It’s not hard to find critics of the Assad government in the Governorate (Muhafazat) of Homs or for that matter, to varying degrees in Syria’s other thirteen Governorates according to Syrian analysts interviewed by this observer and reports from human rights groups including lawyers representing dissidents in Syria. However, after nearly 27 months of turmoil, the public opinion pendulum is markedly shifting back in support of the current regime.
One international political result was registered at the United Nations this past week when a US-Qatari-Saudi drafted General Assembly Resolution that was designed to increase pressure on the Assad government stumbled badly and fell far short of what the Saudi Ambassador to the UN and other US allies predicted would be an overwhelming vote in favor.
Effect of shift in popular opinion in Syria
Over the past four or five months it has become increasingly clear that public opinion in Syria is shifting for reasons that include, but are not limited to the following:
While inflation at the grocery stores in probably the most common complaint heard from a cross-section of society here, the population is adapting somewhat to higher prices and it appears to credit the government for efforts, some successful, to soften the impact of the illegal US-led sanctions that target this same Syrian population for purely political reasons to achieve regime change.
While Syrians demand dignity and freedom from oppressive security forces and an end to corruption, as all people do in this region and beyond, they are witnessing a return to near normalcy with respect to supplies of electricity, benzene, mazout fuel oil, bus schedules, schools, and a host of public services such as garbage collection, street sweeping, park maintenance, and sympathetic traffic cops who are rather understanding of short-cuts taken by drivers and pedestrians due to “the situation”.
In addition, public service announcement and even text messages demonstrate that the government is aware of the degree of suffering among the population, accept partial blame, and are focusing on remedial measure and crucially, ending the crisis with its horrific bloodshed. One observes here a definite trend of the pulling together of a high percentage of Syrians who share a very unique history and culture and who are deeply connected to their country and who are increasingly repelled by the continuing killing from all sides including the recent barbarisms of body mutilations and summary executions videotaped and broadcast on utube by jihadist elements. The latter who these days come from nearly three dozen countries, paid for and indoctrinated by enemies of Syria’s Arab nationalism and deep rooted pillar of resistance to the occupation of Palestine.
In addition, many among Syria’s 23 million citizens, who initially supported the uprising following government reaction to event in Deraa in March 2011, now have serious second thoughts about who exactly would replace the current government. Events in Syria are also making plain that the army is still loyal to the Assad government, and according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, is actually gaining experience and strength as well as the well-known fact that as western diplomats are admitting, the “opposition militias” are hopelessly fractured, turning one another, many essential mafia outfits, and beginning to resemble their fellow jihadists from Libya, Chechnya and in between.
Opinion in Damascus and surrounding areas visited this past week, confirms this observers experience the past five months of a sharp and fairly rapid shift in opinion that now strongly favors letting the Syrian people themselves decide, without outside interference, whether the Assad regime will stay, and indeed, whether, the Baathist party will continue to represent majority opinion, not through wanton violence but rather via next June’s election. Many express confidence in the run up to this critical vote, noting that the election will be closely monitored by the international community to assure fairness.
Perhaps aided by the current glorious May weather, a certain optimism, that was more scarce in the past, pervades many neighborhoods.
For different reasons, foreign powers, including the USA, Turkey, European Union, the UK Jordan and even the majority population of the six Gulf Cooperation Council family run countries, according to Pew Research, are shifting their earlier positions which were based in part of the US administration, NATO, and Israeli assurances that the Assad government would surely fall quickly, “A matter of days, not weeks” US President Obama promised. That was two years ago.
As noted above, this trend has accelerated since the UN General Assembly vote with last weeks which did not go as planned on the biased and politicized non-binding draft resolution on Syria.
The public reaction in Syria and across the Middle East is substantially that the “Friends of Syria” non-binding GA resolution contradicts the reality on the ground, backs terrorism in Syria and hinders the international efforts to help achieve a political solution to the crisis in this country. Only 107 states voted in favor of the resolution, 12 against while 59 countries, mostly from Africa and Latin America, abstained from voting.
One reason the vote fell short of the 130 favorable votes that the basically same resolution garnered the past two times is that it is widely viewed as ignoring the crimes and atrocities committed by the armed jihadist groups in Syria and the flow of thousands of international terrorists backed by the West, the Gulf states and Turkey who provide them with weapons and money. According to the Russian delegate, backed by several other speakers, “the resolutions ignores all the terrorists’ heinous crimes and denounces what it called the escalation of the attacks by the Syrian government”. Afterward one Latin American Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that the count would have been below 100 if not for some “last minute arm-twisting.” As it turned out, 15 countries didn’t vote at all, opting to “get coffee,” as one African Permanent Representative put it before the vote.
Syria’s Ambassador al-Jaafari exposes a hoax in the Gulf
Syria’s permanent Envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said his country regretted the adoption of a biased and unbalanced UN resolution, thanking the countries that rejected the resolution “for their responsible positions which support the UN principles and the international law articles”. He noted that the decrease in the number of countries that voted in favor and the increase of numbers of those who abstained from voting indicates the growing international understanding of the reality of what is happening in Syria due to the foreign interference, support of terrorism, the spread of extremism and incitement besides the refusal of dialogue.
“We rely on the UN and its member states to support Syria and its people against the culture of extremism and terrorism, and to encourage the comprehensive national dialogue to peacefully resolve the Syrian crisis.” he said. In a statement released after the vote on the UN draft resolution on Syria, al-Jaafari He said that the French delegation had foiled the issuance of a number of UN press releases to condemn the terrorist acts committed by al-Qaeda-linked armed groups in Syria which claimed the lives of thousands of Syrians as it foiled a UN release to condemn the attempt of assassination of the Syrian Premier.
After Qatar’s ambassador spoke in favor of the resolution his country drafted (and re-drafted several time), Ja’afari revealed that there existed an e-mail, from the representative of the Syrian opposition given to Syria’s embassy in Qatar, showing Qatar’s involvement in the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade. He read out a phone number from the e-mail as several Gulf diplomats grimaced or scowled, and three left the Chamber.
Visibly stunned, the UK Permanent Representative Lyall Grant called the whole matter “deeply confusing”. Another Permanent Representative, from a militia contributing country, said that if true, it’s “very problematic.” The reasons include the fact that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had just thanked Qatar for its roles in the release of the UN Peacekeepers the earlier kidnapping of whom the Qatari government may have planned, paid for and executed.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said he would not disclose any more about the “negotiations to free the peacekeepers or who was behind the crime.”
Score a major diplomatic victory for Syria’s UN Ambassador as public opinion shifts in favor of the Assad government and pressure as well as certain optimism builds in the run-up to the Geneva II conference being organized by the White House and the Kremlin.
Many in the precious metals community are eagerly anticipating a complete systemic collapse of the financial system because as “preppers”, they expect to not only survive, but to prosper in a SHTF scenario. We suspect however that the following MUST READ account of surviving the Bosnian war in the midst of a complete collapse of the grid will be eye-opening in just how difficult it is to survive a full-on Mad Max scenario, even if one has spent years preparing for it.
I am from Bosnia. You know, between 1992 and 1995, it was hell. For one year, I lived and survived in a city with 6,000 people without water, electricity, gasoline, medical help, civil defense, distribution service, any kind of traditional service or centralized rule.
Today, me and my family are well-prepared, I am well-armed. I have experience. It does not matter what will happen: an earthquake, a war, a tsunami, aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The important part is that something will happen.
The following is my experience:
Our city was blockaded by the army; and for one year, life in the city turned into total crap. We had no army, no police. We only had armed groups; those armed protected their homes and families.
When it all started, some of us were better prepared. But most of the neighbors’ families had enough food only for a few days. Some had pistols; a few had AK-47s or shotguns.
After a month or two, gangs started operating, destroying everything. Hospitals, for example, turned into slaughterhouses. There was no more police. About 80 percent of the hospital staff were gone. I got lucky. My family at the time was fairly large (15 people in a large house, six pistols, three AKs), and we survived (most of us, at least).
The Americans dropped MREs every 10 days to help blockaded cities. This was never enough. Some — very few — had gardens. It took three months for the first rumors to spread of men dying from hunger and cold. We removed all the doors, the window frames from abandoned houses, ripped up the floors and burned the furniture for heat. Many died from diseases, especially from the water (two from my own family). We drank mostly rainwater, ate pigeons and even rats.
Money soon became worthless. We returned to an exchange. For a tin can of tushonka (think Soviet spam), you could have a woman. (It is hard to speak of it, but it is true.) Most of the women who sold themselves were desperate mothers.
Arms, ammunition, candles, lighters, antibiotics, gasoline, batteries and food. We fought for these things like animals. In these situations, it all changes. Men become monsters. It was disgusting.
Strength was in numbers. A man living alone getting killed and robbed would be just a matter of time, even if he was armed.
Today, me and my family are well-prepared, I am well-armed. I have experience.
It does not matter what will happen: an earthquake, a war, a tsunami, aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The important part is that something will happen.
Here’s my experience: You can’t make it on your own. Don’t stay apart from your family; prepare together, choose reliable friends.
1. How to move safely in a city
The city was divided into communities along streets. Our street (15 to 20 homes) had patrols (five armed men every week) to watch for gangs and for our enemies.
All the exchanges occurred in the street. About 5 kilometers away was an entire street for trading, all well-organized; but going there was too dangerous because of the snipers. You could also get robbed by bandits. I only went there twice, when I needed something really rare (list of medicine, mainly antibiotics, of the French original of the texts).
Nobody used automobiles in the city: The streets were blocked by wreckage and by abandoned cars. Gasoline was very expensive. If one needed to go somewhere, that was done at night. Never travel alone or in groups that were too big — always two to three men. All armed, travel swift, in the shadows, cross streets through ruins, not along open streets.
There were many gangs 10 to 15 men strong, some as large as 50 men. But there were also many normal men, like you and me, fathers and grandfathers, who killed and robbed. There were no “good” and “bad” men. Most were in the middle and ready for the worst.
2. What about wood? Your home city is surrounded by woods; why did you burn doors and furniture?
There were not that many woods around the city. It was very beautiful — restaurants, cinemas, schools, even an airport. Every tree in the city and in the city park was cut down for fuel in the first two months.
Without electricity for cooking and heat, we burned anything that burned. Furniture, doors, flooring: That wood burns swiftly. We had no suburbs or suburban farms. The enemy was in the suburbs. We were surrounded. Even in the city you never knew who was the enemy at any given point.
3. What knowledge was useful to you in that period?
To imagine the situation a bit better, you should know it was practically a return to the Stone Age.
For example, I had a container of cooking gas. But I did not use it for heat. That would be too expensive! I attached a nozzle to it I made myself and used to fill lighters. Lighters were precious.
If a man brought an empty lighter, I would fill it; and he would give me a tin of food or a candle.
I was a paramedic. In these conditions, my knowledge was my wealth. Be curious and skilled. In these conditions, the ability to fix things is more valuable than gold.
Items and supplies will inevitably run out, but your skills will keep you fed.
I wish to say this: Learn to fix things, shoes or people.
My neighbor, for example, knew how to make kerosene for lamps. He never went hungry.
4. If you had three months to prepare now, what would you do?
Three months? Run away from the country? (joking)
Today, I know everything can collapse really fast. I have a stockpile of food, hygiene items, batteries — enough to last me for six months.
I live in a very secure flat and own a home with a shelter in a village 5 kilometers away. Another six-month supply there, too. That’s a small village; most people there are well-prepared. The war had taught them.
I have four weapons and 2,000 rounds for each.
I have a garden and have learned gardening. Also, I have a good instinct. You know, when everyone around you keeps telling you it’ll all be fine, but I know it will all collapse.
I have strength to do what I need to protect my family. Because when it all collapses, you must be ready to do “bad” things to keep your children alive and protect your family.
Surviving on your own is practically impossible. (That’s what I think.) Even you’re armed and ready, if you’re alone, you’ll die. I have seen that happen many times.
Families and groups, well-prepared, with skills and knowledge in various fields: That’s much better.
5. What should you stockpile?
That depends. If you plan to live by theft, all you need is weapons and ammo. Lots of ammo.
If not, more food, hygiene items, batteries, accumulators, little trading items (knives, lighters, flints, soap). Also, alcohol of a type that keeps well. The cheapest whiskey is a good trading item.
Many people died from insufficient hygiene. You’ll need simple items in great amounts. For example, garbage bags. Lots of them. And toilet papers. Non-reusable dishes and cups: You’ll need lots of them. I know that because we didn’t have any at all.
As for me, a supply of hygiene items is perhaps more important than food. You can shoot a pigeon. You can find a plant to eat. You can’t find or shoot any disinfectant.
Disinfectant, detergents, bleach, soap, gloves, masks.
First aid skills, washing wounds and burns. Perhaps you will find a doctor and will not be able to pay him.
Learn to use antibiotics. It’s good to have a stockpile of them.
You should choose the simplest weapons. I carry a Glock .45. I like it, but it’s a rare gun here. So I have two TT pistols, too. (Everyone has them and ammo is common.)
I don’t like Kalashnikov’s, but again, same story. Everyone has them; so do I.
You must own small, unnoticeable items. For example, a generator is good, but 1,000 BIC lighters are better. A generator will attract attention if there’s any trouble, but 1,000 lighters are compact, cheap and can always be traded.
We usually collected rainwater into four large barrels and then boiled it. There was a small river, but the water in it became very dirty very fast.
It’s also important to have containers for water: barrels and buckets.
6. Were gold and silver useful?
Yes. I personally traded all the gold in the house for ammunition.
Sometimes, we got our hands on money: dollars and Deutschmarks. We bought some things for them, but this was rare and prices were astronomical. For example, a can of beans cost $30 to $40. The local money quickly became worthless. Everything we needed we traded for through barter.
7. Was salt expensive?
Yes, but coffee and cigarettes were even more expensive. I had lots of alcohol and traded it without problems. Alcohol consumption grew over 10 times as compared to peacetime. Perhaps today, it’s more useful to keep a stock of cigarettes, lighters and batteries. They take up less space.
At this time, I was not a survivalist. We had no time to prepare — several days before the shit hit the fan. The politicians kept repeating over the TV that everything was going according to plan, there’s no reason to be concerned. When the sky fell on our heads, we took what we could.
8. Was it difficult to purchase firearms? What did you trade for arms and ammunition?
After the war, we had guns in every house. The police confiscated lots of guns at the beginning of the war. But most of them we hid. Now I have one legal gun that I have a license for. Under the law, that’s called a temporary collection. If there is unrest, the government will seize all the registered guns. Never forget that.
You know, there are many people who have one legal gun, but also illegal guns if that one gets seized. If you have good trade goods, you might be able to get a gun in a tough situation. But remember, the most difficult time is the first days, and perhaps you won’t have enough time to find a weapon to protect your family. To be disarmed in a time of chaos and panic is a bad idea.
In my case, there was a man who needed a car battery for his radio. He had shotguns. I traded the accumulator for both of them. Sometimes, I traded ammunition for food, and a few weeks later traded food for ammunition. Never did the trade at home, never in great amounts.
Few people knew how much and what I keep at home.
The most important thing is to keep as many things as possible in terms of space and money. Eventually, you’ll understand what is more valuable.
Correction: I’ll always value weapons and ammunition the most. Second? Maybe gas masks and filters.
9. What about security?
Our defenses were very primitive. Again, we weren’t ready, and we used what we could. The windows were shattered, and the roofs in a horrible state after the bombings. The windows were blocked — some with sandbags, others with rocks.
I blocked the fence gate with wreckage and garbage, and used a ladder to get across the wall. When I came home, I asked someone inside to pass over the ladder. We had a fellow on our street that completely barricaded himself in his house. He broke a hole in the wall, creating a passage for himself into the ruins of the neighbor’s house — a sort of secret entrance.
Maybe this would seem strange, but the most protected houses were looted and destroyed first. In my area of the city, there were beautiful houses with walls, dogs, alarms and barred windows. People attacked them first. Some held out; others didn’t. It all depended how many hands and guns they had inside.
I think defense is very important, but it must be carried out unobtrusively. If you are in a city and SHTF comes, you need a simple, non-flashy place, with lots of guns and ammo.
How much ammo? As much as possible.
Make your house as unattractive as you can.
Right now, I own a steel door, but that’s just against the first wave of chaos. After that passes, I will leave the city to rejoin a larger group of people, my friends and family.
There were some situations during the war. There’s no need for details, but we always had superior firepower and a brick wall on our side.
We also constantly kept someone watching the streets. Quality organization is paramount in case of gang attacks.
Shooting was constantly heard in the city.
Our perimeter was defended primitively. All the exits were barricaded and had little firing slits. Inside we had at least five family members ready for battle at any time and one man in the street, hidden in a shelter.
We stayed home through the day to avoid sniper fire.
At first, the weak perish. Then, the rest fight.
During the day, the streets were practically empty due to sniper fire. Defenses were oriented toward short-range combat alone. Many died if they went out to gather information, for example. It’s important to remember we had no information, no radio, no TV — only rumors and nothing else.
There was no organized army; every man fought. We had no choice. Everybody was armed, ready to defend themselves.
You should not wear quality items in the city; someone will murder you and take them. Don’t even carry a “pretty” long arm, it will attract attention.
Let me tell you something: If SHTF starts tomorrow, I’ll be humble. I’ll look like everyone else. Desperate, fearful. Maybe I’ll even shout and cry a little bit.
Pretty clothing is excluded altogether. I will not go out in my new tactical outfit to shout: “I have come! You’re doomed, bad guys!” No, I’ll stay aside, well-armed, well-prepared, waiting and evaluating my possibilities, with my best friend or brother.
Super-defenses, super-guns are meaningless. If people think they should steal your things, that you’re profitable, they will. It’s only a question of time and the amount of guns and hands.
10. How was the situation with toilets?
We used shovels and a patch of earth near the house. Does it seem dirty? It was. We washed with rainwater or in the river, but most of the time the latter was too dangerous. We had no toilet paper; and if we had any, I would have traded it away.
It was a “dirty” business.
Let me give you a piece of advice: You need guns and ammo first — and second, everything else. Literally everything! All depends on the space and money you have.
If you forget something, there will always be someone to trade with for it. But if you forget weapons and ammo, there will be no access to trading for you.
I don’t think big families are extra mouths. Big families means both more guns and strength — and from there, everyone prepares on his own.
11. How did people treat the sick and the injured?
Most injuries were from gunfire. Without a specialist and without equipment, if an injured man found a doctor somewhere, he had about a 30 percent chance of survival.
It ain’t the movie. People died. Many died from infections of superficial wounds. I had antibiotics for three to four uses — for the family, of course.
People died foolishly quite often. Simple diarrhea will kill you in a few days without medicine, with limited amounts of water.
There were many skin diseases and food poisonings… nothing to it.
Many used local plants and pure alcohol — enough for the short-term, but useless in the long term.
Hygiene is very important, as well as having as much medicine as possible — especially antibiotics.
Source: Silver Doctors
Only a media masochist can stand watching network and cable TV news. The extent of self-immolation coming out of their broadcasts, have seldom been more vivid, with their bizarre reports on the Boston Marathon bombing. If one did not know better, the comparison with the Marx Brothers antics would have you believe that you have a ringside seat At the Circus. Silly behavior is the mainstay of the mainstream media. Real news investigation has long ago been relegated to the archives of a half century ago, when there was at least a small measure of a healthy distrust of government sources. Today the clowns that act as ventriloquist dummies have more in common with Karl Marx than Groucho.
The passion of lies flows from the lips of the talking heads, as they get their instructions from corporatist producers in their earpiece. The latest example of a Mossad agent and Zionist exponent is the infamous liar, CNN Wolf Blitzer. A Rush to Misjudgment, states, “CNN is coming under criticism after it falsely reported authorities had arrested a Boston Marathon bombing suspect, whom it had earlier described as a “dark-skinned male.” Catching Blitzer tap dancing around the blowup of the designed script of placing culpability on the intended stooges, selected to advance the domestic war of terror, reminds of a skit played by Chico in a bad version of Monkey Business.
That other CNN and CIA plant, Anderson Cooper provides the complementary tag team effort to confuse and distract on a news production that even the global radical and former network owner Ted Turner has to hang his head. Cooper plays the role of Harpo as Pinky as he stirs the Duck Soup broth disinformation. The only way to watch “the government news hour” is with the volume on the Harpo setting - silent no verbal talk.
Not to be outdone the Fox News Network features another CNN alumnus, Bill Hemmer as their Zeppo, performing relatively straight (non-comedic) roles as an authoritive source for an authoritarian mindset of neoconservatives. Deceiving real liberty loving viewers with a pseudo patriotic flag waving is the hallmark of the fair and balanced news format now that Rupert Murdoch is the target of the globalists cabal to act friendly with their new world order scheme.
The next hack over at MSNBC, Chris “Gummo” Matthews on “Hardball” tonight, the host openly questioned whether at least a portion of the horror was an intentional attack against the Democratic Party. What class from this dedicated Marxist brother in media prevarications?
“Let me ask you about domestic terrorism as a category. Normally, domestic terrorists, people tend to be on the far right, well that’s not a good category, just extremists, let’s call them that. Do they advertise after they do something like this? Do they try to get credit as a group or do they just hate America so much or its politics or its government that they just want to do the damage, they don’t care if they get public credit, if you will?”
In addition, the Weekly Standard, the quid essential NeoCon diatribe publication, lashes out at MSNBC as an adjunct enabler of the globalist agenda.
“MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell made the case this evening that the National Rifle Association is to blame for the slow investigation into the Boston bombings:
“There are new developments tonight in the bombing investigation here in Boston,” said O’Donnell. “But that investigation could be moving faster were it not for the successful lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association. The NRA’s efforts to guarantee that American mass murderers are the best-equipped mass murders in the world is not limited to murderers who use assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The NRA is also in the business of helping bombers get away with their crimes. Gunpowder could be traced by investigators to a buyer at the point of sale if gunpowder contained a taggant, an element that would enable tracing of the purchase of gunpowder. But thanks to the National Rifle Association, identification taggants are required by law only in plastic explosives. The NRA has successfully blocked any requirements for such taggants in gunpowder. So such supremely helpful evidence as taggants are not available to the FBI in this investigation.”
The bombings took place at Monday’s marathon.”
For an even more revolting low in propaganda, the MSNBC: NRA ‘in the Business of Helping Bombers Get Away With Their Crimes’ You Tube, is typical of a state sponsored Pravda style media misinformation, that now passes as journalism. Now compare this garbage MSNBC government coordinated onslaught with the perceptive, daring and provocative coverage on Breaking the Set, with host Abby Martin that is aired on RT TV. The video broadcast of Corporate Media Disaster Porn | Weapons of Mass Distraction, raises the issue that the corporate media is reporting false information. The long record of government drill operations during “so called” terrorist events might well prove to apply to the Boston Marathon massacre.
At the forefront of this speculation, Yahoo News lays claim that Alex Jones raises ‘false flag’ conspiracy after Boston Marathon bombings.
“Jones suggested that the FBI orchestrated the bombings under the false flag of a terrorist organization in order to justify expanded security powers. The Boston attack, he theorized, was staged by the U.S. government to extend the reach of both the Dept. of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration.”
With the FBI suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at large and now captured, it will take some serious investigatory reporting in order to penetrate the layers of government secrecy that reasonably can be expected to conceal what actually transpired on April 15, 2013. Still, the lamestream media will never report any evidence that conflicts with the homeland security police. The presence of sensible alternative explanations are consistently dismissed when the war of terror needs another jolt of fear to keep the public on edge.
Believing any of the government press releases that pass as independent news reporting is more risky than taking your chances in a world of deranged psychopaths. Simply stated, no one in the “so called” know has the inside track on all the complexity of the official investigation, or the potential compartmental complicity in a sanctioned undercover mission.
Where are the brave correspondents that would dare shout from the rooftops, that the response from the Boston carnage is virtually a green light for lock down martial law on the public? Just look to the Faux resident pinhead, Bill O’Reilly for bold reporting, Bill O’Reilly Attacks Alex Jones and Infowars for Daring to Ask Questions About Boston Bomber Narrative.
“Fox resident blowhard Bill O’Reilly and correspondent Juliet Huddy have attacked Alex Jones and Infowars.com reporter Dan Bidondi. For the two Fox News talking heads it is apparently a serious crime to quiz Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick about the false flag attack in Boston on Monday. It is impermissible to call into question the validity of the official narrative now coagulating around the event. It is forbidden to deviate from the establishment’s script.Huddy dismissed Jones and Bidondi as “idiots” and the accused sexual predator O’Reilly – who has strongly condemned the First Amendment in the past and has shilled for mass murder in Iraq and Afghanistan – made his disgust manifestly apparent, as usual. Both displayed contempt for the internet and alternative media, a quite natural reaction from two irrelevant teleprompter readers. Fox News in particular and the rest of the bloated script-reading dinosaur media in general are seriously threatened by free expression and news reportage on the web.”
Viewers that still watch, let alone believe, the fabrications coming out of the bowls of the presstitutesneed a reality check. Just think of all the naive clones that pay their cable or satellite charges for the privilege of bonding with the establishment mouthpieces. What you get from the mind control media is a government version of indoctrination into a slave society. Denial of even the possibility of a false flag operation in the underlying exercise is the only reporting you are supposed to watch.
The FBI tells America: believe us and no one else, outlines the official dictates from the ranks of the G-man enforcers, ”The implication is clear: there is official truth and then there is everything else.“Since the fascination of following, another manhunt with live feeds is so compelling to the trained seals that are pinned to the screen, the significance of a tyrannical takedown of an entire region of law-abiding citizens, goes unreported by the whores that read from the government approved teleprompters. The autocue message is sanitized of any possibility that the crew of a covert operative drill might just provide cover for a despotic counterattack to the shot heard around the world.
Americans are so easily duped. The Marxist media feed Animal Crackers to a dumb downed public that swallows a systematic federalization of genuine peace keeping functions. The true race in Boston is to re-establish the rebirth of the American Revolution.
Don’t be surprised when the global elite confiscate money from your bank account one day. They are already very clearly telling you that they are going to do it. Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is the president of the Eurogroup – an organization of eurozone finance ministers that was instrumental in putting together the Cyprus “deal” – and he has said publicly that what has just happened in Cyprus will serve as a blueprint for future bank bailouts. What that means is that when the chips are down, they are going to come after YOUR money. So why should anyone put a large amount of money in the bank at this point? Perhaps you can make one or two percent on your money if you shop around for a really good deal, but there is also a chance that 40 percent (or more) of your money will be confiscated if the bank fails. And considering the fact that there are vast numbers of banks all over the United States and Europe that are teetering on the verge of insolvency, why would anyone want to take such a risk? What the global elite have done is that they have messed around with the fundamental trust that people have in the banking system. In order for any financial system to work, people must have faith in the safety and security of that financial system. People put their money in the bank because they think that it will be safe there. If you take away that feeling of safety, you jeopardize the entire system.
So exactly how did the big banks in Cyprus get into so much trouble? Well, they have been doing exactly what hundreds of other large banks all over the U.S. and Europe have been doing. They have been gambling with our money. In particular, the big banks in Cyprus made huge bets on Greek sovereign debt which ended up failing.
But what happened in Cyprus is just the tip of the iceberg. All over the planet major financial institutions are being incredibly reckless with client money. They are leveraged to the hilt and they have transformed the global financial system into a gigantic casino.
If they win on their bets, they become fabulously wealthy.
If they lose on their bets, they know that the politicians won’t let the banks fail. They know that they will get bailed out one way or another.
And who pays?
Either our tax dollars are used to fund a government-sponsored bailout, or as we have just witnessed in Cyprus, money is directly confiscated from our bank accounts.
And then the game begins again.
People need to understand that the precedent that has just been set in Cyprus is a game changer.
The next time that a major bank fails in Greece or Italy or Spain (or in the United States for that matter), the precedent that has been set in Cyprus will be looked to as a “template” for how to handle the situation.
Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem has even publicly admitted that what just happened in Cyprus will serve as a model for future bank bailouts. Just check out what he said a few days ago…
“If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be ‘Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalise yourself?’. If the bank can’t do it, then we’ll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we’ll ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders”
Dijsselbloem insists that this will cause people “to think about the risks” before they put their money somewhere…
“It will force all financial institutions, as well as investors, to think about the risks they are taking on because they will now have to realise that it may also hurt them. The risks might come towards them.”
Well, as depositors in Cyprus just found out, there is a risk that you could lose 40 percent (and that is the best case scenario) of your money if you put it in the bank.
Why would anyone want to take that risk – especially in a nation that is already experiencing very serious financial troubles such as Greece, Italy or Spain?
As if that was not enough, Dijsselbloem later went in front of the Dutch parliament and publicly defended a wealth tax like the one that was just imposed in Cyprus.
Dijsselbloem is being widely criticized, and rightfully so. But at least he is being more honest that many other politicians. His predecessor as the head of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, once said that “you have to lie” to the people in order to keep the financial markets calm…
Mr. Dijsselbloem’s style contrasts with that of his predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister, who spoke in a low mumble at news conferences and was expert at sidestepping questions. Mr. Juncker once even advocated lying as a way to prevent financial markets from panicking—as they did Monday after Mr. Dijsselbloem’s comments.
“When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” Mr. Juncker said in April 2011. “If you have pre-indicated possible decisions, you are feeding speculation in the financial markets.”
But Dijsselbloem is certainly not the only one among the global elite that is admitting what is coming next. Just check out what Joerg Kraemer, the chief economist at Commerzbank, recently told Handelsblatt about what he believes should be done in Italy…
“A tax rate of 15 percent on financial assets would probably be enough to push the Italian government debt to below the critical level of 100 percent of gross domestic product”
They are telling us what they plan to do.
They are telling us that they plan to raid all of our bank accounts when the global financial system fails.
And calling it a “haircut” does not change the fact of what it really is. The truth is that when they confiscate money from our bank accounts it is outright theft. Just check out what the Daily Mail had to say about the situation in Cyprus…
People who rob old ladies in the street, or hold up security vans, are branded as thieves. Yet when Germany presides over a heist of billions of pounds from private savers’ Cyprus bank accounts, to ‘save the euro’ for the hundredth time, this is claimed as high statesmanship.
It is nothing of the sort. The deal to secure a €10 billion German bailout of the bankrupt Mediterranean island is one of the nastiest and most immoral political acts of modern times.
It has struck fear into the hearts of hundreds of millions of European citizens, because it establishes a dire precedent.
And when you cause paralysis in the banking system, a once thriving economy can freeze up almost overnight. The following is an excerpt from a report from someone that is actually living over in Cyprus…
As it stands now, nowhere in Cyprus accepts credit or debit cards anymore for fear of not being paid, it is CASH ONLY. Businesses have stopped functioning because they cannot pay employees OR pay for the stock they receive because the banks are closed. If the banks remain closed, the economy will be destroyed and STOP COMPLETELY. Looting, robberies and theft are already on the rise. If the banks open now, there will be a massive run on the bank, and the banks will FAIL loosing all of its deposits, also causing an economic crash. TONIGHT there are demonstrations at most street corners and especially at the parliament building (just 2 miles from me).
Many are thinking that the ECB and EU are allowing Cyprus to fail as a test ground for new financial standards.
Just wanted all you guys to know the real story of whats going on here. Prayers are appreciated (although this is very interesting to watch) many of my local friends have lots of money in the banks.
Would similar things happen in the United States if there was a major banking crisis someday?
That is something to think about.
In any event, the problems in the rest of Europe continue to get even worse…
-The stock market in Greece is crashing. It is down by more than 10 percent over the past two days.
-The stock markets in Italy and Spain are experiencing huge declines as well. Banking stocks are being hit particularly hard.
-The Bank of Spain says that the Spanish economy will sink even deeper into recession this year.
-The latest numbers from the Spanish government show that Spain’s debt problem is rapidly getting worse…
“The central government’s interest bill surged 15 percent last year to 26 billion euros, while tax receipts slumped 21 percent. The cost of servicing debt represented 30 percent of the taxes collected at the end of December, up from 20 percent a year earlier.”
-The euro took quite a tumble on Thursday and the euro will likely continue to decline steadily in the weeks and months to come.
For a very long time I have been warning that the next major wave of the economic collapse is going to originate in Europe.
Hopefully people are starting to see what I am talking about.
As this point, the major banks in Europe are leveraged about 26 to 1, and that is close to the kind of leverage that Lehman Brothers had when it finally collapsed. As a whole, European banks are drowning in debt, they are taking risks that are almost incomprehensible and now faith in those banks has been greatly undermined by what has happened in Cyprus.
Anyone that cannot see a crisis coming in Europe simply does not understand the financial world. A moment of reckoning is rapidly approaching for Europe. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers…
At the end of the day, the reason Europe hasn’t been fixed is because CAPITAL SIMPLY ISN’T THERE. Europe and its alleged backstops are out of money. This includes Germany, the ECB and the mega-bailout funds such as the ESM.
Germany has already committed to bailouts that equal 5% of its GDP. The single largest transfer payment ever made by one country to another was the Marshall Plan in which the US transferred an amount equal to 5% of its GDP. Germany WILL NOT exceed this. So don’t count on more money from Germany.
The ECB is chock full of garbage debts which have been pledged as collateral for loans. If anyone of significance defaults in Europe, the ECB is insolvent. Sure it can print more money, but once the BIG collateral call hits, money printing is useless because the amount of money the ECB would have to print would implode the system.
And then of course there are the mega bailout funds such as the ESM. The only problem here is that Spain and Italy make up 30% of the ESM’s supposed “funding.” That’s right, nearly one third of the mega-bailout fund’s capital will come from countries that are bankrupt themselves.
What could go wrong?
Right now, close to half of all money that is on deposit at banks in Europe is uninsured. As people move that uninsured money out of the banks, the amount of money that will be required to “fix the banks” will go up even higher.
It would be wise to try to avoid the big banks at this point – especially those with very large exposure to derivatives. Any financial institution that uses customer money to make reckless bets is not to be trusted.
If you can find a small local bank or credit union to do business with you will probably be better off.
And don’t think that this kind of thing can never happen in the United States.
One of the key players that was pushing the idea of a “wealth tax” in Cyprus was the IMF. And everyone knows that the IMF is heavily dominated by the United States. In fact, the headquarters of the IMF is located right in the heart of Washington D.C. not too far from the White House. When I worked in D.C. I would walk by the IMF headquarters quite a bit.
So if the United States thought that confiscating money from bank accounts was a great idea in Cyprus, why wouldn’t they implement such a thing here under similar circumstances?
The global elite are telling us what they plan to do, and the game has dramatically changed.
Move your money while you still can.
Unfortunately, it is already too late for the people of Cyprus.
Source: The Economic Collapse
On the front of the March 11, 2013 cover of Time Magazine, legless athlete Oscar Pistorius stands like a physical specimen held up by his prosthetic legs. The title reads, “Man, superman, gunman: Oscar Pistorius and South Africa’s culture of violence,” by Alex Perry.
“Don’t keep sweeping your troubles under the rug for someday you’ll trip over it.” Taylor Wapaha
While reading the article, I felt overwhelmed by the statistics: South Africa # 6 in the world for gun killings, 88 percent rise in home robberies in the past five years and total racial separation. Black poverty skyrocketed after the end of apartheid. Two surveys found: “…28 percent of men admitted to being rapists and 46 percent of victims were less than 16 years of age, 23 percent under 11 and 9 percent under six years old. Out of 3.5 million residents of Cape Town, 2.1 million live in shacks without toilets or running water.”
“In the townships, vigilante beatings and killings are the norm,” wrote Time writer Alex Perry. “South Africa’s private security industry employs 411,000 people, more than double the number of police officers. South Africa knows crime as a vast stretch of lawlessness covering an area twice the size of Texas. As much as $50 billion annually is lost to graft and crime.”
Much of Africa comprises dictators and unimaginable human brutality toward women. When you include the Muslim world’s honor killings of 5,000 women killed by fathers, brothers and husbands annually, you get a sick feeling in your stomach. While the world “rapes” Africa for its natural resources, its human residents suffer indescribable misery from Cape Town to Cairo. Note Egypt’s internal revolution, Syria killing of over 70,000 and Libya’s ongoing war, Somalia’s starving people, Sudan, etc.
What about human nature in America?
In my Denver Post, another equally disturbing article appeared by Lisa Wirthman: “I felt like I was dying inside.” (February 24, 2013) The rape victim said, “I was paralyzed by flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety attacks.”
Domestic violence in America:
- One in four U.S. adult women is a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. A woman in America suffers a violent attack every 15 seconds 24/7. Four million abuse cases annually.
- Three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day in America.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control)
In America in the 21st century in a highly educated society: rape and brutality continue without pause.
In the meantime, our country brutalized and killed countless people in Iraq in a war started by George W. Bush via the fabrication of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” David Brown, Washington Post staff writer said, “A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.”
When it comes to mechanized violence, our U.S. Military killed over 2.1 million men, women and children in Vietnam. The total deaths from the 11 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan may total over one million human beings. How can our U.S. Congress act with such arrogance and self-righteousness to continue those wars for so long with so much cost and so much death? Yet, we sweep it under the rug and out of our minds.
War on Mother Nature succeeding
While we spend so much money on the “War on Terror”; “War on Poverty”; “War on Drugs” and other such “wars”, we fail dramatically. Ten years of war in Iraq did absolutely nothing whatsoever to protect the United States of America. Instead, it ravaged a sovereign society and flooded our country with tens of thousands of Muslim refugees. Same with Afghanistan!
Notwithstanding, our “War on Mother Nature” proceeds with blinding speed. We humans, in the blink of 50 years and the invention of plastic, managed to create the 100 million ton Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the size of Texas, floating 1,000 miles off San Francisco. It kills millions of marine and avian life annually. We have done nothing to stop adding to it. No deposit-return laws worldwide—no nothing.
(Unfathomable billions of pieces of plastic washing throughout the oceans, lakes, seas, rivers and streams of the world—all created by humans around the planet.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com
“The world’s navies and commercial shipping fleets make a significant contribution, throwing some 639,000 plastic containers overboard every day, along with their other litter,” said ocean reporter Richard Grant. “But after a few more years of sampling ocean water in the gyre and near the mouths of Los Angeles streams, Moore concluded that 80 per cent of marine plastic was discarded on land. There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer of the world’s oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.”
(Endless plastic trash washes up on beaches around the world and kills wildlife by the millions.) Photo bywww.thewritefuture.com
In an Associated Press article by Verena Dobnic, “River of trash”, (March 3, 2013) she reports, “Just across the East river from midtown Manhattan’s shimmering skyscrapers sits one of the nation’s most polluted neighborhoods, fouled by generations of industrial waste, overflow from the city’s sewage system and an underground oil leak bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill. Oily, rainbow-slick water is filled with soda cans, plastic bottles, raw sewage and decaying food. Ditched vehicles are stuck in the mud. What was once a watershed is now a sewage shed. Today, the creek’s bottom is lined with 15 foot thick layer of petroleum-based pollutants that scientists have dubbed “black mayonnaise.”
(Wildlife eat the plastic trash that eventually kills them.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com
With endless poisons injected into our rivers, the Mississippi River creates a 10,000 mile square dead-zone at its mouth. The Yangtze, Ganges and other great rivers create 20,000 square mile dead zones at their mouths. Yet, we humans do absolutely nothing to clean up our messes all over the planet.
I’ve tried for 40 years to get Peter Coors of Coors Brewing to support a 10 cent deposit return law in Colorado. Instead, his money killed our deposit-return efforts in Colorado in 1974 and 1988. Why do men and women with money and power in this country—do nothing for the good of our environment? Why do the men and women of our U.S. Congress do absolutely nothing for the good of our natural world?
What would solve so many of the aforementioned problems? Answer: first and foremost—education to create responsible citizens who care about their world, loving families, jobs, stable communities, recreation and a healthy natural world. Is it asking too much for our leaders to work for the betterment of our lives rather than endless wars, profits over humanity and destruction of planet?
In the end, with another 3.1 billion people projected to be added to this planet within the next 37 years, is there any hope for civility, care about our planet and care about our fellow human beings?
The Dow is at a record high and so are corporate profits – so why does it feel like most of the country is deeply suffering right now? Real household income is the lowest that it has been in a decade, poverty is absolutely soaring,47 million Americans are on food stamps and the middle class is being systematically destroyed. How can big corporations be doing so well while most American families are having such a hard time? Isn’t their wealth supposed to “trickle down” to the rest of us? Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works. Today, most big corporations are trying to minimize the number of “expensive” American workers on their payrolls as much as they can. If the big corporation that is employing you can figure out a way to replace you with a worker in China or with a robot, it will probably do it. Corporations are in existence to maximize wealth for their shareholders, and most of the time the largest corporations are dominated by the monopoly men of the global elite. Over the decades, the politicians that have their campaigns funded by these monopoly men have rigged the game so that the big corporations are able to easily dominate everything. But this was never what those that founded this country intended. America was supposed to be a place where the power of collectivist institutions would be greatly limited, and individuals and small businesses would be free to compete in a capitalist system that would reward anyone that had a good idea and that was willing to work hard. But today, our economy is completely and totally dominated by a massively bloated federal government and by absolutely gigantic predator corporations that are greatly favored by our massively bloated federal government. Our founders tried to warn us about the dangers of allowing government, banks and corporations to accumulate too much power, but we didn’t listen. Now they dominate everything, and the rest of us are fighting for table scraps.
In early America, most states had strict laws governing the size and scope of corporations. Individuals and small businesses thrived in such an environment, and the United States experienced a period of explosive economic growth. We showed the rest of the world that capitalism really works, and we eventually built the largest middle class that the world had ever seen.
But now we have replaced capitalism with something that I like to call “corporatism”. In many ways, it shares a lot of characteristics with communism, and that is why nations such as communist China have embraced it so readily. Under “corporatism”, monolithic predator corporations run around sucking up as much wealth and economic power as they possibly can. Most individuals and small businesses cannot compete and end up getting absorbed by the corporations. These mammoth collectivist institutions are in private hands rather than in government hands (as would be the case under a pure form of communism), but the results are pretty much the same either way. A tiny elite at the top gets almost all of the economic rewards.
There are some out there that would suggest that the answer to our problems is to move more in the direction of “socialism”, but to be honest that wouldn’t be the solution to anything. It would just change how the table scraps that the rest of us are getting are distributed.
If we truly wanted a return to prosperity, we need to dramatically shift the rules of the game so that they are tilted back in favor of individuals and small businesses. A much more pure form of capitalism would mean more wealth, less poverty and a more equitable distribution of the economic rewards in this country.
But it will never happen. Most of our politicians are married to the big corporations and the wealthy elitists that fund their campaigns. And most Americans are so uneducated that they believe that what we actually have today is “capitalism” and that the only alternative is to go “to the left” toward socialism.
Very few people out there are suggesting that we need to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations, but that is exactly what we need to do. We need to give individuals and small businesses room to breathe once again.
With each passing year, things get even worse. In fact, the founder of Subway Restaurants recently said that the environment for small businesses is so toxic in America today that he never would have been able to start Subway if he had to do it today.
For much more on how small business is being strangled to death in the United States, please see my previous article entitled “We Are Witnessing The Death Of Small Business In America“.
What I want to do now is to discuss some of the results that “corporatism” is producing in America.
First of all, we continue to see incomes go down even though we live in an inflationary economy.
As Time Magazine recently reported, personal incomes took a huge nosedive during the month of January…
Data released by the Commerce Department last week showed that personal income fell 3.6% in January, the biggest decline in 20 years. The drop was even bigger when taxes and inflation are taken into account. Real personal disposable income fell by 4%, the biggest monthly drop in half a century.
Real median US household income — that’s “real,” as in “adjusted for inflation” — was $50,054 in 2011, the most recent data available from the US Census Bureau. That’s 8% lower than the 2007 peak of $54,489.
Meanwhile, big corporations are absolutely raking in the cash. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
“So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.”
The result has been a golden age for corporate profits, especially among multinational giants that are also benefiting from faster growth in emerging economies like China and India.
Just check out the following chart. Corporate profits have absolutely exploded over the past decade…
Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP continue to fall rapidly…
Most of the jobs being created in America today are “low wage” jobs. Tens of millions of Americans are working as hard as they can only to find that they can barely put food on the table and provide a roof over the heads of their children. The ranks of the “working poor” are exploding and the middle class continues to shrink.
Many of you that are reading this article are members of the working poor. You know what it is like to stare up at your ceiling at night wondering how you are going to pay the bills next month.
Today, most Americans are living very close to the edge financially. A recent article by NBC News staff writer Allison Linn shared some of their stories. The following is one example…
Crystal Dupont knows what it’s like to try to live on the federal minimum wage.
Dupont has no health insurance, so she hasn’t seen a doctor in two years. She’s behind on her car payments and has taken out pawn shop and payday loans to cover other monthly expenses. She eats beans and oatmeal when her food budget gets low.
When she got her tax refund recently, she used the money to get ahead on her light bill.
“I try to live within my means, but sometimes you just can’t,” said Dupont, 25. The Houston resident works 30 to 40 hours a week taking customer service calls, earning between $7.25 and $8 an hour. That came to about $15,000 last year.
It’s a wage she’s lived on for a while now, but just barely.
Sadly, the number of Americans that are “just barely” surviving continues to grow.
But if corporate profits are soaring to unprecedented heights, then who is getting all of those rewards?
The monopoly men of the global elite are.
Just check out the following video which does a great job of illustrating how corporatism has systematically funneled all of the economic rewards in our system to the very top…
Once again, I want to make it very clear that I am not advocating socialism as the answer in any way, shape or form. Socialism takes away the incentive to create wealth and it almost always results in almost all of the economic rewards going to a very tiny elite anyway.
As I said earlier, what we need is a return to a much more pure form of capitalism, but this is so foreign to the way that most people think that most people will not be able to grasp this.
It certainly would be possible to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations at the same time, but this is so “outside the box” for most people that they cannot even conceive of doing such a thing.
We need to create an environment where individuals and small businesses can thrive once again. But instead, most of us are content to continue “playing the game” and getting enslaved in even more debt.
For example, according to CNBC, auto loans just continue to get larger and continue to get stretched out for longer periods of time…
American car buyers, attracted by new models and cheap financing, are taking out bigger auto loans and stretching out the terms of those loans to a new record length.
New analysis from Experian Automotive shows the average new car loan in the fourth quarter of last year was $26,691 and stretched out over an average of 65 months. The length of the average loan is one month longer than the previous record set in the third quarter of last year.
What will they think of next?
Will we eventually have auto loans that get paid off over 10 years?
By the way, that is another way that the monopoly men of the global elite get all of our money. They enslave us to debt, and we spend year after year of our lives slaving away to make them even wealthier.
They are very smart. There is a reason why they have 32 TRILLION dollars stashed away in offshore tax havens. They know how to play the game, and they are very happy that most of the rest of us are asleep.
Fortunately, it appears that an increasing number of Americans are waking up.
For example, I wanted to share with you all an excerpt from a comment that one of my readers left on one of my recent articles…
In the past year, I’ve been slowly but surely waking up to the nonsense happening around me. There’s so many things I need to simply get off my chest, so excuse the length of this post. Recently in the past two years, I’ve gotten married and have been medically discharged from the Marines after being injured in Afghanistan. Being 23 years old and married, my goal is secure a secure a future for my family, but with the way things are going, I’m not exactly sure how much of a future we’re going to have in 50 years. I can’t explain it, but I’ve felt this need to change my attitude and motivations lately.
I started by turning off the garbage music, television and other mindless entertainment that seems to plague my generation. It was easier than it looked – I don’t miss most of it really. The next order of business was to educate myself on world news, so that’s what I did. Every day, like clockwork, I check all major mainstream news feeds (NBC, Fox, Abc, CNN, Reuters, BBC, etc.) as well as not-so-mainstream news sites – yours being one of them. It’s incredible how fast our world changes and the manner in which it changes. The local 10 o’clock doesn’t show anything but local news, sports, weather, lottery #’s and whatever else they decide to throw in. It’s a night and day difference once you start to actually research and see what’s happening all over the world. Look at the number of comments about a news story on the economy and then look at a celebrity story on the “news”….People are so blind, it truly amazes me. My friends, family and classmates at college seem to be under a spell of some sort. They’re distracted – and it’s contagious. Nobody I know gives a damn about global affairs/economics. They’re more interested in the newest iPhone, cars, shows, movies, and just about anything else you can think of. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these things, but my friends/family/peers are CONSUMED by these distractions. When the election was taking place in 2012, every Tom, Dick and Harry on Facebook had an opinion and rant. After the circus ended however, everyone simply went back to posting about parties, kittens, Farmville etc. It’s a huge joke. For me, it’s little terrifying and exciting to see history unfolding in front of our eyes. This country of ours is going through big changes now that will most certainly affect our future, so I strive to adapt and prepare myself and my family. I’m looking at buying my first home this summer. Right now I live in an apartment right outside Philly and spend more money on rent than most pay for a mortgage. I need a house with a little land to raise chickens, grow fruits/vegetables, store canned food – and to be as independent from the system as I can. For my job, I wanted a skill/trade that people would always need, so I picked the funeral business. On the side, I work in construction and have been learning everything there is to know about building with my own two hands. I feel as though these old forgotten skills are going to be handy in a short while.
Hopefully we can get a lot more people to wake up and start breaking out of “the matrix” of control that is all around us.
Right now, the system is designed to continually funnel more money and more power to the very top of the pyramid. The global elite are becoming more dominant with each passing day. Unless something dramatic happens, at some point the American people will become so powerless that they won’t be able to do anything about it even if they wanted to.
The idea of a very tiny elite completely dominating all the rest of us goes against everything that America is supposed to stand for. In the end, it will result in absolute tyranny if it is not stopped.
Source: The Economic Collapse
We know that waiting till the last second is not a good idea, but for some it is the only option. So we have taken three possible average scenarios and broken them down for you. All scenarios will include a family of 4 – Mom, Dad and two kids under high school age – living in the suburbs of a megaplex city…
You have a few cases of water
You have some freeze-dried storage food, maybe a 30 day supply.
You have some sleeping bags and some basic camping supplies.
You have a general idea of the area to which you want to go.
You think maybe something might happen in which case you could need to get your family out of the city.
All supplies are in the garage, ready to load into your minivan should the need arise.
You live in a suburban area of a mexaplex city – first and foremost, where the hell are you going to go? If you are starting out with only a general idea of where to go, you are planning to fail. Knowing exactly where you are going and a little preparation are very much in order. Even if your plan is to squat on BLM land, National Forest Service land or private land, just having a general idea of where you are going is dangerous. You, see, in your suburb of a megaplex area, how many other people have the same general idea? Of those of like mind, most likely that’s a very high percentage. So have something better than a general idea. Know exactly where you are going and if it’s remote enough, you can hide supplies (not what you must have for survival, but that which you would like to have with you there) in the trees. You just need a cammo cargo net and some rope. Hoist it high into a tree, hidden by the foliage.
Here is an idea I’ve been discussing with people lately. Call it “Free Advice”: If you have no where to go then the National Forrest my be your best bet. There are several very remote FREE National Forrest camp grounds, (http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/list/nflist.htm) that you can take advantage of. There is one around here (20 miles away) that is very remote and almost no one comes around unless its elk season (Sept. thru Dec.). So before you decide on a campground, check out what dates are the hunting season. Some National Forrest campgrounds have water, some have toilet dumps, most have toilets, some have showers… I have even seen a laundrette at one, and almost no one ever using it. The occasional park ranger will pass by. The Free campground space can by used for 14 consecutive days at a time. Some park rangers interpret this to mean that you must leave the park others interpret it that you have to move to another space in the same campground every 14 days. Either way, if you had to leave the park for one day, only to return the next day, that works, too.
Next to consider is, what would prompt your leaving? Most everyone completely ignores this one because they believe that when the time comes, they’ll “just know”. What is needed is a clear-cut definition of what event would prompt your bugging out. Even if you jump the gun and get to your survival location too soon, you can always go back to suburbia if you feel the coast is still clear. Some possible guidelines would be: war in Syria or Iran, a banking holiday, if you see military troops in your town setting up check points.
Back in the day there was an old hippie bumper sticker that said, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. It is also true that CNNFOXABCNBCCBSMSNBC et al will NOT have a news flash that says “Marshall law will be declared in 30 minutes, so if you’re going to boogie, do it now!” Just remember, if you wait until there is clear unambiguous proof that it’s time to go, you just might find yourself in a traffic jam and no further.
For transportation, a minivan is not going to get you any place safe enough. Consider getting something more robust, such as an older pick up truck (pre-95 is best – simple electronics, less susceptible to EMP and solar flares) with an extend-a-cab or club-cab for the kids. The RV market has collapsed. Prices have never been lower on used RVs of all types.
With a pickup truck you could get a cab-over camper quite inexpensively. These slip into the cargo area of a pick up. Most sleep 4 or more, have a toilet, shower, water storage tank, oven, range, sink, dining area, a closet and cabinet space. With the economy the way it is, watching craigslist you will find great bargains. Most people are paying in the neighborhood of $500 for an older but still serviceable cab-over camper. If a pick up truck is just not something you can do, then you may want to consider a Coleman-type pop-up camper, which can be towed behind even some compact cars with ease (also about $500 on craigslist). You can use either type of camper to store everything you will need to take with you to your bug-out location, and you’ll be able to just hook up and go when it’s time, no need to think about what to bring. It’s the ultimate “bug-out-bag”. You can have hundreds of pounds of food and water and supplies in it, without having to crowd the supplies and the family into the minivan.
If the only water you have is a couple of cases, that won’t do it. A case of water is about 2-1/2 gallons of water on average. How many cases can you carry? If you have a cab-over or pop-up camper, both have a fresh water tank to store in the area of 150-200 gallons of water. Check and see if the place you have chosen for your bug-out has any access to water – lake, pond, stream, river, pump, well, etc. The average person, under Spartan conditions, can just get by on one gallon per day – 2 quarts to drink and a couple of quarts for cooking and hygiene. Consider the water you’ll need if your food is dehydrated or freeze-dried! So for 4 of you, with a 200 gallon water tank, you would have enough for about 50 days.
If all you have is freeze-dried or dehydrated items for food, you will want to have some items to supplement that, so that you don’t experience appetite fatigue. We would suggest some of the following be added to your supplies for long-term evacuation:
Plus any family favorites, just to break the monotony.
Also, throw into your packing some board games, deck of cards, books, etc., toilet paper and RV toilet sanitizer (blue stuff). If you have extra jeans, socks, shirts, sneakers, shoes/boots – the clothing you bring can be used outdoors with ease – as well as toiletries should also be packed. Don’t forget to include a first aid kit. For some of you it will be a military medic/field surgical kit, for others it will be some antiseptic, gauze and tape, depending on your skill level.
You (and your family) are going to stay in your suburban home.
You have 6 cases of water
You have 6 cases of Dinty Moore Beef Stew and a few miscellaneous canned goods.
You have a shotgun
You don’t want to tell your wife and kids what may be coming up in the near future because it will rock their world. Besides, “they’ll think I’m nuts.”
In this scenario, there is no need to have a bug-out time definition. But you still need to know what to look for so that you know when to hunker down. So, again, some pre-defined conditions bear strong consideration. What to do, when such and such a thing happens, including a rendezvous place for children to meet you for picking up.
Food will be your biggest concern. Let’s first deal with the “having”. You’ll need to have food. Basically, nothing different than the previous scenario, although not having to consider transportation, you can store more of it. More importantly, you’ll need to be covert. Being in the suburbs means being around lots of people. Lots of hungry people. The smell of cooking can attract predators – of all kinds: hungry neighborhood dogs and cats going feral, not to mention your neighbors, themselves, who undoubtedly are hungry. The smell of your cooking anything is going to bring people either knocking on or breaking down your door. What would you do if your kids hadn’t eaten in a week and you smelled food?
Cooking hot food in the suburban environment could garner you a lot of negative attention. For these reasons, ready to eat foods (jerky, dried fruits and vegetables, cookies and crackers) are most desirable. For some of you that might be military MREs. We don’t recommend them as a steady diet – too much GMO and MSG to name a few – but in this case they may be useful against hunger while maintaining a low profile.
The power that pumps water to your house may well be disabled. That means that you will not have water coming from your faucet, nor to your toilet for flushing. The -Mart stores sell 5 gallon water bottles (like those used in water coolers) for about $5 each. Get yourself as many as you can, fill them and cover them up where you have your storage items. Refer to the above scenario for daily requirements. Also, fill all your sinks and bathtubs with water while you still have power. Place a garbage bag over the sinks and bathtubs to keep the dust out of the water. Often times forgotten, your water heater has a spigot at the bottom of it, from which you can access the water in there as well – usually anywhere from 20-40 gallons of additional, usable water.
Some rules about toilet water usage… “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Save the water from washing up (gray water) to use – as little as possible – to do the flushing. Pour it into the bowl until the “brown goes down”. If you want to pour your gray water into your toilet tank, add rocks (too large to get into the flapper hole) or bricks into the tank so that they take up some of the unnecessary water space.
Now, for these scenarios, here is a lesson in “How Not to Be Seen” (with a tip of the hat to Monty Python). For evacuation scenarios, if you are in a very secluded part of say, the National Forest or private land, it’s a safe bet that if you encounter other people who are not part of your group, you will be encountering trouble. So my advice would be, “if people move in, move out” and choose another camping sight.
Avoid having large, smoky fires that would attract others. Do most of your fireside cooking during the day and avoid night time fires completely. Also, avoid loud talking, loud music, etc. Don’t think that because you can’t see anyone around you, it’s okay to play your Lead Zeppelin CDs at 800 decibels and no one would notice. You would be surprised how far sound travels in the wilderness, without car noises, people noises, etc., drowning it out.
For Suburban How not to be seen, use no night time lights, even if you have plenty of candles and flashlights. If you do need to illuminate something, do it discretely and for a short time, preferably in a room that has few windows. It’s a good idea to put heavy drapes on your windows also, as long as there are no gaps. Avoid going outside and therefore being noticed. If you have a garage, put your car into it. A car parked outside lets others know there are people inside – not what you want to do. The car battery can be used as a 12 volt power source if needed, and you can hook up a 110 AC power inverter to use as a house current power source.
“I don’t want to tell the wife and kids what may be coming up in the future because I don’t want to shake their world.” Better to have them prepared than having to follow your instructions while they are in a panic. Like in the movie Knowing, when the little girl’s mother panics, grabs the kids and drives madly toward a cave she knows (so does everyone else), it’s not a good situation. It doesn’t end well. Even if your family thinks you are a tin-foil-hat-wearing loon, if you have at least told them in advance what the trigger point would be, when that point arrives it will be that much less of a shock and they will be apt to be much more on board when the time comes. At some point they’ll have to face it anyway. Better they be prepared than blissfully ignorant until that point.
You (and your family) are already living at your survival retreat.
You are off the grid, self-sufficient and lovin’ the life!
When TSHTF, it will just be another day.
Way to go!
Obama, Housing And The Next Big Heist…
“Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.
But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What’s holding us back? Let’s streamline the process, and help our economy grow.”
First of all, whenever you hear a politician talk about “streamlining the process”, run for cover. The term is a right-wing formulation that means “remove all the rules which inhibit profitmaking”. Naturally, Wall Street’s favorite son, President Hopium, is more than comfortable with the expression and uses it to great effect. But what are the rules that Obama wants to eliminate, that’s the question?
Obama answers that himself when he says: “Too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected.”
This is pure baloney. Borrowers with good credit who can meet the standard down payment requirement (usually 10 percent) can secure financing without too much trouble. The problem is that the banks don’t want to be limited to creditworthy applicants alone, because there aren’t enough creditworthy applicants interested in buying a house. That’s why they want Obama to loosen regulations on “government insured” mortgages so they can lend money to anyone they want knowing that Uncle Sam will pay the bill when the loans go belly-up. That is what this is all about; Obama wants congress to slap their seal of approval on a new regime of crappy loans that will eventually be dumped on US taxpayers. Here’s the story from Bloomberg:
“U.S. Realtors and mortgage bankers say they’re hoping President Barack Obama’s call for streamlining mortgage rules will lend new momentum to efforts to prevent imposing a strict minimum down payment for home loans.
… bankers and real estate agents …are angling for changes to a proposed regulation requiring lenders to keep a stake in risky loans say they hope Obama’s comments will help their cause.
At issue is the so-called Qualified Residential Mortgage rule, which six banking regulators including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve are aiming to complete this year. The regulators drew protests in 2011 when they released a preliminary draft requiring lenders to keep a stake in mortgages with down payments of less than 20 percent and those issued to borrowers spending more than 36 percent of their income on debt…(“Housing Industry Pins Hopes on Obama to Soften Down-Payment Rule, Bloomberg)
Can you believe this hogwash? Regulators are asking the banks to retain a lousy 5% of the value on high-risk mortgages (so they can cover the losses in the event of another meltdown) and the stinking bankers are whining about it! Unbelievable. In other words, they’re being asked to put some “skin in the game” so they can pay off defaulting loans when they blow up the financial system again, and they don’t want to do it. The banks are fighting so-called “risk retention” tooth and nail, because they don’t want to tie up their capital. Imagine if your insurance company ran its business the same way? So, then your house burns down, and the claims agent tells you, “Sorry, Mr Jones, we can’t pay your claim because all our money is tied up in structured investment vehicles and dodgy debt instruments.” Are you okay with that? But that’s what the banks are doing, and they’re doing it because they want to be leveraged “N”th-degree to maximize profits. Besides, they know from experience, that when the system goes down again, the USG will ride to the rescue and pay off their debts. So why hold capital?
Keep in mind, that the banks can lend whatever amount they want to whomever they want. No one is stopping them. But if they want the government to guarantee the loan (or if they want government financing), they have to follow certain rules. And the rules have to be clear because the banks have shown that they can’t be trusted. Here’s more from Bloomberg:
“Housing industry participants want the regulators writing QRM to drop the down payment requirement and raise borrowers’ allowable debt load to 43 percent, essentially setting the same requirements in both the QM and QRM rules.” (Bloomberg)
This is so stupid it boggles the mind. “No, Mr Bankster, Uncle Sam will not guarantee your putrid loan if the applicant can’t come up with a measly down payment or if his monthly payments exceed the standard 36 percent of income to debt.” This is so tiresome. There’s no point in putting people into loans that they can’t repay. We tried that. It doesn’t work.
Now ask yourself this: Why are the banks so adamantly opposed to what-they-call the “stringent down payment requirement”? Down payments have been SOP for decades. A 10 or 20 percent down is an indication that a borrower is responsible enough to set aside some of his income for the future, which reflects positively on his creditworthiness. It’s also an indication that the borrower is not going to cut-and-run at the first sign that prices are falling. Stakeholders typically stay with the ship even after it’s hit the iceberg, which helps to stabilize the market and prevent prices from falling off a cliff. The banks know this, which is why they typically demand a down payment on loans that are NOT guaranteed by the government. It’s only when the government’s on the hook for the loss that they don’t give a rip.
Bloomberg again: “Groups including the Mortgage Bankers Association have been warning about the impact of rulemaking in an already tight market.”
Now there’s a surprise. So bankers hate rules and regulations? Really? And they also think its terrible that borrowers need to have decent credit scores to qualify for “government backed” loans? Will wonders never cease. Well they won’t have to wait much longer, will they, because Obama has promised to loosen those “onerous” rules so they can get back to business and start fleecing people like the good old days.
Let’s not kid ourselves, the banks have figured out what many analysts have known all along; that low rates, mortgage modifications, and massive private investment (speculation) are not going to be enough to reflate prices and generate another housing bubble. No way. It’s going to take a total breakdown in lending standards so the banks can, once again, provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to anyone who can sit upright and scratch his John Hancock on a mortgage app. That’s what it’s going to take to erase the 30% loss in the value on the stockpile of garbage mortgages the banks still hold on their balance sheets.
Here’s Obama again:
“Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill.”
So Obama doesn’t just want to loosen regulations for new home buyers (No down payment, high debt-to-income ratio), he also wants to help refinance underwater homeowners who’ve been making their monthy payments regularly. But why? After all, the administration’s aggressive mortgage modification program (HAMP) is already providing low-interest refis for people who are as much as 125% LTV (underwater) What’s different about this program?
Ahh, that’s where it gets interesting. Here’s the scoop from Bloomberg:
“The U.S. Treasury Department and members of Congress are preparing to move forward with plans to expand government-backed refinancing programs to underwater homeowners whose loans are packaged in private-label securities.” (“U.S. Mortgage Refinancing Push Said to Advance in Congress”, Bloomberg)
“Private label”? So now the USG is going to guarantee the mortgages the banks concocted in their boilerrooms that didn’t even conform to standards that would allow them to be financed by Fannie and Freddie? That’s what Obama is pushing for? Yeegads! Here’s more from Bloomberg:
The trust, as described in Merkley’s earlier proposal, would provide relief to borrowers with privately owned loans and probably would be set up under the oversight of an existing housing agency. If Congress doesn’t pass such a measure, the Treasury is drafting a plan to step in to pay for rate modifications for those homeowners.” (Bloomberg)
What? So if Congress doesn’t approve the bailout, then the Treasury will implement the plan anyway? Is that it? That doesn’t sound very democratic.
“Under that option, the government would pay the difference between the new and original interest rates to the owners of the loans for five years. Investors in private-label securities have sometimes objected to mortgage modifications because of concerns their income could be reduced.” (Bloomberg)
Wait a minute. Shouldn’t the investors or the banks take the haircut instead of taxpayers? After all, whose fault is it that 5 million families have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2007 and 11 million homeowners are presently underwater? Not the taxpayer. Let the responsible parties bear the costs. That’s the way the system is supposed to work, right?
And Merkley’s proposal is just one two bills now awaiting congressional action. The other is the Boxer-Menendez bill which “promises lenders they won’t be forced to absorb the loss on refinanced loans that default.” (Bloomberg) Great. So, while the Boxer-Menendez bill will not refi loans that are not backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, (no “private label” loans) it will move (an estimated) one million high-risk mortgages off bank balance sheets and onto the public’s ledger. This is how the free market capitalism works in the US today; all the profits go to Wall Street and all the red ink goes to Main Street.
Obama doesn’t care if struggling homeowners get a break on their refis or not. It’s all a joke. He’s just helping his bank buddies cut their losses while they set the stage for their next big heist.
You may be as sick of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut as I am sick to my stomach. What makes me sick stems from the fact that it keeps happening across our country quite regularly, too often with too much insanity.
When I researched the facts about the killings going on in America, I almost emotionally staggered at the five children who are killed daily by their parents or care-givers. In other words, a Newtown, Connecticut occurs within America every four days, but no one thinks about it because the children who die are dispersed across the USA. But just the same, those children die horrible deaths, too. At the hands of their parents.
When I researched the five million women who suffer beatings at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends annually, I would have thought our nation must be a country from the Middle East where they kill their wives and daughters for honor killings—at least 5,000 annually and beat their wives without mercy regularly.
But then I discover an American man beats his wife or girlfriend every 15 seconds in America. How do you swallow that one emotionally, intellectually or otherwise? We are supposed to be a moral, ethical and lawful nation. Instead, we are a sick bunch of child abusers and wife beaters.
Then, we compare Columbine’s 15 killed that horrible day in Littleton, Colorado to the killings in Newtown, but I found out that 18 teenagers commit suicide every single day of the year in this country. Count those numbers dear friend: a Columbine-like massacre occurs in this country every single day because those kids feel so disconnected, so disenfranchised, so separated, so unloved that they kill themselves. It takes my breath away.
Then, when I start thinking about the fact that our Congress and the past two presidents rained down bombs and drones to kill thousands upon thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan civilians in two 10 year long wars—and we don’t say anything about it. Does anyone see the disconnect of our self-righteousness as to the pretending to be a moral and ethical nation? It’s beyond me how our leaders and Congress critters sleep at night.
Then, we come to animal cruelty in this country. It’s staggering. We kill over four million dogs and cats just because they are excess because of our own irresponsible behavior of letting them breed.
Animal Cruelty Statistics
- Each year, 10,000 bull dogs die in bullfighting.
- Women in abusive relationships often don’t leave their abuser because they worry what will happen to their pet if they leave.
- 13% of animal abuse involves domestic violence.
- 70% of animal abusers also have records of other crimes.
- 3 to 4 million cats and dogs (young, healthy and adoptable) are euthanized every year in shelters.
- Animals that aren’t euthanized are often sent to no-kill shelters where the animals are caged for days, weeks, months or years and the animals risk becoming insane and dying of loneliness.
- Millions of day-old male chicks are killed in a high capacity macerator because they are worthless to the egg industry.
- In the United States alone, 1.13 million animals are used in testing and research every year.
- More than 15 million warm blooded animals are used in research worldwide.
- Scientists estimate that 100 species of animals go extinct every day.
Continue reading at NowPublic.com: Animal Cruelty: Facts, Prevention, Statistics and Action | NowPublic News Coverage
At some point, we have got to come to terms with the violence in our culture, our violence toward other countries, our violence against nature and our violence as a tool to solve things.
We need to reconnect with God, with Nature, with our natural world, with the animals that we slaughter by the millions and the trashing of our planet.
I mean, the human race continues to cause the extinction of 80 to 100 other creatures on this planet every 24 hours every day of the week—without pause.
At some point, we must ask ourselves if we want to live on this ravaged planet. I’ve reported on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is a 100 million ton floating plastic debris island out in the Pacific. That plastic litters every ocean on the planet. It kills endless millions of sea creatures, but none of our leaders and none of our citizens will stand up for a simple 10 cent deposit-return law across this nation and/or across the world.
It’s as if we think it will solve itself, but it only gets worse.
We remain quiet as our military kills, maims and slaughters endless other human beings in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan—as if we have the right to continue those wars for decades. How friggin’ sick is that kind of thinking and that kind of action?
Then, when something as horrific as what we’ve done to other countries and other creatures comes home to roost in Newtown, Connecticut, we cry, we mourn, we condemn and we point fingers—but we don’t do anything.
We don’t stop the violent movies, violent video games, the violence on TV and the violence to our women and children across the board. We don’t even attempt to stop it.
What have you done at the local level, state level or national level to stop the violence? When will you do it? What actions will you take? What will you do?
Answer: probably nothing.
It’s as with a man I once knew who insisted it couldn’t be proven that smoking was bad for you. He knew better in his heart, but his available choices — giving up cigarettes or accepting the danger of their use —were both emotionally unpalatable to him. Enter the rationalization.
We’re seeing the same thing with Republicans in the wake of Barack Obama’s re-election. Radio host Sean Hannity, citing changing American demographics, stated a while back that his position on immigration has “evolved”: we now must offer illegals some kind of pathway to citizenship (a.k.a. amnesty). Other conservatives are warning that we must dispense with social issues or the Republican Party will be dispensed with.
Of course, this isn’t always rationalization. Some conservatives, and Hannity is likely among them, may truly believe that we can avoid electoral hell if we have just one more dance with the Devil. Conservatives have always responded to seemingly inevitable political changes by, slowly but surely, compromising their way to tyranny. But rationalization is a huge factor, and what is the scary truth here that conservatives dare not contemplate?
They are losing the culture.
Little by little.
And as the culture goes, so go political fortunes.
Let’s spell it out:
- To paraphrase Lincoln, “The teaching in the schools today will be the politics of tomorrow.” The left has long controlled academia.
- The media, our conduit of information, is largely controlled by the left.
- As Plato wrote, “When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them.” Just imagine what he would have said about far more influential television and the Internet, two media through which popular culture — which the left controls — is imbibed.
Now, like a computer, people can only process the data they are given. Thus, even when people function logically like a computer (which can be rare), they’re operating within a leftist matrix of ideas forged by the Triumvirate of Evil (TIE): academia, the media, and popular culture. These data entry specialists ensure that it is garbage in as leftist ideology, garbage out as votes.
This brings us to the so-called culture war. The left is the establishment; it controls the above branches of the pen-not-sword military. Conservatives have been reduced to guerrilla warfare, with groups such as the ACLJ, Family Research Council, and Christian Coalition drawing occasional blood; and citizen militia uprisings such as the defense of Chik-fil-A. And while these actions are sometimes successful, they’re always short-lived and are merely defenses that only serve to slow the loss of traditionalist territory. The reality is that there is no culture war. What is occurring now is a pacification effort.
Some conservatives sense this, but the reality is often too frightening to contemplate. You can vote liberals out of office, but how do you control entities whose agents of change are unelected? Boycotts won’t do it because, unlike elections, they require more than a run-up campaign and one voting day of focus and effort; it’s often impossible to get enough people on board, and in the aggregate most don’t have the discipline to persevere in a boycott, anyway. And what of traditionalists reversing the Gramscian march through the institutions by they themselves entering them? Good luck. Time is short, and, besides, TIE leftists are like The Matrix’s sentient programs: they guard all the gates and hold all the keys.
In addition to this, add another element to my eighth-paragraph list:
4. You can supplement your domestically produced leftist voters by importing some ready-made. Most all our new immigrants are de facto socialists.
This won’t be changed, either, because there no longer are the votes to alter our dhimmi-gration model.
So the hear-see-speak-no-evil reality for conservatives is this: politics will always reflect the culture, which is steadily drifting “left.”
And there is no way to democratically reclaim the culture.
So many conservatives shunt this root-rot into their minds recesses and instead focus on growing pretty leaves on the dying tree: they immerse themselves in the political. Oh, perhaps if we fertilize the Hispanic electorate with the manure of amnesty, it will bloom as a Republican rose. Just one more concession!
Or maybe we just need to stop the blinding sunshine of social issues and try a flood of fiscal conservatism.
First, Republicans have already tried focusing on fiscal matters and de-emphasizing social ones. Note that except when answering direct questions, they didn’t talk about social issues much in the 2012 campaign; it was the Democrats, with their WOW (war on women) propaganda, who talked about what the GOP supposedly believed on them. Ah, this only worked because the media offered air support, you say? See the above list. The media won’t suddenly find virtue but will only intensify the pacification effort.
As for the growing Hispanic voting bloc, as I wrote a while back (admittedly, I didn’t provide enough nuance), they don’t mind social conservatism. And since saying, as I did previously, that they are more socially conservative than are whites is imprecise, I’ll rephrase it: Hispanics are less opposed to social conservatism than are whites.
What Hispanics really want is cradle-to-grave handouts, the kind of big government they voted for — but never could quite get — in their native lands. Whether this comes packaged with social conservatism or social liberalism is secondary.
To spell it out more precisely, a higher percentage of whites are passionately opposed to social conservatism, but a higher percentage of whites are also passionately for it. As for Hispanics, the best description of them isn’t socially conservative or liberal, but socially indifferent. They may register the obligatory nod when their priest talks about abortion, but they’d do the same in a setting in which social liberalism was the default. It’s simply not something on which their votes hinge. And because of this indifference, their youth will and do conform to the liberal spirit of the age.
Conclusion: Hispanics are not a natural conservative constituency.
Let’s tackle another myth. We often here that this is a “conservative” country, with a plurality of the electorate describing themselves as conservative; as Pew reported, “40% of Americans[…]describe their views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.” But two important factors are missed here. First, the majority of any nation could be called “conservative,” as the only consistent definition of that term involves a desire to maintain the status quo, and the status quo is determined by the majority. Second, today’s status quo was shaped by yesterday’s left and thus is in that sense “liberal.” This dovetails with the second factor:
Most “moderates” are actually liberals, usually of the lukewarm variety.
How can this be? First, wishy-washy people lacking in principle will hew mostly to what’s fashionable, and, again, progressivism is that. Second, liberals are solipsistic and self-centered and thus see themselves as defining the center (and any deviation from their beliefs as radicalism); hence, even when they are left of our “leftist” middle, in their minds they may be moderates. Third, liberals want to fancy themselves open-minded, so they often like believing they’re voices of reason, moderate and not, perish the thought, extreme. Lastly, both the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have been demonized to a degree, and it takes conviction to brand yourself as one who has unfashionably strayed from the pack. And since liberals are far more likely than conservatives to be relativists — to believe, “Man is the measure of all things” and thus that true principle (which is transcendent) is an illusion — they tend to care more about social standing than standing on “social constructs” (principles). Ergo, they’re more likely than conservatives to adopt a label that sounds good than one that rings true.
So that is America in 2012. And where do we go from here? For starters, we need to stop fooling ourselves. Many Johnny-come-lately-to-reality types only started talking about Republicans’ demographic and cultural winter after the Nov. 6 election, as if some kind of unforeseeable revolution had taken place. But while it may have represented a tipping point, a long Gramscian evolution had pushed America to that point. A process is in motion, a disease besets us, and if you understand its pathology, you know that no amount of Hispandering or appeals to virtue (e.g., personal responsibility) with an electorate largely lacking in the quality will bear fruit. The remaining healthy acorns need to recognize this, stop trying to fertilize a tree destined for the sawmill, and instead prepare to seed new ground.
Today, if you sport white skin in America, you cannot make one single comment concerning race. You cannot make a joke, tell a story or say anything that would ruffle the feathers of any other race in America.
But if you are black, you can use the N-word with impunity in speech and songs. You can call whites “crackers, honkeys, whitey” and worse names with no consequences.
While white America elected the first black president, it also brought out the worst in some black Americans that should know better, act better and think with a brain instead of emotions.
Black actor Jamie Foxx on Saturday Night Live this past weekend started a wild fire of anger and responses with his racist diatribe on national TV. If a white person had said anything like Foxx said, “I get free, I save my wife, and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that? And how black is that?” That white person would be arrested for hate crimes. He would have started black riots all over the country. He would have been on trial for his life. If he had been a white movie star or a politician, he would have been buried by the media.
Yet, during the SNL performance, viewers in the audience cheered Foxx for every racist comment he made.
“But I’m going to tell you right now, speaking of blackness, my President, President Obama is back up in the White House four more years,” said Foxx. “How black is that? And not only that, he’s so black, he was playing basketball during the Election Day. How black is that? But he was also late for his acceptance speech. Okay, all the white people, this is your turn – how black is that?”
In America, Foxx earns multi-millions of dollars for his acting. His black brothers in Africa die of starvation by the millions. In America, he enjoys freedom of speech while his black brothers in Africa die of AIDS, rapes, war and malaria. In America he drives a car while his black brothers and sisters in Africa drink polluted water, eat food out of garbage dumps and generally suffer brutality from the latest dictator.
Foxx continued, “But he going to be extra black this next four years. He going to get everything black, and white people, don’t get nervous about that because he is mixed. Now the first four years was the white side of him, because I don’t know if you saw him on Ellen when he was dancing and everything. I don’t know what this is. That wasn’t President Obama, that was President Barry Gibb Obama. But the next four years he’s even changing his name from to President Barack Dikembe Mutombo Tupac Mandela Hussein Obama X. How black is that? And the next time you see him dancing on Ellen, he gonna be dancing like this.”
He raged that, “Black is the new white. I’m telling you, how black is this right here? You know how I know black is in right now? Cause the Nets moved to Brooklyn. How black is that? They got black jerseys, black court. I mean, how black is that? And Jay-z is the owner, a rapper. How black is that? And Jay-z only own about this much of the team. But he act like he own all of New York. How black is that?”
Jamie Foxx enjoys his riches, food, clothing, a toilet and shower, and shelter while his black brothers and sisters in Africa live in horrid starvation, war and diseases daily. At some point, instead of denigrating Americans of all colors, he might get down on his hands and knees and thank his lucky stars for living in America.
If we expect this country to survive in the 21st century, we need all citizens to respect all races, creeds and colors as one human family. Otherwise, we will continue on our long slow gallop toward separation, division and angst.
Jamie Foxx must move past his racism, whether joking or not, and become a healer for his race and the other races that share this country with him. This country houses blacks, whites, browns, reds and yellow people. Everyone needs the same respect, honoring and sense of belonging.
Otherwise, Foxx’s funny form of racism will continue to divide and separate all Americans. It’s not funny, it’s not good, it’s not humorous and it’s not going to make America a good place to live.
Avgi Tzenis, 76, is standing in the hall of her small brick row house on Bragg Street in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. She is dressed in a bathrobe and open-toed sandals. The hall is dark and cold. It has been dark and cold since Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast a month ago. Three feet of water and raw sewage flooded and wrecked her home.
“We never had this problem before,” she says. “We never had water from the sea come down like this.”
Hurricane Sandy, if you are poor, is the Katrina of the North. It has exposed the nation’s fragile, dilapidated and shoddy infrastructure, one that crumbles under minimal stress. It has highlighted the inability of utility companies, as well as state and federal agencies, to cope with the looming environmental disasters that because of the climate crisis will soon come in wave after wave. But, most important, it illustrates the depraved mentality of an oligarchic and corporate elite that, as conditions worsen, retreats into self-contained gated communities, guts basic services and abandons the wider population.
Sheepshead Bay, along with Coney Island, the Rockaways, parts of Staten Island and long stretches of the New Jersey coast, is obliterated. Stores, their merchandise destroyed by the water, are boarded up and closed. Rows of derelict cars, with the tires and license plates removed and the windows smashed, line the streets. Food distribution centers, most of them set up by volunteers from Occupy Sandy Recovery, hastily close before dark every day because of the danger of looting and robbery. And storm victims who remain in their damaged homes, often without heat, electricity or running water, clutch knives against the threat of gangs that prowl at night through the wreckage.
This storm—amid freakish weather patterns such storms will become routine—resulted in at least $71.3 billion in property damage in New York and New Jersey. Many of the 305,000 houses in New York destroyed by Sandy will never be rebuilt. New York City says it will have to spend $800 million just to repair its roads. And that is only the start. The next hurricane season will most likely descend on the Eastern Seaboard with even greater destructive fury. A couple of more hurricanes like this one and whole sections of the coast will become uninhabitable.
This is the new America. It is an America where economic and environmental catastrophes converge to trigger systems breakdown and collapse. It is an America divided between corporate predators and their prey. It is an America that, as things unravel, increasingly sacrifices its own.
Rene Merida, 27, is standing on a street corner. His house, on Emmons Avenue, does not have electricity, running water or heat. He and his pregnant wife and two children, ages 7 and 4, huddle in the darkness inside the ruined home or at times flee to live for a few days with relatives. Merida, who recently lost his job as an ironworker, managed to reach his landlord once on the phone. That was three weeks ago. It was the only time the landlord, despite Merida’s persistent calls, answered.
“He told me it [the repair] will get done when it gets done,” he says. “The temperature inside my house is 15 degrees. I got a thermometer to check.”
Lauren Ferebee, originally from Dallas and now living in Greenpoint in Brooklyn, sits behind a table in the chilly basement of the 123-year-old St. Jacobi Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded by German immigrants. On large pieces of cardboard hanging from the ceiling are the words “Occupy Sandy Relief.” The basement is filled with donated supplies including pet food, diapers, infant formula, canned goods, cereal and pasta. The church was converted two days after the storm into a food bank and distribution center for the victims of the hurricane. Hundreds of people converge daily on the church to work. Volunteers with cars or vans deliver supplies to distribution points in other parts of New York and in New Jersey.
Ferebee, a playwright, and hundreds of other volunteers instantly resurrected the Occupy movement when the tragedy hit. They built structures of support and community to endure not only the effects of the storm but prepare for the breakdown that appears to lie ahead. As we descend into a world where we can depend less and less on those who hold power, movements like this one will become vital. These movements might not be called Occupy. They might not look like Occupy. But whatever the names and forms of the self-help we create, we will have to find ways to fend for ourselves.
“We have a kitchen about 50 blocks from here where we cook and deliver hot food,” Ferebee says. “We take food along with supplies out to distribution hubs. There is a distribution hub about every 30 or 40 blocks. When I first went out I was giving water to people who had not had water for six days.”
She sits in front of a pile of paper sheets headed “Occupy Sandy Dispatch.” Various sites are listed on the sheets, including Canarsie, Coney Island, Red Hook, the Rockaways, Sheepshead Bay, Staten Island and New Jersey. She is interrupted by Roman Torres, 45, who sings on weekends in a band that plays Mexican folk music. He has pulled his van up in front of the church. He comes two days a week to transport supplies.
“Can you go anywhere?” she asks Torres.
“Yes,” he answers.
“Can you do a couple of drop-offs at the Rockaways?” she asks.
“Yes,” he says. “If someone comes with me.”
As he fixes himself a cup of coffee in the church kitchen, volunteers carry boxes from the basement to his van parked in the rain outside.
“We can’t ever get enough electric heaters, cleaning supplies, tools and baby supplies,” Ferebee says.
In a small apartment above the church Juan Carlos Ruiz, a former Roman Catholic priest who was born in Mexico, sits at a small wooden table. He is the church’s community organizer. It was his decision once the storm hit to open the doors of the church as a relief center. He did not know what to expect.
“It was Tuesday night,” he says. “We got three bags of groceries and two jars of water. It was the next morning that volunteers began to appear. By the first weekend we had over 1,300. It was organized chaos. There was all this creative energy and youth. There was an instant infrastructure and solidarity. It is mutual aid that is the most important response to the disasters we are living through. This is how we will retain our humanity. Some members of the church asked me why these [volunteers] did not come to the church service. I told them the work they were doing was church. The commitment I saw was like a conversion experience. It was transformative. It restores your faith in humanity.”
The emotional cost of the storm is often as devastating as the physical cost.
Tzenis, who was born in Cyprus and immigrated to the United States with her husband in 1956, lists the mounting bills at her Sheepshead Bay home. Since the storm the septuagenarian has paid a plumber $2,000, and that does not cover all the plumbing work that must be done. A contractor gave her an estimate of $40,000 to $50,000 for repairs, which include ripping out the walls and floors. Tzenis has received a $5,000 check from an insurance company, Allstate, and a $1,000 check from FEMA. But $6,000 won’t begin to cover the cost.
“The insurance company told me I didn’t have the water insurance,” she says. “The contractor said he has to break all the walls and floors to get the mold out. I don’t know how I am going to pay for this.”
As she speaks, Josh Ehrenberg, 21, an aspiring filmmaker, and Dave Woolner, 31, an electrician with Local 52, both volunteers with Occupy Sandy, haul ruined items out of her garage and put them in green plastic garbage bags.
“My husband had dementia,” she says. “I took care of him for six years with these two hands. For a few months the insurance gave me help. Certain medications they pay after six years. They told me once he couldn’t swallow no more there was nothing we could do. … He died at home last year.”
She begins to sob softly.
She mutters, “Oye, oye, oye.”
“I was going to hang myself in the closet,” she says, gesturing to the hall closet behind me. “I can’t take life anymore. My husband. Now this. I don’t sleep good. I jump up every hour watching the clock. I’ve been through a lot in my life. Every little thing scares me. I’m on different pills. I’ve come to the age where I ask why doesn’t God take me. I pray a lot. I don’t want to give my soul to the devil because they would not put me in a church to bury me. But you get to an age where you are only able to take so much.”
She falls silent. She begins to reminisce about the bombing of Cyprus during World War II. She says that as a girl she watched a British military airport go up in flames after it was hit by German and Italian bombs. She talks about the 1950s struggle for Cypriot independence that took place between the British and the underground National Organization of Cypriot Fighters, Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston, known as EOKA. She says she misses strong populist leaders such as the Cypriot Archbishop Makarios III, who openly defied British authorities in the campaign for independence.
“People were hung by the British soldiers,” she says. “Women were raped. People had their fingernails pulled out. They were tortured and beaten. My cousin was beaten so badly in jail he was bleeding from his bottom.”
The horrors of the past merge with the horrors of the present.
“They say [hurricanes like] this will happen again because the snow is melting off all the mountains,” she says. “It never flooded here before. No matter how hard it rained not a drop came through the door. But now it has changed. If it happens again I don’t want to be around.”
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
When actor and director Mel Gibson was asked some years ago about certain difficulties he had when making his film The Passion of the Christ, he registered a countenance of unease and said (I’m paraphrasing), “Something doesn’t want this to happen.”
Being just a couple of seconds of his interview, it was perhaps hardly noticed by many. But it might have made the ears of people of faith, particularly Christians, perk up. And they would have known precisely to what he was alluding.
Of course, any talk of spirits not confined to the local liquor store is now often considered the stuff of children and crackpots. Yet is such scoffing logical?
Modern man, ever the materialist, may scoff at that question. “Matters of faith are anything but logical,” says he, “so making light of them is eminently so.” But this betrays a misunderstanding of logic. Logic is not an answer; it is a method by which answers can be found. As such, like a computer, its “output” is contextual to the entered data. In other words, it can only tell you if something makes sense within the universe of information, or assumptions, in which it is operating. So, garbage in, garbage out. But note that garbage makes absolute sense in an intellectual garbage dump.
Some may now think the next question tackled would be: which is that mental landfill, the religious or secular universe of ideas? In this article, however, I will deal with a little picture, not the big one. We are going to examine angels and demons, whose existence, of course, I cannot prove or disprove (although I certainly have always believed them, as when I was a wee lad already, my mother told me in no uncertain terms that I was a little devil). Yet there is something I can prove: scoffing at talk of their existence is illogical within the context of what, even today, is most people’s world view.
A majority Americans will say they believe in God and also that we humans have souls. Of course, to believe the former but not the latter would be to contend that God created soulless sentient beings, organic robots who — or, I should say, which — are just some pounds of chemicals and water. For, without souls, that is all we would be. This conception of man’s nature is, by the way, a corollary of atheism and is the expressed belief of people such as physicist Stephen Hawking.
But while most will reflexively say we have souls, they do not consider what a soul actually is. It is called the spiritual part of us because it is in fact a spirit, a ghost. All these terms are synonyms.
Now, a corollary of belief in God and His creation is that the spirit preceded the flesh (viewing matters through our “handy illusion,” as Einstein put it, called time); after all, God is a spirit and He came “first.”
So now let us lend perspective to the belief in angels. It states that before the spirit we call God created man, who is spirit and flesh, He created a race of beings who are only spirit. And like us they have intellect and free will, which is why they could choose evil and some rejected God. We, of course, call these fallen angels “demons.”
Thus, within the context of most people’s world view, belief in angels is anything but fanciful — it is a piece that fits seamlessly into the foundational Western faith puzzle. After all, what is fantastic about the idea that God’s first order of Creation was to create beings who, like Him, were pure spirit? In other words, you may question theists’ universe of ideas, as atheists do. It is illogical, however, to accept their basic tenet of God’s existence but then say that a belief in lesser spirits is preposterous.
This brings us to the next order of Creation. It is also true that a belief in angels can very much influence our conception of man. As James Collins wrote in The Thomistic Philosophy of the Angels:
The unity of the source of all being and the analogical similarity of all things guarantee that a knowledge of each grade will shed some further light upon what is below and what is above it in the hierarchy of reality. For the better understanding of God and the creative process, we can turn to that order of being which provides the most intimate created similitude of the first intelligent and free Agent.
But where we once studied angels to better understand God (and also that below them in the hierarchy of reality: man), now we do something different. As David Keck points out in Angels and Angelology in the Middle Ages:
Of all God’s creatures, human beings are nearest to the angels, and angelology thus promises to illuminate anthropology. In the modern world, the impulse to learn about human nature from closely related beings has shifted subjects from seraphim to simians. Whereas modern scientists study the origins of the apes to uncover clues about humanity, medieval theologians investigated angels.
Of course, what else would materialistic modern man study? The Manicheans believed there should be a victory of the spiritual over the material, but today’s fashionable heresy proposes a victory of the material over the spiritual — by declaring the spiritual a no-show. As a consequence, whereas we once looked up to glean insight into our nature, we now look down. We do not believe in Heaven and aspire higher, but only in the material world and use as role models the only other kinds of creatures found within it: the lower. For example, today it is not uncommon to hear, as a famous primatologist (whose name is not important) has reported, “The Bonobo apes have sex frequently — even with members of the same sex — and this may be their secret to avoiding conflict.” Of course, the implication is that we humans just need to dispense with our Puritanism and unshackle our inner simian. Why, we do not need God or the law to act “morally,” as the aforementioned primatologist has also said; just take our cues from nature.
Putting aside the fact that “morality,” properly understood, is incomprehensible within a universe of atheism (for who is to say what is right then? All is reduced to preference), those who animalize man present animal nature quite selectively. They will say that chimpanzees may comfort distressed neighbors, but chimps will also kill other chimps for sport. And I have yet to hear, as in the Planet of the Apes, a repetitive chant of “Ape killed ape!” as the hairy miscreants are held to account. It is also never proposed that since most apes — and, in fact, the majority of higher life forms — are male-dominated, that man should be patriarchal.
We can also note that, as the last 50 years have attested, there is not much correlation between increasing libertinism and atheism and decreasing violence and strife. And this was entirely predictable. We used to say about the best of men, “He is an angel”; now we say about man, “He is a talking ape.” So is it any wonder he has started to act like one?
One purpose man’s heroes always served was to give him examples of virtue to which to aspire. Those heroes evolved as time progressed from mythical characters such as Odysseus and Jason — who, though brave, had human frailties — to idealized real ones such as George Washington, who could not tell a lie. And thus does the Catholic Church declare saints, who exemplify ultimate virtue, winning battles not over terrible sinners, but over sin itself. And what do moderns give us? The Bonobo ape. Or, worse still, pop-culture icons.
Whatever our beliefs about the spirit world, there is no question that man is better when he looks up to the ethereal than down to the terrestrial. For the more we kill our heroes and angels, dismissing them as fantasies of the past, the more we birth demons in the present.
A week-long visit to Tunisia, in the course of which I covered some 2,000 miles by rental car, bus, SUV, and a powered hang glider, has confirmed that of faraway places we often assume to know more than we do. The first country affected by a wave of popular discontent known as the Arab Spring was full of surprises.
To start with, the country is safe for foreign visitors. There have been no attacks on tourists, either at the time of the “Jasmine Revolution” last year or during the periodic eruptions of street protests since then. The violence triggered off by that YouTube video was quickly contained. Last week, more than 50 people—most of them policemen—were injured in protests at the reopening of a rubbish dump on the resort island of Djerba, but the protesters stayed away from the hotels. Even in dusty provincial towns, where no foreigners venture, gas station attendants and cold drinks vendors invariably greeted me with a smile and a polite “bonjour, Monsieur, ça va?” This is in contrast to the barely concealed hostility I have encountered on my recent trips to the West Bank, or—over a decade ago—in Libya.
By the third day, I felt emboldened to venture on my own to the spectacular Roman city of Dougga, a three hour drive from Hammamet, where I had the ruins all to myself for over two hours. At Téboursouk, on the way to Dougga, and at Qa Afur on the way back, I stopped casually at coffee houses for refreshments—the only European for miles around. Mustached men observed the strange sight behind clouds of tobacco smoke. Before long, some bold youngsters initiated conversation. Speaking French (however rusty in my case) definitely helps: it is still compulsory in Tunisian schools, and English has not made many inroads outside the capital and the coastal resorts. (As it happens, it also helps not being an American, or at any rate not admitting to being one.) The conversation did not need to be steered to politics, as most Tunisians find it the only topic currently worth discussing. Such encounters have been invaluable in helping me form a broad picture—more comprehensive and reliable than the one visiting foreign journalists get from their Sorbonne-educated, barely-accented colleagues over cappuccinos on Avenue Habib Bourguiba.
The “Arab Spring” stereotype—a simmering volcano of fundamentalism suddenly erupting and sweeping away a secularist autocracy—does not apply to Tunisia. The causes of the revolt against Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali in January 2011 were social and economic, no less than political. The country had outgrown him. Tunisia is blessed not to have much oil or gas—unlike its two neighbors Libya and Algeria—so it was forced to develop tourism, agriculture, and light manufacturing from its own resources. In contrast to the Emirates or Saudi Arabia, the Tunisians do their own work. The results have been impressive: it is the most literate Arab country, with the highest percentage of women in the workforce. It has good roads, reliable phones, clean if sometimes erratic water supply, and working sewers. Its roadsides are littered with garbage, but its living standards and the quality of its public services are second to none on the African continent. (Libya topped the chart until a year ago.)
In the final years of his rule, Ben Ali made the mistake of pandering excessively to his big business cronies, including his second wife’s corrupt family. The anger of “the street” had more to do with an uneven distribution of the fruits of prosperity and the stubbornly high unemployment rate—especially among the young—than with the kind of endemic poverty rampant in Egypt. A year later the Tunisian economy appears to have avoided the nosedive that seemed imminent after Ben Ali’s fall. The country’s budget deficit will be contained at below 6 percent of GDP next year. This year’s growth is expected to exceed 3.5 percent, and next year’s target is an impressive 4.5 percent. Inflation, interest rates and exchange rates remain under control.
Far from having absolute supremacy comparable to that enjoyed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia’s Islamic party, Ennahdha, is sharing power in a coalition that includes secularists who opposed Ben Ali’s regime and were the first to hit the streets in January of last year. President Moncef Marzouki, a suave, fluent French speaker, is one of them. Ennahdha’s leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, is still the most powerful player in the country, but he is likely to fall short of an absolute parliamentary majority in the elections due next year. Many Tunisians are disappointed by the graft and corruption that remain endemic a year after his party became the majority stakeholder in the first democratically elected government in the country’s history. The political process is nevertheless well established, the press is free, and not even pro-Western secularists regret the demise of Ben Ali. A recent public opinion survey released by the International Republican Institute shows that most people prefer a democratic Tunisia, however unstable, over a non-democratic system which promised prosperity and security.
A year after gaining 89 of the 217 seats in parliament, Ennahdha has seen its support slip to 30 percent. It is now challenged, even by the veterans of the old establishment. Nidaa Tounes party, led by the former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi, has come from nowhere to command the support of one-fifth of the electorate. Many Tunisians—including my young casual interlocutors—object to the continuing demand of some Ennahdha deputies for the inclusion of Islamic provisions in the new constitution, including a controversial amendment making women unequal to men. The secularists, including Ennahdha’s current coalition partners and the leftists Workers’ Party, are likely to obtain sufficient support to prevent the country’s drift into Islamism.
All this is light years away from Libya next door, or Egypt further east. It was only towards the end of my tour that it dawned on me why Tunisia’s destiny is by no means sealed: there was no American intervention, which would have secured an Islamist takeover. Ben Ali gave up too soon for the U.S. to get directly involved, and there was no violence to justify calls for intervention. The “revolution” was a Tunisian affair and it has produced an outcome illustrative of Tunisian realities. It is currently the only functioning democracy in the Arab world. It is to be hoped that the Obama Administration will refrain from trying to engineer a different outcome.
Skimming Profits Off Bad Loans…
We think he did, which is why we’re wondering why all the benefits from QE3 appear to be going to the banks. According to Bloomberg News:
“The Federal Reserve’s latest mortgage bond purchases so far are helping profit margins at lenders including Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) more than homebuyers and property owners looking to refinance…
Since the Fed’s Sept. 13 announcement that it would buy $40 billion more securities per month, the rates offered for new 30- year loans have fallen by just 0.11 percentage point, compared with a drop of more than 0.6 percentage point for yields on the bonds into which the loans get packaged.” (“Fed Helps Lenders’ Profit More Than Homebuyers:Mortgages”, Bloomberg)
Well, how do you like that? That means that Mr. Bernanke’s trickle down monetary theories aren’t really working at all. Instead of the savings being passed along to homeowners in the form of lower rates, the banks are juicing profits by taking a bigger share for themselves. Who could have known?
Keep in mind, that Bernanke is not some madcap scientist who doesn’t fully grasp how QE works. That’s not it at all, in fact, he’s considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the topic and has written extensively on Japan’s deflationary woes and their “broken channels of monetary transmission”, which is shorthand for saying that loading the banks with trillions of dollars in reserves won’t do a blasted thing except pump a little ether into stock prices. (which it has done in the last 2 rounds of easing) So, Bernanke’s been down this road before. He knows what QE will do and what it won’t do, which is why he instructed members from the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to implement fiscal-monetary policies that would have a chance of succeeding. His advice was: “BOJ purchases of government debt could support spending programs, to facilitate industrial restructuring.”
Now there’s an idea. Have the Fed buy the bonds that pay for the programs that put people back to work. Brilliant! Once the new workers get their weekly paycheck, it’s off to the grocery store, the gas station, the mall etc. Spending increases, state revenues soar, and the economy clicks back into high-gear. Simple, right? So, why are we still fiddling with this crackpot QE-circlejerk that does nothing but line the pockets of crooked bankers? That’s the question.
In theory, quantitative easing is supposed to lower interest rates and spur investment. That boosts activity and reduces joblessness. But according to a survey conducted by Duke University, the CFO’s of 887 large companies found that lower interest rates wouldn’t really effect their decisions. Here’s a summary:
According to the Duke University analysts:
“CFOs believe that … monetary action would not be particularly effective. Ninety-one percent of firms say they would not change their investment plans even if interest rates dropped by 1 percent, and 84 percent said they would not change investment plans if interest rates dropped by 2 percent.(“Currency war warnings follow US Fed’s “quantitative easing”, Nick Beams, World Socialist Web Site)
Of course it won’t change their investment plans, because what businessmen care about is demand. Who’s going to buy their bloody widgets, that’s what matters to them, not interest rates. Right now, there’s no demand for more widgets because unemployment is high, wages are flatlining, and policymakers have turned off the fiscal stimulus-spigot in an effort to shrink the economy so they can pursue their lunatic idea of dismantling public services and social programs. (mainly Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, the “real targets.”)
The point is, spending has to increase to get the economy off the canvas, and the only party that has money to spend is the government. So, Obama should be spending like crazy. The Central Bank cannot fix this problem with its wacko printing spree.
So, what else are the banks up to besides keeping rates elevated so they can make a bigger killing on refis?
Well, for one thing, they’re using their high-powered attorneys and lobbyists to twist arms at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to make it easier for them to make bad loans without suffering any consequences.
How can that be, after all, wasn’t it bad loans that got us into this mess to begin with?
Yes, it was. Even so, the banks are back at it again, up to their same old tricks. Here’s the story from Reuters:
“Just four years after toxic U.S. mortgages brought the global financial system to its knees and triggered the deepest recession since the Great Depression, a U.S. housing regulator may be making it easier for banks to make bad loans without suffering losses.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency released a little-noticed rule last week that makes it harder for Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) – the government-owned companies that guarantee home loans made by banks – to hold lenders accountable when mortgages go bad.
Some experts said the new rules show that lessons of the housing crisis are already being forgotten, and could set up taxpayers for tens of billions of dollars of losses if the lending bubble re-inflates later in the credit cycle.
At issue is when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can press banks to make them whole when mortgages go bad.” (“Housing regulators loosen rules, but at what cost?”, Reuters)
Can you believe it? The FHFA is actually accepting responsibility for mortgages where the underwriting was either shoddy or fraudulent. This is the kind of power the banks have. The agency is also assuring that the banks will create more of these garbage loans now that they know that Uncle Sam will be picking up the tab. That’s what you call “bad incentives”! Up to now, the FHFA had been able to force the banks to repurchase the loans that showed “substantive underwriting and documentation deficiencies”. But that’s not going to happen anymore. The looser rules mean that the banks will return to their old ways and that future losses to taxpayers will tally in the hundreds of billions of dollars. According to Joseph Mason, a professor at Louisiana State University’s business school, “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could lose even more than they did this time around.” (Fannie and Freddie have already cost taxpayers $188 billion)
To repeat, the banks had changed their behavior because they were afraid of having to repurchase the dodgy loans they originated. (These returned mortgages are called “put-backs”) Now the rules are being tweaked so the banks can shrug off the bad loans for which they are alone responsible. Here’s more from the National Association of Realtors:
“The federal government is taking steps to ease a problem lenders have been complaining about for several years, and that’s the buy-back risk they face if they underwrite a federally backed loan that goes bad and the guarantor of the loan—whether FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac—determines that the loan was never underwritten in compliance with their “representation and warranty” requirements….
…lenders remain concerned about the risk they face, and in fact earlier this year, in February, Bank of America announced it would stop selling loans to Fannie Mae because of its concerns over the company’s buy-back policies. (“FHFA Gives Banks Reason to Revisit Overlays”, National Association of Realtors)
So B of A is threatening to “stop selling loans to Fannie Mae”? Hurt me some more.
What’s more important, is that the regulators had fixed this problem by imposing penalties on the lenders, but now they’ve backtracked and undone their progress. Now it’s business as usual where the taxpayer-pinata get’s clobbered with more toxic loans. Oh good.
And that’s not all the banks are up to. They’re also fighting “risk retention” rules because they don’t want to pony-up the small amount of capital (5 percent of the loan’s value) on high-risk mortgages that go into securitizations. It’s like an insurance company refusing to keep money on hand to pay off claims. If you think that’s fair, then you should probably be a banker. Now get a load of this excerpt from a “Letter to Bernanke on QE3″ from Moe Veissi, president of the National Association of Realtors:
“Reducing mortgage interest rates in general through MBS purchases will have diminished impact if three important rules counter the availability of mortgage credit. As you have noted, mortgage credit is already tight. A recent survey of NAR members indicates that 53 percent of loans in August went to borrowers with credit scores over 740. To put this in perspective, only 41 percent of loans backed by Fannie Mae in 2001 had scores above 740. If the forthcoming Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage (QM), Risk Retention/Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM), and Basel III rules only serve to further tighten credit, the impact of QE3 is likely to be diminished and only felt among those of substantial wealth and pristine credit. In short, those who need access to affordable credit the least.
While the Federal Reserve (The Fed) is no longer the purveyor of the QM rule, we believe there is still time for the Fed to weigh in with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and ensure that this rule does not serve to further tighten credit.” (“NAR Submits Letter to Bernanke on QE3″, Mortgage Professional)
How do you like that, eh? So according to Moe Veissi, making the system safer is too expensive. We just can’t afford it. We need to make credit available to people who wouldn’t normally qualify for a loan.
Sure, Moe, what could go wrong? It’s not like we’re going to blow up the financial system by lending too much money to people who can’t repay their debts, right?
In any event, the banks and the special interest groups are trying to unwind the “Ability to Repay” and “Risk Retention” portions of the new regulations, even these are the essential firewalls that protect the general public from another disaster like the Crash of ’08?
If we heap these recent developments together (FHFA changes on “put-backs”, opposition to “risk retention” and “ability to repay”), then we see that we’re fairly close to where we were in 2007 before the two Bears Stearns hedge funds defaulted sparking the downward spiral that ended with the obliteration of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008 and the beginning of the Great Depression 2.
The banks are again in a position where they can skim profits off bad loans to every Tom, Dick and Harry that can sit upright and sign on the dotted line. They don’t have to worry about holding capital against their dodgy assets or whether Uncle Sam is going to get fleeced on the bogus $400,000 loan they issued to that unemployed landscaper living on food stamps. No worries. They’ve covered all the bases.
Now if Bernanke can just get that bubble-thing going, they’ll be back in the clover.
Are you better off today than you were four years ago? This is a question that comes up nearly every election. This year the Romney campaign has even created a Twitter hashtag for it:#AreYouBetterOff. The Democrats are making lots of speeches claiming that we are better off, and the Republicans are making lots of speeches claiming that we are not. So are most Americans actually better off than they were four years ago? Of course not. One recent poll found that only 20 percent of Americans believe that they are better off financially than they were four years ago. But the same thing was true four years ago as well. Our economy has been in decline and the middle class has been shrinking for a very long time. The Democrats want to put all of the blame on the Republicans for this, and the Republicans want to put all of the blame on the Democrats for this. A recent CNN headline defiantly declared the following: “Decline of middle class not Obama’s fault“, and this is the kind of thing we are going to hear day after day until the election in November. But obviously something has gone fundamentally wrong with our economy. So who should we blame?
Sadly, you hear very little on the mainstream news networks or the talk radio shows about the institution that has the most power over our economy. The Federal Reserve has far more power over our financial system than anyone else does, but the media and both political parties tell us that the Federal Reserve is “above politics” and that their “independence” must never be questioned.
Unfortunately, most Americans have gone along with that.
But the truth is that the debt-based financial system that the Federal Reserve is at the core of is absolutely central to our economic problems. If you do not understand this, please see this article: “10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve“.
The Federal Reserve has done more to mess up our economy than anyone else has.
So shouldn’t they be held accountable?
That is a very good question.
Have you ever wondered why financial markets move so dramatically whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech?
The same thing does not happen when Barack Obama gives a speech.
That is because the financial markets know who holds the real power in our financial system.
But during this election season the American people are told to put all of their attention on the “red team” and the “blue team”. We are told that the two major political parties are philosophical opposites and that they want to take the United States is two completely different directions.
The “true believers” on the blue team are completely and totally convinced that Barack Obama will be able to rescue the economy and save America.
The “true believers” on the red team are completely and totally convinced that Mitt Romney will be able to rescue the economy and save America.
Once upon a time I was one of those political activists. I was fully convinced that America could be turned around if we could just get enough Republicans into office.
But then I noticed that nothing really seemed to change no matter who was in power. I became disillusioned as I realized that Republicans were doing things pretty much the exact same way that Democrats were doing them when they got into power.
Yes, there are some minor differences between the two parties on taxes and regulations.
If we elect one guy over the other our economy might decline at a slightly different pace.
But in the end both political parties are taking us to the exact same place.
Down the toilet.
I wish that wasn’t true.
But we need to be honest with ourselves….
-Both parties fully support the Federal Reserve.
-Both parties supported the nomination of Ben Bernanke to a second term as the head of the Federal Reserve.
-Both parties endlessly push the job-killing “free trade” agenda of the global elite.
-Both parties see nothing wrong with running absolutely enormous trade deficits with the rest of the world.
-Both parties supported TARP.
-Both parties supported the “economic stimulus” packages.
-Both parties supported the auto industry bailouts.
-Both parties have run up massive amounts of federal debt when in power.
-Both parties have greatly expanded the size of the federal government when in power.
-Both parties are full of control freaks and both parties have added more layers of ridiculous regulations to our already overburdened society when in power.
-Neither party supports getting rid of the income tax or the IRS.
-Neither party has any intention of doing anything to prevent the coming derivatives crisis that could bring down the entire global financial system.
-Both parties are absolutely showered with cash from the big Wall Street banks.
-Both parties think that the TSA is doing a great job.
-Both parties supported the NDAA and the renewal of the Patriot Act.
-Both parties have greatly expanded the unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens by government agencies.
-Both parties are extremely soft on illegal immigration.
-Both parties have treated military veterans horribly.
-Both parties are absolutely packed with corrupt politicians that are living the high life at your expense.
-Neither party plans to balance the federal budget in 2013 if their candidate wins the election.
-Neither party has a plan that will fix our deeply broken health care system.
-Neither party has any plans to shut down the Federal Reserve. In fact, both parties see absolutely nothing wrong with our current system.
Of course this list could go on indefinitely, but hopefully you get the point.
But I can understand those that are deeply frustrated with Barack Obama and that desperately want to avoid another four years of his policies.
I also believe that Barack Obama has been the worst president in U.S. history and that he and his entire cabinet should immediately resign in disgrace.
However, the Republican party foolishly chose to nominate the Republican candidate that was most like Barack Obama to run against him.
That was an enormous mistake.
No matter what the talk radio shows are telling you, the truth is that this country will continue on pretty much the same path no matter who wins the election.
I know that statement is going to make a lot of people angry. But it is the sad reality of what we are facing.
Even if you focus on just the economy, the truth is that Mitt Romney’s “five point plan” is almost exactly the same thing that Barack Obama has been saying.
Many Americans believe that since Mitt Romney made lots of money on Wall Street conducting leveraged buyouts of vulnerable corporations that he understands how to fix our economy.
Sadly, that is not the truth.
I have listened to many Romney speeches about the economy and I keep waiting for some pearls of wisdom, but I have found that he is just as clueless about the economy as our other recent presidents have been.
Look, I know that there are a lot of people out there that have good hearts that want to have someone that they can believe in.
They want to believe that things can get better.
They want to have hope.
And I don’t blame them for that.
I just think that it is time to pull our heads out of the sand and realize that things are not going to be getting any better.
A political savior on a white horse is not going to come riding in to save the day.
So by this point in the article a whole lot of Democrats and a whole lot of Republicans are very upset with me.
But I am not against you. There is way too much hate in our society today. Even if we disagree with someone else we can still love them.
I just think that it is very important that we understand that there is not going to be a solution to our problems on the national level and that our economy is headed for collapse no matter who gets elected.
The total amount of debt in the United States has risen from less than 2 trillion dollars to nearly 55 trillion dollars over the past 40 years, and there is nothing that Barack Obama or Mitt Romney can do to prevent the “correction” that is coming.
So are Americans better off than they were four years ago?
Of course not.
But things will soon get a whole lot worse no matter how the election turns out.
The following are 40 statistics that will absolutely shock you….
#1 During the time Barack Obama has been in the White House, median household income has fallen by 7.3 percent.
#3 According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of American families dropped “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.
#4 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are “middle income”.
#5 Back in 1970, middle income Americans brought home 62 percent of all income in the United States. In 2010, middle income Americans only brought home 45 percent of all income.
#6 The unemployment rate in the United States has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months.
#7 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been below 59 percent for 35 months in a row.
#8 In June, the number of Americans added to the food stamp rolls was nearly three times larger than the number of jobs added to the U.S. economy.
#10 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of long-term unemployed Americans has risen from 2.7 million to 5.2 million.
#11 Today, the average duration of unemployment in the United States is about three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.
#12 According to a report that has just been released by the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.
#13 According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all of the jobs in the United States are “good jobs”.
#14 In 2010, the number of jobs created at new businesses in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.
#15 The average pay for self-employed Americans fell by $3,721 between 2006 and 2010.
#16 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years. During 2010 it got even worse. That year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.
#17 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
#18 While Barack Obama has been president the velocity of money has plunged to a post-World War II low.
#19 According to one recent survey, 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today compared with 10 years ago.
#20 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#21 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#22 Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States.
#23 Health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.
#26 Family budgets in America are being stretched to the breaking point. Today, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
#27 While Barack Obama has been president, U.S. home values have fallen by another 11 percent.
#28 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.
#29 The United States was once ranked #1 in the world in GDP per capita. Today we have slipped to #11.
#30 Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6.4 million.
#31 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in the year 2000 to 31.9 millionwhen Barack Obama entered the White House to 46.7 million today.
#32 Approximately one-fourth of all U.S. children are enrolled in the food stamp program at this point.
#33 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#34 It is estimated that child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.
#35 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, approximately one out of every 6Americans is on Medicaid.
#37 It is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
#38 The number of Americans receiving federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.
#39 At this point, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.
#40 Amazingly, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.
So are you better off than you used to be or worse off?