The EU continues targeting the Civilian Population of Syria with US-led sanctions while scraping the arms embargo…
Beirut - Under withering pressure from Washington and the UK, the European Union met this week to decide whether to increase the pressure on the Syrian public by repealing the March 2011 arms embargo that was intended to prohibit arms shipments to Syria and whether or not to continue economic sanctions against the Syrian public.
On 5/27/13 it decided to open the flood gate of arms flow into Syria and to keep the civilian targeting economic sanctions in place.
Lobbying for scrapping the arms embargo, set to expire at midnight on 31 May, had reached nearly historic intensity at EU HQ in Brussels, London and Washington. Recently, the US State Department demanded that every one of the 27 European Ambassadors posted in the US appear at the State Department for “consultations to avoid any misunderstandings about what the White House was expecting at the upcoming EU meeting.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry had been urging the EU to gut the arms embargo so as to expedite weapon shipments to the rebels. It currently appears that Britain now has the support of France, Italy and Spain, while Germany appears neutral and Austria, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic are still opposed. ”Fine for him to say, but what is Washington willing to do?” one European foreign minister opposed to lifting the ban put it to BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet.
This week’s EU meeting, which was postponed three months ago, raised again the obligation of the international community to respect the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Convention with respect to protecting the civilian population during armed conflicts and virtually every other international humanitarian law requirement.
For the American administration, designing and applying economic sanctions in order to pressure a population to break with its government to achieve regime change or any other political objective, as in the case of both Syria and Iran are fundamentally illegal under US law.
Just as soon as a group of Syrian-Americans and/or Iranian-American file a class action lawsuit in US Federal District Court ( the Court will have in persona and subject matter jurisdiction and the Plaintiffs will have standing to sue, given that they are American citizens) and the day after filing when they would no doubt file a Motion petitioning the Court for an Interim Measure of Protection (injunction) immediately freezing and lifting the US-led sanctions against the two countries civilian population, pending the final Court (Jury Trial) on the merits, the Obama administration is going to face serious judicial challenges to its outlawry.
William Hague, the UK Defense Minister, was quite active the past several days supporting the various Syrian militias’ arguments including: “The EU arms embargo must be lifted because the current economic sanctions regime is ineffective.” Presumably the right honorable gentleman means by “ineffective” that these brutal sanctions have not broken with will of the populations to settle their own affairs without transparent foreign interference. This is true if by “effective” Hague means that the US-led sanctions, that target Syria’s civilian population for purely political purposes of regime change, will cause the people of Syria, who unlike their leaders, are the ones directly affected by the sanctions to revolt over the lack of medicines and food stuffs plus inflation at the grocery stores,
Mr. Hague surely must be aware that very rarely, if ever at all in history, have civilian targeted sanctions designed to cause hardships among a nation’s population for purely political purposes actually broken the population such that they turned against their governments. Both the Syrian and Iranian sanctions have confirmed history’s instruction that the civilian targeting sanctions imposed from outside tend to have the exact opposite intended effect. This is true particularly modernly with more available information, and that the populations turn not against their national governments but rather against those foreign governments viewed as being responsible for these crimes.
The British, French, Turks and the Americans ( the latter, not actually an EU member but then, who would know from its involvements in EU deliberations?) were the zealots in Brussels advocating amendment of the imposed arms embargo so that weapons can be sent to “moderate” forces in these countries largely nurtured and sustained “opposition”.
The UK Defense Minister gave his colleagues repeated assurances that weapons would be supplied only “under carefully controlled circumstances” and with clear commitments from the opposition…We have to be open to every way of strengthening moderates and saving lives rather than the current trajectory of extremism and murder” have apparently convinced very few.
Unanimity was needed to repeal the embargo and several countries were opposed. So it was allowed to lapse. One Austrian official told the BBC that allowing lethal weapons to be sent into a war zone “would turn EU policy on its head.” Another European diplomat insisted that “It would be the first conflict where we pretend we could create peace by delivering arms,” the diplomat said. “If you pretend to know where the weapons will end up, then it would be the first war in history where this is possible. We have seen it in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Weapons don’t disappear; they pop up where they are needed.”
Oxfam warned before and after the vote of “devastating consequences” if the embargo ends.”There are no easy answers when trying to stop the bloodshed in Syria, but sending more arms and ammunition clearly isn’t one of them,” the aid agency’s head of arms control, Anna Macdonald told the media this week.
The result of the predicted 5/27/13 European Union meeting prevented the renewal of the arms embargo on Syria, raising the possibility of a new flow of weapons to various jihadist militias working with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among others, to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Sustaining a personal rebuke of sorts given that the EU did not affirmatively oppose the embargo as he had hoped, William Hague, the British foreign secretary, told the media after more than 12 hours of stormy talks: “While we have no immediate plans to send arms to Syria, it gives us the flexibility to respond in the future if the situation continues to deteriorate and worsen,”
As a claimed safeguard of some kind, according to EU officials, the European Union declared that member states who might wish to send weapons to Syrian rebels “shall assess the export license applications on a case-by-case basis” in line with the organization’s rules on exports of military technology and equipment.
Some of the 27 EU countries are now even more concerned that anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons given to “moderate” militiamen (per Libya?) would end up Lord knows where, in the hands of salafist, jihadist-takiferi militants, including those from the al-Nusra Front, which has pledged fealty to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The current embargo includes the following:
- Ban on export/import of arms and equipment for internal repression since May 2011
- “Non-lethal military equipment” ( there exists no such thing- all military equipment can become lethal in one way or another-ed) and technical assistance allowed under certain conditions since Feb 2013
- All Syrian cargo planes banned from EU airports
- EU states obliged to inspect Syria-bound ships or planes suspected of carrying arms
- Assets freeze on 54 groups and 179 people responsible for or involved in repression (many who are not involved in decision making and have no assets abroad are included-ed)
- Export ban on technical monitoring equipment
In February this year, EU foreign ministers agreed to enable any EU member state to provide non-lethal military equipment “for the protection of civilians” or for the opposition forces, “which the Union accepts as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people“.
Absence of a centralized command structure and massive human rights abuses by jihadist fighters asserting themselves as legitimate substitutes for the Assad government, are additional reasons for the current alarm
As is its habit recently, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic service, has spoken on both sides of this critical issue. On the one hand it has cautioned against “any counterproductive move” that could harm the prospects of the Geneva conference and suggests extending the embargo to allow “more time for reflection”. On the other suggesting that lifting the arms embargo would only prolong the war.
The practice of targeting a civilian population by outsiders in order to achieve political objectives such as regime change is fast heading for the dustbin of history given its blatant violation of all norms of international humanitarian law and common decency reflected in the values of most societies.
This week revealed on which side of history the European Union has chosen to anchor itself on the issue of targeting civilian populations in a blatant attempt to achieve regime change. It affirmatively voted “to renew all the economic sanctions already in place against the Syrian government.”
One imagines, as surely the EU is aware, that officials are not suffering much from the economic sanctions, but rather it is the exactly those the EU claims to want to help, who will continue to suffer rises in the cost of living generally as well as the sanctions causing shortages of medicines and medical equipment as well as specialized cancer treatments and other medicines for seriously ill drug-dependant citizens.
Americans take so many mood-altering and addictive pills that water supplies are being contaminated. Just ask the fish. Do the drugs in your water pose a risk to your health—and even your sobriety?
The idea that we’re being unwittingly drugged when we drink a glass of ordinary tap water smacks of dystopian science fiction or political conspiracy theory. Accusations that Communists were spiking America’s water with sedatives—under the cover of the federally instituted fluoridation program—were such a staple of Cold War–era paranoia that Stanley Kubrick satirized it in his 1964 masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove. While such fear-mongering may seem quaint, what’s truly ironic is that Americans today are consuming prescription drugs—including addictive psychoactive ones—via the water supply. Who knew?
There’s a good chance that if you live in an urban area, your tap water is laced with tiny amounts of antidepressants (mostly SSRIs like Prozac and Effexor), benzodiazepines (like Klonopin, used to reduce symptoms of substance withdrawal) and anticonvulsants (like Topomax, used to treat addiction to alcohol, nicotine, food and even cocaine and crystal meth). Such are the implications of environmental studies that have been leaking out over the past decade. Whether or not this psychoactive waste has any effect on the human nervous system remains unclear, but when such pharmaceuticals are introduced into the ecosystem, the fallout for other species is demonstrable—and potentially dire.
There’s no mystery to the way prescription medications wind up in our tap water. Whether you flush a bottle of old pills down the toilet or, more likely, excrete the remains of a daily dose (an estimated 80% isn’t broken down in our bodies), active chemicals get recycled back into reservoirs because sewage treatment plants aren’t able to filter them out. “They just fly right through,” says Michael Thomas, an associate professor of bioinformatics at Idaho State University.
Although government officials and scientists are in no rush to look into this potential threat, some environmentalists are becoming worried. In a preliminary study at the University of Idaho, fathead minnows were plunked in water spiked with a combination of SSRIs and anticonvulsants—a lab version of American tap water. After swimming in the contaminated water for 18 days, the minnows exhibited 324 genetic alterations associated with human neurological disorders, including autism.
Mutated minnows admittedly do not signal a hazard of global-warming dimensions. Yet messed-up genes are what cause disease. Studies have shown that regular doses of SSRIs can sometimes damage human DNA, most notably in sperm. The minnows offer evidence that even trace amounts of SSRIs can infiltrate DNA. For now, the implications for humans of ongoing exposure can only be extrapolated from the effects on wildlife: According to a 2008 AP investigation, trace pharmaceuticals already contaminate a wide variety of species, from algae on up to mammals.
The peculiarities of sedative-fed perch were highlighted last month in a front- page article in The New York Times. The fish had been fed trace doses of oxazepam—a benzodiazepine commonly used in Europe—over a period of two months, as part of a Swedish study. The fish exposed to the anti-anxiety medication socialized less but ate more zooplankton and swam further, behaviors with potential long-term consequences for local ecosystems. This sparked fears among environmentalists that under the influence, the fish are more susceptible to predators, which could weaken the strength of the species. Not mentioned in the Times piece is the fact that SSRIs have been detected in plankton, which are a “foundation” organism in the food chain. “It’s inescapable,” Sudeep Chandra, an associate professor of natural resources and environmental science at the University of Nevada, told the AP. “There’s enough global information now to confirm [trace pharmaceuticals] are affecting organisms and wildlife.”
“This looks like a case of hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public,” a British Parliament member charged.
This drugs-in-our-drinking-water issue has remained mostly below the radar of the government, researchers and the media. The AP chalked up the lack of focus on the issue partly to government agencies’ and nonprofits’ wariness about stoking public fear. “It’s a hard topic to talk about without creating fear in the general public,”said the Water Research Foundation’s Robert Renna.
While the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that other kinds of contaminants, such as pesticides and lead, be filtered out before our drinking water flows through a municipal tap, there remain no guidelines at all for pharmaceuticals, despite the fact that as far back as 2000, a US geological survey found low levels in 80% of the rivers and streams sampled. Nor is much funding available for even rudimentary studies of this potential public health problem.
The EPA does not even track the statistics collected by the few municipalities that do surveillance. In 2008, after surveying results from the municipalities that did test, the AP found over 50 pharmaceuticals that “could harm humans” in the water of 41 million Americans. Because most cities don’t test—and those that do generally refuse to release their findings, citing “security concerns” —the actual number of affected people is almost certainly much higher. “I think we have a lot of work to do,”said the EPA’s Benjamin Grumbles.
The problem is not restricted to the US. Over a hundred trace pharmaceuticals have been detected in waterways around the globe, from Pakistan to Finland. But the highest concentrations of drug pollution by far are here at home, where nearly half the population is on at least one prescribed medication. The 10% of Americans who take antidepressants (mostly SSRIs) accounted for 255 million scripts in 2010. With all that runoff, you might think Americans would be happier—and less addiction prone—than they are.
In Britain, where psychoactive drugs are prescribed at a fraction of US levels, a 2004 Environment Agency study cited “low-level, almost continuous discharge” of Prozac through the tap water there. Parliament member Norman Baker stated ominously, “This looks like a case of hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public.” Yet no US municipalities have done similar measurements that quantify the amount of each drug detected. It’s reasonable to assume, however, that consistent quantities of trace antidepressants flow through American taps—especially since fish collected in fresh-water bodies near several urban centers have tested positive for these contaminants.
New York City is widely believed to have the nation’s cleanest tap water, which is supplied from protected upstate reservoirs. The feds consider these reservoirs so pure that the Big Apple’s H2O is not required to be filtered. As far as is known, no official agency has tested the city’s water supply for pharmaceuticals. Yet a 2008 study by Stony Brook University found a number of sedatives and anti-depressants in upstate waterways that feed the reservoirs. A just-released study by the Citizens Campaign for the Environment found that contrary to public health guidelines, over 50% of the medical facilities in nearby Suffolk County flush their unused meds down the toilet.
Because pharmaceutical compounds make their way into the watershed itself, private wells are also affected; as for the bottled stuff, it’s no purer than most tap water because it comes from the same water sources. If prescription medications are being passed into the water supply, it follows that some illegal drugs must take the same route, although in substantially lower quantities. Sure enough, aSpanish study found cocaine in 22 of 24 random samples of that country’s tap water and an Italian study found cocaine flowing through the Po River.
The future social and ecological fallout, if any, from the drugs in our drinking water is impossible to foresee. But in the short term, within the 12-step community, the issue could have a special resonance. Many AA members believe that true sobriety requires abstinence from all mood-altering drugs, whether addictive (like benzodiazepines) or not (like antidepressants). A pamphlet issued by AA’s General Services Conference warns that it’s “generally accepted” that these meds can “threaten the maintenance of sobriety.” But given the prevalence of these substances in the water supply, it appears that you can’t even drink a glass of good, old tap water without going off the wagon. Where does that leave people who believe in a literal interpretation of the Big Book? Crossing Italy and Spain off the travel itinerary is easy enough. It may also be time, for sanity’s sake, to take another look at what “total abstinence” means.
Matt Harvey is an award-winning freelance journalist whose writing has appeared on AnimalNY.com, Black Book, the New York Post and the New York Press, among other publications. He lives in Manhattan.
Source: The Fix
Remarkably, this Ramadan holiday season in Lebanon designees from both the Shia Higher Islamic Shiites Council and the Sunni Dar el Fatwa, figuratively speaking, pointed their binoculars deep into the eastern sky and in almost unheard of unison, proclaimed that Eid al Fitr this year was to be August 19th. It was a good omen for many in Lebanon that Shia and Sunni religious leaders agreed of this important event given the internal and external forces at work to further divide the two main denominations of Islam as well as all of Lebanon by sect, confession, geography, region, tribe, clan and neighborhood.
It was also good news for Palestinians living in places like Finland which these days have approximately 20 hours per day of sunlight and many devout Muslims have very long fasts. Mercifully, a majority of Muslims far up North tend to adopt the mere sixteen hours of daylight for seyam (fasting) using Mecca hours for dawn to dusk days without, food, water, sex, or smoking as well as avoiding bad thoughts or acts of incivility as they test and renew their devotion to Islam while engaging in introspective struggle self-criticism.
During the three day Al Fitr holiday, much of Muslim Lebanon becomes less active and many businesses close including Lebanon’s largest wholesale fruit and vegetable market which borders Shatila Palestinian refugee camp. Just before closing time on Eid eve, this observer entered the vast produce market now run mainly by Shia who buy agriculture products from Bekaa Valley and southern farmers (minus one of Lebanon’s oldest and most important crops, Hashish or “ Lebanese Red Bud” as it’s known in Amsterdam smoke cafes and elsewhere). With little refrigeration, many of the wholesalers next to Shatila dumped, in time for Iftar and Eid feasts, large quantities of really fine produce at a designated corner of the ten acre market. They have been doing this for more than three years ever since the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign was lucky enough to convince the owners to dump their leftovers or soon to spoil fruit and vegetables in the southeast corner bordering Shatila camp. As a result of this charitable cross-denomination act, rather than disposing of the extra produce in dumpsters, Palestinian refugee families are given the much appreciated chance to collect free produce for their families. Every day, men women and children from Shatila camp, as well as poor Lebanese and Syrian workers can be seen climbing over and thru hewn holes in the cinderblock wall bordering Shatila and gathering really excellent produce. This basic humanitarian gesture is an example of how the Shia can, and do, reach out to the largely Sunni Palestinian community. Cross-confessional gestures such as this are among the reasons Palestinians in Lebanon support Hezbollah and the growing regional and international Resistance it leads.
Eid al Fita also coincides this year with International Quds Day which was introduced from Iran in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini and which is commemorated on the last Friday of Ramadan,expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposing Zionism and Israel’s control of Jerusalem.
In Lebanon’s refugee camps this Eid Al Fitr holiday season there is intense heat, little electricity or drinking water, and a paucity of fresh air or breeze available to the jammed populations. Ein el Helwe, the largest of Lebanon’s 12 camps which according to the most recent UNWRA statistics houses 47,500 refugees but in reality now is home to more than 100,000. They like their fellow countrymen temporarily in Lebanon, have few reasons to celebrate. The competition for breathing space has increased as the camps populations have swelled even more with refugees fleeing the violence in Syria.
This year there are fewer sweets for the children, less food, not many gifts or new clothes and few flowers to place on the graves of deceased love ones, a gesture by custom made during traditional Eid Al Fitr cemetery visits. In the tightly packed Palestinian cemeteries, of which they are only four in Lebanon, sometimes as many as five layers of bodies are buried on top of one another due to lack of space.
There is another anniversary that coincides in Lebanon this year with Eid al Fitr and with International Al Quds day but it’s no occasion for joy among the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
It is the second anniversary of the August 17, 2010 amendment to article 59 of the Lebanese Labor Law which constituted a betrayal of Palestinian refugees by Lebanese politicians. Before the vote, across the political spectrum were heard promises to enact legislation granting the elementary civil rights to work and to own a home in Lebanon. This country is the only one on earth that denies Palestinian refugees the basic right to work or even to own a home.
The legislation passed was simply a cruel hoax and has not facilitated one Palestinian refugee obtaining a job over the past 24 months. The amendment, while waiving work permit fees which were never a serious problem in obtaining a work permit, left in place numerous restrictions and catch-22 Kafqesque barriers that previously blocked Palestinians from being able to work. Parliament also left in place the racist 2001 law which outlawed any Palestinian from owning a home.
Ministers of Labor over the past two years have willfully failed to implement the new law, such as it is, by refusing the simple act of signing implementation papers. Less than two months ago a Palestinian delegation was promised yet again that a majority party in Parliament would see to it that the Minister of Labor did his job as mandated by the Lebanese constitution. Once more nothing was done. On this second anniversary of the fake “Palestinian work permit legislation” most Lebanese politicians who made so many promises to this observer and others over the past four years to comply with international and Lebanese law and grant basic civil rights to Palestinians in Lebanon remain asleep on this issue.
Nevertheless, the hope of Palestinian refugees to achieve the basic civil right to work and to own a home is not extinguished in the camps this holiday season by the impotence of Lebanon’s big talk but do nothing Parliament. One reason for hope comes from the voices of people like Miss Hiba Hajj, a Palestinian princess living in Ein el Helwe camp. This observer visited with her recently after sneaking into Ein el Helwe camp thru that smelly claustrophobic 30 inch, heavily trafficked sewer conduit at the eastern edge of the camp. The US Embassy here made crawling through the sewer line sort of obligatory for Americans wanting to visit Ein el Helwe camp ever since it directed the Lebanese Armed Force (LAF) not to grant Americans permission to enter the camp out of presumed, but misplaced, concern for their wellbeing. It was Hiba (“gift from God” in Arabic), then a youngster of 14 years, who proclaimed three years ago when she volunteered to help achieve the right to work and home ownership for “my people” as she referred to them, stated to this observer and friends: “Failure is not an option for the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, our only choice is success.” And so it remains.
While the most elementary civil rights still have not been granted, Hiba continues to inspire us all with her rapid, charismatic and at times mesmerizing speech outlining what needs to be done and how to do it to achieve dignity for her fellow refugees. This blooming seventeen year old Jean d’Arc, has zero problem smacking around, verbally at least, some of the toughest looking unkempt wannebe salafists and jahadists from the eight Islamist groups who periodically show up in Ein el Helwe. Hiba explains that she definitely wants the help of Usbat al-Ansar, who earlier this month helped resolve the traffic blocking sit-in by the controversial preacher, Sheikh Ahmad Assir in nearby Saida, but she demurs from the fictitious Jund al-Sham, or gangs who claim a spot under the imaginary loose cloak of al-Qaeda.
“I want you to do something worthwhile with your lives so we can get back to Palestine without more delay! Do you want to spend your lives in Lebanon? It’s not and will never be our country!” she scolds them as she asks for help to organize a major intifada here in Lebanon to prevent another anniversary from passing without Palestinian refugees attaining the civil rights to work and to own a home.
Hiba is encouraged this holiday season despite the failures of Lebanon’s political parties, international activists, the international community “so very concerned with humanitarian values!” as she lectures her mates, and most especially the failure to date of groups here in Lebanon including the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign to achieve our goals.
This remarkable youngster idealistically reminds her coterie of likeminded teens of last week’s words of Hezbollah’s Secretary-General who she and her friends admire, trust, and believe.
During his International Al-Quds Day speech, Hassan Nasrallah stated that Imam Khomeini`s declaration of Al-Quds Day falls within the context of a long continuum of religious and political commitment to “the sacred cause of Palestine” and that Al-Quds Day should not be simply a seasonal occasion to support the Palestinian people.
Hezbollah’s Secretary-General added,
“Unfortunately, today the suffering of the Palestinian people (Hiba thinks he also means within Lebanon’s camps) has become secondary and just ordinary news items in the Arab and Islamic world, even in the entire world which claims to be civilized, the news has become second row even late news. Today, the nation can do much for Palestine and its people. At the very least, the rulers can themselves stop blockading the Palestinians before asking them to assist in lifting the siege off the Palestinians. A Part of the blockade suffered by the Palestinian people is practiced by some Arab regimes. This embargo must be lifted and support must be submitted”.
Hiba and her friends interpreted these words to mean Hezbollah will use its power in Parliament and finally grant them the right to work in Lebanon thus delivering to them a less bleak future. Palestinians in Lebanon, and their international supporters, are acutely aware that Hezbollah still holds majority power in Parliament and will do so at least until next year’s Parliamentary elections if they are even held which to this observer appears doubtful.
Hiba particularly liked Hezbollah’s Secretary-General’s words which she quoted: “We must help the Palestinians towards this cause to uphold the right of return and to refuse any resettlement as well as to reject assimilation in any country as is happening through their forced migration to countries in Latin America, Europe, Australia and others.”
Members of Parliament who support this country granting the right to work and to own a home to Palestinians insist that if the political decision is made by the Parliamentary majority led by Hezbollah, the necessary legislation, still in the legislative hopper from two years ago, can be enacted in an afternoon.
Hiba and Hezbollah’s other supporters who share Sayed Hassan Nasrallah’s oft expressed views demanding basic human rights for Palestinians in Lebanon believe that the Resistance block will, on this 30th anniversary of the massacre at Sabra-Shatila, finally act on what the late Imam Khomeini declared was a central “moral, religious, and political” obligation of all people of good will.
Ah, Italian politics . . . This scene reminds me of my native Serbia: corruption, sleaze, scandals, cushy jobs for the boys, and dramatis personæ that changes but little from one decade to another. There’s also the same resentment at various dictates coming from the German-dominated European Union—of which Italy (unlike Serbia) is a member, but an institution many Italians now see as a hostile foreign entity.
After nine months in power, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is in trouble. His non-partisan government of technocrats was effectively appointed on orders from the European Commission last November to sort out the country’s messy finances, which his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi was deemed unable to do. Berlusconi did not put much of a fight—which he could have done—and in retrospect we can see why. Within weeks Monti had to introduce hugely unpopular emergency austerity measures intended to restore market confidence, which included raising taxes by over twenty billion Euros ($25bn), increasing retirement age (which for many civil servants was a cushy 59!), and introducing tough new measures to curb tax evasion, a national sport if there ever was one. The assumption in Rome was that a reciprocal package would be put together in Brussels (with a blessing from Berlin, of course) to allow new liquidity into Italian economy to encourage growth and restore market confidence.
This did not happen. Since last spring, Monti has grown desperate at the failure of the EU—and especially Germany—to do anything meaningful in order to ease the burden of Italy’s debt servicing. Chancellor Angela Merkel did not agree to a package of measures he’d suggested that would reduce Italy’s high borrowing costs by encouraging bailout funds to purchase Italian bonds, let alone allowing the European Central Bank do so. Italy is subsequently stuck with a crushing debt and negative growth (2.5 percent this year). Public disappointment at this failure has resulted in Monti’s popularity collapsing from over 70 percent last fall to just over 30 percent today. The Italians see that there has been no “northern” reward for debt-cutting sacrifices that have pushed the country into an ever-deepening recession.
Italy’s borrowing costs remain stubbornly high: the difference between the yields on Italian bonds and GermanBunds (which are considered the safest in the world) still hovers over 400 basis points—roughly the same as under Berlusconi. Let it be noted that each hundred points of this “spread” adds 20 billion Euros to Italy’s annual cost of debt servicing, equivalent to the entire revenue raised by unpopular new housing taxes. Monti pushed 4.5 million Euros ($5.6 billion) in extra spending cuts for 2012 through parliament earlier this month, but the markets have not responded thus far. The financial speculators now eye Italy as a hungry vulcher eyes a faltering calf.
Monti has a reputation of being the most German of Italians when it comes to fiscal responsibility and budgetary prudence. This has not been enough to offer relief. A measure of his despair is that he has appeared untypically rebellious since last June, when he forged a common anti-German front with his Spanish colleague Mariano Rajoy. The partnership—forged at the European Summit—was an effort to reject all EU decisions unless Chancellor Merkel agreed—in principle—that Eurozone bailout funds would be used to lower the borrowing costs of Italy and Spain. He knows all too well that if Spain is allowed to sink, Italy would be next. In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine earlier this month, he insisted that Italy wanted support rather than money from Germany, and pointed out (accurately) that Italy had not received a single Euro from Berlin, contrary to German perceptions. Germany was the biggest beneficiary of the Euro, he added, enjoying low interest rates, while Italy’s remained high. As an anonymous Italian official complained last week, “Countries that don’t need low interest rates get them, and those in recession are stuck with high rates.”
Monti’s claim than intra-Eurozone tensions may destroy the common currency are not without foundation. Anti-German and anti-EU sentiment is now rampant in Italy. His firmness has staved off a pending revolt in parliament back home, but unless he gets a juicy plum from Berlin soon he will be in trouble this coming fall. Sergio Romano, a former Italian ambassador and respected commentator, told Reuters that Monti is afraid that “if the markets see Europe divided, argumentative, always reluctant to pursue a clear policy, they will attack the weakest.” “For the moment that is Spain,” he said, “but Italy would be immediately behind.” While visiting Finland in early August, Monti also played his joker from the sleeve, the scary prospect for other Euro zone powers of Berlusconi’s eventual return. “Let me assure you that if the (bond yield) spread in Italy remains at these levels for some time, then you are going to see a non euro-oriented, non fiscal-discipline-oriented government taking power in Italy,” he declared. Everyone knew who he was alluding to.
The threat is well based. Rumors of Berlusconi’s return have been circulating for months, and he has been adding coals to the fire. Il Giornale, which he owns, published an inflammatory banner headline on August 3, “Quarto Reich” (no translation needed) with an unattractive picture of Mrs. Merkel accompanying the diatribe against allegedly self-serving German policies. With a general election due no later than next April, Berlusconi’slatest Facebook post sounds like an election manifesto (translation mine, with apologies to our Editor for possible errors). This remarkably self-serving piece of demagoguery effectively removes all doubt about his intentions:
My entry into politics harks back to 1994. This has helped prevent the left from taking power, and let us bear in mind that in Italy we have a left that is still rooted in the practices of the old communist party. It is a historical achievement of which I am proud.
What motivates me to continue to commit myself is the sense of responsibility to my country and perhaps the resentment that I have not done everything I had wanted.
The entire party [i.e. Berlusconi’s Il Popolo della Libertà, PdL], starting with the parliamentary deputies, is asking me to come back and to take advantage of my popularity during the election campaign. I have not made a decision as yet, but one thing is certain: I am always at the service of my country.
The PdL has loyally supported the Monti government, and this is evident in its giving him 34 votes of confidence in parliament. Nevertheless, this support is not uncritical, it is predicated on the adoption of constitutional reforms and policies that will encourage economic growth. My decision to resign resulted from the desire to allow the formation of a government of technocrats which will be supported by both the majority and the opposition, so as to finally change the structure of the state and make Italy a governable country, like France. Unfortunately, so far this has not been the case.
The suggestion to leave euro has been advanced by some members of my own party, to be sure, as a tactical ploy to counter the German position. But in PdL we all think that exiting euro would be a disaster. For my part, I have only said that intransigence on budgetary discipline and rigor are important but insufficient objectives if you don’t take parallel measures on growth. If this is not done the issue of exiting euro will eventually be inevitable, at least to save the productive strength of our country.
The most noteworthy aspect of this mini-manifesto is that Berlusconi is trying to counter Monti’s claim that his would be “a non Euro-oriented, non fiscal-discipline-oriented” government. Quite the contrary, he is sending a signal to Brussels that HE would save the euro, while at the same time telling his domestic audience that HE alone can do so while ensuring growth-oriented policy solutions (i.e. more money) for Italy. “I’m climbing back into the ring,” he said in an earlier interview. No hint of leaving this “shitty country,” as Berlusconi said he may do last summer. At 75, he is said to be on a diet and jogging regularly to get into shape.
His return would be a disaster for Italy. Berlusconi embodies all that is wrong with this country’s politics. As I wrote here in an article prematurely titled “The End of the Berlusconi Era” last fall, his embarrassing bunga-bunga parties are but a symptom of a deeper malaise. They were not vicious rumors spread by vile reporters, but real-life events that make decent Italians blush. His resulting legal problems have severely curtailed his ability to function as an effective chief executive; but the real problem is that he has been ineffective all along:
Berlusconi’s rise on the ruins of the corrupt old system—managed for decades by the Christian Democrats and their smaller satellites—was based on the twin promise of “clean hands” and managerial efficiency. Being the richest Italian alive seemed a solid credential regarding the latter: he was supposed to be “Italy’s Thatcher.” He was Prime Minister in 1994-1995, then for five full years starting a decade ago (2001-2006), and currently since 2008, making him the longest-serving leader of a G-8 country and second only to Mussolini at the helm of Italy. He has enjoyed comfortable parliamentary majorities and unique media influence—in part thanks to his Mediaset empire—that should have enabled him to enact and apply a bold vision of Italy for the 21st century.
As I wrote then, and as I maintain even more firmly today, Berlusconi is a failure as a political manager and, more significantly, as a national figure. His private peccadilloes (paying prostitutes to call him “amore” is but a detail) and his iffy business practices could have been overlooked had he not left Italy—after almost ten years in office—in no better state than he had found her in 1994. No different than the early 1990s: the economy was as grotesquely over-regulated when he passed prime ministership to Monti. The old system of corrupt government contracts and phony jobs for the insiders was alive and well. The central bureaucratic apparatus is as bloated and inefficient as ever. There was no improvement in productivity under Berlusconi: Italy’s international competitiveness has actually declined over the past decade. Public spending has been outstripping growth for years. Since 2009, government spending has accounted for more than one-half of the GDP. If he comes back there will be no way for the country to bring its finances in order and simultaneously stimulate growth. Personally, Berlusconi embodies (as per ex-PrimeMinister Romano Prodi, right on target for once) “all those who double-park”—that is, the majority of Italians adverse to regulated society.
Yet the old man wants to be back in power. At his age—given his record and his wealth to provide alternative pursuits—this may seem somewhat strange to a normal person. It is indicative of a deeply neurotic personality. This is unsurprising in a politician, yet troubling because his whims matter. Berlusconi has been written off on more than one occasion in the past. His support may be estimated at a mere 15-20 percent now, but this may change rapidly if “the North” does not come to Monti’s rescue. Merkel’s Lutheran austerity offers his best opportunity.
To put it bluntly, il Cavaliere is insane. “There is only me. I am the only one who can save everything,” he assured his supporters a few weeks ago. Monti is not “a normal person like us,” but one of those people who can’t do anything. “Like us” is a joke, considering that Berlusconi’s net worth exceeds $10bn. His wealth would be no impediment, were it not for the fact that he is a proven failure.
Between a “normal person” like Berlusconi and a faceless chief executive like Monti, Italy is stuck between a rock and a hard place. But life goes on, and it feels good to a casual visitor. On all counts, here in Rome—thank God—it remains eminently civilized, whoever is in nominal charge. Berlusconi, Monti, blah… The morning cappuccino is the best in the world, the sky is crystal clear, and the ten-Euro lunch in a non-tourist hole-in-the-wall in Trastevere is a bliss. So pleasing, in fact, that I loath boarding that bus for the airport . . .
Anyone claiming that international bankers, multinational company executives, members of the Bilderberg Group, elite academics, senior judges, United Nations officials and European Union strategists are working together to undermine the remnants of sovereignty and identity of old Christian nations through mass Third World immigration would be dismissed by our bien pensants as a conspiracy theorist. A wacko unfit for polite society.
Enter Peter Sutherland (66), a remarkable man. Addressing the House of Lords sub-committee on immigration on June 21, Mr. Sutherland said that the EU should “do its best to undermine” the “homogeneity” of its member states in order to make them truly multicultural. He was addressing the peers in his capacity of head of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, but that is only one of Peter Sutherland’s many affiliations. He is also:
- the UN’s special representative for migration;
- non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International who made $200 million from the bank’s flotation in 1999;
- former chairman of Allied Irish Bank, the biggest in the country;
- former member of the European Commission;
- “Consultor of the Extraordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See,” offering advice on the Vatican’s finances;
- former Director General of The World Trade Organization (WTO);
- former chairman of oil giant BP, with a salary of $1,000,000 a year;
- former Attorney General of Ireland;
- Chairman of the Council of the London School of Economics;
and last but by no means least,
- a regular participant in meetings of The Bilderberg Group, which the BBC report on his remarks to the Lords tactfully described as “a top level international networking organization often criticized for its alleged secrecy.”
The future prosperity of many EU states depended on them becoming “multicultural,” Sutherland told the peers, “however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states.” An ageing or declining native population in countries like Germany or southern EU states was the “key argument … for the development of multicultural states,” he said. “It’s impossible to consider that the degree of homogeneity which is implied by the other argument can survive because states have to become more open states, in terms of the people who inhabit them,” according to Sutherland. “At the most basic level individuals should have a freedom of choice” because anyone should have the right to work or study in the country of his or her preference.
Criticizing the UK government’s current attempt to cut net immigration to “tens of thousands” a year through visa restrictions, Mr. Sutherland urged EU member states to adopt “a global approach to the issue” and “accommodate more readily those from other backgrounds.” He bewailed the fact that many Europeans “still nurse a sense of [their] homogeneity and difference from others… And that’s precisely what the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine.”
This is the most explicit statement of intent to date by an authoritative member of what is de facto world government. Nations should disappear by being cured of the sense of difference from others, dissenters should be coerced into submission, and everyone in the world is entitled to live anywhere in the world.
It is noteworthy that, in Sutherland’s view, the EU has not done enough to advance his agenda. As it happens, Brussels has decreed many years ago that countries of the European Union no longer have the power to decide on who comes or stays within their borders. In 1999, the Treaty of Amsterdam transferred responsibility for immigration policies from individual member-countries to the EU Council of Ministers, acting on proposals from the unelected European Commission. The all-out EU effort to undermine “homogeneity” is over a decade old. Its founding document is the European Council agreement signed in Tampere (Finland) in October 1999, which mandated granting immigrants all those rights enjoyed by host-country citizens. It also demanded relaxation of asylum policy, since European freedoms should not be regarded “as the exclusive preserve of the Union’s own citizens” and will not be denied to those “whose circumstances lead them justifiably to seek access to our territory.” The European Union Presidency statement on racism of March 21, 2002, declared that the EU “bases its very existence in the idea that “all peoples and individuals constitute one human family.”
With his plea that “individuals should have a freedom of choice,” Sutherland is knocking on an open EU door, and he knows it. For a cultural radical like him no given status quo is ever satisfactory, however. Brussels can and should do more, for as long as there are Britons, Germans or Italians who are still proud of who they are and who still believe that their countries should somehow belong to them and their offspring.
It is to be feared that Europeans may get physically eradicated well before their “sense of difference” is destroyed though state education and judicial fiat. Even on current form Europe is well on the way to population replacement. In France—to take the most drastic example—of close to 800,000 live births in a nation of just under 60 million, Muslim immigrants (predominantly from North Africa) and their French-born descendants currently account for close to one-third. Short of a sudden reversal of policies and demographic curves, even without Sutherland’s radical measures there will be no “Europeans” a century from now. They will literally disappear as members of ethnic groups that share the same language, culture, and ancestors, and inhabit lands associated with their names.
Peter Sutherland embodies the Western elite class: he is deracinated, authoritarian, rich, arrogant, contemptuous of the common people, powerful and dangerous. In other words, a few details of the physique notwithstanding, he is Barack Obama’s older brother. It is therefore unsurprising that in his remarks to the House of Lords he praised the United States as the model of multicultural openness that Europe would be well advised to emulate.
Believing in the classic American Dream that hard work will deliver prosperity is like believing that buying super lottery tickets is a smart way to become wealthy. Both are delusional beliefs because both are bets on incredible long shots that will disappoint nearly everyone who believes this garbage. The American Dream has been destroyed by a revolution from the top.
Americans have been watching authentic bottom-up revolutions in other countries but remain oblivious to a very different kind of revolution by elites that has been in progress for over three decades in the US. It has not destroyed the government or Constitution, merely bought control of both. Our government was not overthrown in a bloody revolution. It was purchased to win the class war against the 99 percent.
Call it the frog revolution. It is best understood by the parable of the frog in water that stays in it as the temperature is raised, ultimately to the boiling point, killing the frog. The key indicator of the US frog revolution is a mountain of data showing the rise in economic inequality, the loss of upward economic mobility, and the killing of the middle class. The vast majority of Americans, the 99 percent of frogs, remain ignorant of how they are being destroyed by that infamous rich and powerful one percent.
Note that in a poll released by Pew, 19 percent of Americans agreed with the statement that “success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside of our control,” the highest number since 1994. It would be much higher if there was not an epidemic of delusional thinking. But more on target, 40 percent of Americans — also the highest number since 1994 — agreed with the statement that “hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people.” For the counter-revolution we need that number must get much higher.
Consider new data about American reality from a study by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez. In 2010, despite non healed wounds from the great recession, an amazing 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009 — $288 billion — went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households. Yes, the rich are getting richer.
But there is more to this depressing story. All the talk about the top 1 percent misses the truth about the super rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a miniscule collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. They saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent. The richer you are the richer you get.
What about ordinary Americans? The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income was $1,019,089, saw an 11.6 percent increase in income. Most Americans are no longer sharing in economic recovery or growth.
Consider this finding: David Madland and Nick Bunker of the Center for American Progress recently found that in pre-frog revolution 1968, when 28 percent of the workforce was unionized, 53 percent of the nation’s income went to the middle class. In 2010, when only 11.9 percent of the nation’s workers were unionized, the fraction earned by the middle class had fallen to 46.5 percent. And if current efforts to destroy unions are successful the vast majority of non-unionized workers will suffer more.
Still more numbing numbers: Over time the top 1 percent has done better in successive economic recoveries of the past two decades. In the Clinton era expansion, 45 percent of the total income gains went to the top 1 percent; in the Bush recovery, it was 65 percent; now it is 93 percent. How much more negative impacts of the frog revolution will it take for a counter-revolution to take back our country?
Add to all this: Research by Julia Isaacs of the Brookings Institution, as part of the Economic Mobility Project, has shown that intergenerational mobility in the United States has fallen far below the levels in Germany, Finland, Denmark and other more social democratic nations of Northern Europe. In other words, the American Dream really is nothing more than a big, delusional lie that far too many Americans still cling to and that mainstream politicians still boast about. Those politicians enable the elites to sustain the top-down frog revolution.
Listen, all around the 99 percent the socioeconomic waters are still being heated up more by the rich and powerful 1 percent that runs the two-party plutocracy. Delusional frog-citizens are mostly blind to the hot water they are in. Far too many are still clinging to the myth that voting for one party or the other will somehow make things better. Wrong. Both major parties have allowed and sustained the top-down frog revolution. What we need for the counter-revolution is finding a way to overturn the status quo political system.
A major opportunity is using what the Founders gave us in the Constitution: an Article V convention of state delegates with the power to propose reform constitutional amendments. This should be a priority for both the Tea Party and Occupy movements and any candidate coming through the Americans Elect nomination process on the Internet should also support using the convention option.
What is at risk without effective rebellion is much more than dollars. Harold Meyerson got it right: “If belief and participation in democracy are sustained by people’s conviction that democracy produces good economic outcomes, then the growing concentration of wealth and income in the United States is a long-term threat to everything we profess to stand for.”
Not so fast. Those that are publicly declaring that an economic recovery has arrived are ignoring a whole host of numbers that indicate that the U.S. economy is in absolutely horrendous shape. The truth is that the health of an economy should not be measured by how well the stock market is doing. Rather, the truth health of an economy should be evaluated by looking at numbers for things like jobs, housing, poverty and debt. Some of the latest economic statistics indicate that unemployment is getting a little bit worse, that the housing market continues to deteriorate, that poverty in America continues to soar and that our debt problem is worse than ever. If we were truly experiencing the kind of economic recovery that the United States has experienced after every other post-World War II recession we would see a sharp improvement across the board in most of our economic statistics. But that simply is not happening. Sadly, this is about as much of an “economic recovery” as we are going to get because soon the economy will be getting much worse. So enjoy this period of relative stability while you can.
The Obama administration would have us believe that unemployment in the United States has declined, but the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are employed has stayed very, very flat for more than two years and now there are some measures of unemployment that are actually getting worse.
For example, according to Gallup the unemployment rate in the United States has risen from 8.5% in December to 8.6% in January to 9.1% in February. The Obama administration would have us believe that it is actually going the other direction.
Initial unemployment claims are rising again. For the week ending March 3rd, they increased by 8,000 over the previous week to 362,000. This is not the kind of good news that people were hoping for.
What the U.S. economy could really use are millions of good jobs. But those are being shipped out of the country at a staggering pace.
Right now there are millions of Americans in their prime working years that are sitting at home wondering what to do with their lives. The average duration of unemployment in the United States continues to hover near a record high, and if we were truly experiencing an economic recovery it should have been falling by now.
But a lot of Americans have bought into the propaganda about an economic recovery and they are out running up huge amounts of debt once again. In January, consumer credit increased by much more than expected. The following is from a recent Reuters report….
Nonrevolving credit, which includes auto loans as well as student loans made by the government, rose $20.723 billion during the month. That was the biggest increase in dollar terms since November 2001, when credit was surging in the wake of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.
Don’t fall into the trap of debt slavery. During the last recession millions of Americans lost their homes and most of what they owned because they got overextended.
Don’t do it.
The U.S. housing market continues to deeply struggle as well. If we were really in an economic recovery housing would be bouncing back. But that is not happening. Just consider the following facts….
*The number of new homes sold in the United States continues to hover near a record low.
*U.S. home prices in the 4th quarter of 2011 were four percent lower than they were during the 4th quarter of 2010.
*According to CoreLogic, 22.8 percent of all homes with a mortgage in the United States were in negative equity as of the end of the 4th quarter of 2011. That was an increase from 22.1 percent in the third quarter.
Why are things still getting worse for the U.S housing market?
That is a really good question.
We should have seen some improvement by now.
But it isn’t happening.
Also, poverty in America continues to explode.
For example, the number of Americans on food stamps has increased to 46.5 million - a brand new all-time record.
If we really were in an economic recovery, wouldn’t that number be going down?
We should be thankful that the U.S. economy is not declining as rapidly as it was during 2008 and 2009. But what we are experiencing right now is not an economic recovery. It is simply just a bubble of false hope.
The big problem is that our nation is covered in an ocean of constantly expanding debt.
U.S. consumers are drowning in debt, U.S. businesses have pushed debt levels to the red line, and the U.S. financial system is massively overleveraged.
Of course government debt is our biggest debt problem of all.
All over the nation, state and local governments are on the verge of financial ruin.
If we were in the middle of an economic recovery, so many states would not be in crisis mode. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times declared that “California could run out of cash in March“. As the economy continues to crumble we are going to hear a lot more of this kind of thing.
A lot of local governments around the nation are on the verge of total financial collapse. Stockton, California has announced that they will be defaulting on some debt payments, and Suffolk County in New York recently declared a fiscal emergency after discovering that it would rack up more than 500 million dollars of debt between 2011 and 2013.
Keep your eyes open for more news items like this in the months ahead.
Of course the biggest problem of all is the U.S. national debt and it continues to rapidly get worse.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government had a budget deficit of 229 billion dollars in the month of February. That is the worst one month budget deficit in the history of the United States.
The Congressional Budget Office also says that the U.S. government is now borrowing 42 cents of every single dollar that it spends.
The U.S. national debt has gotten more than 59 times larger since 1950.
The U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.
Are there any words in the English language that are strong enough to describe how foolish we have been?
Of course we won’t be able to accumulate so much debt indefinitely. At some point the trillion dollar deficits will stop and our false prosperity will disappear.
If you want to get an idea of what happens then, just take a look at Greece.
But Barack Obama and most members of the U.S. Congress don’t really care about what they are doing to our future.
What they care about is winning the next election so that they can continue living their fabulous lives.
Barack Obama is supposed to be taking care of the American people, but instead he has been very busy taking care of the people who helped him get elected. Politics in America is all about money. Just check out the following very short excerpt from a recent article in the Washington Post….
More than half of Obama’s 47 biggest fundraisers, those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign, have been given administration jobs. Nine more have been appointed to presidential boards and committees.
At least 24 Obama bundlers were given posts as foreign ambassadors, including in Finland, Australia, Portugal and Luxembourg. Among them is Don Beyer, a former Virginia lieutenant governor who serves as ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Washington D.C. is deeply corrupt and if you are waiting for our politicians to fix our problems you are going to be deeply disappointed.
The federal government is not going to save you.
Our politicians are not going to save you.
You better figure out how you are going to take care of yourself and your family in the years ahead because this is about as good as things are going to get.
This “economic recovery” is about to end and more pain is about to begin.
Source: The Economic Collapse
The Solyndra debacle is not the exception. The practice of government funds underwriting the costs of questionable ventures is a failure of basic common sense and meaningful oversight. The lack of wisdom in adopting a public policy that picks and chooses actual companies for government subsidies, should be self-evident. However, the crony relationships that finance elections, writes the legislation and is rewarded with fat government checks is so entrenched that hardly an eyebrow is raised with the exposure of each new scandal.
In an academic paper Governments as Venture Capitalists, the historic context is stated.
“Governments have traditionally taken indirect measures to encourage venture investment. These include the fashioning of fiscal and legal frameworks which can help markets channel resources to new and innovative enterprises. For example, governments can take steps to eliminate double taxation — of gains and dividends — in venture investment. They can tax capital gains at rates, which encourage more risk-taking, and they can reform rules and regulations in the capital and securities markets to increase the attractiveness of investments and improve the availability of exit mechanisms. Governments can also devise and enforce provisions to protect intellectual property and thus the patents and innovations of start-up firms.”
In spite of these practices, a wall of separation existed that maintained a barrier between direct government financing and the capital markets, as the primary source of funds. How times have changed. The notion that government should act as investment bankers is one of the most dangerous erosions of capitalist foundations. An example cited by the National Center for Public Policy Research announced in a Press Release, is disturbing.
“Responding to public outrage following an ABC News report that a $529 million loan from the Energy Department was used to back electric car company Fisker Automotive — which is creating jobs in Finland — policy experts at the National Center for Public Policy Research are calling attention to the crony capitalism surrounding clean energy loans and grants.
“The Energy Department’s loan to Fisker Automotive underscores the problem of the government acting as a venture capital company. In reality, the real green is not in the manufacturing of an electric car but in the green dollars that the politically-connected are seeking by leveraging taxpayer money. It’s a financial lose-lose for taxpayers: if the project fails, taxpayers take a hit; if new autos are a success, billionaires such as John Doerr cash in and taxpayers don’t financially benefit,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project.
The Fisker Automotive loan provides a perfect example of the cronyism surrounding President Obama’s clean energy push. The Department of Energy loan to Fisker announced in 2009 financially benefits Al Gore and his venture capital business partner John Doerr, who are partners in the venture capital company Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has invested in at least two companies that have benefited from taxpayer support, and the firm and Doerr are also big donors to Democrats.”
The United States has championed an economic system that rewards risk capital. The entire purpose of creating a business is to profit and grow the venture. By the nature of defining success for any organization, the long-term viability of continuous operations is a given. Yet in the age of sovereign wealth investment in international commerce, the latest import abnormality into America is the disease that governments must act as active investors in place of the capital markets.
The prospects for rabid corruption are undeniable, but the authorities usually dismiss such arguments and evidence based upon their own narrow self-interests. It would also be a mistake to believe that these abuses are isolated solely to the federal government. Russell Nichols in a Governing magazine article, State Governments: The Latest Venture Capitalists provides some examples.
“In New York state, for instance, Empire State Development joined forces with the University of Rochester Medical Center to help high-tech startups commercialize their ideas through a $2 million pilot seed fund project. In February, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced plans to spur job creation in cutting-edge industries by unlocking $100 million in venture capital through InvestMaryland. Various other states, from Oregon to Georgia to Connecticut, have been setting up similar programs to advance innovation in emerging fields. “We know these kinds of programs do work and make a difference,” Berglund says. “In a down economy, now is the time when you really have to invest in the future. It’s even more critical at this point.”
The instinctive conflict that lauded the bureaucratic culture and falsely claims state venture capital infusion actually “Works” ignores and denies the outrageous practice of the Fisker Automotive project. Anyone who thinks the formula on the state level is any less crooked certainly has little direct experience with the process.
Venture investment is the proper realm of entrepreneurs. Imagine a public sector angel investor distributing their graces of bountiful blessings from the public treasury. Such a vision of supernatural bliss only occurs in the deep illusions of a fairy tale economy.
Business must rise or fall on the merits of their products or ideas. Access to capital is crucial for any development. What does it say about the country, when government replaces the private sector as the source of lending or investing? Without the synergic risk of the investment, the discipline of prudent restraint is lost. Governments act if they are in business, but with the crucial advantage of not bearing the responsibility of bankruptcy.
Until the political class is prohibited from gambling on suspect concepts, the failure rate will be the only result produced. If wasting money were a business plan for government venture deals, the country would be wealthy.
Lost in the whirlwind of betting public funds on favored and risky ventures are the taxpayer. The real guarantee of loss is always bore by the very people who suffer the most by crony corrupt capitalism. Let us get real and dissolve government venture transfers and corporate welfare.
On Jan. 26, 2012, the European Union and 22 member states signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. They have now joined the US and seven other nations that signed the treaty last October.
Though initiated by the US, Japan is the official depository of the treaty.
Removal of the Three Strikes clause, in which users accused of three counts of piracy would be barred from the Internet, paved the way for the EU to adopt ACTA last month.
Related to ACTA, a chapter in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) “would have state signatories adopt even more restrictive copyright measures than ACTA,” reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Both ACTA and TPP were developed without public input and outside international trade groups, like the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Leaked cables published by Wikileaks in 2009 exposed early drafts of ACTA, resulting in a firestorm of controversy. Those cables, coupled with later releases, showed that ACTA negotiations began in 2006 and were controversial even to participating states. An historical summary of the treaty’s progress through December can be found here.
ACTA Violates Magna Carta and US Constitution
Like PIPA and SOPA, two domestic internet censorship bills that prompted major websites to blacken their name or website in a Jan. 18th protest, ACTA allows accusers of copyright infringement to bypass judicial review.
Please support my work by reading the full piece at Activist Post. Thanks!
Israel has awkwardly and desperately renewed its outworn war threats against Iran in the recent weeks, indicating that it’s getting prepared to launch a military strike on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities.
Last week, the Zionist regime successfully test fired a missile which is said to have the capability of carrying a nuclear warhead and reach Iran, as well as Russia and China. On November 2, TV stations around the world screened footages of a rocket-propulsion system being launched from somewhere around Israel coastal Palmachim military base. The missile’s range is claimed to be 10,000 kilometers and therefore,Iran will be easily within the reach of it, in the case that a military attack on Iran is opted for.
However, now even the most optimistic advocates of war with Iran within the fractured cabinet of Benjamin Netanyahu know that “empty vessels make the most noise” and that a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities will be practically the same as the evaporation of the Zionist entity. They are well aware of Iran’s military might and the recent advancements and progresses in Iran’s weapons industry. Although the hawkish Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman has boasted of “keeping all the options on the table” with regards to Iran’s nuclear program, he dismissed the reports that the Israeli cabinet members have reached an agreement over launching an attack against Iran.
The deceptive and illusory claims of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he is lobbying to persuade the cabinet to authorize a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations has even evoked the surprise and astonishment of the American media, who reacted to the war threats skeptically. In a November 2, 2011 report published just a few hours after Israel test fired its nuclear missile, CBS News wrote that the international community is used to hearing of Tel Aviv’s war threats against Iran and the recent warmongering statements of Netanyahu are nothing new and unexpected: “it remained unclear whether Israel was genuinely poised to strike or if it was saber-rattling to prod the international community into taking a tougher line on Iran. Israeli leaders have long hinted at a military option, but they always seemed mindful of the practical difficulties, the likelihood of a furious counter strike and the risk of regional mayhem.”
The words of Israeli officials, even though disproportionately aggrandized and exaggerated by the mainstream media, cut no ice anymore. The Israeli regime is too fragile and small to pose a threat to Iran’s security. Over the past 10 years, the White House, with the unreserved assistance of its client state, Israel, repeatedly threatened Iran against the possibility of a military attack. Even Barack Obama who is unquestionably a wolf in the sheep’s clothing and understands nothing of peace and cordiality had once in 2010 talked of the possibility of a nuclear strike against Iran; a reckless statement which was condemned by many politicians and pundits around the world.
It’s now clear to the international observers that Israel talks through its hat. It only runs a psychological operation againstIranto force it into giving in its nuclear rights. The irony is that it’s Israel, the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, which is hell bent on disrupting Iran’s nuclear program which it impetuously and irrationally claims to be aimed at military purposes.
The Israeli officials, however, frequently direct war threats against Iran with impunity and in breach of several internationally recognized treaties, conventions and charters. From one hand, any Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities can be considered a war of aggression which is “a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense” and since the Korean War of the early 1950s, waging such a war is a crime under customary international law. It’s conventional for the state of Israel to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity; however, if it frantically makes such a decision, it will be committing a crime which the international community should categorically respond to.
On July 3, 1933, the first convention that defined aggression was signed inLondonby representatives of Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Turkey, USSR, Iran and Afghanistan. It was initiated by Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov in response to threats of use of force by the German government following Hitler’s rise to power. The government of Finland acceded to the convention on January 31, 1934. These countries decided that any kind of aggressive behavior on behalf of the members of theLeague of Nationswould be illegal and illegitimate.
On the other hand, if Israelis madly attack Iran’s nuclear facilities while no serious threat is posed against them on behalf of thePersian Gulf country, their assault can also be categorized as a “preemptive war” which is illegal without the approval of the United Nations Security Council. “The initiation of armed conflict, that is being the first to ‘break the peace’ when no ‘armed attack’ has yet occurred, is not permitted by the UN Charter.”
Israel’s war threats against Iran also violate the UN Charter and so far, the UNSC has given no decisive response to this flagrant breach of the international law. According to Article 2, Section 4 of the UN Charter which is generally considered to be ‘jus cogens’ (compelling law), all UN members are prohibited from exercising “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” The Article 51 of UN Charter stipulates that defense by a member state is justified only if, “an armed attack occurs,” against the attacking country.
Moreover, it’s crystal clear that the Israelis are not in a position to threaten Iran against a military strike over its nuclear program. Israel even does not have the credibility of asking Iran to halt its nuclear program while it possesses 300 atomic warheads. It has been repeatedly clarified by the international organizations, including the NIE 2007 report that Iran doesn’t possess nuclear weapons and also doesn’t have any intention of building such weapons. Of course it’s dismantling the nuclear arsenal of Israel which should be put on IAEA’s agenda, not Iran’s nuclear program which has been clearly demonstrated that is aimed at civilian purposes.
At any rate, there are of course wise and prudent people in the political structure of Israel to know that taking any aggressive action against Iran will be equivalent to the disappearance of the Zionist regime. Furthermore, even the closest friends of the Israeli regime know that Netanyahu’s war threats against Iran are sheer hollow propaganda, even if they keep the options “on the table” for good! There are the United States and its European cronies who support this criminal and evil state and its illegal nuclear program; however, it’s the will of the Iranian nation that will prevail at the end.
“Echoing Angela Merkels call for a more united Europe, European Central Bank president Jean Claude Trichet calls for further fiscal and monetary consolidation of EMU countries.
Talking about the current EMU crisis, which he characterizes as “the gravest crisis since World War I” , he calls for further financial consolidation which, he hopes, would stabilize the economies of the members of EMU.” Source
A lot has been said about the Euro’s problems, most from a purely economic standpoint. It is clear that the imbalances that the Euro created in Europe are not sustainable.
Germany and its satellites (Netherlands, Finland, Austria) are much more competitive than Club Med. Because of the Euro the latter group of nations cannot devalue their currencies resulting in trade deficits and net capital out flow to the North.
Therefore the Euro’s existence depends on a permanent bail out mechanism for the South which not sustainable.
But economics are of lesser import here. The Euro was not created to build wealth but as a step toward a World Currency. To rule the world, one must first rule Europe. Clearly, the Euro is the central bankers’ pet project.
The current crisis is not at all unexpected. The Eurocrats couldn’t get their coveted Federation in 1992, at the time of the Maastricht Treaty so they had to settle for the Euro.
They reasoned the ‘right major crises’ would pop up at some point, making clear that monetary union without fiscal union is impossible. They expect the nation states of Europe to surrender fiscal sovereignty to save the Euro
In a recent article, an insider journalist, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, exposed this process:
“Certain architects of EMU calculated that the single currency would itself become the catalyst for a quantum leap in integration that could not be achieved otherwise….. This was the Monnet Method of fait accompli and facts on the ground. These great manipulators of Europe’s destiny may yet succeed, but so far the crisis is not been remotely beneficial.”
He ends his intriguing report with the point that, “I think it is fair to say events are unfolding more or less as we expected.”
WILL THE EURO FAIL?
If you look at the economic data, IT SHOULD. But if you realize the world is run by a few bankers who want World Government, with a World Currency the answer is ‘no’.
However, over the last two years, the Eurocrats have suffered badly. The popular resistance, both in the North and the South, is dramatic. Recently, the German Supreme Court allowed Merkel to go ahead with what had been done, but clearly reprimanded her for the lack of democratic legitimacy and the breach of the Maastricht Treaty, which does not allow fiscal or bond cooperation.
What happens if Greece leaves the Euro? Could they ever allow Romania, Bulgaria, and all these other second-rate nations in if even Greece couldn’t deal with the Euro’s dynamics? How would they ever sell World Currency if they cannot even make the Euro work?
Their biggest problem is that they lack all legitimacy. In 2005, France and the Netherlands rejected their ‘European Constitution’ by a resounding 60-40 margin. They pushed ahead with Lisbon anyway, but this was a disaster.
They need the popular vote. The Protocols make clear they need to say: ‘you wanted this, you voted for it’. Without this legitimacy, they face revolt at any time. They can’t push ahead if the underlying treaties and laws were never accepted by the populace.
So when Papandreou calls a referendum and ‘the markets’ and Merkozy are in total shock, what does this show? It just exposes the quicksand under their feet
They know this, but they are losing. They are losing the battle for the mind and they are pushing ahead because they have no other way.
WORLD GOVERNMENT AT STAKE
This whole European mess represents massive crisis for mankind. If the Euro fails, a death blow will be landed on their NWO project. It will take them decades to recover and resume the march to World Government. But they don’t have this time, because people are waking up.
True, the Occupiers are still largely clueless, but in Europe, where austerity is already biting badly, people are being forced to look for answers. There is talk of debt repudiation; there is the Icelandic example and there is of course interest free currency. In Germany dozens of regional currencies are flowering: they report 100% per annum growth.
It is now more important then ever to start talking solutions. We must keep in mind that this credit crunch is a total fabrication that could be solved over night.
Interest free currency is the main solution. Debt free Government currencies are a quick fix, but far from ideal. Much better isPublic Banking, which is interest free credit provided by state-owned banks. But eventually the Illuminati (Masonic Jewish) monopoly of currencies must end.
With the Oceans on the brink of collapse after Deep Horizon and Fukushima, with the Credit Crunch, with (HAARP induced) earthquakes everywhere and wars and rumors of wars its fair to say the NWO is preparing for their endgame.
But seeing their weakness in Europe, the result is not a foregone conclusion.
The challenge is to provide real alternatives. It is not enough to expose them. They expect a fight, but they expect to succeed,because they don’t think we can create the right solutions.
Jacques Attali, another insider: ‘Most of these new contestants will propose no system of substitution… Except for a handful who will propose a return to theocracy.’
So we know what to do. Let’s get going.
Today, millions of smart, hard working Americans are flipping burgers, waiting tables or working dead end retail jobs not because they want to, but because they have no other options. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 14 million Americans are currently unemployed and another 9.3 million Americans are currently “underemployed”. During this economic downturn, a lot of Americans have been forced to take part-time jobs because they have been unable to find full-time jobs. For many, this can be a soul-crushing experience. It can be easy to become very bitter when you have worked very hard all your life and yet you find yourself having to take a job that only pays you a fraction of what you used to make. A lot of young college graduates end up hating life because the only jobs that they can seem to find do not even require a college degree and don’t even come close to enabling them to keep up with their crippling student loan debt payments. Sadly, the underemployment problem continues to grow even worse. In September alone, the number of underemployed Americans rose by close to half a million.
There are other measurements that indicate that unemployment in America is even worse that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is indicating.
For example, a recent Gallup poll found that approximately one out of every five Americans that currently have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.
In addition, according to author Paul Osterman about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
When you try as hard as you can and you still can’t pay the bills, it is easy to end up hating life.
What some Americans are going through is absolutely heart breaking. Just consider the following story from a recent article on Fox News….
Damian Birkel, of Winston-Salem N.C., found himself in similar circumstances. He was a marketing manager at Sarah Lee in the early 1990s when he was downsized. Since then, he has been laid off from three other jobs, including one at a recruiting firm.
“I felt like I had ‘loser’ tattooed to my forehead, and ‘will work for food’ tattooed to my chest,” he says.
The hardest part was telling his young daughter that there might not be enough money to pay the bills — among them, sending her to summer camp. “She brings her piggy bank and says, ‘Daddy, why don’t you break into the piggy bank so that you can pay some of the bills.’”
How would you feel if your little daughter said that to you?
Unfortunately, the number of good jobs just continues to decrease.
There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.
And the mix of jobs that our economy is producing continues to change.
What that means is that the middle class is shrinking.
A lot of young people are coming out of college right now and are having their dreams absolutely crushed. Large numbers of them are entering the “real world” with nightmarish student loan debt burdens and only a limited number of them can find decent jobs.
A recent USA Today article told the story of one of these very frustrated young Americans….
Kate Wolfe chased a dream when she moved to New York after college, looking to break into acting while working as a maître d’.
Her $50,000 worth of student loans were a distraction she could handle. Then the uninsured 25-year-old was mugged last year, and the final indignity was the $30,000 emergency room bill.
We are pumping out tons of college graduates, but we are not pumping out nearly enough jobs for all of them.
If you can believe it, in the United States today there are 317,000 waiters and waitresses that actually have college degrees.
That is an absolutely horrifying statistic.
But the truth is that the lack of good jobs is hitting every age level really hard.
For example, the average American family is under a tremendous amount of financial stress in this economy. Once you adjust it for inflation, median household income in the United States has declined approximately 10 percent since December 2007.
Meanwhile, the cost of food, gas, health insurance and just about everything else a family needs has gone up significantly.
Our politicians keep talking about “jobs, jobs, jobs” but the number of decent jobs continues on a very clear downward trend.
Back in 1980, 52 percent of all jobs in the United States were middle income jobs. Today, only 42 percent of all jobs in the United States are middle income jobs.
Sadly, it now looks like even the low income jobs are starting to dry up.
So what are our leaders doing about all of this?
Well, unfortunately they continue to fumble the football very badly.
According to a recent ABC News report, the U.S. government actually gave a $529 million loan guarantee to an electric car company that decided to make its cars in Finland….
Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.
If we don’t figure out how to stop millions of jobs from leaving this country we are going to be in a world of hurt.
The trade policies of the federal government are neither “free” nor “fair” and they are causing the standard of living of American workers to rapidly sink toward the level of the rest of the world.
We are told that it is “inevitable” that we are going to be deindustrialized and that we are going to become a service economy.
But guess what?
Service jobs generally pay a lot less than manufacturing jobs do.
A “one world economy” where our labor force is merged with the labor forces of the rest of the globe is not a good thing for the average American worker and it is not a good thing for America.
But of course trade is not the only reason why we are losing good jobs. There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is happening. For many more reasons, just check out this article.
A lot of you that are reading this article are unemployed or underemployed right now.
Unfortunately, there is not much hope that the U.S. economy is going to experience a significant turnaround any time soon.
In fact, it is likely that things are going to be getting even worse.
Our economic system is dying. Now is the time to try to get as independent of it as you can.
Don’t count on a job (“just over broke”) as your only source of income. In this economy, no job is safe.
There are millions upon millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans that never dreamed that their lives would go so horribly wrong.
But they did.
Our nation is experiencing the consequences of decades of very bad decisions.
There is no help on the horizon and the cavalry is not on the way to rescue us.
You better prepare accordingly.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Did you ever wonder why countries allow private central banks to issue their money? Somehow, missing in the self-governing status of governments is the courage to deny the seduction or the threats of the global banking cabal, over the control of a nation’s currency. How did this obvious usurpation of independence become an unquestioned acceptance by the very governments who proclaim to be sovereign nations? The answer reveals that the right of autonomous government is now dependent upon the approval of the banking cartel. The myth that a historic country can exert their populist will and financial self-determination, when it conflicts or opposes the interest and objectives of the moneychangers, is outright fantasy.
In an Interview with Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB , conducted on 20 April 2011 by Mr Jorma Pöysä (Kauppalehti) and Mr Juhana Rossi (Helsingin Sanomat), published on 26 April 2011, the following makes it very clear just who is in charge.
Question: As you may know, a populist and euro-hostile party called True Finns won the general election in Finland last weekend, obtaining almost one-fifth of the votes. Are you worried that this anti-euro sentiment will grow in other euro area countries? Could it dampen the willingness of triple A countries to accept new rescue arrangements and therefore slow the gradual recovery from the recession and the debt/banking crisis?
Answer: As a central bank we issue a currency for absolutely all political sensitivities. We are the guardian of a public good – a credible and stable currency – and that public good is for the service of all our fellow citizens. We are, by construction, a multi-partisan and multinational institution. I will not comment on the functioning of our democracies. We fully respect the functioning of our democracies in which we have the fortune to live in Europe.
Translate for “our democracies” the vassal states of the usury masters. Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, p. 1336 reads: “When money is lent on a contract to receive not only the principal sum again, but also an increase by way of compensation for the use, the increase is called interest by those who think it lawful, and usury by those who do not.”Niall Kilkenny in The Moneychangers Exposed at Last, concludes. “In the ancient world, the usurer quickly became owner of most of the country and had all the silver and gold. Then the peasants became slaves or revolted. Under the paper system, the final collapse can be postponed by printing more fake money. Inflation is the handmaid of the paper system. It is economic warfare, and more deadly than an invading army, because it comes from the enemy within.”
The Money Masters How International Bankers Gained Control of America
The Money Masters
How International Bankers Gained Control of America
Today central banks command far more power to dictate financial consequences than any government. Simply stated, governments dare not restrict or abolish their monopoly schemes that make or break political regimes. The Money Masters video gives an excellent account on How International Bankers Gained Control of America.Yet, this same pattern repeats itself throughout the world. Can there be any doubt that the banksters directed NATO to remove Col Muammar Gaddafi because he was proposing a pan African financial system that would abandon the strangle hold of the IMF? Gold stocks in the hands of a rebel, prescribes the need to overthrow and punish anyone who dares defy the interest debt machine. The ultimate moneychanger, the Bank of International Settlement calls the tune. The Money Masters site exposes the practice.
“The Central bankers’ Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in 1988 in the “Basel I” regulations imposed an 8% capital reserve standard on member central banks. This almost immediately threw Japan into a 15 year economic depression. In 2004 Basel II imposed “mark to the market” capital valuation standards that required international banks to revalue their reserves according to changing market valuations (such as falling home or stock prices). The US implemented those standards in November, 2007. In December 2007 the US stock market collapsed and credit began drying up as banks withheld loans to comply with the 8% capital requirement as collateral valuations began to drop. The snowball effect of tightening credit, which reduces economic activity and values further, which resulted in further tightening of credit, etc., has produced a worldwide depression which is worsening.”
Charles Scaliger adds in Basel III and Sound Banking published in the New American.
“The set of rules agreed upon, which are being called the Basel III rules, will give banks until the end of the decade to come into compliance with new global financial standards, including a mandatory reserve of so-called “Tier 1 capital” of six percent (up from four percent) and an additional emergency reserve — a “conservation buffer” — of 2.5 percent. Champions of the new rules, like Jean-Claude Trichet, chairman of the European Central Bank, believed the measures would strengthen the global economy in coming years by — in Trichet’s words — leading to a “fundamental strengthening of global capital standards.” Others, like Sheila Bair, head of the FDIC, pushed for a quicker phase-in and for still higher capital standards. Banks themselves, especially cash-strapped large European banks, were relieved at the long phase-in, which they hope will buy them time to get their financial houses in order.”
It should be clear that the financial markets are subject to the decrees of a shadow top down system, set up by elites, to achieve not only economic manipulation but also political control.
In the article Bank of International Settlements Total Rip-Off, Matthias Chang transitions into the ties with the investment bankers.
“The Bernankes, the Geithners, the Paulsons, the Larry Summers and their pals in Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their European counterparts are given blanket immunity and allowed to continue the rape and plunder of the global economy. I believe that unless progressive financial analysts and commentators simplify their analysis and commentaries so that more people will understand how the frauds have been committed, the status quo would remain and the plunder would continue.”
Enter the poster boy of Wall Street excess, Goldman Sachs. Forget what you hear about the “Vampire Squid” you read about in Matt Taibbi’s “Bubble Machine”, the source you need to follow is goldmansachs666.com. Mike Morganstarted the blog and as soon as the “blood sucking calamari’ got wind of the effort, Goldman Sachs decided to tell him he could not do what he was doing. They sent a cease and desist letter, and Morgan filed a Complaint in the United States District Court. Now the next circus is gearing up - Could Blankfein Face Prison? This drama will just divert a needed inquiry, away from the tyrannical usury financial fraud and the systemic debt despotism, that rules the planet.
“Recall that Blankfein emphatically told the subcommittee, “We didn’t have a massive short against the housing market, and we certainly did not bet against our clients.” The 650-page subcommittee report (PDF) presented on April 13, 2011, which cites Blankfein 79 times, begs to differ.
The report accused Goldman of trading against its clients by simultaneously shorting certain subprime mortgage securities (a.k.a. “cats and dogs”) while stuffing them into the collateralized debt obligations it sold. It also suggested that Goldman executives, including Blankfein, misled Congress in testimony surrounding the Abacus CDO, Hudson, Timberwolf, and other deals, by saying it didn’t have a big short.”
Books can be written about the insanity in speculative instruments and exotic swaps, but it all comes down to a variation on the ruse, which is based upon charging interest on debt created money. Greed will always exist, but the acceptance of the tenants of central banking and financial exchange gambling will continue and assure to produce the same results. The elites accumulate more control over the resources and the slaves pay a higher price for mere survival.
International financial markets and central banks must stamp out any threat to their criminal syndicate. Usury (Riba) the notion of interest payments in conventional banking is impermissible in Shariah law, because it is considered usury and is therefore unjust. The Law of Moses states, “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury “(Deut. 23:19).”Yet in this world of incalculable debt, the practice of private banks maintaining the sole ability to invent magic entries in an accounting ledger that draws interest payments from governments continues. The alternative to this demonic plot requires governments to issue their own debt free currency. Leaders without fail have been killed for thinking such revolutionary thoughts.
Nothing short of an entire repudiation of the global banking monocracy, will liberate people from the global gulag. State coercion is paid with the blood money that drains your vital sustenance. As the worldwide depression spreads and the fascist enforcer beats the last critical signs of resistance out of the masses, the few who are in positions of leadership need to break their silence and engage with the populace to rebel. It is time to drive the moneychangers out of the affairs of nation states.
On June 14 I was the keynote speaker at a press briefing in Kiev organized by The American Institute in Ukraine on the problem of Pridnestrovie (Transnistria). The Russian and Ukrainian majority of that self-proclaimed republic straddling the eastern bank of the Dniestr declared secession from Moldova after a brief but bloody conflict in 1991 and proclaimed the “Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic” (PMR). It has not been recognized by any state, however, and the issue has remained unresolved for the past two decades. It is a complex post-Soviet “frozen conflict” par excellence. The diplomatic quadrille still played around it is quaintly reminiscent of the geopolitical games that preceded the advent of postmodern diplomacy.
My remarks at the AIU event were thematically a follow-up on my previous presentation in Ukraine’s capital, exactly a year ago. This time I focused on a set of proposals which Ukraine should consider in devising its own long-term settlement plan within the current “5+2” negotiating framework. The overall solution, I suggested, should be based on the Åland Islands’ model of extensive and internationally guaranteed self-rule. These Baltic islands inhabited by Swedes are under Finland’s nominal sovereignty but enjoy international guarantees of their special status. The guarantees originated with the League of Nations ninety years ago and were reiterated by the United Nations after the Second World War.
When Finland was offered membership of the EU the Ålands were entitled to a separate vote of their own on whether they wanted to join the Union. Likewise, I suggested, all Moldovan international treaties should be separately approved by Pridnestrovie; if not ratified by the entity’s Assembly—e.g., on an eventual NATO membership for Moldova—such treaties could apply to the rest of Moldova, but they would not be applicable to Pridnestrovie. The entity’s full autonomy should be anchored in a UN Security Council resolution, it should be guaranteed by the powers currently facilitating the negotiating process, and enshrined in a new Moldovan Constitution. The entity’s capital city, Tiraspol, should have the right to veto any subsequent attempt to change the division of authority between Pridnestrovie and the Moldovan government in Kishinev. Legislative powers should bedivided between Kishinev and Tiraspol and not delegated to Pridnestrovie by Moldova.
Having presented my views and outlined possible solutions in as much detail as could be done in half an hour, I was surprised to see a news report of the event by the Interfax news agency—the regional equivalent of the Associated Press—which was released some two hours later. It was at significant odds with both the tone and substance of my remarks.
“It is in the interests of Ukraine to maintain an open[-ended] status quo position,” the report correctly quoted me as saying, yet omitted the key second half of the same sentence: “… but in practice an enduring settlement is needed, and the decision-makers in Kiev should take a proactive role in reaching it.”
The omission was significant. Advising President Viktor Yanukovich and his government to stick to the status quo—which the report has me doing—is not nearly the same as (1) saying that the status quo may be desirable from Ukraine’s point of view but that is not feasible because all parties need a long-term solution; and (2) adding that the quest for such a long-term solution demands Ukraine’s hands-on diplomatic engagement. In view of my proposals concerning such engagement, it is obvious that the “status quo” part of the sentence merely described what is rather than advised what should be.
More erroneously still, the news item asserted that “Trifkovic said that Ukraine should encourage Moldova’s position, which foresees equidistance from both Russia and the West.” In fact I said the opposite, that “Ukraine should encourage Moldova’s eventual move towards equidistance from both Russia and the West.” Moldova is currently ruled by an unpopular pro-Romanian coalition which is likely to lose elections due later this month. Its position is that Transnistria is an integral part of Moldova and should be reintegrated, plain and simple. For Ukraine to support the position of that government now, on the grounds that it “foresees equidistance from both Russia and the West”—which it emphatically does not—would be ridiculous. Uttering such nonsense is some light years away from supporting (as I did) Moldova’s shift to pragmatic non-alignment, which is desirable and likely when a new government is formed after the election.
The host of the event, AIU President Anthony Salvia, was also misquoted in the same news item. In his introductory remarks he said that an important contribution to settling the conflict would be the replacement of Igor Smirnov as Pridnestrovian president. “He has brought the country that he has ruled for twenty years to a dead end,” Salvia said, and should be replaced by someone better equipped to give his land the international legitimacy it badly needs so that a solution may be found. Yet the news item misquoted him as saying that “the best way to solve this situation would be the replacement of Igor Smirnov.” The self-evident difference between a necessary condition and thesufficient prerequisite to the solution in Pridnestrovie has eluded the subeditors entrusted with the story.
The flawed Interfax news report was promptly (and by the look of it, eagerly) carried in verbatim translation by dozens of newspapers, radio and TV stations and websites in Romania and by the pro-Romanian media in Moldova itself. “Ukraine should maintain the status quo, says U.S. expert,” their headlines declared, as well as “Americans in Kiev say: Solution to Transnistria—Smirnov’s resignation!” The Interfax story turned out to be an unexpected and welcome gift to the promoters of a Greater Romania, one of the most destabilizing and anachronistic “projects” actively pursued anywhere in Europe. The whole thing was surreal, on par with the Albanians gleefully quoting Sergei Lavrov for “saying” that Kosovo should be internationally recognized.
The trouble with many journalists of our time, East and West, is that they lack the education and natural skills of their peers from earlier generations. The latter were expected to have a nose for a story and an ear for its nuances, just as a pianist was and still is expected to have an ear not only for the music but also for the composer’s intent.
The issue of possible mistranslation notwithstanding, the discrepancy between the overall tenor of Mr. Salvia’s and my remarks and the resulting report should have been spotted at a senior editorial level. That it was not spotted should be a cause of concern to the upholders of journalistic standards in the former Soviet lands. The alternative to maintaining those standards is an ever-tighter stranglehold of the CNN and its ilk on what the global village is allowed to know and how its denizens should think about what they think they know.
By now, you are probably worn out from all the speculation about the actual events in Pakistan that claim the death of the public enemy No 1. No photos of a dead Osama bin Laden, burial at sea, instant DNA results and changing versions with every new news report gets old quickly. The claim that a treasure chest of intelligence was secured during the raid, conflicts with killing the main man who knows where all the buried are buried. Capturing him alive for interrogation would maximize the intelligence quest, if that were the real goal.
If any significance should be assigned to this account, now is the time to re-evaluate the entire nature of the War on Terror that has destroyed America more in the last ten years than any attack on home soil.
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden and al-Qaeda has always been a straw man villain that is necessary to perpetuate a never-ending threat to the eternal evil empire. Wag the dog is a standard policy to keep the drollery narrative going in order to maintain the dullard public in their drunken stupor of jingoism. The tale might seem amusing if the stark consequences of national decay and carnage were not real. The fantasy indoctrination that purports to be professional news journalism defies logic and common sense. Not surprising, the asinine flag wavers chant USA, USA, USA when the reality actually resembles an echo of Sieg Heil Amerika. The cry for justice always seems to falter when it comes to the underlying players in the terrorist war against the American people. Comments and conclusions from the site Universe CIA2 are germane.
“USA has become a Banana Republic since 2000, on par with the old Soviet Politburo, North Korea, Eric Honecker’s East Germany, Pravda, Tishreen, the 3rd Reich and Zimbabwe, to name a few. The crumbling Empire is too desperate and pulling all the Stops from its dirty bag of Tricks, and much more is in the Pipeline. The worst part is that ALL the Western world, the MSM, the UKUSA alliance of evils, the UN, NATO, EU, the Arab stooges & puppets, etc. are singing the same ZIOCON tunes, babbling, blathering, and regurgitating the same fallacies about 9/11, Al-CIAda and the bogus war on “terror”.
The pattern of false flags are rooted firmly in recent history and shared by delusory regimes.
|2. August 1939 the Gleiwitz incident and Operation Himmler used to fabricated evidence of a Polish attack against Germany|
3. November 26, 1939 the Shelling of Mainila pretext of Soviet Union attack on Finland
6. In 1962 Operation Northwoods plot by the U.S. Department of Defense for a war with Cuba
Prepare for the next designed deceptive event that pushes the ignorant into demanding an even greater stratum of tyranny. Homeland security never had it so good, when it plans the burning of the last semblance of representative constitutional government, as it substitutes an unmitigated totalitarian collectivist dictatorship over our beleaguered nation.
In The Real Threat to National Security, the dilemma of what to believe for a sincere American is presented.
“Is the threat from foreign terrorists the undertaking of homeland insecurity? The preoccupation since 911 with a self-serving “War of Terror” has been masked under the appearance of national security. Tracking down targeted Jihad terrorists and waging regional search and destroy missions has become the growth industry of the new millennium. The rationale and justification for such a protracted conflict rests upon a cowardly attack on American soil. If you listen to the official version of events anyone who questions the validity of blaming Islamic Fascists must be unpatriotic.”
Written just after 911, The Empire Strikes Back, Again cites the BBC reporting, Bin Laden’s warning, ”neither the United States nor he who lives in the United States will enjoy security before we can see it as a reality in Palestine and before all the infidel armies leave the land of Mohammed”.
1) For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples. If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans’ continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless.
2) Despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million… despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation. So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors.
3) If the Americans’ aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews’ petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel’s survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.
Osama Bin Laden was a CIA creation who came to oppose the American imperium. If he did not exist, a substitute creation would be necessary. The Marxists that compose the Obama administration have crossed a line of no return. The path they chartered now demands a far more dire level of apprehension for increasingly doubtful, yet naive citizens to swallow and accept. Just how destructive will the next criminal psyops staged event be? The war room of authoritarians, models their Stalinist hero’s practices of human butchery. They admire their British communist “Cambridge Five” cousins who betrayed their own nation for the panacea of a global paradise of central control.
Bin Laden’s fatwa still rings true to Americans who despise the empire and love the principles of a lawful Republic limited in size, scope and reach.
The videos Guide for DUMMIES – CIA & Their Fake Osama Videos and Osama bin Laden is dead!He was killed by Omar Sheikh! Benazir Bhutto exposes the truth, illustrates that a bogyman can be even more useful, dead.
The Man Who Never Was tricked the Nazis in Operation Mincemeat. Charles Cholmondeley of MI5 and the British naval intelligence officer Ewen Montagu ran the successful deception scheme. The human cadaver of a fictitious “Major William Martin, R.M.” fooled Hitler. The ambitious CIA set their sights higher for duping the entire country with their bin Laden actors. The Agency’s propaganda, developed since 911, would make Joseph Goebbels proud.
Never noted for a sophisticated perspective of their own history, especially when it comes to the clandestine deeds of their own government, most folks want to trust their leaders. Remember the Maine and the Gulf of Tonkin incident both were the impetus for tragic and unnecessary wars. The sedated public, eager to rally round the flag, is less inclined to recognize the bold face lies told to them from every internationalist administration that occupied the White House.
Justification to continue an unwarranted war on terror is so absurd on its face. Only a mercenary or a desperate idealist, who refuses to accept the overwhelming evidence, that a global interventionistforeign policy is the basic cause of our self-created insecurity. The internal ruling establishment promotes and survives on the terror of their making, against the citizens of this once great nation.
You do not have to like or agree with the viewpoints and objectives that bin Laden professed. However, you had better recognize that only a return to an America First foreign policy could serve the true security needs of our people.
What will you do when the next internal false flag government act of domestic violence comes to your country? Will you bow down to the thugs that wheel unlawful authority, or will you revolt. If you really want justice for the 911 murders, you must face reality and look within your own government for the true terrorists.
This fascinating new study shows how the CIA and the British secret service, in collaboration with the military alliance NATO and European military secret services, set up a network of clandestine anti-communist armies in Western Europe after World War II.
These secret soldiers were trained on remote islands in the Mediterranean and in unorthodox warfare centres in England and in the United States by the Green Berets and SAS Special Forces. The network was armed with explosives, machine guns and high-tech communication equipment hidden in underground bunkers and secret arms caches in forests and mountain meadows. In some countries the secret army linked up with right-wing terrorist who in a secret war engaged in political manipulation, harrassement of left wing parties, massacres, coup d’états and torture.
Codenamed ‘Gladio’ (‘the sword’), the Italian secret army was exposed in 1990 by Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti to the Italian Senate, whereupon the press spoke of “The best kept, and most damaging, political-military secret since World War II” (Observer, 18. November 1990) and observed that “The story seems straight from the pages of a political thriller.” (The Times, November 19, 1990). Ever since, so-called ‘stay-behind’ armies of NATO have also been discovered in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Turkey. They were internationally coordinated by the Pentagon and NATO and had their last known meeting in the NATO-linked Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) in Brussels in October 1990.