Volatility in the currency markets, bond markets, and stock markets likely has a lot of people on Wall Street feeling a bit worn out. Taking a summer vacation in the Hamptons might just be their best idea.
The coming months promise to be anything but quiet and predictable. Here are a couple of items that may yield profound implications for stock, bond and currency investors before summer ends…
The Threat of an Official Recession Is Looming
The next few months are critical for the U.S. economy. The official definition of recession calls for two successive quarters of negative GDP. First quarter GDP came in barely positive, initially estimated at 0.2%, but it will be revised twice before July. Some experts expect it will wind up in negative territory.
The U.S. trade deficit recently came in much larger than expected. The higher deficit will, setting other factors aside, translate to lower GDP. Investors will get a look at 2nd quarter GDP in late July and pessimism among forecasters is growing.
So far U.S. equity investors are hoping for the best, or at least hoping the Fed will reverse course on tightening. Stocks are shrugging off bad news and powering higher with price-to-earnings valuations climbing into the nosebleed section.
It is hard to imagine valuations at these levels holding if investors and high frequency trading algorithms must grapple with an official recession. Of course, should the Fed announce some new form of stimulus in response to bad news then all bets are off.
The End Is Nigh for Greece
The Greek government is running out of tricks to avoid a default. Last week, officials there paid €750 million Greece owed to the IMF by borrowing €650 from the IMF; a last resort gimmick they won’t be able to repeat.
Absent finding an agreement with lenders to modify loans and dramatically reduce what is owed, the Greeks will be in outright default as early as next month. This summer should tell the tale on Greece’s future within the European Union.
Should Greece default and exit the EU, it will be the first event of its kind, and it has the potential to open a Pandora’s Box. There will be bank failures within Greece and pain for anyone holding Greek debt. It could pave the way for bankruptcy and an exit in a number of other nations where finances are also in shambles. And no one can confidently predict the outcome in derivatives markets where banks and hedge funds have been making highly leveraged bets.
Should the Greeks manage to reach an accord with lenders, markets will have to contend with a different set of challenges. You can bet other overly indebted nations including Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Italy will aggressively pursue similar deals. The pain for bond holders isn’t likely to end with Greece.
The EU has a flood of bad debt swirling around its knees, but officials there continue to pretend they stand on solid ground. Regardless of whether Greece defaults outright or manages to cut a deal, it looks like the pretending will have to stop – and soon.
With the enactment of the privately owned central bank, the Bank of England provided the model for the financial enslavement of governments, and their citizens. Well before the conflict for establishing a National Bank in America or the eventual surrender to the money changers with the betrayal in instituting the Federal Reserve, the history of the Bank of England needs to be studied. Relying on British historians may seem to invoke a cultural bias; however, the range and wealth of information on this topic comes from an earlier age. Further research will expand this understanding and many of the sources cited can fulfill this objective.
For purposes of a mainstream account, the official site of the Bank of England provides a flowery version about the background and purported success of the scheme proposed by “William Paterson, envisaged a loan of £1,200,000 to the Government, in return for which the subscribers would be incorporated as the “Governor and Company of the Bank of England”. Although the new bank would have risked its entire capital by lending it to the Government, the subscription proved popular and the money was raised in a few weeks. The Royal Charter was sealed on 27 July 1694, and the Bank started its role as the Government’s banker and debt-manager, which it continues today.”
“The bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.”
– William Paterson
THE FORMATION OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND by Halley Goodman provides a detailed and well sourced chronicle and background.
“The goldsmiths evolved to become the original private bankers of the time. Since goldsmiths already had as part of their trade private stores of gold and stout vaults to store them in, entrepreneurs could entrust their own gold to them for safe keeping, for a fee, and receive a paper receipt for the deposit. The goldsmiths could then lend monies against these deposits for an additional fee. Mr. Hartley Winters declares that “some ingenious goldsmith conceived the epock-making notion of giving notes…and so founded modern banking.” Merchants would deposit “their money with the goldsmiths and received from them receipts” that “…were payable on demand, and were transferred from one holder to another in payment of debts.” These receipts or notes from the goldsmith bankers, often in the form of a letter, are some of the earliest surviving cheques in England. Given the economic realities of the time, although deposits provided the funds for their business, most of the clients of these goldsmith bankers were usually borrowers rather than depositors.”
From such humble origins, the foundation was laid to invent a central bank that would create money out of thin air and loan it at interest to the government, who lost it sovereignty for making this Faustian bargain.
The Charter of the Bank of England (1694) with the Great Seal of William and Mary. The first usury central bank to be incorporated in England.
The Bank of England account, published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin cites a rocky start and opposition from the goldsmiths.
“In 1696 (very soon after its birth) the Bank experienced a crisis. There was a want of money in England. The clipped silver had been called in, and the new money was not ready. Even rich people were living on credit, and issued promissory notes. The stock of the Bank of England had gone rapidly down from 110 to 83. The goldsmiths, who detested the corporation that had broken in on their system of private banking, now tried to destroy the new company. They plotted, and on the same day they crowded to Grocers’ Hall, where the Bank was located from 1694 to 1734, and insisted on immediate payment—one goldsmith alone demanding £30,000. The directors paid all their honest creditors, but refused to cash the goldsmiths’ notes, and left them their remedy in Westminster Hall. The goldsmiths triumphed in scurrilous pasquinades entitled, “The Last Will and Testament,” “The Epitaph,” “The Inquest on the Bank of England.”
It did not take long for the Jewish bankers to set their sights on Paterson’s bank and financers for the English regime. Brother Nathanael Kapner adds his audacious viewpoints.
“The new King William III soon got England involved in costly wars against Catholic France which put England deep into debt. Here was the Jewish bankers’ chance to collect. So King William, under orders from the Elders of Zion in Amsterdam, persuaded the British Treasury to borrow 1.25 million pounds sterling from the Jewish bankers who had helped him to the throne.
Since the state’s debts had risen dramatically, the government had no choice but to accept. But there were conditions attached: The names of the lenders were to be kept secret and that they be granted a Charter to establish a Central Bank of England. Parliament accepted and the Jewish bankers sunk their tentacles into Great Britain.”
Actual control of the fiat central bank is discussed in Who owns the Bank of England?
“A very famous story relates to the Bank of England and the infamous Rothschilds, that all powerful banking family. This story was re-told recently in a BBC documentary about the creation of money and the Bank of England.
It revolves around the Battle of Waterloo in which Nathan Rothschild used his inside knowledge of the outcome and his faster horses and couriers to play the market by getting the result of the battle before anyone else knew the outcome.
He quickly sold his English bonds and gave all the traders who looked to him for guidance the impression that the French had won at Waterloo.
The other traders all rushed to sell their bonds before the market crashed thinking that they were now worthless and a massive fire-sale occurred as brokers clamered to get rid of their stock. This massive sell off quickly drove the price of the bonds down to 5% of their original worth.
Once the bottom had dropped out the market Nathan Rothschild then re-bought as many bonds back as he could at hugely discounted prices and in doing so he multiplied his wealth twenty times in 3 days of trading.
At the same time as becoming immensely wealthy he also became the single largest debtor to the English government which ultimately gave him control over the bank of England.”
“As you can see by the 250-year chart of Bank of England stock, the shares showed no real trend during the 1700s, rose in price during the Napoleonic Wars as England left the gold standard and suffered inflation, declined in price from around 1818 to 1845 during the deflation that followed, rose in price for the rest of the 1800s as the Bank gradually increased its dividend, plunged until 1920 as inflation occurred without any compensating rise in the dividend, then gradually rose in price until the Bank was nationalized in 1945. The behavior of the Bank of England’s stock encapsulates the general behavior of the British stock market over that 250-year period.”
Now for most of its history the privately held, Bank of England was extremely profitable to its owners. The method for charging interest on the creation of money has been the prime vehicle for driving both public and private debt throughout modern times.
The Guardian reports in the article, The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it.
“The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy“, co-authored by three economists from the Bank’s Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.”
The entire monitory financial system is based upon charging usury on the creation of national currencies. No larger debtor exists then governments. The perfection of the Rothschild fraud is founded upon charging compound interest on the very medium of exchange that serves as legal tender.
The Bank of England set the stage for the centralization of all banking under the umbrella of banksters control. In order to discover all the secrets of manipulating the financial system, one must comprehend, the first and primary lesson; that central banks do not function as beneficiaries to their host nation, much less the ordinary “little people”.
Keeping this deplorable rip-off system extorting their pound of flesh is the principal objective of the financial elites. Interest on government bonds must be paid. More debt needs to be incurred. And the framework for human impoverishment lies at the feet of central banking.
Several people have asked me recently why I always seem to be writing about the Middle East. “Why don’t you ever write about anything else?”
Of course I write about other stuff — but the Middle East is so much more interesting and entertaining than anything else! The Middle East is definitely more interesting, entertaining and even weirder than any soap opera, reality show or action flick that Hollywood could ever produce. Fascinating stuff.
I’m always amazed that so few other Americans aren’t just totally fascinated by the Middle East too. Or even that there isn’t at least one daytime soap opera devoted solely to the subject — if for no other reason than that the Middle East has some of the greatest villains of all time!
Take America, for instance. Our very own Wall Street and War Street are currently starring as top-billing major actors in the Middle East, playing in prime-time roles — as the biggest villains in the script so far too. America practically invented ISIS, for goodness sakes! You can’t get more villainous than that.
Or can you?
According to journalist Daniel Lazare, “After years of hemming and hawing, the Obama administration has finally come clean about its goals in Syria. In the battle to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, it is siding with Al Qaeda.” War Street, you’ve been busted as the Bad Guy — and on national television too!
Or take Saudi Arabia another shining example of epic villain-a-lishious-ness at its best. That country has been playing the villain since way back in 1930 — when it invaded the Republic of Yemen for the first time after Yemen actually dared to become a democracy. Then the Saudi regime went on to help America create Osama bin Ladin, finance the Taliban and dirty their hands with 9-11. And now the Saudi regime is financing and training ISIS. Doesn’t get more juicy than that.
No, wait, yes it does. The Saudi regime is now using American-supplied cluster bombs on Yemen. Juicy soap opera at its best, better even than TMZ — unless of course you are living in Yemen.
And then there is Syria. What is going on there right now is even better than “One Life to Live”. How many Americans even know who Bashar Assad is? The poor guy has a couple of corrupt, sleazy relatives that the Saudi, American, Turkish and Israeli regimes have spent the last four years trying to put into power. Why? Because power corrupts — so Assad’s relatives are already trained to be as corrupt as their sponsors. How “Dallas” can you get?
And of course Turkey is now in the mix too — just can’t keep its hands off of ISIS, the designated “fem fatale” in this reality show. But Turkey had better watch out. ISIS is a psychopath and Turkish citizens do not like President Erdogan cheating on them and messing around with her instead.
Or take Iraq — the ultimate reality show. Outwit, outlast and outplay. Plus all the principle soap opera characters are there in Iraq too. You got the lying bitch (mostly America), the BFF (mostly Britain and France), the scheming scoundrel who will stop at nothing to get rich (mostly Bibi Netanyahu) and the struggling anti-hero (mostly Syrians trying to chase ISIS out of Syria) trying to thwart the Bad Guys (mostly ISIS, but with ISIS’s secret suppliers Saudi Arabia, Israel, America and Turkey thrown in).
You just gotta love all that plotting, counter-plotting and backstabbing now taking place in the Middle East — such as when General Sisi in Egypt overthrew a democratically-elected government in order to be America’s date to the prom. Or when the Saudi Arabian regime, source of 9-11 and Osama bin Ladin, comes out smelling like a rose and being America’s BFF. Or not.
You want action and drama? No problem there either. The Middle East has it all! America, NATO, Britain and France get together and bomb the crap out of Libya (for her own good), put Al Qaeda in charge of Libya for even more raping and pillaging fun (she asked for it) — but then deserts fair Libya in her darkest hour of need. And even though Libya is not technically actually in the Middle East, you can still just sit back and watch the fun.
And ditto for Afghanistan. Lots of action, drama, lies and skullduggery there too — even though it also is not technically located in the Middle East.
And now apparently ISIS (that tramp!) is also off having a hot illicit affair with the American-sponsored neo-Nazi Ukraine regime, also not in the Middle East — but this new daytime drama may soon to be playing on European TV instead — as ISIS slips off to gay Paree after dumping her thug boyfriend in Kiev.
Plus who wouldn’t want to hear the exciting story about brave and heroic Palestinians fighting for their freedom — only to be called angry sluts by the American media. Or how the brave and heroic Yemenis, fighting for their freedom, get bombed back to the Stone Age by the despotic Saudis who still somehow manage to come out as the Good Guys — even after training and financing ISIS. How do they do that? How do they just keep getting away with that again and again? Will they ever get their comeuppance? Apparently not. But stay tuned.
And then there is the Israeli regime, staring as the “scheming patriarch” character, forcing America to do its dirty work so it can take over the Middle East. Bibi Netanyahu is like a Mafia don or the villain on “The Bold and the Beautiful” or “Dark Shadows” — always scheming behind the scenes. He’s like Angelique Bouchard or Sheila Carter. What’s not to love about him?
Why would anybody who loves soap operas and/or reality shows, action movies or even murder-mysteries and thrillers even think of ever not keeping up with events in the Middle East? Entertainment at its best!
Too bad, however, that more than a million lives have been lost so far in these productions — but, for Wall Street and War Street, that’s just one of the costs of being in show business.
Why are stocks still flying-high when the smart money has fled overseas and the US economy has ground to a halt?
According to Marketwatch:
“For the eighth week in a row, long-term mutual funds saw more money flowing out of U.S. stocks and into international stocks, according to the Investment Company Institute……For the week ended April 22, U.S. stocks saw $3.4 billion in net outflows from long-term mutual funds…For the year to date, net outflows for U.S. stocks are $13.79 billion, while inflows for international stocks are $41.12 billion.
Those figures, however, don’t count exchange-traded funds. In April alone, mutual funds and ETFs that focus on international stocks saw $31.8 billion in net inflows, while U.S.-focused funds and ETFs shed $15.4 billion, according to TrimTabs Investment Research.” (“Why U.S. stocks are near highs even as fund investors flee“, Marketwatch)
So if retail investors are moving their cash to Europe and Japan (to take advantage of QE), and the US economy is dead-in-the-water, (First Quarter GDP checked in at an abysmal 0.1 percent) then why are stocks still just two percent off their peak?
Answer: Stock buybacks.
The Fed’s uber-accommodative monetary policy has created an environment in which corporate bosses can borrow boatloads of money at historic low rates in the bond market which they then use to purchase their own company’s shares. When a company reduces the number of outstanding shares on the market, stock prices move higher which provides lavish rewards for both management and shareholders. Of course, goosing prices adds nothing to the company’s overall productivity or growth prospects, in fact, it undermines future earnings by adding more red ink to the balance sheet. But these “negatives” are never factored into the decision-making which focuses exclusively on short-term profits. Now get a load of this from Morgan Stanley via Zero Hedge:
“In 2014, the constituents of the S&P 500 on a net basis bought back ~$430Bn worth of common stock and spent a further ~$375Bn on dividend payouts. The total capital returned to shareholders was only slightly less than the annual earnings reported. On the fixed income front, the investment grade corporate bond market saw a record $577Bn of net issuance in 2014. While the equity and bond universes don’t overlap 100%, we think these numbers convey a simple yet important story. US corporations have essentially been issuing record levels of debt and using a significant chunk of their earnings and cash reserves to buy back record levels of common stock.” (“Buyback Bonanza, Margin Madness Behind US Equity Rally”, Zero Hedge)
So corporations are borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from investors through the bond market. They’re using this cheap capital to repurchase shares in order to boost skyrocketing executive compensation and to line the pockets of their shareholders. At the same time, they are weakening the capital structure of the company by loading on more debt. (It’s worth noting that “highly rated U.S. nonfinancial companies” are now more leveraged than they were in 2007 just before the crash.)
This madcap buyback binge has gotten so crazy, that buybacks actually exceeded profits in two quarters in 2014. Here’s the story from Bloomberg:
“Companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index really love their shareholders….Money returned to stock owners exceeded profits in the first quarter and may again in the third. The proportion of cash flow used for repurchases has almost doubled over the last decade while it’s slipped for capital investments, according to Jonathan Glionna, head of U.S. equity strategy research at Barclays Plc.
Buybacks have helped fuel one of the strongest rallies of the past 50 years as stocks with the most repurchases gained more than 300 percent since March 2009.” (Bloomberg)
But maybe we’re being too pessimistic here. Maybe stocks would have risen anyway due to record high earnings and improvements in the economy. That’s possible, isn’t it?
Nope. Not according to Morgan Stanley at least. Check it out:
“Since 2012, more than 50% of EPS growth in the S&P 500 has been driven by buybacks and growth ex-buybacks has been a mere 3.3% annualized. (EPS: Earnings Per Share)
“More than 50% “! There’s your market summary in one damning sentence. No buybacks means no 5-year stock market rally. Period. If it wasn’t for financial engineering and the Fed’s easy money, stocks would be in the same general location as the real economy, circling the plughole, that is.
What’s so frustrating about the present phenom is that the Fed knows exactly what’s going on, but just looks the other way. So while the stock bubble gets bigger and bigger, CAPEX –which is investment in future productivity and growth– continues to deteriorate, GDP drops to zero, and demand gets progressively weaker. Shouldn’t that warrant a rethinking of the policy?
Heck, no. The Fed is determined to stick with the same lame policy until hell freezes over. Whether it works or not is entirely irrelevant.
Now take a look at this eye-popper from Wolf Street: “GE, in order to paper over a net loss of $13.6 billion and declining revenues in the first quarter, said on April 10 that it would buy back $50 billion of its own shares.” (Wolf Street)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read similar stories in the last couple years. The company’s revenues are shrinking, they’re losing money hand over fist, and what do they do?
They announce they’re going to buy back $50 billion of their own shares.
What a joke. And it doesn’t stop there. The Fed’s policies have also ignited a flurry of activity in margin borrowing. This is from CNBC:
“NYSE margin debt rose to an all-time high in March, according to recently released data from the stock exchange….NYSE margin debt sat at $476.4 billion, up from $464.9 billion at the end of February..(Note: That’s $95 billion more than 2007 at the peak of the bubble.)
Margin debt is created when investors borrow money in order to buy stocks. If an investor buys $100 worth of stocks with $50 in capital, that individual has $50 of margin debt outstanding. Since margin debt provides leverage, it amplifies gains, but also increases the risk to an investor.” (“What record-high margin debt means for stocks”, CNBC)
More borrowing, more risk taking, more financial instability. And it’s all the Fed’s doing. If rates were neutral, then prices would normalize and CEOs would not be engaged in this reckless game of Russian roulette. Instead, it’s caution to the wind; just keep piling on the debt until the whole market comes crashing down in a heap like it did six years ago. And that’s the trajectory we’re on today, in fact, according to TrimTabs Investment Research, February saw buybacks in the amount of $104 billion, ” the largest monthly figure since these flows were first tracked 20 years ago. ”
So things are getting worse not better. Bottom line: The Fed has led the country to the cliff-edge once again where the slightest uptick in interest rates is going to send the economy into freefall.
But why? Why does the Fed keep steering the country from one financial catastrophe to the next?
That’s a question that economists Atif Mian and Amir Sufi answer persuasively with one small chart. Check it out:
“Here is the distribution of financial asset holdings across the wealth distribution. This is from the 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances:
The top 20% of the wealth distribution holds over 85% of the financial assets in the economy. So it is clear that the direct income from capital goes to the wealthiest American households.” (Capital Ownership and Inequality, House of Debt)
Why does the Fed create one bubble after the other?
Now you know.
Saudi Arabia has been dominating the Middle Eastern news recently. Its bombing of the Shia Houthis in Yemen, supported by Washington, and its ambivalent stand on ISIS, concealed in Washington, should raise questions about the nature and long-term ambitions of the desert kingdom. On those key issues there is an apparent conspiracy of silence in the American mainstream media and the policy-making community.
Saudi Arabia, the most authentically Muslim country in the world, is a polity based on a set of religious, legal, and political assumptions rooted in mainstream Sunni Islam. To understand its pernicious role in the ongoing Middle Eastern crisis, and to grasp the magnitude of its ongoing threat to America’s long-term strategic interests and security, we should start with the early history of that strange and unpleasant place.
MUHAMMAD IBN ABD AL-WAHHAB was born in central Arabia over three centuries ago, but his legacy is alive and well. Wahhab was a zealous Muslim revivalist who lived in the period of the Ottoman Empire’s early decline. He felt that Islam in general, and Arabia in particular, needed to be spiritually and literally re-purified and returned to the true tenets of the faith. Like Islam’s prophet he married a wealthy woman much older than himself, whose inheritance enabled him to engage in theological and political pursuits. His Sharia training, combined with a brief encounter with suffism – which he rejected – produced a powerful mix. From the suffis he took the concept of a fraternal religious order, but rejected initiation rituals and music in any form. He also condemned the decorations of mosques, however non-representational, and sinful frivolities such as smoking tobacco. This Muslim anabaptist rejected veneration of saints and sites and objects connected with them, and gave rise to a movement that sees itself as the guardian of true Islamic values. His ideas were espoused in the Book of Unity which gave rise to the name of the movement, al-Muwahhidun, or Unitarians.
By the middle of the 18th century Wahhab, like Muhammad eleven centuries earlier, found a politically powerful backer for his cause. In 1744 he struck a partnership with Muhammad ibn-Saud, leader of a powerful clan in central Arabia, and moved to his “capital,” the semi-nomadic settlement of ad-Dir’yah (Riyadh). Since that time the fortunes of the Wahhabis and the Ibn Said family have been intertwined. Under ibn-Saud’s successor Abdul-Aziz, the Wahhabis struck out of their desert base at Najd with the fury unseen in a millennium. In what looked for a while like the repetition of Muhammad’s and the Four Caliphs’ phenomenal early success a millennium earlier, they temporarily captured Mecca and Medina, marched into Mesopotamia – forcing the Ottoman governor to negotiate humiliating terms – and invaded Syria.
This was an unacceptable challenge to the Sultan, the heir to the caliphate and “protector of the holy places.” In 1811 he obtained the agreement of Ali Pasha, Egypt’s de facto autonomous ruler following Napoleon’s withdrawal, to launch a campaign against the Wahhabis. After seven years they were routed. Later in the century, however, the sect revived under Faysal to provide the focus of Arab resistance to the Ottoman Empire, which they considered degenerate and corrupt.
In 1902 a daring and bellicose prince of the ibn-Saud family, named after Abdul-Aziz “the warrior,” returned from exile with 40 horsemen and took control of Riyadh. He exploited the terminal weakness of the Ottoman Empire, soon to be embroiled in revolution and beset by external threats to its crumbling empire in the Balkans and Libya. Fired by the spirit of Wahhabism, Abdul Aziz embarked on a campaign to recover control over the whole of Arabia. In 1912 the Wahhabi revival prompted the founding of a religious settlement at Artawiyah, 300 miles north of Riyadh, under the auspices of theIkhwan, the Brotherhood. This was a stern Arabian variety of Plymouth, a Muslim New Jerusalem in which people were dragged from their homes and whipped for failing to attend Friday prayers.
IN THE CHAOTIC YEARS after the demise of the Ottoman Empire the Ikhwan proved to be an able and fanatical fighting force, securing victory for Ibn Saud, their leader and the founder of the present royal dynasty. In 1925 they carried out Ibn Saud’s order that all revered burial sites in Mecca and Medina be destroyed, including the “heavenly orchard” in Medina, where relatives and many early companions of Muhammad were buried. In 1926 they proclaimed Abdul-Aziz the King of Hejaz. Within a decade he had united the rest of Arabia and imposed the Wahhabist view of the world, man, law, and Allah, on most of the peninsula.
It is incorrect to say that the Wahhabi movement is to Islam what Puritanism is to Christianity, however. While Puritans could be regarded as Christianity’s Islamicists sui generis with their desire to turn Christianity into a druly scriptural, literalist theocracy, Wahhabism is unmistakably “mainstream” in its demand for the return to the original glory of the early Islamic Ummah. Their iconoclastic zeal notwithstanding, the Wahhabis were no more extreme or violent than the models for Islam – the “prophet” and his companions – have been in all ages and to this day.
THE HEIRS OF ABDUL WAHHAB are still heading the Saudi religious establishment. They resisted the introduction of “heathen” contraptions such as radio, cars, and television, and relented only when the King promised to use those suspect mediums to promote the faith. They stopped the importation of all alcohol, previously sold to foreigners (1952), and banned women driving motor vehicles (1957). The Kuran and Sunna are formally the country’s constitution and the source of its legal code. The original sources of Islamic orthodoxy – the Kuran and Hadith – provide ample and detailed evidence that Saudi Arabia is as close as we can get to an Islamic state and society. The State Department report on human rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia published 15 years ago offers an accurate glimpse of that vision in action:
Freedom of religion does not exist. Islam is the official religion and all citizens must be Muslims. Neither the Government nor society in general accepts the concepts of separation of religion and state, and such separation does not exist. Under Shari’a conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy. Public apostasy is a crime punishable by death -if the accused does not recant. Islamic religious education is mandatory in public schools at all levels. All children receive religious instruction… Citizens do not have the right to change their government. The Council of Senior Islamic Scholars… reviews the Government’s public policies for compliance with Shari’a. The Government [views] Islamic law as the only necessary guide to protect human rights. There is legal and systemic discrimination based on sex and religion.
Nothing has changed since: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the most intolerant Islamic regime in the world. While the Saudis continue to build mosques all over the world, tens of thousands of Christians among the millions of foreign workers from Asia, Europe and America must worship in secret, if at all. They are arrested, lashed or deported for public display of their beliefs. The Saudi religious police, known as the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice, continues to routinely intimidate, abuse, and detain citizens and foreigners. In 2002 they pushed girls escaping from burning school buildings back into the inferno and certain death because they did not have their heads properly covered. Its detainees are routinely subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation and torture. Punishments include flogging, amputation, and public execution by beheading, stoning, or firing squad – over 50 were performed so far this year.
Women are second class citizens: according to the CIA world factbook, 82.2% of females are literate, in comparison to 90.8% literacy rates in males. The testimony of one man equals that of two women, and female parties to court proceedings must deputize male relatives to speak on their behalf. Women are not admitted to a hospital for medical treatment (often for wounds resulting from domestic violence) without the consent of a male relative. In public a woman is expected to wear an abaya (a black garment that covers the entire body) and to cover her head and face. Daughters receive half the inheritance awarded to their brothers. Women must demonstrate Sharia-specified grounds for divorce, but men may divorce them without giving any cause. In addition women must not drive cars, must not be driven except by an employee, or husband, or a close relative, and even then must not occupy the front seat. Women may study abroad if accompanied by a spouse or an immediate male relative. Women may own a businesses, but they must deputize a male relative to represent it.
Political detainees commonly are held incommunicado in special prisons during the initial phase of an investigation, which may last weeks or months, without access to lawyers. Defendants usually appear without an attorney before a judge, who determines guilt or innocence in accordance with Shari’a standards. Most trials are closed, and crimes against Muslims receive harsher penalties than those against non-Muslims. A sentence may be changed at any stage of review, except for punishments stipulated by the Koran.
The only expanding industry in Saudi Arabia is that of Islamic obscurantism. Some examples are grotesque: in 1966 the Vice-President of the Islamic University of Medina complained that Copernican theory was being taught at Riyadh University; it has been banned ever since. Three hundred years after the Christian theologians had to concede that the Earth went around the Sun, the geocentric theory was reaffirmed in the centers of Saudi learning. Segregation of the sexes at schools is set at age nine, which is the age for girls to start to wear the veil.
The opinions of the ullema are the only internal check and balance on the ruling family. Five Saudi Islamic universities produce thousands of clerics, many more than will ever be hired to work in the country’s mosques. Thousands end up spreading and promoting Wahhabism abroad. The King of the Saudis remains their Imam. He and the Wahhabi religious establishment see it as their sacred duty and purpose to evangelize the world. The petro-dollar windfall has paid for the construction of some ten thousand mosques and “Islamic centers” in the United States and other parts of the world. All along, needless to say, no churches (let alone synagogues) can be built in Saudi Arabia, and all non-Muslim religious practice is strictly forbidden.
Blaming the 1% for diminished prosperity avoids the real reasons for designed poverty. In round terms, the seven billion souls that populate this planet translate into seventy million to be part of the 1%. Well, that amount is still a very large number to blame for the systemic transfer of riches into the hands of the few. A far more relevant approach is to examine the .001% or around seven million that fall into the mover or shakers of asset and possessions. Before targeting this group of mega wealth, that figure includes a very significant number, who are non players when it comes to global politics or transnational finance.
Recent record art sales illustrate the insulated existence that wraps the super rich in a different world from ordinary people. The Washington Post writes, What it looks like when the .001 percent fights over art.
“Welcome to Christie’s,” Pylkkanen said, without missing a beat.
It was that kind of night, with Christie’s selling a record $852.9 million worth of contemporary and post-war art. There were new records for 11 artists, including Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Peter Doig, Martin Kippenberger and Seth Price, according to figures released by Christie’s.”
Not exactly familiar household art celebrities, this version of trickledown economics is only for the in crowd. A Reuter report, Life continues sweetly for the .001 percent, continues.
“Art envy isn’t the only sign that the Occupy Wall Street din isn’t being heard on penthouse terraces. Sanford Weill, the former chief executive of Citigroup (C.N), put his 6,700-square-foot, top-floor residence on Central Park West on the market for $88 million. That’s twice what he paid for it four years ago and would be a Manhattan record. Weill said he plans to donate proceeds from the sale to charity, but for the time being would still have it as a deduction to apply against his taxable income.
The point is, the besieged banker class is still going about its business — and wielding considerable clout. That’s a lesson celebrity chef Mario Batali learned after likening bankers to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin at a media event. After news of the comments swept across Wall Street and sparked talk of boycotts among Batali’s well-heeled clientele, he apologized. With the 99 percent rallying against them, the rich clearly can’t afford to turn on themselves.”
While the uber rich are not exactly a monolith, there are certain factors that go unchallenged. List of 80 People With as Much Money as 1/2 of Humanityprovides a starting point. Then examine the growth in their wealth. In 2015, there was a record of 1,826 people on the list with a total net worth of $7.05 trillion, up from $6.4 trillion in 2014. The bible of financial registry is the Forbes billionaire list which is wholly inadequate as a comprehensive tally. Notwithstanding, the seven trillion figure is but a fraction of the estimated $241 trillion which represents total global combined wealth of all the people in the world.
This disparity just does not compute when compared to the commonly held dogma of the holdings of the 1%. Even the rarified air of the .001% will not account for the difference. The missing link is that people, as individuals, do not control the vast majority of resources, assets, money and wealth.
Governments, financial institutions, corporations, transnational conglomerates, NGO’s, trusts, estates and hidden hybrid ownership truly controls the global economy that dictates, who benefits from the consolidation of capital and oversight of natural resources.
The mandates that pass as national laws and international treaty relations share a common composition. Protecting the superstructure that facilitates elite domination over the masses of world population is the object of the game. The rest of us are left with distractions, illusions and misdirect narratives of a false reality that embodies the popular culture.
The mass media message is consistent. It paints the ruling class as benevolent and caring. The collectivist administrations of different regimes are planned as a huge dependence machine. Some countries are more dominant than others, by all practice institutional autocracy as a condition of allowing their citizens the privilege of conditional government sustenance.
Individual liberty is besieged as a frightening threat to the system. Actual free economic markets are destroyed as a matter of course. Cartels, cabals and monopolies rule as cronyism with the decision makers dictate the direction of the technocratic socialism that has engulfed world society.
The reason why human circumstances continue to deteriorate is clear to anyone who has the honesty to admit that the dire consequences are not accidental or unintentional. However, coming to grips with the architectures of international finance is just too painful to endure. A comment from a leaving subscriber of the BATR RealPolitik Newsletter, sums up perfectly a core reason why the world totalitarian system continues with such little opposition. “Your site does an excellent job of exposing the truth but this imposes too high a price on my daily mental attitude and overall health”.
Life is seldom fair, and more often painful, but a cop out of unpleasant reality guarantees that the Rothschild manipulated model of world slavery will achieve their ultimate goal of massive population extinction for the dependency populace.
A primary failure of the “Looney Left” is placing their faith into the role of government to correct the punitive excesses of global internationalism. The nature of the contrived interdependency is based upon the power of fiat finance to own and dictated policy to their state sponsored lackeys.
Those brave hearted dissenters to the “international community” are driven from office, discredited by a media assault or killed if they become too much of a threat.
Jack Lessenberry offers this assessment in, Politics and Prejudices: What’s really ruining America.
“Income inequality in this nation is not only bad and getting worse, but most of us are either brainwashed, in total denial, or too gutless to even talk about it. Why don’t you hear Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren screaming about this, as they should be?
For two simple reasons: First, they’re afraid they’ll instantly be accused of wanting to start “class warfare,” a term that, like socialism, evokes bad nightmares of — shudder — Communist dictatorships.
But more sadly, they probably don’t think there’s anything they can do about it, other than maybe slow the trend a little bit.”
This critique of the “so called” daring progressives actually reveals that both play up to the establishment. Bucking the true world power brokers is very dangerous. Ask JFK, RFK, George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. Satanic megalomaniacs are committed to the impoverishment of the masses and their eventual total demise.
When was the last time that a real populist grassroots movement was able to overthrow the ruling elites? The deplorable answer is never in our lifetime.
The systemic wealth destruction that has rendered former Middle America to borderline poverty came as no accident. Don’t blame all those new faces in the billionaire crowd; they only have large bank accounts. Focus on the dynasty families that share the same bloodline and pull the strings on government puppets that administer the all-inclusive enslavement of humanity as their primary goal.
Collectivism is a deadened scheme, originated by the globalists to deceive the struggling “unwashed” to look toward government for a better future. Wow, what a miserable fiasco.
Having money is better than being poor, all other factors relative. However, earning wealth the old fashion way, by working hard is virtually a non starter today. The casino economy is a stacked deck against the industrious.
Only a total reputation of the Free Trade corporatist plantation that has de-industrialized America could remotely turn the tide. But before any boom could begin and restore national hope, the political organized crime syndicates must be recognized as the enemy of the people and driven from their power centers and debt created money schemes.
Just like the burnt out aforementioned BATR reader, the remaining moral participants that do battle with a corrupt system must risk having their head cut off, for any chance of returning to prosperity.
The task is great and little time is left. The NYT reports that a Deal Reached on Fast-Track Authority for Obama on Trade Accord, will expand the globalist fiefdom even more.
“To further sweeten the deal for Democrats, the package includes expanding trade adjustment assistance — aid to workers whose jobs are displaced by global trade — to service workers, not just manufacturing workers. Mr. Wyden also insisted on a four-year extension of a tax credit to help displaced workers purchase health insurance.”
This is a clear example of collectivism at play. Government subsidies that replace real employment, does not create wealth for our own people or for the country as a whole. It is high time to admit that the 99.9% is screwed as long as this same old globalist trade fraud continues to impoverish our domestic economy.
Rally against the globalists and refuse any legitimacy to a system that is designed to distract with class warfare, while the central banksters own the vast total wealth and control the power structure.
The Destruction of a Nation…
“we are asked to feel guilty about men in prison. We are told how many are of particular racial groups, and this is somehow our fault, no matter how many laws these convicts violated.” R. J. Rushdoony, “Systematic Theology”, Vol. 1, pg. 464
With substantial support from biased reporting by the media we have experienced social unrest and rioting by Blacks over police infractions that have subsequently been proven false by a jury and by the Federal judicial system. In the Tryvon Martin case local authorities decided against indictment but deceptive press coverage caused enough Black outrage to force a trial. George Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury. In the Michael Brown case in spite of media-fanned riots both Federal and local authorities decided against indicting Darrin Wilson.
In both cases the neocon controlled media provided distorted and incendiary coverage designed to create a violent reaction. In both cases rather than presenting the evidence as it existed they distorted the evidence to make it seem that an atrocity had been committed. “White policeman kills unarmed Black teen” does not do justice to either event.
In an article in the “Atlantic” TA-Nehisi Coates writes ”The investigation concluded that there was no evidence to contradict Wilson’s claim that Brown reached for his gun. The investigation concluded that Wilson did not shoot Brown in the back. That he did not shoot Brown as he was running away. That Brown did stop and turn toward Wilson. That in those next moments ‘several witnesses stated that Brown appeared to pose a physical threat to Wilson’. That claims that Brown had his hands up ‘in an unambiguous sign of surrender’ are not supported by the ‘physical and forensic evidence,’ and are sometimes, ‘materially inconsistent with that witness’s own prior statements with no explanation, credible for otherwise, as to why those accounts changed over time.’”
Though slave owners no longer exist in the United States the media and Black leadership is still trying to harness White Americans with guilt over slavery. Programs on slavery are frequent and any true depiction of current Black society is studiously suppressed.
We have a Black president, there are Blacks in Congress, sports at both the college and professional levels is primarily Black. Blacks have responsible high paying government jobs, they are frequently seen in all current advertising; they own businesses and many are now solidly ensconced in Middle Class and upper 1% neighborhoods. There are many loving and supportive Black families that are producing talented and upwardly mobile children.
An honest assessment of Black progress is very positive. As a race they are doing extremely well. Sadly, none of this is put forth in the press and media. Instead, we get a constant ear splitting whine about racial prejudice.
In the first volume of “Sytematic Theology” R. J. Rushdoony (RJR) writes, “Basic to all non-Christian politics are, first, a false covering, and, second, the cultivation of guilt. By cultivating guilt the state seeks to make its citizenry impotent and enslaved. A false sense of guilt, moreover, has no solution and no escape is possible from it, as long as it is held. The state then offers a false covering to that cultivated guilt: a statist program of noble ideas which in practice means the further enslavement of the people, and the increase in statist powers.” Pg. 465
Slavery and the Holocaust are salient examples of the procedure. Egregious manipulation of our government is allowed by grief over the Holocaust and preferred racial citizenship is accorded by guilt over slavery. In both cases the guilt is cultivated and in both cases it is bogus.
Christianity is dangerous to the state because Christians are freed from guilt and able to think clearly. “Guilty men are not free men: they are slaves.” (RJR)
In spite of the great progress Blacks have made there are still major problems. Shootings are part of the evening news for every major city and too often they involve Blacks shooting other Blacks. Black unemployment is part of the problem and government assistance programs share part of the guilt. The major culprit, however, is the media which extends their fraudulent news coverage by giving a bully pulpit to self-serving Black leaders with deceitful messages. The uncontrolled emotional rage, fanned by the press, ignites riots that make matters worse. Riots destroy the fabric of society. They work against freedom. It must be acknowledge that the crime rate in Black inner-city areas is several times that of similar White neighborhoods. Racial prejudice can no longer be used as an excuse. We have elected a Black President, twice; a bigoted society would not do that.
A new group of Black realists needs to sit down with their biased leadership and hammer out a just and honest program for Black citizens. There are some excellent Black pastors that would help with such a project. Blaming people, places, and things will not provide progress; it must come from the Blacks themselves.
Though they are hardly coming from a position of strength Blacks are right about policing. Major changes are needed in the behavior law enforcement. Demands by policemen that innocent citizens submit to personal indignities tarnishes their reputation; policepersons who cannot determine who needs to be handcuffed and who does not do not belong on the street. Law enforcement needs to earn a better reputation in both White and Black neighborhoods. When respect is restored compliance will follow.
It is frightening to see a line of almost automated, black garbed, heavily armored police with loaded guns marching toward a residence where civilians will be surprised by a paralyzing no-knock raid. The object is to shock with massive impregnable force and demand acquiescence. These Swat team operations grew from a small number to over 40,000 per year by the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. Read here. Policing has morphed from protecting society to considering almost everyone to be an enemy.
Bad laws, too many laws, the war on drugs, and war as a way of life are all part of the problem. The Neocon hate for Christianity and their success in purging it from U. S. society has had devastating effects on behavior. We are considered a Christian nation with a population that overwhelmingly claims to be Christian but our flaccid pseudo-Christian population is governed by a satanic pagan power structure that exploits their naivety. Freedom cannot exist under devilish tyranny.
The confiscation of cash from vehicles stopped for any or no particular reason is pandemic. In some states the victims are predominantly Black but in others race is not a factor. In one county in Texas in a two year period 200 citizens were victims of confiscations. Fifty of the 200 were charged with drug possession but the remainder was never charged with a crime. In many cases the threat of being charged with a crime which would require lawyers and trips back to the area caused victims to leave the money and go free. Cash confiscations are common in many of our states.
In a small town in Northern Florida the city budget was almost entirely financed by speeding tickets issued to motorists traveling a main state highway that runs through the town. That municipal thievery has how been stopped but it continued for years.
There are times when a lawless, recalcitrant citizen must be subdued and taken into custody and there are times when such a procedure is not warranted; policepersons should know the difference.
We have allowed our police departments to become sources of revenue that is used by local politicians. Forfeiture laws and heavy fines are income streams rather than retribution for crimes. This is fraudulent; it perverts the duties of the police force and cultivates cynicism. Police are to be enforces of justice and should be filled with pride in that vocation.
The Black struggle for equality in a White society has now become a struggle for power. They have more than equal legal status but now as a minority population they seek power over the entire government by calling for the resignation of the entire leadership of Ferguson. Black riots have regularly resulted in concessions and as long as these concessions continue Black riots will continue. It is a dangerous situation when an errant press and media can create riots almost at will. The quest for power without reference to immutable justice is another form of tyranny.
American citizens are allowing manufactured guilt to be used as an excuse to create revolutionary chaos in our nation.
At the end of the “Atlantic” article TA-Nehisi Coates writes ”I do not favor lowering the standard of justice offered Officer Wilson. I favor raising the standard of justice offered to the rest of us.”
Even a seasoned cynic sometimes gasps in disbelief. “President Putin misinterprets much of what the U.S. is doing or trying to do,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a press conference in Geneva on March 2. “We are not involved in ‘numerous color revolutions’ as he asserts. In the case of Ukraine, such assumptions are also wrong. The United States support international law with respect to the sovereignty and integrity of other people.”
This is akin to Count Dracula asserting his strict adherence to a vegan diet and his principled respect for the integrity of blood banks worldwide.
Various quasi-NGOs funded by American taxpayers and funneled through organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and the National Democratic Institute, not to mention George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (partly funded by U.S. and other Western governments), have been actively engaged in dozens of “regime-change” operations for a decade and a half. Their work is conducted in disregard of international law and in violation of the sovereignty and integrity of the people whose governments are thus targeted.
The overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade (October 2000) provided the blueprint, in strict accordance with Gene Sharp’s manual. Widespread popular discontent was manipulated by the U.S./Soros funded and trained Otpor! network to bring to power a government subservient to Western political and economic interests. The moderately patriotic yet hapless new president, constitutional lawyer Vojislav Kostunica, was used as a battering ram to bring Milosevic down. Once that goal was achieved, Kostunica was promptly marginalized by Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and his successors – Serbia’s two-term president Boris Tadic in particular – who turned the country into a pliant tool of foreign interests. Wholesale robbery of Serbia’s state and public assets promptly followed the 2000 coup, resulting in the Balkan country’s comprehensive de-industrialization. Official Belgrade was forced to accept Kosovo’s de facto “independence” in the name of the elusive goal of joining the European Union.
Georgia’s 2003 “Rose Revolution” was carried out by the Kmara (“Enough”) network, a carbon copy of Serbia’s “Otpor,” including the clenched fist logo. Its activists were trained and advised by the U.S.-affiliated Liberty Institute and funded by the Open Society Institute. It brought to power Mikhel Saakashvili, a corrupt “pro-Western” politician currently wanted by Georgia’s government on multiple criminal charges. The coup was largely financed by Soros’s network, which spent $42 million in the three months before the coup preparing the overthrow of the government of Eduard Shevardnadze. The most important geopolitical result was Georgia’s NATO candidacy, supported by Washington, which is currently stalled but which has the potential to be as perniciously destabilizing as the crisis in Ukraine.
Speaking in Tblisi in June 2005, Soros said: “I am very pleased and proud of the work of the Foundation in preparing Georgian society for what became a Rose Revolution, but the role of the Foundation and me personally has been greatly exaggerated.” The new government, as it happens, included Alexander Lomaia, former Secretary of the Georgian Security Council and minister of education and science, who at the time of the coup was Executive Director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. David Darchiashvili, ex-chairman of the Committee for European Integration in the Georgian parliament, was also an executive director of the Foundation. As former Georgian foreign minister Salomé Zourabichvili wrote in 2008, “all the NGO’s which gravitate around the Soros Foundation undeniably carried the revolution… [A]fterwards, the Soros Foundation and the NGOs were integrated into power.” Interestingly, the U.S. Ambassador in Georgia at the time of the 2003 regime-change operation, Richard Miles, was the Ambassador in Belgrade at the time of Milosevic’s downfall three years earlier.
The march of history continued with the 2004 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine – that grand rehearsal for the Maidan coup a decade later – and the 2005 “Cedar Revolution” in Lebanon, which was given its name by then-U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky. Also in 2005 the “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan had as its chief foreign advisor Givi Targamadze, an official of Georgia’s aforementioned Liberty Institute, who at the time chaired Saakashvili’s parliamentary committee on defense and security.
In 2006 Congress passed the Iran Freedom and Support Act which provided taxpayer funding for groups opposed to the Iranian government, and then-Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns said the administration was “taking a page from the playbook” on Ukraine and Georgia. A year later the George W. Bush administration authorized a $400 million covert operation budget to foment unrest in Iran. In 2012 Seymor M. Hersh wrote that the U.S. has provided funding and training to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, a militant group which had been listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization,
In 2012 President Obama authorized U.S. government agencies to support violent regime change in Syria. By early 2013 the Administration was helping the “moderate” rebels – i.e. jihadists with no overt links to al-Qaeda – to the tune of $250 million, and that figure has been at least doubled since. The result has been disastrous for the Syrian people (Christians in particular), and hugely detrimental to U.S. security interests in the region. The insurgency against Bashar al-Assad has directly contributed to the rise of ISIS, with no end to the latest war in sight.
Last month Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gave a televised speech in which he alleged systematic U.S. involvement in destabilization attempts against his government. The U.S. Department of State called his claims “baseless” and “false.” “The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means,” read the statement from Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki. Indeed. One of the leaders of the failed anti-Chavez coup d’etat in 2002, Rear Admiral Carlos Molina, has stated that he was acting with US support. Ditto the CIA-supported regime-change operation in Nicaragua in 2009.
As for the Maidan Revolution, crowned by “political transition by non-constitutional means” par excellence, Victoria Nuland readily admitted that its preparation cost the U.S. taxpayers some $5 billion over the preceding decade. The result is the most dangerous geopolitical crisis of the post-Cold War era, systematically engineered and conducted by the regime-changing exceptionalists in Washington D.C. who believe that they are exempt from historical forces and legal restraints that apply to merely mortal countries.
Former U.S. Ambassador in Moscow Michael McFaul boasted to The New York Times a week after taking duty in January 2012 that he would make his “pro-democracy” mark in Moscow “in a very, very aggressive way.” Some months earlier, McFaul declared that “even while working closely with Putin on matters of mutual interest, Western leaders must recommit to the objective of creating the conditions for a democratic leader to emerge in the long term.” This was a regime-change agenda expressed with brutal bluntness: we need to “de-Putinize” Russia, he declared. It would be interesting to see the U.S. reaction if a similar statement (“We need to to de-Obamanize America!”) were to be made by an incoming Russian ambassador in Washington.
In Russia the regime-change program did not work, however. First and foremost, there was no popular support: hundreds of “activists” demonstrating against Putin in 2012 could be turned into “thousands” in Western post-election media reports, but that was still far below the tens, let alone hundreds, of thousands needed to kick-start a regime-change op. Infuriatingly for the planners, Russia simultaneously enacted a law regulating foreign “NGO” activities which was patterned directly on the American Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which regulates activities of the agents of foreign governments in the United States. Enacted in the 1930’s to require disclosure of Americans working on behalf of Nazi Germany, and used to control Soviet agents thereafter, FARA requires full public disclosure of those same activities that the U.S. government had tried to fund in Russia. The Federal Election Campaign Act flatly prohibits foreign involvement in American elections – yet it was touted as legitimate when conducted in Russia by Washington’s protégés under the guise of promoting democracy.
The regime-change mania will go on and on. It is inseparable from the psychotic belief in one’s indispensability and exceptionalism. It is a form of self-defeating grandomania that can only stop with America’s long-overdue abandonment of the global hegemony experiment.
And yes, John Kerry is a liar.
Common wisdom has China as the future model for the Globalist economy. Also, conventional thinking has the Western financial debt created money system as the backbone of the New World Order. The big question is, are both components of the same intentional plan? When China Has Announced Plans For A ‘World Currency’, the world is put on notice that a fundamental shift is about to take place.
“What you are about to see is rather startling, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. When it comes to economics and finance, the Chinese have always been playing chess while the western world has been playing checkers. Sadly, we have gotten to the point where checkmate is on the horizon.
The following comes from CNBC …
The tightly controlled Chinese yuan will eventually supersede the dollar as the top international reserve currency, according to a new poll of institutional investors.
The survey of 200 institutional investors – 100 headquartered in mainland China and 100 outside of it – published by State Street and the Economist Intelligence Unit on Thursday found 53 percent of investors think the renminbi will surpass the U.S. dollar as the world’s major reserve currency.
Optimism was higher within China, where 62 percent said they saw a redback world on the horizon, compared with 43 percent outside China.”
Before the celebration begins that the game is up for the Federal Reserve mastery from the days of the Bretton Woods Conference, look a little closer. While gold and its fixed price were instrumental to that monitory standard, the freeing from fixed rates has generated the madness of floating currency speculation that now dominates the financial markets.
The cunning and patient Chinese built their export economy on cheap priced goods into their importing customer economies. Saving is a noble objective in the East, while going into debt is the hallmark of Western practices. The Chinese have applied their huge balance of trade surpluses to buying up commodities. Most notable is gold.
The article, Could China actually have 30,000 tonnes of gold in reserves? Makes the strongest argument that China is poised to become the new superior currency is based upon the potential of establishing a convertible relationship between the renminbi and bullion.
“China has much more gold than it is allowing the world to see. As Alasdair Macleod, probably the world’s number one analyst of the gold market, wrote that between 1983 and 2002 China probably accumulated 25,000 tons of gold. Thus, its current gold holdings are probably north of 30,000 tons in contrast to the USA which has either sold or leased most of its gold.” Now this statement coming from one of the usual gold megabulls might be ignorable, but Hunt does not fall into this category and has a good track record of insights into China’s strategic initiatives as far as metals and minerals are concerned.”
Before the rush to the door to dump your U.S. Dollars for whatever store of wealth one believes will maintain its purchasing value, consider what the voice of the global financial establishment, the IMF says. Stating the outlook from the central Bankster’s perspective in, Will the Renminbi Rule?, the message is that paper money, burdened by debt, is still firmly in place.
“Given China’s size and growth prospects, it is widely seen as inevitable that the renminbi will eventually become a reserve currency. To gauge the likelihood and timing, it is necessary to consider the typical attributes of a reserve currency and evaluate China’s progress in each of these dimensions. The factors that generally affect a currency’s reserve status includes:
- Economic size
- Macroeconomic policies
- Flexible exchange rate
- Open capital account
- Financial market development
The IMF concludes:
“The renminbi is unlikely to become a prominent reserve currency—let alone challenge the dollar’s dominance—unless it can be freely converted and China adopts an open capital account.”
Now for anyone even remotely schooled in the manners and maturations of the financial elites, turning the other cheek to a pretender, is not in the lesson book.
Investment manager, Richard Harris offers in a report, Time to create new Chinese-Hong Kong dollar, an interesting possibility.
“The HK dollar itself is a dead unit having been pegged first to the pound and later to the US dollar, with the current rate fixed in 1983. The prevailing view about depegging is that it would be too dangerous. The unit only floated for a relatively short period from 1974-1983 and, I recall, without much confidence in its success.
The obvious answer is to combine the dead HK dollar with the embryonic CNH. This would be a completely independent, floating currency. The CNY would be used for current account transactions such as exports and imports, whilst the new “Chinese Dollar” (HKD/CNH combined) would cater for capital account financial transactions.”
Keeping paper money in place as the international medium of exchange is fundamental to the New World Order. While China may never implement an actual redemption of gold for their renminbi, there is a real possibility that some gold weighted backing for Chinese paper instruments could be introduced.
The U.S. Dollar maintains illusionary worth, only because the central bankers are all in with their dollar dominated derivatives. Moreover, the Chinese are very much dependent upon their exports to keep their economy going. Settlement in Federal Reserve notes is crucial for the American system to keep buying from overseas.
Just the mere threat of payment in the renminbi for all the Chinese goods that Walmart imports could be devastating. Allowing for a gradual transition into a semi-reserve renminbi status keeps the Bankster’s game going.
The prudent analysis suggests that the NWO created China’s emergence into an economic power through off-shoring domestic industries in their subject countries. Nonetheless, the international cabal is not about to starve their interest paying indebted nations by letting the Chinese accumulate even greater cash reserves.
Expect a downturn in China’s prospects, as soon as any ascendency for their currency begins gaining a reserve acceptance.
NATO Lies and Provocations…
“The war has been provoked to destroy the Russian World, to draw Europe into it, and to surround Russia with hostile countries. Unleashing this world war, America is trying to deal with its own internal problems.”
– Sergei Glazyev, Advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin
The fabrications of NATO’s top commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, have driven a wedge between Germany and the United States that could lead to a collapse of the Atlantic Alliance. According to the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, Breedlove has repeatedly sabotaged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s attempts to find a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine by spreading “dangerous propaganda” that is misleading the public about Russian “troop advances on the border, (and) the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks.” But while the unusually critical article singles out Breedlove for his hyperbolic exaggerations of so-called Russian aggression, the real purpose of the Spiegel piece is to warn Washington that EU leaders will not support a policy of military confrontation with Moscow.
Before we explain what’s going on, we need to look at an excerpt from the article. According to Spiegel:
“…for months now, many in the Chancellery simply shake their heads each time NATO, under Breedlove’s leadership, goes public with striking announcements about Russian troop or tank movements … it is the tone of Breedlove’s announcements that makes Berlin uneasy. False claims and exaggerated accounts, warned a top German official during a recent meeting on Ukraine, have put NATO — and by extension, the entire West — in danger of losing its credibility.
There are plenty of examples….At the beginning of the crisis, General Breedlove announced that the Russians had assembled 40,000 troops on the Ukrainian border and warned that an invasion could take place at any moment. The situation, he said, was “incredibly concerning.” But intelligence officials from NATO member states had already excluded the possibility of a Russian invasion. They believed that neither the composition nor the equipment of the troops was consistent with an imminent invasion.
The experts contradicted Breedlove’s view in almost every respect. There weren’t 40,000 soldiers on the border, they believed, rather there were much less than 30,000 and perhaps even fewer than 20,000. Furthermore, most of the military equipment had not been brought to the border for a possible invasion, but had already been there prior to the beginning of the conflict. Furthermore, there was no evidence of logistical preparation for an invasion, such as a field headquarters.
Breedlove, though, repeatedly made inexact, contradictory or even flat-out inaccurate statements.”…
On Nov. 12, during a visit to Sofia, Bulgaria, Breedlove reported that “we have seen columns of Russian equipment — primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops — entering into Ukraine.” It was, he noted, “the same thing that OSCE is reporting.” But the OSCE had only observed military convoys within eastern Ukraine. OSCE observers had said nothing about troops marching in from Russia.
Breedlove sees no reason to revise his approach. “I stand by all the public statements I have made during the Ukraine crisis,” he wrote to SPIEGEL in response to a request for a statement accompanied by a list of his controversial claims.”
(Breedlove’s Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine, Der Spiegel)
While it’s easy to get swept up in the Spiegel’s narrative of a rabid militarist dragging Europe closer to World War 3, the storyline is intentionally misleading. As anyone who’s been following the Ukraine fiasco for the last year knows, there’s nothing particularly unusual about Breedlove’s distortions. Secretary of State John Kerry has made similar claims numerous times as have many others in the major media. The lies about “Russian aggression” are the rule, not the exception. So why has the Spiegel decided to selectively target Breedlove who is no more deceitful than anyone else? What’s really going on here?
Clearly, the Spiegel is doing Merkel’s work, that is, undermining the credibility of Washington’s chief commander in Europe in order to discourage further escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. But while Merkel wants to humiliate Breedlove to show that Germany will not sit on its hands while Washington plunges the region into the abyss; she has also shown considerable restraint in limiting her attack to the General while sparing Kerry and Obama any embarrassment. This is quite an accomplishment given that –as we said earlier–virtually everyone in the political establishment and the media have been lying nonstop about every aspect of the conflict. Merkel doesn’t want to discredit these others just yet, although the Spiegel piece infers that she has the power to do so if the “bad behavior” persists.
The Spiegel article is part of a one-two punch designed to force Washington to change its confrontational approach. The second jab appeared late Sunday afternoon when EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that Europe needed to field its own army. Here’s the story from Reuters:
“The European Union needs its own army to face up to Russia and other threats as well as restore the bloc’s foreign policy standing around the world, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper on Sunday…
“With its own army, Europe could react more credibly to the threat to peace in a member state or in a neighboring state.
“One wouldn’t have a European army to deploy it immediately. But a common European army would convey a clear message to Russia that we are serious about defending our European values.” (Juncker calls for EU army, says would deter Russia, Reuters)
Can you see what’s going on? On the one hand, the Spiegel delivers a hammer-blow to the credibility of NATO’s top officer and on the other, the President of the EU Commission blindsides US powerbrokers by announcing a plan to create an independent EU fighting force that will render NATO redundant. These are big developments that have undoubtedly left the Obama troupe reeling. This is a full-blown assault on NATO’s role as the primary guarantor of EU regional security. Maybe the European people are gullible enough to accept Junker’s absurd claim that an EU army will “send an important message to the world”, but you can be damn sure that no one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue believes that nonsense. The move is clearly designed to send a message to Washington that Europe is fed up with NATO and wants a change. That means it’s “shape up or ship out time” for Breedlove and his ilk.
Ironically, these developments align Merkel with Putin’s view of things as stated in his famous Munich speech in 2007 when he said:
“I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue … The United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way … And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this — no one feels safe.” (Russian President Vladimir Putin, 43rd Munich Security Conference, 2007)
How can the US possibly cast itself as “steward of the global security system”, when its interventions have left a trail of decimated failed states from the southernmost border of Somalia to the northern tip of Ukraine, a chaotic swathe of smoldering ruin and agonizing human suffering that rivals the depredations of the Third Reich.
Europe’s security requirements cannot be met by a belligerent, warmongering US-controlled entity that acts solely in Washington’s interests. At present, NATO gets 75% of its funding from the US, which is why the alliance is less interested in peacemaking and security than it is in internationalizing its imperial war of aggression across the planet. Prior to the crisis in Ukraine, European leaders didn’t see the danger of this idiotic arrangement (even though interventions in Serbia, Libya and Afghanistan should have brought them to their senses) But now that NATO’s recklessness could vaporize Europe in a nuclear firestorm, leaders like Merkel and Hollande are starting to change their tune. Keep in mind, the ideal scenario for the US would be a limited war that levels large parts of the European and Asian continents, thus restoring the US to its post WW2 heyday when the “rubblized” world was Washington’s oyster. That would be just fine for genocidal maniacs and armchair warriors who rule the globe from the safety of their well-stocked DC bunkers. But for Europe, this is definitely not a winning strategy. Europe doesn’t want a war, and it certainly doesn’t want to be used as cannon fodder for the greater glory of the dystopian NWO.
Putin advisor, Sergei Glazyev, figured out what Washington was up to long before Kiev launched its wretched “anti terrorism” campaign against federalist rebels in the East. Here’s how he summed it up:
“The main task the American puppet masters have set for the (Kiev) junta is to draw Russia into a full-scale war with Ukraine. It is for this purpose that all of these heinous crimes are committed – to force Russia to send troops to Ukraine to protect the civilian population…
The bankruptcy of the US financial system, which is unable to service its foreign debt, the lack of investments to finance a breakthrough to a new technological order and to maintain America’s competitiveness, and the potential defeat in the geopolitical competition with China. To resolve these problems, Americans need a new world war.” (Sergei Glazyev)
Bingo. The steadily-declining empire, whose share of global GDP continues to shrivel with every passing year, has wanted a war from the get go. That’s the only way that the US can reverse its precipitous economic slide and preserve its lofty spot as the world’s only superpower. Fortunately, EU leaders are beginning to pull their heads out of the sand long enough to grasp what’s going on and change their behavior accordingly.
It’s worth noting, that no one in the Merkel administration or anyone else for that matter, has publicly challenged the allegations in the Spiegel article. Why is that, do you think?
Doesn’t their silence suggest that they knew all along that all the anti-Putin propaganda hullabaloo was pure bunkum; that “evil” Putin didn’t send tanks and soldiers across the border into Ukraine, that Putin didn’t shoot down Malaysian Airline 17, that Putin didn’t have a political opponent gunned down gangland style just a few hundred yards from the Kremlin? Isn’t that what their silence really says?
Of course, it does. The reason no one in power has spoken out is because –as the Spiegel cynically admits–“A mixture of political argumentation and military propaganda is necessary.”
“Propaganda is necessary”?
Whoa. Now there’s an admission you’re not going to see in the media too often. But it’s the truth, isn’t it? The Euro-leaders have been going along with the lies to keep the public in line. In other words, it’s a healthy dose of perception management for the sheeple, but the unvarnished truth for our revered overlords. Sounds about right. Only now these ame elites have decided to share the facts with the lumpen masses. But, why? Why this sudden willingness to share the truth?
It’s because they no longer support Washington’s policy, that’s why. No one in Europe wants the US to arm and train the Ukrainian army. No one wants them to deploy 600 paratroopers to Kiev and increase US logistical support. No one wants further escalation, because no one wants a war with Russia. It’s that simple.
For the first time, EU leaders, particularly Merkel, understand that the United States’ strategic objectives (the pivot to Asia) do not align with those of the EU, in fact, Washington’s geopolitical ambitions pose a serious threat to Europe’s security. Regrettably, it’s not enough for Merkel to simply understand what is going on. She needs to huddle with her EU colleagues and take positive steps to derail Washington’s plan now, otherwise the US will continue its incitements and false flags until Putin is forced to respond. Once that happens, a broader and, perhaps, catastrophic conflagration will be unavoidable.
Varoufakis vs. The Troika…
“Will the United States, Germany, the rest of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund – collectively constituting the International Mafia – allow the new Greek leaders of the Syriza party to dictate the conditions of Greece’s rescue and salvation? The answer at the moment is a decided “No”.
— William Blum, The Greek Tragedy, Veracity Voice
“The Greek economy is finished…. There is no power, no force within the Greek economy, within Greek society that can avert – it’s like – imagine if we were in Ohio in 1931 and we were to ask: What can Ohio politicians do to get Ohio out of the Great Depression? The answer is nothing.”
— Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Finance Minister
A disagreement over the terms of a deal to provide a bailout extension for Greece, has set the stage for a final clash between the Eurogroup and members of the Greek ruling party, Syriza. Although the agreement was approved on Tuesday when a list of reforms were submitted by Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to the Eurogroup, Varoufakis believes that changes to the original program give him greater flexibility to implement policies that will end austerity, reduce the ailing country’s primary budget surplus, and ease the humanitarian crisis that has persisted for 6 years. Regrettably, no one at the ECB, the European Commission or the IMF shares Varoufakis’s views on the subject. The so called “troika” thinks that Greece has signed on to essentially the same program that was in place before the negotiations, give or take a few cosmetic changes in the language. And because the program is the same, they think Varoufakis should stick with the same policies as his predecessor and ignore mounting public opposition to austerity. Given the irreconcilable differences between the two parties, there’s bound to be a violent confrontation in the near future that will lead to heated recriminations and, eventually, a Grexit.
To illustrate the widening chasm between Varoufakis and the members of the Eurogroup, consider the fact that, going into the negotiations, Varoufakis was determined to end the bailouts and secure a “bridge” loan that would shield Greece from default for a six month period of adjustment after which basic changes to the current austerity regime would be re-negotiated. While the Eurogroup agreed to change the term “program” to “agreement” and “troika” to “institutions”, in the minds of the EU finance minsters, the substance of the original deal, which was laid out in the hated Memorandum of Understanding, remained the same. Take a look at this excerpt from a letter from ECB president Mario Draghi and Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem and you’ll see how this is playing out:
“I assume that it is clear, that the basis of concluding the current review, and also any future arrangements, will be the existing commitments in the current Memorandum of Understanding and The Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP). In this context we note that the commitments outlined by the authorities differ from existing programme commitments in a number of areas. In such cases, we will have to assess during the review whether measures which are not accepted by the authorities are replaced with measures of equal or better quality in terms of achieving the objectives of the programme.” (Naked Capitalism)
What Draghi is saying is that Varoufakis’s changes will be put under a microscope to see if they conform with the memorandum which Varoufakis believes no longer applies. The way this will work on a practical basis, is that additional money will only be meted out incrementally depending on compliance with, you guessed it, the old agreement. In other words, Varoufakis will not have a 4 month grace period to experiment with his pro-growth, anti-austerity economic policies. He’ll be expected to toe the line from Day 1.
Varoufakis either doesn’t understand what he signed or thinks he can implement his own plan without too much interference from the Eurogroup. Either way, there’s probably going to be a confrontation given the vast disparity in the way the agreement is being interpreted. In a Tuesday interview with CNBC, Varoufakis said that the new deal is fundamentally different than the previous agreement. He said:
“Some people have been insisting that the program that we’ve been under must surely be the program that we shall remain under simply refuse to understand that this has changed. So they keep insisting that that program is still on-going. Let me give you a very simple number. The program that we challenged compelled to the Greek government to extract 4.5% of the primary surplus every year in a depressed economy. We’ve changed that. Now surely that is not dismissed as simply a non-event and it’s business as usual, so it’s not business as usual we have a fresh start and now what matters is to use the opportunity of that fresh start in order to build something good on top of it. And we will endeavor to do this.” (“CNBC Exclusive Interview: Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis“, CNBC)
See? He sincerely believes that the old deal is history. But the troika, the Eurogroup, and the majority of people who have analyzed the new arrangement, disagree. They think everything is the same (which explains why critics on the right and left have repudiated the deal as a “climb-down, a capitulation and a sellout.)
In an interview with Nikos Hatzinikolaou on REAL FM, Greece, Varoufakis rejected the Memorandum while claiming that the new agreement represents “a huge success’ in ending the “recessionary measures” that are needlessly prolonging Greece’s Great Depression. Here’s what he said:
Varoufakis: “The current government (Syriza) wants to say things with their name. I will explain it to you in very simple terms, Mr. Hatzinikolaou. As long as our debt is what it is, as long as Greece was bounded within this iron cage of primary surpluses that were impossible to achieve without killing whatever is left in the private sector, and as long we have a negative sign in investments (essentially, real investments), it was impossible to achieve this exit.
What we are trying to do – and have succeeded in doing so; it was a huge success, I’d say – is to create a four-month bridge during which we achieve the following:
First, the cancelation of the recessionary measures and the implementation of a transitional program we ourselves have made, one the Greek society will be able to withstand. This will help us negotiate during this four-month period a new contract between us and our partners with the goal of solving this system of three equations with three unknowns.
Hatzinikolaou: Thus, we are talking about a new Memorandum? ….
Varoufakis: OK. Let us be careful with the words. What does the Memorandum mean? … Let me remind you of what it comprises. It comprises the logic of continuous domestic [or internal] devaluation, of huge primary surpluses in an economy that does not have a real credit system, where investments are negative, and at the same time where we have a series of measures that empower this recession. This is the MoU. It is the automation, the a-politicization, and the subjection to the crisis.” (“The juicy interview of Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis“, Greek Analyst)
Varoufakis appears to be saying that, in his view, the new agreement constitutes a rejection of the memorandum and, thus, is a de facto repudiation of austerity. The question is whether Varoufakis is stretching the facts to give himself greater latitude to relieve Greece’s humanitarian crisis and to put Greece back on a sound path to growth. While those are worthy goals, they are not likely to win the Eurogroup’s support. Check out this excerpt from a letter from the IMF to Dijsselbloem concerning the vagueness of Varoufakis’s reform package:
“In quite a few areas, however, including perhaps the most important ones, the letter is not conveying clear assurances that the Government intends to undertake the reforms envisaged in the Memorandum on Economic and Financial Policies. We note in particular that there are neither clear commitments to design the envisaged comprehensive pension and VAT policy reforms, nor unequivocal undertakings to continue already-agreed policies for opening up closed sectors, for administrative reforms, for privatization, and for labor market reforms. As you know, we consider such commitments and undertakings to be critical for Greece’s ability to meet the basic objectives of its Fund-supported program, which is why these are the areas subject to most of the structural benchmarks agreed with the Fund.” (Excerpt IMF letter posted at Naked capitalism)
Repeat: “We consider such commitments and undertakings to be critical for Greece’s ability to meet the basic objectives of its Fund-supported program.” In other words, Greece should not expect to get its loan extension unless it follows the troika’s explicit orders on pensions, VAT (sales taxes), government cutbacks, privatization and labor market reforms.
So, what is Varoufakis’s approach to these benchmarks?
Let’s take a look at pension reform. In an interview with CNBC’s Julia Chatterley on Tuesday, Chatterley asked Varoufakis point blank, “So you’re ruling out pension cuts?”
Varoufakis: “Of course over the next four months there will be no such thing.” (CNBC)
How about raising the VAT tax?
Same thing. And in the interview on REAL FM Varoufakis covered the other policies that the troika sees as “critical”. Listen to this exchange:
Hatzinikolaou: My fundamental question about the e-mail is whether or not it entails layoffs in the public sector …, if it entails pension reductions … if it entails wage reductions?
Varoufakis: I will answer to all these questions, since these are very specific questions, and it is best that we speak forthrightly. My answer to all of these questions is NO, in NO WAY.”
Let’s summarize: No pension cuts, no higher VAT taxes, no lower wages for public workers, and no layoffs. While I admire what Varoufakis is suggesting, I can’t figure out how he’s going to convince the troika to give him more money. Apparently, he thinks that streamlining the government and aggressively pursuing tax cheats will do the trick. Or maybe he has something else up his sleeve, like ignoring the terms of the agreement long enough to generate growth in the economy, lower unemployment, and create an improved environment for foreign investment. He might think that that will force the troika to acknowledge that austerity has failed and that pro-growth Keynesian strategies actually produce positive results. Of course, that’s just a guess on my part. It’s impossible to know for sure.
Here’s more of the interview with CNBC:
Varoufakis: “The reason why we have this 4 month period is to re-establish bonds of trust between us and our European partners as well as the IMF in order to build a new, we call it, contract between us and our partners so as to put an end to this spiral, the debt inflationary spiral; reform Greece; and make sure that CNBC doesn’t care about Greece anymore, because we don’t want to be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.” (“CNBC Exclusive Interview: Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis“, CNBC)
The “bonds of trust” are going to put to the test if Varoufakis doesn’t comply with the troika’s diktats, that’s for sure.
Varoufakis assumes that the troika doesn’t understand the impact of its belt-tightening policies. He seems to think that the punishment that’s being inflicted on Greece is just the unfortunate byproduct of debt reduction policy and not a deliberate attempt to crush the unions, roll back progressive reforms, decimate the welfare state, and reduce the country to a condition of “permanent colonial dependency.” But that viewpoint is shockingly naïve, after all, the IMF has been in the looting biz for a long time and has a pretty good grasp of the effects its toxic policies. They know what they’re doing, just like know that austerity is just a refinement of the “shock doctrine” which is the traditional way the elites exploit crises by imposing harsh, economy-demolishing reforms that only benefit themselves and their class. The men who conjure up these thieving schemes aren’t likely to be hoodwinked by Varoufakis’s vague reforms. They’re going to force Varoufakis to jump through all their respective hoops before he gets one dime of their precious money. Here’s Varoufakis again:
“There is going to be a great deal of toing and froing between us and the institutions and our partners but what we have established through stubborn refusal to succumb to the notion that elections change nothing over the past couple of months or weeks I should say is the notion that this government deserves to have a degree of room for policy-making that allows us to reform Greece and to carry the great multitude out there with us. This is the government for the first time in Greece that has the people behind it and it would be a terrible waste not just for us but for our partners to allow this wave of support to dissipate through non-action.” (CNBC)
Does Varoufakis really think he can pull this off? Does he really think he can out-fox the slimy, authoritarian brigands and leg-breakers who run these extortionist institutions and who will use every means possible to extract the last drop of blood from their victim be he an aspiring, but penniless student at the university or a destitute pensioner huddling homeless and frozen in an abandoned doorway in downtown Athens?
This isn’t going to end well. Varoufakis had one card to play–the threat of leaving the Euro–and he failed to play it. Now his leverage is gone and the roof is about to cave in. Just wait and see.
The troika isn’t going to convene another dreary round of negotiations to rehash the same old nonsense. Those days are over. They’re simply going to withhold the money, curtail liquidity assistance, and torpedo the Greek banking system. Kaboom! That’s the way this thing is going to go down. The mood among the EZ finance ministers has soured considerably since the last meeting. They want to put this whole thing behind them. They’re sick of it. They want closure. They’re not going to quibble over issues they’ve already gone over and clarified a million times. Varoufakis will either have to get with the program or face the consequences. That’s the way it works in Mafia-land; you either pay the piper or you find yourself in the East River in cement booties.
Who knows: maybe this is what Varoufakis wanted from the beginning, a ferocious clash ending in banishment, a Grexit. Well, he won’t have to wait long now.
Back in the day, I was always trying to fly off to report on international combat hot-spots like Iraq and Afghanistan — always hoping that if the American people back home read my horror-stories of war, they too would somehow become war-resisters and that my stories of brutal, grim and unjustified death in far-away places might even help escalate a strong anti-war movement here at home, one that would finally stop the heartless killing of women and children by American tanks, rockets and drones. But now? Now I’m thinking that I should be doing something even more important than traveling to combat zones far away — that I, like some modern-day Jonah, should actually be going down into the belly of the American beast itself instead.
Plus it’s always cheaper to go to North Carolina or Washington DC or St Louis than to go off to Syria, Gaza, Haiti or Ukraine.
The main question that I would be asking in these particular American war zones, however, would be, “What makes America tick?”
What has made us become the most dreaded and hated country in the world — a country that has more weapons and more money to spend on weapons than any other country anywhere, ever? What gives us the right to call ourselves “patriotic” and “brave” and “democratic” when, in reality, it is America that has killed, maimed, tortured and mutilated millions of people all over the world — and trampled any survivors’ chances and their children’s chances of ever ever having a decent life again.
Why do Americans support dictators in Ukraine, Palestine, Honduras, Congo, etc. with such enthusiastic glee? And also why do Americans applaud so loudly when elections here at home are stolen and our infrastructure and school systems die and “Christianity” becomes just another excuse to kill, rape, torture and maim God’s children both at home and abroad?
And what makes Americans bitch and complain so much about what ISIS is doing in Iraq and Syria — when what Americans have done there in the past and are doing there right now is so much much much worse? ISIS fanatics behead hundreds of people. American troops level whole cities and leave them contaminated with radioactive detritus that will kill children and other living things there for the next 500 years.
Why are Americans so set against preventing nuclear holocausts both at home and abroad? Why do Americans cheer and get all teary-eyed and proud when our cops turn into robo-cops and spray peaceful protesters with tear gas? And then actually buy tickets to go see women tortured?
“What makes Americans tick?” I need to know what is going on right here in America before I can possibly understand what the freak is going on in all those American-financed war zones throughout the rest of the world.
So here’s my plan. I’m going to go out and see America first. Ukraine and Gaza and Baghdad will just have to wait — while I, like Jonah, go deep into the belly of the American beast instead.
Despite all the nightmares I have seen in the last decades, I continue to be an idealist and to dream of a better world, a world that Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad would be proud of. Most Americans, however, apparently dream of cruelty, torture, injustice and ruling the world vicariously.
We are the protagonists of our own dreams.
Americans (and all other human beings too for that matter) need to finally learn that it is far better to die with love in our hearts than to live with hatred in our eyes, fear in our guts and evil in our souls.
PS: A Manhattan jury just awarded a $218.5 million verdict against the Palestinian Authority for damages done to Israelis with American citizenship by Palestinian suicide bombers. Do you know what this means? A new precedence has just been set. A new Pandora’s box has just been opened.
From now on, relatives of Americans killed in any foreign country, not just Israel, can also use American courts to get recompense for damages done by acts of “terrorism” on American citizens abroad!
For instance, if any Chilean-Americans were killed in the CIA coup against Allende in Chile, their relatives can now sue Henry Kissinger in American courts — but of course they will have to stand in line behind the relatives of any Cambodian-Americans killed by him.
And what about the bunches and groups of Palestinian-Americans, Yemeni-Americans, Iraqi-Americans, Syrian-Americans, Ukrainian-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, Somali-Americans, Haitian-Americans, etc. who have been killed by American tanks, rockets and drones?
America? You can no longer pretend to not know what you are doing. See ya in court!
Some things not to forget, which the new Greek leaders have not…
American historian D.F. Fleming, writing of the post-World War II period in his eminent history of the Cold War, stated that “Greece was the first of the liberated states to be openly and forcibly compelled to accept the political system of the occupying Great Power. It was Churchill who acted first and Stalin who followed his example, in Bulgaria and then in Rumania, though with less bloodshed.”
The British intervened in Greece while World War II was still raging. His Majesty’s Army waged war against ELAS, the left-wing guerrillas who had played a major role in forcing the Nazi occupiers to flee. Shortly after the war ended, the United States joined the Brits in this great anti-communist crusade, intervening in what was now a civil war, taking the side of the neo-fascists against the Greek left. The neo-fascists won and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a suitably repressive internal security agency (KYP in Greek).
In 1964, the liberal George Papandreou came to power, but in April 1967 a military coup took place, just before elections which appeared certain to bring Papandreou back as prime minister. The coup had been a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek military, the KYP, the CIA, and the American military stationed in Greece, and was followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month. This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a “communist takeover”. Torture, inflicted in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States, became routine.
George Papandreou was not any kind of radical. He was a liberal anti-communist type. But his son Andreas, the heir-apparent, while only a little to the left of his father, had not disguised his wish to take Greece out of the Cold War, and had questioned remaining in NATO, or at least as a satellite of the United States.
Andreas Papandreou was arrested at the time of the coup and held in prison for eight months. Shortly after his release, he and his wife Margaret visited the American ambassador, Phillips Talbot, in Athens. Papandreou later related the following:
I asked Talbot whether America could have intervened the night of the coup, to prevent the death of democracy in Greece. He denied that they could have done anything about it. Then Margaret asked a critical question: What if the coup had been a Communist or a Leftist coup? Talbot answered without hesitation. Then, of course, they would have intervened, and they would have crushed the coup.
Another charming chapter in US-Greek relations occurred in 2001, when Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street Goliath Lowlife, secretly helped Greece keep billions of dollars of debt off their balance sheet through the use of complex financial instruments like credit default swaps. This allowed Greece to meet the baseline requirements to enter the Eurozone in the first place. But it also helped create a debt bubble that would later explode and bring about the current economic crisis that’s drowning the entire continent. Goldman Sachs, however, using its insider knowledge of its Greek client, protected itself from this debt bubble by betting against Greek bonds, expecting that they would eventually fail.
Will the United States, Germany, the rest of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund – collectively constituting the International Mafia – allow the new Greek leaders of the Syriza party to dictate the conditions of Greece’s rescue and salvation? The answer at the moment is a decided “No”. The fact that Syriza leaders, for some time, have made no secret of their affinity for Russia is reason enough to seal their fate. They should have known how the Cold War works.
I believe Syriza is sincere, and I’m rooting for them, but they may have overestimated their own strength, while forgetting how the Mafia came to occupy its position; it didn’t derive from a lot of compromise with left-wing upstarts. Greece may have no choice, eventually, but to default on its debts and leave the Eurozone. The hunger and unemployment of the Greek people may leave them no alternative.
The Twilight Zone of the US State Department
“You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop … the Twilight Zone.” (American Television series, 1959-1965)
State Department Daily Press Briefing, February 13, 2015. Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, questioned by Matthew Lee of The Associated Press.
Lee: President Maduro [of Venezuela] last night went on the air and said that they had arrested multiple people who were allegedly behind a coup that was backed by the United States. What is your response?
Psaki: These latest accusations, like all previous such accusations, are ludicrous. As a matter of longstanding policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful, and legal. We have seen many times that the Venezuelan Government tries to distract from its own actions by blaming the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela. These efforts reflect a lack of seriousness on the part of the Venezuelan Government to deal with the grave situation it faces.
Lee: Sorry. The US has – whoa, whoa, whoa – the US has a longstanding practice of not promoting – What did you say? How longstanding is that? I would – in particular in South and Latin America, that is not a longstanding practice.
Psaki: Well, my point here, Matt, without getting into history –
Lee: Not in this case.
Psaki: – is that we do not support, we have no involvement with, and these are ludicrous accusations.
Lee: In this specific case.
Lee: But if you go back not that long ago, during your lifetime, even – (laughter)
Psaki: The last 21 years. (Laughter.)
Lee: Well done. Touché. But I mean, does “longstanding” mean 10 years in this case? I mean, what is –
Psaki: Matt, my intention was to speak to the specific reports.
Lee: I understand, but you said it’s a longstanding US practice, and I’m not so sure – it depends on what your definition of “longstanding” is.
Psaki: We will – okay.
Lee: Recently in Kyiv, whatever we say about Ukraine, whatever, the change of government at the beginning of last year was unconstitutional, and you supported it. The constitution was –
Psaki: That is also ludicrous, I would say.
Lee: – not observed.
Psaki: That is not accurate, nor is it with the history of the facts that happened at the time.
Lee: The history of the facts. How was it constitutional?
Psaki: Well, I don’t think I need to go through the history here, but since you gave me the opportunity –- as you know, the former leader of Ukraine left of his own accord.
Leaving the Twilight Zone … The former Ukrainian leader ran for his life from those who had staged the coup, including a mob of vicious US-supported neo-Nazis.
If you know how to contact Ms. Psaki, tell her to have a look at my list of more than 50 governments the United States has attempted to overthrow since the end of the Second World War. None of the attempts were democratic, constitutional, peaceful, or legal; well, a few were non-violent.
The ideology of the American media is that it believes that it doesn’t have any ideology
So NBC’s evening news anchor, Brian Williams, has been caught telling untruths about various events in recent years. What could be worse for a reporter? How about not knowing what’s going on in the world? In your own country? At your own employer? As a case in point I give you Williams’ rival, Scott Pelley, evening news anchor at CBS.
In August 2002, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told American newscaster Dan Rather on CBS: “We do not possess any nuclear or biological or chemical weapons.”
In December, Aziz stated to Ted Koppel on ABC: “The fact is that we don’t have weapons of mass destruction. We don’t have chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry.”
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein himself told CBS’s Rather in February 2003: “These missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations [as to range] in Iraq. They are no longer there.”
Moreover, Gen. Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq’s secret weapons program, and a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, told the UN in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its banned missiles and chemical and biological weapons soon after the Persian Gulf War of 1991.
There are yet other examples of Iraqi officials telling the world, before the 2003 American invasion, that the WMD were non-existent.
Enter Scott Pelley. In January 2008, as a CBS reporter, Pelley interviewed FBI agent George Piro, who had interviewed Saddam Hussein before he was executed:
PELLEY: And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?
PIRO: He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the ’90s, and those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.
PELLEY: He had ordered them destroyed?
PELLEY: So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk? Why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?
For a journalist there might actually be something as bad as not knowing what’s going on in his area of news coverage, even on his own station. After Brian Williams’ fall from grace, his former boss at NBC, Bob Wright, defended Williams by pointing to his favorable coverage of the military, saying: “He has been the strongest supporter of the military of any of the news players. He never comes back with negative stories, he wouldn’t question if we’re spending too much.”
I think it’s safe to say that members of the American mainstream media are not embarrassed by such a “compliment”.
In his acceptance speech for the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, Harold Pinter made the following observation:
Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.
But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognized as crimes at all.
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.
Cuba made simple
“The trade embargo can be fully lifted only through legislation – unless Cuba forms a democracy, in which case the president can lift it.”
Aha! So that’s the problem, according to a Washington Post columnist – Cuba is not a democracy! That would explain why the United States does not maintain an embargo against Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt and other distinguished pillars of freedom. The mainstream media routinely refer to Cuba as a dictatorship. Why is it not uncommon even for people on the left to do the same? I think that many of the latter do so in the belief that to say otherwise runs the risk of not being taken seriously, largely a vestige of the Cold War when Communists all over the world were ridiculed for blindly following Moscow’s party line. But what does Cuba do or lack that makes it a dictatorship?
No “free press”? Apart from the question of how free Western media is, if that’s to be the standard, what would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control almost all the media worth owning or controlling?
Is it “free elections” that Cuba lacks? They regularly have elections at municipal, regional and national levels. (They do not have direct election of the president, but neither do Germany or the United Kingdom and many other countries). Money plays virtually no role in these elections; neither does party politics, including the Communist Party, since candidates run as individuals. Again, what is the standard by which Cuban elections are to be judged? Is it that they don’t have the Koch Brothers to pour in a billion dollars? Most Americans, if they gave it any thought, might find it difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic election, without great concentrations of corporate money, would look like, or how it would operate. Would Ralph Nader finally be able to get on all 50 state ballots, take part in national television debates, and be able to match the two monopoly parties in media advertising? If that were the case, I think he’d probably win; which is why it’s not the case.
Or perhaps what Cuba lacks is our marvelous “electoral college” system, where the presidential candidate with the most votes is not necessarily the winner. If we really think this system is a good example of democracy why don’t we use it for local and state elections as well?
Is Cuba not a democracy because it arrests dissidents? Many thousands of anti-war and other protesters have been arrested in the United States in recent years, as in every period in American history. During the Occupy Movement two years ago more than 7,000 people were arrested, many beaten by police and mistreated while in custody. And remember: The United States is to the Cuban government like al Qaeda is to Washington, only much more powerful and much closer; virtually without exception, Cuban dissidents have been financed by and aided in other ways by the United States.
Would Washington ignore a group of Americans receiving funds from al Qaeda and engaging in repeated meetings with known members of that organization? In recent years the United States has arrested a great many people in the US and abroad solely on the basis of alleged ties to al Qaeda, with a lot less evidence to go by than Cuba has had with its dissidents’ ties to the United States. Virtually all of Cuba’s “political prisoners” are such dissidents. While others may call Cuba’s security policies dictatorship, I call it self-defense.
The Ministry of Propaganda has a new Commissar
Last month Andrew Lack became chief executive of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees US government-supported international news media such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Asia. In a New York Times interview, Mr. Lack was moved to allow the following to escape his mouth: “We are facing a number of challenges from entities like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East and groups like Boko Haram.”
So … this former president of NBC News conflates Russia Today (RT) with the two most despicable groups of “human beings” on the planet. Do mainstream media executives sometimes wonder why so many of their audience has drifted to alternative media, like, for example, RT?
Those of you who have not yet discovered RT, I suggest you go to RT.com to see whether it’s available in your city. And there are no commercials.
It should be noted that the Times interviewer, Ron Nixon, expressed no surprise at Lack’s remark.
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II, chapters 3 and 35
- “Greek Debt Crisis: How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt”, Spiegel Online (Germany), February 8, 2010. Google “Goldman Sachs” Greece for other references.
- U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing, February 13, 2015
- Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List
- CBS Evening News, August 20, 2002
- ABC Nightline, December 4, 2002
- “60 Minutes II”, February 26, 2003
- Washington Post, March 1, 2003
- “60 Minutes”, January 27, 2008
- Democracy Now!, February 12, 2015, Wright statement made February 10
- Al Kamen, Washington Post, February 18, 2015
- Huffington Post, May 3, 2012
- New York Times, January 21, 2015
“Though it’s happening to a stricken country, on the edge of Europe, the choices presented to Greece are being understood throughout Europe… Obey or leave.”
— Paul Mason, Channel 4 News Blog
It’s not easy to negotiate with a gun to your head. Nevertheless, that’s the situation Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis found himself in on Friday preceding a crucial meeting with the Eurogroup. According to one report, the objective of the last-ditch confab “was to prepare a consensus text that would be the basis for the discussion” with the EU’s finance ministers. That might sound innocent enough, but it doesn’t come close to explaining the real purpose of the meeting which was far more sinister. Check out this blurb from Costas Efimeros at the Press Project:
“According to a Greek official who doesn’t want to be named, the Greek delegation were yesterday subject to outright blackmail. Our ‘partners’ informed us that if Eurogroup doesn’t result in an agreement, on Tuesday the Greek government will be forced to implement capital controls. It seemed that they had taken the decision to strangle the Greek economy by cutting off funding to the banks through the ELA system. Furthermore, it seemed that the big Greek banks already knew this. Leaks from the ECB, after all, had suggested that they were preparing for a GREXIT.” (“Europe trashed democracy“, Costas Efimeros, The Press Project)
It’s nice to know that EU leaders ascribe to the same basic moral code as Don Corleone, isn’t it?
The fact is, a slow motion bank run has been underway in Greece for more than a month draining roughly 40 billion euros from the Greek banking system. If a deal hadn’t been struck on Friday, the ECB would have pulled the plug on its liquidity assistance program and blown the whole system to kingdom come. That’s how the Eurocrats planned to say goodbye to their long-struggling member, Greece, by giving them a sharp jolt to the groin before razing their economy to the ground. That tells you everything you need to know about the Eurogroup.
If Greece got the boot on Friday, it’s humanitarian crisis would have deepened overnight while the blow to the capital markets would have paved the way for another financial crisis. Fortunately, the catastrophe was averted mainly because Varoufakis was able to cobble together a viable plan for meeting the Eurogroup’s basic requirements while creating significant opportunities to ease conditions in Greece. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a perfect deal by any stretch, but it is the best deal that could have been reached given the circumstances and the unbridled hostility from German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who was eager to scuttle the whole project and throw Greece to the wolves. Varoufakis managed to out maneuver the irascible Schaeuble and get some of what he wanted, but only through stiff-necked resolve and significant compromise. As a result, Greece is still a member of the Eurozone, but just barely. A rejection of its reform package today (Monday) could push the beleaguered country out of the 19-member Union for good.
Keep in mind, the Eurogroup made it perfectly clear from the beginning that they weren’t going to restructure Greece’s debts or end the austerity program. The issues weren’t even on the table. So, those who think that Varoufakis should have given the Eurogroup an ultimatum (“Reduce our debts or we’ll leave.”) simply don’t understand the nature of the negotiations. Varoufakis was forced to operate within very strict parameters. Given those limitations, he nabbed a very respectable deal. Even so, it’s only natural for people to feel let-down, especially since Syriza had promised much more than they could deliver. But that doesn’t mean Varoufakis is a traitor or a sellout. Not at all. It merely means that Syriza’s belief that it could end austerity but keep Greece in the Eurozone proved to be unfounded. In fact, German opposition has made it nearly impossible. The larger point is this: Syriza had no mandate to spearhead a Grexit. That is not what the people voted for or what they want. Varoufakis’s was asked to do the impossible, square the circle. In that regard, he failed. But still, the deal he hammered out should mitigate Greece’s slump to some extent, although one should not expect a full-blown economic recovery, not without a healthy dose of fiscal stimulus which is nowhere in sight.
Varoufakis managed to change the terms of the deal which is now referred to as the “existing arrangement” rather than a “program”. According to Norbert Haring, this new “arrangement”…”is not a “technical” extension of the “program” any more, but an extension of the funding arrangement, plus vague conditionality.” (“Was it worth it? Concessions to Greece relative to the rejected draft of 16 February“, Nobert Haring)
It all sounds very tedious and legalistic, but the change is significant. You see, the real fight between Varoufakis and the Eurogroup was over this precise issue, that is, changing the inflexible, ironclad austerity “program” into a looser “arrangement” where polices can be altered via–what Varoufakis dubbed –“constructive ambiguity.” Varoufakis objective is to create enough gray area for Greece to regain sovereign control over its own economic policies. Constructive ambiguity will help to achieve that, provided the reforms meet the Eurogroup’s fiscal targets.
Here’s more from Haring’s post: “There is no mention any more of “successful conclusion of the program”, nor of “program” in the text. Instead a successful conclusion of the review of the “conditions in the current arrangement” is the new condition. This allows the Greek government to continue to say that the old program cannot be successful. It also allows for changes in the program, as “conditions of the arrangement” is deliberately more vague.” (“Was it worth it? Concessions to Greece relative to the rejected draft of 16 February”, Nobert Haring)
This isn’t just legal claptrap. It’s a critical change in the way the policy is implemented. Once again, Varoufakis has loosened the financial straitjacket in which Greece finds itself, which can only be seen as progress.
The new deal also allows Greece to decide its own reform package rather than the troika dictating what government expenses to cut or which publicly owned assets to sell. Here’s another excerpt from Haring’s post: “Most important change of the whole document: Addition of “The institutions will, for the 2015 primary surplus target, take the economic circumstances in 2015 into account.” Excessive, self-defeating austerity is off. Only the target for 2015 is mentioned, because everything further out would have to be part of a new arrangement, still to be negotiated.”
So Varoufakis has achieved his goal of reducing austerity. Not only is there greater flexibility operationally but, also, Greece will control the levers of decision-making in the “field of tax policy, privatisation, labour market reforms, financial sector, and pensions”. Naturally, the lower the primary surplus, the more fiscal stimulus is available for economic growth. (Running a surplus during a depression is absolute madness, but this is the lousy hand Varoufakis was dealt.)
Haring’s final comments are a good summary of Varoufakis’s achievement:
“Was it worth the hassle to reject the draft of 16 February, just to accept the statement four days later? For Athens it most certainly was. It got the promise that no self-defeating, excessive austerity would be asked of it any more, the assurance that it could devise its own economic and social policies, as long as they did not impact negatively on the interests of its partners, rather than having to execute and leaving in place all the measures accepted by the former government and strongly rejected by the people. These are huge improvements for Athens, with no significant counterbalancing downside compared to 16 February.” (“Was it worth it? Concessions to Greece relative to the rejected draft of 16 February”, Nobert Haring)
Clearly, this is a good deal for Greece, but let’s not go overboard; the basic situation still stinks to high heaven, mainly because the Eurogroup would rather lecture and punish than give a struggling member a helping hand. Had the Eurozone evolved into a viable political union that distributed fiscal transfers to the weaker states on the periphery, Greece would have emerged from its recession years ago. Instead, the fiasco drags on endlessly punctuated by infrequent outbursts from EU leaders who vehemently defend belt-tightening measures that have only made matters worse. If anything, this experience should help the Greek people decide whether there’s a future for them and their children in the Eurozone or not. Dealing with authoritarian boneheads (The Eurogroup) may eventually prove to be more trouble than its worth. (A Grexit looks better by the day!)
As for Varoufakis, well, he passed the finance minister’s test with flying colors. He distinguished himself as a capable horse trader and managed to squeeze more concessions out of the EU’s austerity-obsessed representatives than anyone thought possible. The man proved that he’s neither a “sell out” or a “traitor”.(as some claim.) Quite the contrary, he kept his word and did exactly what the Greek people asked of him.
At the very least, he deserves credit for a valiant effort.
When the Negotium essay, Long History of HSBC Money Laundering was written over two years ago, one might think that the Banksters would look to take a lower profile. Forget about it, when you are part of a made criminal syndicate you never have to serve time, just say you are sorry. Bloomberg reports, the “HSBC Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver offered “sincerest apologies” following fresh details of how the bank’s Swiss unit helped customers evade taxes.”
The Forbes column, ‘Corporate Governance Is The Very Essence Of A Business’ presents a half hearted public relations spin from the notorious bank for Drug, Inc.
“As part of its response to the revelations HSBC said: “We acknowledge that the compliance culture and standards of due diligence in HSBC’s Swiss private bank, as well as the industry in general, were significantly lower than they are today. At the same time, HSBC was run in a more federated way than it is today and decisions were frequently taken at a country level.”
The most chilling feature of the laborious research into the HSBC files is the documentation of the knowing wrong-doing perpetrated by managers at various levels throughout the bank – and the flippancy with which it was undertaken. From ‘code names’ for clients to widespread collusion, it is clear there is complete contempt for the law.”
Arrogance in spades is how the world’s number two bank operates. Another example provided by Tom Heneghan, who professes to be an International Intelligence Expert, cites the following.
“Alibaba previously was de-listed on the Hong Kong Exchange for dealing in fraud with the Hong Kong branch of noted bank HSBC.
Alibaba is then simultaneously operating a foreign currency money laundry and ponzi scheme tied once again to HSBC.”
The bigger the money the greater the chance you have for just minor pin pricks and fines that are all part of the pay off cycle of international banking.
When it comes to inventing clandestine methods for money laundering, look to the masters in the City of London to perfect the art of double talk. The BBC account, HSBC whistleblower’s email to HMRC uncovered, states:
“An email which the whistleblower at the centre of an HSBC tax scandal says he sent to HM Revenue and Customs in 2008 has been uncovered by a French newspaper.
The UK tax authority has been under fire from MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, who accused tax officials of failing to deal with the matter adequately and ignoring Mr Falciani’s 2008 email.”
No surprise that a years old complaint gets pushed under the rug. HSBC is too big to fail and pays for protections in all the right places.
Reuters adds more accelerants to the firestorm, but the odds that this scandal will suck up all the oxygen to build into an inferno are slim.
“Other countries are already taking action against HSBC based on data leaked by Falciani and previously obtained by tax authorities. In November Argentina charged the bank with helping more than 4,000 clients evade taxes. HSBC Argentina rejected the charge, saying it respected Argentine law.”
Hey, the motive to avoid paying taxes is well understood. However, facilitating criminal enterprises under the banner of a fiduciary banking institution crosses the line. The Guardian provides the following in HSBC files: Swiss bank hid money for suspected criminals.
“HSBC also held assets for bankers accused of looting funds from former Soviet states, while alleged crimes by other account holders include bribery at Malta’s state oil company, cocaine smuggling from the Dominican Republic and the doping of professional cyclists in Spain.
The Swiss bank also held accounts for “politically exposed people” – defined as senior political figures or their relatives at heightened risk of involvement in corruption, money laundering, or avoiding international sanctions – with little evidence of any extra scrutiny of their activities.”
OK, what is the point of citing more horror stories, by now you get the drill that the Globalist interdependent financial extortion system needs a mechanism to keep all the pay offs and ill-gotten gains circulating. The history of HSBC is a case study of all that global corporatists has wrought on the planet.
Governments won’t even investigate credible complaints, enact necessary structural oversight and accountability processes, and certainly will not jail the kingpins who flaunt their untouchable status.
Repeating this saga using different circumstances never gets down to the level of approaching solutions. Without a universal outcry against the transnational banking model and the creation of regional and local alternative banking, the big banks will just keep getting larger and more autonomous and above national sovereignty.
What governments these banking house monopolies do not control, matter little in the larger scheme of finance. HSBC along with Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan may be the posters boys of the Banksters cabal, but you will never see their executive faces on a most wanted poster.
Last year Hang the Bankers published 48 suspicious banking deaths asks.
“With the global financial system heading towards a major crash in the near future are these people buckling under the pressure of what they see coming or are they being silenced because of what they know?”
Attempting to answer this question will take insider information of scores of Falciani whistleblowers. Or more probably, those who are considering joining the ranks of informers may well become part of the growing list of the deceased.
For those who doubt the shadow history of debt created banking, watch the video The Rothschild Family – Puppet Masters – World’s Only Trillionaires – Full Documentary on the BREAKING ALL THE RULES You Tube Channel, subscribe for future updates.
What people must come to understand is that banking is not really about making money. It uses the fractional reserve and current zero interest rates to further their political influence over nations to achieve global governance. They are the true outlaws, in Armani suits. HSBC just happens to have a longer experience with global thievery than most
The “Exceptional” U.S. Suffers Crushing Defeat in Debaltsevo…
“There’s no city left. It’s destroyed.”
— Anonymous Ukrainian soldier following the battle of Debaltsevo
In less than a year, the United States has toppled the democratically-elected government of Ukraine, installed a Washington-backed stooge in Kiev, launched a bloody and costly war of annihilation on Russian-speaking people in the East, thrust the economy into a downward death spiral, and reduced the nation to an anarchic, failed state destined to endure a vicious fratricidal civil war for as far as the eye can see.
Last week, Washington suffered its greatest military defeat in more than a decade when Ukraine’s US-backed army was soundly routed in the major railway hub of Debaltsevo. Roughly, 8,000 Ukrainian regulars along with untold numbers of tanks and armored units were surrounded in what-came-to-be-known-as “the cauldron.” The army of the Donetsk Peoples Republic led by DPR commander Alexander Zakharchenko, encircled the invading army and gradually tightened the cordon, eventually killing or capturing most of the troops within the pocket. The Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered major casualties ranging between 3,000 to 3,500 while a vast amount of lethal military hardware was left behind.
According to Zakharchenko, “The amount of equipment Ukrainian units have lost here is beyond description.”
Additionally, the US-backed proxy-army saw many of its crack troops and top-notch units destroyed in the fighting leaving Kiev unable to continue the war without assistance from allies in the US or Europe. The full impact of the defeat will not be known until angry troops returning from the front amass on the streets of the Capital and demand Petro Poroshenko’s resignation. The Ukrainian President is responsible for the massacre at Debaltsevo. He was fully aware that his army faced encirclement but ordered them to remain in order to satisfy powerful right-wing elements in his government. The disaster is even more terrible due to the fact that it was entirely avoidable and achieved no strategic purpose at all. Extreme hubris frequently impacts outcomes on the battlefield. This was the case at Debaltsevo.
The debacle ensures that the bumbling president’s days are numbered. It’s nearly certain that he will either be replaced or hanged sometime in weeks ahead. He has already flown his family to safety out of the country, and there’s growing speculation that both Washington and the far-right nationalists who occupy the Security Services will insist on his removal. That paves the way for a second Ukrainian coup in less than a year, a grim reminder of the tragic failings of US policy in Ukraine. Check out this blurb from a post at the Vineyard of the Saker:
“Looks like the Nazi death squads are on the march again, this time they are looking at Kiev. Thirteen death-squad (aka “volunteer battalion”) leaders have now declared that they are forming their own military command under the command of the notorious Semen Semenchenko. Officially, they are not in any way opposed to the current regime, so said Semenchenko, but in reality their rank and file members are pretty clear about what they want to do: organize a third Maidan and toss out Poroshenko.
What makes these 21st century version of the SA so dangerous for Poroshenko it that he, unlike Hitler, does not have a 21st century version of the SS to eliminate them all overnight. In fact, according to many reports the entire southern part of the rump-Ukraine is now “Kolomoiski-land” fully under the control of the oligarch who finances these death-squads. Add to this the fact that most of the Rada is composed of the very same battalion commanders and assorted Nazi freaks, and you will why Poroshenko is now very much in danger……
The sad reality is that there is simply nobody in the Ukraine capable of disarming these so-called “volunteer battalions”. There are now thousands of uniformed Nazi freaks roaming around with guns who can now impose their law of the jungle on everybody. It sure looks like the future of Banderastan will be something like a mix of Somalia and Mad Max – a failed state, a comprehensively destroyed economy, a collapsed social order and the law of armed gangs of thugs.” (The Vineyard of the Saker)
If Poroshenko is doomed to be the scapegoat in the Debaltsevo cock-up, it’s only because he followed the foolhardy advice of his Washington paymasters. Had he listened to his military advisors instead, he probably would have withdrawn his troops earlier and spared himself a Gadhafi-like demise. Now, that’s probably no longer possible.
Poroshenko’s desperation has led to an appeal to western allies and the United Nations for the deployment of a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. The request is an admission of defeat and has no chance of being implemented, mainly because it violates the terms of the recent peace agreement (Minsk 2.0), but, also, because voting members on the Security Council (Russia and China) are certain to veto the idea. Clearly, Poroshenko, who is increasingly embattled and reviled, is grasping at straws hoping to avoid the same violent end he ruthlessly inflicted on so many of his countrymen. Here is a brief summary of recent events from the World Socialist Web Site:
“The debacle suffered by the Kiev regime exposes the utterly reckless and frankly stupid character of the policy pursued by Washington and its EU allies in Ukraine….
The initial attempts of the Kiev regime and its CIA backers to subjugate east Ukraine by sheer military terror, relying on fascist militias and select units of the Ukraine army that it considered to be reliable, have failed….
Nevertheless, Washington is pressing Kiev to prepare for a renewed offensive and is still discussing directly arming the Ukrainian army against Russia with US weapons….
In west Ukraine, the population is evading or resisting draft orders to obtain more cannon fodder for the east Ukraine war. At the same time, Ukraine’s economy, cut off from its main industrial base in east Ukraine and its export markets in Russia, is collapsing.
“The country is at war that they cannot afford to fight. There is no economy any longer….Gerald Celente of Trends Journal told Russia Today. “That $160 billion loss of trade with Russia has destroyed the economy, when it was already in a severe recession. It went from very bad to worse than depression levels.”
(“US-backed Kiev regime faces military debacle in east Ukraine war“, Alex Lantier, World Socialist Web Site
Washington has largely won the information war, having persuaded Congress and the American people that US policy in Ukraine is “just”, but on the ground, where it counts, Washington has encountered one catastrophic failure after another. This process will undoubtedly persist until the costs are too exorbitant to bear.