Life In 500 Square Feet…
One Hundred and Twenty Thousand results to a Google search on “city is more competitive”. The oligarchs who currently control our world intend to herd people in cities where inter-city contests will keep everyone producing at a high level.
Read how this is already being implemented in China.
More and more of the land is falling under government control and hundreds of thousands of homes have been repossessed. American citizens own fewer homes and less land. If this scenario is successful the earth will be enjoyed by elite overseers while the proletariat toils and lives in tiny cubicles in crowded cities.
I wrote recently about our connection to land
In his daily devotional books R. J. Rushdoony (These books are tightly connected to daily behavior and provide usable righteousness for the Christian seeker. Buy them here .)describes Rogation Sunday and its practice by early Americans. In the evening following Sunday prayer for the harvest “each farmer and his family walked the boundaries of their property and gave thanks for the good earth. As they walked, the boy of the family was ‘bumped’ against the landmarks, the boundary stone, or against a boundary tree. If a pond or stream marked the boundary he was ducked into it. Then the boy who was bumped or ducked was given a small gift. The purpose of the ‘bumping’ and of the gift was to make the boy remember the boundaries of the land he would someday fall heir to.”
Land plays a primary role in the Biblical narrative. The occupation of the Promised Land, the events the preceded, and the battles that followed make up a significant part of the Old Testament. The earth is the Lord’s and it is to be carefully maintained. He provided land for His people and it was apportioned to the Twelve Tribes. He provided the Year of Jubilee to provide stability and prevent a permanent centralization of wealth and power.
Borders of land are related to God’s Law – both are meant to restrain.
In some of America’s Western States 80 percent of the land is owned by the Federal Government. Alaska’s land is mostly government property. Oil drilling rights are controlled in Washington. If these rights were released United States would be energy independent. Reliable sources claim the government owns about 30 percent of the entire United States land mass.
There is evidence that powerful elite bankers may be conspiring to take over large tracts of land as collateral for debt. As our government obligates our posterity for trillions of dollars of debt some of it could be paid by sacrificing government owned land. This could be the genesis of the recent squabble over cattle grazing. .
In His provisions for the lands in ancient Israel God allowed the permanent sales of urban properties but had rural lands returned to their original owners in the year of Jubilee. Stability was vested in the families than owned and cultivated land. Though often overlooked it is still the same today; the cultivation of land provides sustenance for the populace of the earth.
Water and food are products of the earth. They sustain life. Without food and water death comes quickly. Control over access to water and food is power over life and death. The earth belongs to The Lord we are short term custodians. God tells us that those who do not work should not eat. It is the ability to produce food that is everyone’s God given right.
Robots are being touted as a means of reducing the need for human labor. The analyzer failed to address the fate of displaced workers. As technology replaces human labor a problem develops over the use of displaced workers. When Wal-Mart replaces cashiers with do-it-yourself checkout stations they realize an additional profit but the displaced cashiers are faced with the emergency of being deprived of their livelihood.
Societies benefit from technical progress and work that benefits the general population is deserving of reward. However, when technical improvements displace energetic workers the workers must be provided with the means of working to earn food and lodging for themselves and their families.
What is to be done with the leisure time our technical progress is giving us? For many it will be used for self-indulgence. Most of us work to provide the necessities of life but constantly pine for leisure time. But if leisure time is not filled with activity we soon hope for something to do. We were created for activity and when we are full of sleep we crave it.
Wealth provides a person with activity choices. Some wealthy individuals find productive activities; others waste their time in sinful indulgences. A few amass wealth consistently over several generations and use this tacit control of human life to manipulate world powers with an objective of world domination.
We are created beings vested with the mandate to live under the Law our Creator has provided. The Law is not an impediment to our happiness; obedience is the vehicle to righteous, peace, joy, and prosperity. God brings blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.
It is not only difficult to experience but hard to believe that the United States of America is being gutted and destroyed on the altar of world government. Though the mainstream media is complicit and refuses to publish the atrocities the signs are everywhere. How can airplanes clearly visible to the entire population fly over our nation and spray long trails of an unknown cloud-like substance while the people, the weather channels, and the major news sources never acknowledge their presence? How can an entire government, 435 congressional representatives, 100 senators, and one president ignore hundreds of engineers and piles of evidence that the 9/11 attack was false flag operation and allow the policies of our government to be based on its authenticity? And most shocking of all, how can voters continue with confidence to cast ballots for candidates that invariably betray their trust?
U. S. Voters are like battered spouses that continue to return to the battering partner. It makes no sense to observers but to the voters its must seem like the only alternative. An intervention is sometimes the only solution – but how?
The United States of America has been filled with alien immigrants whose only interest is to rape its wealth. It is engaged in constant wars that sap its strength and destroys its youth. It has been saturated with pornography and bludgeoned into sodomy. For many years its citizens have been exposed to the most aggressive use of incarceration in the entire world. It has piled up debt that probably cannot be repaid but will enslave its children for generations. It is home to so many diverse and ineffective religions that the anarchy of secular humanism is helping push it into tyranny. Liberty has been lost to the lust for power and we now live under a police force that regularly kills citizens that do not obey.
More and more Americans are becoming concerned with our progressive downfall. They see the clouds of tyranny approaching and they feel the winds of turmoil. They are beginning to understand that their government has betrayed them and are apprehensive that unseen forces are overshadowing us. But in spite of this approaching avalanche they are unable to discern the hand of God.
During the 1930s in the small towns of Central United States a deep depression afflicted everyone. We were grateful to be able to eat from a 25 pound bag of oatmeal three times a day. Men without work hitched rides on railroad trains that took them to other areas where they hoped to find work. Those who had food to eat shared with the transients who would often do add jobs in payment.
In the little town where I lived an Evangelical pastor was called to our protestant church. In an effort to bring the congregation closer to the God of the Bible he began having altar calls. The altar call was too confrontational for the church leaders whose brush with Christianity consisted of a Sunday School Bible studies where God’s Word could be judged by the participants and they could decide whether they believed it or not. This minister was soon replaced with one who did not upset the status quo.
Before the Evangelical minister left there was a miracle at my mother’s home. She has been a Methodist all of her life and following my conversion we sometimes discussed religion. On this particular day she was sitting in her antique platform rocker in the living room when she asked me about conversion. I said, “The Bible says you must be born again”. At that very moment there was a knock on the front door. It was the recently dismissed minister. He came in and sat down. In familiar fashion mother said, “Now, Albert, tell the minster what you were telling me. I did, the minster affirmed it, and Mother said, “I don’t believe I have ever done that”. We bowed our heads and mother accepted Christ as her Savior. The minister left without ever mentioning why he had knocked on our door.
Neither my mother nor I made much progress in the Faith since correct Christian theology was not readily available and when it was preached it usually fell on deaf and recalcitrant ears. We are a nation of nominal Christians whose faith is selfish and sinful. We say we believe in God and have accepted Christ as our Savior but instead of becoming obedient servants we expect Him to serve us
During the 1930s there was a Christian patina that covered heavy layers of humanism. My mother was a good, dependable woman. She had earned a college degree from University of Illinois but with my father out of work and not having today’s labor saving devices she was forced to work hard to keep up our home and keep food on the table.
For a time my father worked in the WPA but for the most part society during the depression was free from government interference. Nevertheless, a pride-filled humanism had taken over the country and the seeds for our current tyrannical government were beginning to grow.
Evangelical Christianity brings the good news to individuals but when they are converted the lack of a solid theological base leaves them in a moral limbo that fails to bring change to society. Once our sins are forgiven and we are made new by the Blood of the Savior God seeks obedience as He always has. The Jews failed to obey God’s commandments and their disobedience broke the Covenant. All of God’s blessings are the result of obedience to His Law.
God will not long allow an oligarchy of wealthy humanistic elitists to control His creation. All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and He will bring blessing from this unprecedented quest for world domination. Unfortunately Christians who have failed to work against encroaching evil will be severely judged and will not see the blessing in store for His faithful servants.
In almost every country in the world where America’s notorious “Wall Street and War Street” gang of thugs have tampered and interfered with its internal workings, things have always turned out badly for each country involved. Almost every country that this infamous WSx2 gang has tampered with so far has pretty much seen their way of life turn to dookie. http://truth-out.org/opinion/
You want some examples? I’ve got them!
Take the Spanish-American War for instance. Wall Street and War Street drummed our country into that war with their torrid yellow journalism, and as a result both Cuba and the Philippines were so devastated and destroyed that they are still trying to recover from it — and from being muscled around afterwards by WSx2’s mob bosses Batista and the shoe lady.
During World War I, Britain, France and the Kaiser were all sick of fighting and pretty much ready to throw in the towel and make nice. But then Woodrow Wilson got a bee in his bonnet over the forged Zimmerman telegram (the Wall Street and War Street gang at work again?) and forced America to join in the fight by suspending freedom of speech, curbing civil liberties, muzzling the press and sending even mild dissenters to jail for years. http://www.amazon.com/The-
In Congo, Wall Street and War Street destabilized that country completely when they overthrew Patrice Lumumba. Over ten million dead since then. Ten million.
Iran used to be a democracy until the CIA, aka Wall Street and War Street’s dread enforcer, tampered and interfered.
In Haiti, Papa Doc and his dread Tonton Macoute invited the Marines to come join the party and Wall Street and War Street immediately sent their RSVP to this gala zombie jamboree, giving ordinary Haitians nightmares for decades. Then WS&WS hung around for the after-party, the bloody and illegal ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
I swear, I’m not making this stuff up! Don’t believe me? Go Google it yourself.
Iraq used to be a democracy too — until the WSWS gang installed Saddam Hussein. And then they deposed him too, scoring themselves a trillion dollars worth of “vig” in the process.
Vietnam? We all know what happened there. “3.1 million violent war deaths.”
Cambodia? Millions dead in what used to be a sweet and lovely country. A whole country suffering from PTSD, thanks to tampering by the US military-industrial complex, who just couldn’t keep their bombers and bombs in their jeans.
The Arab nations of the Middle East used to be friends with America before Wall Street and War Street started using Israel as a wedge. Now nobody over there likes us — not even the Israelis. http://www.blackagendareport.
“Humanitarian intervention” in Libya by WSx2 was yet another disaster, even worse than when Al Capone took over Chicago. Libya today is officially a “Failed State”.
And now the WSWS gang that can’t shoot straight is using its buddies in ISIS as an excuse to interfere and overthrow Syria’s legitimate government under Bashar Assad. And despite all the New York Times’ incredibly false lies that Assad and ISIS are buddies, the real truth is that Assad is the only obstacle standing in the way of Syria becoming just yet another WSx2 Failed State. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
Does Turkey really want to have a failed state overrun by crazies right across its border? I think not.
Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan? The label of “Failed State” is hovering over their heads too, thanks to WS&WS.
And let’s not forget Latin America. Chile was almost destroyed after the CIA and Kissinger interfered. Honduras today is a killing field, with men. women and children being butchered like cattle by Wall Street and War Street’s government of choice. And the terms “Death Squad” and “The Disappeared” came into popular use in Central America under Reagan’s watch.
Ah, Ronald Reagan, the WSx2’s best friend. And the dread John Negroponte was its chief henchman and capo. He still is. Just check out his current efforts to interfere in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. He just loves him some snipers — firing at both peaceful protestors and police until war erupts. It’s a wonder he hasn’t tried that in Ferguson too. Or maybe he has.
Tiny Grenada was ruthlessly (and illegally) invaded in 1983 — even Margaret Thatcher and the Queen were pissed off! And today Grenada’s foreign debts equal 35 percent of its GDP and Red China is paying for its cricket pitches. Yet another WSx2 interference failure. Yawn.
And Mexico, another victim of becoming close compadres with WS/WS, has now become the drug-lord capital of the world. Er, maybe not. Perhaps Columbia holds that title. Or is it Afghanistan? I’m confused. Burma? Wall Street and War Street would know for sure. http://www.telesurtv.net/
Panama’s democratic leader was assassinated https://www.youtube.com/watch?
In central Asia, Charlie Wilson viciously fought to support WS-WS’s right to tamper with Afghanistan’s fate — and look how badly that interference turned out, handing Afghanistan to Al Qaeda and the Taliban on a platter.
And Europe wasn’t spared any WSWS gang-related action either. Take Ukraine for instance. Do Americans even know what horrors are being perpetrated there in our name by WS&WS even at this very moment? Gangland-style murders, extortion, turf wars, goons, thugs, the works. You don’t even want to know.
Wall Street and War Street happily tampered with Yugoslavia. Years of killing resulted. http://original.antiwar.com/
And even Ronald Reagan’s greatest tampering triumph on behalf of the Wall & War Boys, the fall of the USSR, resulted in dookie. With Gorbachev gone, the poor Russians were stuck with heartless oligarchs and drunken Yeltsin — and they died by the thousands from cold and starvation as a result. But, fortunately, Putin today is much better than that. And so WSx2 hates him.
I started out trying to write all these horrors down in chronological order, but now I’m just writing them all down willy-nilly because there are so many examples floating around in my brain right now of WSx2 tampering that has turned into dog poop for the countries involved, that I am totally overwhelmed.
Let’s look at Egypt next. It’s gone from Nasser, the people’s choice, to military despots like Mubarak and Sisi, thanks to WSx2. Yuck. Please give me a moment here to hold my nose.
And the Wall Street and War Street gang also propped up that brutal fascist apartheid regime in South Africa and Angola — just as they are currently propping up that brutal fascist apartheid regime in Israel now. For example, when Americans picketed the Port of Oakland the other day, to prevent an Israeli ship from unloading its cargo there, in protest of Netanyahu’s brutal slaughter of women and children in Gaza, over a hundred police showed up to help protect the Israeli ship — not the protesters. http://www.mercurynews.com/
And speaking of fascists, there is always Saudi Arabia to consider. http://www.lewrockwell.com/
But the most disastrous tampering of all has occurred when Wall Street and War Street turned its deadly sights on interfering back home, right here in America. The result for us? Just look around you. At your jobs, your infrastructure, your schools, your healthcare, your militarized police, your disappearing freedom of speech, your rigged elections, your lying media, your hate. https://www.facebook.com/
The Wall Street & War Street Gang needs to stop screwing with our world and zip up its pants. And we true patriotic Americans need to make them.
OMG, I am so sick and tired of writing about American-sponsored neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, American-financed genocide in Gaza and American-backed ISIS murderers in Syria and Iraq. Geez Louise. It’s enough to make me sick!
But not sick enough to stop eating.
Even though women and children are starving in Gaza and refugees in Erbil are hunkering down in city parks and Ukrainian babies are being shot by swastika-waving skin-heads, I still gotta have three or four square meals a day.
And all the average American can say about this insane world situation is, “Where the freak is Erbil?” It’s in northern Iraq, stupid. “Oh yeah? So where is Iraq?” It’s that rat-hole where three trillion of your tax dollars have been pounded down in the last 20 years. Iraq is the reason you have no jobs, no infrastructure, no schools — and no solar heating. http://www.truth-out.org/
“But what’s a Gaza?” Huh?
“It’s that charnel house in Palestine where Netanyahu practices being a fascist.”
“Who is Netanyahu?” He’s that guy in Israel that you pay billions of dollars to every year so he can commit genocide. Oh, good grief.
I need comfort food! Now!
Forget about genocide and dead babies. Let’s talk about sushi! And mac ‘n’ cheese. What is your favorite food? I think mine is ice cream. But I’m not sure. Chocolate cake sounds good too. http://blog.umamimart.com/
I once ate a beef stroganoff MRE in the Green Zone. It was delicious. And they had deep-fried tarantulas on offer at a roadside stall in Cambodia. Yummers! http://johnpilger.com/videos/
Got caught in a massive five-day storm off of Antarctica one time and popped Dramamine like it was candy — but still managed to eat. http://www.funnyordie.com/
Was stuck in Shenyang, China, for three weeks while waiting for my visa to North Korea to come through. Thirteen million people in that city and only ten of them spoke English. So I just drew a picture of a chicken and showed it to waiters. That worked fine until one waiter brought me a live chicken. Er, no.
And about a year later, when I finally did manage to get into North Korea, it was amazing to discover that Pyongyang featured luxury hotels, casinos, golf courses and elaborate 150,000-person choreographed mass games, all geared toward European tourists — who came in droves. The food there, however, was on the level of mediocre California Chinese take-out — but I still felt guilty eating it, knowing how many North Koreans had starved to death in the past.
In Uganda, a young girl was selling homemade flour-and-grease chapatis on the street that were so good that I still dream about them. “What’s a chapati?” Oh shut up.
The hummus and matzos in Israel/Palestine were great, served under an olive tree in Hebron. Loved Bethlehem and old Jerusalem — but why do people still keep accusing me of being anti-Semitic when I’m actually only anti-fascist and anti-apartheid? I just don’t understand. As Barb Weir is always fond of saying, “How come they never accuse the brave people who fought against apartheid in South Africa of being anti-white?”
On the beach in Yelapa, Mexico, an hour’s boat-ride south of Puerto Vallarta, friendly ladies will sell you lemon meringue pie right there on the beach. But now you don’t even have to go to Yelapa to get it, you can buy lemon meringue pie right there in Puerto Vallarta. Definitely worth the flight down if you can afford it — and if you can’t, there’s always the chocolate cream pie at the Sweet Adeline bakeshop here in Berkeley. http://rt.com/op-edge/178640-
In Motswedi, in northern South Africa, their potato fries are the best. Just ask for Mma Peter if you go there. Everyone knows her. And give her a big hug from me if you do.
In Damascus, the oldest city in the world (I think), they had fabulous ice cream for sale in the souk. That’s ICE cream, not ISIS cream. If it had been ISIS cream, I wouldn’t have had to pay for it myself — Congress woulda footed the bill.
In al Anbar province, Iraq, I accompanied a U.S. Marine colonel and his staff to a “goat pull” thrown by the local sheik. You gotta love goat meat. But now that whole area is overrun by ISIS thugs, thanks to Bush, Obama and Hillary Clinton and their grand competition to see who can destabilize the Middle East best.
At a sidewalk cafe in Cairo, a waiter jokingly offered me 200 camels for my daughter Ashley’s hand in marriage. At least I think he was joking. And in the Caliphate of Saudi Arabia, biological mother to ISIS and Al Qaeda (America’s military-industrial complex is the father, but insists on keeping that fact on the down-low), I lived on KFC and Cinnabons at a high-end mall in Mecca.
In Haiti, you just gotta love their pumpkin soup. In Afghanistan, their chicken kebobs were the best — unlike in Iran, where the kebobs tended to be rather dry. Burma offered up excellent hand-made noodles. Argentina had empanadas and beef. Berkeley has the Berkeley Bowl, best produce store in the world.
I love food! I love to eat!
So why do I keep thinking about all those poor starving children in Gaza and those poor slaughtered babies in Syria and Ukraine — thanks to the Yankee dollar?
In this article, I had first wanted to claim that America’s military-industrial complex has shed more blood in the last 53 years than anyone else in the history of the world, even Attila the Hun! But then I remembered World War I and World War II in all their grisly splendor. At the battle of Verdun alone, approximately 300,000 people died brutal and violent deaths. And at Hiroshima, there were approximately 100,000 dead. However, my point here is still legit — that American taxpayers have been paying for a whole big bunch of bloodshed during the last 53 years.
Approximately seven trillion dollars worth of human blood.
Seven trillion dollars can certainly buy you a whole lot of bloodshed. Rivers and oceans of blood. “Attila the Hun would be so-o-o jealous!” Let’s just look at the record.
It all started way back on January 17, 1961, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower very urgently and emphatically warned all of us — publicly on black-and-white TV — about the extreme dangers of allowing a massive military-industrial complex to keep growing larger and larger in America.
“In the councils of government,” President Eisenhower warned us, ” we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
And nobody in America listened. I repeat. Nobody listened.
Shortly thereafter, Robert McNamara invented the bloody Vietnam war. And Americans happily let McNamara, President Johnson and Congress get away with it. Enough said about that. http://www.smirkingchimp.com/
Next came all those made-in-America mini-slaughters that took place in — I forget where. East Timor? Guatemala? Chile? Grenada? South Africa? Lebanon? Iran? Haiti? Nicaragua? The Philippines? Yeah, right, that was Reagan. And all funded by American taxpayers. All involving a whole big bunch of blood. Red Cross blood banks would have loved to have had that many donors!
Then George H.W. Bush trumped up that stupid Gulf War which killed thousands of Iraqis. Then Clinton tried to out-do Pappy Bush by killing hundreds of thousands more Iraqis with sanctions (400,00 dead children), followed by the Kosovo slaughters (6,000 dead from NATO bombings). “Not my fault!” cried Clinton. “We were only trying to stop more blood from being shed.” You just keep telling yourself that.
Then there was Afghanistan back in 2001. And Afghanistan is still bleeding. A lot. Attila would be uber-jealous!
But then the American military-industrial complex really got down to business in Iraq in 2003. Lots of slaughter. Brutality. Blood running in the streets like water. Think Fallugah. Think Baghdad burning. And you can’t even blame Baby Bush for that one either — he was just an unthinking pawn of Wall Street and War Street (but of course I do blame GWB anyway. Why isn’t that man in jail?).
One million dead on Bush Jr’s watch? That’s a war crime almost in the same league with Stalin and Hitler. Stalin and Hitler too would be jealous.
And wasn’t there a whole big bunch of unnecessary and brutal blood shed in Libya recently too? Benghazi comes to mind. We gotta thank President Obama for that one — just following orders from the military-industrial complex. “We are in a recession. War is good for business.” Especially if there is blood involved. And there was lots of blood involved in Libya when NATO illegally overturned Gaddafi.
And Libya to this day is still bleeding out. http://www.theguardian.com/
By now, America has not only turned Attila the Hun green with envy — but also Count Dracula and the entire cast of “True Blood”.
Red is such a lovely color, don’t you think? You had better. After all, you are paying for it — instead of for schools and hospitals and infrastructure and jobs and whatever. You had better like the color of blood a lot. It’s basically all we have left.
But then on the other hand, we are all such red-blooded Americans that clearly most of us have never even stopped to think for one minute that perhaps all this blood-shed just might be immoral and wrong. “We are Christians! Christians shed blood. It’s what we do,” Americans cry. Jesus wept.
And then America’s military-industrial complex went on to encourage, weaponize and train ISIS to kill a whole big bunch more women and children in Syria — in a stupid, unnecessary invasion of a country that was pretty much minding its own business (140,000 now dead in Syria, 7,000 of them children).
“They may have minded their business over in Syria, but they weren’t minding our business — and our business is war!” screamed Wall Street and War Street. And boy are these guys ever good at the business of war. Eisenhower nailed it!
And we American taxpayers get to pay for this brand new blood supply too. And pay. And pay. And pay.
In Ukraine, the blood also now runs like wine — and this vintage is being paid for by American taxpayers too. Of course. “2014 is a very good year for blood!” And the American military-industrial complex paid five billion of our U.S. dollars to Ukrainian neo-Nazis to get this blood-bath to start brewing last February. “A very good year.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
In Ukraine, everybody remembers Attila.
And guess what else? “Attila, Dracula and even Eric Northman will be happy to know that we’ve found a whole new blood bank over in Gaza!” And it is costing U.S. taxpayers a whole lot more blood-money too. “Yippee!”
Now Attila’s rotting skull would be practically grinning in its grave — except for one thing. Jealousy. “That blood-sucking Netanyahu is trying to take over my reputation!” screams Attila’s ghost.
“I’ve killed more people on my List,” brags Netanyahu, “than that punk Oskar Schindler ever even thought about saving on his!” And here’s Netanyahu’s List to prove it: http://english.al-akhbar.com/
“What do you think this is, Attila? Some kind of game show where the contestant who spills the most blood wins?” Nope, not at all. You may have slaughtered more civilians back in the day, bossy-pants, but Netanyahu-the-Hun has done it with more flash and charm. Anyone can wield a sword and ride a horse — but it takes real panache to vaporize 373 little kids by just pushing a button.
“But Gaza has a right to defend itself!” some bleeding-heart liberals might say at this point. Talk to the hand.
The American military-industrial complex has the God-given right to shed blood anywhere in the world that it wants to — in any invasion, covert action, “war” or proxy war that it chooses. And to use our money to do it with too. “Brutality Gone Wild!” is the name of this reality show. Get over it, Attila.
PS: During its last 53 seasons of continuous production, the American military-industrial complex’s big hit reality show, “Brutality Gone Wild,” has been out on location, shedding blood everywhere on the planet so far — except for only one place that has been left unbloodied. You guessed it. “America.”
Attila the Hun never really had time to discover the New World, but not to worry. The guys who run Wall Street and War Street now know where we live too. And that we still have a whole big bunch of un-shed blood to tap into here as well. “Soon, very soon, it will be time to bring it all back home!” they cry at night from their crypts deep in the bowels of New York and Washington. “Bottoms up!”
And don’t say that you haven’t been warned — since way back in 1961.
A Centennial For The Forces of Evil…
Destruction of the culture by massive immigration supported by the government. Read Here.
Destruction of moral standards by humanists in media, education, and government.
Aberrant media propaganda and entertainment.
Promoting a potentially disastrous conflict with Russian. Read Here.
Iimperialistic use of Executive Orders to pass controversial legislation.
Legal decisions by the courts that codify wickedness.
Constant attempts to promote violence by distorting the news and according immigrants and Black citizens privileged status over White citizens.
Destruction of the educational system.
Robbing the nation of its wealth by allowing cheap foreign products to destroy American businesses.
Forcing American industry to move jobs and entire industries to foreign countries.
Destroying the family by promotion feminism and homosexuality.
Constant government distortions and outright lies.
Lethal false flag operations that are never challenged by the media or elected representatives.
Destruction of the Christian religion by legislation and massive propaganda.
Normalizing cognitive dissonance by creating opposing programs – i.e. Allowing Muslim immigration while waging war on Muslims in their own lands.
Failure of elected representatives to confront and correct media lies and distortions.
Destruction of the First Amendment by restricting public speech – against racial groups, about conspiracies, against the progression of the world order or the United Nations, about the control of news, or against the State of Israel.
Terminating media employees for expressing unpopular or politically incorrect opinions.
Distorting the law, traumatizing the public, and filling our prisons with sex related offenders that should be handled locally.
Representative James Sensenbrenner chairs a committee attempting to reform the thousands of laws that make up the Federal Criminal Code but nothing is being done about the equally ponderous laws that are now enforced by militarized local police forces.
This list could be continued – -
The European culture that was the foundation of our wealth and freedom has been destroyed. The wealth has been stolen and we have saddled future generations with an insurmountable debt.
The United States of America that a few short decades ago was the world’s wealthiest and most moral nation is now like an egg shell that has been emptied of its contents. Aside from a lethal and vibrant military establishment, there is nothing left but fourth rate medical facilities and a plethora of food factories. Our medical doctors are imported and the adulteration of our food supply is rampant with uninspected imports for third world nations, mutants, cellulose (wood chips) and other fillers.
The battle, if there ever was an effective deterrent, for the culture of the United States of American is over. Our nation is hopelessly Balkanized with immigrants from every nation in the world. Dozens of different languages are spoken by voters who are easily manipulated by unscrupulous politicians. There is little attempt to learn English and assimilate. They know nothing about the nation and have no concern for its well-being. Their primary concern is often for the land they left behind.
The Pharisaical cadre that controls us, as well as much of the world, hates Christianity and is successfully destroying the gossamer Christian ethic that filled most of our churches. They are doing this with the help of hundreds of thousands of obtuse Christians who lend them unrestrained support. If it wasn’t so tragic it would be laughable!
While our free fall is in progress other dumb Americans work tirelessly in the political arena hoping the vehicle that was responsible for our downfall will miraculously redeem itself and us.at the same time.
Millions of our citizens are unaware that they are reading and listening to news that is filled with lies and distortions; they are so badly maligned that they no longer recognize truth, so brain washed that they quickly brand a the truth teller as a deluded conspiracy theorist
History is replete with power seekers who have murdered and ravaged to create empires but the current quest for world domination is the granddaddy of them all.
Plans for world domination seem to have begun in earnest at the end of the First World War. The United States congress approved the Federal Reserve System in 1913; the conflict began in Europe in 1914 and the United States entered the War in 1917. U. S. participation quickly ended the conflict in 1918. Under the aegis of world peace the ill-fated League of Nations was formed in 1920. It soon lost the support of the world’s major nations and failed in its stated mission to produce peace. It was replaced by the United Nations at the conclusion of the Second World War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
The United States provided major support to the United Nations but paid little attention to its peaceful mission, entering a war in Korea in 1950 a scant five years later. Under the aegis of peace the real agenda of these two organizations was always world domination.
World Government at the point of a gun has been foisted on the world very slowly. We are living in the Centennial. It has taken nearly a hundred years for the brutal character of the movement to become public.
Now, all the power centers of our nation are occupied with men and women who support world government and are willing to manipulate the public into complacency as its tentacles begin to grasp the world. Incrementalism has allowed the incarceration of the world to progress with only token resistance.
Talented individuals are spotted early in their careers and are ushered into Ivy League educations; following stints at Oxford where they are indoctrinated with an International ethic they are mentored into power center jobs where they are stalwart supporters of world government and the shadowing cabal that is behind it..
Michele Flournoy is a case in point. She was a guest on C-Span on Sunday for the fifteenth time since 1988. She identified herself as an Internationalist and responded to Brian Lamb’s queries like the pro that she is. From California she was educated at Harvard and Oxford. She was mentored and groomed and has become a go to expert on defense issues. She held a strategic job as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the Obama Administration and is now President of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank that directs government defense policy. She is one of a host of dependable Internationalists that have been groomed and inserted into important positions in government; all willingly do the bidding of their mentors. Defense is a misnomer that has now become an aggressive military offensive to control the world.
The hugely successful incremental incarceration of the world has been accomplished by a patient promotion of several generations of seekers. It is a sinful grab for power and control which is familiar to any historian but of a size and strength that is larger and more ominous than any of its predecessors.
This new, total oppression is coming upon us because we have and are rejecting the obvious conclusion that we were not created to govern ourselves. Not only do we reject that clear fact but we cling to the heresy that we can play god by developing our own legal system and curbing the horrific sinful nature of every human being by requiring obedience to our particular legal opinions. Again, we refuse to understand that if we are governed by the legal opinions of one human power they are no better than the legal opinions of another which makes war and murder inevitable.
The confusion, the proliferation of legal standards, the breakdown of law and order, police brutality, government oppression, and the resulting loss of freedom are predictable results of humanism. We are all sinners, every one of us – all have sinned and fallen short of the mark.
It is easy for us to critique the government. Such critiques are common and often virulent. Each critique is a direct blow to God Who has given us His Law, the only form of righteousness available to His creation. It is sin to assume that we have the solution to humanistic government – it is sin to think such a thought! God created us and if we are ever to experience lasting peace and prosperity we must stop playing God and begin to obey His Commandments.
Today I read excellent critiques by Paul Craig Roberts, Pat Buchanan, and Jacob Hornberger. All three of these men believe they have solutions to our problem. But, all three of these men are sinners whose only righteous alternative is to turn to the Laws of the Creator. Their thoughts are good thoughts from a human perspective, but they do not direct us to obey God’s Law. We can point out the results of allowing sinful men and women to control the world but we cannot fix it by having our opinions set in place. Human wisdom is not the solution. If we had spent our lives promoting obedience to God’s Law instead of depending on our own opinions and understandings we would not be in this situation.
We have found the culprit and it is us!
Anyone watching the nightly news in America these days has surely seen some of those in-your-worst-nightmare videos showing hair-raising images of the fire-breathing minions of ISIS as they invade Syria and Iraq — blazing across bone-dry deserts in brand new Toyota trucks, brandishing AK-47s and looking like something out of a Hounds of Hell horror movie. And we all shudder involuntarily, imagining the chaos and terror being spread by these horrible men-in-black, waving pirate flags and screaming for blood.
And we can also probably imagine, far back in the most primitive lobes of our brains, what it would be like to see these very same nightmarish denizens screaming down Route 66, heading toward us too, driving straight for our own town, positively drooling over the thought of beheading us in our sleep and raping our sons and daughters.
But then we come to our senses and realize that this sort of thing can never happen here in America. This sort of nightmare only plays out in the Middle East (hopefully).
But forget about all that. Instead, let’s just focus in on the ISIS terrorists and pirates themselves, now safely out there in the Iraqi desert, aka “those terrible rough beasts, their hour come round at last, slouching toward Baghdad to be born, their gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,” to paraphrase William Butler Yeats.
And then let’s ask ourselves next, “While happily out there terrorizing and raping the countryside, just what the freak do these guys eat and drink? And where in the freak do they find a 7-11 or a Raley’s way out there in the desert? And when the freak do they even have time to cook and do dishes or pee?” And don’t even tell me that they are the Devil’s minions and thus live only on air. And where are their burn barrels and port-a-potties? And where are their grab-and-go bins full of “Meal, Ready-to-Eat,” menu number 15, beef enchilada, made by the Ameriqual Packaging Company, Evansville, Indiana 47710?
Surely even these devilish super-fiends must have an occasional craving for toilet paper? Or even perhaps the occasional shower?
So exactly who is providing ISIS with its supply line?
Don’t even dare tell me that ISIS doesn’t have one.
These aren’t ghosts or krakens or the mythological First Beasts referred to in the Book of Revelations. These are just ordinary human schmucks like the rest of us, who still put on their terrorist Halloween costumes one leg at a time. The Devil’s minions still have to eat. And pee. And they still have to get their shiny new Toyota trucks from an automobile showroom somewhere — one obviously not located in Hell. And they still have to use earthly rocket-launchers, not ones supplied by Lucifer himself.
Plus sacking and looting can only get these pirates so far before they run out of booty. And even if they now have billions of $$$ in plundered oil, they still have to sell it to someone. OPEC they are not.
So where do all these tons and tons of food and weapons and terrorist-chic outfits and port-a-potties all come from? Your guess is as good as mine. And I am guessing, based on all that I have read and seen lately, that all these goodies are being supplied by American, Israeli and Saudi oligarchs and neo-cons. And probably at us taxpayers’ expense too. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
These terrible terrorist ISIS operations appear to be all a part of the American, Israeli and Saudi neo-con oligarchs’ continuing (and very successful) “Land for Blood” program — wherein neo-cons get all the land and the men, women and children of the Middle East get to bleed. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
Of course I can’t prove most of this without breaking and entering NASDAQ and CIA vaults. Hoping for transparency is like flogging a dead horse. Just ask Edward Snowden about that one. But there still is a pattern here, one that started in Vietnam, worked its way through East Timor, Kuwait, Iraq and Guatemala, and is now surfacing again in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Gazahttp://write2rest.blogspot.
“What the devil…” you might say at this point. And you would be right.
PS: And speaking of tracking supply lines, what about all those other supply lines — all those abundant supply lines that should have been pouring out goodies all this time, streaming them out to the average American, Israeli/Palestinian and Saudi citizen like you and me? What happened to those?
Those supply lines are all pretty much toast.
Just think of all the trillions of dollars that have been spent on all these damned, useless, murderous and unnecessary “wars” that the oligarchs ruling our countries in the past 15-odd years have indulged themselves in — enough dollars to fix all of our infrastructures, pave all of our roads, create jobs for all of us like there was no tomorrow, educate all of our children for free up to a doctoral degree, make sure we all have top-notch healthcare, and dress every single man, woman and child in America, Arabia and Israel/Palestine with at least one pair of Jimmy Choo shoes!
Just because we don’t dress up like Freddy Kruger, don’t play at being the Devil’s disciples and don’t eat live human hearts on national TV doesn’t mean that we don’t need supply lines too.
All these amazing opportunities for you and me have been wasted. All that money is now gone with the wind, lost, wasted, never to return. That ship has sailed.
“But Jane,” you might ask next, “does this mean that America, Israel/Palestine and Saudi Arabia are currently being ruled by selfish, immoral and blood-thirsty idiots?” Well, yeah.
And here’s another hard truth: American, Israeli and Saudi neo-con supply lines are also limited too. They just can’t keep goosing us for our life-blood forever. Eventually the oligarchs will run out of MREs, cruise missiles and port-a-potties too. Theirs is not an endless supply line either.
Sooner or later, we average Americans, Israelis and Saudi Arabians are going to be empty and broken like the victims of so many vampires. What then? How will the neo-cons keep their war machines supplied once We the People are drained of our life’s blood?
How much money can these three countries spend on weapons and Iron Domes that don’t work and drones and bullets and missiles that cost a half-million dollars each (Israeli neo-cons just fired off 1,500 of them at the poor trapped citizens of Gaza) before the economies of these three countries are broken like rag dolls? Oops, too late. We are almost already there.
PPS: And here’s another supply line to track: Whoever is supplying the United Nations has also clearly purchased its soul as well — lock, stock and barrel. For instance, this whole devastation of the civilian population of Gaza? Women and children being slaughtered for their land — and not a peep from the UN in their defense. Not even one word. That’s just shameful.
According to journalist Robert Fisk, “The people who lived in Sederot in early 1948 were not Israelis, but Palestinian Arabs. Their village was called Huj. Nor were they enemies of Israel. Two years earlier, these same Arabs had actually hidden Jewish Haganah fighters from the British Army. But when the Israeli army turned up at Huj on 31 May 1948, they expelled all the Arab villagers – to the Gaza Strip! Refugees, they became. David Ben Gurion (Israel’s first Prime Minister) called it an ‘unjust and unjustified action’. Too bad. The Palestinians of Huj were never allowed back. And today, well over 6,000 descendants of the Palestinians from Huj – now Sederot – live in the squalor of Gaza….” http://www.independent.co.uk/
The UN is currently as incapable of stopping wars now as the old League of Nations had been back in the day — because the UN’s very reason for being has been bought off by American and Israeli oligarchs. It is now as dead as the old League of Nations. The only real difference is that the UN has yet to lie down.
For the last several years, the press on the disastrous North American Union has been off front-page news. Nonetheless, the plans to remove barriers and open up borders keeps chucking along. Those who belief this course is desirable or those who conclude that it is unpreventable because the climate of globalization is overpowering, are subversive collaborators of the NWO or gutless wimps that deserve to be run over by the hordes of barbarians that flood our country.Jerome R. Corsi writes in the essay, Kerry signals advance of ‘North American Union’ plan, “with the expected ratification by Congress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, the Obama administration already considers the U.S., Mexico and Canada as part of a “post-NAFTA” world.” What a horrendous admission to make. As stated in the article,
Obama Presses “North American Union” With Mexico, Canada, and this plan for hemispheric integration has a very long record of treason. Some background leading to the current crisis.
“Following the establishment of NAFTA in 1994, under the Clinton administration, President George W. Bush attempted to deepen the U.S.-Canada-Mexico tri-national region with the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), but public opposition spearheaded by this publication, The John Birch Society, WorldNetDaily, Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, and other pro-independence, pro-Constitution groups, forced the Bush administration to shelve the plan — temporarily — and drop the tainted SPP moniker.
At the same time, the Bush administration was pushing the broadening agenda, under the banner of the Free Trade Area of the America’s (FTAA), an endeavor launched during the Clinton administration to expand NAFTA to include all the nations of North and South America. As with the SPP, an awakened electorate put sufficient heat on the U.S. Congress to torpedo the FTAA. The subversive integration/merger plans that The New American had been exposing for years were confirmed in 2011 with the release by WikiLeaks of U.S. State Department cables showing that U.S. officials had been colluding with their Canadian and Mexican counterparts to undermine our constitutional government through various “integration” schemes. (See here and here.)”
Therefore, it comes as no surprise when General Petraeus announces, “After America Comes North America.” He also boasted about how the three economies have been put “together” over the last 20 years as part of the “implementation” of the North American Free Trade Act. As The New American publication proves, resistance to a NAU is not only justified but also necessary if America is to survive as an independent nation.Back in 2006, Dr. Corsi refutes NeoCon proponent John Hawkins, who uses Saul D. Alinsky tactics, in Human Events account that NORTH AMERICAN UNION IS NO CONSPIRACY. The point is that the Obama administration is carrying forward the same strategy, ever protected by the lame stream media, to advance the disintegration of American sovereignty.
The video, NORTH AMERICAN UNION FORMING NOW!! THIS IS THE END OF THE U.S.A, provides a vivid analysis just what is at stake. In addition, one example of the methods used by Obama is reveled in the 2012 column, New Obama Executive Order Pushes Us Closer To A North American Union And A One World Economic System.
“Most Americans have absolutely no idea how far plans to integrate the United States, Canada and Mexico have advanced.
Last year, Barack Obama signed an agreement to create a “North American security perimeter” and most Americans never even heard about it because the mainstream news networks almost entirely ignored it.
But this is exactly what the globalists want. They don’t want people to become alarmed by these moves toward North American integration. In fact, a document uncovered by Wikileaks shows that those involved in the effort to integrate North America believe that an “incremental” approach is best. Apparently they believe that small moves toward integration are less likely to alarm the general population.”
Well, the pretence looks to be over. The fear of alarming American nationalists no longer exists. However, the Homeland Security policy to open the southern border is backfiring as seen in the article, Border Patrol Agents Quitting as Obama’s Mass Invasion Mess at The Border Permeates the Rest of the Country.
“And now our Border Patrol agents are saying, screw it, and looking for new careers/jobs as known Mexican gang members are enjoying the Obama/Holder ‘catch and release’ policy.More than one person is concluding the Obama administration is responsible and has intentionally set this massive border mess into motion with his policies on immigration, hoping to force amnesty as his solution to the man-made disaster and humanitarian crisis (which is designed to never allow to go to waste) of his making.”
Clearly the establishment’s efforts to create a fabricated immigration crisis in order to force a bogus “comprehensive” consolidation in this dreadful North American Union, is at the core of the mass migration. For the bleeding heart do-gooders, the death trains cry out for a more humane mode of transportation to import the Central America into the former Republic of the United States.
One such redemptive fix is to interject a dose of altruism. Replace the clingers on boxcars, reminiscent of Indian Dalit untouchables, with the sleek travel experience of the U.S. and Mexico could be connected by multi-billion-dollar high speed train within FOUR YEARS.
“A multi-billion-dollar high-speed train network linking America with Mexico moved a step closer as officials from both sides of the border thrashed out details.
The proposed 300 mile route would link San Antonio, Texas, to Monterrey, Mexico – slashing the current journey time from five hours by car to under two hours.”
Just look at the advantages of streamlining a direct route from Mexico, that bypasses any border checkpoints and deposits these “PC” undocumented immigrants directly to resettlement facilities. The return trip south can be used to transport Fast and Furious guns, useful in the drug trade, which is central to the economics of laundering monies in the North American Union hierarchy.A decade ago, the article, Do Foreigners Have a Right to Enter the United States?, covered the efforts of Asa Hutchinson, the then Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security.
“Starting this week foreign visitors will be digitally fingerprinted and photographed as part of a nationwide program to check their backgrounds and keep track of when they enter and leave the United States. On the surface this looks like a necessary and desirable procedure. This procedure is the first phase of the Department of Homeland Security’s automated entry-exit system called the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, or US-VISIT.”
Guess that tracking system proved too much of a burden for the latest rush to process these “so called” undocumented migrants. Oh yes, let’s correct the terminology; this mass exodus wants to stay permanently in the only country that allows open borders for the premeditated and systemic destruction of their own nation.With the open admission that Former Border Patrol Agents: Illegal Immigration Crisis “Contrived”, does any federal officials listen, much less act to close the border? The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) released a statement:
“This is not a humanitarian crisis. It is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault on the compassionate side of Americans by her political leaders that knowingly puts minor Illegal Alien children at risk for purely political purposes. Certainly, we are not gullible enough to believe that thousands of unaccompanied minor Central American children came to America without the encouragement, aid and assistance of the United States Government. Anyone that has taken two six to seven year old children to an amusement park can only imagine the problems associated with bringing thousands of unaccompanied children that age up through Mexico and into the United States. I doubt even the Cartels would undertake that chore at any price. No, it has to be heartless corrupt politicians and their minions lusting for more money and power.”
There a few issues more absolute than the words of Ronald Reagan, “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” When Congressional Rep. Steve King says that “Ronald Reagan’s signature on the 1986 amnesty act” gave Barack Obama about 15 million additional Hispanic votes in 2012, he is prophesying even a worse future and inevitable prospects under a North American Union.
Reading a headline in the New York Times, Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level, one needs to ponder what it would take for a defensive deployment on the southern border. If General John “Black Jack” Pershing was sent to track down Pancho Villa, what prevents permanent military patrols to simply guard the border? Obviously, there is not any junior grade George S. Patton’s in the army that would have the courage to buck the commander of treason. This border war is the true existential threat that Americans do not have the stomach to fight.Those who propagate a North American Union are globalists and hate everything that the authentic America stands for. Look in a mirror, that ugly face could be you, if you fall for the propaganda of the NAU.
By every objective standard, Abenomics has been a complete flop. Household spending has plunged, wages have dropped for 23 months in a row, inflation is on the rise, the number of workers who can only find part-time jobs has ballooned to 38 percent, and most economists now expect 2nd quarter GDP to shrink to minus 4 percent or worse. So where’s the silver lining?
There isn’t one. It’s all hype. In fact, the only part of Prime Minister’s Shinzo Abe’s economic strategy that has succeeded has been the public relations campaign, which has bamboozled the Japanese people into believing that pumping trillions of yen into financial assets will lead to widespread prosperity. Good luck with that. We can see how well that worked in the US where stock prices have nearly tripled in the last five years, but the real economy is still flat on its back. So why would quantitative easing (QE) work in Japan when it hasn’t worked in the US?
It hasn’t, and it won’t. The whole thing is a farce. But political leaders like Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and their central bank lackeys continue to promote this absurd flimflam because it boosts profits for their constituents. That’s what this nonsense is all about; trying to find new ways to enrich the parasite class during a “self induced” long-term slump. The only problem is that everyone else is worse off than before, mainly because the silver spoon slackers at the top of the heap are getting a bigger and bigger share of the pie. That just leaves a few crumbs for everyone else, which is why economic activity has slowed to a crawl. It’s because the people who typically spend money and rev up the economy, have no money to spend. It’s that simple. Check out this blurb from the Testosterone Pit:
“The Abe administration is doing everything in the book to bolster the fortunes of Japan Inc.: offering tax cuts, more public works, and stimulus packages, snatching the Olympics by hook or crook, and cranking up inflation. In April, prices for all items soared 3.4% from a year earlier, and goods prices a confiscatory 5.2%. Yet wages were stuck in the mire, and adjusted for inflation, they plunged…
Then came the consumption tax hike, a broad-based tax that impacts consumers and businesses across the economy. The months before the effective date of April 1, consumers and businesses binged to save that extra 3% in taxes on big-ticket items, and businesses rang up sales faster than they could count.” Japan Inc.’s Worst Quarterly Outlook Since The 2011 Earthquake, Testosterone Pit
How do you like that? So, with the economy already on the ropes, class warrior Abe decided to squeeze working people even more by pushing through a regressive sales tax that put household spending into a nosedive. (Get a load of this ski-jump chart of household spending)
But while Abe has been raising taxes on the workerbees, he’s cutting them for his crooked corporate buddies. As part of his dubious “growth strategy” the Japanese PM has promised to slash corporate taxes from 35 percent to 29 percent, a move that will reduce revenues and increase Japan’s humongous public debt even more. (Japan’s debt is already a gargantuan 240 percent of GDP.) Many analysts think that Abe’s move could trigger a panic in the bond market if investors start to think he’s not serious about addressing the debt. Even so, that’s a risk that Abe’s willing to take as long as it saves his cheesy corporate friends a few shekels.
Of course the best way to pay down the debt, is through economic growth. But that can’t be done when wages are either stagnant or dropping as they are in Japan. Check this out from mni market news:
“Base wages, the key to a recovery in cash earnings, fell 0.2% on year, marking the 23rd consecutive decrease…. In real terms, total wages slumped 3.1% in April, showing the annual inflation rate above 1% is hurting household income in the absence of substantial wage growth and in light of the sales tax hike to 8% from 5% on April 1″. (Japan Apr Total Wages Post 2nd Straight Rise; Base Wages Down, MNI Market News)
The economy can’t grow when demand is weak, and demand is perennially weak in Japan because wages and incomes are shriveling. That means less personal consumption, less economic activity, and smaller GDP. Recently, the situation has gotten worse due to the Bank of Japan’s money printing operations which have increased inflation which has reduced worker’s buying power. Check this out form the Japan Times:
“Consumer prices climbed in May at their fastest pace in 32 years, swelled by the hike in the consumption tax and higher utility charges that are squeezing Japanese budgets as wage gains remain limited.
Consumer prices excluding fresh food but not energy, rose 3.4 percent from a year earlier, the Statistics Bureau said Friday…Household spending subsequently sank 8 percent, more than the forecast fall of 2.3 percent, separate data showed…
All 14 major gas and electricity companies raised prices from May to the highest level since the current pricing system began in May 2009, according to the Asahi Shimbun. Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced a price hike of 5.3 percent in May for households, reflecting the higher tax, rising energy costs and other factors.” (Prices climb most in 32 years as wages limp along, Japan Times)
So, with prices rising and wages stagnant, Japan is experiencing what most analysts anticipated when Abe first announced his plan to hike the sales tax, that is, household spending has dropped precipitously increasing the likelihood of another recession. Abe decided that pushing more of the government’s operating costs onto working people was more important than the health of the economy.
Naturally, Abe’s policies have had a catastrophic effect on the working poor. As we noted earlier, the number of part-time workers in Japan has grown dramatically over the last few years. According to Reuters,
“part-time, temporary and other non-regular workers who typically make less than half the average pay has jumped 70 percent from 1997 to 19.7 million today — 38 percent of the labor force.”
Abenomics has made life considerably harder for these people due to the higher taxes, soaring prices, and reduced welfare benefits. The data show that Japan’s poverty rate is “the sixth-worst among the 34 OECD countries” while “child poverty in working, single-parent households is by far the worst at over 50 percent, making Japan the only country where having a job does not reduce the poverty rate for that group.” (Japan’s working poor left behind by Abenomics, Reuters)
Abe’s attack on working people has intensified in the last few weeks as he’s unveiled parts of his “third arrow” of structural reforms. Along with cutting corporate taxes, Abe wants to take the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), “the world’s deepest pot of savings”, and shove it in the stock market. George W. Bush wanted to do the same thing with Social Security but abandoned the idea after Lehman Brothers collapsed and the economy tanked. Now Abe is pushing the same loony plan which will put the long-term security of Japan’s elderly at risk just to boost profits for his voracious plutocrat friends.
Abe also wants to eliminate overtime pay, make it easier for corporate bosses to fire workers, and allow foreign workers to care for children and the elderly in a series of “special economic zones”. All of the so called “reforms” are just ways of extracting more wealth from labor by loosening regulations. None of them have anything to do with increasing productivity, boosting capital investment or sparking more innovation. They’re all about wringing every last dime out of the people who are already so broke they can barley keep their heads above water.
On top of it all, Abe’s easy money policies have ignited the same flurry of “irrational exuberance” they have in the US. As Marketwatch notes, “A greater number of investors are demanding increased dividends and share buybacks than (ever) before.”
Stock buybacks are a particularly execrable activity that pumps up stock prices without adding anything to productivity. It’s pure-unalloyed asset inflation prompted by insanely loose monetary policies. Here’s more from Marketwatch:
“Japanese companies … are sitting on a record amount of cash: about $3 trillion at the end of March …
A number of large Japanese companies, including Toyota, NTT Docomo and Mitsubishi Corp., have announced plans for big stock buybacks, which improve shareholder returns by increasing the value of the remaining shares outstanding.” (In Japan, dividends, buybacks take the stage, Marketwatch)
Yipee! Shareholders are getting richer on Abe’s idiot programs. Too bad they’ll be gone when the bubble bursts and the system plunges back into crisis.
What a screwball system.
Abenomics has nothing to do with prosperity, growth or even deflation. That’s all BS. The policy is designed to do exactly what it does, generate hefty profits for slacker speculators and corporate muck-a-mucks while everyone else faces higher prices, lower wages and a dimmer future.
If that’s not class warfare, then what is it?
When the Syrian war jumped its borders into Iraq, surrounding nations had a perfect chance to peacefully cooperate. They’ve thus far refused. The war in Syria now seems to be shifting to Iraq, and the big actors in the regional drama are recklessly pushing events toward more conflict that could transform a regional proxy war into a direct multi-nation battle.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now controls giant swaths of two nations, which are surrounded by countries that either fear ISIS or previously supported it. Old alliances are being tested as Syria and Iran come to the defense of the Iraqi government against ISIS, while the opposing alliance of U.S., Israel and the Gulf State monarchies are finding their unofficial union strained under the pressure of swelling paradoxes.
For example, the U.S. is supposedly fighting a war on terrorism, but has been in an unofficial military alliance with ISIS and other al-Qaeda groups in Syria, since all of them were actively waging war on the Syrian government.
When ISIS invaded Iraq the governments of Syria and Iran immediately offered assistance, while Obama stalled. Then, strangely, Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry “warned” Syria against air attacks targeting ISIS in Iraq, a move that was welcomed by the Iraqi government. Kerry’s warning was also meant for Iran, which is finding itself sucked deeper into the two-nation war that now threatens Iran’s border.
As Iraq, Syria and Iran are busy fighting ISIS, what are the U.S. and Israel doing? They are continuing their war against Syria, the war that gave ISIS a new lease on life.
Iraq begged Obama to deliver promised fighter jets to fight ISIS, Obama chose instead to give extra aid to the U.S. backed Syrian rebels, to the tune of $500 million. The Syrian rebels have been completely dominated by Islamic extremists for at least two years.
Israel, for its part, also ignored ISIS and instead bombed nine Syrian military targets. Israel has bombed Syria several times in the last year, rather than bombing ISIS or the other al-Qaeda groups attacking Syria. In reality, an emerging regional war already exists, but is being minimized or ignored by the media.
Because the U.S. would rather fund Islamic extremists in Syria, the Iraqi government requested and received fighter jets from Russia, which will inevitably create more strain between the Iraqi and U.S. governments, since giving and receiving military aid is a crucial way that countries cement alliances and exert influence.
When nations that receive military aid are disobedient, the big war toys are held back as a way to exert leverage. The Iraqi President, Nouri al-Maliki, let his political naivety blind him to this reality,and recently admitted that Iraq was “delusional” to rely completely on U.S. military aid, since Obama is using the ISIS threat and the withholding of aid to pressure Iraqi politicians to ditch al-Maliki, essentially a “legal” form of regime change that will act more in accord with U.S. interests against Iran and Syria. Obama has wanted to replace al-Maliki ever since the Iraqi president refused to join Obama’s war against Syria.
As the Syria-Iraq war expands, the greater the gravitational pull it will exert on surrounding nations, who can’t resist the big profits associated with mass killing. Others will participate indirectly to protect their borders, until they too are drawn in by the centripetal forces of war.
After participating in the Syrian war through proxies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the Obama administration finds itself neck deep in the Syrian-Iraqi blood bath, finding it difficult not to join the other sharks in the feeding frenzy.
Obama’s “hands off” approach to Iraq is temporary and strategic, and is in reality “hands on” behind the scenes. As the war spreads across borders Obama will find it less possible to abstain, since Iran, Syria and Russia will gain wider regional influence at his expense, which is happening by the minute.
The Syria-Iraq war is testing the resilience of decades-long alliances, even the future of the modern nation state, which lies at the foundation of post-WWII international law. This legal sanctity of the nation-state was emphasized by the Nuremberg trials after WWII, which established that the Nazis biggest war crime was not genocide or the holocaust, but the military invasion of sovereign nations, which created the conditions for regional and world war. The only legal war under international law is a defensive one.
But now regional wars are becoming commonplace, and borders are ignored as big powers pay and arm proxy militias to attack governments. More importantly, the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya have essentially eviscerated global international law, since the UN has been powerless in protecting sovereign nations against the aggression of the world’s only superpower. The U.S. invasions have created a climate where the nation-state has lost its revered status, increasing the likelihood of more war, since the old rules no longer apply.
Obama’s recent actions prove he has no intention of leaving the Middle East. As the Syrian war was spilling into Iraq, Obama requested $5 billion more for Middle East war, as if the gargantuan military budget wasn’t already enough. According to The New York Times:
“The White House is asking for $4 billion to go to the Pentagon and $1 billion to the State Department for other counterterrorism operations, including training and equipping partner countries (Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc.). Some of the money, administration officials said, would cover increased costs of Special Operations Forces that have deployed around the world, while $1.5 billion would go toward counterterrorism efforts in the neighborhood around Syria: Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.”
This $5 billion represents yet more blood money that will inevitably exacerbate the Middle East inferno. Years of ongoing U.S. military intervention — direct or indirect — has led to the unnecessary death or suffering of millions of people across the Middle East and to the large-scale destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now Iraq again.
It is possible, as some are predicting, that Obama will complete a major diplomatic deal that includes Iran and the Kurdish section of Iraq. This, if successful, may create a temporary reprieve from the violence, while creating new ethnic-religious tensions that will inevitably explode again. Any temporary deal will not eliminate the deeper causes of the war, which lie in the waning influence of the U.S. and its allies, and the rising influence of China and Russia.
All these developments emphasize the need to revive the antiwar movement here in the U.S. Those who oppose U.S. government military adventures around the world should unite and demand that no troops be sent to Iraq, that the U.S. advisors in Iraq should be brought home, and that money should be spent on jobs, education and strengthening the safety net here at home, not on war.
Who Are Those Guys?
Ein el Helwe camp — As Washington and London were affirming the past few days their intentions to continue to arm “moderate rebel factions” in Syria, Tel Aviv just announced it would like to be helpful by joining with “moderate Arab nations” to battle their mutual Muslim enemies.
Israel offered on 6/26/14 to help “moderate” Arab nations who may feel threatened by the lightning land grabbing offensive by Islamic militants in Iraq. As its foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, an arch Zionist Islamophobe and Arabphobe, met with Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris, he reportedly talked sweet about some Arabs and told Kerry that “the extremists currently operating in Iraq and Syria will try to challenge the stability in the entire Gulf region, first of all in Kuwait.” A statement from his office added that “Israel could provide effective and reliable assistance to moderate Arab states who are dealing with extremists.”
Just a few days after visiting Iraq, and being briefed on the pathetic situation, Kerry seems intrigued by the Zionist idea and noted according to a senior U.S. official, that it is “important that countries in the region (including Israel) stand together against the (ISIS) threat.”
Basically “Israel wants to do what Shite Iran has started doing” he continued, which according to the New York Times is flying surveillance drones over Iraq and sending military equipment to help Baghdad fight the Sunni insurgents. Except Israel wants to arm the Sunni tribes in league with the West and the Gulf monarchies and not arm the Shia.
Israeli officials and AIPAC are arguing to Washington that Israeli interests were converging with moderate Arab nations and “both sides should be dealing with the threat of Iran, world jihad and al-Qaida, as well as the spill-over of conflicts in Syria and in Iraq to neighboring countries.” The Israeli embassy issued a statement, “Today, (6/26/14) there is a basis for the creation of a new diplomatic-political structure in the Middle East.” Yet another ‘New Middle East’, one wonders?
This week, (6/22/14) on NBC’s Meet the Press, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu restated the half-century old Zionist project and continuing to permanently divide and control the Middle East. On the subject of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (DAASH) Netanyahu expressed the intention of his regime to continue to promote internal strife in Israel’s neighboring states. “We must weaken both [Sunni and Shia Muslims],” Netanyahu said, restating his governments preferred policy to have Muslims continue fighting among themselves. “When your enemies are fighting each other, don’t strengthen either one of them, weaken both,” he told the American public.
While it would not be the first time the Zionist regime has worked with preferred members of the Arab League to advance its own interests, another strong incentive to ratchet up its “split the Arabs” policy is the popular spill-over political effects of the advancements of DAASH in Iraq and Syria. Briefly stated, Lebanon is awash with rumors about a “Sunni uprising” to regain what is viewed by some in Lebanon and the region as seeking justice for their substantial political and economic loses since the 2003 Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq.
If the Gulf Kingdoms and the West agree to share information and leverage with respect to Iraq and Syria with Netanyahu & Co., it will be with the knowledge that Israel has another motive in wanting to join the coalescing forces against ISIS (DAASH). Presumably it is also is what its Lebanon based agents are surely reporting from the Palestinian camps.
Briefly put Palestinian camps generally, and using Ein el Helwe, in Saida, Lebanon as an example, are beginning to experience what Nahr el Bared camp near Tripoli, Lebanon did in 2007. At Nahr al Bared, over a period of more than six months began to notice the arrival of ‘strangers.’ Some camp residents asked “Who are those guys”? At first the new arrivals appeared to be rather self-effacing, very polite, and seemingly deeply religious. They tended to keep to themselves and soon their families arrived. More than one Sheik in Nahr al Bared assured the camp residents that the strangers were “good Muslims” and some were even teaching lessons from the Koran at the Mosque.
Fast forward, and as one of the Nahr el Bared camp leader explained in great detail to this observer at the time, soon residents soon began to notice changes in what were in fact affiliates or members of a new group calling itself “Fatah el Islam (FEI).” For example, the Islamists began to accost women on the street demanding that they wear a full length Hijabs and to stop smoking and more generally change their ways to be “better Muslims”.
Today, FEI is relatively strong and growing, but secretively in Ein el Helwe. But they are not alone. New arrivals, plus young, unemployed, discouraged and increasingly disenchanted and angry youth are reportedly secretly holding meetings with DAASH, Al Nusra and other recruiters and they are promised immediate material benefits and soon to be granted the full right to work plus a deepening Resistance to the occupation of their country, Palestine. There are takers naturally, but numbers so far are difficult to learn. Militias are growing in the camps but it’s difficult to calculate just how fast because camp residents know of many outside intelligence agents living among them, ranging from Lebanese Internal Security to Zionist agents and many others, so keeping their work secret is most essential.
According to analysts in Lebanon, and a recent report in Now Lebanon, the small cells based in rural northern Lebanon, the eastern Bekaa, and the Palestinian camps, where law enforcement remains very difficult are expanding due to the ISIS’ surge in Iraq and its apparent success in securing popular support from Sunni tribes and former Baathist groups. Fears continue to spread that the Sunni-Shiite sectarian struggle will explode in Lebanon as well.
But the threat does not come only from outside Lebanon’s borders, according to a security source in Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp. The source reported that he has been receiving information recently about Jihadist factions mobilizing in several areas of Lebanon, including Palestinian refugee camps with both DAASH (ISIS) and al Nusra Front setting up training camps. According to one source, Jihadists reportedly are not only mobilizing inside the Palestinian camps: it is happening across Lebanon, especially after the Qalamoun second battle. Fanatic Muslims and takfiris are spreading very fast. “What is happening in Iraq and Qalamoun shows that the situation will soon be very dangerous in the region, including Lebanon. It will all become a jihad battlefield,” the source said.
Two active and knowledgeable Palestinians from Ein el Helwe camp explained to this observer this week as they introduced me to the leader of Fatah el Islam, “Of course all the camps are affected just like everyone else around here by what has been happening in Iraq and Syria. Palestinians always want to avoid local fights but we always seem to be pulled in. Look what happened in the Lebanese civil war. Our leadership tried everything it could do stay out of the sectarian fight but we were pulled in and paid a huge price.
As for the attitude of the general camp population in Lebanon, a recent unscientific poll found that more than 96% of camp residents in Lebanon do not want to stop the Resistance but rather to reclaim all their stolen land. This survey results compares remarkably closely to a June 15-17 poll commissioned by the Zionist Washington Institute. That poll comprised face-to-face interviews with a standard random geographic probability sample of 1,200 adult Palestinians, yielding results with a 3% statistical margin of error. Only 22% of Gazans would opt to give up the ‘by whatever means necessary’ Resistance “to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to achieve a two-state solution.” Even fewer, pick a “one-state solution,” in which “Arabs and Jews having equal rights in one country, but want their country returned from the river to the sea.” The “two-state solution” is the preferred option of a mere 9% in the West Bank and 10% in Gaza. Nearly two-thirds of the Palestinians in the same Zionist poll said “resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated.”
Both the Zionist poll and the informal one done in Palestinian camps in Lebanon find board support for popular resistance against the Zionist occupation seen as having a positive impact by most respondents in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. These activities include stepped up demonstrations, building more support for the BDS campaign, strikes, marches, and mass refusals to cooperate, though various acts of Resistance to confront the Zionist occupiers.
Increased Resistance is seen as having a positive impact by most respondents in both territories: 62% in the West Bank, 73% in Gaza and close to 90% in Ein el Helwe.
Meanwhile, a twitter account with 21,000 followers, one of many, and this one dubbed the “League of Supporters”, called this week for DAASH sympathizers to post messages warning America not to carry out airstrikes against DAASH. Rather they urged their supporters to prepare to follow them and to confront the Zionists across Palestine.
In summation, the Zionist regime is very aware that the camps are likely to explode for a number of reasons not least of which the lack of civil rights including Palestinians is being banned from most jobs and the rising anger in and among the camps. It is also the case that the Zionists realize that the future looks bleak for its continuing occupation of Palestine internationally and helping stamp our extremist Jihadists, even by working with Arab regimes, and to weaken Iran in the process, it what it must do.
As Canadian freelance writer and journalist Brandon Martinez reminds us: “Fragmenting, weakening and Balkanizing the Middle East has been part and parcel of the Zionist impulse from the very beginnings of the Jewish state. Israeli strategist Oded Yinon candidly outlined this imperialist line of thought in his 1982 paper “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s.” A strong, unified Iraq is Israel’s primary military concern, Yinon stressed” Yinon went on to push for the territorial dissection of Iraq into three state-lets along ethnic and confessional lines. And we may well witness these developments in Iraq. He promoted much the same scenario for Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and other Arab/Muslim states bordering the Zionist colony.
Martinez further observes, “The Zionists have used deception, subterfuge and cunning to con the world into entering conflicts and conflagrations that have expedited their ominous aims. But Israel’s insatiable avarice for more land and resources will eventually be its downfall, just as every empire in history has sooner or later collapsed under its own weight.”
Reminding this observer of a quote a valued friend from New Mexico recently sent to me:
“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too” (Marcus Aurelius).
Now that I’m back here in America after personally observing Syria’s recent presidential elections, I’ve been totally amazed at some of the fabrications, gross exaggerations and out-right lies that my country’s mainstream media has come up with regarding these vote results.
“Election fraud in Syria!” the newspapers cry over and over again. “Assad forces Syrians to vote for him! The elections were coerced!” plus many many other words to that effect. And even President Obama jumped on the band wagon — after even he himself has committed election fraud of a sort, having run on a ticket of peace and more jobs and then giving us war and no jobs instead. To say nothing of when G.W. Bush stole the Florida and Ohio elections. Twice!
Well. I am here to tell you that what they are saying about the Syrian elections is just so much bull dookie. And how do I know? I was there. In Syria. They weren’t. Eye-witness accounts always trump outsourced fabrications. Hopefully.
And so in the name of setting the record straight, I’ve decided to type up all of my various 50 pages of notes that I took over there in order to show you, step by step, minute by minute, what actually happened over in Syria — to me personally.
This eye-witness account is going to be a long read — but an accurate one. Some good stuff happened. And some bad stuff. And some fun stuff too (fun stuff in a war zone? Huh?) But I dare you to read it. And if you do, I’m sure you will find that it will be just like you came along to Syria with me.
Here is the link.
PS: How much do you know about America’s new “Army of One”? It’s just not your father’s Army any more. Or even your son’s (or your daughter’s). The new U.S. Army appears to have gone totally mercenary — and its new source of recruits goes way far beyond just hiring some Blackwater guys sporting AK-47s or a Bangladeshi kitchen crew.
Under America’s new rules of war, recruiters don’t have offices on Main Street USA any more. Instead they have offices in poverty-stricken countries like Chechnya, Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan — any godforsaken hell-hole where there is over 50% employment. “Wanna interesting job with good pay,” American recruiters whisper into future soldiers’ ears. But the good pay these recruiters are offering is this: When these new soldiers come home in a box, their families might possibly be given burial expenses.
And, trust me, these new recruits are a whole different breed from your traditional G.I. Joe. They are angry. They are far from home. They have had a grueling hand-to-mouth childhood. Many of them are wingnut religious fanatics who think that the Bible and the Koran are all about slaughter and vengeance, not compassion and justice. And they truly do not care who they kill.
And did I already mention that these new recruits work for cheap? No need for pensions plans or VA hospitals or none of that other slacker stuff for them. These guys are the ultimate outsourcing/cheap labor Republican wet dream.
Too bad that the neo-Nazi blood-thirsty recruits that Wall Street and War Street have hired in Ukraine are refusing to work as cheaply as the ones that they send to Syria.
However, thanks to this new recruiting policy, no one back home in America whines and bellyaches any more because their sons and daughters have been killed while defending America’s military-industrial complex’s oil either. This is a win-win situation for American war mongers. The Bush dynasty and Mr. Cheney must be ecstatic right now. But Eisenhower must be rolling over in his grave.
In addition, these new fanatical terrorist jihadi wingnut recruits are actually really really good at doing what they have come to love best: Killing and looting. They just took over Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq, no small feat. And they have been driving Syria bananas over the last three years, like so many psychotic bedbugs. Forget the Marines! These new recruits are always Semper Fi — to whoever pays them peanuts to behead civilians and rape women. And Americans like you and me are paying billions to keep these wannabe butchers in the field.
Welcome to the new “Army of One”.
PPS: Perhaps I may be wrong about all those crazy-eyed jihadis and wingnut foreign fighters earning almost nothing in their American paychecks. I just read an article about how ISIS (the main jihadi gang of thugs operating in Syria) has pretty much sacked a lot of Syria’s wealth.
Basically ISIS has just swooped in and looted Syria like so many pirates — and now, with American and Saudi help, it is also looting Iraq too. Let me make one thing clear: These barbarians do not want to start an Islamic civil society in the Middle East. They just want to plunder. “Argh.”
According to Alakbar English, “ISIS currently controls many [oil] fields and is battling for control for more fields still. According to al-Nusra sources, one oil well south of Raqqa brings in up to $1.3 million per day, while other fields in and around Raqqa like Zamla, al-Tabaqa, and Kuniko bring in $500,000 per day, in addition to unknown revenues from the Jazal and Shaer oil fields, and al-Jafra (oil and gas)
“ISIS also profits from thousands of kidnappings and ransoms involving locals and foreigners, including journalists, as well as robbery and looting, including of archaeological sites and factories. For example, ISIS seized control of large factories in Aleppo, including the government-owned railway and cables factory, a batteries factory, and a tractor factory. In some cases, ISIS dismantled and sold their equipment and machinery. Al-Nusra sources put the resulting revenues at $1 million per month.
“In addition, ISIS has taken control of grains and cotton production in the eastern regions. For instance, al-Nusra accuses Amer al-Rafdan, one of the most prominent figures in ISIS, of stealing $5 million worth of cotton in Deir al-Zour alone. Meanwhile, al-Nusra sources say that ISIS has earned more than $25 million from al-Alia grain silos in Al-Hasakah.
“The conflict in Syria has also allowed ISIS to put its hands on a large arsenal of weaponry, consisting of both weapons seized in combat and weapons purchased directly from arms dealers, who are always willing to sell weapons to just about everyone.”
This is just plain scary. This is just like when the barbarians sacked and burned ancient Rome. And now the same Middle Eastern jihadi wingnuts who tried to sack and burn Syria have gone on to sack and burn Mosul and Tikrit too (not to mention Benghazi et al.) And Baghdad is next.
And one election observer I met in Damascus also brought up another good point. “Something about this advance does not add up. How could 1,500 fighters hold a town or a province? How come American satellites did not see this coming? Major advances like that are not easily done.” Not unless America and Saudi Arabia are offering up the technology and footing the bill. Duh.
Wall Street and War Street should be ashamed for supporting these kinds of hoodlums. And what if they come over here to sack and burn us next? “Sorry, I plan to be out of town that weekend,” just isn’t gonna wash. But, oops, too late now. The FBI has already claimed that Saudi and Chechen barbarians have already been active in Boston and New York.
These pirating wingnuts in ISIS are psychotic. The American military-industrial complex may think that their pirate crews in the Middle East are controllable — but, guys, this is not Halloween. You are playing with fire.
While staying here in Damascus, I have heard the same thing said again and again from a whole array of sources, including foreign journalists, Syrian citizens and even Christian nuns. “This war on Syria is being fought by Al Qaeda operatives, fanatic Islamist jihadis, foreign fighters, terrorists and mercenaries for hire. And they are being financed by American money and given American weapons.” Yikes!
What this means to me personally is that my very own head (which I have actually become quite attached to) could possibly be blown off at any minute by fanatics and/or weapons bought and paid for by my very own tax dollars. Now that is a really confusing thought.
“War by proxy” is becoming a more and more frequently-used phrase here in Syria. The American military-industrial complex is now out-sourcing their war.
But, hey, that’s better than having American soldiers over here fighting and dying for Wall Street and War Street like they did in Iraq. Our soldiers’ jobs are being shipped overseas? That’s one example of outsourcing that is just fine by me.
Except, in the words of one local college professor I interviewed the other day, “We Syrians are fighting dirty enemies. This is a dirty war. The jihadists attack hospitals, power plants and schools. But the Syrian people are fighting back.” The professor also mentioned the discovery of vast new oil fields off the Syrian coast. And he found it ironic that the very first place that the jihadis, inquisionists, Taliban wannabes and Al Qaeda death squads attacked was in this oil-rich region. The original peaceful protests by Syrians themselves — before the Taliban wannabes arrived in force from overseas and turned Syria into a slaughterhouse — took place in Daraa, not in the oil fields. Hmmm.
“I also find it ironic that Americans are citing democracy as their primary reason for attacking Syria — while their biggest ally in this region is Saudi Arabia, a known dictatorship.” Not to mention the doubts that everyone has about American elections. Take Diebold for instance. And Florida and Ohio and that weird Supreme Court ruling that forced GWB down our throats. And voter ID cards and 92-year-old women turned away from the polls. But, hey, America is famous for exporting hypocrisy. Get over it, prof.
In Sweida, I talked with a young woman who spoke English and she said, “Living in Syria is like living in one of those Hollywood horror movies.” Slasher flicks. “These terrorists come here and they bomb our hospitals and schools, kill and rape women and children and even eat our flesh like cannibals. We Syrians just want this horror movie to stop.” And she was proud of Bashar Assad for standing up to these wannabe Freddy Kruegers. And most of the Syrians I have talked with feel the same way. “And you would too — if it happened to you.”
And it did happen to me too — sort of. I can hear the shelling outside Damascus going on night and day. Nerve-racking. I almost felt like a heroic citizen of London during the Blitz.
Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, has been playing the Great Game of political chess in this region like he is a grand master — and perhaps that’s why the American military-industrial complex hates him so much. But Syrians love him. They just do. It’s a Syrian thing. Remember what Maya Angelou said in “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings”? How she was being raped as a child and prayed for the Green Lantern to save her? Well President Assad, like it or not, is Syria’s Green Lantern.
Assad might have been a bit to enthusiastic in the past about suppressing dissidence. But please be aware that the inquisionist crazies and Al Qaeda freaks that have tried to invade Syria are so very much worse. Syrians weren’t totally behind Assad before the invasion — but they certainly are now, thanks to America’s military-industrial complex. Eisenhower warned us about the complex. He shoulda warned the Syrians too.
The only thing that I can truly fault Assad on presently are all those all-pervasive giant posters of him that you see everywhere — on buildings, in shops, on cars and buses, on T-shirts and even in elevators. Everywhere. He should stop doing that. He’s not just some Ken doll or even the next Brad Pitt. He’s a political genius who is trying save Syria from the bad guys. He should have understood by now that he has found a place in the hearts of the Syrians and just leave it at that.
PS: Observing the elections was fun. It was like attending a country-wide block party. Or, as Mother Agnes-Mariam said to me in an interview at the Dama Rose Hotel, “It would be impossible to coerce that many Syrians to vote out of fear. People actually went out from rebel-held territory to vote. Even the rebels voted.” So. Who are you going to believe about the authenticity of the Syrian elections? Mother Agnes-Mariam who said that they were valid — or Wall Street and War Street, who claim they were a fraud?
Are you going to believe the same people who lied to us about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction – or a mother-superior Christian nun?
PPS: In Homs, those nasty American-sponsored jihadists blew up a historic old Christian church — only to find an even older church lay buried under the newer church’s foundations. Built in 59 AD, this older church might actually been visited by the Apostles and Saint Paul himself. And these Taliban wannabes were happily trying to blow this older church up too. But apparently they got distracted by trying to break up the bones of some nearby Christian saints’ relics — and the old church was saved!
PPPS: I never did get to meet President Assad. “Apparently he has to keep his eye out for being assassinated by drones,” one journalist explained to me as to why Assad hadn’t come to the Dama Rose hotel. But still…I could have worn my cool “Berkeley High Water Polo Team” T-shirt that I had swiped from my daughter Ashley. I’m sure Assad would have been quite impressed.
“This deployment of strategic bombers provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and improve interoperability with our allies and partners.”
– Admiral Cecil Haney, commander, US Strategic Command on the deployment of B-2 stealth bombers to Europe.
“Against stupidity, no amount of planning will prevail.” – Carl von Clausewitz
Less than 24 hours after Ukraine’s new president Petro Poroshenko announced his determination to retake Crimea from Russia, US Admiral Cecil Haney confirmed that the US Air Force had deployed two B-2 stealth bombers to Europe to conduct military exercises. The addition of the multipurpose B-2, which is capable of delivering nuclear weapons, is intended to send a message to Moscow that the United States is prepared to provide backup for Ukraine’s fledgling government and to protect its interests in Central Asia. News of the deployment was reported in the Russian media, but was excluded by all the western news outlets.
The B-2 announcement was preceded by an inflammatory speech by Poroshenko at the presidential “swearing in” ceremony in Kiev. In what some analysts have called a “declaration of war”, Poroshenko promised to wrest control of Crimea from Russia which annexed the region just months earlier following a public referendum that showed 90 percent support for the measure. Here’s part of what Poroshenko said:
“The issue of territorial integrity of Ukraine is not subject to discussion…I have just sworn ‘with all my deeds to protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,’ and I will always be faithful to this sacred promise…
“Russia occupied Crimea, which was, is and will be Ukrainian soil…Yesterday, in the course of the meeting in Normandy, I told this to President Putin: Crimea is Ukraine soil. Period. There can be no compromise on the issues of Crimea, European choice and state structure…” (New York Times)
On Thursday, the day before Poroshenko was sworn in, “President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron set a deadline for Russia to comply with its demands or face harsher economic sanctions that would be imposed by members of the G-7. Once again, the threat of new sanctions was largely ignored by the western media but was reported in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“To avoid even harsher sanctions.. Putin must meet three conditions: Recognize Petro Poroshenko’s election as the new leader in Kiev; stop arms from crossing the border; and cease support for pro-Russian separatist groups concentrated in eastern Ukraine.
“If these things don’t happen, then sectoral sanctions will follow…”
Obama said the G-7 leaders unanimously agree with the steps Cameron outlined.” (Haaretz)
The United States is ratcheting up the pressure in order to widen the conflict and force Russian president Vladimir Putin to meet their demands. It’s clear that the threat of sanctions, Poroshenko’s belligerent rhetoric, and the steady buildup of military assets and troops in the region, that Obama and Co. still think they can draw Putin into the conflict and make him look like a dangerous aggressor who can’t be trusted by his EU partners. Fortunately, Putin has not fallen into the trap. He’s resisted the temptation to send in the tanks to put an end to the violence in Donetsk, Lugansk and Slavyansk. This has undermined Washington’s plan to deploy NATO to Russia’s western border, assert control over the “bridgehead” between Europe and Asia, and stop the further economic integration between Russia and the EU. So far, Putin has out-witted his adversaries at every turn, but there are still big challenges ahead, particularly the new threats from Poroshenko.
If Poroshenko is determined to take Crimea back from Moscow, then there’s going to be a war. But there are indications that he is more pragmatic than his speeches would suggest. In a private meeting with Putin at the D-Day ceremonies in France, the Ukrainian president said he had a plan to “immediately stop the bloodshed”
Here’s how Putin summarized his meeting with Poroshenko:
“Poroshenko has a plan in this respect; it is up to him to say what kind of plan it is… I cannot say for sure how these plans will be implemented, but I liked the general attitude, it seemed right to me, so, if it happens this way, there will be conditions to develop our relations, in other areas, including economy.
“It’s important to stop the punitive actions in the southeast without a delay. That’s the only way to create conditions for the start of a real process of negotiations with the supporters of federalization. No one has yet said anything concrete to the people (living in the southeast of Ukraine) and nothing practical has been offered to them. People there simply don’t understand how they’ll live in the future and what the parameters of the new Constitution will look like.” (Poroshenko tells Putin of plan to immediately stop bloodshed in Ukraine, Itar-Tass)
If the report is accurate, then there’s reason to hope that Poroshenko is moving in Russia’s direction on most of the key issues which are; greater autonomy for the people in East Ukraine, Constitutional provisions that will protect them from future abuse by Kiev, and an immediate end to the violence. Putin has sought assurances on these issues from the very beginning of the crisis. Now it looks like he might get his way. Of course, it is impossible to know, since Poroshenko is sending mixed messages.
So why is Poroshenko sounding so conciliatory in his private meetings with Putin, but so belligerent in public?
It could be any number of things, but it probably has a lot to do with Monday’s scheduled tripartite meetings of representatives from the European Union, Ukraine and Russia. These meetings will have incalculable impact of Ukriane’s economic future. They will resolve the issues of price for future gas purchases as well as a plan for settling all previous claims. (Russia says that Ukraine owes $3.5 billion in back payments for natural gas.)
On April 1, Gazprom cancelled Ukraine’s discount and raised the price of gas to 485.5 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters nearly doubling the rate of payment. (It had been $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters) It is impossible to overstate the impact this will have Ukraine’s economy. Even Ukrainian hardline Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was candid in his dire assessment of the situation. He said, “I could have made a populist statement but it is not true. We cannot refrain from using Russian gas.”
If Poroshenko sounds conciliatory, this is why.
Putin refused to discuss the gas issue with the media, but implied that political developments in Ukraine would factor heavily into any decision by Gazprom.
“Russia will be compelled to enact economic protection measures to defend its market if Ukraine signs the association agreement with the EU. “As soon as that accord is signed, we’ll start taking measures to defend our economy,” Putin said. (Itar-Tass)
In other words, if Ukraine doesn’t play ball, it’s going to have to go-it-alone. Kiev cannot expect “most favored trade partner-status”, gas discounts, or other perks if they’re going to stab Moscow in the back and jump into bed with the EU. That’s just not the way things work. Putin is merely warning Poroshenko to think about what he’s about to do before taking the plunge. ( “Average gas prices for Ukrainian households began rising by more than 50 percent in May, and heating prices are expected to climb by about 40 percent, starting in July.” World Socialist Web Site)
This is a much more important issue that most analysts seem to grasp. Many seem to think that IMF, EU and US loans and other assistance can buoy Ukraine’s sinking economy and restore it to health. But that’s a pipedream. In a “must read” report by the Brookings Institute, authors Clifford G. Gaddy and Barry W. Ickes spell it out in black and white, that is, that “Ukraine is a prize that neither Russia nor the West can afford to win.” Here’s a clip from the text:
“It is clear to most observers that the West would not be able to defend Ukraine economically from a hostile Russia…The simple fact is that Russia today supports the Ukrainian economy to the tune of at least $5 billion, perhaps as much as $10 billion, each year…
When we talk about subsidies, we usually think of Russia’s ability to offer Ukraine cheap gas — which it does when it wants to. But there are many more ways Russia supports Ukraine, only they are hidden. The main support comes in form of Russian orders to Ukrainian heavy manufacturing enterprises. This part of Ukrainian industry depends almost entirely on demand from Russia. They wouldn’t be able to sell to anyone else…
If the West were somehow able to wrest full control of Ukraine from Russia, could the United States, the other NATO nations, and the EU replace Russia’s role in eastern Ukraine? The IMF, of course, would never countenance supporting these dinosaurs the way the Russians have. So the support would have to come in the way of cash transfers to compensate for lost jobs. How much are we talking about? The only known parallel for the amount of transfer needed is the case of German reunification. The transfer amounted to 2 trillion euros, or $2.76 trillion, over 20 years. If Ukraine has per capita income equal to one-tenth of Germany’s, then a minimum estimate is $276 billion to buy off the east. (In fact, since the population size of eastern Ukraine is larger than East Germany’s, this is an underestimate.) It is unthinkable that the West would pay this amount.” (Ukraine: A Prize Neither Russia Nor the West Can Afford to Win, Brookings)
The authors go on to show that “a NATO-affiliated Ukraine — is simply impossible under any real-world conditions” because it assumes that Russia will either “become an enthusiastic EU and NATO member itself” (or) “will it return to being the bankrupt, dependent, and compliant Russia of the 1990s.” In other words, the Obama administration’s strategic objectives in Ukraine do not jibe with economic reality. The US cannot afford to win in Ukraine, that’s the bottom line. Even so, we are convinced the aggression will persist regardless of the presumed outcome. The train has already left the station.
At the D-Day ceremonies, Putin and Poroshenko also met briefly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande although the content of their discussions was not revealed. Public support for the two leaders’ Ukraine policy is gradually withering as the fighting continues in the East without any end in sight. An article in the popular German newspaper Die Zeit indicates that elite opinion in Europe is gradually shifting and no longer sees Washington’s Ukraine policy as being in its interests.
Here’s a brief summary from the WSWS: “It goes on to argue that Washington’s aggression is laying the foundations for a Chinese-Russian-Iranian axis that “would force the West to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy to secure its access to important but dwindling raw materials such as oil.” In opposition to this, the commentary insists that Germany’s independent interests lie “with preserving and deepening Europe’s relations with Russia,” while pursuing similar ties with Iran.” (D-Day anniversary: Commemorating the Second World War and preparing the Third, World Socialist Web Site)
This is an important point and one that could put a swift end to US aggression in Ukraine. Washington’s objectives are at cross-purposes with those of the EU. The EU needs a reliable source of energy and one, like Russia, that will set its prices competitively without resorting to coercion or blackmail. Washington, on the other hand, intends to situate itself in this century’s most prosperous region, Eurasia, in order to control the flow of oil from East to West. This is not in Europe’s interests, but promises to be a source of conflict for the foreseeable future. Case in point: Just last week Bulgaria’s prime minister, Plamen Oresharski, “ordered a halt to work on Russia’s South Stream pipeline, on the recommendation of the EU. The decision was announced after his talks with US senators.”
According to RT News, Oresharski stopped construction after meeting with John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson during their visit to Bulgaria on Sunday.
McCain, commenting on the situation, said that “Bulgaria should solve the South Stream problems in collaboration with European colleagues,” adding that in the current situation they would want “less Russian involvement” in the project.
“America has decided that it wants to put itself in a position where it excludes anybody it doesn’t like from countries where it thinks it might have an interest, and there is no economic rationality in this at all. Europeans are very pragmatic, they are looking for cheap energy resources – clean energy resources, and Russia can supply that. But the thing with the South Stream is that it doesn’t fit with the politics of the situation,” Ben Aris, editor of Business New Europe told RT.” (Bulgaria halts Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project, RT)
Once again, we can see how US meddling is damaging to Europe’s interests.
Western elites want to control the flow of gas and oil from East to West. This is why they’ve installed their puppet in Kiev, threatened to levy more sanctions on Moscow, and moved B-2 stealth bombers into the European theater. They are determined to succeed in their plan even if it triggers a Third World War.
On Thursday, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi dropped rates on overnight deposits to minus 0.1% thereby charging commercial banks to keep their money at the ECB. The move, which was applauded by the media as a “historic measure to fight deflation”, is nothing of the kind. Negative rates have been used in both Sweden and Denmark in recent years, but to little effect. The policy will not “get the banks lending again” as the ECB suggests, nor will it ease the high unemployment and slow growth that have plagued the Eurozone for the last six years. In truth, the rate change will have no impact at all. It’s merely public relations stunt designed to create the impression that the ECB is aggressively addressing the crisis for which it is largely responsible. Here’s how the World Socialist Web Site summed it up:
“The move is an expression of the fact that, nearly six years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the world economy remains mired in deep crisis, for which the world’s central banks have no solution outside of pumping trillions into banks and financial firms. While trillions are handed out to the banks, workers throughout the continent are told that there is “no money” to pay for pensions, social programs, and healthcare benefits.” (European Central Bank cuts interest rate below zero, WSWS)
Stock traders loved the news that the ECB was going “sub zero”. As we’ve seen before, any indication that the easy money regime is here-to-stay is enough to send equities skyrocketing, which it did. All the main indices notched substantial gains on the day while the SandP 500 surged to a new record of 1,940.
The idea that charging the banks a small fee on overnight deposits will induce them to lend more freely, demonstrates a laughable misunderstanding of how the system really works. Banks don’t need piles of reserves to issue loans. What they need is creditworthy customers and strong demand. But, of course, demand is weak because the ECB has taken steps to keep the EU in a permanent state of Depression through its austerity policies. What this shows, is that the objectives of the class war precede the requirements for a healthy economy. Draghi and his cohorts would rather decimate the welfare state and reduce EU working people to abject poverty, then implement the policies that would generate a strong economic recovery.
But won’t the lower rates lead to more lending, you ask? After all, when the price of money falls, borrowing becomes more attractive, right?
It’s a persuasive theory, but it doesn’t work that way. For example, check out this blurb from Reuters and you’ll see what I mean:
“Lending to companies in the euro zone contracted at the fastest pace on record in November, piling pressure on the European Central Bank to do more to revive the currency bloc’s economy…
“Worryingly, there is still no sign of any trend change in bank lending to euro zone businesses…” said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Economics…
Corporate borrowing in the euro zone overall declined at the fastest pace on record, November’s 3.9 percent drop comparing with a 3.8 percent decline on the year in the previous month.
Bank lending to Italian firms fell at an annual pace of 5.9 percent in November, the sharpest decline in the measure’s 10-year history. That was also true for the euro zone’s smallest economy, Malta, which recorded a 10.4 percent drop….The biggest decline was in Spain, where lending to companies fell 13.5 percent.” (Euro zone corporate lending shrinks at record pace in November, Reuters)
The reason bank lending saw “the sharpest decline in the measure’s 10-year history”, is because the economy is in a depression, and people don’t borrow tons of dough in a depression. They cut back, hunker down and squirrel-away whatever they can. Draghi knows this. He’s just going through the motions to make it look like he cares. It’s all PR. What he really cares about is his constituents, and what they want, is an end of the welfare state.
What’s so irritating about all of this, is that we know how fix the economy. We know how to increase activity. We know how to boost demand, create jobs, and raise GDP. None of this is new.
When the private sector (consumers and businesses) can’t spend for some reason, then the government has to step up and spend like crazy to keep the economy going. The only alternative is to allow consumption to fall sharply, which will push up unemployment, push down GDP and do vast damage to both the economy and financial system. Why would anyone want to do that, especially when all they have to do is increase the budget deficits temporarily while consumers patch their balance sheets and get back on their feet again?
Monetary policy has not and will not fix the economy. How many years are we going to repeat the same mistake before we acknowledge that? The whole presumption that this pointless, circle-jerk policy is designed to do anything other than provide another bailout for underwater, insolvent financial institutions and the crooked bank bondholders who own the whole friggin’ planet is laughable in the extreme. Check this out from Bloomberg:
“In a bid to get credit flowing to parts of the economy that need it, the ECB also opened a 400-billion-euro ($542 billion) liquidity channel tied to bank lending and officials will start work on an asset-purchase plan. While conceding that rates are at the lower bound “for all practical purposes,” he signaled the the ECB is willing to act again.” (Bloomberg)
So that’s what this is really all about, eh? Draghi is just laying the groundwork for a European version of QE?
Yep. Sure is. And that means another $542 billion will go to the chiseler class. Another $542 billion propping up crooked banks by purchasing their unwanted, toxic Asset-Backed Securities. (ABS) Do you think I’m kidding? I’m not. That’s what the money is earmarked for.
The point is, monetary policy alone will not produce a strong, self sustaining recovery, which is a point that Keynes makes in Chapter 12 of “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”. Here’s what he says:
“For my own part I am now somewhat skeptical of the success of a merely monetary policy directed towards influencing the rate of interest. I expect to see the State, which is in a position to calculate the marginal efficiency of capital-goods on long views and on the basis of the general social advantage, taking an ever greater responsibility for directly organizing investment; since it seems likely that the fluctuations in the market estimation of the marginal efficiency of different types of capital, calculated on the principles I have described above, will be too great to be offset by any practicable changes in the rate of interest.” (John Maynard Keynes, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”, marxists.org, 2002)
Keynes is just stating the obvious, that during periods of weak demand, the sensible option is for the government to take up the slack by “directly organizing investment”, in other words, spending money to keep the economy running. Doesn’t that seem infinitely more reasonable than the Draghi approach which involves a decade of experimental monetary policy that ends in social upheaval, high unemployment, and political unrest?
And here’s the thing: Keynes “The General Theory” was published in 1936. That’s nearly 80 years ago! This isn’t some new-fangled theory concocted by pointy-head crackpots like Bernanke. This is settled science. Fiscal stimulus works. If the government spends, unemployment will drop. If the government spends, the economy will grow. What else do you need to know?
We’ve been hoeing this same row for 6 years now and the economy is still in the dumps. And, in the EU, it’s even worse. Youth unemployment is above 50 percent in Spain and Greece, GDP stuck at a miserable 0.2 percent, business and consumer lending still shrinking, bond yields on sovereign debt are in the toilet, civil disorder and fascism are on the rise, and with the entire 17-member union is rushing headlong into deflation.
And Draghi thinks that negative rates are going to fix all this and put the economy back on the road to recovery?
In your dreams! The only way out of a mess like this is to spend like a madman, which is what Keynes recommended in his famous statement about bottles stuffed with banknotes. Here’s what he said:
“If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again… there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing.” (p. 129)
Okay, so it sounds crazy, but it’s really no different than Bernanke’s “helicopter drop” theory, that is, that –during a severe downturn–the government needs to find a way to stimulate demand. The best way to do that, is to avoid the normal transmission mechanisms (which don’t function properly during a slump) and get money directly into the hands of the people who will spend it quickly and get the economy growing again. It’s all about spending, spending, spending. It doesn’t matter if people buy Ipads or Ant Farms. Just spend, dammit. Spending is activity, activity is growth, growth reduces unemployment, which leads to more investment, more jobs and a virtuous circle.
If it seems to you, dear reader, that Keynes antidote for the ailing economy is more likely to succeed than Draghi’s, then you are certainly right. Massive doses of fiscal stimulus WILL revive the EU economy, lower unemployment, and boost growth. The question is whether that’s a goal the public should really support or not? In other words, is there any point in trying to restore a system which, at its very core, is unstable, self destructive and exploitative? Here’s how Counterpunch economics writer Rob Urie sums it up:
“John Maynard Keynes created a host of economic patch-jobs to save capitalism from more effective solutions. In the pit of the Great Depression FDR implemented programs based on Mr. Keynes’ ideas (which) produced minor relief now deemed by the economic insightful-lite to be a ‘robust’ economic recovery….. But the cause, leveraged (finance) capitalism gone wild, was only temporarily tamped down by regulation while its intrinsic instability was left intact…
Calls for re-regulation, managed capitalism, beg the question: re-regulate what? As demonstrated by history, the system of finance capitalism is intrinsically unstable and economically destabilizing. Under the guise of reviving a functioning financial system a dysfunctional system has been revivified, not revived, and nearly all benefits continue to accrue to a tiny economic elite.” (Financial Crises and Economic Depressions, Rob Urie, CounterPunch)
So, yeah, Keynes’ remedies will work. They’ll definitely get the economy up-and-running again and keep it sputtering-along until the next crisis. But why bother?
Why not just scrap the whole thing and move on to Plan B.
Ever wonder why nobody (except Kareem Serageldin) went to jail for all the crimes committed during the financial bubble that popped in 2008?
If you think back to the 2000-era bubble, lots of people went to jail for the fraud perpetuated at Enron, Tyco, Adelphia, and other firms. Plus, the law back then destroyed a whole accounting firm — Arthur Andersen, you may remember — and 28,000 jobs along with it, in the wake of the bust.
Yet post-2000, firms with far more brazen crimes got off by paying a mere fine.
Its U.S. subsidiary committed, as Taibbi writes, “an astonishing list of crimes — a laundry list that included pretty much every kind of crime a bank can possibly be charged with.”
- Laundering billions of dollars for drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia
- Washing money for terrorist-connected organizations in the Middle East
- Allowing “rogue states” under formal sanctions by the U.S. to move billions freely through the bank
- Helping Russian mobsters wash money under an elaborate traveler’s check scheme
And what was the penalty for all this?
At the time, it was the biggest fine in history. But in context, for a firm that made $22 billion per year, it was not much at all. In fact, looked at in a cold calculating light, the message clearly is: Crime pays.
Note there was no jail time for anybody. Everybody at HSBC got paid. Well, HSBC agreed to partially — partially, mind you – defer (!) bonus payments to its top executives.
Oh, and HSBC had to say it was sorry. “We are profoundly sorry,” said CEO Stuart Gulliver.
But how did we get here?
Matt Taibbi explores the reasons in his book The Divide. Taibbi used to write for Rolling Stone. He was the guy who famously called Goldman Sachs a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” (I wish I had written that line.)
He’s a very good investigative reporter and a fine writer. He’s mellowed out a bit in this book and you won’t find much of the usual Taibbi name-calling and profanity. Taibbi, for good or ill, plays this one straight.
He covers a lot of ground, but the central thesis is one most people will intuitively grasp: If you are rich and powerful, you can get away with almost anything. Rights exist on a sliding scale. And if you are on the bottom, you can do time for loitering.
“The cleaving of the country into two completely different states — one a small archipelago of hyper acquisitive untouchables, the other a vast ghetto of expendables with only theoretical rights — has been in the works a long time.”
But to answer the question posed up top about why nobody’s going to jail, there’s more to the story. You have to go back to a memo written by Eric Holder, the current attorney general, back in 1999, when he was an official in the Clinton White House.
He articulated a concept called “collateral consequences.”
It meant, in essence, that the government could take into account all kinds of factors like job losses and such in deciding whether to press criminal charges against a big company. “If the math isn’t there,” Taibbi writes summing things up, “hold the charges. Seek other forms of justice instead. Fines. Civil sanctions. Cease and desist orders. Deferred prosecutions. There are other ways, Holder wrote, to get the job done.”
In other words, there would never be another Arthur Andersen. Firms had new ways to wiggle out of criminal charges. Hence, we have the monster we have today. Companies too big to jail.
Meanwhile, in other aspects of life, a culture approximating a police state grows apace. Taibbi points to the record levels of incarcerations in the U.S. “Our prison population, in fact, is now the biggest in the history of human civilization,” Taibbi writes. The U.S. has more people behind bars today “than there were at any time in Stalin’s gulags.”
The story here is nasty. He tells the story of private prisons, such as those of Corrections Corp. of America. They get, “depending on whom you believe,” upward of $166 per day from the federal government per inmate. This is four times what it cost back when the government took care of its own detainees.
“The big influx of cash impressed investors on Wall Street,” Taibbi writes. From 2000-2011, CCA’s stock went up 34-fold. Sales went from $300 million to $1.7 billion by 2011. “Overall, the corrections industry is one of the soundest stock/equity bets in the world, with soaring revenues — the industry as a whole pulled in more than $5 billion in America in 2011.”
Needless to say, that didn’t just happen. CCA and others donate generously to politicians. They support anything that might lead to more people spending time in their cells. They particularly like anti-immigrant bills. And Taibbi has harrowing tales about the mistreatment of immigrants in this country. He calls Hispanic immigrants “one of America’s last great cash crops.”
“And someone else wins, too,” Taibbi writes. “Wall Street. Some of the biggest investors in private prison companies are, you guessed it, the too-big-to-fail banks.”
Taibbi writes about an analysis from Zacks that gleefully revels in the lack of economic sensitivity in the business. And then cites a chart with shows a hockey stick increase in the number of incarcerated Americans.
So the country is turning more and more into a dragnet… but only for the poorest. There is no HSBC banker sitting in a CCA cell. It is symbolic of the kind of economy we have today:
“Like too-big-to-fail banking itself, private prisons are an industry that depends not on the unpredictable economy but upon political connections. It’s the perfect kind of business in the oligarchical capitalism age, with guaranteed profits to provide a low-cost public insurance against the vagaries of the market.”
The economy is riddled with corruption like this, a marriage between big business and Big Government. And a recurring theme in this book is the offspring this marriage creates: a relentless, insatiable bureaucratic force that grinds up individuals fed into its maw.
“These bureaucracies accomplish just two things,” Taibbi writes. “They make small piles of money smaller and big piles of money bigger… It just relentlessly creates and punishes losers, who get to sit beneath an ever-narrowing group of winners, who may or may not stay on top for long.”
Legal rights are not absolute. Those with money who can tirelessly throw lawyers and lawsuits and counterlawsuits at any problem can survive almost anything. For the rest, it’s a matter of attrition. And those at the bottom have no chance.
I can’t do justice to all the journalistic fieldwork and stories Taibbi has put in his 416-page book. It is a gripping read and will infuriate you and frighten you, and maybe even make you sad for what’s happened to the “Land of the Free.”
The book does not have a happy ending. The good guys don’t win in the end. But I encourage you give it a read. What it describes is life in these United States. Those of us who cherish liberty have quite a job ahead of us.
Chris Mayer studied finance at the University of Maryland, graduating magna cum laude. He went on to earn his MBA while embarking on a decade-long career in corporate banking. Chris is the editor of Capital and Crisis and Mayer’s Special Situations, a monthly report that unearths unique and unconventional opportunities in smaller-cap stocks. In 2008, Chris authored Invest Like a Dealmaker: Secrets From a Former Banking Insider.
Source: Laissez Faire
President Barack Obama’s commencement address at West Point on May 28 managed to displease pretty much everyone in the nation’s commentariat. Before making an overall assessment of its significance, it is necessary to examine the validity and implications of Obama’s individual statements.
“[B]y most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise – who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away – are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.”
This key assertion, made at the beginning of the President’s address, does not stand to empirical scrutiny. In economic terms, America was far stronger vis-à-vis the rest of the world in 1945 than she is today. In more recent times, U.S. share of world GDP peaked in 1985 with just under 33 percent of global GDP (nominal). Between 2004 and 2014, United States’ share of global gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) has fallen from 22.5 percent to 18.5 percent, and it is expected to continue falling. By the end of this year China will overtake the United States in gross domestic product, which had originally been projected to happen by the end of this decade. Analysts concede will gradually shift the ability to confer advantages or disadvantages on other countries – in other words, power – in China’s favor.
In military terms, while America enjoyed the nuclear monopoly in 1945-49, her period of undisputed unipolar dominance was between 1991 (the collapse of the USSR) and 2008 (Russia’s counterattack in South Ossetia). Although the Pentagon budget will drop from $600 billion this year to $500 billion in 2015, it will continue to account for over a third of the global total. The unsatisfactory outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan and dented America’s image of military invincibility. As the Economist commented on May 3, “The yawning gap between Uncle Sam and his potential foes seems bound to shrink.” The prevailing view among most critical analysts is that over the past decade the U.S. has suffered military reverses, and now faces severe global competition.
As for the “global leadership,” it is unclear what exactly Obama had in mind. Russia and China are creating a powerful Eurasian counterweight to what they rightly perceive as Washington’s continuing bid for the global hegemony. India’s new prime minister is a potential partner at best, and certainly loath to acknowledge America’s “leadership.” In the Islamic world, Obama’s attempts at appeasement – which started with the Cairo speech in 2009 – have not worked: The U.S. is now even more unpopular in the Muslim world than it was under George W. Bush. America is heartily disliked even in Turkey and Jordan, presumably our allies, not least because of the continuing drone strikes. American influence in Latin America is weaker now than at any time since Theodore Roosevelt, as manifested in the unanimous rejection of Washington’s efforts to effect a regime change in Venezuela. Members of the American elite class are hard pressed to name a single country with which the U.S. has better relations today than five years ago. The NSA global spying network has infuriated even some otherwise reliable American friends in Western Europe. Most “Old Europeans” are remarkably resistant to U.S. pressure to agree to serious sanctions against Russia.
On balance it appears that Barack Obama is the one misreading history and engaging in partisan politics.
“Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative.”
In reality, by most value-neutral parameters the American economy is chronically weak and insolvent:
- Far from growing, the economy contracted in the first three months of this year at the annualized rate of one per cent, and it is unclear where future growth would come from. Gross domestic income is also falling sharply, for the first time in years.
- There are fewer workers, they are less efficient than a decade ago, and new employment is mostly in low-paying part-time jobs. Labor force participation (the percentage of Americans at work) is low, at levels not seen since the stagnant economy of the 1970s. One-fifth of 80 million American families do not have a single employed member.
- Government dependence has reached epidemic levels: the number of Americans getting money or benefits from the federal government exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million. Welfare spending and entitlement payments account for 69 percent of the federal budget.
- One-third of all American households are living hand-to-mouth, one paycheck from poverty. The median annual income is 7.5 percent lower than in January 2008.
- The inflation-adjusted S&P500 is back to where it was in 2007. The single biggest buyer of stocks are the companies of the S&P500 itself. At $4 trillion, stock buybacks account for one-fifth of the total stock market value. The biggest buyback in market history added zero productive value to the companies concerned.
- The mountain of debt is nearing $17.5 trillion. The drivers of growing deficits and debt in the future are unfunded entitlement programs that are designed to transfer resources from working people to retirees. When the government pension and health care commitments which are missing from official budget figures are accounted for, the total national debt is nearly $95 trillion, more than seven times the published figure.
- The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is almost over. Russia and China have joined forces in “de-dollarization” of their mutual transactions and are looking for a more productive and safe use for their monetary reserves. Their recent gas deal is the beginning of the end for the petrodollar. Eventually Washington will have to choose between an outright default and hyperinflation, and the rest of the world is waking up to that fact.
Some “dynamism,” some “innovation”…
“America continues to attract striving immigrants.”
Obama’s statement is correct. It does not illustrate America’s alleged strength as was his intent, however; it underscores this country’s major weakness. Illegal immigration is spiraling out of control, the Border Patrol is overwhelmed. If the influx continues at current high levels, the U.S. population will increase to almost half a billion in 2060 – more than a 50 percent increase. New immigrants – mostly from the Third World, unskilled, uneducated, and a net drain on American resources – and their descendants will account for over one hundred million of that increase. On current form, English-speaking Americans of European origin will become a minority in their own country four decades from now. They will inhabit an increasingly overpopulated, polluted, lumpenproleterized, permanently impoverished country. America unfortunately does continue “to attract striving immigrants,” mostly illegal ones and of poor quality. This is far greater threat to the survival of the United States in a historically or culturally recognizable form than terrorism or any conceivable alliance of foreign powers. Barack Obama does not understand this, or does not care, or – just as likely – cherishes the prospect.
“The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe.”
By “public squares” Obama was probably alluding to Kiev’s Maidan. Indeed, it has propelled some “new movements” to global prominence, such as the Svoboda party and the Right Sector. The Founding Fathers would be horrified to learn that, in the opinion of the President of the United States, their values have inspired Messrs. Tyahnybok, Yarosh, and other blood-soaked heirs to Stepan Bandera. This is on par with Senator Joseph Lieberman saying, “The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
“And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or schoolgirls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine, it is America that the world looks to for help.”
Obama is mixing apples (natural disasters) and pears (man-made ones). The problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria was exacerbated by the refusal of the Department of State under Hillary Clinton to place Boko Haram (“Secular Education is Sinful”) on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen. The de facto protection thus given to Boko Haram has enabled it to morph into a state-within-the-state with an estimated 300,000 followers.
It would be ironic if “the world” were to look to America for help in Ukraine (which in any event it does not), since the course of crisis there has been, overwhelmingly, of Washington’s own making, as manifested in Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call to Ambassador Pyatt. The new Drang nach Ostenmakes sense from the point of view of the liberal globalist-neoconservative duopoly: there is no better way to ensure U.S. dominance along the European rimland in perpetuity than drawing Europe back into NATO (i.e. U.S.) security orbit in general and subverting the Russo-German rapprochement in particular. The “masked men” in buildings are a direct consequence of American meddling.
“So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come.”
It has never been true, it is not true now, and it never will be true. Madeleine Albright’s famous dictum was an arrogant statement by an immigrant ignorant of American history and a sign of her well-attested instability. It was reiterated in Bill Clinton’s 1996 speech, where he explained why he intervened, disastrously, in Bosnia: “The fact is America remains the indispensable nation. There are times when America, and only America, can make a difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression, between hope and fear.” That Obama has chosen to recycle such rubbish is a sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. “Indispensable” to whom, exactly? It is unimaginable for the leader of any other country in the world – Vladimir Putin, say, or Xi Jinping – to advance such a claim. It is tasteless at best and psychotically grandomaniac at worst, a latter day “Manifest Destiny” on steroids. The problem is that such hubristic delusions easily translate into non-negotiable foreign policy objectives. Resisting the will of the “indispensable nation” is ipso facto evil: Susan Rice’s condemnation of Chinese and Russian vetoes of the U.S.-supported UN Security Council resolution on Syria as “disgusting,” “shameful” and “unforgivable” comes to mind.
“Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors.”
Quite apart from the genesis of the crisis in Ukraine, to which “Russia’s aggression” hardly applies, Obama’s use of the term “former Soviet states,” plural, implies that in his opinion Ukraine is not the only “victim of Russia’s aggression.” Presumably he means Georgia, the only “former Soviet state” with which Russia has had a conflict since the collapse of the Soviet Union. If so, and there is no other explanation for his turn of his phrase, Obama has a dangerously flawed understanding of the August 2008 Georgian crisis.
Georgian then-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s order to attack South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali, was a breathtakingly audacious challenge to Russia, to which she was bound to react forcefully. That response was promptly exploited, for the first time since Gorbachev, by the American mainstream media machine and the foreign-policy community in Washington to paint Russia as a rogue power that is not only dangerous but intrinsically malignant. The vehemence of that rhetoric exceeded anything ever said or written about jihad, before or after September 11. To be fair, Saakashvili was led to believe that he was tacitly authorized to act as he did. President George W. Bush had treated Georgia as a “strategic partner” ever since the Western-engineered “Rose Revolution” five years earlier, and in early 2008 he strongly advocated NATO membership for Georgia. Washington had repeatedly supported Georgia’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which implied the right to use force to bring South Ossetia and Abkhazia to heel, just as it is supporting “resolute action” in Donetsk and Lugansk today. Saakashvili may be forgiven for imagining that the United States would have bailed him out if things went badly. It is noteworthy that he was not disabused of such notions. The calculus in Washington appears to have been based on a win-win scenario, not dissimilar to the current Ukrainian strategy. Had Georgian troops occupied South Ossetia in a blitzkrieg operation modeled after Croatia’s “Operation Storm,” while the Russians remained hesitant or ineffective, Moscow would have suffered a major strategic and (more importantly) psychological defeat after almost four years of sustained strategic recovery. If Russia intervened, however, she would be duly demonized and the U.S. would push for NATO consolidation with new vigor. “Old” Europeans – the Germans especially – would be pressed to abandon their détente with Moscow. A resentful Georgia would become chronically anti-Russian, thus ensuring a long-term American presence in the region.
In the event, like the Ukrainian army today, the Georgian army performed so poorly that a military fait accompli was out of its reach. Excesses against Ossetian civilians – just like the shelling of schools in Slavyansk today – made the “victim of aggression” narrative hard to sell, Obama’s “aggression” rhetoric notwithstanding.
“The question we face… is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.”
It is unclear how, if at all, America will secure her own “peace and prosperity” in the years and decades to come, let alone how she can extend it “around the globe.” If this is a statement of Obama’s grand strategy, it is flawed in principle and unfeasible in detail. In this statement there is not a hint of an overall blueprint for action that matches our country’s resources to her vital interests. A sound grand strategy enables a state to deploy its political, military, economic, and moral resources in a balanced and proportionate manner, in order to protect and enhance its security and promote its well-being, never mind “the globe.” In Obama’s universe, however, there are no brains behind “indispensable,” heavy-handed diplomacy and military power. Obama creates a false dilemma (“the question we face”) unsupported by facts. China, India, Russia, the Muslim world and Latin America do not want to be “led,” quite the contrary. Old Europe is reluctant at best. Subsaharan Africa is an irrelevant mess. The question we face is not global leadership, but national survival.
“Regional aggression that goes unchecked, whether in southern Ukraine or the South China Sea or anywhere else in the world, will ultimately impact our allies, and could draw in our military. We can’t ignore what happens beyond our boundaries.”
This simultaneous dig at Russia and China reflects a hubristic world view that is unmatched by conflict-management resources. A sane American relationship with Moscow demands acceptance that Russia has legitimate interests in her “near-abroad.” Obama’ four-nation tour of East Asia last Aprilescalated existing U.S. military commitments to the region, created some new ones, deeply irritated China, and emboldened American allies and clients to play hardball with Beijing. Obama does not understand that it is extremely dangerous for a great power to alienate two of its nearest rivals simultaneously. The crisis in Ukraine is going on, but the situation in Asia is potentially more volatile. Dealing with both theaters from the position of presumed strength and trying to dictate the outcomes is perilous, as many would-be hegemons (Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler), blinded by arrogance, have learned to their peril. Obama has continued the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. U.S. overreach led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in the gas deal signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony, pardon, “leadership.” In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.”
The notion that “the world stage” demands a “leader” is flawed. It is at fundamental odds with the balance-of-power paradigm, which has historically secured the longest periods of peace and unprecedented prosperity to the civilized world. Today’s world is being multipolarized, whether Obama the Exceptionalist likes that or not. The very idea of the self-awarded “world leadership” would appear absurd in the days of Bismarck or Metternich. Washington has neither the resources nor the minds for such a role, even if it were called for.
“The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.”
None of the above applied in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya… but enough of Obama. There was more rhetoric at West Point, including an ode to American exceptionalism and further references to America’s global leadership, but it just as tedious, vacuous and intellectually wanting as the first ten minutes of his address.
Overall, it is evident that the United States in Barack Obama’s final term has not given up the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the management resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. It will be a belated equivalent of the Franco-Russian alliance of 1893 – the predictable result of an earlier great power, Wilhelm’s Kaiserreich, basing its strategy on hubristic overestimation of its capabilities. U.S. overreach has led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in last month’s energy agreement signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony.
In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. It is unfortunate that America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
Judging by the West Point address, for the remaining two and a half years of Obama’s term U.S.-initiated global confrontations will continue as before. Instead of de-escalating the bloody mess to which she has made a hefty contribution, Victoria Nuland will continue encouraging her blood-soaked protégés in Kiev to seek a military end-game in the East. Instead of calming the South China Sea, Washington will continue encouraging its clients to be impertinent. And Putin and Xi will draw their conclusions: that they do have a powerful common enemy, a rogue regime not amenable to reason or rational calculus.
It cannot be otherwise, considering the Obama Administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, which is but a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words from two years ago, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserts that the task of the United States is to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” This is not a grand strategy but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the interventionists’ urge to “confront and defeat” not only aggression as such but also “aggression” resulting from internal conflicts irrelevant to the American interest (Syria, Ukraine) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran).
Obama is a more reluctant interventionist than McCain or Romney would have been, but he, too, does not recognize the limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. He fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. He rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again, while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline. Obama’s absence of a viable grand strategy produces policies that are disjointed, nonsensical, and self-defeating. He is prone, no less than his predecessor, to equate any stated political objective in some faraway land with America’s vital interests, without ever offering a coherent definition of those “vital” interests.
On both sides of the duopoly, the ideology of American exceptionalism and the doctrine of global dominance reign supreme. At a time of domestic economic weakness and cultural decline, foreign policy based on the American interest requires prudence, restraint, and a rational link between ends and means. Abroad, it demands disengagement from distant countries of which we know little; at home, a sane immigration policy.
It will not happen.