, time, and non-interference from outside, help bring Peace to Syria. They recognize that there must be an unconditional, all inclusive political solution, with compromises and they are confident this is happening at many levels of society and is the only way forward for Syrian peace.
I support this National Reconciliation process which, many Syrian believe, is the only way to bring Peace to SYRIA and the entire Middle East. I am myself committed to this peaceful process and hope that the International Community, the Religious and Political Leaders as well as any person of good will will help Syria to bypass violence and prejudice and anchor in a new era of Social peace and prosperity. This cradle of civilizations where Syria occupies the heart is an enormous spiritual heritage for humanity, let us strive to establish a non war zone and proclaim it an OASIS of Peace for the Human Family.
Nobel peace laureate. www.peacepeople.com
Peace people, 224 Lisburn Road, Belfast. Bt9.
When the Internal Revenue Service admits to violations of law by targeting limited government advocate organizations, you know that the non-divulged crimes are much worse. The discloser in the mainstream media is a pleasant astonishment. The usual pattern of protecting “Big Government” is still intact, while the noise and agency diversion on the abuses of the IRS avoid the fundamental problem with federal taxation, based upon a system of deductions, exemptions, incentives and grants. The extortion and intimidation in the enforcement of the tax code is the entrusted role assigned to the IRS by the political hacks that administer the social engineering experiment that is fundamentally changing America.
The politicalization of the system is premeditated. The revelation that Obama governance resulted in IRS scrutiny went beyond Tea Party, targeting of conservative groups broader than thought, should not be shocking. The sycophants in federal employment have a deranged hostility towards any voice that defends and promotes constitutional federalism. Foxnews reports:
“The internal IG timeline shows a unit in the agency was looking at Tea Party and “patriot” groups dating back to early 2010. But it shows that list of criteria drastically expanding by the time a June 2011 briefing was held. It then included groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to “make America a better place to live.” It even flagged groups whose file included criticism of “how the country is being run.”
By early 2012, the criteria were updated to include organizations involved in “limiting/expanding government,” education on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and social economic reform.”
The game of citing partisan hypocrisy in describing respective “enemy lists” avoids the necessary task of replacing the taxation labyrinth, designed to select winners and losers. Every administration uses the bureaucracy to punish political foes and most presidencies intentionally engage in illegal retribution, but all share the virtual immunity from prosecution for their misdeeds. What can we reasonably expect from this Obama scandal? It certainly has the hallmark of being a far more severe constitutional violation than those committed in the heyday of the LBJ, Nixon and Clinton outlaws.
Now be forewarned, that the IRS is charged with overseeing compliance under Obamacare. Giving a mandate for expansion under this current cloud of criminality is the height of arrogance. Notwithstanding, the irreversible loss in credibility, the wholesale revamping of the method of taxation should be examined and a trustworthy replacement adopted. However, before reviewing one such alteration, it must be pointed out, that collecting taxes to finance governmental operations is not the primary purpose of the current system.
Perpetual trillion dollar deficits demonstrate that raising revenue to pay for federal programs lacks the ability to balance budgets. The principal function of the Internal Revenue Service is to facilitate the tax avoidance practices of corporatist transnational conglomerates. The retaliatory mission against working class citizens is ostensibly a disciplinary process to maintain control over the finances of producing contributors. Inhibiting upward mobility for the populace, while accelerating elite’s wealth accumulation, is the destructive result of the tax code.
The Hill offers a solution in the article, House GOP seeks to abolish IRS, replace income tax with consumption tax.
“The FairTax Act, from Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.), would abolish the 16th Amendment, which was ratified 100 years ago this February. That amendment gives Congress the power to impose income taxes without having to spend the revenues evenly among the states.
Woodall’s bill, H.R. 25, would replace the current tax system with a 23 percent consumption tax on all new goods and services. He said Thursday that this change would eliminate the need for a complicated tax code, and would be the kind of tax reform that helps reinvigorate the economy.”
The merits or criticism of a consumption tax and certainly any final amount of the levy certainly deserves a vigorous national debate. However, the need for eliminating the byzantine complexity and inherent inequity in the present punitive tax collection system should be unanimous.
Obviously, the prospect that the establishment ruling class would allow the slaughter of their cash-cow is zero. The entire existence of the Tea Party movement grew out of a desire to restore the principle of no taxation without representation. Yet, the efforts out of the authoritarian globalists are to ramp up even more draconian measures to monitor and intrude into every financial affair of normal people.
The only prudent political response to this intolerable obliteration of our eternal right to the pursuit of happiness is to require a return to the pre income tax system of revenue collection. Just listen to the screams, from those progressive socialists, who demand that the State must use their penalizing power to force egalitarian redistribution upon every wealth creator or economic producer.
The calculated fear factor imbedded into the Internal Revenue Service goes well beyond targeting just conservative groups. Every self-respecting American shares a vested interest in restoring a constitutional government. As it stands now, the prospect of achieving even a reasonable prospect of legitimate authorities is incompatible as long as the IRS is allowed to run amok over the masses who are attempting to petition and redress their government.
USA Today reports, Obama calls purported IRS targeting “outrageous”, from the latest Obama presidential press conference.
“Obama says first learned about the IRS controversy from news reports. He called the purported targeting of conservative groups by IRS personnel “outrageous and there is no place for it.” The IRS has to have “absolute integrity, ” Obama adds.
“You don’t want the IRS ever being perceived to be biased,” Obama said.
The president adds that his administration will get to the bottom of what happened at the IRS. “I have no patience for it. I will not tolerate it.”
How can anyone believe that Obama has clean hands or that some faction within the Internal Revenue Service was operating without his knowledge? Well Mr. President, prove the meaning in your words and put forth the political capital to pass the H.R. 25 legislation.
The tempo of events in Syria has accelerated in recent weeks. The government forces have scored significant battlefield victories over the rebels, and this has provoked a mixture of war provocations and peace offers from the U.S. and its anti-Assad allies.
With Obama’s blessing Israel fighter jets recently attacked Syria on three occasions; in one massive air strike on a military installation in Damascus 42 Syrian soldiers were killed. Shortly thereafter Obama finally agreed to a peace conference with Russia, which had been asking for such talks for months.
Obama is entering these talks from a weakened position; the Syrian government is winning the war against the U.S.-backed rebels, and success on the ground is the trump card of any peace talks. Obama and the rebels are in no position to be demanding anything in Syria at the moment.
It’s possible that Obama wants to avoid further humiliation in his Syria meddling by a last minute face-saving “peace” deal. It’s equally likely, however, that these peace talks are a clever diplomatic ruse, with war being the real intention. It’s not uncommon for peace talks to break down and be used as a justification for an intensification of war, since “peace was attempted but failed.”
And Obama has plenty of reasons to pursue more war: he would look incredibly weak and foolish if Syria’s president were to stay in power after Obama’s administration had already announced that Assad’s regime was over and hand picked an alternative government of Syrian exiles that the U.S. — and other U.S. allies — were treating as the “legitimate government of Syria.”
Here’s how the BBC referred to Obama’s Syrian puppet government:
“… the Syrian opposition’s political leadership – which wanders around international capitals attending conferences and making grand speeches – is not leading anyone. It barely has control of the delegates in the room with it, let alone the fighters in the field.”
If an unlikely peace deal is reached, these Syrian exiles — who only a tiny minority of the rebel fighters actually listen to — will be the ones to sign off on the deal.
Many politicians in the U.S. are still clamoring for war in Syria, based on the unproven accusation that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the rebels. In actuality, however, the UN so far has only indicated that the exact opposite is true: there is significant evidence the U.S.-backed rebels used chemical weapons against the Syrian government.
Of course this fact only made the back pages of the U.S.media, if it appeared at all. Similarly bad news about the U.S.-backed rebels committing large scale ethnic/religious cleansing and numerous human rights violations didn’t manage to make it on to the front pages either. And the numerous terrorist bombings by the U.S.-backed rebels that have indiscriminately killed civilians have likewise been largely ignored by U.S. politicians and the media.
The U.S. position is weakened further by the fact that the majority of the rebel fighters are Islamic extremists, who are fighting for jihad and sharia law, not democracy. The Guardian reported recently:
“Syria’s main armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is losing fighters and capabilities to Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist organization with links to al-Qaida that is emerging as the best-equipped, financed and motivated force fighting Bashar al-Assad’s [Syrian] regime.”
The New York Times adds:
“Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”
But even with all these barriers to the U.S. dictating its terms to the Syrian government, Obama has trump cards of his own: the U.S. and the Israeli military.
It’s possible that the Israeli airstrikes on Syria were used as a bargaining chip with the proposed peace conference in Russia. If Obama threatened to bomb Syria into the Stone Age there is plenty of evidence —Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya — to back up this threat.Following through with this kind of threat is actually considered intelligent foreign policy to many politicians in the U.S., since a country not aligned with the U.S. will have been weakened and fragmented as an opposing force, lowering the final barrier to war with Iran.
U.S. foreign policy is now completely dependent on using the threat of annihilation. As U.S. economic power has declined in relation to China and other countries, the economic carrot has been tossed aside in favor of the military stick. Plenty of U.S. foreign policy “experts” are demanding that Obama unsheathe the stick again, lest this foundation of U.S. foreign policy be proven to be just talk and no action.
This is the essence of U.S. involvement in Syria, which is risking regional war that could include Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with the potential to drag in the bigger powers connected to these nations, the U.S. and Europe on one hand and Russia and China on the other.The fate of the already-suffering Middle East is hanging in the balance.
Not only will Senate Bill 744, called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, add 33 million immigrants to the USA within the next 10 years, it will cost American taxpayers a mind-numbing $6.3 trillion. That amount of money piles on top of our already crippling $16.5 trillion national debt. When you consider 12 to 20 million illegal alien migrants taping into our social security, schools, medical systems, assisted housing and food stamp benefits—the costs skyrocket beyond imagination.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation stated, “Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers.”
Government provides four types of benefits and services that are relevant to this issue:
- Direct benefits. These include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
- Means-tested welfare benefits. There are over 80 of these programs which, at a cost of nearly $900 billion per year, provide cash, food, housing, medical, and other services to roughly 100 million low-income Americans. Major programs include Medicaid, food stamps, the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
- Public education. At a cost of $12,300 per pupil per year, these services are largely free or heavily subsidized for low-income parents.
- Population-based services. Police, fire, highways, parks, and similar services, as the National Academy of Sciences determined in its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, generally have to expand as new immigrants enter a community; someone has to bear the cost of that expansion.
“The cost of these governmental services is far larger than many people imagine,” said Rector. “For example, in 2010, the average U.S. household received $31,584 in government benefits and services in these four categories.
“The governmental system is highly redistributive. Well-educated households tend to be net tax contributors: The taxes they pay exceed the direct and means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services they receive. For example, in 2010, in the whole U.S. population, households with college-educated heads, on average, received $24,839 in government benefits while paying $54,089 in taxes. The average college-educated household thus generated a fiscal surplus of $29,250 that government used to finance benefits for other households.
“Other households are net tax consumers: The benefits they receive exceed the taxes they pay. These households generate a “fiscal deficit” that must be financed by taxes from other households or by government borrowing. For example, in 2010, in the U.S. population as a whole, households headed by persons without a high school degree, on average, received $46,582 in government benefits while paying only $11,469 in taxes. This generated an average fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of $35,113.
“The high deficits of poorly educated households are important in the amnesty debate because the typical unlawful immigrant has only a 10th-grade education. Half of unlawful immigrant households are headed by an individual with less than a high school degree, and another 25 percent of household heads have only a high school degree.”
Imbedding intractable human poverty into the American fabric
“Some argue that the deficit figures for poorly educated households in the general population are not relevant for immigrants,” said Rector. “Many believe, for example, that lawful immigrants use little welfare. In reality, lawful immigrant households receive significantly more welfare, on average, than U.S.-born households. Overall, the fiscal deficits or surpluses for lawful immigrant households are the same as or higher than those for U.S.-born households with the same education level. Poorly educated households, whether immigrant or U.S.-born, receive far more in government benefits than they pay in taxes.
“In contrast to lawful immigrants, unlawful immigrants at present do not have access to means-tested welfare, Social Security, or Medicare. This does not mean, however, that they do not receive government benefits and services. Children in unlawful immigrant households receive heavily subsidized public education. Many unlawful immigrants have U.S.-born children; these children are currently eligible for the full range of government welfare and medical benefits. And, of course, when unlawful immigrants live in a community, they use roads, parks, sewers, police, and fire protection; these services must expand to cover the added population or there will be “congestion” effects that lead to a decline in service quality.
“In 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes. This generated an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household. This cost had to be borne by U.S. taxpayers. Amnesty would provide unlawful households with access to over 80 means-tested welfare programs, Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare. The fiscal deficit for each household would soar.
“If enacted, amnesty would be implemented in phases. During the first or interim phase (which is likely to last 13 years), unlawful immigrants would be given lawful status but would be denied access to means-tested welfare and Obamacare. Most analysts assume that roughly half of unlawful immigrants work “off the books” and therefore do not pay income or FICA taxes. During the interim phase, these “off the books” workers would have a strong incentive to move to “on the books” employment. In addition, their wages would likely go up as they sought jobs in a more open environment. As a result, during the interim period, tax payments would rise and the average fiscal deficit among former unlawful immigrant households would fall.
“After 13 years, unlawful immigrants would become eligible for means-tested welfare and Obamacare. At that point or shortly thereafter, former unlawful immigrant households would likely begin to receive government benefits at the same rate as lawful immigrant households of the same education level. As a result, government spending and fiscal deficits would increase dramatically.”
If passed, S744 not only breaks the back of American taxpayers with jobs, it continues to take jobs away from American workers with an infusion of 1.5 million legal immigrants annually. That number equates to over 125,000 new green card workers per month.
The lifeless bodies of Afghan children lay on the ground before their funeral ceremony, after a NATO airstrike killed several Afghan civilians, including ten children – Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Naimatullah Karyab)
An Associated Press photograph brought the horror of little children lying dead outside of their home to an American Audience. At least 10 Afghan children and some of their mothers were struck down by an airstrike on their extended family household by order of President Barack Obama. He probably decided on what his aides describe as the routine weekly “Terror Tuesday” at the White House. On that day, Mr. Obama typically receives the advice about which “militants” should live or die thousands of miles away from drones or aircraft. Even if households far from war zones are often destroyed in clear violation of the laws of war, the president is not deterred.
These Obama airstrikes are launched knowing that very often there is “collateral damage,” that is a form of “so sorry terrorism.” How can the president explain the vaporization of a dozen pre-teen Afghan boys collecting firewood for their families on a hillside? The local spotter-informants must have been disoriented by all those $100 bills in rewards. Imagine a direct strike killing and injuring scores of people in a funeral procession following a previous fatal strike that was the occasion of this processional mourning. Remember the December 2009 Obama strike on an alleged al-Qaida training camp in Yemen, using tomahawk missiles and – get this – cluster bombs, that killed 14 women and 21 children. Again and again “so sorry terrorism” ravages family households far from the battlefields.
If this is a war, why hasn’t Congress declared war under Article 1, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution? The 2001 Congressional Authorization to Use Military Force is not an open-ended authorization for the president. It was restricted to targeting only nations, organizations or persons that are determined to have been implicated in the 9/11 massacres, or harbored complicit organizations or persons.
For several years, White House officials, including ret. General James Jones, have declared that there is no real operational al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan to harbor anyone. The Pakistani Taliban is in conflict with the Pakistani government. The Afghan Taliban is in brutal conflict with the Afghanistan government and wants to expel U.S. forces as their members view occupying-invaders, just as their predecessors did when they expelled the Soviet invaders. The Taliban represent no imminent threat to the U.S.
President Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, used to complain to his colleagues about the CIA’s drone attacks saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people.” He knew how such attacks by whining drones, hovering 24/7 over millions of frightened people and their terrified children produce serious backlashes that fester for years.
Even a loyalist such as William M. Daley, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff in 2011, observed that the Obama kill list presents less and less significant pursuits. “One guy gets knocked off, and the guy’s driver, who’s No. 21, becomes 20?” Daley said, describing the internal discussion. “At what point are you just filling the bucket with numbers?”
Yet this unlawful killing by a seemingly obsessed Obama, continues and includes anyone in the vicinity of a “suspect” whose name isn’t even known ( that are called “signature strikes”), or mistakes, like the recent aerial killings of numerous Pakistani soldiers and four Afghan policemen – considered our allies. The drone kill list goes on and on – over 3000 is the official fatality count, not counting injuries.
In a few weeks, The Nation magazine will issue a major report on U.S.-caused civilian casualties in Afghanistan that should add new information.
Now switch the scene. The president, filled with memories of what his secret drone directives as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner have done to so many children, in so many places, traveled on Monday to Newtown, Connecticut for the second time. He commiserated with the parents and relatives of the 20 children and six adults slain by a lone gunman. Here he became the compassionate president, with words and hugs.
What must be going through his mind as he sees the rows of 10 Afghan little children and their parents blown apart in that day’s New York Times? How can the president justify this continued military occupation for what is a civil war? No wonder a majority of the American people want out of Afghanistan, even without a close knowledge of the grisly and ugly things going on there in our name that are feeding the seething hatred of Obama’s war.
Sometime after 2016 when Barack Obama starts writing his lucrative autobiographical recollections, there may be a few pages where he explains how he endured this double life ordering so-called precision attacks that kill many innocent children and their mothers and fathers while mourning domestic mass killings in the U.S. and advocating gun controls. As a constitutional law teacher, he may wonder why there have been no “gun controls” on his lawless, out-of-control presidency and his reckless attacks that only expanded the number of al-Qaeda affiliates wreaking havoc in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, North Africa and elsewhere.
Al-Qaeda of Iraq is now merging with an affiliate called “al-Nusra” in Syria that will give Obama more futile exercises on Terror Tuesdays. The CIA
calls the reaction to such operations “blowback” because the unintended consequences undermine our long-term national security.
Obama is not like the official criminal recidivist, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, who misses no chance to say he has no regrets. Obama worries even as he greatly escalates the aerial attacks started by George W. Bush. In his State of the Union speech he called for a “legal and policy framework” to guide “our counterterrorism operations,” so that “no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way.” Granted, this is a good cover for his derelictions, but it probably reflects that he also needs some restraint. Last year he told CNN it was “something you have to struggle with.”
Not that our abdicatory Congress would ever take him up on his offer for such legal guidance should he ever submit a proposed framework. Nor would Congress move to put an end to secret laws, secret criteria for targeting, indefinite imprisonment, no due process, even for American citizens, secret cover-ups of illegal outsourcing to contracting corporations and enact other preventive reforms.
Mr. Obama recognized in his CNN interview that “it’s very easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules thinking that the ends always justify the means. That’s not who we are as a country.”
Unfortunately, however, that’s what he has done as a president.
Unless the American people come to realize that a president must be subject to the rule of law and our Constitution, our statutes and treaties, every succeeding president will push the deficit-financed lawlessness further until the inevitable blowback day of reckoning. That is the fate of all empires.
Source: Ralph Nader | ICH
As any honest observer of the dire fiscal nature of U.S. budgets would conclude, the driving section of deficit expenditures are entitlements. The two areas, based upon predictable demographics, that scream out for rational and extensive surgery are Social Security and Medicare. The Obama administration has a long record of gutting Medicare as part of the Obama care malady that is transforming into a national plague as the detail regulations unfold. For a summary of reporting on the subject, review the media accounts on the Kaiser Health News. One of such analysis, found in the New York Times item, Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal, identifies the smoke and mirrors modifications, designed to push the Medicare medical reimbursement into insolvency.
“Mr. Obama’s budget will propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said. The idea, known as chained C.P.I., has infuriated some Democrats and advocacy groups to Mr. Obama’s left, and they have already mobilized in opposition.
Mr. Obama will propose other spending and tax credit initiatives, including aid for states to make free prekindergarten education available nationwide — a priority outlined in his State of the Union address in February. He will propose to pay for it by raising federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
In Medicare, the savings would mostly come from payments to health care providers, including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, but Mr. Obama also proposes that higher-income beneficiaries pay more for coverage.”
The mere notion that the Obama administration is submitting a budget at all may be news, but the devil is in the details, within the projected outline is expected. This political kabuki theatre gives little solace to the actuary process that crunches the numbers of an aging society.
The first acknowledgment out of the lack of a grand arrangement, cited by Money News in, Obama Proposes Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, calls for reductions in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs.
“Administration officials have said Obama would only agree to the reductions in benefit programs if they are accompanied by increases in revenue, a difficult demand given the strong anti-tax sentiment of House Republicans.”
The glaring omission from this, and any discussion on Social Security and Medicare, is the need to revise eligibility and age admission criteria. The political psyche of the public is stuck on the myth that an entitlement society can be funded on a systemic shortfall of revenue. The perennial cry for just raising taxes on the rich is a fool’s gameand does harm by continually reinforcing the denial of inevitable reality, that services and programs must be dramatically curtailed or eliminated.
Much of the partisan banter and face-off skirts this underlying issue. Feeding this self-denial culture is an electorate and a population that has become comfortable consuming their “so called” free lunch diet. The fact that the eating habits of the majority attempt to digest the social programs off the government menu, without paying for the cost of the meal is inescapable.
The longevity of recent age brackets has caused a fiscal crisis that has only one outcome, namely, national bankruptcy without fundamental changes to such programs. Impoverishment of the younger generations to fund a mathematically impossible obligation is the key element missing from any rational discussion or debate.
The central transformation of medical institutions from a proprietary return on assets system to a not for profit reimbursement corporative would allow for major reductions in the costs of medical delivery services, while enhancing patient recovery. The elimination of bureaucratic defensive medicine, driven by the practice of fear from legal litigation is absent within Obama’s budget.
The assault on holistic medicine in favor of pharmaceutical drugs is a core reason why Medicare is a failed approach to health and wellbeing. Individual Americans are walking cadavers waiting for their expected stroke or heart attack. The diet of the average consumer of fast food drives up the tolls of medical treatment and should not become a public burden upon taxpayers that strive to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
While any form of a socialistic medical payer system guarantees a reduction in the quality of medical services, the Medicare program has a large constituency and lobby influence upon legislation and administration. Only a total breakdown in health care under the Obamacare formula, might offer the slightest opportunity to revamp the entire governmental run fiasco that has an inane disconnect between treatment and the cost of the service.
Social Security has become an unfunded ponzi scheme that in unsustainable as the work force declines. Cutting the rate of growth by a recalculation of the already shaded inflation statistics is the very definition of kicking the can down the road. This time that canister might just injure your toe to the point of needing medical assistance that is certainly not covered under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.Postponing a dialogue on serious entitlement reform or preferably dramatic scale back is playing with national suicide. As the country dissolves into a more democratic frenzy, the addition of millions of more illegal immigrants will add gasoline to the fiscal inferno that is already burning out of control.
Regrettably, the will for an electoral resolution through the ballot box, when the voter has an insatiable desire to live off the tax payments of others, guarantees a day of reckoning. The eugenics outcome that leads to euthanasia acceptance certainly will not be one of the cuts in the federal budget.
The long path to nationwide insanity is paved with governmental programs that claim to help citizens, while pushing the fiscal burden unto the unborn, millions upon which are aborted. Money in government is like poison to a drug addict. In this case, the junkie does not die it only spends more. Good health demands rational behavior.
Frankly, it never was much of a “League” of Arab states.
And arguably it never really achieved a whole lot but two dozen lavish ‘summits’ offering inflated rhetoric, often calculated to assuage the Arab people about their central cause, Palestine.
This, despite high hopes across Arabia when its founders promulgated a Charter on March 22, 1945 and took a solemn oath to prevent the theft of Palestine by European colonists. Yet, notions of fundamental fairness require that we all acknowledge, that to its credit, the Arab League has tried to achieve a modicum of pan-Arab cooperation on issues involving economic and financial affairs, commercial relations, customs, currency and questions of agriculture and industry, communications including, railroads, roads, aviation, navigation, postal services, cultural affairs, nationality, passports, visas, execution of judgments and extradition of criminals and even a bit regarding social affairs and health issues.
Despite years of pledges to eliminate visas requirements, along the lines of the European Schengen visa it should be noted that only one Arab country has waived visas for their Arab sisters and brothers internationally.
That would be the Syrian Arab Republic.
It is Syria, along with Palestine, out of all the 22 Arab League members, who most consistently and steadfastly have represented Arab Nationalism, Arab resistance to occupation, and the stated goals enunciated 66 years ago when the Arab League was established.
Many are asking why the ‘sanctions of its members-happy’ Arab League consistently fails to act on what is happening in Palestine and why it never has kept its pledge to suspend the AL membership of countries that host Israeli embassies against their people’s will.
There was once upon a time, now appearing far, far, away, that the Arab League countries were trying to achieve the liberation of Palestine. Or so they claimed. Then suddenly, the association morphed into twenty countries claiming to being committed to solving the issues of Palestine and Lebanon. Low and behold it was not so long after that the Arab League became nineteen countries trying to solve the questions of Palestine, Lebanon and Somalia.
How we all change with time. This week, during the 24th “Arab Summit” eleven countries, being pressured by outside interests with hegemonic geopolitical visions for the region, claimed they wanted to solve life’s problems on behalf of the other members.
If there is an Arab summit ten years from now, what will its agenda like?
This week the global community saw that the Charter and by-laws of the Arab league has not been respected with respect to the Syrian crisis from the beginning despite its mission to bring together Arabs. Rather it has been actively working to prevent coming together especially with respect to Syria.
The organization was created at the time when a racist Zionist state was considered extremely unlikely by most countries but, to make sure, an association of Arab states was organized to prevent, at all costs, the rumored Zionist project from becoming a reality. The first decision of the newly established League of Arab States was to boycott any Jewish organization that would assistant in the theft of Palestine by the European financed Zionist movement.
Today unfortunately, and perhaps fatally for the AL, the complete obverse has obtained. In countless ways the Arab League is supporting the occupation of Palestine, while allowing itself to be preempted and shaped into an instrument of Western foreign policy as it plots against and among its own members their minders behalf. Far removed from its raison d’etre which according to its Charter is to focus on and ensue a coming together of its members, it does everything that would promote the desires of the Zionist occupiers of Palestine while dividing the Arabs and preventing any kind of real union among them.
Much as the USA and its allies have corralled and preempted the UN Security Council, its agents have hijacked the League of Arab states and five other regional organizations. Now in their sites according to congressional source who follows this issue. One international organization that has entered the sights of these western controlled hegemonic forces is the revitalized the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), currently chaired by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Some Arab League analysts claim that here won’t be much left of the Arab League by 2020. One joke currently making the rounds on Capitol Hill is “Which will implode first, the Arab League or its master, the Zionist occupiers of Palestine?” Answer: “Too close to call.”
Last week in Doha, Qatar, the proceedings amounted to a deep self-inflicted, perhaps fatal, wound for the AL. Its legitimacy unraveled when it essentially declared war on one of its founding members and replaced it with its anointed, funded, staffed, armed, recognized, group with not the faintest pretense of abiding by its Charter including Article VIII, a main pillar of the concept of a League of Arab States:
“Each member-state shall respect the systems of government established in the other member-states and regard them as exclusive concerns of those states. Each shall pledge to abstain from any action calculated to change established systems of government.”
In summary, there is nothing in the Arab League Charter permitting that body to expel or even sanction Syria. In fact, doing so violates the Charter. As seen many times, but recently in Libya, foreign intervention is never humanitarian rather it is always geo-political. Syrians, not by outsiders can best solve its internal problems.
Is it now left to the BRICS states – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to stand up to the AL and to help halt the conflict in Syria? There is growing sentiment in Syria that this group of five emerging powers may become a major hope for the Syrian people that suffer from blatant foreign interference in their affairs and suffering from the Arab League acting against their interests. The AL members who voted to expel or sanction Syria are merely channeling the geo-political interests of the United States and Israel, which are increasingly viewed among the Arab pubic as “unofficial members” of the Arab League.
There is no escaping the fact that the result of the decisions made in Doha is that the Arab League has refused a peaceful settlement for Syria and that the AL recognition of the national coalition as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people contradicts the Geneva Communique and makes irrelevant, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out this week, the mission of UN and Arab League mediator for Syria, Brahimi. Given that one of the founders of the mandate, the Arab League, proclaims that the national opposition is the only legitimate Government of Syria, advocates and joins in the arming of the forces anointed to oust the regime how can there be negotiations? This decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition not only violates international law, but again in the words of Lavrov, “is a blatant encouragement of confrontation of the irreconcilable forces on both sides to make them fight this war to the bitter end.”
Whenever discussion over North Korea arises in Western circles, it always seems to be accompanied by a strange mixture of sensationalism and indifference. The mainstream media consistently presents the communist nation as an immediate threat to U.S. national security, conjuring an endless number of hypothetical scenarios as to how they could join forces with Al-Qaeda and attack with a terroristic strategy. At the same time, the chest puffing of the late Kim Jong-iL and the standard fare of hyper-militant rhetoric on the part of the North Korean government in general seem to have lulled the American public into a trance of non-concern.
In the midst of the latest tensions with the North Koreans, I have found that most people are barely tracking developments and that, when confronted by the idea of war, they shrug it off as if it is a laughable concept. “Surely” they claim, “The North is just posturing as they always have.”
The high-focus propaganda attacking North Korea on our side and the puffer fish methodology on their side have created a social and political atmosphere surrounding our relations with the Asian nation that I believe places both sides of the Pacific in great danger. North Korea has the potential to become a trigger point for multiple economic catastrophes, and there are people in this world who would be happy to use such crises to serve their own interests.
The mainstream view being espoused by globalist-minded politicians and corporate oligarchs with an agenda is that North Korea is a nuclear armed monstrosity ready to use any subversive means necessary to strike the United States. The idea that the North is working closely with Al-Qaeda has been suggested in everything from White House briefings to cable news to movies and television. The concept of pan-global terrorist collusion and the cartoon-land “axis of evil” has been prominent in our culture since the Administration of George W. Bush. It has even been making a resurgence lately in the MSM, which presented countries like Iran, Syria And North Korea as the primary culprits interfering with the success of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty.
Of course, what remains less talked about in the mainstream is the fact that these nations refuse to adhere to the treaty because carefully placed loopholes still allow major powers like the United States to feed arms into engineered insurgencies. Why would Syria or any other targeted nation sign a treaty that restricts its own sovereign ability to trade while giving teeth to internal enemies trained and funded by foreign intelligence agencies?
The establishment brushes aside such facts and consistently admonishes these countries as the last holdouts standing in the way of a new world order, a worldwide socioeconomic cooperative and pseudo-Utopia. The path to this wonderful global village is always presented as a battle against stubborn isolationists, non-progressives who lack vision and cling desperately to the archaic past. The values of personal and national sovereignty are painted as outdated, decrepit and even threatening to the newly born world structure. The image of North Korea is used by globalists as a kind of straw man argument against sovereignty. North Koreans’ vices and imbalances as a culture are many; but this is due in far larger part to their communist insanity, rather than any values of national independence. It is their domestic hive-mind collectivism we should disdain, not their wish to maintain a comfortable distance as a society from the global game.
As far as being an imminent physical threat to the United States, it really depends on the scenario. The North Koreans have almost no logistical capability to support an invasion of any kind. The nation has been suffering from epidemic famine for well more than a decade.
To initiate a war outright has never been in the best interests of the North Koreans, simply because their domestic infrastructure would not be able to handle the strain. However, there is indeed a scenario in which North Korea could be influenced to use military force despite apprehension.
With the ever looming threat of famine comes the ever looming threat of citizen revolution. When any government is faced with the possibility of being supplanted, it will almost always lash out viciously in order to maintain power and control, no matter the cost. Sanctions like those being implemented by the West against North Korea today, at the very edge of national famine, could destabilize the country entirely. I believe the North would do anything to avoid an internal insurgency scenario, including attacking South Korea to acquire food stores and energy reserves, as well as other tangible modes of wealth.
North Korea’s standing army, obtained through mandatory two year conscription, is estimated at about 1.1 million active personnel; very close to the numbers active in the U.S. armed forces. But North Korean reserves are estimated at more than 8 million, compared to only 800,000 in the United States. If made desperate by economic sanctions, the North Koreans could field a massive army that would wreak havoc in the South and be very difficult to root out on their home turf. Asian cultures have centuries of experience using asymmetric warfare (the kryptonite of the U.S. military), and I do not believe it is wise to take such a possible conflict lightly, as many Americans seem to do. It is easy to forget that the last Korean War did not work out so well for us. At best, we would be mired in on-ground operations for years (just like Iraq and Afghanistan) or perhaps even decades. Like North Korea, we also do not have the logistical economic means to enter into another such war.
The skeptics argue that we will never get to this point, though, because North Korea has brandished and blustered many times before, all resulting in nothing. I see recent events being far different and more urgent than in the past, and here’s why:
1) The West needs to realize that North Korea is under new leadership. The blowhard days of Kim Jung Il are over, and little is known about his son, Kim Jong Un. So far, the young dictator has followed through on everything he said he would do, including the multiple nuclear tests that the West is using as an excuse to exert sanctions. To assume that the son will be exactly like the father is folly.
2) Many people claimed that North Korean threats to abandon the Armistice in place since 1953 were empty, yet they dropped it exactly as they said they would at the beginning of March.
3) The North has begun cutting off direct communication channels to the South, including a cross-border hotline meant to help alleviate tensions through diplomatic means.
4) The North has officially declared a state of war against the South. This has been called mere “tough talk” by the U.S. government, but the speed at which these multiple developments have occurred should be taken into consideration.
5) North Korea has just announced the reopening of a shuttered nuclear reactor used to render weapons grade materials.
6) The DPRK has suddenly locked down the Kaesong Industrial Zone; a region which holds manufacturing centers for both North and South Korea. Southern manufacturers operating there employ nearly 50,000 Northern workers. Nearly 1000 Southerners also work there. The arrangement generates approximately $2 billion a year for the North. The joint industrial zone has existed since 2000, and the North has never locked down access until this past week. The fact that the DPRK is willing to restrict this area and possibly lose a sizable income signals that the situation is not as “mild” as some would like to believe.
7) At the beginning of this year, silver purchases by the North from China surged. For the entire year of 2012, the government purchased $77,000 worth of precious metals. In the first few months of 2013, North Korea has already purchased $600,000 in silver. The exact size of the North’s precious metals stockpile is unknown. Though seemingly small in comparison to many purported metal holdings by major powers, this sudden investment expansion would indicate a government move to protect internal finances from an exceedingly frail economic environment. Metals are also historically accumulated at a high rate by nations preparing for war or invasionin the near term.
Again, all that is needed to instigate an event on the Korean Peninsula are tightened sanctions. The establishment knows this, though another Gulf of Tonkin incident (an openly admitted false flag event) may be on the menu as well.
Given that the chances of a shooting war are high if sanctions continue, it might be wise to consider the consequences of conflagration in Korea.
Dealing with a large army steeped in asymmetric and mountain warfare will be difficult enough. In fact, an invasion of North Korea would be far more deadly than Afghanistan, if only because of the sheer number of maneuver elements (guerilla-style units) on the ground. But let’s set aside North Korea for a moment and consider the greatest threat of all: dollar collapse.
As I have discussed in numerous articles, China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, has positioned itself to decouple from the American consumer and the dollar. This is no longer a theoretical process as it was in 2008, but a very real and nearly completed one. Mainstream analysts often claim China would never break from the dollar because it would damage their export markets and their investment holdings. The problem is, China is already dumping the dollar using bilateral trade agreements with numerous developing nations, Australia being the latest to abandon the greenback.
China isn’t just talking about it; China is doing it.
The development of a decoupled China is part of a larger push by international banks to remove the dollar as the world reserve currency and replace it with a new global currency. This currency already exists. The International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) is a mechanism backed by a basket of currencies as well as gold. The introduction of the SDR on a wide scale is dependent on only two things:
First, China has been designated the replacement consumer engine in the wake of a U.S. collapse. They have already surpassed the United States as the No. 1 trading power in the world. However, they must spread their own currency, the Yuan, throughout global markets in order to aid the IMF in removing the dollar. China has recently announced a program to sell more than $6 trillion in Yuan denominated bonds to foreign investors, easily fulfilling this need.
Second, China and the IMF need a scapegoat event, a rationale for dumping the dollar that the masses would accept as logical. A U.S. invasion of North Korea could easily offer that rationale.
While China has been playing the good Samaritan in relations with the United States in dealing with North Korea and has supported (at least on paper) certain measures including sanctions, China will never be in support of Western combat actions in the Pacific so close to their territory. The kind of U.S. or NATO presence a war with North Korea would generate would be entirely unacceptable to the Chinese, who do not need to respond using arms. Rather, all they have to do to get rid of us would be to fully dump the dollar and threaten to cut off trade relations with any other country that won’t do the same. The domino effect would be devastating, causing U.S. costs to skyrocket and forcing us to pull troops out of the region. At the same time, the dollar would be labeled a “casualty of war” rather than a casualty of conspiratorial global banking designs, and the financial elites would be removed from blame.
Ultimately, we should take the North Korean situation seriously not because of the wild-eyed propaganda of the mainstream media and not because they are “doing business with terrorists” or because they are a “violent and barbaric relic of nationalism,” but because a war in North Korea serves the more malicious interests of globalization. No matter what happens in the near future, it is important for Americans to always question the true motives behind any event and ask ourselves who, in the end, truly benefited.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
The International Monetary Fund is an extortion financier’s outfit for a gang of exploiter banksters. The colonists of global mercantilism operate on extending credit with strings attached and assets targeted for attachment. Poor and underdeveloped economies beg for roll over extensions of old debt in an endless circle of currency debasement and resource transfer. So why anyone would get excited over a competing banking house, seems to escape implications within the news publications.
The Global Post describes in the article, BRICS countries to form new development bank.
“The bank is intended to fund development and infrastructure projects in BRICS nations and elsewhere. First discussed a year ago, it has been described as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank for developing countries.
Although the plan is the biggest announcement to come out of a summit of BRICS leaders in Durban, South Africa, where they signed an accord today, details such as how much capital the bank will have, its structure and its location have yet to be worked out.”
Would this development bank become simply a Chinese dynasty investment structure based upon the weight of their financial leverage within the system? Or would the union of eager modernizing countries really be the future formula for economic growth and wealth? On the surface the positive foreign reserves and lower indebtedness seem to answer a resounding yes, but look a little deeper.
Without specific details, the viability of such a scheme is unknown. The article, BRICS Seek to Cement Position in Global Economic Landscape, does not exactly envision a smooth maturation.
“The planned development bank “is feasible and viable,” leaders confirmed in a statement on Wednesday. Such a bank would “supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.”
However, officials speaking earlier during the summit admitted that various key details remain to be worked out before the proposed bank can become fully operational – a process that is expected to take years. For instance, disagreements have already surfaced among the BRICS on the specifics of the bank’s mandate, and how exactly the institution would be financed.”
The question, missing from the depths and significance of news analysis is whether a competing fund for international lending from a group of rival countries will improve on the sorry record of Western banking.
Venky Vembu from First Post in BRICS Bank is just a castle in the air, points out the infighting among participating partners.
“Analysts who attend the BRICS deliberations point out: ”By day they talk grandly of multilateral action to tip the playing field in favour of poorer nations, while by night they scheme shamelessly against each other, often in conjunction with their supposed economic oppressors in the West.” There is, he adds, virtually nothing that unites them other than resentment and suspicion of Western monopoly – not all of which is justified.”
Another viewpoint that brings the discussion down to earth is written by Ruchir Sharma in The Economic Times article, Brics summits are so last decade: All members are slowing down.
“All the Brics are slowing sharply. China’s economy has slowed from an average annual growth rate of 11% in the last decade to less than 8% in 2012. That has taken the wind out of economies that set sailBSE 0.56 % by selling raw materials to China, particularly Brazil and Russia, where GDP growth slipped to 1% and 3.5%, respectively, last year. Investors are heading for other destinations, and in dollar terms the Brics stock markets are trading 30-40 % below the peaks of the last decade. But, once again, the politicians are a step behind.
The Brics no longer look like a rising economic axis. On average, the growth rate of Brazil, Russia and South Africa is likely to be around 2.5% over the next few years, about the same pace as the US. That would be a terrible disappointment for these developing nations eager to catch up to the West, as their per capita income is much lower than that of the US. Owing in good part to the Brics slowdown, the US economy is now growing at the same pace as the global average for the first time since 2003, leading to stabilisation in its share in the world economy at around the long-term average of 23%.”
These foreign press items reflect a much different understanding from the news report on the BRICS announcement video, ‘Hegemonic corporations scared as BRICS plan bank to rival IMF‘.An optimistic projection that the global economy will generate sensible growth and prosperity because of BRICS leadership, is a stretch at best. This concern is certainly no endorsement of the existing Western debt created money-banking model. However, the power of the IMF and World Bank is based upon the military enforcement arm of the NATO machine.
The concept of central banking is immutably defined by the dominance of empire. The peaceful relinquishment of international finance to the BRICS is about as probable as a soft landing from the world debt bubble.
Evolving is a testing of world markets for a transfer to a different banking centercolossus. In order for that hypothesis to be even remotely possible, the world reserved currency status of the U.S. Dollar must be replaced with a basket of other currencies.
The BRICS countries have their own set of internal economic shortcomings. Much of their cash flow is export trade related. The collapse of global trade is the biggest risk that looms over a brighter future for especially undeveloped economies. Another quasi-IMF stratagem that presents a top down banking compliance is not an alternative to the existing fraud.
Looking for altruistic benefactors that are willing to finance capital requirements, from usury lenders is a fools dream. Setting off a turf war, results in collateral damage, for everyone. Financial conflict is predictable when business is based upon a destructive banking version for an imbalance in commerce obligations. A butting of heads between the BRICS, the EU and the USA is just as inevitable.
Don’t be surprised when the global elite confiscate money from your bank account one day. They are already very clearly telling you that they are going to do it. Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is the president of the Eurogroup – an organization of eurozone finance ministers that was instrumental in putting together the Cyprus “deal” – and he has said publicly that what has just happened in Cyprus will serve as a blueprint for future bank bailouts. What that means is that when the chips are down, they are going to come after YOUR money. So why should anyone put a large amount of money in the bank at this point? Perhaps you can make one or two percent on your money if you shop around for a really good deal, but there is also a chance that 40 percent (or more) of your money will be confiscated if the bank fails. And considering the fact that there are vast numbers of banks all over the United States and Europe that are teetering on the verge of insolvency, why would anyone want to take such a risk? What the global elite have done is that they have messed around with the fundamental trust that people have in the banking system. In order for any financial system to work, people must have faith in the safety and security of that financial system. People put their money in the bank because they think that it will be safe there. If you take away that feeling of safety, you jeopardize the entire system.
So exactly how did the big banks in Cyprus get into so much trouble? Well, they have been doing exactly what hundreds of other large banks all over the U.S. and Europe have been doing. They have been gambling with our money. In particular, the big banks in Cyprus made huge bets on Greek sovereign debt which ended up failing.
But what happened in Cyprus is just the tip of the iceberg. All over the planet major financial institutions are being incredibly reckless with client money. They are leveraged to the hilt and they have transformed the global financial system into a gigantic casino.
If they win on their bets, they become fabulously wealthy.
If they lose on their bets, they know that the politicians won’t let the banks fail. They know that they will get bailed out one way or another.
And who pays?
Either our tax dollars are used to fund a government-sponsored bailout, or as we have just witnessed in Cyprus, money is directly confiscated from our bank accounts.
And then the game begins again.
People need to understand that the precedent that has just been set in Cyprus is a game changer.
The next time that a major bank fails in Greece or Italy or Spain (or in the United States for that matter), the precedent that has been set in Cyprus will be looked to as a “template” for how to handle the situation.
Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem has even publicly admitted that what just happened in Cyprus will serve as a model for future bank bailouts. Just check out what he said a few days ago…
“If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be ‘Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalise yourself?’. If the bank can’t do it, then we’ll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we’ll ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders”
Dijsselbloem insists that this will cause people “to think about the risks” before they put their money somewhere…
“It will force all financial institutions, as well as investors, to think about the risks they are taking on because they will now have to realise that it may also hurt them. The risks might come towards them.”
Well, as depositors in Cyprus just found out, there is a risk that you could lose 40 percent (and that is the best case scenario) of your money if you put it in the bank.
Why would anyone want to take that risk – especially in a nation that is already experiencing very serious financial troubles such as Greece, Italy or Spain?
As if that was not enough, Dijsselbloem later went in front of the Dutch parliament and publicly defended a wealth tax like the one that was just imposed in Cyprus.
Dijsselbloem is being widely criticized, and rightfully so. But at least he is being more honest that many other politicians. His predecessor as the head of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, once said that “you have to lie” to the people in order to keep the financial markets calm…
Mr. Dijsselbloem’s style contrasts with that of his predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister, who spoke in a low mumble at news conferences and was expert at sidestepping questions. Mr. Juncker once even advocated lying as a way to prevent financial markets from panicking—as they did Monday after Mr. Dijsselbloem’s comments.
“When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” Mr. Juncker said in April 2011. “If you have pre-indicated possible decisions, you are feeding speculation in the financial markets.”
But Dijsselbloem is certainly not the only one among the global elite that is admitting what is coming next. Just check out what Joerg Kraemer, the chief economist at Commerzbank, recently told Handelsblatt about what he believes should be done in Italy…
“A tax rate of 15 percent on financial assets would probably be enough to push the Italian government debt to below the critical level of 100 percent of gross domestic product”
They are telling us what they plan to do.
They are telling us that they plan to raid all of our bank accounts when the global financial system fails.
And calling it a “haircut” does not change the fact of what it really is. The truth is that when they confiscate money from our bank accounts it is outright theft. Just check out what the Daily Mail had to say about the situation in Cyprus…
People who rob old ladies in the street, or hold up security vans, are branded as thieves. Yet when Germany presides over a heist of billions of pounds from private savers’ Cyprus bank accounts, to ‘save the euro’ for the hundredth time, this is claimed as high statesmanship.
It is nothing of the sort. The deal to secure a €10 billion German bailout of the bankrupt Mediterranean island is one of the nastiest and most immoral political acts of modern times.
It has struck fear into the hearts of hundreds of millions of European citizens, because it establishes a dire precedent.
And when you cause paralysis in the banking system, a once thriving economy can freeze up almost overnight. The following is an excerpt from a report from someone that is actually living over in Cyprus…
As it stands now, nowhere in Cyprus accepts credit or debit cards anymore for fear of not being paid, it is CASH ONLY. Businesses have stopped functioning because they cannot pay employees OR pay for the stock they receive because the banks are closed. If the banks remain closed, the economy will be destroyed and STOP COMPLETELY. Looting, robberies and theft are already on the rise. If the banks open now, there will be a massive run on the bank, and the banks will FAIL loosing all of its deposits, also causing an economic crash. TONIGHT there are demonstrations at most street corners and especially at the parliament building (just 2 miles from me).
Many are thinking that the ECB and EU are allowing Cyprus to fail as a test ground for new financial standards.
Just wanted all you guys to know the real story of whats going on here. Prayers are appreciated (although this is very interesting to watch) many of my local friends have lots of money in the banks.
Would similar things happen in the United States if there was a major banking crisis someday?
That is something to think about.
In any event, the problems in the rest of Europe continue to get even worse…
-The stock market in Greece is crashing. It is down by more than 10 percent over the past two days.
-The stock markets in Italy and Spain are experiencing huge declines as well. Banking stocks are being hit particularly hard.
-The Bank of Spain says that the Spanish economy will sink even deeper into recession this year.
-The latest numbers from the Spanish government show that Spain’s debt problem is rapidly getting worse…
“The central government’s interest bill surged 15 percent last year to 26 billion euros, while tax receipts slumped 21 percent. The cost of servicing debt represented 30 percent of the taxes collected at the end of December, up from 20 percent a year earlier.”
-The euro took quite a tumble on Thursday and the euro will likely continue to decline steadily in the weeks and months to come.
For a very long time I have been warning that the next major wave of the economic collapse is going to originate in Europe.
Hopefully people are starting to see what I am talking about.
As this point, the major banks in Europe are leveraged about 26 to 1, and that is close to the kind of leverage that Lehman Brothers had when it finally collapsed. As a whole, European banks are drowning in debt, they are taking risks that are almost incomprehensible and now faith in those banks has been greatly undermined by what has happened in Cyprus.
Anyone that cannot see a crisis coming in Europe simply does not understand the financial world. A moment of reckoning is rapidly approaching for Europe. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers…
At the end of the day, the reason Europe hasn’t been fixed is because CAPITAL SIMPLY ISN’T THERE. Europe and its alleged backstops are out of money. This includes Germany, the ECB and the mega-bailout funds such as the ESM.
Germany has already committed to bailouts that equal 5% of its GDP. The single largest transfer payment ever made by one country to another was the Marshall Plan in which the US transferred an amount equal to 5% of its GDP. Germany WILL NOT exceed this. So don’t count on more money from Germany.
The ECB is chock full of garbage debts which have been pledged as collateral for loans. If anyone of significance defaults in Europe, the ECB is insolvent. Sure it can print more money, but once the BIG collateral call hits, money printing is useless because the amount of money the ECB would have to print would implode the system.
And then of course there are the mega bailout funds such as the ESM. The only problem here is that Spain and Italy make up 30% of the ESM’s supposed “funding.” That’s right, nearly one third of the mega-bailout fund’s capital will come from countries that are bankrupt themselves.
What could go wrong?
Right now, close to half of all money that is on deposit at banks in Europe is uninsured. As people move that uninsured money out of the banks, the amount of money that will be required to “fix the banks” will go up even higher.
It would be wise to try to avoid the big banks at this point – especially those with very large exposure to derivatives. Any financial institution that uses customer money to make reckless bets is not to be trusted.
If you can find a small local bank or credit union to do business with you will probably be better off.
And don’t think that this kind of thing can never happen in the United States.
One of the key players that was pushing the idea of a “wealth tax” in Cyprus was the IMF. And everyone knows that the IMF is heavily dominated by the United States. In fact, the headquarters of the IMF is located right in the heart of Washington D.C. not too far from the White House. When I worked in D.C. I would walk by the IMF headquarters quite a bit.
So if the United States thought that confiscating money from bank accounts was a great idea in Cyprus, why wouldn’t they implement such a thing here under similar circumstances?
The global elite are telling us what they plan to do, and the game has dramatically changed.
Move your money while you still can.
Unfortunately, it is already too late for the people of Cyprus.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Contrary to popular belief, Brussels is not the only major European capital which is away from the seacoast as well as devoid of a river. The Senne is a far cry from the similar-sounding Seine further south, however: it is a nasty, brutish, mercifully short waterway. By the mid-1800’s it had become so putrid and unstable that the city elders decided to cover it—the massive project was known as the voûtement de la Senne—and to build boulevards and public edifices on top. The city did not gain much in charm, but its denizens’ life expectancy was instantly improved. (Whether living a long life in Belgium’s capital is a blessing or a curse is a separate issue.)
There is an equally nasty but infinitely more brutish monstrosity in today’s Brussels that cannot be dealt with so neatly. The European Union today is like the “Socialist Community” under Leonid Brezhnev in his dotage: totalitarian yet inefficient, glorified by its self-serving nomenklatura yet unloved by its subjects, devoid of any unifying ideology beyond the worn-out phrases and platitudes parroted by the absurd men and repulsive women in dull suits.
For the reality of this “United Europe,” as it is today, let us be dryly empirical for a moment and look at a few EU-related news items reported on one day—Thursday, March 14, 2013:
- EU leaders gathered in Brussels for a two-day summit in an attempt to negotiate the dilemma between austerity and growth. Thousands of protestors from all over the 27 member nations converged outside the EU HQ.
- Eurozone employment dropped by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the third, despite the Christmas shopping season. Experts say the unemployment rate will remain above 11% until early 2018.
- European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi says that “generally unsatisfactory economic developments in Europe” will improve in the course of 2013, but only if governments implement austerity measures and structural reforms. His fellow-Eurocrat, EU-appointed Italian prime minister Mario Monti, nevertheless says he will have to ask his EU partners to grant Italy more “flexibility” in its budget deficit reduction targets.
- The troika of international lenders—the EU, the ECB, and the IMF—left Greece without resolving a dispute with the government in Athens over further budgetary cuts. In the meantime, Greek shipyard workers protested outside the development ministry and hundreds of Greek students blocked up the education ministry to protest cuts resulting from EU-imposed austerity measures.Unemployment in Greece is 26%, up from 24.8% in the third quarter of 2012. Among under-24’s it is 57.8%. The percentage of unemployed Greeks who have been looking for a job for more than one year is 65.3%.
- In Spain, eviction proceedings against defaulters have soared since 2007 to 450,000. The number of repossessions ending in evictions increased by 135% in 2012 from the year before, indicating worsening trends. Spanish retail sales dropped 10.2% in the year to January, continuing the decline of the past 31 months.
- Cyprus bailout talks are crucial to next stage of crisis, but deep divisions remain over how to manage a bailout. Without a cut in the €17bn cost, Cypriot sovereign debt will reach 145% of GDP, by far the highest in the eurozone except for Greece.
- President François Hollande has said that France won’t be able to cut the public deficit to the EU limit of 3% of GDP this year; it was more likely to reach 3.7%. Amazingly, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble subsequently corrected Hollande, saying not that he “hoped,” or “expected,” but that he was “sure that France would, like us, respect the rules” on the public deficit. (Perhaps Herr Schäuble knows a thing or two about France’s future finance policy that Monsieur le Président de la République does not!)
- Germany, meanwhile, smugly claims that its finances are the model for all humanity. Its 2014 budget plans, revealed on March 13, show the structural deficit dropping to zero. “With all modesty [sic!], this is a result of historic proportions,” economy minister Philipp Rösler declared on that occasion. “Germany is in the vanguard in Europe. Our success with a policy of growth-oriented consolidation is the envy of the world.” Ach, modesty—the quintessential German weakness…
This is but a quick selection on a randomly selected day—the day of this writing. The tenor and substance have not changed much in recent months and years; and things will likely change for worse—OK, with that oneenviable exception, perhaps—in the months and years ahead.
Unsurprisingly, anti-EU feeling is escalating all over the continent. On March 1, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party was beaten into third place in the Eastleigh by-election, in southern England, by a party that wants Britain to leave the EU. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) supporters were once described by Cameron as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”—but they accounted for 28 percent of the vote in the traditionally Tory constituency. UKIP leader Nigel Farage declared the vote “a protest against an entire political class.” Under pressure from UKIP, Cameron had earlier promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017 if he wins the next election, but many British Euro-skeptics see this as a mere ploy to deflect the threat from UKIP.
Marine Le Pen, who finished third in the French presidential election, also demands a referendum on France’s membership. On Mach 3 she declared that the FN wants France to leave the EU unless four reforms are agreed: the return to the franc; the abolition of the Schengen single-borderarea; the primacy of France’s economic interests over “Europe’s”; and the primacy of national law over EU law. Otherwise, Le Pen has promised to transform the European elections a year from now into a referendum for or against Europe. Having polled 18% of the vote in the presidential election last year, Mlle Le Pen has a solid base to build upon.
In Italy, two anti-austerity, anti-euro parties—led by Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo—captured over half the vote and paralyzed the political system. Berlusconi returned from the dead to take just over 29% of the vote, less than one half of one percentage point behind the first-placed Center-Left. Newcomer Grillo’s Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S, Five Star Movement), entirely created via the web outside the traditional party system, took just over 25% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies—and demolished Italy’s balance of political forces. Pro-EU Monti’s coalition came fourth with a paltry ten percent.
Even in Germany, the apparent hegemon, there is little popular enthusiasm for the Euro-project. The recently-founded Alternative for Germany (AfD) is not even a political party yet, but expects to be a serious player come federal elections on September 22. It demands dissolution of the “coercive euro association,” an orderly end of the monetary union, and a referendum to decide if “the Basic Law, the best constitution that Germany ever had,” was violated to allow the transfer of sovereignty to the EU. Dr. Bernd Lucke—the AfD co-founder, economics professor and a life-long CDU supporter until he turned against Merkel in 2011 over her bailout policies—is adamant that Germany “has a government that has failed to comply with the law… and has blatantly broken the word that it had given to the German people.” With 14,000 paid members thus far, the AfD is respectable and distinctly upper-middle-class, with a higher concentration of PhDs than any party. Among its early supporters is Hans-Olaf Henkel, ex-president of the Federation of German Industry representing 100,000 businesses. Let it be added that as of now 26% of Germans say they would consider voting for a party committed to leaving the monetary union.
It will be a tough fight. Political, media and cultural elites in the leading countries of the Union are overwhelmingly pro-EU, pro-euro, pro-immigration, and vehemently opposed to any sign of national or ethno-linguistic coherence. If those elites have their way, there will be many more “Europeans” by the end of this century than today—some atheist, but mostly Muslim; some black, but mostly brown—but there will be precious few great-grandchildren of Europeans. The native populations are aborting and birth-controlling themselves into minorities. If Euro-elites have their way, disused churches will be converted into teeming mosques. Just over a decade ago, they refused to acknowledge Christian heritage as an element of European identity—but today they insist Islam is essential to that identity. Brussels rejects the notion that Europeans are defined by blood ties, collective memories, emotional bonds, culture, and kinship. Instead, “Europe” marches along the path of “civilization, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived… to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world…”
This is the mindset of 1792 and 1917 all over again. Its derivative expressions are foreseeable. The EU relentlessly encourages abortion, sexual deviancy, and population replacement as “basic human rights.” Its political process means the manufacture of ideologically correct outcomes as defined by the unelected Brussels machine, before the quasi-democratic machine of the European Parliament and the member countries’ institutions are set in motion. The preamble of the EU Charter on Human Rights claims to be “based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law” (implying the two were not in conflict), and concludes that “Enjoyment of these rights entails responsibilities and duties with regard to other persons, to the human community and to future generations.” Those rights are naturally demarcated by those who reserve the right to decide what exactly one’s obligations to “the human community” and “future generation” happen to be.
The true meaning of “the rule of law” is defined by the European Arrest Warrant, a hideous device created by the Lisbon Treaty, under which any citizen of a member country—or even a visitor from outside the Union—is liable to arrest and extradition at the behest of a judge in any other EU member country, under one of 32 categories of “crime.” Those offenses include murder, terrorism, as well as “racism and xenophobia.” The EU thus came to equate beliefs, opinions and sentiments with the worst of actual crimes, in the best tradition of Soviet and Nazi jurisprudence.
The workings of the machine are mainly in the hands of the European Commission (EC), whose members are appointed by the 27 prime ministers who make up the Council. The EC has the authority to create and impose policies, but it cannot be removed or held accountable by any electorate. Its duty is to uphold the interests of the Union as such: its members swear that they will discard any vestige of loyalty to any nation. The only EU institution that has any claim to democratic credentials is the European Parliament, the least powerful of the three key bodies.
How and why did the monstrosity get this way? Gradually at first, with a great deal of patience and cunning exercised by its visionary creators. In 1945 Western Europe was in ruins, a shadow of what it had been only four decades previously. The old, pre-1914 balance-of-power system had collapsed, and the interwar mechanisms of collective security were neither collective nor secure. The beginnings were seemingly pragmatic: the 1951 European Coal and Steel Community—as engineered by Robert Schuman—seemed like a sound idea, a plus-sum-game if there ever was one. But the upholders of Euro-federalism had a bigger fish to fry. From the outset they held that a sense of common history had to be developed, as well as a sense of an existing and growing common identity, to complement those early economic integration mechanisms. As Jean Monnet, the father of the project (and, significantly, a man never elected to a public office), admitted six decades ago, “Europe has never existed; one has genuinely to create Europe.”
Monnet and his disciples had a long way to go. The initial ideological basis for the project was de Gaulle’s distinctly non-federalist vision of l’Europe des patries. A concert of nation-states, brought together by a common interest, would seek the withering away of their old hostilities—with France and Germany leading the way—but all of them would retain their substance and identity regardless of the institutional arrangement. This was the “Europe” of the Six, a logical heir to the pragmatic Coal and Steel Community. Euro-integralists—notably Belgium’s prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak and Monnet himself—nevertheless kept their powder dry for a more opportune moment when the European Economic Community might be steered in the direction of a political union. De Gaulle and his immediate successor, Georges Pompidou, did not want that; and until the early 1970’s the institutional framework remained essentially the same.
Then came the notion of Europe’s unity in diversity, the reverse of the Europe of the Fatherlands. (In 2000 In varietate concordia was adopted as the official motto of the European Union.) The new concept coincided with the European Community’s expansion to the Nine, then to the Twelve. Its proponents claimed that Europe was not only a mosaic of cultures but an organic whole. The implication that this whole required a single source of decision-making authority gave rise to the method of European integration Monnet had advocated from the outset: a series of gradual yet regular transfers of small slices of national sovereignty—in ostensibly technical areas—from national capitals to Brussels. The Community apparat made a quantum leap toward this goal with the Single European Act (SEA, July 1987). It was a thorough revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, but in the direction of a super-authority rather than a superstate.
The distinction is essential. The standard Eurosceptic accusation that the Brussels machine is plotting the creation of a single federal state is incorrect. The people who run the Brussels machine have never wanted the end result to be a superstate modeled after the United States. In the context of pan-European federal statehood they would be held more accountable and would come under far greater public scrutiny than if they remained faceless and continued to operate from the corridors of the monstrous EU HQ at Barleymont. The strategy was for the states to be drained gradually of statehood and their power transferred to Brussels, but without the unwelcome trappings and limitations of statehood itself. Its guiding spirit was then-Commission PresidentJacques Delors, a French Socialist. From the SEA on, the EU became—in the words of British MEP Roger Helmer—“a slow-motion coup d’etat.” In addition to the creation of the eurozone 12 years ago, which has grown to 17 member-states since, the Schengen Agreement (1990), the Maastricht Treaty (1992), the Amsterdam Treaty (1998), the Treaty of Nice (2000), and the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) have transferred vast powers from national capitals to Brussels.
The era of Delors coincided with the rise of the Generation of 1968 to the positions of power. The activists had cut their hair, put on suits and ties, and discovered that it was more fruitful and comfortable to take the Gramscian long road through the institutions than to blow them up. The veterans of the hard-left era, like Catherine Ashton and Jose Manuel Barroso, still subscribe to the concept of permanent revolution, but it is wrapped into the open-ended evolution of the EU that they now control. The result is a European Union in a state of indeterminacy and permanent flux, a postmodern edifice within which the meaning of sovereignty is relativized and the separation of foreign and domestic policies blurred to the point of interchangeability. What all of these Euro-enthusiasts share—as John Laughland has noted—is a love of indeterminacy and permanent change, and a hostility to what they regard as inadequate, old-fashioned, and simplistic certainties of classical sovereign statehood.
Far from being the “capital of Europe,” Brussels is the regional HQ of the post-Christian anti-Europe, just as Washington DC has morphed into the global HQ of the same project. The goals of the project managers are the same because their degenerate minds are the same. They cannot be shamed into changing their ways through arguments or defeated through the ballot box any more than a malignant cancer can be arrested with aspirin. A stronger medicine is needed.
To paraphrase a bad man from a time much better than our own, écrasez l’infâme!
Throughout the colorful history of organized crime in the United States, periodic eruptions of inter-gang Mafia violence have dotted the criminal landscape. When turf wars broke out between competing crime families in major cities such as New York and Chicago, the combatants would conduct their warfare from unsavory redoubts such as abandoned warehouses or low-rent hotels and apartments. In such locations, the soldiers would spend their off hours sleeping on rented mattresses until the internecine conflicts had run their course; hence the expression “going to the mattresses.”
Well, there is another turf war going on, a worldwide one, one that threatens the entire economic and political landscape of the planet. It is between all the hard working savers on the planet and the ever greedy criminal bankers and their cohorts in government. The real big canary singing out an extreme danger warning to all traditional savers who wish to entrust their wealth to banks and other paper vehicles – stocks, bonds, etc., is the incredible emergency banking shutdown in the tiny island nation of Cyprus. Granted, Cyprus represents only .02% of the population of the European Union. Yet what is occurring there is the harbinger of great risk to traditional savers on every continent; and equally important, there are many more scary danger signs raising their ugly heads as well.
To recap for a moment, let’s briefly itemize the situation in Cyprus. Cyprus, like just about every other country on the planet, has for decades been politically committed to a socialist based economy. In this scenario, politicians have promised benefits to the various voting classes which have far exceeded their annual tax revenue. This has caused its government to continually accumulate deficits that have resulted in a very large national debt in relation to its GDP. This debt has been collateralized by sovereign bonds sold to and purchased by large banks in Europe and elsewhere. Now this debt has become so large the government of Cyprus can no longer afford to pay even the interest, let alone reduce principal. What happens at this juncture, is that a powerful international banking institution, in this case, the European Central Bank (substitute your favorite lender of last resort – the Federal Reserve, the IMF, the World Bank, etc., etc.), has agreed to come to the rescue of the cash strapped government and help it make its current annual debt payment.
However, this emergency funding comes with a draconian penalty for the trusting taxpaying savers. In this instance, the European Central Bank has cut a secret deal with the Cypriot government to raid the bank accounts of all the country’s bank depositors, between six and ten percent. This proposed robbery, if it comes to pass, will confiscate billions from citizens and non-citizens alike who have placed their trust in the security of Cyprus’s banks. What has resulted, of course, is riotous response throughout the nation and frantic sell-offs in world equity markets.
What is important to understand here, though, is that this same game plan has been occurring for several years now in many countries throughout the world. Here is the short list of some of the transgressions that unscrupulous governments, under pressure from their major bank lenders, have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate upon unsuspecting savers.
October 2008 – Argentina’s leftist government, facing a gigantic revenue shortfall, proposes to nationalize all private pensions so as to meet national debt payments and avoid its second default in the decade.
November 2010 – Headline – Hungary Gives Its Citizens an Ultimatum: Move Your Private Pension Fund Assets to the State or Permanently Lose Your Pension – This is an effective nationalization of all pensions.
November 2010 – Ireland elects to appropriate ten billion euros from its National Pension Reserve Fund to help fund an eighty-five billion euro rescue package for its besieged banks. Ireland also moves to consider a regulatory move that compels some private Irish pension funds to hold more Irish government debt, thereby providing the state with a captive investor base but hugely raising the risk for savers.
December 2010 – France agrees to transfer twenty billion euros worth of assets belonging to its Fonds de Reserve pour les Retraites (FRR), the funded portion of its retirement system, to help pay off recurring social benefits costs. No pensioners are consulted.
April 2012 – Argentina announces that its Economy Ministry has taken an emergency loan from the national pension fund in the amount of $4.3 billion. No pensioners were consulted.
June 2012 – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unilaterally appropriates $45 billion from US federal pension funds to help tide over US deficits for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.
January 2013 – Treasury Secretary Geithner again announces that the government has begun borrowing from the federal employees pension fund to keep operating without passing the approaching “fiscal cliff” debt limit. The move effectively creates $156 billion in borrowing authority from federal pension funds.
March 2013 – Open Bank Resolution finance minister, Bill English, is proposing a Cyprus style solution for potential New Zealand bank failures. The reserve bank is in the final stages of establishing a rescue scheme which will put all bank depositors on the hook for bailing out their banks. Depositors will overnight have their savings shaved by the amount needed to keep distressed banks afloat.
Ladies and gentlemen, this trend is JUST getting underway. Bank failures, sovereign bond collapses, and national government bankruptcy are just around the corner. Because of the interconnectedness of world debt markets and derivatives risk, counted in hundreds of trillions of dollars, the risk to traditional investment vehicles looms ever closer. We’re at critical eleventh hour crossroads where savvy investors need to head for “the mattresses” to protect their life savings. We may be biased but we strongly feel that the very surest and safest “mattress plan” in this extremely dangerous financial environment, is to invest in the one vehicle that has survived every crisis in recorded history, precious metals. When all else fails, gold and silver will be there to save you.
To learn more about the rewards of precious metals investing, including how to fund your existing IRA with gold or silver, call Liberty Gold and Silver seven days a week at 888.751.3330. To learn about the most generous referral program in the precious metals industry, please visit the Liberty Gold and Silver Referral Program.
We’re happy to spend as much time as you need to discuss the details with you.
When does banksters’ extortion become outright theft? The latest example and escalation by the placing a levy fee on bank deposits in the tax haven of Cyprus illustrates the bold step of seizing private liquid saving accounts, under the guise of a government tax. The prospects of an all out run on the banking system have jumped tenfold. Essentially, a government is using the power of the state, to steal funds not because of the bankruptcy of a banking institution, but because of a failure of the entire EU financial system. The forbidding precedent of a seizure of individual wealth, by a stroke of a pen, runs contrary to the shrinking confidence in fiduciary trust of cash placed in banking accounts.
The risk of pronounced turmoil in financial markets has just elevated, as the harsh reality of surrendering your economy to the demands of an untenable debt burden dictatorship, is obvious to anyone with a bank account. The savings of a lifetime is now subject to confiscation. The pitiful explanation of Cypriots’ president defends bailout deal, clearly reveals that the globalist financial central bank system is determined to impoverish individual nest eggs.
“President Nicos Anastasiades said Cyprus had little option but to accept the bailout deal, which imposes a levy on the country’s bank deposits – an unprecedented step in the eurozone crisis. Without it, he said, Cyprus’ banking system would have collapsed on Tuesday.Anastasiades said that’s when the European Central Bank would have stopped providing emergency funding to Cyprus’ troubled banks. Such a collapse would have driven the country to bankruptcy and possibly out of the eurozone, he said.”
A departure from the eurozone is a preferable alternative to a bank burglary of your saving account. The interview in, ‘Europe’s Citizens Now Have to Fear for Their Money’ admits the worsening plight of added debt. “The euro-zone partner countries seeking to provide Cyprus with a bailout view the participation of small-scale depositors as a necessary evil. This is because any aid provided by the long-term euro rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), would be added on top of Cyprus’s national debt.”Now the excuse used by the establishment press to soften the blow of systematic larceny points to the Russian Oligarchs Lose Friend In Cyprus Banks, as exoneration for tapping the pocketbooks of shady elements. “Cyprus is known as a hot bed of Russian money laundering.” Well, that justification surely does little to make whole the struggling Cyprus natives that can ill afford the hit.
The video, Cyprus savers- EU bailout prompts run on Cyprus banks, tells a sad tale of financial enslavement.
The article, Russian Ruble, Stocks Nosedive on Cyprus Debt Crisis outlines the initial response to the announcement. “Under the terms of the bailout deal, Cyprus will have to impose a levy of 6.75 percent on deposits of less than 100,000 euros and 9.9 percent on deposits with greater sums. Cypriots reacted with shock and rushed to cash machines to withdraw their savings, but many machines refused to pay out.”
Not long thereafter, The Telegraph newspaper reports on plan B, a feeble attempt to gain legislative support to pass the measures. “The Cypriot government has submitted a draft bill to parliament scrapping a controversial levy on bank deposits up to €20,000, amid calls from its central bank governor and eurozone finance ministers to ramp the exemption threshold up to €100,000.”
The perspective analysis from ZeroHedge warns of the unintentional consequences from this pompous scheme of outright larceny in the essay, Will Russia Kill The Cyprus Bailout?
“As Monument Securities’ Marc Ostwald notes “there’s a 50/50 chance Cypriot bailout fails because of the ‘massive danger’ a large amount of Russian cash flees Cyprus following deposit tax plans.” Russia has ~$60 billion exposure to Cyprus, including loans to companies registered in the country and after the haircut 90% of Russian deposits will still be free to leave the country if the levy is approved.
The critical point is that, should this occur (such a large outflow of Russian cash – dwarfing in fact the size of the bailout package itself) it is hard to see how the Cypriot banking system could survive (even with the assistance of the ECB’s ELA).”
Predictably, Forbes waters down the unprecedented destruction of banking confidence that is so indispensable for the megabanks to rape sovereign nations. The Bailout For Cyprus: A FAQ To The Latest European Financial Crisis, makes it sound that the panic is simply business as usual.
“And here’s the larger picture. Cyprus is badly indebted. Its debt-to-GDP ratio pushed to 127% in the third quarter of 2012, the latest period tabulated by European Union officials. Such high debt reflects Cyprus’ ill financial health. Only Greece (at 153%) has a higher level. The bailout would begin to reduce its debt, sending it back below 100% of GDP within the year.”
So what can be expected in future confiscation of depositor funds? Prepare for the ultimate run on the banks, before the formula from the great vampire squid -Goldman’s Cyprus Post-Post-Mortem: “A Depositor “Bail-In” – And/Or – A Wealth Tax”, is applied on all deposits.
“Despite Cyprus being small, and arguably unique, a depositor in a peripheral bank is likely to ask the obvious question: how likely is a deposit tax for me? The answer to this question, we believe, will differ, depending on the peripheral country where it is asked. But it should, in essence, boil down to two issues: (1) how likely are savings to be bailed-in in any future bank rescues; (2) how likely are savings to emerge as a tax-base for any future wealth taxes?”
The Cyprus banking holiday is the forerunner of an international overt robbery by banksters. The biblical relief of a Jubilee, that writes down and forgives debt, is desperately required to end the financial slavery to the shylock swindlers. The centralization of global banking has an inevitable financial collapse as the end game. Today Cyprus, Tomorrow the World.
The Cypriot vote to reject the savings tax gives a short breather to a situation that only a breakup of the EU can resolve.
The recent announcement that the United States would increase its “non lethal” military aid to Syria’s rebels shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Some speculated that Obama — having been repeatedly proved wrong about the Syria government’s stability — would leave Syria in silent humiliation.
Not so. The destruction of Syrian society will continue, indeed, increase. Although there are plenty of non-military options the Obama administration could pursue, he’s instead choosing the bloodiest course possible. Millions of Syrians have had their lives destroyed, and now millions more can look forward to a similar fate.
U.S. media outlets have reported that all of the hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. aid to Syria’s rebels has been “non-lethal,” but the New York Times admitted recently:
“American [government] officials declined to discuss an ongoing covert program to train rebel fighters or the extent to which it has made a difference on the battlefield.”
It’s no exaggeration to say that Obama is helping to orchestrate the largest state-sponsored terror campaign since the still-simmering genocides of the Congo and Yugoslav wars. This fact has been completely hidden from the view of the U.S. public, but it’s a fact nonetheless.
For example, the only effective fighting force of the Syrian rebels, the Al Nusra Front, has been labeled a terrorist organization, even by the United States. Its frequent terrorist bombings have helped shred the fabric of Syrian society; its most recent massive car bombings killed 100 mostly-innocent people in central Damascus, including dozens of children and wounding hundreds more.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi denounced the latest terrorist attack as a “war crime.” But such labels do not get attached to allies of the United States. Obama is ignoring the countless similar attacks by Syria’s terrorist rebels, ensuring that such attacks will increase.
In fact, U.S. officials blocked a Russian-sponsored resolution at the United Nations Security Council condemning the recent terror bombings. Actions like these both minimize and encourage indiscriminate terrorist bombings.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s most recent announcement of U.S. aid to Syrian rebels made sure to mention that the aid will not go to “terrorists” — an absurd statement considering that the terrorists in Syria are the ones in power on the ground for the opposition. Of course most of the crucial aid will be funneled to them, no matter who initially receives it.
The Obama administration has been on a relentless search for a non-terrorist dominated Syrian opposition, only to fail and then re-start his quest. Initially the ‘Syrian National Council’ play-acted as the non-terrorist “revolutionary” opposition.
But Hillary Clinton later confronted reality and dumped the group, correctly labeling them as “… a bunch of out-of-touch exiles who should be replaced with a group more representative of the fighters on the ground.”
The same article referred to the Syrian National Council as “too accommodating to terrorists.”
Obama then sent Clinton on an international tour to discover and organize a brand new non-terrorist “legitimate” Syrian opposition. On her journey Clinton unearthed yet another group of handpicked rich Syrian exiles who hadn’t been in the country in decades, with no connections on the ground and, more importantly, zero military presence of any significance. Clinton re-named the group the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution, and unveiled her new offspring to glowing U.S. media acclaim. But Hillary’s latest baby was again born from smoke and mirrors. The New York Times reported:
“…the coalition has struggled to agree on a slate of governing leaders that would unite what is still a loosely allied organization, trying to weave together local councils, splinter organizations, disparate opposition groups and the loyalties of the armed units fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.”
Obama now intends to buy the legitimacy of his new Syrian opposition, as part of the newly announced aid package. The New York Times shamelessly reports:
“one aim of the $60 million in [new] assistance is to help the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces build up its credibility within the country…”
Obama’s new “friends of Syria” would like the United States to destroy Syria. Many within the rag tag grouping are demanding a direct U.S. military intervention to topple the existing government.
Anyone who has paid attention to the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libyan wars understands that U.S.-style regime change equals the destruction of a nation. The above three countries were all once independently functioning civilizations, but are now socially and economically destroyed and regionally fragmented, ruled by whomever in the region happens to have the most guns.
As millions of Syrians become internally and externally displaced refugees and the country obliterated, the Obama administration is purposely choosing not to settle the situation with diplomacy. Both Russia and Syria have made recent offers for negotiations. By rebuking these offers and aiding the rebels instead, Obama is choosing more mass slaughter.
“Syria is ready for talks with its armed opponents, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday, in the clearest offer yet to negotiate with rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.”
The Obama Administration responds to the peace negotiations:
“…[Syria's Foreign Minister's] offer of talks drew a dismissive response from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was starting a nine-nation tour of European and Arab capitals in London [to help organize the Syrian rebels yet again].”
Why does Obama choose war instead of peace? Because presently Obama cannot dictate his terms; the majority of Syria is still controlled by the Syrian government, which remains in a much more powerful bargaining position, a painfully stubborn fact.
Obama will thus continue to sponsor large-scale mass murder and ethnic-religious cleansing until his handpicked rebels gain enough power on the ground to negotiate a peace favorable to U.S. interests.
The Obama administration’s hands are awash with the blood of countless innocent Syrians, blood that promises to spill into Lebanon and other neighboring states as the region becomes destabilized along ethnic-religious lines. The “popular revolution” in Syria has long ago been replaced by foreign mercenary terrorists financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Obama administration has overseen this entire process, while actively trying to organize a respectable “public face” for the rebels.
Obama’s recent strides in Syria end with a logical conclusion: U.S. direct military intervention. The stage is still being set, waiting until optimal conditions are met for a Libyan style U.S./NATO mass-bombing mission to finish off the Syrian government. In the eyes of Obama the resulting disaster will be worth the mess, since a non-compliant regime to the U.S. will have been toppled, thus clearing the path for the long term plan of crushing Iran.
There are many forms of government subsidies. Ambitious politicians ingeniously design schemes to expand their power and repay their donor patrons. Opportunist corporate enterprises beg for favor to fund projects or guaranteed loans. The role of government venture capitalism has produced a much-sordid record for the taxpayer. The sheer concept of picking winners and losers is a pure political play that defies pragmatic prudence. In spite of this, actuality, the rush to squander public money is one of the few growth industries. The pitiful results of the predictable bankruptcy are the common fate of this flawed business model.
The latest outrage has Buyers Circle Around Ailing Fisker Automotive. Yet, some critics of this assessment would have you believe that Fisker Automotive is in a sharp contrast to competitor Tesla Motors.
“But the fact that potential buyers are from China is already raising alarms about Fisker, which raised $1.2 billion in venture capital and spent about $192 million in federal loans to build a factory. “Technology developed with American taxpayer subsidies should not be sold off to China,” Republican senator Charles Grassley told Bloomberg. He compared it to the acquisition of A123 Systems by China-based auto parts company Wanxiang Group.
By contrast, Tesla Motors, which also received a DOE loan to build its factory, is crossing into higher volume production. Yesterday, Tesla announced that it expects to be profitable this quarter and is making its Model S at a rate of 400 a month, which will allow it to hit its annual target and meet demand for the electric sedan. (See, Tesla’s Explosive Revenue Suggests a Bright Future.)
One crucial difference between Tesla and Fisker, which is well known for its bold designs, has been Tesla’s manufacturing expertise. Fisker may well still go public and be a successful EV supplier. But for energy-related startups to go the route of Tesla rather than Fisker, they’ll need innovative technology, access to capital, supportive policies, and great business execution.”
The Obama environmental cult would argue that it is largely appropriate to spend public resources to fund private technological businesses. Some will be successful while others will fail. However, the partnership role with government in this new state/capitalist prototype is necessary to achieve the greater good of a fossil free ecosystem. Expensive cars, not designed for the commuter, are now joint venture public finance missions, in order to curtail gas fumes.
Henry Ford is rolling in his grave and Enzo Ferrari is searching for the electric switch.
The notorious “Green” sector has vivid examples of bribery, theft, incompetence and high-priced inefficient technology. The Foundry publishes a most informative list ofPresident Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures. “So far, 34 companies that were offered federal support from taxpayers are faltering — either having gone bankrupt or laying off workers or heading for bankruptcy.” Examine the specific site links for expanded details.
|1. Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*||12. Abound Solar ($400 million)*||23. Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*|
|2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*||13. A123 Systems ($279 million)*||24. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*|
|3. Solyndra ($535 million)*||14. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*||25. Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*|
|4. Beacon Power ($43 million)*||15. Johnson Controls ($299 million)||26. GreenVolts ($500,000)|
|5. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)||16. Brightsource ($1.6 billion)||27. Vestas ($50 million)|
|6. SunPower ($1.2 billion)||17. ECOtality ($126.2 million)||28. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)|
|7. First Solar ($1.46 billion)||18. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*||29. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*|
|8. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)||19. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)||30. Navistar ($39 million)|
|9. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*||20. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*||31. Satcon ($3 million)*|
|10. Amonix ($5.9 million)||21. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*||32. Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*|
|11. Fisker Automotive ($529 million)||22. Range Fuels ($80 million)*||33. Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)|
Now expand the creativity of the subsidy culture to the bankruptcy constituency. The report, Union That Bankrupted Hostess to Receive Generous Government Subsidies, will push you over the edge.
“Last year, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union refused to accept concessions that would have kept Hostess in business. The company had tried to cut costs as it faced high labor expenses, rising ingredient costs, and decreasing sales. The Teamsters union accepted the concessions, but the Bakery union would not, choosing to strike. Unable to continue operating, Hostess filed for bankruptcy.
Now those who helped bring down an American icon will receive generous, taxpayer-funded benefits from the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. These generous benefits come in addition to existing unemployment insurance, job placement, and job training programs. TAA benefits include:
• Up to two years of job training in an approved training program,
• Up to 52 weeks of Trade Readjustment Allowances for workers in job training,
• Job search and relocation allowances,
• A refundable “health care tax credit” that covers 65 percent of a worker’s health insurance premiums in qualifying health plans, and
• A two-year wage insurance program that partly replaces workers’ earnings if they accept lower-paying jobs.”
The civic grant philosophy is not just for corporatists. Union goons prefer that their rank in file lose their livelihood, so that they can enjoy the welfare stipends of the state-run insolvent society. The prospects of a Mandarin logo on a Fisker vehicle are hardly on the same scale of transferring innovative technology to Cantonese creditors. However, the common practice of squandering national treasure for dubious purposes seems to be the primary product of the political careerists.
Leave it to the progressives over at The American Prospect, for an unintended analogy, in the essay The Twinkie Defense - the unions made us do it. “Hostess Brands is classic case of private equity engineers and executives looting a viable company, loading it up with debt, and then asking the employees to make up the difference.”
Regretfully, but with no remorse; the political class plays the role of private equity engineers, as the government plunders our economy, through crony spending and swelling of the debt, while saddling the taxpayer with the bill.
The head of the New York Fed wants Congress to grant the Central Bank extraordinary new powers to deal with future financial system emergencies like the bank run that followed Lehman Brothers collapse in September 2008. Here’s the story from the New York Times:
“[William] Dudley’s concern is about a little-noticed piece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that actually reduced the central bank’s authority in one crucial area: its ability to provide emergency funding to strapped financial firms.
The Fed arrested the 2008 financial crisis by using this authority to create a series of unprecedented programs that offered emergency financing not just to American banks – its traditional flock – but also to foreign banks, and not just to banks but to other kinds of financial companies as well, and indeed to other kinds of companies entirely.” (“Equipping the Fed for a Future Crisis”, New York Times)
It’s true, congress did clip the Fed’s wings after the last great debacle by putting limits on the Fed’s authority to hose down the entire system, regulated or not, with trillions of dollars of taxpayer-funded bailouts. And congress should be applauded for that action, after all, why should the US government underwrite the high-risk trading activities of financial institutions which operate on mere slivers of capital? That’s crazy! If they go bust, tough luck. Here’s more from the Times:
“Congress responded to this performance by making it difficult to repeat. Dodd-Frank imposed new restrictions on the Fed’s ability to make emergency loans, or to keep money flowing, outside the banking industry. One basic reason was that Congress had never really intended to give the Fed such broad power in the first place.” (NYT)
Uh, huh. Is that hard to grasp? TARP was unpopular. The bailouts were unpopular. People don’t like the idea of handing over free money to crooked bankers every time they get themselves into trouble.
The author seems genuinely puzzled by the fact that our democratic system is not supposed to proffer unlimited “power of the purse” to the swinish agents of the robber class at the central bank. The system has gotten so convoluted that journalists cannot even recall earlier times when policy was set by the elected representatives of the people and the banks played a subordinate role. Today, that all sounds like sentimental gibberish about “America’s idyllic past”. Here’s more from the Times:
“Many – myself included – have drawn from the financial crisis the conclusion that government safety nets should be drawn tightly so that only a very few, very tightly regulated firms get as little liquidity support as possible,” Karen Shaw Petrou, a close watcher of financial regulation who drew my attention to Mr. Dudley’s speech, wrote to clients of her firm, Federal Financial Analytics.
A more inclusive policy, she continued, “will open the safety net, wide, wide open to all sorts of actors who, smiling sweetly, will rob us blind.” (NYT)
Ms. Petrou is a dreamer. The Fed does what it wants, when it wants”. It answers to no one, which is why their books still remain closed to public inspection despite the myriad legal challenges to pry them open.
Sure, the Fed will “rob us blind”; that’s their job, isn’t it? Let me jog your memory a bit: Do you remember the Repo 105 scandal? Think back to April 2010 when the New York Fed (which Dudley now heads) was directly involved in a cover up by the nation’s largest banks that were engaged in shady accounting activities to conceal the amount of debt on their balance sheets. According to the Wall Street Journal:
“Major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A group of 18 banks….understated the debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42 per cent at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods, the data show. The banks, which publicly release debt data each quarter, then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters.” (“Big Banks Mask Risk Levels”, Kate Kelly, Tom McGinty, Dan Fitzpatrick, Wall Street Journal)
The “repo 105″ flap was further complicated by suspicions that Lehman was assisted in its effort by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which, at the time, was headed by former Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner. Here is a short recap of what transpired between the Geithner’s NY Fed and Lehman according to ex-regulator William Black and former NY governor Eliot Spitzer from an article on Huffington Post:
“The FRBNY [i.e., New York Fed] knew that Lehman was engaged in smoke and mirrors designed to overstate its liquidity and, therefore, was unwilling to lend as much money to Lehman…
The Fed’s behavior made it clear that officials didn’t believe they needed to do more with this information. The FRBNY remained willing to lend to an institution with misleading accounting and neither remedied the accounting nor notified other regulators who may have had the opportunity to do so…… We now know from Valukas and from former Treasury Secretary Paulson that the Treasury and the Fed knew that Lehman was massively overstating its on-book asset values.” (Time for the Truth” William Black and Eliot Spitzer, Huffington Post)
Yves Smith over at Naked Capitalism summed it up perfectly at the time:
“The NY Fed, and thus Timothy Geithner, were at a minimum massively derelict in the performance of their duties, and may well be culpable in aiding and abetting Lehman in accounting fraud and Sarbox violations…at a minimum, the NY Fed helped perpetuate a fraud on investors and counterparties. This pattern further suggests the Fed, which by its charter is tasked to promote the safety and soundness of the banking system, instead, via its collusion with Lehman management, operated to protect particular actors to the detriment of the public at large. And most important, it says that the NY Fed, and likely Geithner himself, undermined, perhaps even violated, laws designed to protect investors and markets.” (Naked Capitalism)
Repeat: “Culpable”, “collusion”, “aiding and abetting Lehman in accounting fraud and Sarbox violations.” And these are the guys who want unlimited power to bailout anyone at anytime regardless of the cost?
Don’t make me laugh!
What Dudley really wants is the power to put out the fires which the serial arsonists at the Fed have started with their shabby, easy money policies and “light touch” regulation. They need to get their own house in order before they go asking congress for more favors.
Here’s a novel idea: Why not just fix the system? Why not create regulations that actually work, that increase stability and make the system safer?
Nah, that would cut into profits, so it’s a non-starter. Isn’t that what’s going on here; Dudley’s trying to shrug the costs onto taxpayers so he doesn’t ruffle feathers on Wall Street. It’s all about the bottom line. Here’s more from the Times:
“[Dudley] argued in his recent speech that it would make no sense to draw a line between banks and other kinds of financial firms if both were playing essentially the same role in the broader economy.
Both should be regulated, and both should be backstopped.
“If we believe that these activities provide essential credit intermediation services to the real economy that could not be easily replaced by other forms of intermediation, then the same logic that leads us to backstop commercial banking with a lender of last resort might lead us to backstop the banking activity taking place in the markets in a similar way,” he told the New York Bankers Association.” (NYT)
Hold on there, Dudley; “essential credit intermediation” can mean anything from issuing short-term loans to productive businesses to off-loading dodgy Collateral Debt Obligations (CDOs) to gullible investor groups. Are we going to throw a lifeline to every snakeoil salesman and scamster in the industry?
Yep. That’s the Dudley method. Bail ‘em all out and start over! What’s a few trillion among friends? It’s all funny money anyway, isn’t it? More from the Times:
“Banks and other financial companies increasingly draw money from sources that do not have similar backstops, including the sale of commercial paper to money market funds and complicated arrangements called “triparty repos” that basically allow financial firms to borrow money by pledging assets as collateral.
These are short-term loans that must be renewed regularly, often daily. As a result, panic among investors can almost instantly undermine financial stability, which is exactly what began to happen in 2007: Panic spread, financing disappeared, and the global financial system came perilously close to complete collapse.
There is broad agreement that something should be done to improve the stability of money-market funds and the triparty repo market. So far, nothing much has happened.” (NYT)
This is really rich. The author of this story knows exactly why “nothing much has happened” to make money markets safer. It’s because the big Wall Street banks–who are the Fed’s primary constituents–have fought any changes to the existing system tooth and nail. They don’t give a ratsass whether the markets crash or not. What they care about is boosting quarterly profits so they can add a few zeros onto the Xmas bonus check. Here’s the story from Bloomberg:
“Money-market fund companies have doubled lobbying efforts to convince regulators and lawmakers that they aren’t a threat to the financial system. The money may have been well-spent…
The companies are seeking to block new rules championed by Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro that are headed for a vote before a divided commission as soon as this month…
“If the industry blocks this plan and something else bad happens and people on Main Street lose money, they’ll be kicking themselves for not fixing this,” Douglas W. Diamond, a finance professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said in a telephone interview. “The current structure does potentially have systemic risk, and it’s the kind of thing that could happen very quickly given the situation in Europe.” (“Doubling Down to Block Money Market Reform”, Bloomberg)
And these are the guys that Dudley wants to save, these self-serving miscreants who’re doing everything in their power to make the system more less safe, more unstable, and more crisis-prone?
The reason the money markets are so vulnerable is NOT because there’s no fix, but because the big money is blocking even modest changes to the existing system. Wall Street would rather put the whole system at risk, then lose even one-thin dime in profits.
More from Dudley: “The sheer size of banking functions undertaken outside commercial banking entities – even now, after the crisis – suggests that this issue must not be ignored. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist, or dealing with it only ex post through emergency facilities, cannot be consistent with our financial stability objectives.”
In other words, the Fed has no idea of how leveraged this gigantic, unregulated shadow banking system really is. All they know is that it poses unseen risks that WILL lead to another disaster. So, rather than implement rules that could improve stability–as one might expect from the nation’s chief regulator–Dudley wants a blank check to spend whatever-it-takes to prop up this ghastly system.