The California Public Employees’ Retirement System lives in the rarified air where financial magic somehow materializes to pay for their irrational exuberant pensions. When the drug high is over, the real world requires a harsh penalty for ebullient irresponsibility. The Chicago Tribune reports:
“San Bernardino, a city of 210,000 about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy protection on August 1. Since then, it has halted its bi-weekly, $1.2 million payment to Calpers, saying it wants to defer any payments to the fund until fiscal year 2013-2014. Calpers says the city is already $6.9 million in arrears since August 1.
The San Bernardino bankruptcy is fast emerging as a precedent-setting case over how creditors, especially Wall Street bondholders and insurers, are treated in a municipal bankruptcy, because never before has a city seeking bankruptcy halted payments to Calpers or threatened its historical primacy as a creditor.
Under Californian state law, the contract between Calpers and debtor cities is viewed as inviolate and has been treated as such by state courts. Unlike Calpers, other creditors have historically been forced to renegotiate or forgive debt to debtor cities.”
The concept of an inviolate obligation tied to public employee retirement payouts is asacred cow that needs purging from law and, more importantly from populace endorsement.
Notwithstanding, expressing such supportive government orthodoxy, that bastion of objective news as reported by the Sacramento Bee, writes on the pro taxation argument of Jerry Brown: California tax vote start of national tax hike sweep.
“Revenue means taxes, and certainly those who have been blessed the most, who have disproportionately extracted, by whatever skill, more and more from the national wealth, they’re going to have to share more of that.”
The Democratic governor’s remarks follow passage last week of Proposition 30, his initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California’s highest earners.
According to Governor Brown the expanded role for government programs and, by inference, public employee unions, is never ending. Just ask the taxpayers who live in San Bernardino if they are paying enough. Next, ask the municipal bond creditors, who stand to lose significant capital from the forthcoming bankruptcy.
Defining the extent of the self-inflicted injury, California: Anatomy of an exploding government obligation, reveals an alarming example of the cold hard truth why the state is financially broke.
“A promise to pay a retiree’s health care coverage is essentially a kind of defined benefit plan, in which government pledges to cover a certain percentage of the cost of health insurance regardless of how much money it has actually set aside for this benefit. As the State Budget Task Force’s recent report on California explains, right now workers covered in California by this retirement benefit are earning credits that should be financed to the tune of $4.7 billion a year, if California is going to have enough money to pay off this obligation over the years.
But instead of pre-funding the benefit, California has chosen to pay for it on a pay-as-you-go basis, taking the cash for the health insurance premiums of retirees right out of its annual budget. Right now that’s only costing the state $1.7 billion annually because of the limited number of retirees who qualify for the benefit. But over time more and more workers will qualify, and those workers will live on average decades in retirement, swelling the rolls of those whom California must provide health coverage for.”
Where in the present distressed economy are there new corporate employment contacts that include defined benefit plans? The old name is a pension. In the corporate world, IRAs and 401 K are common. The dinosaur companies that accepted union contracts with future defined benefit obligations are out of business, either escaped offshore or are hanging on by their fingernails.
Why should government employees have a privileged position, when the realities of further municipal bankruptcies are growing daily? It seems that Governor Brown forgets his own rhetoric.
“Several unions have agreed to larger employee contributions for their members. Taxpayers are living with cuts and making sacrifices to deal with the reality of California’s budget crisis, state workers are going to have to do the same.” Jerry Brown
Another quote referenced in a Public Employee Unions Guarantee National Bankruptcy article, also confronts the unrealistic mindset that exists in “The Golden State”. Someone needs to explain to public officials that the state has used up their precious metal riches and their union members are not willing to do the hard labor of mining new veins of revenue benefit reductions that will balance their budgets.
“The Assembly Public Safety Committee today is considering one of the most noxious, special-interest pieces of legislation we’ve seen in a while—one that will endanger public safety, tread on the California constitution and reinforce the perception that some government workers are part of a special, coddled group that’s exempt from the normal legal and ethical standards that are applied to other Californians.” The Registry
In this same BATR essay the Steven Greenhut’s critique in the WSJ, Public Employee Unions Are Sinking California, is emphasized. California legislators inhabit the same psychotropic mental escapism, exemplified with the double dippers that create the public employee entitlement culture. Financial reality never hits the retirement paychecks of the civil service sector, while the tormented taxpayer is told they must pay more.
The rush to leave the state has Californians perplexed for solutions as long as the Sacramento progressive ‘pols’ refuse to challenge the public union mafia. Those who remain will bear an even higher tax burden to feather the nests of the most unproductive elements in society, namely government.Governor Brown preaches. “And everyone is going to have to realize that building roads is important, investing in schools is important, paying for the national defense is important, biomedical research is important, the space program is an indicator of the world leader – all that takes money”. Just maybe a bankrupt state and municipalities needs to reduce the size and scope of government itself.
Ashtabula, Ohio, is facing problems which could overload their already struggling social welfare services. Across America more people are being forced onto food stamps or facing starvation. Some of these have lost their jobs. Others can no longer work because of disabilities which can be accounted for in other ways.
This appears to be especially true, and becoming more so, in Ashtabula, a small town of 29,000 inhabitants which sits at the epicenter of four superfund sites, one of the most in any county in Ohio today.
While many of the companies responsible for the toxic waste have packed up and moved operations to third world countries, others have moved in, continuing the same practices. From the perspective of such companies, for instance Millennium, the attractions of the area include the history of previous pollution. Although the impact on the people and environment, calculated monetarily, would be enormous the company has routinely paid a tiny stipend, frequently around $50,000 a year in fines to the EPA.
Diseases and conditions which, two generations ago, were barely known, now account for a significant number of the individuals now requiring aid. Among these conditions are Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, both neurological in origin, both becoming far more common in Ashtabula.
From multiple directions and sources indications now affirm something has changed. Tracking the incidence of these devastating diseases could result in nothing but more rapid action to identify the conditions which are increasing their incidence in Americans. Yet legislation which would accomplish this is stalled in Congress. In 2010, the House passed H.R. 1362, a act similar to the stalled Senate bill, S. 425: National Neurological Diseases Surveillance System Act of 2011.
The House bill passed with 206 cosponsors. The nearly identical Senate bill has 14 cosponsors, nine Democrats and five Republicans.. Both would provide for the establishment of permanent national surveillance systems for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological diseases and disorders. But until both pass and are signed into law, this cannot happen.
Having information freely available not only enables better choices for all of us, today it may well spell the difference between life and death for many Americans. Not knowing forces us to struggle in ignorance of facts essential for our health and well-being. And since these facts widely include information collected and retained by those in public service, whose salaries are paid by taxpayers, this calls into question the motives of those working for government.
In Steve Lerner’s book, “Sacrifice Zones: The Front Lines of Toxic Chemical Exposure in the United States,” we see the unstated policy of ignoring corporate impact in specific areas for reasons which are never stated, also applied to the lives of the people who live there. The section of the Lerner book, which outlines the impact of Manganese poisoning in Marietta, Ohio, could well have been written about Ashtabula.
By so doing, the joining of corporate interests with the power of the state to externalize their costs and so augment their profits. In a rational world destroying the present value of resources which are common to all of us as the life-spans, intellectual and health of people are diminished and destroyed would be automatically treated as crimes.
Evading the consequences of these crimes by using the institutions of government smacks of a violation under color of law. Now, we must ask ourselves if the present compilation of policies is random, or planned.
A“National Sacrifice Zone” is defined as an area so contaminated or depleted of its resources as to have little or no future use. The term has been applied to areas which are badly polluted through previous corporate abuse of resources which go far beyond any right of ownership which can, rationally, be claimed by those responsible. Of the enormous number of examples presently in the forefront of public consciousness are fracking and manganese poisoning.
But the ‘sacrifice zones’ go beyond land, air, water, and the environment of which these are elements. It also includes people. In Ashtabula, and across both Ohio and Indiana, the sacrifice made to corporate prosperity included people’s health, their lives, and an additional cost has been paid in the slow, but inevitable shock suffered as they individually discovered the institutions, for which we pay, were actually working against them.
As you read Lerner’s book you hear the words of ordinary Americans, struggling to understand what is happening to them and why their lives and well being do not matter.
“We thought we had the American dream,” says Lesley Kuhl, who since 2002 has lived with her husband and two young children on a quiet, leafy street in Marietta, Ohio.
Mrs. Kuhl is a Republican, who considered herself conservative, when the threat to her children forced her into action along with both environmental activists and others in her town, like Caroline Beidler, who could no longer ignore the visible impact of pollutants on the health of their families.
Caroline Beidler and her husband, Keith Bailey, a carpenter, had built their “dream home,” in Marietta, Ohio. At the time they were unaware that their little piece of heaven was only four miles, as the crow flies, from the French-owned ferroalloy plant of Eramet Marietta, Inc.
According to Steve Lerner, author of “Sacrifice Zones,” “Eramet (which uses manganese, cadmium, and lead, among other feedstocks, to strengthen steel and purify chromium) releases tons of heavy metal dust into the air. It is one of the county’s top polluters.”
Their efforts transitioned from an informal club which logged the ugly odors carried by the breeze from the plant to increasingly organized efforts to stop the emissions. These struggles began in 2002. They continue today.
Tetrachloroethylene, “a chemical that can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, unconsciousness, and even death.,” was only one of the pollutants being emitted. Tetrachloroethylene was not even on the long list of chemicals that Eramet admitting having released. In 2004, the company did, “emit 15,000 pounds of chromium compounds into the air and 75,000 pounds into the river and 500,000 pounds of airborne manganese.”
Manganese is a known neurotoxin. Manganese poisoning mimics Parkinson’s Disease, among many other conditions.
At first, Beidler was reluctant to make trouble. Over time she realized just how many road blocks existed between the safety of her children. Little help was forthcoming from state regulatory officials.
They discovered how many ways accountability could be evaded by companies which routinely spend money to influence government but never enough to solve the problems they create. Fingers were pointed in every possible direction but little changed.
According to Lerner, “Total releases of toxic chemicals by Eramet reported to federal officials were radically cut from about 12 million pounds when the company was purchased in 2000 to about 6 million pounds of TRI releases in 2004.”
In December 2005 a report by David Pace of the Associated Press listed Eramet as the top factory nationwide “whose emissions created the most potential health risk for residents in the surrounding community.” Washington County was ranked number one for the “highest health risk from industrial pollution in 2000.”
This was the year Lesley Kuhl really confronted the problem.
The group which formed around Beidler and Kuhl, “began to collect information about air quality in their region and make their network of members aware of key regulatory developments, scientific studies, health studies, and emissions at Eramet.”
The bottom-line motive was the continuing threat to children, their children. In December 2005 Mrs. Kuhl read an article in the local newspaper on the impact of elevated levels of air-borne heavy metals their possible impact on the development of the brains of very young children. The Kuhl children had suffered numerous sinus infections that had to be treated with antibiotics, and one of whom was diagnosed with a developmental disorder. Loss of IQ points was also listed as a possibility.
Further research revealed older people could experience mood and movement problems from exposure. Suggestions for a ‘study,’ to take three years, was not a solution.
Also, the families realized even moving was no guarantee of a safe haven. How could they know where was safe? Their children began to be tested for manganese exposure.
The Kuhls and others continued to be shocked at the disregard for the health and well being of their children. Their knowledge of the problem, and how long it had been known, increased.
Dick Wittberg, another resident, who heads the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, had carried out a pilot study in the late 1990s. The study compared the ability of children in Marietta to perform physical tasks and answer academic questions. These were compared the results from Marietta with, “a control sample of children from a similar-sized town in Athens, Ohio, located forty-five miles away.”
A battery of 13 tests were administered to fourth-graders in both cities. The children were matched, “for age, sex, and parental education. The tests measured such things as educational proficiency, balance, visual contrast sensitivity, and short-term memory.”
The results were disturbing: “across the board: the Marietta youngsters scored significantly lower on the tests than did those from Athens.” In his opinion, “the study points to some neurological differences and one has to suspect manganese. Nobody knows, for kids, how much [exposure] is too much.”
The stalling tactics continue from Aramet.
Protocols for handling potential pollutants, thus eliminating the danger of impact exist today. This is not rocket science. The only impact to be felt if such procedures become standard is to end a threat to public health, the need for clean-up, all too often paid for by taxpayers, and awaken corporate balance sheets to the reality of a real free market. There is no inherent freedom to cause harm to others.
It is time to get specific about what protocols must be applied and on the issue of liability.
This is how a free market is applied. You can tell if it is a free market because if government can intervene to limit liability or allow acts which are, by their nature criminal, what you are seeing is corporate fascism.
As bad as the situation is in Marietta, what is facing Ashtabula could be far worse. The toxic releases of Manganese are double what is present in Marietta, the source of pollution, Millennium, is far closer to population centers, and a clock, of which we have only recently become aware, is ticking toward a point of no return for many people.
A study, Parkinsonism Induced by Chronic Manganese Intoxication– An Experience in Taiwan, by Chin-Chang Huang, MD, includes the troubling facts, “Excessive manganese exposure may induce a neurological syndrome called manganism, which is similar to Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, close observation of patients with manganism reveals a clinical disease entity different from PD, not only in the clinical manifestations, but also in therapeutic responses. “ “…after long-term follow-up studies, patients with manganism showed prominent deterioration in the parkinsonian symptoms during the initial 5-10 years, followed by a plateau during the following 10 years.”
The summary, in large part quoted above, ends with, “Although typical patients with manganism are different from patients with PD, the potential risk of inhaling welding fumes, which may accelerate the onset of PD or even induce PD, has been raised during recent years. This controversial topic requires further investigation.
The results of this study should be considered along with this graph showing money spent on lobbying by the American Chemical Council. Source: Open Secrets While it is nearly impossible to know how the money was spent the timing is telling.
Also available to influence legislators are the many corporations who readily donate to non-profits which, people believe, are working solely to protect them. These include, “3M, Amoco, Chevron, Dow Chemical, Exxon, General Motors, Occidental Petroleum, Philip Morris, Proctor & Gamble and W.R. Grace,” according to Integrity in Science, who routinely tracks such relationships.
The people of Ashtabula are not inhaling fumes from working as welding. They are getting it directly and it is time action was taken to establish real standards backed up by real disincentives as those impacted are compensated. In so doing, Ashtabula can begin the process of returning America to a nation of law and justice.
For more information contact Ashtabula Renewal – The Clean-Up ashtabulanenewal.org
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, Organizing Director, Dave Lincoln, Technical Director
Being just weeks away from reaching our debt ceiling and with frightening talk about a fiscal cliff, there’s much sympathy in Washington for tax increases. Even conservatives are wavering. A few Republicans have dumped their anti-tax pledges, and former Nixon official-turned-actor Ben Stein favors taxing the wealthy. He says that we can’t cut our way to a balanced budget and insists that the revenue end must be addressed. But I have news for him: he’ll have a better chance finding Ferris Bueller on his day off than fiscal sanity through tax increases.
Let’s get real. Federal revenue this year will be approximately $2.5 trillion.
How much, again? Well, updating some examples Rob Bluey provided at The Foundry lends the following perspective:
- It is 2,500 billion
- At $45.8 million per year, LeBron James would need to work 54, 607.5 years to earn it
- Average life in theU.S.lasts 2.4 billion seconds
- 2.5 billion seconds ago = 1933
- 2.5 trillion seconds ago = 74,250 BC
Furthermore, a stack of 2.5 trillion dollar bills would reach a height of 169, 665 miles — more than two thirds the way to the moon. This brings us to the second part of the problem.
We’re set to spend this year $3,500,000,000,000.
Stacked up, that many bills reach to the moon. And that’s where we’re headed fiscally.
To the moon,Alice.
Now, let’s get back to calls for more revenue. Imagine you had a teenager to whom you gave $1000 a month, and he not only squandered it every time but also continually maxed out his credit cards. Would your solution be to give him even more money and/or secure him a credit-line increase? Or might you, outraged, cut up the credit cards and tell him he must live within his means? (In reality, you should cut him off completely.)
This may seem a ridiculous example, giving a teenager one grand a month. But is it any more ridiculous than giving the feds 208,000,000,000 a month and then entertaining the notion that they should perhaps get even more? Bueller? Bueller?
Listen, if the government cannot get by on $2.5 trillion a year, guess what!
Pull it up root and branch and start anew.
Root and branch.
Also note that the government did get by on $2.5 trillion as recently as 2005; thus, a balanced budget could be achieved simply by resurrecting the spending levels of 7 years ago. And if we returned to the 2004 budget, we’d run a surplus exceeding $200 billion with current revenue.
But it’ll never happen.
Part of the reason why brings us back to Stein’s belief that we can’t cut our way to a balanced budget. He’s actually correct — given the feds definition of a “cut.” I’m referring to Washington’s accounting trick known as “baseline budgeting,” a process by which the government labels any proposal to reduce the rate of spending growth of an already inflated budget projection a cut. Citizens Against Government Waste explains the warped thinking:
[I]f an agency’s budget is projected to grow by $100 million, but only grows by $75 million, according to baseline budgeting, that agency sustained a $25 million cut. That is analogous to a person who expects to gain 100 pounds only gaining 75 pounds, and taking credit for losing 25 pounds.
If liberal politicians were truly serious about fiscal restraint, they’d eliminate this sleight of hand. But they won’t because they’re not. Ronald Reagan learned this the hard way in the 1980s when he agreed to a budget deal that included three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases. The taxes came first.
The cuts never came at all.
As Reagan later wrote, “The Democrats reneged on their pledge and we never got those cuts.”
So here’s a message for Republicans who think that liberals can be negotiated with on the budget. I’ll be blunt.
Hey, idiots, THEY’RE NOT GOING TO STOP SPENDING. CAPICHE?
Yes, I screamed that. How do I know they won’t stop? Ooh, maybe because they haven’t stopped for 50 years? Maybe because the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior? It’s also because a liberal is a liberal is a liberal. A scorpion stings, a cuttlefish expels ink, a skunk sprays mercaptan fluid, and a liberal spends. It’s what the species does.
Many conservatives don’t grasp this, however. They make a common mistake: they assume others think as they do. They’re largely rational, so they expect rational behavior from their fellow man. But as I explained recently, emotion prevails in people’s decision-making far more than you may think. What feels right often trumps what is right even when it’s downright stupid.
It’s as with an old friend of my father’s whom I’ll call Sal. Sal had a gambling problem and spent and spent and borrowed and borrowed until he could borrow and spend no more. Bankruptcy finally “cured” him. And such is the fate of the soon-to-be late, great United States. The dependency class will go over the cliff grasping at their freebies, and the politicians will take us over the cliff dispensing them. Hey, a civilization’s gotta die a’ somethin’, right?
This is one reason I’m adamantly opposed to tax increases. Like the reckless teenager or Sal, the federal beast will simply consume whatever ventures near its insatiable maw and then some. So my message would be: get by on what you have — or to Hades with you. Go over that cliff. Because like any addict, you can’t help yourself. And better it happens sooner, while Americans still have a bit more change in their pockets (for whatever it’s worth), than after they’re further impoverished in the name of balancing the budget.
So what’s the end game? First, our more than $16 trillion national debt increases by an average of $3.87 billion per day and amounts to $52,000 for every man, woman, and child. This will never be paid off.
Yet I do see one way out of our debt hole. When the profligates in government (and their sheeple voters) finally collapse the system, there won’t even be a common federal feeding trough to hold our culturally, ethnically, and ideologically balkanized land together. We then may dissolve as the Soviet Union did, with various states, or blocks of them, going their separate ways. And guess who’d be left holding the bag? Note: the $16 trillion we owe is federal debt, not state. And I’d just say, hey,Washington,D.C., you know that debt thing? Good luck with all that.
Of course, the Chinese would end up getting stiffed. But they only pony up the dough because they have a symbiotic relationship with us: they keep us afloat so we can buy their goods. Besides, anyone foolish enough to lend money to our government gets no sympathy from me. The only question is whether we’ll be foolish enough to believe that throwing good taxes after bad will change bad spenders into good shepherds.
Among the long list of items bundled by consensus reality merchants under the banner of ‘conspiracy theory’, is a world without cash – where technocrats rule over the populace, and everything and anything is exchanged via plastic and RFID chips.
In this sterile and controlled Orwellian hi-tech society, the idea of cash being passed from hand to hand would be as archaic as the thought of carrying around a rucksack of tally sticks today.
Still, despite the incredible penetration of credit and debit card transactions into economic aggregate, and the boom in internet shopping, few will comfortably admit that a cashless society is nearly upon us. In part, it’s a natural denial by many fueled by the idea of our society is indeed on a collision course with the sort of dystopic impersonal future like that depicted in the 1970′s sci-fi film classic, ‘Logan’s Run’.
Cashless money is here, and growing rapidly.
Over the years, futurists and commentators alike seemed to agree that a cashless society would be a slow creep, and cash would automatically phase itself in simply by virtue of the sheer volume of electronic transactions that would gradually make paper less available and more costly to redeem and exchange. This is still true for the most part. What few counted on, however, was how the final push would take place, and why. Some will be surprised by these new emerging mechanisms, and the political and sinister implications they will ultimately lead to.
What’s the time frame on all this? Difficult to say, but what is certain is that the initial phases are already in motion…
Introduction of Parallel Currencies
There has been a lot made about the ‘cashless society’ in media, but this cannot fully happen until there is a cashless currency.
Every revolution needs a good crisis in order to germinate its seed. The cashless revolution is no different. It should be abundantly clear by now that the global financial meltdown has been engineered at every juncture of its unfolding by the very private central banks who expand and contract the money supply. A dollar or euro collapse will trigger a global economic crisis, which is a prime opportunity to introduce the next phase.
In the summer of 2012, at the height of the European Central Bank (ECB) ritualistic raping of the Greek economy, financial expert Max Keiser, alongside Mexican billionaire Hugo Salinas Price, traveled to Athens to promote the idea of a silver Drachma as a parallel currency to the ever-failing euro. In theory and in practice, this parallel currency was ‘sound money’ for individual Greeks and would allow them to retain some say in their financial destiny, and also allow them to accumulate real wealth. It should have caught on. But this great idea did not go down well with media moguls and technocratic elites loyal to their overlords in the ECB, Wall Street and the City of London. Still, too many people remain unaware of how money is created, entered into circulation and how their private central banks control inflation, and Greece is no different.
Watch this clip from Greek television:
The US dollar is pure fiat, but it does have a theoretical backer. It is an oil-backed currency – and for better of for worse, it’s on its way to losing its long-lived status as the world’s reserve currency. There are signals that China is moving towards a gold-backed currency and has already agreed to buy the majority of its oil supply from Russia off of the US dollar peg. This could mean two things: the US could be forced to fight a war to maintain dollar supremacy, or the dollar will begin to drop as the top dog. This shift will open up a window of opportunity for money masters to insert not only a brand new global currency, but also its universal cashless attributes as well.
Common sense and free market wisdom would expect to see a sound money option replace the current fiat disaster, but as we saw in Greece, a great solution was not taken up and straddled with the dysfunctional euro, that society will continue to pay the cost of that reality.
The euro crisis was a great opportunity to throw out the euro in favour of something that could create wealth, rather than debt. As the fiat currencies continue to slide downhill, globalist are preparing their solution behind closed doors.
Enter the Cashless Currency…
It’s arguable that we approaching the cusp of that US Dollar collapse, and perhaps a Euro implosion on the back end of it. Risks of hyper inflation are very real here, but if you control the money supply might already have a ready-made solution waiting in the wings, you will not be worrying about the rift, only waiting for the chaos to ensue so as to maximise your own booty from the crisis.
Many believed that the global currency would be the SDR unit, akaSpecial Drawing Rights, implemented in 2001 as a supplementary foreign exchange reserve asset maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). SDRs were not considered a full-fledged currency, but rather a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged for dollars, euros, yen or other central bankers’ fiat notes.
With the SDR confined to the upper tier of the international money launderette, a new product is still needed to dovetail with designs of a global cashless society.
Among the many worries Ben Bernanke listed in his speech at the New York Economic Club last week was the emergence of Bitcoin. But don’t believe for a second that these digital parallel currencies are not being watched over and even steered by the money masters. Couple this latest trend with done deals by most of the world’s largest mobile networks this month to allow people to pay via a mobile ‘wallet’, and you now have the initial enabler for a new global electronic currency.
These new parallel cashless currencies could very quickly end up in pole position for supremacy when the old fiat notes fade away as a result of the next planned economic dollar and euro crisis.
Both Bitcoin and Ven appear on their surface to be independent parallel digital money systems, but the reality is much different. In April 2011, Ven announced the first commodity trade priced in Ven for gold production between Europe and South America. Both of these so-called ‘digital alternatives’ are being backed and promoted through some of the world’s biggest and most long-standing corporate dynasties, including Rothschild owned Reuters as an example, which should be of interest to any activist who believes that a digitally controlled global currency is a dangerous path to tread down.
The Electronic Deutsche Mark
Much is made of Germany’s prominent financial position within the EU, with a popular talking point being that, “Germany is carrying the majority of the load in ‘bailing out’ countries such as Greece in the south”. If the Euro is ‘heading south’ as many a financial commentator are claiming, then how would a country like Germany – or even the US Federal Reserve for that matter, hedge their bets with an impending currency collapse looming just over the horizon?
Economics professor Miles Kimball from the University of Michigan thinks he knows the answer:
“In short, for a smooth transition, a reintroduced mark needs to be an electronic mark. I recently made the case for the electronic dollar in a previous Quartz column, “E-Money: How paper currency is holding the US recovery back.” The trouble with paper money is that the rate of interest people earn on holding paper money puts a floor on the interest rate they are willing to accept in doing any other lending. For the US, I proposed making the electronic dollar the “unit of account” or economic yardstick for prices and other economic values, and having the Federal Reserve control the exchange rate between electronic dollars and paper dollars to make paper dollars gradually fall in value relative to electronic dollars during periods of time when the Fed wants room to make the interest rate negative.
In the case of Germany, there would be no need to reintroduce a paper mark along with the electronic mark, since the euro itself could continue in its current role as a “medium of exchange” for making purchases in Germany, alongside the electronic mark. A “crawling peg” exchange rate could be used to let the electronic mark gradually go up in value relative to the euro, without causing a huge rush into the mark, since with no paper mark other than the euro itself, interest rates in Germany could be close to zero when measured in euros, which would make them strongly negative in terms of marks.”
A dollar or euro crash could be the perfect storm for the introduction of a major global digital currencies, and this will do nothing but fast-track our entry into the new cashless society.
This past year’s Summer Olympic was a beta testing exercise for a number of new programs. We witnessed troops deployed en mass for the first time to marshal the international sporting event and new facial recognition technology tested to monitor its attendees. One of the chief sponsors of London 2012 Olympic was VISA, used the event as a springboard to launch its new ‘contactless payment’ technology, acclimatising the international public to making routine payments via smartphones. VISA now predicts that this new method will carry 50 per cent of its transaction volume by the year 2020.
Mastercard has also rolled out its own version called Paypass, andBarclaycard has already implemented its own mobile phone payment chip in 2011. It conceivable here, that a bank like Barclays could one day takeover a major mobile service provider in order to streamline the endless profits it could accrue from monopolising cashless payment facilities for its customers. A recent edition of Marketing Week further explains how this is program is being rolled out:
“Barclays launched Pingit this year, a mobile payment service that allows customers to send and receive money with a mobile phone number, which has sparked The Payments Council to work on a similar project. And the three leading mobile operators in the UK – EE, Vodafone and O2 – are working on a joint project under the name Weve, one of the aims of which is to develop standardised technology for ‘digital wallets’ on mobile.
These industry innovations reflect the changing attitude and behaviour by consumers to cashless payments. Barry Clark, account director at Future Foundation, which identified the trend towards a cashless society in its recent report into the changing face of payments, explains that this move towards digital is a “banking nirvana” for brands, since replacing cash with electronic payments takes high costs out of the system.”
These mobile enablers will effectively cover the small services and contractor’s market for the cashless society. In addition, digital payment terminals like iZettle and Square (created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey), have brought in most small traders, including taxi drivers, plumbers etc, and street side retailers – meaning that the barrier for entry into the new cashless society has been effectively dissolved.
The Socialist ‘Oyster’
The darker aspect of a cashless society, is one which few are debating or discussing, but is actually the most pivotal in terms of scial engineering and transforming communities and societies. In London, the electronic touch payment Oyster Cardwas introduced in 2003, initially for public transport, and since that time the card has been co-opted to be used for other functions, as the UK beta tests the idea of an all-in-one cashless lifestyle solution.
Ironically, and alongside biometric chipping now in India, it’s the United States, supposedly the birthplace of modern capitalism, who is beta testing its own socialist technocracy. As the ranks of the poor and unemployed grow and dollar inflation rises in America, more and more people are dependent on traditional ‘Food Stamp’entitlements in order to feed their families. The US has now introduced its own socialist ‘Oyster’ to replace the old Food Stamp program. It’s called the ‘EBT’, which stands for “Electronic Benefit Transfer“, as a means of transferring money from the central government to people living below the poverty line. Advocate Mike Adams for Natural News describes it another way:
“EBT benefits have more than doubled during the Obama administration’s last four years, creating tens of millions of new dependents who now vote based almost entirely on who gives them the most handouts.
The purchase of vitamins is specifically prohibited by the EBT program. This is done as a way to keep EBT recipients sick and diseased while suffering from nutritional deficiencies, which is precisely what the federal government wants.
EBT cards create high-profit handouts to corporations, too: Pharmaceutical companies and the sick-care industry; Big Government which gets re-elected based on entitlement handouts; global banks which earn a percentage off every swipe; and even the processed junk food industry which preys upon nutritional ignorance of the poor.
In fact, for every dollar’s worth of food handed out to EBT recipients under the program, at least 50 cents is driven right into the profit coffers of wealthy corporations.”
Adams has pointed out the endgame here. Where collectivist technocrats are concerned, a global digital currency is not only a means for a centrally controlled economy, but also a centrally controlled society. And as Adams also pointed out, they can even control what you eat.
There’s also the small matter of the Verichip, or ‘class 2′ implantable medical devise, an RFID chip already set to be implemented through Obamacare. It will transmit medical records, bank accounts, keyless entry and much more. The technology could be a $100 Trillion industry over the coming decade.
Bottom line: We’ve got a big problem when the state can – and will cut-off your electronic financial lifeline should you fall foul of the system. No negotiations, no gray areas – and definitely no place for a free individual in this type of globalist system.
Social Networks Gradually Supplanting Real Communities
In 2011 Facebook launched its own virtual currency, which was taken up immediately by the games developer industry. Facebook created it’s own internal digital market overnight. If customers didn’t like it, they had two choices – jump ship, or stay in the biggest market place. That’s a lot of power to wield, and you can wield it if you have the big numbers.
A severe lack of choice in the world of online communities has unwittingly(or not) positioned Facebook to play the roles of not only data collector, but also as banker, retailer, archivist and governor.
As 2012 comes to a close, many people have certainly become, in one way or another, sans border citizens of the Facebook Nation. In the future, one corporation or cartel’s success in capturing a near global monopoly of membership to a particular online platform might give it the ability to dictate a digital economic mandate to both producers and consumer.
The digital data industry now claims in a recent study byfast.MAP, that consumer confidence in sharing personal information has risen. But the reality is that most people do not know which data is being used and to who it is being shared or sold to. Most users are unknowingly trading “access” to networks, as well convenient speed of registration – for data privacy. We do this on a daily basis now.
It’s a question of speculation at this point how deeply the new digital currencies will be integrated into social networking giants like Facebook, or Second Life - where users are already buying virtual property with virtual currency, but few can deny that the potential for consolidation in the early 21st century is already there.
History Will Repeat Itself
Whenever the status quo is seen as a failure, the architects of society will rarely allow the whole show to come to a grinding halt, for fear that new and non-centrally controlled organic systems of organisation will emerge. The ruling establishment will spare no opportunity to tell society this, over and over, making people truly believe that it is in their best interest to adopt whatever alternative is handed down to them. This is why, when faced with a crisis, society will almost always seek to implement a parallel alternatives, rather than rethink the whole system.
In 2008, the public had an opportunity to collapse the predatory banking system that has been trading insolvent and gambling on thin air. But the very same ruling establishment who engineered the crisis to begin with, masterfully presented their own solution as the remedy by establishing the precedent of the state bailing out any gambling losses incurred by the banking community.
In the end society relented, and with help of pro-banking political leadership on both sides of the Atlantic, they adopted the pre-packaged belief that a cluster of bloated and corrupt financial institutions were simply too big to fail. Aside from being a massive redistribution of wealth upwards into the hands of the speculative elite classes, this was merely a test by the establishment to see how far they could go in robbing the public, pushing up inflation, hoovering up real assets, robbing pension funds and enslaving taxpayers to generations of debt the bankers created – all in one swoop.
It has long been the dream of collectivists and technocratic elites to eliminate the semi-unregulated cash economy and black markets in order to maximise taxation and to fully control markets. If the cashless society is ushered in, they will have near complete control over the lives of individual people.
The financial collapse which began in 2007-2008 was merely the opening gambit of the elite criminal class, a mere warm-up for things to come. With the next collapse we may see a centrally controlled global digital currency gaining its final foothold.
The cashless society is already here. The question now is – how far will society allow it to penetrate and completely control each and every aspect of their day to day lives?
Source: Patrick Henningsen | 21stCenturyWire
The last Congo war that ended in 2003 killed 5.4 million people, the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II. The killing was directly enabled by international silence over the issue; the war was ignored and the causes obscured because governments were backing groups involved in the fighting. Now a new Congo war has begun and the silence is, again, deafening.
President Obama seems not to have noticed a new war has broken out in the war-scarred Congo; he appears blind to the refugee crisis and the war crimes committed by the invading M23 militia against the democratically elected government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
But appearances can be deceiving. The U.S. government has their bloody hands all over this conflict, just as they did during the last Congo war when Bill Clinton was President. President Obama’s inaction is a conscious act of encouragement for the invaders, just as Clinton’s was. Instead of Obama denouncing the invasion and the approaching overthrow of a democratically elected government, silence becomes a very powerful action of intentional complicity on the side of the invaders.
Why would Obama do this? The invaders are armed and financed by Rwanda, a “strong ally” and puppet of the United States. The United Nations released a report conclusively proving that the Rwandan government is backing the rebels, but the U.S. government and U.S. media cartoonishly pretend that the issue is debatable.
The last Congo War that killed 5.4 million people was also the result of the U.S.-backed invading armies of Rwanda and Uganda, as explained in the excellently researched book “Africa’s World War,” by French journalist Gerard Prunier.
In fact, many of the same Rwandan war criminals involved in the last Congo War, such as Bosco Ntaganda, are in charge of the M23 militia and wanted for war crimes by the U.N. international criminal court. The current Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, is a “good friend” of the U.S. government and one of the most notorious war criminals on the planet, due to his leading roles in the Rwandan genocide and consequent Congo War.
A group of Congolese and Rwandan activists have been demanding that Kagame be tried for his key role in the Rwandan genocide.
As Prunier’s book explains, the Rwandan genocide was sparked by Kagame’s invasion of Rwanda — from U.S. ally Uganda. After Kagame took power in post-genocide Rwanda, he then informed the U.S. — during a trip to Washington D.C. — that he would be invading the Congo. Prunier quotes Kagame in Africa’s World War:
“I delivered a veiled warning [to the U.S.]: the failure of the international community to take action [against the Congo] would mean that Rwanda would take action… But their [the Clinton Administration’s] response was really no response at all” (pg 68).
In international diplomacy speak, such a lack of response — to a threat of military invasion — acts as a glaring diplomatic green light.
The same blinding green light is now being offered by Obama to the exact same war criminals as they again invade the Congo.
But why again? The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s current President, Joseph Kabila, helped lead the military invasion during the last Congo war. As a good stooge, he delivered Congo’s immense mining and oil wealth to multi-national corporations. But then his puppet strings started to fray.
Kabila later distanced himself from U.S. puppets Rwanda and Uganda, not to mention the U.S. dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The IMF, for example, warned Kabila against a strategic infrastructural and development aid package with China, but Kabila shrugged them off. The Economist explains:
“…[The Congo] appears to have gained the upper hand in a row with foreign donors over a mining and infrastructure package worth $9 billion that was agreed a year ago with China. The IMF objected to it, on the ground that it would saddle Congo with a massive new debt, so [the IMF] is delaying forgiveness of most of the $10 billion-plus that Congo already owes.”
This act instantly transformed Kabila from an unreliable friend to an enemy. The U.S. and China have been madly scrambling for Africa’s immense wealth of raw materials, and Kabila’s new alliance with China was too much for the U.S. to bear.
Kabila further inflamed his former allies by demanding that the international corporations exploiting the Congo’s precious metals have their super-profit contracts re-negotiated, so that the country might actually receive some benefit from its riches.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to 80 percent of the world’s cobalt, an extremely precious mineral needed to construct many modern technologies, including weaponry, cell phones, and computers. The DRC is possibly the most mineral/resource rich country in the world — overflowing with everything from diamonds to oil — though its people are among the world’s poorest, due to generations of corporate plunder of its wealth.
Now, a new war is underway and the U.N. is literally sitting on their hands. There are 17,500 U.N. peacekeepers in the DRC, not to mention U.S. Special Forces. The invading M23 militia has 3,000 fighters. What was the U.N.’s response to the invasion? The New York Times reports:
“United Nations officials have said that they did not have the numbers to beat back the rebels and that they were worried about collateral damage, but many Congolese have rendered their own verdict. On Wednesday, rioters in Bunia, north of Goma, ransacked the houses of United Nations’ personnel.”
If Obama and/or the U.N. made one public statement about militarily defending the elected Congolese government against invasion, the M23 militia would have never acted.
Human Rights Watch and other groups have correctly labeled the M23’s commanders as responsible for “ethnic massacres, recruitment of children, mass rape, killings, abductions and torture.”
But at the U.N. the Obama administration has been actively protecting this group. The New York Times continues:
“Some human rights groups say that Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations and a leading contender to be President Obama’s next secretary of state, has been far too soft on Rwanda, which is a close American ally and whose president, Paul Kagame, has known Ms. Rice for years. The activists have accused her of watering down language in a Security Council resolution that would have mentioned Rwanda’s links to the [M23] rebels and say she also tried to block the publication of part of a [U.N.] report that detailed Rwanda’s covert support for the M23.”
It’s likely that the Obama administration will jump into action as soon as his M23 allies complete their military objective of regime change, and re-open the Congo’s mineral wealth to U.S. corporations to profit from. There are currently talks occurring in U.S.-puppet Uganda between the M23 and the Congo government. It is unlikely that these talks will produce much of a result unless Kabila stands down and allows the M23 and its Rwandan backers to take over the country. The M23 knows it’s in an excellent bargaining position, given the silence of the U.N. and the United States government.
If the war drags on, expect more international silence. Expect more massacres and ethnic cleansing too, and expect the still-recovering people of the Congo to be re-tossed into massive refugee camps where they can again expect militia-sponsored killings, rape, starvation, and the various barbarisms that have accompanied this especially brutal war, a brutality that grows most viciously in environments of silence.
Bullies choose easy adversaries to pummel. Equal fights are shunned. It’s the same in schoolyards or battlefields.
America and Israel operate this way. They avoid foes able to give as much as they take. Rogue governments never say they’re sorry.
During Cast Lead in January 2009, Professor Jeremy Salt wrote “A Message to the brave Israeli Airmen.” His comments apply to what’s now ongoing.
What’s it like firing missiles at people you can’t see, he asked?
Does it help being unable to see who you’re killing?
Is your conscience eased by inflicting disproportionate force on people unable to fight back and civilian infrastructure?
Are you comfortable about slaughtering civilian men, women, children, and infants?
Does this weigh on your conscience, or are you at ease?
Do you sleep well or have nightmares about men, women and children you killed at home, in beds, kitchens, living rooms, schools, mosques, at work, or at play?
Do farmers in their fields, mothers with children, teachers in classrooms, imams in mosques, children at play, the elderly, frail or disabled threaten your security?
Do you ever question what you’ve done and why?
Have you no shame, no sense of decency, no idea of the difference between right and wrong?
Do you know the law? If so, why do you violate it? Doing so makes you complicit in crimes of war and against humanity? Do you know that?
Do you blindly follow orders or have a mind of your own?
Have you murdered civilians before?
Will you do it again if ordered?
Will you keep following orders blindly or do the right thing?
“Brave” Israeli airmen, soldiers, sailors, and other security force personnel are cowards. They’ve acted lawlessly for decades.
Palestinian suffering is a way of life. Imagine living every day not sure if you’ll live or die. Imagine young children growingup this way. Do Israeli children know what Palestinian ones endure? Are they told? Do they care? Do their parents?
Israel’s moving thousands of troops and heavy weapons to Gaza’s border. Mossad-connected DEBKAfile said:
“Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and the high IDF command are pushing for the ground operation, Stage B of the Pillar of Cloud operation, to start without delay. The prime minister and defense minister prefer to wait.”
Another potential holocaust looms. Civilians always suffer most. Israel and America willfully target them. It part of the imperial strategy of both countries. Human lives don’t matter, just conquest, dominance, and exploitation.
Cast Lead took a terrible toll. Missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons were used against defenseless people. Mass slaughter and destruction followed.
Horrific crimes of war and against humanity were committed. Responsible officials remain unaccountable. Security Council no-fly zone protection wasn’t ordered.
Over 1,400 Gazans perished. More than 80% were civilians. Over 300 were children. Around 5,300 were injured. Over 1,600 were children or infants. Israel willfully targeted them.
Neighborhoods, schools, universities, mosques, hospitals, UN facilities, fishing boats, civilian factories and workshops, municipal buildings, charitable foundations, civilian infrastructure, and other noncombatant sites were bombed and shelled.
Farmland was bulldozed. Power facilities and irrigations systems were destroyed. International leaders were indifferent about human slaughter and suffering. Only three low-level Israeli soldiers received punishments too minor to matter.
The al-Samouni family lost 27 members. Salah Talala al-Samouni saw his mother blown apart. Rocket and shell fire killed his two-year old daughter, father, aunt, cousin, and entire family. Media scoundrels said nothing. They support Israel’s worst crimes.
Under siege, Gazans haven’t recovered from Cast Lead. Now they face the prospect of more war perhaps worse than 2008-09.
International leaders share culpability through silence, indifference, and/or complicity. Washington is involved in all Israeli wars. Weapons, munitions and funding are supplied. Political support is given.
Obama told Netanyahu, go ahead and bomb and shell at will. Call it “self-defense” and pretend no one knows it’s not. On November 15, the Senate unanimously passed a non-binding supportive resolution. Not a single profile in courage expressed opposition.
AIPAC thanked Obama and Senate members for supporting Israel. Gazan civilians and resistance fighters are maliciously called terrorists. They’re heroes, not criminals.
On November 14, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director Abe Foxman expressed support for Israeli bombing and shelling, saying:
“Israel has shown tremendous restraint in the face of the unceasing rocket and mortar fire launched from Gaza. This operation is directly targeting the leadership responsible for these attacks, as well as the warehouses and facilities housing their weapons.”
“No country in the world would stand by and tolerate such attacks on more than a million civilians.”
“The international community has a clear obligation to condemn these attacks and to support the actions taken by Israel against Hamas and other terror organizations operating in Gaza as Israel carries out its basic duty to defend its civilian population.”
For almost a century, ADL fronted for Jewish supremacy. It backs occupation harshness. It’s mindless about Palestinian suffering. It conducts smear campaigns against critics.
Its entire history is loathsome. Israeli crimes are called self-defense. It plays the same blame the victim game as Israel, Washington, AIPAC, and other Zionist organizations. Only Jewish rights matter. Palestinians are criminalized for defending themselves.
Israel agreed to halt military operations during Egyptian Prime Minister Hersham Kandil’s visit. He and Egyptian cabinet ministers arrived in Gaza Thursday. He’ll return Friday. Israeli attacks continued.
At Al Shifa Hospital, Kandil visited victims. He denounced Israeli attacks, saying: “This tragedy cannot pass in silence, and the world should take responsibility for stopping this aggression.” Cairo will try to mediate a truce, he added.
Since Saturday, over 40 Palestinians were killed. Hundreds more were injured. Many are in serious condition. Dozens of air strikes continue. Death and injury numbers may rise exponentially. Current figures underestimate the toll because some victims lie beneath rubble.
The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) said Israel conducted 30 sorties in less than 30 minutes on Friday. At 10PM Thursday, the IDF said it struck 70 targets in the previous hour.
Civilian sites and government buildings were bombed and shelled. Two UN schools were struck. Heavy damage was reported. The Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies said a church under construction was targeted.
said, “Children, infants, women and elderly are among the casualties, including children whose bodies were severely mutilated and burnt due to Israeli shells. A pregnant woman and her unborn fetus are among the killed.”
Gazan resistance fighters said they won’t honor truce conditions as long as Israel keeps killing Palestinian men, women, children, infants, and the elderly. On Thursday evening, a Beit Hanoun home was bombed. Three children died. One was nine years old.
A 10-month old infant was killed when another home was struck. Through early Friday morning, at least eight children, a pregnant woman, and two elderly men died.
Thirty thousand IDF reservists were called up. Military leaves were cancelled. Tanks, armored vehicles, and troops are mobilizing on Gaza’s border. Invasion looks ominously likely.
On November 16, Mathaba said the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) “received numerous complaints on the atrocities and possible war crimes committed against the Palestinian people.”
On November 20 and 21, two days of open hearings will be held.
Commission members include former Magistrate Musa Ismail, former Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Dean Zulaiha Ismail, Center for Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky, and two former Iraq UN humanitarian coordinators – Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday.
On November 16, Alternative News.org headlined “No safe haven: Civilians under attack in the Gaza Strip.” An eyewitness visited Al Shifa Hospital. Many injured Gazans are in serious condition.
Forty-year old Salem Waqef suffered brain injury. He’s in a coma on a ventilator. It’s unclear if he’ll survive.
Ten-month old Haneen Tafesh was admitted unconscious. She suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhage. She’s also in a coma on a ventilator. Doctors said her condition deteriorated since admitted. Hours later she died.
Ahmed Durghmush suffered brain trauma. Shrapnel penetrated his skull. Brain matter protruded from his head wound. His condition also deteriorated after surgery.
Throughout Thursday, emergency room staff were handling numerous arrivals. Injuries range from easily treatable to severe to life threatening.
Justice Ministry public information director, Khalid Hamad, was at home when shelling targeted a neighbor’s house. Israel “targeted civilians deliberately,” he said. “The Israeli forces don’t make mistakes.”
Thirteen-year old Duaa Hejazi was brought in “bleeding a lot.” She sustained upper body shrapnel wounds. Pieces are still embedded in her chest. She sent a message to other Gazan children, saying:
“I say, we are children. There is nothing that is our fault to have to face this. They are occupying us and I will say, as Abu Omar said. If you’re a mountain, the wind won’t shake you. We’re not afraid. We’ll stay strong.”
Al Shifa director general Dr. Mithad Abbas explained the dire conditions under which hospital staff must cope, saying:
“When those cases arrive at our hospital, it is not under normal circumstances. They come on top of the siege, the blockade, which has resulted in a lack of vital medicines and required medical supplies.”
Al Shifa lacks essential medicines, some equipment and supplies. They include antibiotics, IV fluid, anesthesia, gloves, catheters, external fixators, Heparin, sutures, detergents and spare parts for medical equipment.
Power outages exceed 12 hours daily. Small amounts of fuel maintain operations at those times. Dr. Abbas said his supply will be exhausted in days if current conditions continue.
He doesn’t know where the next missile or shell will strike. Perhaps Al Shifa will be targeted. Israel considers all civilian sites fair game.
On November 15, the Global BDS Movement issued the following statement in part:
“Stop a New Israeli Massacre in Gaza: Boycott Israel Now!”
Despite biased Western media reports, Israel “initiated and escalated this new assault on the eve of its upcoming parliamentary elections, underlining the time-honored Israeli formula of Palestinian bodies for ballots.”
“Israel will continue its belligerence, aggression and state terrorism unless it is made to pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab peoples.”
“It is high time for BDS against Israel. This is the clearest path to freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians and the entire region.”
At issue also is a pending November 29 vote on Palestinian UN non-member observer status. Israel and Washington have gone all out to subvert it. Member States have all the more reason to support Palestine. In less than two weeks we’ll know.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah urged Arab leaders to use all means to halt Israeli attacks on Gaza.
“No one is telling Arab countries today, ‘Please go open your borders and begin the operation to liberate Palestine.’ What we want is to end the attack on Gaza.”
This is everyone’s battle…We’re not asking you for a solution. We’re asking for effort.”
“Some say the Arabs don’t have the courage to stop oil production. Decrease your oil exports or raise the price a little and you will shake the United States. You will shake Europe.”
“Brothers, if you can’t cut off oil, decrease your production or raise the price. Put on some pressure. No one is calling for armies or tanks or planes.”
Nasrallah called Israel’s Gaza attack “criminal aggression.” Multiple crimes of war and against humanity are committed.
Much is at stake in Palestine, the region and beyond. Washington’s aggressive wars continue. New ones are planned. Israel’s a key partner. Both countries have imperial agendas. War features prominently in achieving them.
Michel Chossudovsky calls attacking and invading Gaza “part of the broader US-NATO-Israel military agenda.” Based on what’s happened post-9/11, expect the worst ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor. At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36-year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.
It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.
To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.
The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.
How Much Did I Accomplish?
In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways – thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.
All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer. A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.
The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.
The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”
Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.
I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits. If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell. Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.
Authoritarianism vs. Liberty
If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty. There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.
During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible. Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.
I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.
Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth. In our early history we were very much aware of this. But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax. The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.
They failed to recognized that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British.
Some complain that my arguments makes no sense, since great wealth and the standard of living improved for many Americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies.
But the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady. It took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.
The wealth that we enjoyed and seemed to be endless, allowed concern for the principle of a free society to be neglected. As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.
The Age of Redistribution
This neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to left alone. That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.
The material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market. It is good that material abundance is a result of liberty but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed.
The crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail. We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.
If this is not recognized, the recovery will linger for a long time. Bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue.
We Need an Intellectual Awakening
Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law. A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees.
If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties. Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.
This continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled. Congress first directed, with bipartisan support, bailouts for the wealthy. Then it was the Federal Reserve with its endless quantitative easing. If at first it doesn’t succeed try again; QE1, QE2, and QE3 and with no results we try QE indefinitely – that is until it too fails. There’s a cost to all of this and let me assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option. The rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won’t be pretty.
The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism. And the pessimism adds to less confidence in the future. The two feed on themselves, making our situation worse.
If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored. By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.
Everyone claims support for freedom. But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others. Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.
Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited. These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests.
No More ‘isms’
The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.” The answers are to be found in more liberty which cost so much less. Under these circumstances spending goes down, wealth production goes up, and the quality of life improves.
Just this recognition – especially if we move in this direction – increases optimism which in itself is beneficial. The follow through with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people.
But there is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. The more this change in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be the return of optimism.
Our job, for those of us who believe that a different system than the one that we have had for the last 100 years, has driven us to this unsustainable crisis, is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated, and moral system that provides the answers. We had a taste of it in our early history. We need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause.
It worked, but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates, while ignoring freedom itself. Now we have neither, but the door is open, out of necessity, for an answer. The answer available is based on the Constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests.
After over 100 years we face a society quite different from the one that was intended by the Founders. In many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the Constitution from this danger has failed. Skeptics, at the time the Constitution was written in 1787, warned us of today’s possible outcome. The insidious nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurance our great abundance gave us, allowed the process to evolve into the dangerous period in which we now live.
Dependency on Government Largesse
Today we face a dependency on government largesse for almost every need. Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands. Here are a few examples:
Undeclared wars are commonplace.
Welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement.
The economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary system.
Debt is growing exponentially.
The Patriot Act and FISA legislation passed without much debate have resulted in a steady erosion of our 4th Amendment rights.
Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.
It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.
Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.
Supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, call the true free traders “isolationists.”
Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.
Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.
Central economic planning through monetary policy, regulations and legislative mandates has been an acceptable policy.
Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:
Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York? Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
Why should there be mandatory sentences – even up to life for crimes without victims – as our drug laws require?
Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?
Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.
Why is it is claimed that if people won’t or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world great religions.
Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and foreign policy?
Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?
Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration? Yes there is, and there’s a way to reverse these attitudes. The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems. Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.
Trust Yourself, Not the Government
Too many people have for too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough in themselves. Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades. The blame is shared by both political parties. Many Americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop. Without this first step, solutions are impossible.
Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity. The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.
We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons.
Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced. Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats. This replaces the confidence in a free society. Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they, armed with arbitrary government power, can bring about fairness, while facilitating wealth production. This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty. It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.
It’s no surprise then that much of what goes on in Washington is driven by aggressive partisanship and power seeking, with philosophic differences being minor.
Economic ignorance is commonplace. Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is facing healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals. Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.
Supporters of all government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them.
Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty. This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge. But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence. Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions. The results are always negative.
The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world. Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned – or especially when well-intentioned – the results are dismal. The good results sought never materialize. The new problems created require even more government force as a solution. The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.
This is the same fundamental reason our government uses force for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.
It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink or how to spend their money.
Yet, rarely is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order. Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. This is done more frequently every day without a proper search warrant.
No Government Monopoly over Initiating Violence
Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society. Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream. We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000. Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.
Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.
We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty. But even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech-a dangerous trend. Since 9/11 monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required.
The Proliferation of Federal Crimes
The Constitution established four federal crimes. Today the experts can’t even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books – they number into the thousands. No one person can comprehend the enormity of the legal system – especially the tax code. Due to the ill-advised drug war and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code we have over 6 million people under correctional suspension, more than the Soviets ever had, and more than any other nation today, including China. I don’t understand the complacency of the Congress and the willingness to continue their obsession with passing more Federal laws. Mandatory sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems.
The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year. When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.
Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force. If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed. To achieve it, more than lip service is required.
Two choices are available.
A government designed to protect liberty – a natural right – as its sole objective. The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty. Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations. Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer. This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages. Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible. It is used vigorously – though incrementally and insidiously. Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that: “power corrupts.”
Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government. Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression. There’s no in-between. Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.
Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.
The results are not good. As our liberties have been eroded our wealth has been consumed. The wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. They then loan them back to us to perpetuate our debt system. It’s amazing that it has worked for this long but the impasse in Washington, in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of the world -wide debt crisis and the dangers we face. The longer this process continues the harsher the outcome will be.
The Financial Crisis Is a Moral Crisis
Many are now acknowledging that a financial crisis looms but few understand it’s, in reality, a moral crisis. It’s the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power. Without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis it will be difficult to prevent a steady march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it.
Ultimately, the people have to decide which form of government they want; option #1 or option #2. There is no other choice. Claiming there is a choice of a “little” tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a “touch of pregnancy.” It is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic planning is a worthy compromise. What we see today is a result of that type of thinking. And the results speak for themselves.
A Culture of Violence
American now suffers from a culture of violence. It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people – practically at will.
Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate. Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt. It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.” They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.” The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority. Victims of TSA excesses never consented to this abuse.
This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified. This is similar to what we were once told that: “destroying a village to save a village” was justified. It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people. And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.
Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms. The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well.
First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government. Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things goes badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority. If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.
When needs are pressing, conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and the whims of the majority. It’s then not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs. As the economy deteriorates and the wealth discrepancies increase – as are already occurring – violence increases as those in need take it in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs. They will not wait for a government rescue program.
When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer just can’t be helped.
When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs. All moral standards become relative. Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth. Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.
Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.
Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government. It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.
To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected. Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.
Limiting Government Excesses vs. a Virtuous Moral People
Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed. The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.
Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government. The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty. The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt. The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what “a virtuous and moral people” means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power.
If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.
If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.
It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time. This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due. This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.
But that illusion is now ending. Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.
Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.
The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.
Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.
I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.
Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek. Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.
If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.
Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of personal achievement.
Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions. The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior. Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.
What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.
1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.
2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.
3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.
4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.
5. World government taking over local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking, a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.
Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.
What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression. The retort to such a suggestion is always: it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.
Literally the day after the election a sudden “urgency” gripped the nation: the imminent danger of the so-called “fiscal cliff” — the national automatic tax increases and spending cuts due in January. The media screamed that the suddenly approaching fiscal cliff would trigger a recession, forcing Democrats and Republicans to consider a “grand bargain” budget deal to avoid disaster.
Of course the fiscal cliff was looming throughout the presidential campaign; politicians simply agreed not to talk about it, since they shared — more or less — the same very unpopular “grand bargain” solutions: austerity cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other popular social programs.
Yes, Obama talked incessantly about the rich “paying their fair share” during his campaign, but he greatly exaggerated his willingness to make this happen, as well as the real differences between the Republicans and Democrats when it came to fixing the deficit.
This fact is revealed by the pro-corporate grand bargain that Obama nearly brokered last summer to fix the fiscal cliff.
The New York Times explains:
“The White House agreed to cut at least $250 billion from Medicare in the next 10 years and another $800 billion in the decade after that, in part by raising the eligibility age. The administration had endorsed another $110 billion or so in cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs, with $250 billion more in the second decade. And in a move certain to provoke rebellion in the Democratic ranks, Obama was willing to apply a new, less generous formula for calculating Social Security benefits, which would start in 2015.”
There you have it. Obama was already guilty of everything he accused the Republicans of during his presidential campaign. His “tax the rich” demagoguery was mainly for show, the exact same promise he broke after the 2008 election.
Some Democrats are already preparing to help Obama break the 2012 promise. The New York Times reports:
“Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, extended an olive branch to Republicans, suggesting Thursday that he could accept a tax plan [to fix the deficit] that leaves the top tax rate at 35 percent [leaving the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in place].”
And although Obama has vowed to stay firm over taxing the rich (this time), his toughness is only skin deep, and comes with dangerous strings attached.
For example, Obama only wants to tax the rich enough to be able to sell the grand bargain to the American public; any grand bargain will include historic cuts to cherished national programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and Obama wants to avoid some of the outrage by claiming that the rich were forced to share in the “sacrifice” too.
This is the “balanced approach” to deficit cutting that Obama discusses, meaning that he wants to raise some revenue from the rich while also making gigantic cuts to social programs.
But in a society racked by massive inequalities, this kind of “balance” is ludicrous. The rich, the banks and other corporations have accumulated trillions of dollars that, if taxed at high enough rates, would easily make ANY cuts to social programs unnecessary.
The nation is not broke, but much of the money has floated to the top. And while Obama is striving to pass a largely symbolic “tax the rich” measure as part of his grand bargain, he’s doing so only to push forward the massive cuts.
This is the political context that makes the demands “No Cuts, Tax the Rich” incredibly necessary not only to Labor and community groups but to all working people, who would be able to unify and fight these austerity cuts by organizing nationally coordinated demonstrations and putting forth the pro-worker solution of No Cuts, Tax the Rich to address the Fiscal Cliff and all future austerity budgets, whether they occur on a city, state, or national level.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has already put out a call to working people to organize and “fight like hell” to prevent any cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Labor and community groups must immediately stop celebrating Obama’s election victory and quickly start mobilizing their members against his anti-worker agenda, lest they spend the next four years crying about the coming “historic betrayal.”
In 2010/2011, workers at St. Charles Hospital in Bend, Oregon came together to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 49 to improve their conditions and strengthen their voice. It was the largest union organizing victory in Oregon for 30 years. This victory held great promise for not only St. Charles’s service workers, but all workers in Central Oregon and health care employees statewide.
On November 1st of this year, workers voted to decertify SEIU Local 49 in a vote of 334 to 212. Why this bitter reversal in less than two years?
To start to answer this question it is necessary to understand how the laws in this nation favor employers at the expense of workers’ unity.
To win legal recognition of a union, by itself, is an exercise in jumping through bureaucratic hoops and being set up for employer intimidation. A vote alone is not enough. Even if a super majority signs cards to join, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requires that another election must be held six weeks after these cards are turned in. This gives the employer a big window to begin to intimidate employees with captive meetings and other tactics where the employer can discourage a yes vote.
In spite of this, workers’ at St. Charles stood strong and won legal recognition by a narrow vote in favor of joining SEIU Local 49. However, the biggest challenge was only starting. Workers needed to negotiate a contract with the administration of St. Charles who were determined not to cede the slightest control of their power.
The strategy of the St. Charles administration was simple. Show up to the bargaining table to fulfill their legal requirement, but refuse to negotiate in any meaningful way. After a year they would be free to start a decertification campaign and, if all goes well, get rid of the union.
Using dollars that could have been spent on patient care and improving the wages and benefits of their employees, St. Charles hired the second largest anti-union consultant in America. No doubt, these efforts were supported by hospital CEOs across the state.
They conducted an aggressive campaign to find ways to fire union leaders and targeting pro-union employees for intimidation. Thirty percent of St. Charles service workers signed a petition to have a decertification vote. This minority was enough to set the wheels in motion to set up an NLRB election to get rid of the union, whereas, it takes a majority of workers to have an election to vote in a union.
So over the top were the St. Charles administration’s efforts that they flagrantly broke labor law. The union filed several Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges with the NLRB and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. As a result, the calendar date to have a decertification vote was put on hold.
This did not, however, make the administration any more flexible at the bargaining table. Because the process of investigation and judgment is incredibly slow and the penalties are weak for ULPs, they treated all this as a minor annoyance. Meanwhile, the employees continued to be subject to the pressure of the St. Charles anti-union campaign, and saw no satisfactory progress in bargaining, which seemed to be going on with no end in sight.
Even with a likely favorable ruling regarding the ULPs, a decertification vote would eventually have to take place. Consequently, the union decided to lift the hold on the vote calendar date because of the ULPs.
When the votes came in, it was clear that the majority of the St. Charles service workers were exhausted by the intimidation as well as frustrated and decided to decertify. A legal system tilted in favor of big business combined with the St. Charles administration’s intransience and deep pockets won the day for corporate greed. SEIU Local 49 has not yet decided whether to challenge the results.
But, as the old saying goes, the battle might be lost, but not the war. It is necessary to draw the lessons of this defeat and adjust tactics in order to win.
When the staff of SEIU Local 49 got a call that the workers of St. Charles Bend needed their assistance to pull together and resist the greed of their employer, the union did the right thing and threw considerable effort into the cause. Even with the decertification, the workers at St. Charles are in a better position today to conduct collective concerted action than they were before SEIU Local 49 jumped in.
St. Charles has four hospitals and is by far the largest employer in Central Oregon. They have no serious competitors in the region. They can afford to care nothing about public opinion, only the bottom line.
Consequently, though the hospital in Bend is their largest, the administration is in a strong position to resist a union organizing campaign at only one of their facilities. They have the resources to do so with a monopoly of health care services in Central Oregon and anti-union consultants willing to provide their services for a fat fee.
A union’s strength relies on its ability to organize the majority of workers on an industry wide basis. A union organizing drive at St. Charles would be strongest if it could build organizing committees at all four of its hospitals.
In addition, unions are at their strongest when they act as a social movement and link community needs to the needs of its members. Such links, if seriously built, have the potential of choking the employer’s profits if the union goes on strike with massive community support on the picket lines. The employers know this and are more likely to negotiate a fair contract in order to avoid such action if they see the growth of such a development.
At this stage, immediately focusing on a campaign to re-win union representation at St. Charles Bend alone may not be the best step forward. Rather, it would be better to adjust organizing tactics by encouraging the organizing of a social movement that would take collective action on the issues of health care and workers’ justice in Central Oregon. It would include working members at all of St. Charles facilities as well as community members and former employees. It is this kind of solidarity that is at the heart of the union movement and will facilitate the winning of formal union recognition at St. Charles as part of a larger struggle.
A potential model would be OurWalmart. This organization was initiated and supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers’ (UFCW) union though OurWalmart’s members decide on their own actions. While the first efforts to organize workers into the UFCW failed at Walmart, the growth of OurWalmart has greatly helped future victories. It is because of the growth of OurWalmart that workers have been able to go out on strikes at numerous Walmart facilities for the first time in the company’s history. These workers went on strike to protest unfair labor practices such as retaliation against workers for taking collective action, which is legally protected even without the formal recognition of a union. As a result, they have Walmart on the defensive and have been able to win improvements to their conditions. The experience of such victories through sticking together is teaching Walmart workers about the potential of winning more if they form a union.
The service workers at St. Charles Bend already have a strong organizing committee. They could act as a springboard for a more broad based community organization to promote a culture of health care worker/community solidarity in Central Oregon. This will encourage future union organizing efforts at St. Charles on a wider level.
While labor law favors the employer in this nation, there are always ways to overcome this obstacle. The decertification of SEIU Local 49 at St. Charles Bend is a setback, but often out of setback come new opportunities.
“Our media is pumping out lies and propaganda because it is part of the one percent; it is owned by conspirators and populated with talented individuals who have sold their souls to the same devil that is loose in our government. Like a nation of Zombies our elected officials support the lies, live the lies, and betray their trust to the liars. It is a charade of great magnitude so big that a few decades ago everyone would have thought such mendacity would be impossible.” From my essay “The End of Democracy”
“His watchmen are blind, all of them know nothing. All of them are dumb dogs unable to bark, dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; and the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; and tomorrow will be like today, only more so.’” Isaiah 56: 10-12
Some years ago, as the sun shone on an office building window, someone noticed that the reflection looked like the Virgin Mary. Believers in apparitions soon gathered in great numbers to see the “miracle”. Some saw her weeping. The story gained media attention and hundreds were convinced it was a genuine miracle.
While not debunking the origin of this particular apparition it is plain that God’s human creations are vulnerable to believing all sorts of things that have no basis in fact; especially when the false beliefs fulfill a subliminal desire.
There are millions of United States citizens whose cherished beliefs are unshakeable but patently false:
We believe Arabs are our enemies though they lack the resources to threaten us and, before recent provocations, have never done so. We support the Middle East War because we entertain the illusion that they hate us for our freedom and intend to attack us.
We hate Arab immigrants and fear Sharia law while it is neocon hegemony in our own government that has encoded the cultural deteriorating principles of multi-culturalism allowing Muslims legal entrance into our nation.
We believe illegitimate, neo-Israel is our friend and Jews are a persecuted people deserving our sympathy when, in reality, neo-Israel, founded against the will of Arabs who had owned and occupied the land for centuries, has gained control of the power centers of our nation and is using us for its own evil purposes. Jews, the world’s most powerful race, hate us and our Christian religion with a Devilish passion.
We believe a group of Arabs planned and executed the 9/11 travesty because they hate us for our freedom when there is irrefutable evidence that the murder of thousands of U. S. citizens on that ignoble day was a false flag operation, that may have been conducted by our Israeli comrades to bring on the Middle East War.
Hundreds of thousands of government employees along with a lesser number of media mavens live, breath, sleep and act as if the shaky government story on 9/11 is factual; purposely refusing to report or even consider mountains of data that refute it.
Millions of Evangelical Christians believe the heretical theology of Dispensationalism which supports contemporary Pharisees who hate and seek to destroy the Christianity Evangelicals claim to cherish.
Both candidates for President of the United States vow to support the afore-mentioned Zionist cabal to the detriment of our nation; sacrificing the lives our young men, ruining our reputation, deteriorating our morals, and bankrupting the government. One of these illusion filled individuals will become the stooge that governs United States of America.
While encouraging us to conserve energy to prevent depleting our resources, the ruling elite has exported our manufacturing to China cluttering our highways with trucks and requiring the shipment of millions of tons of product half way around the world in the most inefficient, energy consuming system imaginable.
Christians, even the few that actually claim The One True God is sovereign, deify the government by forgetting God and seeking salvation from a government idol.
Weather gurus, harnessed to our underhanded media, keep us posted on outside conditions but fail to address Chemtrails which are plainly visible but universally ignored.
While our elected representatives claim they are satisfied that President Obama was born in the United States the president continues to create suspicion by hiding his Passport and Educational records.
Christians claim to “believe in God” but act as if He is their servant rather than they His.
Wives often live as if everything is normal while their husbands philander. Christian pastors who are homosexual or see prostitutes often have wives who act as if all is well. Internet pornography is a captivating vice that festers in families that ignore its dangers. Gambling bankrupts other deluded homes.
Illusion is a common condition. We are born with the ability to fanaticize. It produces great novels, plays, music, and operas. When it is recognized, properly labeled and properly used, it can be an entertaining diversion offering relief from the tedium of everyday life. But when it invades the decisions of authority centers it is a shifting, toxic foundation that creates chaos by destroying the ability to reach sound conclusions.
Some illusion is a result of planned deception and manipulation; some is a result of intentional evasion; some is useful human diversion; some is a result of coercion; and, some enhances artistic endeavors.
Toxic illusion is deeply entrenched in our nation. We have ignored it too long. Much of what we believe is fictitious.
Seeing 435 congresspersons, 100 senators, and 8 justices with little American flags prominently pinned on their garb acting as if the government agenda is unquestionable when their computers are exploding with contrary data is a curious phenomenon. It is unanimously assumed that 9/11 was a malicious al-Qaeda attack on our nation resulting in the destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the deaths of three thousand people. The validity of this scenario is never seriously questioned even though it has been refuted by hundreds of reputable engineers and thousands of citizens. Illusion encompasses our entire government.
Government, a human administration of power, if it is not properly critiqued tends toward imperialism. The Christian Church is responsible for the continuity of freedom by regularly comparing government actions with the Word of God. Unfortunately, the Christian Church is as deep into fantasy as the government they are supposed to critique. Contemporary Christians have never learned to swim; instead they wade about in neophytic shallow water unable to swim into the sea of Godly service and reach the distant shore and the commendation “Well Done Good and Faithful Servant”!
God wants us to evangelize, He wants to fill us with His Spirit and He wants us to praise Him, however, before all of this He wants us to obey and serve Him. We cannot serve Him until we obey Him. Learning to swim is learning to obey, it allows a Christian to leave the shallow water and enter the deeper water of service. Obedience is a prerequisite to service. Obedience to human law without regard for God’s Law leaves us in shallow water. Mass Christian conversions are of little use when the converts are not obedient.
Christians who claim that God “speaks” to them are always subject to indwelling sin. Personal guidance is real but it is always questionable and not the same as obedience. Obedience involves the Law God gave to Moses which is recorded in our Bible and which is the same today as it was when it was given to Moses. It is a solid platform not subject to the darkness of the fallen human spirit. Obedience to God’s Law is the deep water of the Gospel. Those who depend on personal guidance will always remain in the shallows and the Christian religion will remain with them.
Christians define it as sin but regardless of its name we all have a tendency to choose a lie and allow it to distort our actions. Too many citizens cling to the belief that their elected officials would deceive them or act against the interests of the nation. When this subliminal tendency is exploited by the cunning owners of our press and media the result is disastrous; a majority of our citizens are deceived into acting against and fighting the Will of God and their own better interests! It is not what they know that causes the problem but what they don’t know, are not told, and sometimes do not want to know.
R. J. Rushdoony wrote several volumes of daily devotional readings entitled “A Word in Season”. These reading are unique because they apply God’s Word to our actions and the actions of society. He compares our generation to the ancient Israeli generation that Moses led from Egypt. God would not allow this generation of former Egyptian residents to enter the Promised Land because they were unfit for freedom. They were more concerned about access to cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic than the freedom of the Promised Land. He ends the short reading with this question: “Will we too perish in a desert of our own making because we reject the responsibilities of faith and freedom?”
Unfortunately we have been and are doing so!
After an embarrassing 34 months in office, how can Barack Obama even run for a second term? After starting off three years ago by bowing to other heads of state in submission, how can he lead the most powerful country in the world? He cannot run on his record because it suffers a dismal record.
These points rush around the Internet without a byline, so I felt it worth the time to quantify what they mean and how Obama fails the American people on multiple levels. As Clint Eastwood said, “When someone doesn’t do the job, we have to let them go.”
Obama promised to reduce the national debt, but instead, he added $5 trillion. Folks, we are beyond broke. We are headed for a crash with our debt. It won’t be pretty. It could very well destroy the foundation of our republic. As our second president, John Adams said, “There are two ways to defeat a country: by the sword or by debt.”
If any other of our presidents had proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?
If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder who’s side he was on? This really ticks me off because Arizona passed S.B. 1070 to protect itself from a million illegal aliens that bankrupted its schools, hospitals and prisons. Yet, Obama sued Arizona on the side of Mexico. All the while, Obama refused to secure our borders and enforce internal immigration laws. Preposterous that he thinks he can run again for president. He should run for janitor of an elementary school.
If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps like Marine Corpse, would you think of him as a patriot? He never served and he wouldn’t know a platoon from a company.
If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed?
If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need a Teleprompter installed to able
to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes? The fact remains that Obama never qualified for the presidency in the first place. He did not merit the emotional vote that gave him the White House any more than he earned the Nobel Peace Prize after a month in office. It’s all a charade.
If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take his First Lady to a play in NYC, would you have approved? How could Obama spend ridiculous amounts of our tax dollars to squire his wife around NYC or Spain? It’s unconscionable.
If any other of our presidents had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved? Or how about all of us that have our “guns and religion?”
If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud moment for America? If any other of our presidents had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia would you have approved?
If any other of our presidents had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved? That mistake showed Obama’s incompetence at the highest level. How many other mistakes did he make? Answer: plenty.
If any other of our presidents had stated that there were 57 states in the United States, wouldn’t you have had second thoughts about his capabilities? It shows his Muslim heritage and his Islamic bias because 57 refers to something about Islam.
If any other of our presidents had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to “Cinco de Cuatro” in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, wouldn’t you have winced in embarrassment?
If any other of our presidents had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded that he is totally out of touch?
If any other of our presidents had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?
If any other of our presidents had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America, would you have ever approved?
Finally, he usurped the U.S. Congress by defying the fact that the entire body defeated the Dream Act because the American people did not want it. They want immigration laws enforced and they want massive legal immigration stopped. Our country cannot keep importing the endless masses of the world onto our shores. It’s not sustainable. Obama doesn’t understand that fact.
Yes, Obama failed us on many levels and now, it’s time to let him go. Clint Eastwood will prove a very prophetic man.
Technology changes, while human nature remains constant. Voter fraud is a repetitive part of the election experience. The lack of integrity in voting procedures, and more importantly the ballot counting process, causes the gravest concerns and casts substantial doubt on the legitimacy of the entire political system. Eight years ago in a different presidential cycle, the article 2004 – a time to go fishing, asks why do people tolerate this tainted and pseudo election process.
“So what should we expect for 2004, a presidential election year? First off, the misnomer that presidents are elected must be dispelled. They are selected. Any reasonable and sensible person must conclude that Thomas Jefferson could never win the nomination of a major party.
Political parties have always hated the Republic. Their purpose is to confuse and distort politics in order that their organizations can manage the process of sham elections. The fraud that there is a real difference between the DemocRATS and RepubliCANTS, should be apparent to even the most obsessed party activist. So why do the masses continue to act as asses? Why do they still vote? The only answer that potentially explains this discontent from sane reality is that voters believe they get something out of supporting a politician.”
As the twisted notion, that one’s vote actually alters the establishment status quo, persists in the shallow minds of naive benefit spongers, the harsh facts testify to a different outcome. The essay Fatalistic Reality and Election Futility, laments the actual results.
“After every election, the system continues to grind citizens into the ground. The privileged few continue to accrue their vast sums of booty, as the debt soars to heights that only a super computer can calculate.”
The introductions of marvelous digital ballot computing devices are a programmer’s arena and a politician’s dream. The Daily Kos in the article, ELECTION FRAUD: It’s the Voting Machines, Not the Voters, points the finger at the digital device.
“How can we rely on voting results when the cases of voting machine problems are so hugely widespread?
There are over 200,000,000 million registered voters. It would take a huge amount of voter fraud to tilt an election. However, an entire county’s votes can be compromised by voting machine problems, and they have, many times over.
The GOP is yelling about Voter Fraud, when the real problems are the well-documented problems with voting machines? You never hear them yelling about this reality.”
The political machines of the duality party monopoly work the 0’s and 1’s to game the system. The idea that a true competition exists pushes the limits of reason. The elites behind the current political selection, keep the appearance of a cutthroat race, when the administrators of the vote counting codes program the agreed upon results into the outcome.
Pat Shannan in the American Free Press cites Black Box Election Fraud Alleged in GOP Primaries and introduces the activism of Bev Harris. Her book, Black Box Voting—Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century is now available at no charge at blackboxvoting.org. It details the numerous election computer “breakdowns” that seem to follow almost every questionable situation.In the Post-Election Audits Necessary for Electronic Voting Systems article, Fahmida Y. Rashid argues improvements in the vote counting system.
“The primary way to “safeguard the integrity” of the vote was to mandate statistically meaningful post-election audits, instead of setting security standards for each voting equipment, researchers from California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote in the latest Voting Technology Project report.”
The problem with this approach does not secure protection from intentional tampering to the operating system code. Mr. Rashid cites a flagrant example.
“It turned out DREs weren’t all that secure. Several researchers examined the copy of the Diebold voting system software and found “egregious security lapses,” such as incorrect use of encryption, that put it at “high risk of compromise.” If the voting systems had been tampered with before the election to incorrectly record the votes, there was no easy way for election official to verify the votes had been recorded correctly.”
David S. Levine in a column, Can We Trust Voting Machines?, provides evidence of more skepticism.
“Do we want the source code that tells the machine how to register, count, and tabulate votes to be a trade secret such that the public cannot verify that an election has been conducted accurately and fairly without resorting to (ironically) paper verification? Can we trust the private vendors when they assure us that the votes will be assigned to the right candidate and won’t be double-counted or simply disappear, and that the machines can’t be hacked? As a September USA Today editorial described, all of the above have either been proven to be potential risks or have actually happened.”
The thesis against centralization of counting ballots results argues that the method to fix a national election is far greater with the use of electronic voting machines. The expense of a billion dollar campaign is a mere payoff to the media moguls to gain favor in the contorted psychological wasteland of the medium message. Substance and sincere engagement on issues and policy are virtually unknown in the staged combat of diversion and subterfuge.
|Voting Fraud in the 2012 Presidential Elections Part 1||
Voting Fraud in the 2012 Presidential Elections Part 2
In order to gain a keen insight into electronic voting abuses watch the videos.
A key criticism is that any system that consolidates the tallying of votes or presents a surreptitious method of distorting or fixing the results should be discarded. The imperfect paper ballot practice of precinct vote counting had a greater degree of a safeguard then an electronic centralization count.
Nevertheless, the proposition that direct elections can be designed to reflect the reliable will of the electorate is a false objective and a frightful abandonment of the fundamental purpose of America. “The Republic is severely crippled, when direct democracy replaces representation.“The intention to inculcate the vote among (theoretical) equals to affirm the rule of (elite) unequals, is an offense against all humankind. A representative government that excludes political partisan careerists is essential. A populist infusion of citizen responsibility into local civic life is indispensable to a just society. During this latest quadrennial election season, the political foreplay surrounding the coronation of the next tyrant in chief is sickening.
The total ballots recorded for president in the 2008 election was 131,393,990, of which Barack Obama received 69,498,215 votes. The estimated voting age population was 230,872,030. The obvious inference is that any candidate would be a minority president, when selected. The perception that the majority rules America is patently absurd.
A major theme of the “TC” series of essays is that the federal government is illegitimate. During this current electronic pageant “reality show”, the promise of righting the ship of state is an elusive fantasy. The valid replacement political system to the profane oligarchy that subjugates our fellow Americans is the model of The TUN – a true representative council. Read this Inherent Autonomy article for the background and full explanation for real representative republic.
“For those who favor and prompt a state or national constitutional convention, it is necessary to have a true representative alternative to the nuisance of direct democracy or the fascism and cronyism of two-party tag team elections. Is it possible to apply this method through the current political establishment system? Most unlikely; however, the importance of the exercise and future debate is to have an alternative when the current unconstitutional system collapses.”
The most rabid utopian statists want to abolish the Electoral College. Many of these same collectivist egalitarians favor early balloting, internet voting and oppose providing proof of registration before casting a vote. The extent of their ignorance rivals the deceit of the phony party divergence.
The campaign circus hardly fosters confidence in political leadership or honesty. In addition to the partisan torture of countless lies and corrupt tactics, the public is subjugated to the insult of doctoring the ballot count. Over a hundred million of our compatriots will sit on their hands and stay home for this next presidential election. The fictitious claim that the people provide consent to the ruling class is offensive.
After the suffrages are processed, it would come as no surprise if the results exceeded those that were actually cast. When will Americans wake up to the surreal exploitation of their natural rights? The Black Box Voting junto is the new Tammany Hall. This level of corruption brings the greatest insult, The United Nations will monitor election, do you feel 3rd world.
“Is this an imposition on U. S. sovereignty? Do we now trust the United Nations with securing our individual liberty? Is our national government supreme, second only to God, or are we now “earthers”? Have you surrendered being an American?”
So much for the Grand National experiment, RIP for a once great nation.
Go to any university, any center of equities trade, any meeting place for financial academia, any fiscal think tank, and they will tell you without the slightest hint of doubt in their eyes that the U.S. economy is essential to the survival of the world. To even broach the possibility that the U.S. could be dropped or replaced as the central pillar of trade on the planet is greeted with sneers and even anger. But let’s set aside what we think (or what we assume) we know about the American financial juggernaut and consider the sordid history of the money powerhouse myth.
Germany, especially in the decade leading up to WWI, was an industrial giant, rivaling Britain in the production of raw commodities like steel, as well as the banking envy of the world. I’m sure very few economists of the era would have given any credence to the idea that the German foundation would in the near future collapse into hyperinflationary ruin. However, that is exactly what it did. In the span of 10 to 15 years, Germany was completely supplanted as the shining beacon of economic prosperity, never to return to a similar glory.
The British Empire from WWII up until the late 1950’s was the primary force in the global trade of oil, and the pound-sterling was dominant in the export and import of raw petroleum between nations. Extreme debt obligations and draining interventions in the Middle East set Britain on the path to currency devaluation, and the loss of its coveted reserve status.
The point is, there is no such thing as an invincible economy, especially if it is predicated on overt debt creation, fiat printing, and reckless foreign policy. When it comes down to the raw data, the American system is just as fragile as any corrupt third world shanty-town nation.
The possibility of a U.S. without financial hegemony is very real. To understand that this possibility exists is one thing; to understand that the process of destabilization has already begun is another. Many analysts with their heads stuck in the mainstream clouds attempt to argue against the “theory” of foreign markets decoupling from the U.S., not realizing that their entire debate platform is pointless because the decoupling is happening right under their noses…
The recent press covering the ongoing plan by BRIC nations (or “BRICS” if you count the latest bilateral agreements with South Africa) to establish their own supranational banking hub merely highlights the fact that developing countries are not simply “talking” about decoupling from the United States, they are taking actions to make it happen:
The response from mainstream financial analysts is, of course, that the project for a BRIC bank will fail. Their argument, however, usually revolves around the assumption that this new central bank is designed to “compete” with the IMF, and is a merely an overreaction to the IMF and World Bank’s failure to give developing nations more inclusion in decision making processes. I see no evidence that the BRICS are trying to create a counter-system which would conflict with IMF control. Instead, it would seem that the BRICS are much more interested in forcing the issue of greater inclusion, and garnering greater favor within the already existing IMF structure:
Last year the G20 discussed heightened participation by China and the BRICS in the IMF’s global basket currency, the SDR. French Finance Minister and later “elected” IMF chief Christine Lagarde agreed with the idea while stating that certain conditions, including appreciation of the Yuan’s value, would have to take place:
Contrary to the belief that the BRICS are building opposition to the IMF, China has on several occasions called for the EXPANSION of the IMF’s power, as well as widespread circulation of the SDR:
How have the MSM talking heads missed this trend? Simply put: Bias, controlled and pre-written talking points from their editors, as well as many half-baked presumptions. The popular belief amongst financial academia is that the IMF is a product of American economic might, and that the organization will do whatever is in the best interests of the U.S. at all times. The reality is that the IMF is fast becoming the central authority of economic operations around the globe, and America just happens to be paying the largest “tithe” to the respective coffers of the banking syndicate. Do you get more control in the operations of the IRS when you pay more taxes?
The IMF’s goal is world centralization of economic control. For them, any sovereign nation is expendable in pursuit of the end game, including the United States. The IMF would not be pushing the issuance of a new world reserve currency to unseat the dollar if they did not intend to follow through, and they certainly would not hobble the greenback if they cared in the slightest about American economic concerns.
Rather than running counter to the IMF, BRIC partners and the newly realized ASEAN bloc are making themselves indispensible to the globalists, ensuring wider partnership in the near future. A BRIC central bank is, I believe, a bargaining chip to be used to open the door to more leadership in the IMF while reducing American influence. To summarize, the BRICS are not in conflict with the IMF, rather, they are in conflict with the U.S., and this conflict is coming to a climax…
Trade amongst BRIC nations continues to climb while exports to the U.S. have diminished. Between 2001 and 2009, exports and imports between BRICS skyrocketed, even amidst the derivatives collapse:
Last year, ASEAN overtook Japan as China’s third largest trading partner. With the announcement of increased participation by Japan in the ASEAN bloc this year, the economic body looks poised to eclipse the U.S. and perhaps even the EU as China’s primary source of export and import business:
Meanwhile, overall exports around the world have dropped for five consecutive months in 2012 on slowing demand in the West. The expectation of a massive resurgence in consumer demand from the U.S. has been proven unfounded, while the recession in the EU is exacerbating the downturn. U.S. exporters, who not long ago held dreams of foreign buyers clamoring for goods in the midst of Federal Reserve inflation and dollar devaluation, have discovered that they are instead floundering:
The mainstream claim is that this is due to a breakdown in general Chinese demand, but with exponential bilateral trade deals (many of which cut out the U.S. dollar completely as a reserve currency) being made between China and major producing and consuming countries, it is clear that this is not just a demand issue in China; it is an ongoing process of removal of the U.S. from the trading picture. That is to say, China is deliberately reducing purchases of U.S. goods and turning towards BRIC and ASEAN partner countries to fill the void. This may be the reason why China recently surpassed the U.S. as the top sanctuary for foreign investment:
A Treasury report on China’s status as a “currency manipulator” already due but now delayed until after the elections may become the catalyst for the final phase of the global shunning of American markets. With China being presented as a primary issue during the presidential debates, it would seem that regardless of who “wins” the election there will be strain applied to Chinese trade relations.
China’s incredible gold buying extravaganzas over the past few years (including an estimated 500 tons in 2011 and another 500 tons so far in 2012) indicate that they are indeed hedging against what they obviously expect will be devaluation in the dollar or multiple currencies around the world including the dollar. India continues its long tradition of gold buying, while Russia is now increasing its reserves by half-a-billion dollars a month. These are the actions of countries getting ready for a break in the financial system, not a recovery, and certainly not a return to the old days of American consumer bliss.
The argument over whether or not the BRICS and the rest of the world can drop the U.S. economy and move onward has, ultimately, been rendered obsolete. Many will claim that a decoupling is impossible, but the fact remains that a decoupling is taking place. The consequences of this fiscal divorce remain to be seen, and the mainstream could very easily predict disaster for the BRICS. The real question they should be asking themselves, though, is which countries are better placed to survive such an event? Is the U.S. economy really built to withstand a loss of the dollar as the world reserve currency? Is the U.S. prepared for plummeting foreign investment and a reduction in its already dismal production capacity (production taking place by Americans on American soil, that is)? Is the U.S. really ready for extreme inflation in imported goods (most of the goods we consume)? Who really needs who more? It is time for the pundits and average Americans alike to set aside their commercialized and subsidized fake patriotism and question how strong our economy truly is. To ignore vast weakness today, is to feel vast pain tomorrow…
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Everywhere I look these days, I see hypocrisy and double standards being usedby Americans — locally, nationally and internationally.
Locally, for instance, a neighbor of mine recently intimidated and bullied her landlord into giving her all kinds of favors and perks. However, when this same landlord attempted to do something that would have benefited all of his tenants, she suddenly threatened to take him to court. “More stuff for me, less stuff for you,” seemed to be the argument that she plans to present to the judge.
And another neighbor of mine claims to be a devout Christian yet supports war (any war!) bigtime. Jesus would never do that.
And our city’s current mayor, a developer himself, always seems to favor other developers and to go out of his way to twist, bend and chew up city procedures if this could possibly get yet another unnecessary highrise built downtown by his developer friends. And yet our mayor screams bloody murder when city procedures might actually benefit just some Average Joe like you and me.
On the national level, Willard “Mitt” Romney wants to take from the poor and give to the rich — and he’s really really good at this too. Fine. He’s rich. This policy benefits him. I understand that. But then he talks to the rest of us poor schmucks like he’s gonna be our savior too — when this is actually the farthest thing from his mind? Hypocrisy? Absolutely.
Obama claims to represent America’s grassroots community. But who gets the most benefits from his largess? Wall Street. And War Street. And “health insurance” companies. Of course he’s better at benefiting you and me than Mitt is – but not by all that much. Saint Obama he is not.
And during this current election cycle, Americans all seem to be bitching and moaning about the direction that their country is going in — yet no one will vote for a viable candidate with good ideas such as Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party (who just got arrested for having the gall to ask for her rightful place at the last presidential debate). Or even Roseanne Barr. Trust me. Roseanne Barr has a lot more good ideas than Romney and Obama combined. But Americans would rather just bitch and whine and “vote for the lesser of two evils”. Hypocrisy.
There are two excellent films out right now, entitled “We’re Not Broke“ and “Story of Broke“ . Both movies clearly demonstrate that we have more than enough money in our treasury to benefit the 99% wonderfully — but are benefiting the greedy 1% instead. That’s just wrong.
And here is a link to a film about Monsanto — how it is systematically killing off as many human beings as possible for fun and profit, both in America and abroad. Perhaps Monsanto has mistaken us humans for weeds?
And on the international scene, we can see the most hypocrisy of all. Global corporate interests with American ties have caused the deaths of over ten million people in the Congo in the last three decades — and then these same enormous conglomerates actually have the NERVE to say they are just representing free enterprise. Since when did Adam Smith ever tell us that capitalists need to take their market advantages from the barrel of a gun? Or from welfare subsidies from the USA, the IMF and the UN?
America’s corporate-owned government bleats constantly that it is representing democracy abroad — despite all the election fraud, jailing of demonstrators, free speech suppression, media control, indefinite detention and phone-tapping going on here — which makes our “democratic” leaders on the international level the biggest hypocrites of all.
For instance, just look what happened recently regarding that low-rent porno flick, “Innocence of Muslims”. It has been vigorously protected as supposedly representing “free speech”. But when the Jenin Freedom Theater in Palestine puts on plays that highlight the brutal and insane injustice of the corporate-owned Israeli occupation and land-grab, the theater’s artistic director is jailed. Jailed. And tortured. How protective of free speech is that?
And then there’s Al Qaeda — bad guys when you need a boogieman in America, but good guys when you need boogiemen in Libya and Syria. And Israel? It’s a heroic Jewish state when War Street needs to propagandize it – but an anti-Semite down-and-dirty commandment-breaker and disrespecter of Torah in real life whenever War Street needs a land-grab in the Middle East .
So. Selfishness and hypocrisy have become the new American morality — both locally and nationally. And internationally too. Everyone in America seems to expect everyone else to play by the rules — except for themselves. ‘What’s mine is mine — and what’s yours in mine too!” should be solemnly engraved on every single American coin and should definitely replace “E Pluribus Unum” on all dollars.
Either that, or Americans might actually consider going back to attempting to do things cooperatively so that everyone benefits — not just for benefiting you at a very high price to me.
Nah. That will never happen. Too late.
The frightening prospects from a derivative meltdown, well known for years, seem to deepen with every measure to prop up a failing international financial system. The essay Greed is Good, but Derivatives are Better, characterizes the gamble game in this fashion:
“The elegance of derivatives is that the rules that defy nature are not involved in intangible swaps. The basic value in the payment from the risk is always dumped on the back of the taxpayer. Ponzi schemes are legal when government croupiers spin loaded balls on their fudged roulette tables.”
Under conventional international trading settlement, the world reserve currency is the Dollar. The loss of confidence in the Federal Reserve System causes a corresponding decline in value in U. S Treasury obligations. Add into this risk equation, derivative instruments that are deadly threats that can well destroy national currencies. One such response to this unchecked danger can be found in a Bloomberg Businessweek perceptive article, A Shortage of Bonds to Back Derivatives Bets, makes a stark forecast.
“Starting next year, new rules will force banks, hedge funds, and other traders to back up more of their bets in the $648 trillion derivatives market by posting collateral. While the rules are designed to prevent another financial meltdown, a shortage of Treasury bonds and other top-rated debt to use as collateral may undermine the effort to make the system safer.”
China And Japan Move Away From Dollar, Will Conduct Bilateral Trade Using Own Currencies, is one method to avoid the direct consequences of a derivative meltdown.
“The China Foreign Exchange Trade System, the division of the People’s Bank of China which manages currency trading, said that the country will set a daily trading rate based on a weighted average of prices given by market makers. The People’s Bank said on Tuesday that an initial trading rate would be set at 7.9480 Yuan for every 100 Yen at market in Shanghai. Unlike yuan-dollar trading, which only allows for a daily fluctuation of 1 percent in Yuan trading value, Yuan trading with the Yen will be able to move within a 3 percent range.”
Timing of a Dollar reputation is almost impossible to pinpoint with precise market foreknowledge. Yet the inevitability that The Dollar is Doomed, refers to the insight of “Hans F. Sennholz in his essay - Saving the Dollar from Destruction - we are presented with a bleak financial future. Even under optimum conditions, the alternatives are not pleasant. Now let’s ask the 64,000 dollar question. What will happen when interest rates start to rise?”
The economic havoc, with the rise in interest rates, will greatly disrupt existing worldwide trade agreements and practices. In the article How The U.S. Dollar Will Be Replaced, Brandon Smith addresses the pragmatic measures undertaken by major trade partners to protect their domestic economies from a Dollar freefall.
“To those people who consistently claim that the dollar will never be dropped, my response is, it already has been dropped! China, in tandem with other BRIC nations, has been covertly removing the greenback as the primary trade unit through bilateral deals since 2010. First with Russia, and now with the whole of the ASEAN trading bloc and numerous other markets, including Japan. China in particular has been preparing for this eventuality since 2005, when they introduced the first Yuan denominated bonds. The bonds were considered a strange novelty back then, especially because China had so much surplus savings that it seemed outlandish for them to take on treasury debt. Today, the move makes a whole lot more sense. China and the BRIC nations today openly call for a worldwide shift away from the dollar:”
“Dagong Global, a fledgling Chinese rating agency, degraded the U.S. treasury bonds late last year, yet its move was met then with a sense of arrogance and cynicism from some Western commentators. Now S&P has proved what its Chinese counterpart has done is nothing but telling the global investors the ugly truth.”
The derivatives time bomb lingers over every financial market on the planet. Reforms cannot remove excess and greed, from risk management fiscal contracts. When the largest foreign trading partners look to insulate their transactions from an unstable Dollar currency, the panic has already begun.
It should be self-evident that additional U.S. Treasury bailouts with unlimited Federal Reserve claims against every asset of collateral that can be attached, is obscene in its nature. Hedging is equivalent to reassigning betting risk to unfunded insurance underwriters that would never be able to pay off the claim. Governments are broke by almost any financial standard. Central banksters accumulate titles to real property and assets by hook or crook.
Nation states held hostage to financial manipulation are slaves to the central banks. With the demise of the Dollar, the fake debt obligations of the United States must be repudiated. Foreign states are prepared to sever their links to the Dollar reserve currency, by trading directly in the domestic currencies of other countries. Interacting commerce in Dollars with American companies will continue, but the yoke of Federal Reserve Notes legal tender will be rejected when the derivative meltdown explodes.
Is there no end to the lack of spiritual discernment within the Christian community? Even some of our Church leaders are showing a startling lack of discernment. And if we can’t trust our leaders to help us stay on the straight and narrow path, who can we trust?
On October 5th, Southern Baptist preacher Rick Warren sat down with New Age/New Thought high priestess Oprah Winfrey for an interview. Although Oprah claims to be a Christian she most assuredly is not as I clearly demonstrate here and here. Joel Osteen, who is said to be “one of America’s most influential spiritual leaders,” appeared on the show prior to Warren to promote his new book, “I Declare: 31 Promises To Speak Over Your Life.” Around 45,000 people attend Lakewood Church each Sunday to hear Osteen preach the word-faith prosperity gospel “lite.” It’s really not surprising that he was invited to appear on “Oprah’s Life Class.” The duo has become fast friends ever since she and Tyler Perry attended a Lakewood service some months back. They soon discovered how like-minded they are. In fact, Osteen has this Oprahesque declaration on his website:
The words we speak set the course for our life. If you want to know what you’re going to be like in five years, listen to the words you are saying about yourself today.
Osteen not only teaches a false gospel, he apparently has scant knowledge of the scriptures which is the main reason the man who pastors the largest megachurch in America is unaware that the Lord has called His followers to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tm 2:15).
Rick Warren’s claim to fame is his books “The Purpose Driven Church” and “The Purpose Driven Life.” PDL is the best-selling hardback non-fiction book in American history and is translated into more than 50 languages. By using modern marketing methods he helped lay the foundation for the Church Growth movement (CGM). Largely due to the popularity of his purpose-driven books the CGM has spread through churches like a windstorm sweeping across the Great Plains, ushering in a “new paradigm” of transformational leadership to meet the challenge of the new century. CGM “emphasizes mainly missionary work combined with sociological awareness of the target population.” In other words, it utilizes slick marketing techniques. The object is to reach the “unchurched” using the age-old principle: You can draw more flies with honey than with vinegar. Hence, the “seeker-sensitive” label.
Over the years Pastor Warren has become controversial, and rightly so, for a multitude of reasons which I’ve tackled here and here. For one reason or another controversy continually swirls around “America’s Pastor.” Still, he is highly regarded by many in the Christian community and likewise the press. What’s stunning is that he’s often invited to speak at events with New Calvinist luminaries like John Piper, Mark Driscoll, James MacDonald and Matt Chandler. Before I move on, I must bring to light influential Reformed theologian John Piper’s recent endorsement of Rick Warren. Many of us in the discernment ministries were both surprised and troubled by his endorsement. Christine Pack observed:
[Piper] gave his “stamp of approval” by having Warren be a keynote speaker at Dr. Piper’s annual Desiring God conference. This was an event that caught many in evangelicalism off guard and resulted in a flurry of articles and blog posts over a number of months. The problem with Dr. Piper welcoming Rick Warren into the fold is that Dr. Piper has long been known as a champion and protector of the purity of the gospel message. (Source)
Pastor celebrity James MacDonald was once asked to comment on the “seeker movement” and he replied, “The seeker movement [should be] subtitled: How to Fill Your Church with Tares.” Later he publically affirmed Rick Warren in a tweet even knowing that the seeker movement that filled churches with heathens was the brain child of “possibility thinker” Robert Schuller. His most recognized disciples are Bill Hybels and Rick Warren. Excuse me, but a shepherd’s duty is to point out error and guard the flock from wolves in sheep’s clothing, not to invite them into the sheep pen!
Sorry to digress.
Another prominent pastor who shares the stage with Rick Warren is Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship, a Calvary Chapel in Riverside, CA. Laurie is best known as the founder and featured speaker for Harvest Crusades.
So, what is going on in the visible Church?
Glad you asked. In a word: syncretism. Syncretism occurs when elements of other religious beliefs are mashed into mainstream Protestant denominations. In a piece entitled Purpose Driven Dismantling of Christianity, I examined the effect syncretism has on the Church:
Satan uses syncretism to separate God from His people. God loathes syncretism:
“When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:29-31)
Grievous wolves (Acts 20:29) masquerading as evangelicals introduced false religious beliefs (abominations) into mainline churches. Many of them are forthcoming about what they’re doing, others not so much. Their main goal is … change. The plan (yes, they have a plan) is to dismantle historic orthodox Christianity and usher in a “new paradigm,” a “new kind of Christianity.”
Wolves are skillful at drawing people in. They’ve learned how to use TV, radio, the Worldwide Web, human potential seminars, psycho-therapeutic counseling, so-called Christian entertainment that includes movies, DVDs, books and music. Some believers are drawn in through political groups. As you can see, a whole host of lures are used to bait the hook.
Many professing Christians have accepted the blending of religious beliefs with no questions asked. They sit in churches where they’re not taught the truth but are fed a steady diet of half truths and outright lies! Jesus wanted those who believe in Him to read and understand the Word. “Sanctify them through thy truth,” He prayed. “Thy Word is truth!” (John 17:17 ) (Source)
Now, let’s get to my questions: Why did Rick Warren agree to do an interview with Oprah? Moreover, why would he want to be associated with word-faith heretic Joel Osteen? We discover after the fact that he did not use the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost, many of whom were tuned into the show. No. Instead he used his time with Oprah to pass on his sage advice to the audience, peppered with a few Bible quotes — taken out of context!
Former New Ager and astrologer Marcia Montenegro watched the 3 hours of live taping on Oprah’s Life class. I think the following excerpt about what she observed clearly identifies the sort of pastor Rick Warren is:
Although Rick Warren has had New Age Dr. Oz at his church (along with a supposedly Christian doctor who also endorses some New Age practices), I was hoping he (RW) would somehow give the gospel in the midst of his motivational advice, but he never did. He used the imagery of a poker game to explain we are dealt certain cards, and then gave a teaching on this that sounded like moralistic self-help programs I’ve heard so many times, throwing in a few Bible quotes taken out of context or misquoted. It was something almost any New Ager could accept. God becomes a tool for self-improvement and success.
Warren referred to Jesus, but took scripture out of context and applied things said to believers to everyone. He also misused the Proverbs passage that says “as a man thinketh, so is he.” This passage is a famous passage misused by New Thought proponents and is used in “The Secret.”
What was really hard to watch is when a woman in Norway Skyped to say she realized she needed God but wanted to know who God is and she asked, “What should I do?” It was clear that she was ripe to hear the gospel and needed Jesus! It was a great opportunity to share the gospel with her, and at the same time, for Oprah to hear it. Instead of giving the gospel, Rick Warren seemed uncomfortable and finally just said something like, ‘Go to God and find your purpose.” It was a terrible moment! The woman looked surprised and sad, like she was expecting something else. I prayed for her later and am hoping that the many Christians who witnessed this will pray for her.
Not only that, but when Oprah referred to God, as she often did, Rick Warren agreed with her as though she was referring to the biblical God, which she was not. He even said a few times, “Oprah has a good point.” No, she never did! She was speaking totally out of her New Thought/New Age beliefs. I am grateful that RW recommended that people read the gospel of John. That was the best thing he said. (Read Marcia’s entire piece here)
Why do so many followers of Jesus Christ view Rick Warren as dangerous? Evangelist Tony Miano’sindictment is blunt:
Plastic pastors transparent enough to see through, like Joel Osteen, are not as dangerous as Rick Warren. Modalistic moguls of the painfully-obvious-money-hungry prosperity movement, like T.D. Jakes, are not as dangerous as Rick Warren. Self-serving sorcerers of the false signs and wonders movement, like Todd Bentley, are not as dangerous as Rick Warren. No. None of the before-mentioned personalities or groups are all that dangerous because what you see is what you get. They all lack the ability to change their appearance to accommodate a change in environment. They lack the chameleon-like ability, the self-serving ability, to say what needs to be said in order to keep people in every camp liking them.
Now listen to former Catholic Priest Richard Bennett:
Warren teaches that God ‘created the church to meet your five deepest needs’ just as the Roman Catholic Church says, ‘The Church is the mother of all believers.’ Warren, like Rome, has switched from obedience to the Word and Person of the Living God to submission to a church to achieve one’s needs. It is the oldest and cleverest temptation known to man.
I’ll close with warning from the Lord Jesus:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous [ferocious] wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.(Mat. 5:15-20)
Word of Faith articles—On Solid Rock Resources
Creating Community – Part 1: Purpose-Driven Change through Transformational Leadership–By Berit Kjos
James Sundquist’s rebuke to Desiring God participants regarding Rick Warren
Read: Joel Osteen and The Prosperity Gospel