There are times when hatred is a needed, logical and moral stance to take. Evil, injustice and corruption are fine examples of what to appropriately hate. For the overwhelming majority of people it is now rational to hate the super rich, notably the thousands of billionaires holding most of the world’s wealth and wielding power over political and economic systems. They have been successfully raping the global economy and while doing that have kept increasing their wealth as well as economic inequality afflicting ordinary people. One dollar, one vote describes the new reality.
Before discussing some basic reasons to hate the super rich consider some facts about them.
How many billionaires are there? According to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, the global billionaire population reached a record 2,170 individuals in 2013, with a combined net worth of $6.5 trillion. What happened after the most recent global economic meltdown? Some 810 individuals became billionaires since the 2009 global financial crisis. In other words, plain millionaires moved up to billionaire status.
But the super rich include many more than the billionaires, because the top one percent on the economic scale have monster size wealth, according to a new report Working for the Few. The one percent of the richest people in the world have $110 trillion. That equates to some 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. But among the millions of the top one percent, the richest 85 people, true billionaires, have wealth equal to the bottom half of the world’s population. As to the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer. That leaves 9 percent, about 30 million Americans, in the upper class that did very well as they strive to make it into the top one percent.
When people talk about economic, wealth or income inequality they are really talking about the incredibly small fraction of the richest people relative to the larger population that still are not sharing in the global jackpot, no matter how hard they work. Inequality means that money is not being fairly distributed. There have been times in history when prosperity was shared, as in the several decades after World War II.
No surprise that only 7 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup report, currently feel “very satisfied” with our nation’s distribution of income and wealth. Similarly, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 81 percent of Americans believe the economy is working very or fairly well for the wealthy, compared to 22 percent for the middle class.
Why hate the super rich and the rising economic inequality that benefits them?
This distorted economic system means that democracy is more delusional than real. Consider this: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.” Truly wise words.
The near total lack of public confidence in Congress, both major political parties and the whole political system by Americans goes hand-in-hand with the perverted economic system. You have every right to hate the super rich because for a long time in many visible and invisible ways they have intentionally manipulated the political system to create and maintain the unjust economic system. Their economic power gives them political power. Rather than one person one vote, think in terms of one dollar one vote.
Hate the super rich because their degree of wealth and power is obscene.
Hate the super rich because they persecute the vast majority of people worldwide. Some of the super rich play up their charitable activities, but that does not negate all the evil consequences of economic inequality on the daily lives of billions of people.
Hate the super rich because their greed is ungodly. If true democracy is to be restored, then Americans need to be much more than dissatisfied. They need to get more emotional. They need to hate. Then they must convert that hatred into political demands and actions.
As the Russian Sochi Winter Olympics date approaches, a wave of suicide bombings in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad, site of the decisive resistance to German invasion in 1942), have wreaked death and uncertainty in the region. On 29 December 2013 a suicide bomber exploded at the Volgograd railway station, killing the bomber and 16 more. A day later another suicide bombing on a trolleybus killed at least 15 people. The attacks come just a few weeks before the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics begin on February 7 on the Black Sea near the border to Georgia.
Those most recent attacks followed an October 21 suicide attack in which a bomb carried by a female suicide bomber exploded on a passenger bus carrying 40 people. The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, reported that at least 5 people died in the blast and 17 others were injured. The suicide bomber had been identified as 30-year-old Naida Asiyalova of Dagestan. Since 1999 Mujahideen Sunni Salafists, often from Saudi Arabia or other Arab countries, have tried to incite an Islamic revolution and install Sharia law in Dagestan from neighboring Chechnya as well as in Chechnya.
The recent new wave of suicide bombing attacks in the region has led many to believe they are the work of radical Mujahideen Salafist Sunnis led by an erratic Jihadist from Chechnya, Doku Umarov, who sometimes goes by the Arabized name, Dokka Abu Usman. Umarov has unilaterally proclaimed himself underground President of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI), and later, the self-proclaimed Emir of the Russian North Caucasus, declaring it an Islamic state of the Caucasus Emirate. In doing so he announced, “I will serve the word of Allah and work to kill the enemies of Allah in all the time that he gives me to live on this earth.” 
In Russia he is called the “Russian bin Laden.” In March 2011, the United Nations Security Council Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee added Umarov to the list of individuals allegedly associated with al-Qaeda, the Saudi-financed loose network of international Jihadist bands which had been trained during the 1980’s Afghan war against the Soviet Union by CIA, Saudi, Israeli and Pakistani intelligence services. AL-Qaeda is a name for a database set up by Saudi intelligence to keep track of all the Arab and other Muslim mercenaries working in defeating the Russians in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
Umarov has claimed responsibility for gruesome suicide bombings, using women called ?black widows” whose husbands had been killed fighting Jihad against Russian security forces. Umarov openly claimed responsibility for the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings and the 2011 Domodedovo International Airport bombing in Moscow. The person who did the Metro bombing was a 17-year old Mujahideen widow, Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova
Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova, 17, posing with her late husband Umalat Magomedov. She became a “black widow” suicide bomber, carrying out the Moscow metro bombings in April 2010 (Reuters)
In June 2013, Umarov called for his followers in and outside the Caucasus to use “maximum force” to ensure the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics do not take place: “They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims buried on our land by the Black Sea. We as Mujahideen are required not to allow that, using any methods that Allah allows us.” 
All indications point to the terrorists controlled by Umarov being behind the latest “Black Widow” suicide bombings in Volgograd. Naida Asiyalova, who blew herself up in the suicide bombing in Volgograd in October, is from Dagestan. She was reported “in love” with another suicide bomber before she “did her duty” to the jihad of Umarov. She was also a close friend of the woman implicated in the most recent Volgograd station bombing.All indications to date point to Doku Umarov’s Chechyn terrorist organization for these recent terror bombings in Russia.
The US State Department has just issued an Advisory Alert to US citizens going to Sochi as a response even though Volgograd is several hundred kilometers away.
Russia’s Mujahideen terrorists
Soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Halliburton, the world’s largest oil services company, then led by Dick Cheney, determined that the Caucasus and the region around the former Soviet Union’s Caspian Sea contained staggering volumes of untapped oil. Some said it was a “new Saudi Arabia.” As part of broader Washington strategy of then-president George H.W. Bush, US intelligence began moving veterans of the bloody Afghan Mujahideen campaign into the Caucasus and Caspian region to facilitate independence from the Soviet Union and open the door for US and British oil companies to control the key oil regions.
Two “retired” CIA operatives close to former CIA head Bush, Ted Shackley and General (Ret.) Richard Secord set up a CIA “front” fake Azeribaijan oil company called Mega Oil. It was a cover to fly in hundreds of Mujahideen veterans from Afghanistan as “oilworkers.”
In 1991 Richard Secord along with veterans of US operations in Laos, and later of Oliver North’s operations with the Contras, turned up in Baku, Azerbaijan under the cover of MEGA Oil. This was when George H.W. Bush supported an oil pipeline stretching from Azerbaijan across the Caucasus to Turkey. Dick Cheney was then Bush senior’s Defense Secretary. MEGA never found oil. But MEGA operatives in Azerbaijan engaged in military training, passed “brown bags filled with cash” to members of the Azeri government, and set up an airline on the model of the CIA’s Vietnam era Air America which flew hundreds of mujahedin mercenaries from Afghanistan into Azerbaijan and the Caucasus, especially Chechnya. 
A faction of the CIA and US intelligence tied to the neo-conservatives and the US military industrial complex, have been involved in bringing fanatical Jihadist Islam into the traditionally Sufi peaceful Islam of the Caucasus region. Osama bin Laden actively moved from Afghanistan into Bosnia, then Kosovo and on into Chechnya after 1995, where his principal ally, fellow Saudi Jihadist, Ibn al-Khattab was leader of the Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya fighting the Russians. Chechnya happened to be the transit region for a major Russian oil pipeline from Baku into Russia for Caspian oil, something Washington was determined to block. Journalist Ali Soufan notes that by 1996, “the United States had been on the side of Muslims in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya.”
At the time of the Beslan school massacre in Russia near the Georgia border in September 2004, Umarov’s Jihadists, including Arab Mujahideen, were partly financed with US money via a Washington-based NGO called ACDI/VOCA. Much of the money that the US Government-funded NGO received for the project reportedly came from a US Department of Agriculture Food for Peace Project. Apparently the food they dispensed was in the form of Kalashnikovs and hand grenades, not grain and apples.
According to veteran Caucasus-based journalist Jeffrey Silverman, Doku Umarov is today an “asset” controlled and guided by a Washington-based think-tank called Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. The board of the Potomac Institute reads like a who’s who of retired US military and intelligence people. According to Washington insider reports, Potomac is not entirely what it appears to be.
It is rather, these sources report, a front for Israeli intelligence, a group of US neo-conservatives, both working with Saudi Arabian intelligence. Two of Potomac’s key people involved in the Caucasus are reported to be Prof. Jonah Alexander, who heads the institute’s International Center for Terrorism Studies, and Ambassador (ret) David Smith.
Alexander has taught at Tel Aviv University and headed an interesting-sounding project, “Terrorism, Gray Area and Low Level Conflict,” for the US Global Strategy Council, a group founded by Ray Cline, former Deputy Director of the CIA. David J. Smith is Director of the Georgian Security Analysis Center (GSAC) at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies in Tbilisi, Georgia. Between 2002 and 2006 Smith was US Member of the International Security Advisory Board, assisting Georgia to “build democracy and establish functional national security institutions.” By all indications, he did a rather poor job if that really was what he was building.
Many of the Arab and Chechyn Jihadist terrorists plaguing Russia in recent years have been infiltrated into Chechnya from the Pankisi Gorge region across the border in Georgia, where a pro-US Saakashvili regime at the time obviously “looked the other way.” Reportedly Saakashvili’s brother worked in London for BP, the head of the Anglo-American oil pipeline consortium that owns the BTC pipeline from Baku through Georgia to Turkey.
Contrary to outward appearance, there has been intimate cooperation between Saudi and Israeli intelligence services on matters of common strategic interest for years. Reportedly the ties began when Prince Bandar was Saudi Ambassador to Washington.
If all this is true, it would suggest that Umarov’s latest suicide attacks in Russia are part of a “revenge” operation of Netanyahu and Saudi Intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, to sabotage the Sochi Olympics, for Putin’s role in winning Obama away from war against Syria last fall and openly seeking a diplomatic resolution of the Iran nuclear problem. Saudi Arabia’s Bandar and Netanyahu, who admitted they were in cooperation, both were reportedly livid against Putin for sabotaging their Jihad in Syria.
Against Obama too
That the Saudis and Israel’s Netanyahu are actively working as well to sabotage Obama’s Iran diplomacy is also clear. On October 30, 2013, Sheldon Adelson, an Israeli-American billionaire with dual passports, a financier friend of Netanyahu who owns Las Vegas casinos, called on US Congress. He reportedly told his friends in Congress to pass new sanctions against Iran designed to sabotage the Iran-Obama talks. Adelson was the main financial backer in 2012 of Mitt Romney to defeat Obama, who has become a bitter Netanyahu foe. Adelson apparently feels that Obama has slowly been distancing from Bush and Cheney’s strong tilt to the hawkish US neo-conservatives tied to the US-Israeli military industrial complex around Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
The Republican Jewish Coalition — led by GOP financial donor Sheldon Adelson — is asking its members to call their senators and urge them to pass a new round of sanctions on Iran amid efforts from top Obama administration officials to persuade Congress to delay such measures to allow time for negotiations with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program to “gain traction.” 
The Volgograd bombings are a part of a global political shift taking place with factions declaring war inside major governments. Washington is split today between a “pro-Israel” faction largely in Congress, and on the opposite side, a mix of nationalists who seem to be trying to define a genuine American interest in all the wars around the world. Reportedly General Martin E. Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military’s highest body in the Pentagon, and others around President Obama are moving to distance Washington from the Saudi-Israeli war strategy which they have realized as against American interest.
The realization in and around the White House and State Department that the US Government was being manipulated by Israeli and Saudi false intelligence was the real reason, according to Washington reports, for the abrupt decision by President Obama last summer to halt the planned war against Syria. Obama was told that the “evidence” of a Syrian government chemical weapons attack on civilians had been doctored by Saudi and Israeli intelligence to force Obama to finally declare war. 
That was why Obama surprisingly and inexplicably embraced the Putin mediation offer to remove the chemical weapons and why Assad quickly agreed. Obama was himself strongly against military action in Syria. The chemicals used in Syria reportedly were supplied by Prince Bandar to the rebels, not from Syrian Government forces.  The intelligence intercepts given President Obama purporting to be tapes of Syrian Army commanders discussing the chemical attack were given to Washington by Israeli intelligence by Israeli Defence Forces’ 8200 unit and were also reportedly faked.
Now this same network seems to have activated a revenge attack against Putin and Obama for foiling their stratagems. It’s a high risk gamble by Netanyahu and Saudi Prince Bandar that could severely boomerang against them.
In a noteworthy footnote to the entire gruesome Doku Umarov drama, on January 17, Moscow Times reported on a social media message sent out by Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, claiming that he had “new evidence” that rebel leader Doku Umarov was dead. Kadyrov wrote in an Instagram, “According to our information, Umarov is dead and we are looking for his body.” He claimed that Umarov had been killed during a Russian Special Forces operation. The report has not been confirmed by Moscow. The Kadyrov report has to be taken with more than a little grain of salt. The flamboyant Chechyn President has issued such messages before, the last time in December, when he wrote that Umarov was “mostly likely already dead or will be soon.” Whether dead or alive, it seems most likely that Doku Umarov is little more than a “cover” for the darker networks running terror against Putin’s Russia in the Caucasus, and that darker network is Moscow’s real problem.
Al Jazzera English, Chechen rebel chief denies quitting Europe, Al Jazeera English., August 12, 2010.
 Miriam Elder. Russian Islamist Doku Umarov calls for attacks on 2014 Winter Olympics, theguardian.com. August 12, 2013.
 EIN News, Russia’s deadly black widow cult that threatens Olympians, January 02, 2014, accessed in
 Peter Dale Scott, The Falsified War on Terror: How the US Has Protected Some of Its Enemies, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 40, No. 2, October 7, 2013.
 Ali H. Soufan, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda (New York: Norton, 2011), p. 62.
 Henry Kamens, Did CIA train the Boston Bombers in Georgia?, April 2013
 The information on the Potomac Institute and Umarov was made available to the author from Jeffrey Silverman, an investigative journalist based in the Caucasus who has researched the subject for more than twenty two years.
 SourceWatch, Global Strategy Council, 23 July, 2013, accessed in http://www.sourcewatch.
 Ibid. ; As well, for bios on Smith and Alexander, the website of Potomac Institute accessed inhttp://www.potomacinstitute.
 Jeffrey Silverman, op. cit.
 Umberto Bacchi, Israel Negotiating Historic Alliance with Saudi Arabia over Iran’s Nuclear Weapons, Ooctober 3, 2013, accessed in http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/
 Stephen J. Sniegoski , Would Romney Pursue a Neocon War Agenda?, accessed inhttp://home.comcast.net/~
 Ben Armbruster, Group Led By Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Pushes Congress To Undermine Iran Talks, October 30, 2013, accessed in http://thinkprogress.org/
 Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh, Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack, MintPress, August 29, 2013, accessed in http://www.mintpressnews.
 Seymour Hersh, Whose Sarin?, London Review of Books, August 12, 2013, accessed inhttp://home.comcast.net/~
 Moscow Times, Chechen Leader Kadyrov Again Says Rebel Leader Umarov is Dead, 17 January 2014,
RIA Novosti, accessed in http://www.themoscowtimes.
 Moscow Times, Chechen Leader Says ‘Rat’ Rebel Chief Is Likely Dead, 20 December 2013, accessed inhttp://www.themoscowtimes.
Any analysis of domestic fossil fuel production and use must acknowledge that independence for U.S. energy has not been the national goal. Contrary to utopian dreamers and radical environmentalists, oil, natural gas and coal are the backbone of power in any modern economy. This power extends both to the fuels themselves and to the political security that is required for any economy to prosper. Therefore, it seems counterproductive to encourage corporatist to export our own precious resources for the mere motive of higher profits. Unfortunately, their ill-conceived greed is at the core of much of our countries instability.
Often ignored, coal was once the dominate resource in the generation of electricity. The utterly destructive and suicidal EPA regulations and Obama’s determination to bankrupt the coal industry has put into motion an export strategy that threatens the entire utility sector.
The Motley Fool writes in the article, Can Exports Save U.S. Coal?
“Although it remains the country’s largest private sector provider of jobs, the U.S. coal industry is hurting. Domestic utilities are turning to lower-priced natural gas. Environmental opponents are working hard to keep the mineral in the ground.
The idea of expanding exports to the world’s biggest customers — currently China, the Netherlands (a large transshipment point), the U.K., South Korea and Brazil — sounds good. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports shipments of 6.3 million short tons of steam coal and 7.4 million short tons of metallurgical coal in March set a monthly record. Increased Asian demand contributed to the standout month.”
The absurd notion at clean coal is impossible; drive this train directly to ports that ship our own most prolific natural resource overseas. So much for national security considerations and who in their right mind thinks that advance scrubbers will be used in all the Chinese plants being built.
Natural gas is the new boom fuel, especially because of the questionable hydrofracking process. Leaving aside the risks to our finite water aquifer, extraction from deep field using this fracking method is the primary argument to drill. In the essay, Hydrofracking Boom or Bust, cites Deborah Rogers, points out the most significant economic consequence from hydrofracking.
“Exporting is a last ditch effort to shore up a failing balance sheet. Exportation will drive the price higher in the U.S. There’s no doubt about it. The question is how high will it go. When you are producing a commodity and have produced it to such a high extent, you want to find someone who will buy it, and in this case, it will be the Asians.”
The Wall Street Journal reports how this economic model will take place in, U.S. Approves Expanded Gas Exports.
“The decision reflects a turnaround in the U.S. energy trade. Five years ago, many companies built natural-gas import terminals, anticipating greater U.S. demand for imported fuel.
Proponents of greater exports, including the oil and gas industry, say that exporting inexpensive natural gas will help the U.S. trade balance, help advance the adoption of clean-burning fuels around the world and shore up energy-poor U.S. allies.”
Let’s be real. The corporatist only care about the margins they can squeeze out of any resource extracted from mother earth. Importing when the price is right or exporting when the world price goes the other way, but never any concern about energy INDEPENDENCE for our own people and country.
Now look at the grand daddy of all, petroleum. The Oil Roustabout Economy explains the way the oil policy actually plays out. Virtually no real apprehension for domestic oil autonomy is factored into the economic schemes, that drive the economic, political and foreign policies, which keep the global a permanent tinderbox. “Remember that drilling in Anwar is prohibited, while waging war for oil is celebrated.”However, the scale of refining raw crude into a range of utilitarian end user products, lends merit to the resale for export, especially if the original crude comes from an imported source. A valid benefit is achieved by enhancing a natural resource, with value added functionality for exporting. Nonetheless, draining your own oil fields for an immediate infusion of short-term profit, only hastens the day when domestic oilfields run dry.
The Washington Post illustrates the latest insanity coming out of the political class servants of the oil barons. The article, U.S. oil exports have been banned for 40 years. Is it time for that to change?, has a chilling message.
“Some people think so — especially now that the United States is producing more oil than it has in decades. Overturning the ban, in theory, would allow companies to sell even more oil and keep expanding.
On Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) gave a speech at the Brookings Institution calling on the Obama administration and Congress to loosen restrictions on crude-oil exports in order to boost domestic production. “We need to act,” she said, “before the crude export ban raises problems and hurts American jobs.” Jack Gerard, the head of the American Petroleum Institute, expressed similar sentiments later in the day.”
Ah, that long journey to save jobs cry is most flexible depending where the campaign contributions come from. When was the last time you heard a national debate on the necessity to conserve and the prudent use of our own energy resources, strictly for domestic usage?
Not in this lifetime, instead of exporting our natural gas overseas, what happened to How to Convert the Country to Natural Gas, by T. Boone Pickens. Read the Pickens Plan and ask where are all those converted from diesel to LNG trucks?
Folks, the selling of our coal, gas and oil resources for export are more important to the internationalists that own the corporate businesses, which control the global resources, than true national energy independence. It is that simple. The establishment plutocrats are the designers, perpetuators and exploiters of an American economy that is held hostage to energy extortion. Not until this pattern is broken, will genuine prosperity return.
The economy has been debilitated by the offshoring of middle class jobs for the benefit of corporate profits and by the Federal Reserve’s policy of Quantitative Easing in order to support a few oversized banks that the government protects from market discipline. Not only does QE distort bond and stock markets, it threatens the value of the dollar and has resulted in manipulation of the gold price.
When US corporations send jobs offshore, the GDP, consumer income, tax base, and careers associated with the jobs go abroad with the jobs. Corporations gain the additional profits at large costs to the economy in terms of less employment, less economic growth, reduced state, local and federal tax revenues, wider deficits, and impairments of social services.
When policymakers permitted banks to become independent of market discipline, they made the banks an unresolved burden on the economy. Authorities have provided no honest report on the condition of the banks. It remains to be seen if the Federal Reserve can create enough money to monetize enough debt to rescue the banks without collapsing the US dollar. It would have been far cheaper to let the banks fail and be reorganized.
US policymakers and their echo chamber in the economics profession have let the country down badly. They claimed that there was a “New Economy” to take the place of the “old economy” jobs that were moved offshore. As I have pointed out for a decade, US jobs statistics show no sign of the promised “New Economy.”
The same policymakers and economists who told us that “markets are self-regulating” and that the financial sector could safely be deregulated also confused jobs offshoring with free trade. Hyped “studies” were put together designed to prove that jobs offshoring was good for the US economy. It is difficult to fathom how such destructive errors could consistently be made by policymakers and economists for more than a decade. Were these mistakes or cover for a narrow and selfish agenda?
In June, 2009 happy talk appeared about “the recovery,” now 4.5 years old. As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear, “the recovery” is entirely the artifact of the understated measure of inflation used to deflate nominal GDP. By under-measuring inflation, the government can show low, but positive, rates of real GDP growth. No other indicator supports the claim of economic recovery.
John Williams writes that consumer inflation, if properly measured, is running around 9%, far above the 2% figure that is the Fed’s target and more in line with what consumers are actually experiencing. We have just had a 6.5% annual increase in the cost of a postage stamp.
The Fed’s target inflation rate is said to be low, but Simon Black points out that the result of a lifetime of 2% annual inflation is the loss of 75% of the purchasing power of the currency. He uses the cost of sending a postcard to illustrate the decline in the purchasing power of median household income today compared to 1951. That year it cost one cent to send a post card. As household income was $4,237, the household could send 423,700 postcards. Today the comparable income figure is $51,017. As it costs 34 cents to send one postcard, today’s household can only afford to send 150,050 postcards. Nominal income rose 12 times, and the cost of sending a postcard rose 34 times.
Just as the American people know that there is more inflation than is reported, they know that there is no recovery. The Gallup Poll reported this month that only 28% of Americans are satisfied with the economy. http://www.gallup.com/poll/166871/americans-satisfaction-economy-sours-2001.aspx?version=print
From hard experience, Americans have also caught on that “free trade agreements” are nothing but vehicles for moving their jobs abroad. The latest effort by the corporations to loot and defraud the public is known as the “Trans-Pacific Partnership.” “Fast-tracking” the bill allowed the corporations to write the bill in secret without congressional input. Some research shows that 90% of Americans will suffer income losses under TPP, while wealth becomes even more concentrated at the top.
TPP affects every aspect of our lives from what we eat to the Internet to the environment. According to Kevin Zeese in Alternet, “the leak of the [TPP] Intellectual Property Chapter revealed that it created a path to patent everything imaginable, including plants and animals, to turn everything into a commodity for profit.”
The secretly drafted TPP also creates authority for the executive branch to change existing US law to make the laws that were not passed in secret compatible with the secretly written trade bill. Buy American requirements and any attempt to curtail jobs offshoring would become illegal “restraints on trade.”
If the House and Senate are willing to turn over their legislative function to the executive branch, they might as well abolish themselves.
The financial media has been helping the Federal Reserve and the banks to cover up festering problems with rosy hype, but realization that there are serious unresolved problems might be spreading. Last week interest rates on 30-day T-bills turned negative. That means people were paying more for a bond than it would return at maturity. Dave Kranzler sees this as a sign of rising uncertainty about banks. Reminiscent of the Cyprus banks’ limits on withdrawals, last Friday (January 24) the BBC reported that the large UK bank HSBC is preventing customers from withdrawing cash from their accounts in excess of several thousand pounds.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25861717
If and when uncertainty spreads to the dollar, the real crisis will arrive, likely followed by high inflation, exchange controls, pension confiscations, and resurrected illegality of owning gold and silver. Capitalist greed aided and abetted by economists and policymakers will have destroyed America.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
he media spin machine is again kicking into high gear, perfectly timed to accompany the “Geneva II” Syria peace talks. The lies are necessary to give the Obama administration an upper hand in the peace negotiations, which are not being used to pursue peace, but instead, to accomplish the Obama administration’s longstanding goal of Syrian regime change. Here are the top three Western media lies about the Syrian peace talks.
1) The removal of Syrian Bashar al-Assad was an agreed upon “precondition” for the Geneva II peace talks.
This lie has been repeated over and over by government and media alike. It has zero basis. The Obama administration claims that this precondition was expressed in the “Geneva communiqué,” which was a road map agreement meant to guide the Geneva II peace talks, agreed upon by some of the major parties of the negotiations, including Russia.
The communiqué does indeed call for a negotiated political transition, but nowhere does it state that such a transition cannot include President Assad. Such a condition would have been outright rejected by Russia.
In fact, the Geneva communiqué includes this crucial statement:
“[a transition government] could include members of the present [Syrian] government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.” Nowhere does it specifically mention or imply President Assad would have to leave power first.
The Los Angeles Times recently stepped out of line and exposed this lie:
“[John] Kerry regularly cites the “Geneva communiqué,” a kind of peace road map hammered out in June 2012 during a United Nations-organized summit. But the document does not explicitly call for Assad’s ouster.”
The Obama administration’s constant repeating of this lie only causes divisions in the peace process, undermining the chances that the peace process will succeed.
The Obama administration is especially adamant about this “Assad must go” precondition because it knows that, if free and fair elections were held tomorrow in Syria – as part of a UN-backed “transitional process” – President Assad would likely win. This is the result of the ethnic and religious minorities in Syria that have rallied behind President Assad, since they’ve witnessed the consistent religious sectarian atrocities committed by the U.S.-backed rebels (which the U.S. media loves to ignore or minimize).
Assad would probably win an election since there is also simply no one else on the government side or the opposition side with his name recognition or popularity. The U.S.-backed rebel war in Syria has vastly strengthened Assad’s political hand, but you wouldn’t know it from the Western, anti-Syrian media.
Demanding Assad’s ouster also does not reflect the situation on the ground. The U.S.-backed rebels have never controlled more than one Syrian city, namely Raqaa, which is dominated by al-Qaeda and is governed under a Taliban-style interpretation of Islamic law, which includes a strict ban on music. Thus, the rebels don’t have the ground power that would even enable them to make the demand that “Assad must go”.
2) The U.S.-backed rebel militias are “moderate” Islamic groups.
The fact that this lie can even be uttered publicly without encountering ridicule is a major success of Western media propaganda. The media narrative paints the U.S.-backed “good” rebels fighting both the Syrian government and the “bad” al-Qaeda linked rebels.
But the “good” rebels in the U.S.-backed Islamic Front share the same vision for Syria’s future as the al-Qaeda rebels: a fundamentalist version of Sharia law, where women live in virtual house arrest and where religious minorities are second class citizens (non-Sunni Muslims would simply be butchered, as they are on a regular basis in Syria, which is again minimized or ignored in the Western media.)
The “moderate rebel” lie was further exposed recently when a top leader in the most powerful militia, Ahrar al Sham, within the Islamic Front declared Ahrar al Sham to be the “real” representative of al-Qaeda in Syria, as opposed to the rival al-Qaeda faction that the Islamic Front had recently begun fighting.
Ahrar al Sham has long been known to be an al-Qaeda type Islamist extremist group; the Western media simply chose to ignore it. But when it was recently made official, the US media chose to continue its ignoring stance, since actually reporting on it would destroy their “moderate rebel” lie. The Western media also continues to ignore the fact that the “moderate” U.S.-backed Islamic Frontissued a joint statement that aligned itself to the extremist views of Ahrar al Sham, the “real” al-Qaeda.
3) New Evidence of Syrian government “industrial scale” torture.
The Western media recently blasted the “breaking news” of brand new evidence showing massive “Nazi-like” torture and murder by the Syrian government, released at the beginning of the Syrian peace talks. This may or may not be true, but the lie here is that the Western media promoted the “evidence” as being unquestionably true, when the story doesn’t reach first base when it comes to evidence-based journalism.
All we really know is that there are hundreds of pictures of dead people that a “trusted source” says were killed by the Syrian government. The trusted source was designated as such by pro-Western intellectuals, who have earned professional “credibility” by helping convict war criminals in the International Criminal Court [ICC]. But as author Diane Johnstone pointed out in her excellent book “Fools Crusade,” about the war against Yugoslavia – as well as in other articles – the ICC has long been used by western powers as a tool to create a pretext for war, or a tool to justify a war after the fact.
The evidence of the “NAZI-like” atrocities was written in a study paid for by the government of Qatar, which has long funneled cash, guns, and Jihadis to Syria in aid of the anti-government rebels.
Again, we don’t know if the story is true or not. But such an important investigation should be conducted by the UN or another more objective institution. The same biased dynamic occurred in relation to the infamous chemical weapons attack, where no real evidence was provided, though an unending string of “experts” were quoted in the Western media, testifying to the guilt of the Syrian Government. But when Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Seymour Hersh reported that the Obama administration lied about the rebels not having the capacity to perform such an attack, the Western media simply ignored the legend of journalism. The wrench in the propaganda machine was simply dislodged.
How do these lies become such permanent fixtures in the Western media? An excellent article in the Guardian newspaper recently discussed in depth the principal sources the Western media has used to understand the Syrian conflict.
The article exposed the incredible bias of some of the most important Western media sources on Syria, which is why they were handpicked in the first place to be “expert” sources: they had political agendas that were aligned with the US government’s foreign policy decisions. The other side of the conflict was completely ignored, except when it was targeted for ridicule. Thus, Americans and Europeans have a completely one-sided, if not fantasy-based perspective of what is happening in Syria. This has been systematic since the beginning of the conflict, as happened with the Yugoslav, Afghan, Iraq, and Libya wars.
The result of this media-led ignorance could result in yet more unnecessary deaths in a country that now has millions of refugees and over a 100,000 dead. Obama seems like he intends to exploit these peace talks with the intention of blaming the Syrian government for their failure. Having failed to defeat Assad on the battlefield in a proxy war, the Obama administration is trying to win the propaganda war. And once peace talks have failed, talk of war will resume, since “all other options have failed.”
I used to really really hate housework but don’t hate it so much any more — ever since I developed my fabulous new housecleaning system wherein I just do 15 minutes of housework a day, but do it each day consistently, using a timer so as not to cheat.
You’d be surprised how much you can get done in just 15 minutes, but you gotta do it daily, no matter what — even if some newbee student dentist has just finished scraping all those extra bone fragments out of the socket of your recently-pulled (phantom) tooth and then practiced her rusty stitching techniques on your poor bleeding gums.
And here’s another added bonus to my housecleaning system: After having spent approximately 5,475 minutes a year for the past six years on trying to keep this damn place clean, I have actually sort of started to bond with my home.
So. A few days ago I was cleaning stuff out of an old filing cabinet, and came across a whole bunch of articles that I had written way back in the day — back before we had all kinds of self-publishing apps available online; and even back before there was FaceBook or blogs or Kindle or Twitter or even Instagram and YouTube.
And, way back in those old paleo days, writers such as myself had actually been forced to photocopy our articles, write up a cover letter and then send them all off to magazine editors with self-addressed stamped envelopes enclosed. Totally old school. Can you even imagine doing that now?
And there at the very bottom of one of those file drawers, I found over two hundred rejection letters from various editors and publishers. Amazing.
Dontcha just love publishing over the internet instead? (And thank goodness for net neutrality too — which is currently being threatened. Shouldn’t we start boycotting Verizon, AT&T and Comcast over this? C’mon, all you independent bloggers, Tweeters and self-publishers, let’s get off our butts and fight for less intervention and more high-speed!) http://www.latimes.com/
And speaking of the internet, those huge and powerful corporations which now own our government are still using it to spy on all of us — and not just us writers. Now why would corporations want to do that? Because they are paranoid. And greedy. And afraid.
I used to be paranoid and greedy and afraid too — but am now here to tell you that, in the long run, paranoia and greed and fear are just too damn much hard work. Wisdom and kindness are better. And easier too. Just ask Jesus. And Gandhi. And Martin Luther King Jr.
“But Jane,” you might say, “that kind of slacker attitude could get you killed.” True. It certainly got King and Gandhi and Jesus killed. But at least I would die while feeling all proud of myself as I cross over — not huddled up in some miserable isolated Midas-like earthly fortress while watching the rest of the world end before my very eyes and with only my black, ice-cold-hearted evil soul (that nobody else would ever want to spend time with, ev-ah) to keep me company. Yuck.
Anyway, back at the filing cabinet, I began reading through some of my old articles again — and some of them were really actually quite good. The one about my struggles to get my aging father into an assisted-care home was particularly poignant — and how my mean sister had dragged me through probate court after he died, just when I was grieving the most. I later published it on the internet, entitled “Probating the Family Feud” — and a lot of people actually read it there too. http://veracityvoice.com/?p=
And I also found something I had written back in 2005 — back when Fallujah was a horrible war-crime-induced hot mess; about all my efforts to embed with the Army there. And how I finally did embed with the Marines in Heet and Haditha two years later http://jpstillwater.blogspot.
But apparently Fallujah is still a war-torn hot mess even today; the only difference being that Iraqis, not Americans, are now doing most of the killing in Al Anbar province. So does that make all this current senseless slaughter of civilians less of a war crime — because civilians are now being senselessly slaughtered by local hordes instead of by American hordes? http://www.globalresearch.ca/
Ten years later, I still want to go to Fallujah.
Or as one friend in Iraq calls it, “Fallujahpaloooza”. Laughter through tears. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
And then I discovered, hidden back at the very bottom of my filing cabinet, a rough draft of my first novel. I loved that novel so much! But NOBODY would publish it. Nobody. That novel had everything — love, death, war, peace, history, philosophy, drama, even intergalactic travel — and even one fast-moving chapter on how wisdom and kindness always trumps greed, paranoia and fear. “Pictures of a Future World” was the title. I may get around to publishing it yet — but this time I’ll try Kindle.
PS: Here’s an excerpt from my old unpublished novel, “Pictures of a Future World”:
All eyes turn to the Shaman, who continues to speak from his deep trance.
The atmosphere in the sandstone kiva comes alive. The Shaman moves his mind to a new point of consciousness. Another one of his emanations begins to speak, this time in an intensely penetrating tone. ”There is a tree on the mesa top,” the deep voice slowly intones. ”It has watched the raider warriors kill our people one by one. It has seen us begin to build our houses here in the dark shadows of the canyon walls instead of up on the sunny mesa tops where they belong…so that we might be safe…from the raider warriors.
“They are killers.
“We are prey.
“So has it always been. So shall it always be.
“There is no place that we can go on the face of this earth that is safe from them…either now or in the far distant future… when even our mesa-top trees are dead.
“Raiders will always hunt peaceful men.
“They will find us, and they will kill our bodies just as the coyote kills the hare.”
Absolute silence falls like a black shroud inside the kiva.
Everyone waits for the Shaman to speak again. Even the Shaman himself waits. Is this all that he is going to say? By now the ceremonial kiva is as bright as day, the elders rigid with attention.
“Of these things we must never be afraid, ever,” the Shaman continues. ”The raiders may search us out, the barbarians may chase us down and trap us and corner us like rats…from now until the end of time.
“The needy ones, the greedy ones will hunt us in order to make our wisdom and our abundance their own. They will act out of evil caused by envy, jealousy or need. Whatever their reasons — that is the way of it. No place is safe. We must be prepared to give up our bodies at any time, willingly and without fear or regret.
“Because our bodies are not us.”
The Shaman breathes slowly now, and the clan members sense that he is struggling within himself, trying to clarify what he alone is seeing, forcing himself to go on. A moment passes. The mask presses heavily upon him. Finally he continues: ”We of the pueblo all know this. We are all made brave because of this knowledge. This we know: That always men of peace will die bravely. That always barbarians will try to kill us and to take our spirits.
“All of us know that the spirit of a man of peace can never belong to a barbarian and can never be harmed. Ever. It is this knowledge that gives us the courage to continue to live without fear in a world exploding with enemies, enemies gone mad with their own anger and need and violence and lust for our blood.”
The air inside the womb-like kiva begins to take on a life of its own; humid, dense, and pulsing.
Inside the ponderous deer-head mask, the Shaman tries to refocus his energy. He watches his body and his mind divide into a series of complex grids. Each one of these grids contains an image of himself. A part of him wonders which grid is his real self. A part of him knows that his real self is all of them — or none.
More chanting fills the air. The Shaman forgets about the raider warriors. They are a part of life. They will always be there…like the trees. Like the mesa.
With Ben Shalom Bernanke set to depart on the last day of January 2014, the critique and speculation of his tenure as Chairman of the Federal Reserve begins. The mainstream financial press is giving mostly favorable accounts. Heretofore, such praiseworthy acclamations strike a shape contrast with the actual record of the state of the economy. However, the admirers of the Fed and his specific enactments live in a time warp that only masters of the universe encounter. For the remaining population, an intense struggle for survival is the actual experience, remembered from the Bernanke years.
Investopedia expresses a complimentary score of The Legacy Of Ben Bernanke, and cites distinguished highlights and concludes that “Under Bernanke’s stewardship, the Fed became the most transparent it has ever been in its history.”
Yet, they are compelled to mention that from 2008 onward, Bernanke and the Fed embarked on a series of unparalleled – and often unconventional – rescue programs and stimulus measures. These included:
- ratcheting interest rates down to the lowest levels in American history;
- force-feeding the U.S. economy with trillions of dollars through successive rounds of “quantitative easing”;
- bailing out troubled Wall Street firms and institutions;
- orchestrating the rescue of other troubled financial institutions through shotgun weddings; and
- lending funds to diverse sectors of the U.S. economy to revive stalled credit markets.
Ben Bernanke’s Great Inflation Coverup, is an assessment that one would expect from the Mother Jones publication.
“Bernanke’s problem is pretty simple here: he almost certainly wants higher inflation . . . Once the Fed has reduced interest rates to zero, it can’t go any further. But what if the economy is so bad that all the standard models suggest you need negative interest rates to get the economy back on track? The only answer is higher inflation. If inflation is running at 2% and interest rates are at zero, the real interest rate is -2%. If you borrow money, you’re effectively being allowed to pay back less than you borrowed.”
Then there is the valid point made by Bill Sardi in LewRockwell.com. “The Fed been printing new money at the rate of $85 billion a month which is being distributed to close member banks who are gambling it on the Wall Street stock market to recapitalize themselves rather than lending it out into the economy so citizens can buy new homes, automobiles.”
The example of Paying back retirees with cheaper dollars illustrates the real costs of built in systemic inflation, not just for citizens on a fix income, but for everyone. This lost in purchasing value of the currency is obvious to any honest person.
“The average social security check was $321 in 1980 and in 2011 it was $1183 (adjusted for inflation). But if that $321 pension check were to be fully adjusted for inflation according to way inflation was calculated in 1980 (cost of gasoline and food included), then that $321 should be $3636 to have the same purchasing power today.”
The severity of income disparity has reached staggering levels. Elite insiders game the system with insider speculation certainty, while the constructive producers that keep the real components of the economy functioning, are pushed to the margins.
Bernanke’s real legacy produced the following outcomes. The always-reliable ZeroHedge site states some undeniable facts under Bernanke’s watch.
- The US has never experienced 3% GDP growth.
- The labor participation rate has fallen to levels not seen since the ‘70s.
- Inflation-adjusted median incomes have fallen 7%.
- The US’s debt load has risen from $8.4 trillion to over $16 trillion.
- The Fed’s balance sheet has increased from $800 billion to over $4 trillion (larger than the economies of Brazil, France and even Germany).
- Food prices have hit record highs fomenting revolutions in the Middle East and untold suffering around the globe.
- The Fed has funneled trillions of Dollars into both US banks and European banks.
- The Fed has allowed fraud, insider trading, and corruption.
The banksters demanded a bailed out because their derivative greed exacted losses that required an immense infusion of liquidity to rescue their balance sheets. Under Bernanke, the titans of finance have an unlimited line of near zero rate interest of new credit. When the establishment financial press applauds the savior of the economy, their loyalty towards corporatist governance, dictates that the economic interests and the public welfare of ordinary people is expendable.
Look to a prime example of this concentration of wealth and control. The Global 1%: Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class by Peter Phillips and Kimberly Soeiro, focus on BlackRock.
“BlackRock is one of the most concentrated power networks among the global 1 percent. The eighteen members of the board of directors are connected to a significant part of the world’s core financial assets. Their decisions can change empires, destroy currencies, and impoverish millions. Some of the top financial giants of the capitalist world are connected by interlocking boards of directors at BlackRock, including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, PNC Bank, Barclays, Swiss Reinsurance Company, American International Group (AIG), UBS A.G., Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley.”
These crony capitalists are the prototypes that benefited from Bernanke decisions.
During the Bernanke era, the debt bubble entered the point of no return to solvency. His place in the history of shame sets the stage for further economic turmoil. The Federal Reserve after Ben Bernanke article indicates that the Fed is boxed into a pattern that is likely to escalate out of control.
“With the uninterrupted, increase in federal debt, much of which is held by the Federal Reserve, the prospects of achieving prosperity by growing the economy, when interests rates have been near zero, failed miserably. It becomes almost absurd to believe that higher rates on Treasury Bonds will succeed. The new chair of the Fed will be hard pressed shutting down Quantitative Easing.”
A depression in the real economy is foreordained with the retraction of credit to most enterprises. This starving of access to funding is a conscious and deliberate strategy to force competition out of business. The grand scale that the banksters operate on has little room for upstarts or hanger-on’s. At the end of this very destructive Bernanke term, the rich got fabulous more wealthy, as the country sinks into decline on so many levels.
Ynet reports in the last few days that an FBI investigation into Republican Congressman Michael Grimm’s campaign finances ties him to Israeli Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto through donations of more than half a million dollars, and has also led to suspicions of senior Israeli police officers accepting bribes from Pinto.
The affair came to light due to an FBI wiretap agreed to by Pinto as part of a settlement with the bureau, after Pinto filed a blackmail complaint resulting the rabbi having to testify against Grimm, the New York Republican Congressman and former FBI agent.
The New York Times reported that Grimm was in contact with Ofer Biton (an ex Porn distributor), one of Pinto’s assistants, in order to raise money for his election from the rabbi’s followers.
Grimm, it said, had good reason to turn to the popular rabbi since he needed a great deal of money. Pinto supplied the funds to the Republican incumbent, a Catholic who prays every Sunday in church.
Grimm was able to raise more than half a million dollars – which comprised half of his total fundraising for the election, the FBI revealed.
Biton is being investigated on the suspect of embezzling millions of dollars from Pinto’s followers. The New York Times also reported that there were illegal donations that included cash transfers and straw companies. The followers said they gave the money because Biton said Pinto wanted his followers to donate to the politician.
The message must be clear. America must target all Jewish lobby groups and block the possibility of foreign interests interfering with its politics politicians, domestic and international interests.
“I’ve gotten some of my best light from bridges I’ve burned.”– Don Henley
What does it take, in an era dominated by progressive identity politics, to be accepted as a fully qualified member of the Left?
Jane is a London lawyer who identifies politically ‘as a woman,’ and marches enthusiastically for human rights. Can she join? I think the answer is yes, she can.
George is a medical doctor who happens also to be a black man and identifies as ‘Black middle class.’ Can he subscribe to a progressive email group and contribute to the discussion? I hope and suspect that he can.
And what about Julie? She runs an estate agency on the posh side of town but she also identifies as a ‘gay lesbian,’ can she join the parade? What a question! Of course she can.
Now Abe is an accountant and very attached to his Jewish heritage. Abe identifies as a ‘secular Jew,’ can he join the anti-war movement? More than likely he can, in fact he may even, within hours of his joining, find himself in a position of leadership.
But what about Hammed, a metal worker from Birmingham? Hammed identifies as a ‘Muslim’ — can he join a Left demonstration against the War in Syria? It’s a good question and the answer is not immediately obvious at all because it’s no secret that many of those who subscribe to ‘progressive’ ideology and indeed, activism, are rather troubled by religion in general and Islam in particular.
So, while Hammed is identifying with a universal and humanist precept, Jane, ‘the woman’, Julie ‘the Gay Lesbian’ and George ‘the Black’ openly subscribe to biologically-determined political identities. Furthermore, Abe, Identifying as a secular Jew, affiliates himself with a blood-based ethnocentric tribal identity. Clearly, the Left has no problem with such marginal and exclusivist political identities.
So, how is it possible that the contemporary Left discourse is sustained by people who, themselves subscribe to biologically-determined identity politics, yet so often reject similar, though often working class folk, who actually support equality and human rights issues? Could it be that the Left has in fact, drifted away from working class politics into some vague and inconsistent pseudo-empathic discourse primarily engaged in sectarian battles?
And there’s more.
Uri is an Israeli peace activist and writer who also identifies as an Israeli Leftist. Is Uri welcome within the progressive network? The answer is unreservedly, yes. But John Smith, an English bus driver from Liverpool is proud to be English and ‘as an Englishman’ he opposes the war because John actually believes that peace is patriotic. Can he join an anti-war protest and, while he’s at it, carry a Union Jack to demonstrations? I leave the answer to you.
Tony is a ‘Jewish Socialist’ – certainly not religious but an ethnic Jew who identifies ‘as a Jew’ racially and ethnically. And by the way, Tony also operates politically within Jews-only anti-Zionist groups. Now Tony is hugely welcome at most Left and progressive gathering. But can the same be said for Franz who identifies as an ‘Aryan socialist’? Again, I leave the answer to you.
The point is that yet again we detect a critical discrepancy in Left or progressive thinking. While Jewish ethnocentrism and even Jewish racial exclusivity is accepted, other forms of ethnocentrism are bluntly rejected. Is this a contradiction? You judge.
And, while we’re at it, what about Laura? She’s a Muslim convert who often hides her face behind the veil. Does she feel comfortable in ‘progressive’ gatherings? Not really. But Laura certainly supports human rights and equality almost as much as she loves Allah. But the Left’s and progressives’ tolerance towards Allah worshippers is particularly limited while, on the other hand, worshippers of the Talmud who are willing to oppose Israel are, not only tolerated, they are positively welcomed. Torah Jews, for instance, are often invited to progressive gatherings though, it must be said, they also encounter some resentment, especially from Jewish activists (This surely is because progressive Jews don’t like to be associated with people in caftans).
So it seems that membership of a progressive club is no straightforward matter because here we are here dealing with a discourse that is far from being open or inclusive. On the contrary, it is a pretty selective operation and far from being principled, coherent or universal. No longer is it committed to ‘members’ of the ‘working class’ - unless they first demonstrate adherence to a predetermined tablet of ‘correct politics’.
So what are these ‘correct politics’? Where are they defined and by whom?
In order to address this question we have to first delve into the peculiar ‘progressive’ threshold that leaves the Muslim and the nationalist out yet happily embraces other biologically-determined political, and even racial categories. Strangely enough, the mix that forms the Left alliance is suspiciously similar to the mix that sustains Liberal Zionist political power.
Is this a coincidence? Is it really that surprising that the Left, traditionally defined as a universal humanist discourse, is now supported politically and financially by a mixture of political identities that also lend their support to Israel and its rabidly nationalist, capitalist and ethnocentric ideology? No, it’s not, so I guess that the growing similarity between the Left and Liberal Zionism alliance demands some explanation. I’ve managed to come with three possible answers.
1. The Spin – The similarity between the Liberal Zionist alliance and the Left compound is a complete coincidence and reveals nothing about either Zionism or Left ideology.
2. The Observant – The Left and Liberal Zionism are basically two faces of the same coin.
3. The Forensic – By following the money trail, we see that most Left groups and liberal Zionism (a la J-Street and practically the entire progressive network) are funded by the same organizations, leading amongst them being George Soros’ Open Society Institute.
If the last is true (and I think it is) it may as well mean that a large part of the ‘dissident’ network is sustained by….wait for it… a Wall Street hedge fund. In other words we are dealing here with an institutional and well-funded controlled opposition apparatus. This may explain, what so often seems on the part of the Left and Progressive discourse generally, like complete dysfunction and utter impotence – whether in labour matters, domestic politics, foreign affairs, global wars and, of course, Palestine.
If the Left sees any reason to rescue itself — and this is indeed a big ‘if’ – it would first have to redeem itself from its greed and attachment to ‘big money.’ It may have to redefine for itself exactly what labour and ‘working class politics’ means for the workless.
Of course, it may just be that the Left has ended its political and ideological role, that basically, it belongs to the past. In other words, our capacity to think universally and ethically is now completely liberated from dialectical materialism or class division.
In the end, I doubt whether anyone within the progressive network possesses the intellectual capacity and ideological stamina to endure such a serious discussion.
I guess we’d just better move on.
It’s starting to appear as if marijuana users have become the homosexual lobby of the chemically dependent. What do I mean? Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson could mention one sexual behavior (adultery) as disqualifying someone from the “kingdom of God,” but mentioning that “other” sexual behavior? That’s a boycottin’, pardner! Likewise, there’s no shortage of articles about the perils of smoking tobacco — about how it causes lung cancer, emphysema and premature aging; about how it’s a dirty, nasty habit — all without indignant smokers crawling out of the woodwork to protest, between hacking coughs, that their passion is being unfairly demonized. But dare imply that inhaling copious amounts of marijuana smoke may not be one of Dr. Oz’s top ten health recommendations, and, well, the potheads cometh.
Let’s begin here with a simple but apparently radical premise: habitually sucking into your lungs hot gases containing carbon particles probably isn’t the most healthful practice. This is true whether the source is a Marlboro, a truck’s tailpipe or a bong loaded with cannabis. Agreed?
Apparently not. As with this article about pot use’s correlation with psychotic behavior, such assertions not only bring out the potheads — who do seem to have the ambition to defend their vice — but also some apologists who claim that marijuana smoking is actually a good. It’s for medicinal purposes, you see.
So we hear about how negative reporting on pot is all Puritan propaganda, about how tobacco is far worse, about how I’m 49 and toked since I were a teen and I funkshun fein, about how if you purge the THC, it’s a perfect drug (somehow every pothead is Linus Pauling). And then there’s the old standby: alcohol is legal and is worse. Alcohol is more addictive. Alcohol this and alcohol that. Potheads love the alcohol comparison. Okay, then, let’s compare the two.
While most agree that casual drinking — one or two drinks — is fine and may even offer health benefits, it’s universally acknowledged that drunkenness is destructive, ugly and reckless. In accordance with the old PSA, “If you have to drink to be social, it’s not social drinking,” it’s accepted that if you have to get inebriated to deal with life, you have a problem. Even drunkards tend to acknowledge this (they just usually deny that they have a problem). And we certainly shouldn’t exercise double standards.
So I’ll say that if you want to have one or two small puffs of a marijuana cigarette, fine.
But you’ve crossed the line if you get high.
This puts the lie to the alcohol/pot comparison. There are millions of casual drinkers who may have a beer or glass of wine with dinner but have no intention of getting tipsy. Except, however, for the few who use pot for legitimate medical purposes (and I’m dubious about the necessity of this, mind you), the goal of a marijuana smoker is ever and always to get high (drunk). The intention is always to alter his mental state.
This is why the proper comparison is not pot smoking and “drinking,” but pot smoking and drunkenness. It is why legal marijuana doesn’t correspond to legal alcohol as much as it does to legal cocaine, another drug that takes you from sober to stewed with one dose.
And it’s why there’s no such thing in the real world as “casual” marijuana use. Millions of “drinkers” can honestly say that they have no chemical dependency issue, but not one regular pot user can. By definition, pot smokers’ goal is to get “drunk.”
So one drink doesn’t equal one joint — one bottle does. But to further cement the point, imagine alcohol really was pot’s equivalent, that even just one six-ounce drink got you plastered. Would we find any degree of alcohol consumption tolerable? Would Prohibition ever have ended?
Note here what I am not doing. I’m not making any claims about whether pot is more unhealthful than tobacco; I’m not denying that a pothead is a safer driver than a drunkard, or opining on whether or not marijuana use increases the incidence of psychosis or lowers I.Q. when used by the young (as another study indicated). I’m not weighing in right now on whether or not the drug should be legal. I’m simply pointing out that the main arguments used to legitimize pot are pap.
And “legitimize” is the operative word. When people editorialized against Prohibition, their argument perhaps was of the nature G.K. Chesterton presented in a 1935 radio talk when he opined, “The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” But I don’t know of anyone who claimed that drunkenness should be considered a desired state or even acceptable. Yet this notion runs through pro-pot commentary: the idea that potheads’ form of drunkenness is okay. And it has to run through it — because, again, to advocate pot use is to advocate “drunkenness.”
So while we may argue about whether pot is a gateway drug, advocacy of it is certainly a gateway idea. Inherent in it is the notion that altering your mind is okay, getting high is fine. Of course, some potheads might tell us that their form of drunkenness is different, that the acceptance of it won’t lead to the acceptance of getting high via other means. Hey, all these things occur in a bubble, there is no slippery slope, and precedents don’t precede. (And where have we heard that before?)
Wherever you stand on pot legalization, about legitimization there should be no debate. A nation that does not maintain stringent social prohibitions (in the least) against chemical dependency will not likely remain strong and vibrant. Thus, we always must be able to unabashedly say: if you’re using marijuana habitually, face it, you’re a pothead. You’re self-medicating. You’re chemically dependent. You have a problem. And drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.
This is true whether it’s by bottle or bong.
What really happened in the Ukrainian crisis?
It is freezing cold in Kiev, legendary city of golden domes on the banks of Dnieper River – cradle of ancient Russian civilisation and the most charming of East European capitals. It is a comfortable and rather prosperous place, with hundreds of small and cosy restaurants, neat streets, sundry parks and that magnificent river. The girls are pretty and the men are sturdy. Kiev is more relaxed than Moscow, and easier on the wallet. Though statistics say the Ukraine is broke and its people should be as poor as Africans, in reality they aren’t doing too badly, thanks to their fiscal imprudence. The government borrowed and spent freely, heavily subsidised housing and heating, and they brazenly avoided devaluation of the national currency and the austerity program prescribed by the IMF. This living on credit can go only so far: the Ukraine was doomed to default on its debts next month or sooner, and this is one of the reasons for the present commotion.
A tug-of-war between the East and the West for the future of Ukraine lasted over a month, and has ended for all practical purposes in a resounding victory for Vladimir Putin, adding to his previous successes in Syria and Iran. The trouble began when the administration of President Yanukovich went looking for credits to reschedule its loans and avoid default. There were no offers. They turned to the EC for help; the EC, chiefly Poland and Germany, seeing that the Ukrainian administration was desperate, prepared an association agreement of unusual severity.
The EC is quite hard on its new East European members, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria et al.: these countries had their industry and agriculture decimated, their young people working menial jobs in Western Europe, their population drop exceeded that of the WWII.
But the association agreement offered to the Ukraine was even worse. It would turn the Ukraine into an impoverished colony of the EC without giving it even the dubious advantages of membership (such as freedom of work and travel in the EC). In desperation, Yanukovich agreed to sign on the dotted line, in vain hopes of getting a large enough loan to avoid collapse. But the EC has no money to spare – it has to provide for Greece, Italy, Spain. Now Russia entered the picture. At the time, relations of the Ukraine and Russia were far from good. Russians had become snotty with their oil money, the Ukrainians blamed their troubles on Russians, but Russia was still the biggest market for Ukrainian products.
For Russia, the EC agreement meant trouble: currently the Ukraine sells its output in Russia with very little customs protection; the borders are porous; people move freely across the border, without even a passport. If the EC association agreement were signed, the EC products would flood Russia through the Ukrainian window of opportunity. So Putin spelled out the rules to Yanukovich: if you sign with the EC, Russian tariffs will rise. This would put some 400,000 Ukrainians out of work right away. Yanukovich balked and refused to sign the EC agreement at the last minute. (I predicted this in my report from Kiev full three weeks before it happened, when nobody believed it – a source of pride).
The EC, and the US standing behind it, were quite upset. Besides the loss of potential economic profit, they had another important reason: they wanted to keep Russia farther away from Europe, and they wanted to keep Russia weak. Russia is not the Soviet Union, but some of the Soviet disobedience to Western imperial designs still lingers in Moscow: be it in Syria, Egypt, Vietnam, Cuba, Angola, Venezuela or Zimbabwe, the Empire can’t have its way while the Russian bear is relatively strong. Russia without the Ukraine can’t be really powerful: it would be like the US with its Mid-western and Pacific states chopped away. The West does not want the Ukraine to prosper, or to become a stable and strong state either, so it cannot join Russia and make it stronger. A weak, poor and destabilised Ukraine in semi-colonial dependence to the West with some NATO bases is the best future for the country, as perceived by Washington or Brussels.
Angered by this last-moment-escape of Yanukovich, the West activated its supporters. For over a month, Kiev has been besieged by huge crowds bussed from all over the Ukraine, bearing a local strain of the Arab Spring in the far north. Less violent than Tahrir, their Maidan Square became a symbol of struggle for the European strategic future of the country. The Ukraine was turned into the latest battle ground between the US-led alliance and a rising Russia. Would it be a revanche for Obama’s Syria debacle, or another heavy strike at fading American hegemony?
The simple division into “pro-East” and “pro-West” has been complicated by the heterogeneity of the Ukraine. The loosely knit country of differing regions is quite similar in its makeup to the Yugoslavia of old. It is another post-Versailles hotchpotch of a country made up after the First World War of bits and pieces, and made independent after the Soviet collapse in 1991. Some parts of this “Ukraine” were incorporated by Russia 500 years ago, the Ukraine proper (a much smaller parcel of land, bearing this name) joined Russia 350 years ago, whilst the Western Ukraine (called the “Eastern Regions”) was acquired by Stalin in 1939, and the Crimea was incorporated in the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by Khrushchev in 1954.
The Ukraine is as Russian as the South-of-France is French and as Texas and California are American. Yes, some hundreds years ago, Provence was independent from Paris, – it had its own language and art; while Nice and Savoy became French rather recently. Yes, California and Texas joined the Union rather late too. Still, we understand that they are – by now – parts of those larger countries, ifs and buts notwithstanding. But if they were forced to secede, they would probably evolve a new historic narrative stressing the French ill treatment of the South in the Cathar Crusade, or dispossession of Spanish and Russian residents of California.
Accordingly, since the Ukraine’s independence, the authorities have been busy nation-building, enforcing a single official language and creating a new national myth for its 45 million inhabitants. The crowds milling about the Maidan were predominantly (though not exclusively) arrivals from Galicia, a mountainous county bordering with Poland and Hungary, 500 km (300 miles) away from Kiev, and natives of the capital refer to the Maidan gathering as a “Galician occupation”.
Like the fiery Bretons, the Galicians are fierce nationalists, bearers of a true Ukrainian spirit (whatever that means). Under Polish and Austrian rule for centuries, whilst the Jews were economically powerful, they are a strongly anti-Jewish and anti-Polish lot, and their modern identity centred around their support for Hitler during the WWII, accompanied by the ethnic cleansing of their Polish and Jewish neighbours. After the WWII, the remainder of pro-Hitler Galician SS fighters were adopted by US Intelligence, re-armed and turned into a guerrilla force against the Soviets. They added an anti-Russian line to their two ancient hatreds and kept fighting the “forest war” until 1956, and these ties between the Cold Warriors have survived the thaw.
After 1991, when the independent Ukraine was created, in the void of state-building traditions, the Galicians were lauded as ‘true Ukrainians’, as they were the only Ukrainians who ever wanted independence. Their language was used as the basis of a new national state language, their traditions became enshrined on the state level. Memorials of Galician Nazi collaborators and mass murderers Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych peppered the land, often provoking the indignation of other Ukrainians. The Galicians played an important part in the 2004 Orange Revolution as well, when the results of presidential elections were declared void and the pro-Western candidate Mr Yuschenko got the upper hand in the re-run.
However, in 2004, many Kievans also supported Yuschenko, hoping for the Western alliance and a bright new future. Now, in 2013, the city’s support for the Maidan was quite low, and the people of Kiev complained loudly about the mess created by the invading throngs: felled trees, burned benches, despoiled buildings and a lot of biological waste. Still, Kiev is home to many NGOs; city intellectuals receive generous help from the US and EC. The old comprador spirit is always strongest in the capitals.
For the East and Southeast of the Ukraine, the populous and heavily industrialised regions, the proposal of association with the EC is a no-go, with no ifs, ands or buts. They produce coal, steel, machinery, cars, missiles, tanks and aircraft. Western imports would erase Ukrainian industry right off the map, as the EC officials freely admit. Even the Poles, hardly a paragon of industrial development, had the audacity to say to the Ukraine: we’ll do the technical stuff, you’d better invest in agriculture. This is easier to say than to do: the EC has a lot of regulations that make Ukrainian products unfit for sale and consumption in Europe. Ukrainian experts estimated their expected losses for entering into association with the EC at anything from 20 to 150 billion euros.
For Galicians, the association would work fine. Their speaker at the Maidan called on the youth to ‘go where you can get money’ and do not give a damn for industry. They make their income in two ways: providing bed-and breakfast rooms for Western tourists and working in Poland and Germany as maids and menials. They hoped they would get visa-free access to Europe and make a decent income for themselves. Meanwhile, nobody offered them a visa-waiver arrangement. The Brits mull over leaving the EC, because of the Poles who flooded their country; the Ukrainians would be too much for London. Only the Americans, always generous at somebody’s else expense, demanded the EC drop its visa requirement for them.
While the Maidan was boiling, the West sent its emissaries, ministers and members of parliament to cheer the Maidan crowd, to call for President Yanukovich to resign and for a revolution to install pro-Western rule. Senator McCain went there and made a few firebrand speeches. The EC declared Yanukovich “illegitimate” because so many of his citizens demonstrated against him. But when millions of French citizens demonstrated against their president, when Occupy Wall Street was violently dispersed, nobody thought the government of France or the US president had lost legitimacy…
Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State, shared her biscuits with the demonstrators, and demanded from the oligarchs support for the “European cause” or their businesses would suffer. The Ukrainian oligarchs are very wealthy, and they prefer the Ukraine as it is, sitting on the fence between the East and the West. They are afraid that the Russian companies will strip their assets should the Ukraine join the Customs Union, and they know that they are not competitive enough to compete with the EC. Pushed now by Nuland, they were close to falling on the EC side.
Yanukovich was in big trouble. The default was rapidly approaching. He annoyed the pro-Western populace, and he irritated his own supporters, the people of the East and Southeast. The Ukraine had a real chance of collapsing into anarchy. A far-right nationalist party, Svoboda (Liberty), probably the nearest thing to the Nazi party to arise in Europe since 1945, made a bid for power. The EC politicians accused Russia of pressurising the Ukraine; Russian missiles suddenly emerged in the western-most tip of Russia, a few minutes flight from Berlin. The Russian armed forces discussed the US strategy of a “disarming first strike”. The tension was very high.
Edward Lucas, the Economist’s international editor and author of The New Cold War, is a hawk of the Churchill and Reagan variety. For him, Russia is an enemy, whether ruled by Tsar, by Stalin or by Putin. He wrote: “It is no exaggeration to say that the [Ukraine] determines the long-term future of the entire former Soviet Union. If Ukraine adopts a Euro-Atlantic orientation, then the Putin regime and its satrapies are finished… But if Ukraine falls into Russia’s grip, then the outlook is bleak and dangerous… Europe’s own security will also be endangered. NATO is already struggling to protect the Baltic states and Poland from the integrated and increasingly impressive military forces of Russia and Belarus. Add Ukraine to that alliance, and a headache turns into a nightmare.”
In this cliff-hanging situation, Putin made his pre-emptive strike. At a meeting in the Kremlin, he agreed to buy fifteen billion euros worth of Ukrainian Eurobonds and cut the natural gas price by a third. This meant there would be no default; no massive unemployment; no happy hunting ground for the neo-Nazi thugs of Svoboda; no cheap and plentiful Ukrainian prostitutes and menials for the Germans and Poles; and Ukrainian homes will be warm this Christmas. Better yet, the presidents agreed to reforge their industrial cooperation. When Russia and Ukraine formed a single country, they built spaceships; apart, they can hardly launch a naval ship. Though unification isn’t on the map yet, it would make sense for both partners. This artificially divided country can be united, and it would do a lot of good for both of their populaces, and for all people seeking freedom from US hegemony.
There are a lot of difficulties ahead: Putin and Yanukovich are not friends, Ukrainian leaders are prone to renege, the US and the EC have a lot of resources. But meanwhile, it is a victory to celebrate this Christmas tide. Such victories keep Iran safe from US bombardment, inspire the Japanese to demand removal of Okinawa base, encourage those seeking closure of Guantanamo jail, cheer up Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, frighten the NSA and CIA and allow French Catholics to march against Hollande’s child-trade laws.
What is the secret of Putin’s success? Edward Lucas said, in an interview to the pro-Western Ekho Moskvy radio: “Putin had a great year – Snowden, Syria, Ukraine. He checkmated Europe. He is a great player: he notices our weaknesses and turns them into his victories. He is good in diplomatic bluff, and in the game of Divide and Rule. He makes the Europeans think that the US is weak, and he convinced the US that Europeans are useless”.
I would offer an alternative explanation. The winds and hidden currents of history respond to those who feel their way. Putin is no less likely a roguish leader of global resistance than Princess Leia or Captain Solo were in Star Wars. Just the time for such a man is ripe.
Unlike Solo, he is not an adventurer. He is a prudent man. He does not try his luck, he waits, even procrastinates. He did not try to change regime in Tbilisi in 2008, when his troops were already on the outskirts of the city. He did not try his luck in Kiev, either. He has spent many hours in many meetings with Yanukovich whom he supposedly personally dislikes.
Like Captain Solo, Putin is a man who is ready to pay his way, full price, and such politicians are rare. “Do you know what is the proudest word you will ever hear from an Englishman’s mouth?”, asked a James Joyce character, and answered: “His proudest boast is I paid my way.” Those were Englishmen of another era, long before the likes of Blair, et al.
While McCain and Nuland, Merkel and Bildt speak of the European choice for the Ukraine, none of them is ready to pay for it. Only Russia is ready to pay her way, in the Joycean sense, whether in cash, as now, or in blood, as in WWII.
Putin is also a magnanimous man. He celebrated his Ukrainian victory and forthcoming Christmas by forgiving his personal and political enemies and setting them free: the Pussy Riot punks, Khodorkovsky the murderous oligarch, rioters… And his last press conference he carried out in Captain Solo self-deprecating mode, and this, for a man in his position, is a very good sign.
Ah, what a better world the Free Traders built. With the rush to the bottom, the commemoration of the NAFTA 20th anniversary is a most hollow celebration. Those who have a memory of an actual economic prosperity, lament that H. Ross Perot’s warnings were ignored. Business literates urged the public to elect Perot as President. Establishment corporatist interests and corruptacrat officials joined forces to write a blueprint for economic consolidation and political futility. The fruits of this endeavor only satisfy the appetites of the select cabal of manipulation.
Heed well the undeniable results.
On The Issues, provides valuable resources. In their section, Ross Perot on Free Trade, the perceptive Texan foretold the future in his NAFTA summary.
“NAFTA is really less about trade than it is about investment. Its principal goal is to protect US companies and investors operating in Mexico. The text of the agreement is contained in two volumes covering more than 1,100 pages. The text is mind-numbingly dull. Large portions of it are written in the type of obscure legal terms found on the back of an insurance policy. Buried in the fine print are provisions that will give away American jobs and radically reduce the sovereignty of the US.
[When the Mexican media announced NAFTA, they] did not identify the tiny handful of people in Mexico who would gain the most from this trade pact. They are the 36 businessmen who own Mexico’s 39 largest conglomerates. Collectively, their companies control 54% of Mexico’s Gross National Product. These companies dominate virtually every sector of the Mexican economy of any consequence. When the Mexican government sold off big chunks of Mexico’s state-run companies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, this tiny handful of people quickly acquired control.”
Watch the video Ross Perot in 1992 on NAFTA and the “Giant Sucking Sound”, and appreciate the difference in prosperity if these destructive trade agreements, that solely benefit the globalist, never came about.
The Business Insider in Looks Like Ross Perot Was Right About The “Giant Sucking Sound”, acknowledges the incontestable.
“Both of Perot’s opponents (George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton) argued that NAFTA would create jobs in the U.S. because of business expansion.
However, the goods balance of trade for the U.S. with Mexico has been negative and steadily growing over the years. In 2010 it amounted to $61.6 billion, which was 9.5% of the total goods trade deficit last year.
So Perot has been vindicated in his opinion; expanded free trade has not been accompanied by an increase in jobs in the U.S. relative to the vast numbers of jobs created in the rest of the world as NAFTA became just a stepping stone on the pathway to global commerce.”
From a different political persuasion, Public Citizen comes to much of the same conclusion in their research paper, NAFTA at 20: One Million Lost U.S. Jobs, Higher Income Inequality, Doubled Agriculture Trade Deficit With Mexico and Canada, Displacement and Instability in Mexico, and Corporate Attacks on Environmental Laws.
“Given NAFTA’s devastating outcomes, few of the corporations or think tanks that sold it as a boon for all of us in the 1990s like to talk about it, but the reality is that their promises failed, the opposite occurred and millions of people were severely harmed.”
Proponents of NAFTA often claimed that the Mexican economy would make great strides. In the video, 20 Years on, Mexico is NAFTA’s Biggest Lie, the facts demonstrate a very different record. The Campaign for the Future adds to this conclusion in NAFTA: 20 Years of Spin for America’s Failed Globalization Model.
“NAFTA’s promoters also claimed that NAFTA would be a huge benefit to Mexico, stemming illegal immigration to the U.S., drug trafficking and other corruption, and other ills. (How is that working out?) But even with Mexico’s $1 trillion NAFTA surplus with the U.S., Mexico still suffers a chronic global trade deficit as China and other countries use it as a back door to the U.S. Last year Mexico paid $60 billion for imports of mostly manufactured goods from China while earning only $6 billion from exports of mostly mineral and agricultural commodities to China.”
Folks, this globalization model flops for the most simple of all reasons. Allowing the world economy to reward the neo-feudal system produces only societies that control their populations as serfs. Economists and business journalists that ignore the collapse of real income purchasing power by the vast majority, practice their trade for the conglomerate captains of commerce.
The reason that Free Trade agreement swindles, detested by the suffering public, is such a dramatic failure is that twenty years of diminished wealth hits everyone’s pocketbooks. No longer can the dreadful results from the hidden fine print of treaty documents stay secret from the impoverished middle and underclass.
People are now aware that the former ”giant sucking sound“ has turned into a universal welfare dependency economy of lower expectations. As the global financial system descends into bankruptcy and default, the United States economy will fall even faster than that of poorer nations.
NAFTA is a prime contributor to the dramatic trade deficits that suffocates entrepreneurial ventures that could expand productive growth and achieve a higher standard of living. A Corporatocracy economic system, in union with authoritarian governmental regimes, seeks to rule a world of docile plantation peons.
What is next? CAFTA: Wall Street vs Main Street, proposed back in 2004, and now we have TPP and TTIP on the agenda. The last two decades did not satisfy the greed of the plutocrats. Only total control of transnational business traffic will complete the international trade agreement deals.Absorbing the whole of transaction cash flow into a system of strictly regulated commerce is the economic end game of the globalists. When will people rebel against this bankster’s usury model of business? The darling companies that are approved NAFTA ventures are beholden to the worldwide elites of economic fascism. Perot was right on mark. Oppose future free trade treaties.
They never taught this in history class…
In October 1944, at age eighteen, I was drafted into the U.S. army. Largely because of the “Battle of the Bulge,” my training was cut short, my furlough was halved, and I was sent overseas immediately. Upon arrival in Le Havre, France, we were quickly loaded into box cars and shipped to the front. When we got there, I was suffering increasingly severe symptoms of mononucleosis, and was sent to a hospital in Belgium. Since mononucleosis was then known as the “kissing disease,” I mailed a letter of thanks to my girlfriend.
By the time I left the hospital, the outfit I had trained with in Spartanburg, South Carolina, was deep inside Germany, so, despite my protests, I was placed in a “repo depot” (replacement depot). I lost interest in the units to which I was assigned, and don’t recall all of them: non-combat units were ridiculed at that time. My separation qualification record states I was mostly with Company C, 14th Infantry Regiment, during my seventeen-month stay in Germany, but I remember being transferred to other outfits also.
In late March or early April 1945, I was sent to guard a POW camp near Andernach along the Rhine. I had four years of high school German, so I was able to talk to the prisoners, although this was forbidden. Gradually, however, I was used as an interpreter and asked to ferret out members of the S.S. (I found none.)
In Andernach about 50,000 prisoners of all ages were held in an open field surrounded by barbed wire. The women were kept in a separate enclosure that I did not see until later. The men I guarded had no shelter and no blankets. Many had no coats. They slept in the mud, wet and cold, with inadequate slit trenches for excrement. It was a cold, wet spring, and their misery from exposure alone was evident.
Even more shocking was to see the prisoners throwing grass and weeds into a tin can containing a thin soup. They told me they did this to help ease their hunger pains. Quickly they grew emaciated. Dysentery raged, and soon they were sleeping in their own excrement, too weak and crowded to reach the slit trenches. Many were begging for food, sickening and dying before our eyes. We had ample food and supplies, but did nothing to help them, including no medical assistance.
Outraged, I protested to my officers and was met with hostility or bland indifference. When pressed, they explained they were under strict orders from “higher up.” No officer would dare do this to 50,000 men if he felt that it was “out of line,” leaving him open to charges. Realizing my protests were useless, I asked a friend working in the kitchen if he could slip me some extra food for the prisoners. He too said they were under strict orders to severely ration the prisoners’ food, and that these orders came from “higher up.” But he said they had more food than they knew what to do with, and would sneak me some.
When I threw this food over the barbed wire to the prisoners, I was caught and threatened with imprisonment. I repeated the “offense,” and one officer angrily threatened to shoot me. I assumed this was a bluff until I encountered a captain on a hill above the Rhine shooting down at a group of German civilian women with his .45 caliber pistol. When I asked, “Why?,” he mumbled, “Target practice,” and fired until his pistol was empty. I saw the women running for cover, but, at that distance, couldn’t tell if any had been hit.
This is when I realized I was dealing with cold-blooded killers filled with moralistic hatred. They considered the Germans subhuman and worthy of extermination; another expression of the downward spiral of racism. Articles in the G.I. newspaper, Stars and Stripes, played up the German concentration camps, complete with photos of emaciated bodies. This amplified our self-righteous cruelty, and made it easier to imitate behavior we were supposed to oppose. Also, I think, soldiers not exposed to combat were trying to prove how tough they were by taking it out on the prisoners and civilians.
These prisoners, I found out, were mostly farmers and workingmen, as simple and ignorant as many of our own troops. As time went on, more of them lapsed into a zombie-like state of listlessness, while others tried to escape in a demented or suicidal fashion, running through open fields in broad daylight towards the Rhine to quench their thirst. They were mowed down.
Some prisoners were as eager for cigarettes as for food, saying they took the edge off their hunger. Accordingly, enterprising G.I. “Yankee traders” were acquiring hordes of watches and rings in exchange for handfuls of cigarettes or less. When I began throwing cartons of cigarettes to the prisoners to ruin this trade, I was threatened by rank-and-file G.I.s too.
The only bright spot in this gloomy picture came one night when. I was put on the “graveyard shift,” from two to four a.m. Actually, there was a graveyard on the uphill side of this enclosure, not many yards away. My superiors had forgotten to give me a flashlight and I hadn’t bothered to ask for one, disgusted as I was with the whole situation by that time. It was a fairly bright night and I soon became aware of a prisoner crawling under the wires towards the graveyard. We were supposed to shoot escapees on sight, so I started to get up from the ground to warn him to get back. Suddenly I noticed another prisoner crawling from the graveyard back to the enclosure. They were risking their lives to get to the graveyard for something. I had to investigate.
When I entered the gloom of this shrubby, tree-shaded cemetery, I felt completely vulnerable, but somehow curiosity kept me moving. Despite my caution, I tripped over the legs of someone in a prone position. Whipping my rifle around while stumbling and trying to regain composure of mind and body, I soon was relieved I hadn’t reflexively fired. The figure sat up. Gradually, I could see the beautiful but terror-stricken face of a woman with a picnic basket nearby. German civilians were not allowed to feed, nor even come near the prisoners, so I quickly assured her I approved of what she was doing, not to be afraid, and that I would leave the graveyard to get out of the way.
I did so immediately and sat down, leaning against a tree at the edge of the cemetery to be inconspicuous and not frighten the prisoners. I imagined then, and still do now, what it would be like to meet a beautiful woman with a picnic basket under those conditions as a prisoner. I have never forgotten her face.
Eventually, more prisoners crawled back to the enclosure. I saw they were dragging food to their comrades, and could only admire their courage and devotion.
On May 8, V.E. Day , I decided to celebrate with some prisoners I was guarding who were baking bread the other prisoners occasionally received. This group had all the bread they could eat, and shared the jovial mood generated by the end of the war. We all thought we were going home soon, a pathetic hope on their part. We were in what was to become the French zone [of occupation], where I soon would witness the brutality of the French soldiers when we transferred our prisoners to them for their slave labor camps.
On this day, however, we were happy.
As a gesture of friendliness, I emptied my rifle and stood it in the corner, even allowing them to play with it at their request. This thoroughly “broke the ice,” and soon we were singing songs we taught each other, or that I had learned in high school German class (“Du, du, liegst mir im Herzen”). Out of gratitude, they baked me a special small loaf of sweet bread, the only possible present they had left to offer. I stuffed it in my “Eisenhower jacket,” and snuck it back to my barracks, eating it when I had privacy. I have never tasted more delicious bread, nor felt a deeper sense of communion while eating it. I believe a cosmic sense of Christ (the Oneness of all Being) revealed its normally hidden presence to me on that occasion, influencing my later decision to major in philosophy and religion.
Shortly afterwards, some of our weak and sickly prisoners were marched off by French soldiers to their camp. We were riding on a truck behind this column. Temporarily, it slowed down and dropped back, perhaps because the driver was as shocked as I was. Whenever a German prisoner staggered or dropped back, he was hit on the head with a club and killed. The bodies were rolled to the side of the road to be picked up by another truck. For many, this quick death might have been preferable to slow starvation in our “killing fields.”
When I finally saw the German women held in a separate enclosure, I asked why we were holding them prisoner. I was told they were “camp followers,” selected as breeding stock for the S.S. to create a super-race. I spoke to some, and must say I never met a more spirited or attractive group of women. I certainly didn’t think they deserved imprisonment.
More and more I was used as an interpreter, and was able to prevent some particularly unfortunate arrests. One somewhat amusing incident involved an old farmer who was being dragged away by several M.P.s. I was told he had a “fancy Nazi medal,” which they showed me. Fortunately, I had a chart identifying such medals. He’d been awarded it for having five children! Perhaps his wife was somewhat relieved to get him “off her back,” but I didn’t think one of our death camps was a fair punishment for his contribution to Germany. The M.P.s agreed and released him to continue his “dirty work.”
Famine began to spread among the German civilians also. It was a common sight to see German women up to their elbows in our garbage cans looking for something edible — that is, if they weren’t chased away.
When I interviewed mayors of small towns and villages, I was told that their supply of food had been taken away by “displaced persons” (foreigners who had worked in Germany), who packed the food on trucks and drove away. When I reported this, the response was a shrug. I never saw any Red Cross at the camp or helping civilians, although their coffee and doughnut stands were available everywhere else for us. In the meantime, the Germans had to rely on the sharing of hidden stores until the next harvest.
Hunger made German women more “available,” but despite this, rape was prevalent and often accompanied by additional violence. In particular I remember an eighteen-year old woman who had the side of her faced smashed with a rifle butt, and was then raped by two G.I.s. Even the French complained that the rapes, looting and drunken destructiveness on the part of our troops was excessive. In Le Havre, we’d been given booklets warning us that the German soldiers had maintained a high standard of behavior with French civilians who were peaceful, and that we should do the same. In this we failed miserably.
“So what?” some would say. “The enemy’s atrocities were worse than ours.” It is true that I experienced only the end of the war, when we were already the victors. The German opportunity for atrocities had faded, while ours was at hand. But two wrongs don’t make a right. Rather than copying our enemy’s crimes, we should aim once and for all to break the cycle of hatred and vengeance that has plagued and distorted human history. This is why I am speaking out now, 45 years after the crime. We can never prevent individual war crimes, but we can, if enough of us speak out, influence government policy. We can reject government propaganda that depicts our enemies as subhuman and encourages the kind of outrages I witnessed. We can protest the bombing of civilian targets, which still goes on today. And we can refuse ever to condone our government’s murder of unarmed and defeated prisoners of war.
I realize it’s difficult for the average citizen to admit witnessing a crime of this magnitude, especially if implicated himself. Even G.I.s sympathetic to the victims were afraid to complain and get into trouble, they told me. And the danger has not ceased. Since I spoke out a few weeks ago, I have received threatening calls and had my mailbox smashed. But its been worth it. Writing about these atrocities has been a catharsis of feelings suppressed too long, a liberation, that perhaps will remind other witnesses that “the truth will make us free, have no fear.” We may even learn a supreme lesson from all this: only love can conquer all.
About the author
Martin Brech lives in Mahopac, New York. When he wrote this memoir essay in 1990, he was an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Brech holds a master’s degree in theology from Columbia University, and is a Unitarian-Universalist minister.
Source: Martin Brech | Truthstream Media
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has published the list of senators who so far have agreed to co-sponsor the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, aka the Wag the Dog Act of 2014. You’ll recall that the initial list, which was introduced by its principal engineers, Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, Dec 19, included 26 co-sponsors equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, to which newly elected New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker quickly added his name. Since then, 20 other senators — all Republicans, unsurprisingly — have added their names, for a grand total of 47 — still short of a majority, let alone one that could survive an Obama veto that the White House has already committed the president to cast if the bill is passed in its present form.
According to the AIPAC list, which is reproduced below, 53 senators, including 36 Democrats and the two independents who normally vote with the Democratic caucus, have not agreed to co-sponsor the bill, or, in the dreaded moniker used by AIPAC to score lawmakers’ voting records (presumably for the benefit of the “pro-Israel” PACs that decide how to dole out campaign cash), are labeled “DNC.” They will undoubtedly be the top targets for AIPAC’s legendary powers of persuasion when the Senate reconvenes early next week.
What is remarkable about this list, however, is that very few of the 47 co-sponsors have chosen to publicize their support for the bill to their constituents through local media or other means. A handful of the original co-sponsors put out press releases, as did Rob Portman, a late joiner. Lamar Alexander, another late-comer, courageously “tweeted” his backing for the bill. “If this were a bill senators were excited about; that is, something they thought they’d earn a lot of credit for — and not draw a lot of heat — from their voters, you’d think all of the co-sponsors would be proudly touting their support,” one veteran Hill observer told me. “Clearly, even for the Republican [co-sponsors], that doesn’t seem to be the case with this bill.”
In other words, the co-sponsors appear to be targeting a very narrow constituency — AIPAC, which is now touting their names — rather than their voters back home, most of whom probably have no idea of what their senator’s position is or what may be at stake. Which raises an interesting question: If the folks back home knew that their senator was supporting a bill that would make another war in the Middle East more, rather than less likely, would there be an outcry as there was after Obama (and AIPAC) asked Congress to approve military action against Syria? Would some senators feel compelled to reassess their support?
One other point: others — most recently and convincingly, Colin Kahl and Paul Pillar — have argued just how counter-productive and potentially dangerous this bill is, and we have republished their arguments for the benefit of LobeLog readers in recent days. But it should be stressed that the 47 co-sponsors of this bill, most notably the 14 Democrats who have signed on to it, have effectively decided that Bibi Netanyahu and AIPAC are more credible sources about Iran and what it is likely to do in the P5+1 negotiations if this sanctions bill becomes law than either the U.S. diplomats who are directly involved in the talks or the U.S. intelligence community. Which is a rather startling fact, especially given, for example,Bibi’s predictive record on Iraq in the run-up to the U.S. invasion and his quarrels with his own intelligence community with respect to Iran.
U.S. officials beginning at the top with Obama, then running through John Kerry and Wendy Sherman have stated repeatedly that the passage of a new sanctions bill — even one that would take effect prospectively — would not only violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the Nov. 24 agreement; it would also call into serious question Washington’s good faith; quite possibly isolate the U.S. within the P5+1 with disastrous results for the existing sanctions regime; and sufficiently strengthen hardliners in Tehran to force its government to toughen its demands at the negotiating table, if not abandon the diplomatic path altogether (and with it the chances of a peaceful diplomatic settlement). As the most recent assessment by the intelligence community, for which these same 47 senators have approved annual budgets ranging as high as 70 billion dollars in recent years, concluded: “[N]ew sanctions would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.”
Of course, that’s precisely why Netanyahu and AIPAC are pushing the new sanctions package.
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013
Below is a list of senators who have cosponsored or indicated their intention to cosponsor The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013.
47 Members Who Cosponsored
|First Name||Last Name||State||Party||Status|
53 Members Who Did Not Cosponsor
|First Name||Last Name||State||Party||Status|
Jim Lobe is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy, particularly the neoconservative influence in the Bush administration. The Washington Bureau Chief of the international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS), Lobe has written for various outlets and was featured in BBC and ABC television documentaries about motivations for the US invasion of Iraq. Read his complete biography.
Source: Jim Lobe
In his book “Truth and Transformation” Indian Christian Vishal Mangalwadi tells of the yearly journey to the Ganges River by thousands of low class Hindus. Every year the priests rob them of their money and treat them despitefully. In spite of the harsh treatment they continue to return each year. They return because they believe the Ganges River has healing qualities. Belief, even irrational belief, is powerful and difficult to correct
Freedom for the masses was a product of particular Christianity. It was not created by Biblically based expository preaching. Nothing wrong with expository preaching but it will not maintain or retrieve freedom. It cannot be produced through evangelism or through electing Christian men and women to public office. It is not a product of obedience to the Constitution or of the election of political parties.
World history overflows with exploitation of the masses by individuals with superior power. Karl Marx wrote famously and extensively about the perennial class struggle in the Communist Manifesto. He was right about the struggle but hopelessly wrong about the solution.
I am not a theologian but I have been writing about the condition of Christianity for over a decade. It is not only a tragedy for Christians but an affront to the triune God of All Creation that His world has become a humanistic cesspool.
Apathy is rampant in the United States of America. Many of our citizens feel helpless. They do not know how to fight the evil juggernaut. Some believe they should enjoy themselves today because tomorrow they may die; they use our fleeting freedom selfishly. Others like the political game and stubbornly work to get promising candidates elected. Some buy guns and accumulate food in order to survive the coming chaos. A few wealthy citizens spend millions of dollars constructing underground homes that could sustain them in luxury for long periods. Millions of Evangelical Christians actually support the destruction of our nation with hope that Jesus will come again soon. Like the Hindus belief in the Ganges, with feckless abandon they follow a false doctrine.
We are living in an era built on a foundation of scurrilous mendacity. While our church leaders work to convert pagans into organizations that are both heretical and useless, our news is both censored and distorted, our entertainment supports evil practices, and our elected representatives conduct their affairs on false premises with devious intent. All of this has come about because we have allowed sinful human beings to accumulate unaccountable power.
I have been a Christian for over fifty years. When God rescued me I hoped that our society would be changed by the Charismatic revival I was born into. Early on, I thought that the love Christians showed for each other might attract secular society and that our institutions would be transformed by the Love of God. I expected good fruit. This hope was shattered when Christians claimed to love God but acted no different than their secular neighbors. Leadership was emphasized and competition for advancement was fierce. Feelings were hurt, people left and churches split. God’s shepherds seemed to care more for the size of their church and the number of their followers than for the redeeming power of God’s love. Sermons were designed to attract members by promising “growth” and “blessing”. Like the story that Nero fiddled while Rome was burning, Christian Churches entertained their people with healing, tongues, and emotional music while America was being destroyed.
Much of this tragic lethargy was a result of a widespread conviction that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. The Biblical warning that no one can know the time was ignored and many leaders agreed He was “coming soon” and some actually predicted exact dates. This disobedient foolishness marred the reputation of the Church and replaced the confrontation that might have turned the secular tide. The excitement helped grow some churches but it created slovenly Christians and heretical churches.
Now, more than a decade into the Twenty First Century, Our Savior has tarried, our nation is corrupt, and we are on the verge of tyranny. The voice of concern can be heard but Christians have strayed so far from the Truth that remedies evade them.
A secular war is being waged against Christianity and the secular army is winning. Make no mistake it is a religious war and the time has come for Christians to wake up and begin to use the weapons God has provided.
Christians are called to live under a different government. We have a King, his name is Jesus. He was crowned King by His Father and given the responsibility to reign over the world. Christians will begin to fight in the battle for control of the world when they bow before their King and obey his Commandments. Let me repeat: Freedom will not be produced by Biblically based expository preaching nor will it come through evangelism or through electing Christian men and women to public office. It is not a product of obedience to the Constitution or of the election of particular political parties! Freedom is a product of the Kingship of Jesus and obedience to His Commandments.
King Jesus contends with the deification of humanity. Human rule is despotic because all human beings are sinners. They are incapable of bringing consistent righteousness to leadership. Leaders who fail to work under the legal standards of the Bible will eventually produce oppressive government. Freedom comes from obedience to God’s Law by both rulers and ruled.
Kingless Christianity produces no challenge to rampant humanism. When humanists enthrone man as king, Dispensational Christians are theologically without remedy and man’s dominion continues to grow. When man’s dominion is challenged by King Jesus and His Law Word, order, peace, prosperity, and blessing present a challenge to the disorder, war, poverty, and fear of secular humanistic tyranny.
The hour is late and the task is difficult. American churches are not used to seeing themselves as servants to King Jesus and proponents of God’s Law. Church entertainment must be replaced by preaching on obedience and sacrifice. Christians must begin to serve their King as soldiers in the war against evil.
Guns are useful in protecting ones family but they are useless in the battle for dominion. The later conflict is spiritual and the model is Jesus and the blood of the Saints who have previously sacrificed their lives that the Gospel might grow and flourish.
My wife Patty and I thank God for each peaceful day. We thank Him that we are living in a nation that still enjoys the embers of Christian peace and freedom. Sunday mornings are tranquil. Traffic is light and there is a noticeable calm. The Sabbath of the God of the Bible is the source of that calm.
Americans are a generous people. They are willing to sacrifice their wealth and their time to help those less fortunate. Altruism is a result of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are still honest people in our nation. Lost wallets are still returned with money left in them – not always but often. Honesty is an ember of Christianity.
In the United States of America we have grown up in a culture that is kind and thoughtful. Often we have not realized that this gentleness is a result of the Christian religion. In spite of many useless wars Western civilization has maintained a conscience that can occasionally define evil.
Today we are watching the rapid disappearance of gentility. Torture has become acceptable in high circles of our government. Murder and theft have become regular fare on our television screen. Chivalry is long gone and many women seek to overpower men. Our policemen have become tyrannical bullies who regularly beat citizens into submission. While our armies murder millions of innocent civilians abroad, at home we murder millions of our children by abortion. Instead of respecting and caring for our elderly government panels will soon decide when they should die. Actions that were unspeakable in more refined times are now accepted and promoted. Shame has become anachronistic!
It is the duty of our churches to confront evil. Like John the Baptist, the confrontation must be specific and personal. Righteousness is not a product of physical force but of spiritual victory. That victory required the life of our Savior and the lives of millions of saints who died so the Gospel might be sustained into our time. We must be willing to make the same sacrifice.
The blessed event of the Second Coming must be left to God. We are in the midst of a war and it is time to fight. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and judges the world. He is the King and we are His subjects. King Jesus is our Commander. Christians live in a different nation with a different ruler. We live by His law and seek to bring the world under His Kingship. Our duty is to preserve the pure Christian Gospel in its best historic form.
Evangelism is not the complete Gospel of Jesus Christ nor is praise and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is life changing, society changing, and world changing. It is spiritual but it is also governmental. King Jesus rules over His creation and His people obey His commandments. Only when His rule is established will peace and prosperity return to the world.
The freedom we have enjoyed in the United States of America is a product of Christian insistence that both rulers and ruled must live and act according to the Law of God. Samuel Rutherford wrote Lex Rex (The Law is King). He was condemned to death for challenging the divine rule of kings but died before he was indicted. God’s Law is King. His Law requires our obedience. When an evil nation encodes evil law, God’s people must disobey that law.
The entire world is now in danger of coming under the humanistic rule of powerful, ambitious men. It is the duty of The Church of Jesus Christ to challenge their authority. God seeks Christian leaders who are willing to lay down their lives in the battle.
We need a new Christian church that understands the nature of the battle and is willing to commit itself to victory. A church properly ordered cannot lose for God is on our side!
“This century has seen the moral paralysis of men and nations. The crisis will not go away automatically; no historical pendulum swings men and nations back to health when they are wilfully committing suicide. The crisis deepens daily, and the popular solutions are more and more ridiculous and inane. We have bought disaster; we will have nothing unless we turn to God’s law and way.” R. J. Rushdoony, “Numbers” Pg 214
Let’s think about all those trillions of dollars that have been constantly pouring into war profiteers’ pockets ever since they invented Vietnam. All those trillions must have come from somewhere. Of course we all know that some of them came from the Federal Reserve where they print Monopoly money like crazy. And, ironically, some of them have also come from multiple humungous loans from China. Plus some of that money also found its way into the pockets of War Street at approximately the same time that “all the gold in Fort Knox” mysteriously disappeared. And a few trillion also seems to have just materialized out of thin air — as if there was some ethereal war-profiteer fairy out there happily waving her magic wand. But a lot of this destructive blood-money also came out of the pockets of us American taxpayers. Trillions of dollars. From you and me.
All too many of us hard-working Americans have been forced to gird up our loins and go without so that war profiteers can afford to live like kings, buy multiple yachts, drink Veuve Clicquot champagne and smoke Cuban cigars.
You and I have gone without jobs, schools, roads, police, fire departments, hospitals, etc. in order to pay handsomely for War Street’s right to kill babies and Live Large.
And, apparently, we are also being forced to live without the high-quality court system that we here in California had grown accustomed to. How do I know this? Because the Berkeley-Albany Bar Association just told me so!
At a recent luncheon meeting of BABA at the famed Berkeley City Club (designed by Julia Morgan herself) and over roast chicken, fruit salad and pie, a judge from the Alameda County Superior Court gave us a talk on the struggles that Alameda County is going through just to keep its court system working and its courthouse doors open these days.
“One billion dollars was lost in the budget last year,” the speaker told us. “This is the toughest time financially in the history of this court. We have never has to worry about money before — but now we worry about money all of the time. It is very difficult to juggle to keep all of our programs alive.” http://www.courthousenews.com/
“For instance, there have been 26 furlough days this year, where court employees didn’t get paid. Courthouses are closed. We used to have 72 judges and nine commissioners. Now there are 18 vacancies this year. We went from 940 employees to 720 employees. We need 104 more just to operate. There used to be seven civil court locations. Now there are only two. Four family courts have been reduced to one family court. Four probate locations have been reduced to one.” Heaven forbid that you should have to die and your ghost be forced to stand in line for hours at probate court.
“And if you get a traffic ticket anywhere in the county, you will have to drive all the way down to Fremont to contest it. People stand in line for blocks at 5 am to get their tickets handled — and may still have to come back. And the only reason Alameda County is barely keeping its head above water right now is because we have so many employees who are dedicated to bringing access to justice for all. Sacramento County, for instance, doesn’t even have a civil filing office bull pen. You just leave your unfiled summonses, pleadings and other documents in a drop-box. Some counties have over 5000 unfiled documents right now.”
And where is the money from all those unpaid salaries going? As far as I can tell, it is going into the pockets of tax-dodging corporate welfare queens and heartless and immoral war profiteers. Christmas is coming up. Would Jesus approve of all this random bloodshed and not-random greed? Can you actually imagine Him saying, “I am Jesus and I approve this message.” No way!
“Then there is the problem of criminal realignment. 30,000 prisoners have been released but next year there will be no money for their realignment — so more petty thefts will occur. This will be very interesting to see.” In other words, 30,00 prisoners will get out of jail with only bus fare and the clothes on their backs.
And also court electronic data systems have suffered. “In some smaller counties, the filing system consists of putting papers in a box. And our county no longer has the personnel to support inter-court filing of documents either.” So you have to go to one specific court if you want to file a complaint or a probate document or a traffic ticket protest or an unlawful detainer.
And speaking of unlawful detainers (that’s where people who don’t pay their rent get invited to court by their landlord), the California court system has been flooded with them. “There are so many banks with foreclosures. These are our priority cases. And 95% of them are getting settled because judges from other departments volunteer to help out and get these cases heard — because where else are people being threatend with foreclosure evictions going to go if they lose their homes?”
PS: At its next monthly luncheon meeting, BABA asked a federal judge to speak — only he talked about an excess of money in America instead of a dearth of it, and how there have been whole tornadoes and hurricanes of money, flooding down on the USA like hailstorms ever since Citizens’ United took effect.
“And there is the additional problem of having individuals with unlimited personal bank accounts now running for office,” said the judge. “When all this money flows into the election system, only wealthy people are elected.” And why shouldn’t rich people invest in buying elections? For every dollar a huge corporation or war profiteer spends on buying an election, he gets a 5000% return in pork-barrel dollars sent his way.
“Swing states are already saturated with money on the presidential-campaign level,” and so any more money being poured into those campaigns will have decreasing effectiveness. “But large sums of money have an overwhelming effect on local elections. But even though voters aren’t stupid, even when being constantly bombarded with expensive ads, fair elections are still impossible under the current system,” said the judge as I happily ate roast beef, baby spinach and cheesecake.
“We in America have a very narrow view of what constitutes corruption.” It’s not corrupt to buy an election any more — just as long as you use the new Supreme Court guidelines or have a friend at Diebold. You can’t just slip a poll-worker a fin any more. That’s corrupt. You gotta be new-school about it. http://readersupportednews.
“Chief Justice Roberts stated that, ‘The Supreme Court doesn’t make the laws. We just call balls and strikes’. That is wrong.” Especially when the current Supreme Court continuously calls out “strike!” even after a batter has obviously hit a home run. http://jpstillwater.blogspot.
PPS: “So, Jane. What’s your moral here?” The moral here is that we need to protect the integrity of our court system at any cost — even if it means that a few more war profiteers have to go without one of their yachts. And also that I love all those Berkeley-Albany Bar Association luncheons.