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China Becomes Largest Trading Nation

January 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The globalists put their plan into motion decades ago. The proper meaning of the headline is not that China is an economic miracle, but that the United States, systematically stripped of its industrial might, is destined to fall even further. The Chinese economy is a haven of direct transnational integration. The outsourcing of manufacturing from domestic capacity is not solely a response of cheaper economic cost of goods production. No, the underlying reason for the migration of product assemblage is to weaken an independent American economy.

The news of this long awaited milestone, primarily announced in the foreign press, almost has a ring of glee. The Guardian reports that China surpasses US as world’s largest trading nation.

“China’s annual trade in goods passed the $4tn (£2.4tn) mark for the first time last year according to official data, after exports from the world’s second largest economy rose 7.9% to $2.21tn and imports rose 7.3% to $1.95tn.

As a result total trade rose 7.6% over the year to $4.16tn. The US is yet to publish its 2013 trade figures, but with trade totaling $3.5tn in the first 11 months of the year, it is unlikely to beat China.”

Further coverage presented in the Telegraph, the Financial Times and the BBC, reflects I told you so attitude.

“It’s always been a matter of time until China surpasses the US … and there are good reasons to believe that China is likely to retain this pole position for the foreseeable future.

“The trade figures look very healthy and the factors underpinning them are structurally sustainable. It is hard to see them being reversed significantly, at least in the short to medium term.”

Contrast this viewpoint with the assessment out of Marketwatch.

“And let’s not forget: The economic data out of Chinese agencies has long been seen as a bit questionable. Even the country’s own statistics office has said it is trying to clean up the inaccuracies. As our own Michael Kitchen points out, trade data has come under particular suspicion, as businesses disguise some money flows as trade to try to bypass controls.”Of course, the U.S. press continues to make excuses that conceal the betrayal of American trade policy goals and practices. These are the same business journalists that repeat the statistical figures coming out of recent administrations that need revisions, when caught in dramatic errors of omission or deception.

Proponents of a structured destruction of America’s economy, laud international trade, as long as it slanted to eliminate domestic survival and reduces our standard of living. This lunacy, stated in Benefits of International Trade, does not square with the aftermath of a trade deficit that has become a permanent fixture.

Some important benefits of International Trade

  •  Enhances the domestic competitiveness
  •  Takes advantage of international trade technology
  •  Increases sales and profits
  •  Extend sales potential of the existing products
  •  Maintain cost competitiveness in your domestic market
  •  Enhance potential for expansion of your business
  •  Gains a global market share
  •  Reduce dependence on existing markets
  •  Stabilize seasonal market fluctuations

Now examine the real significance of this “Free Trade” globalist plan for America.

1. How can domestic competitiveness improve, when entire industries move offshore?

2. Where is the advantage in developing new technology domestically and transferring it to foreign plants, even if owned by “so called” U.S. national companies?

3. Increase sales and profits, booked by foreign subsidiaries, means that the capital is not repatriated back.

4. If products produced domestically, shipped, and sold to overseas markets, there would be a valid benefit. However, the direction is in reverse.

5. Maintaining cost competitiveness translates into closing domestic facilities.

6. Expansion of business means look overseas because domestic consumers have less money to spend.

7. Oh yes, the holy grail of market share, means last company standing, since domestic markets have reduced sales.

8. Yep, now that existing domestic markets are sinking, move your boat to a different ocean.

9. Seasonal fluctuations means that booms are past profit spikes, the new normal is a perpetual dip.

The Chinese perspective as reported in China Daily from Wang Haifeng, a researcher with the Institute for International Economic Research at the National Development and Reform Commission, needs especial emphasis.

“The size of the value of the trade in goods tells just one side of the story. The other side is that China’s export competitiveness, as well as the competitiveness of its trade structure, is far behind the US. The competitive advantage of US exports centers on its technology, quality and brands, with added-value being very significant. China’s export prices are much cheaper on average and a large part of its exports are from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers),” Wang said.

When an economic system intentionally transfers their technological advantages, inventions and intellectual edge to a foreign country so that companies can avoid domestic taxation or onerous regulation, the future adverse and inevitable consequences with such relocations, are preordained.

According to World Bank data, in 2011, the US GDP reached $15 trillion while China totaled $7.3 trillion. Just how long will it take this gap to narrow and surpass the U.S. GDP?

If a comparison of gambling revenue is a leading indicator, just look at Chinese Territory Broaden Lead as Global Casino Capital. “It now takes Macau’s gamblers just one day to wager what’s bet in an entire week on the Las Vegas Strip.” To make thing even worse, Nevada’s biggest casinos lose $1.35B in 2013.
This example demonstrates the extravagant cash flow and disposable income that is circulating in China. Much of this opulence comes from the pocketbooks of struggling Americans, who buy essential or sustainable goods that have a made in China label.

Tech firms transfer the secrets of their products and software to their Chinese partners as the U.S. government subsidized consumer or the remnant middle class, just deepen this destructive cycle. This absurd economic bargain drives the wealth disparity to irrational levels. That is exactly the objective of the globalists, and the rest of us are mere spectators as the Chinese laugh at our stupidity.


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Economic Enslavement

November 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The latest proof of the Globalist plan for total economic imprisonment is available for scrutiny. Thanks to whistleblowers, the clandestine trade missions of international corporatists must contend with public blowback. Recently, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text, Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The TPP Agreement along with the Table of Contents and supportive documentation provides the evidence.

When vastly diverse segments of political perspective unify against this assault on economic self-determination, challenging the very exercise of such agreements is in order. In the article, Obama’s Dangerous International Deal, a libertarian viewpoint argues and warns, “The USTR acknowledges the existence of 29 chapters under negotiation. Only five of these chapters deal directly with trade. The other 24 aim to influence many issues, such as food and environmental standards, intellectual property, and pharmaceutical formularies.”

Perennial progressive Jim Hightower writes in an Alternet article, A Corporate Coup in Disguise.

“What if our national leaders told us that communities across America had to eliminate such local programs as Buy Local, Buy American, Buy Green, etc. to allow foreign corporations to have the right to make the sale on any products purchased with our tax dollars? This nullification of our people’s right to direct expenditures is just one of the horror stories in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).”.

From the Voice of Russia, not usually known for defending transnational cartels, is an observation that you are not hearing in the financial press, Obama attempting to ram through unconstitutional secret treaty.

“With the US debt at over $200 trillion dollars and their grasp on control slipping, Obama and the corporations that have taken over the US Government are attempting to do anything they can to cling to power and enslave the populace.

The fact that the heads of the governments who are a party to the TPP, would attempt to sign such an all encompassing treaty without the knowledge of their respective governments and their people is a something unheard of an unprecedented in history.”

If only free enterprise was the standard of economic commerce, instead of the state-fascism that has developed over the years of the “Free Trade” ruse that has destroyed real competition from the financial environment.

Central planning failed miserably in the old Soviet Union, now we are supposed to believe that a corporatist negotiated arrangement with the full backing and force of government bureaucracies is a superior method for prosperity.

Backers of the TPP pact would have you believe that it is a trade agreement. Nile Bowie in an OpEd, TPP: From corporation personhood to corporate nationhood, has it correct.

“Although proponents of the TPP may claim that its focus is to help the economies of signatory countries create comprehensive market access, eliminate barriers to trade, improve labor rights and encourage environmental protection, every indication suggests that the wide-ranging agreement intends to maximize dramatically corporate revenues at the expense of public health and safety, civil liberties and national sovereignty.”

From the left leaning Huffington Post, Bruce E. Levine interjects a political aspect in

The Myth of U.S. Democracy and the Reality of U.S. Corporatocracy.

“The truth today, however, is that the United States is neither a democracy nor a republic. Americans are ruled by a corporatocracy: a partnership of “too-big-to-fail” corporations, the extremely wealthy elite, and corporate-collaborator government officials.”

World economic agreements vary little based upon partisan political ideology. The corporate business outsourcing strategy and the offshoring of jobs are the inevitable results of every phony trade deal enacted for decades.

The real objective of TPP is to codify in law and treaty the special treatment that favored industries or well-connected interests exert upon the global economy.

When monopolies eliminate competition, the marketplace suffers a crowding out of main street businesses. With the demise of familiar business enterprises, the multinationals expand without hindrance. Entrepreneurial small business is seldom in a position to fill the void left when the muscle of international finance decides to control a business sector.

Setting environmental standards, intellectual property, and pharmaceutical formularies, behind closed doors endangers the public. Imposing rabid global warming penalties, perpetual expanding of copyright privileges and banning natural holistic supplements and vitamins, all intend to strip choice from consumers or to burden the population with irrational tax obligations.

In an outstanding account, by Don Quijones his article, The Global Corporatocracy is Almost Fully Operational, provided the essential context and ultimate consequence.

“The new generation of trade treaties goes far beyond what was envisaged for NAFTA and GATT. What they ultimately seek is to transfer what little remains of our national sovereignty to the headquarters of the world’s largest multinational conglomerates. In short, it is the ultimate coup de grâce of the ultimate coup d’état. Not a single shot will be fired, yet almost all power will be seized and transferred into private hands — and all of it facilitated by our elected representatives who, by signing these treaties, will be permanently abdicating their responsibilities to represent and protect the interests of their voting constituencies.”

 

If you have the courage to face the dire implications of this globalist scheme, view the video TPP & One World Government. The bare honesty may be too much for the “PC” crowd.

Advocates of a merchant based economy are inherently in opposition to globalism. Yet, this round of integration under cartel syndicate governance is part of an end game for world economic consolidation. The Corporatocracy that rules over purported democratic countries is the real power overseer that maintains the indentured servant plantation. The comptrollers of the credit dictatorship maintain the financial system for the ultimate controllers.

In the next episode, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is analyzed. Complementing the TPP, both accords will place the yoke of even greater mastery over the economies of once sovereign nations.


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

American Workers: Hanging On By The Skin of Their Teeth

September 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

After five years of Obama’s economic recovery, the American people are as gloomy as ever.  According to a Bloomberg National Poll that was released this week, fewer people “are optimistic about the job market” or “the housing market” or “anticipate improvement in the economy’s strength over the next year.” Also, only 38 percent think that President Obama is doing enough “to make people feel more economically secure.”  Worst of all,  Bloomberg pollsters found that 68 percent of interviewees thought the country was  “headed in the wrong direction”.

So why is everyone so miserable?  Are things really that bad or have we turned into a nation of crybabies?

The reason people are so pessimistic is because the economy is still in the doldrums and no one’s doing anything about it. That’s it in a nutshell. Survey after survey have shown that what people really care about is jobs, but no one in Washington is listening. In fact, jobs aren’t even on Obama’s radar.  Just look at his record. He’s worse than any president in modern times. Take a look at this graph.

More than 600,000 good-paying public sector jobs have been slashed during Obama’s tenure as president. That’s worse than Bush, worse than Clinton, worse than Reagan, worse than anyone, except maybe Hoover. Is that Obama’s goal, to one-up Herbert Hoover?

Obama has done everything he could to make the lives of working people as wretched as possible.  Do you remember the Card Check sellout or the Wisconsin “flyover” when Governor Scott Walker was eviscerating collective bargaining rights for public sector unions and Obama blew kisses from Airforce One on his way to a campaign speech in Minnesota?  Nice touch, Barry. Or what about the “Job’s Czar” fiasco, when Obama appointed GE’s outsourcing mandarin Jeffrey Immelt to the new position just in time for GE to lay off another 950 workers at their locomotive plant in Pennsylvania.  That’s tells you what Obama really thinks about labor.

What Obama cares about is trimming the deficits and keeping Wall Street happy. That’s it.  But the people who elected him don’t want him to cut the deficits, because cutting the deficits prolongs the slump and costs jobs. What they want is more stimulus, so people can find work, feed their families, and have some basic security. That’s what they want, but they’re not going to get it from Obama because he doesn’t work for them. He works for the stuffed shirts who flank him on the golf course at Martha’s Vineyard or the big shots who chow down with him at  his $100,000-per-plate campaign jamborees. That’s his real constituency.  Everyone else can take a flying fu** for all he cares.

Then there’s the Fed. Most people don’t think the Fed’s goofy programs work at all. They think it’s all a big ruse. They think Bernanke is just printing money and giving it to his criminal friends on Wall Street (which he is, of course.) Have you seen this in theNew York Times:

“Only one in three Americans has confidence in the Federal Reserve’s ability to promote economic growth, while little more than a third think the Fed is spinning its wheels, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll….
The Fed has been trying for five years to speed the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession by reducing borrowing costs to the lowest levels on record….
Most Americans, it would appear, remain either unaware or unpersuaded.” (“Majority of Americans Doubt Benefits of Fed Stimulus“, New York Times)

“Unpersuaded”? Are you kidding me? Most Americans think they’re getting fleeced; unpersuaded has nothing to do with it.  They’re not taken in by the QE-mumbo jumbo. They may not grasp the finer-points, but they get the gist of it, which is that the Fed has run up a big $3 trillion bill every penny of which has gone to chiseling shysters on Wall Street. They get that! Everyone gets that! Sure, if you want to get into the weeds about POMO or the byzantine aspects of the asset-purchase program, you might detect a bit of confusion, but –I assure you–the average Joe knows what’s going on. He knows all this quantitative jabberwocky is pure bunkum and that he’s getting schtooped bigtime. You don’t need a sheepskin from Princeton to know when you’ve been had.

And that’s why everyone is so pessimistic, because they know that the Fed, the administration and the media are all lying to them 24-7. That’s why–as Bloomberg discovered–”Americans are losing faith in the nation’s economic recovery.” Because they don’t see any recovery. As far as they’re concerned, the economy is still in recession. After all, they’re still underwater on their mortgages, Grandpa Jack just took a job at a fast-food joint to pay for his wife’s heart medication, and junior is camped out in the basement until he can get a handle on his $45,000 heap of college loans. So where’s the recovery?

Nobody needs Bloomberg to point out how grim things are for the ordinary people. They see it firsthand every damn day.

Did you catch the news on Wal-Mart this week? It’s another story that helps explain why everyone’s so down-in-the-mouth. Here’s what happened:  Wal-Mart’s stock tanked shortly after they announced that their “inventory growth …had outstripped sales gains in the second quarter…. Merchandise has been piling up because consumers have been spending less freely than Wal-Mart projected….” (Bloomberg)

Okay, so the video games and Barbie dolls are piling up to the rafters because part-time wage slaves who typically shop at Wal-Mart  are too broke to buy anything but the basic necessities. Is that what we’re hearing?
Indeed. “We are managing our inventory appropriately,” David Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. “We feel good about our inventory position.”

Sure, you do, Dave. Here’s more from Bloomberg:

“US. chains are already bracing for a tough holiday season, when sales are projected to rise 2.4 percent, the smallest gain since 2009, according to ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based firm. Wal-Mart cut its annual profit forecast after same-store sales fell 0.3 percent in the second quarter. …
Wal-Mart’s order pullback is affecting suppliers in various categories, including general merchandise and apparel, said the supplier, who has worked with Wal-Mart for almost two decades and asked not to be named to protect his relationship with the company. He said he couldn’t recall the retailer ever planning ordering reductions two quarters in advance.” (“Wal-Mart Cutting Orders as Unsold Merchandise Piles Up”, Bloomberg

So we’re back to 2009?

Looks like it. When the nation’s biggest retailer starts trimming its sails, it ripples through the whole industry. It means softer demand, shorter hours, and more layoffs. Get ready for a lean Christmas.

The Walmart story just shows that people are at the end of their rope. For the most part, these are the working poor, the people the Democratic Party threw overboard a couple decades ago when they decided to hop in bed with Wall Street. Now their hardscrabble existence is becoming unbearable; they can’t even scrape together enough cash to shop the discount stores. That means we’re about one step from becoming a nation of dumpster divers.   Don’t believe it? Then check out this clip from CNN Money:

“Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released by Bankrate.com Monday.  Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all..

Last week, online lender CashNetUSA said 22% of the 1,000 people it recently surveyed had less than $100 in savings to cover an emergency, while 46% had less than $800. After paying debts and taking care of housing, car and child care-related expenses, the respondents said there just isn’t enough money left over for saving more.” (“76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck“, CNN Money)

Savings? What’s that? Do you really think people can save money on $30,000 or $40,000 a year feeding a family of four?

Dream on. Even an unexpected trip to the vet with pet Fido is enough to push the family budget into the red for months to come. Savings? Don’t make me laugh.

The truth is, most people are hanging on by the skin of their teeth.  They can’t make ends meet on their crappy wages and they’re too broke to quit. There’s no way out. It’s obvious in all the data. And it’s hurting the economy, too, because spending drives growth, but  you can’t spend when you’re busted. Economist Stephen Roach made a good point in a recent article at Project Syndicate. He said, “In the 22 quarters since early 2008, real personal-consumption expenditure, which accounts for about 70% of US GDP, has grown at an average annual rate of just 1.1%, easily the weakest period of consumer demand in the post-World War II era.” (It’s also a) “massive slowdown from the pre-crisis pace of 3.6% annual real consumption growth from 1996 to 2007.” (“Occupy QE“, Stephen S. Roach, Project Syndicate)

So the economy is getting hammered because consumption is down. And working people are getting hammered because jobs are scarce and wages are flat. But we live in the richest country in the world, right?

Right. So what’s wrong with this picture?


Mike Whitney is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Two Obamas, Two Classes of Children

April 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 


The lifeless bodies of Afghan children lay on the ground before their funeral ceremony, after a NATO airstrike killed several Afghan civilians, including ten children – Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Naimatullah Karyab)

An Associated Press photograph brought the horror of little children lying dead outside of their home to an American Audience. At least 10 Afghan children and some of their mothers were struck down by an airstrike on their extended family household by order of President Barack Obama. He probably decided on what his aides describe as the routine weekly “Terror Tuesday” at the White House. On that day, Mr. Obama typically receives the advice about which “militants” should live or die thousands of miles away from drones or aircraft. Even if households far from war zones are often destroyed in clear violation of the laws of war, the president is not deterred.

These Obama airstrikes are launched knowing that very often there is “collateral damage,” that is a form of “so sorry terrorism.” How can the president explain the vaporization of a dozen pre-teen Afghan boys collecting firewood for their families on a hillside? The local spotter-informants must have been disoriented by all those $100 bills in rewards. Imagine a direct strike killing and injuring scores of people in a funeral procession following a previous fatal strike that was the occasion of this processional mourning. Remember the December 2009 Obama strike on an alleged al-Qaida training camp in Yemen, using tomahawk missiles and – get this – cluster bombs, that killed 14 women and 21 children. Again and again “so sorry terrorism” ravages family households far from the battlefields.

If this is a war, why hasn’t Congress declared war under Article 1, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution? The 2001 Congressional Authorization to Use Military Force is not an open-ended authorization for the president. It was restricted to targeting only nations, organizations or persons that are determined to have been implicated in the 9/11 massacres, or harbored complicit organizations or persons.

For several years, White House officials, including ret. General James Jones, have declared that there is no real operational al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan to harbor anyone. The Pakistani Taliban is in conflict with the Pakistani government. The Afghan Taliban is in brutal conflict with the Afghanistan government and wants to expel U.S. forces as their members view occupying-invaders, just as their predecessors did when they expelled the Soviet invaders. The Taliban represent no imminent threat to the U.S.

President Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, used to complain to his colleagues about the CIA’s drone attacks saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people.” He knew how such attacks by whining drones, hovering 24/7 over millions of frightened people and their terrified children produce serious backlashes that fester for years.

Even a loyalist such as William M. Daley, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff in 2011, observed that the Obama kill list presents less and less significant pursuits. “One guy gets knocked off, and the guy’s driver, who’s No. 21, becomes 20?” Daley said, describing the internal discussion. “At what point are you just filling the bucket with numbers?”

Yet this unlawful killing by a seemingly obsessed Obama, continues and includes anyone in the vicinity of a “suspect” whose name isn’t even known ( that are called “signature strikes”), or mistakes, like the recent aerial killings of numerous Pakistani soldiers and four Afghan policemen – considered our allies. The drone kill list goes on and on – over 3000 is the official fatality count, not counting injuries.

In a few weeks, The Nation magazine will issue a major report on U.S.-caused civilian casualties in Afghanistan that should add new information.

Now switch the scene. The president, filled with memories of what his secret drone directives as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner have done to so many children, in so many places, traveled on Monday to Newtown, Connecticut for the second time. He commiserated with the parents and relatives of the 20 children and six adults slain by a lone gunman. Here he became the compassionate president, with words and hugs.
What must be going through his mind as he sees the rows of 10 Afghan little children and their parents blown apart in that day’s New York Times? How can the president justify this continued military occupation for what is a civil war? No wonder a majority of the American people want out of Afghanistan, even without a close knowledge of the grisly and ugly things going on there in our name that are feeding the seething hatred of Obama’s war.

Sometime after 2016 when Barack Obama starts writing his lucrative autobiographical recollections, there may be a few pages where he explains how he endured this double life ordering so-called precision attacks that kill many innocent children and their mothers and fathers while mourning domestic mass killings in the U.S. and advocating gun controls. As a constitutional law teacher, he may wonder why there have been no “gun controls” on his lawless, out-of-control presidency and his reckless attacks that only expanded the number of al-Qaeda affiliates wreaking havoc in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, North Africa and elsewhere.

Al-Qaeda of Iraq is now merging with an affiliate called “al-Nusra” in Syria that will give Obama more futile exercises on Terror Tuesdays. The CIA
calls the reaction to such operations “blowback” because the unintended consequences undermine our long-term national security.

Obama is not like the official criminal recidivist, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, who misses no chance to say he has no regrets. Obama worries even as he greatly escalates the aerial attacks started by George W. Bush. In his State of the Union speech he called for a “legal and policy framework” to guide “our counterterrorism operations,” so that “no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way.” Granted, this is a good cover for his derelictions, but it probably reflects that he also needs some restraint. Last year he told CNN it was “something you have to struggle with.”

Not that our abdicatory Congress would ever take him up on his offer for such legal guidance should he ever submit a proposed framework. Nor would Congress move to put an end to secret laws, secret criteria for targeting, indefinite imprisonment, no due process, even for American citizens, secret cover-ups of illegal outsourcing to contracting corporations and enact other preventive reforms.

Mr. Obama recognized in his CNN interview that “it’s very easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules thinking that the ends always justify the means. That’s not who we are as a country.”

Unfortunately, however, that’s what he has done as a president.

Unless the American people come to realize that a president must be subject to the rule of law and our Constitution, our statutes and treaties, every succeeding president will push the deficit-financed lawlessness further until the inevitable blowback day of reckoning. That is the fate of all empires.

Source: Ralph Nader | ICH

Agenda 21: The Latest Sleight of Hand Trick by Corporate Elite

November 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

When the Corporate Elite tells us we need to be afraid of something, they almost always expect to make some money off our fear.

From the same people who brought us the “Ground Zero Victory Mosque,” FEMA concentration camps, and every single George Soros conspiracy theory, comes a brand new hyper-paranoid threat-to-America’s-sovereignty that, they say, should scare the hell out of all of us.

It goes by the name of Agenda 21, which just so happens to be the title of Glenn Beck’s new dystopic novel.

Billed as, “more frightening than anything Orwell could have envisioned,” Beck’s Agenda 21 paints a disturbing picture of America following the implementation of the United Nation’s Agenda 21, which is actually a real life UN initiative, though not nearly as nefarious as Beck would have us all believe.

The book’s tagline reads: “This used to be called America. Now it is just ‘the Republic.’ There is no president. No congress. No freedom.”

Over at GlennBeck.com you can watch a movie trailer made specifically for the book featuring grizzled Americans lined up on the streets in a post-Soviet winter landscape reeking of desperation, waiting for tiny morsels of food to be parceled out by “the authorities.” Reminiscent of both Nazi concentration camps and the Book of Revelation, everyone’s foreheads are tattooed with identification numbers – and in homage to Sarah Palin’s “death panels,” one scene in the trailer depicts an emaciated, scraggly-haired old man loaded on to a conveyor belt and sent into a burning furnace.

Of course, this is all fiction. Whether you like him or not, Beck has made a fortune off sensationalism – and more recently televangelism – and this book will tap into a wellspring of paranoia on the fringe Right that will undoubtedly make a lot more money for multimillionaire Mr. Beck himself.

But whether Beck really believes in his depicted Agenda 21 future for America isn’t all that important. What’s important is that a lot of other powerful people do believe in it. To them, there’s nothing fictional at all when it comes to Agenda 21.

On October 11th this year, the Georgia state Capitol building hosted a four-hour briefing for Republican state senators on the issue of…Agenda 21. It was emceed by a man named Field Searcy who, according to MotherJones, is a local Conservative activist, whose Tea Party leadership was revoked after endorsing birther and truther conspiracy theories. But on that day, Searcy had the attention of his state’s most powerful lawmakers – including the Republican Party’s Senate Majority Leader, Chip Rogers – to warn them of President Obama’s wicked plot to use Agenda 21 to hand the United States off to the United Nations.

Searcy told the Georgia Republicans, and later spoke of it on the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, that President Obama is using a mind control procedure known as the “Delphi Technique” to slowly condition Americans to submit to the control of the United Nations’ Agenda 21, which will, according to Searcy, force mass migrations of Americans out of the countryside and into the cities, while handing over control of our rural lands to an international, one-world government.

The goal of the presentation was to influence Georgia lawmakers to follow in the footsteps of Tennessee and Kentucky Republican lawmakers who’ve already passed legislation to block Agenda 21 from being implemented in their states. In fact, earlier this year Republican Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers introduced legislation in Georgia to do just that.

Also on the “Fear Agenda 21″ bandwagon is newly-elected Tea Party Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. He devoted an entire section of his website, TedCruz.org, to Agenda 21 fearmongering. Under the title, “Stop Agenda 21: The Constitution should be our only ‘Agenda,” Cruz writes:

“The originator of this grand scheme is George Soros, who candidly supports socialism and believes that global development must progress through eliminating national sovereignty and private property… Agenda 21 attempts to abolish ‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads. It hopes to leave mother earth’s surface unscratched by mankind. Everyone wants clean water and clean air, but Agenda 21 dehumanizes individuals by removing the very thing that has defined Americans since the beginning—our freedom.”

Oh no! Not the golf courses! Luckily for the golfing community, Ted Cruz is headed to the United States Senate to stop George Soros and the UN from confiscating Augusta National.

Though, hopefully, someone will notify Cruz, perhaps by removing his tinfoil hat, that the United Nations has no interest whatsoever in turning Augusta National into a sustainable bio-dome. Likewise, hopefully someone will tell Mr. Field Searcy that the UN has no interest in forcibly removing Americans from the country-side, either.

Concerns coming from the Right about American sovereignty in the face of the United Nations aren’t anything new.

It’s true that FDR pushed the idea after World War Two, and Democratic President Harry Truman signed us up for the UN in 1945, and it’s also true that in signing up for the United Nations, the United States surrendered a small amount of our sovereignty, inasmuch as we can no longer unilaterally declare war on another nation – unless they attack us first – without getting the approval of the UN. Of course, this is true of every other nation in the UN as well. The UN was created to promote world peace, an idea that doesn’t sit well with the neocons and chickenhawks.

But, here’s what Agenda 21 really is. Standing for “Agenda 21st Century,” it’s a completely non-binding UN agreement that aims to address climate change and inequality by calling on local and federal governments, NGOs, and businesses, to develop plans to create more sustainable environments in their respective nations. The UN believes that by working together, and giving financial assistance to developing nations to promote sustainable living, wealth disparities can be reduced, indigenous populations can be protected, and the deterioration of ecosystems around the globe can be reversed.

If you ask the environmentalists who are growing more and more concerned with a warming, crowded planet what they think of Agenda 21, they’ll say it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Especially after new reports by the UN about record levels of greenhouse gases and the atmosphere, and a report by the World Bank on the global economic impacts of a planet that’s 7-degrees warming by 2100 as a result of climate change.

But, as you’d expect from a plan to reduce poverty worldwide and use resources and land in more eco-friendly ways, wealthy oil barons and banksters are opposed to it. When people, governments, or organizations talk about things like sustainable energy, corporate responsibility, and educating the world’s children, billionaires like the Koch brothers get a little uneasy.

So, right-wingers have employed their best charlatans in America, people like Glenn Beck, to reinvent Agenda 21 as something completely different: a nefarious plot by communist globalists to force redistribution of wealth and confiscation of private property, and ultimate devour American sovereignty. Or, according to Glenn Beck, an Orwellian takeover to purge the nation of its sick and elderly.

And it just so happens that legislation passed in Tennessee and Kentucky to block Agenda 21 comes straight from model legislation produced by the notoriously loony, yet well-funded, John Birch Society. The Koch Brothers dad, Fred Koch, who had no problem with state-controlled economies when he made his fortune working with Joe Stalin in the Soviet Union, was one of the founding members of the Jon Birch Society back in 1958.

The UN has provided right-wing fear mongers a lot of grandstanding opportunities over the years, but the UN has never lived up to their warnings that it’s coming to destroy America. Most people think of it as a toothless international body that’s been hijacked by the United States to protect its own interests and the interests of its allies.

And while the Bircher billionaire class continues to fret over the UN, they stay silent over the actual threat to our nation’s sovereignty in the form of the World Trade Organization, which has enforced free trade agreements through international courts that have overturned laws passed by our elected Congress and signed by our elected President. For example, laws banning the importation into the United States of poisonous additives to gasoline, products made by child labor, and tuna caught at the expense of dolphins have all been overturned by the “one-world government” that is the WTO.

Yet, not a peep from the same wealthy elite who are warning us about Agenda 21. That’s because there’s a lot of money to be made in so-called Free Trade, and not so much to be made in promoting sustainable living.

The same is true of why Glenn Beck isn’t writing a book about the $67 trillion global shadow banking system, which is extremely dangerous to our sovereign economy – yet making billions of dollars for banksters.

The point is, this latest scheme by the Corporate Elite to scare the hell out of all of us with Agenda 21 is just like every other scare tactic by the Corporate Elite – it’s meant to distract us. It’s a sleight-of-hand technique to keep us focused on bogeymen, while their ranks of Texas oilmen, outsourcing CEOs, and Wall Street banksters carry out the true destruction of the United States of America: the pillaging of the Middle Class at home and the construction of a WTO-style one-world corporate government to promote unfettered capitalism and free trade everywhere on the planet.

And in the process, useful quacks like Glenn Beck and Field Searcy can make a lot of money feeding the paranoid, Fox News-watching masses their latest conspiracy theories.

Source: TruthOut

Why Your Vote Will Not Matter This November

October 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Presidential debates between Obama and Romney will begin next week, beckoning Americans to focus on the candidates and who they should support.

It is time to ask ourselves if either of  the present presidential campaigns or any debate between the two candidates matters.

Eight years ago, on Sept. 28, 2004, an editorial  published by The Lone Star Iconoclast, the hometown newspaper of George Bush in Crawford, Texas, outlined the issues that were being overlooked by the mainstream media. The newspaper endured threats and boycotts after endorsing  John Kerry for President. Kerry had been struggling in the wake of an off-point swift-boat campaign launched by covert manipulations orchestrated by the Rove White House. We suggest you read the editorial again, in full.

 The editorial, which began with “Few Americans would have voted for George W. Bush four years ago if he had promised that, as President, he would…” sent shock waves through the electorate and around the world.The Iconoclast site went down, overpowered by the force of 10,000,000 hits in one day as real, substantial issues came into sharp relief.

Instead of irrelevancies, the ensuing 2004 presidential debates refocused attention on the shocking developments in America and around the world, driven by war, irresponsible spending, the emptying of the Social Security Trust as benefits were slashed, the outsourcing of jobs, granting of cost plus contracts to friends of the administration, and the conversion of a budget surplus to the largest deficit in history.

The editorial concluded that Bush was a liar and cited “elements of a hidden agenda that surfaced only after he took office.”

The Kerry Campaign experienced a surge of support, which most Americans believed would carry him into the White House. The issues have not changed, despite attempts by both candidates to distract you. But we are farther down the path on a trajectory to absolute disaster.

Today the truth about Bush has become obvious, despite constant attempts to make him look good in comparison to Obama, who after a short, giddy period of fervent relief, stunned supporters by continuing the Bush presidency. Most Americans cannot discern a difference between the two administrations.

2004 provided a lesson we need to learn.

Beginning in the summer 2003 flyers were being circulated in the extended Cleveland, Ohio area reading, “Get Rid of Bush.” This was before the primary process had identified the opposing candidate.

Rebecca Anne, then living in the area, remembers the flyers, which urged people to register to vote for the explicit purpose of removing Bush from office. No one, Rebecca Anne said, cared very much who replaced Bush. Anyone would do. The people she knew included a broad range of political affiliations.

The editorial board of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, which has been criticized by liberal columnists for the generally conservative positions on its editorial page, despite the Democratic readership, withheld any endorsement. Then-publisher Alex Machaskee wanted to endorse Bush, over the objections and vote of the editorial board. He was instead persuaded by editorial page editor Brent Larkin to withhold any endorsement.

In the immediate aftermath of the election an article appeared in The Free Press by columnist Bob Fitrakis, entitled “How the Ohio election was rigged for Bush,” on Nov. 22, 2004.

The article cited four community public meetings about “election irregularities and voter suppression – two in the capitol, Columbus, and one each in Cincinnati and Cleveland – a clear pattern and practice of voter disenfranchisement is emerging.”

The 2004 election raised intensity on the troubling issue of electoral integrity. Millions of Americans had waited in long lines across the country to vote on Nov. 2 and went to sleep in the belief John Kerry had been elected President. They woke up the next morning to the news Kerry had conceded in the small hours of the night, refusing to contest the highly questionable outcome of counts in several states.

Today, a growing number of Americans from all parties accept that Kerry was actually elected. The election had been stolen by use of a back door in the voting machines, designed and sold to Americans by wealthy Bush friends. As this realization sunk in questions about the 2000 election also dawned.

Stolen elections require both the means of carrying it out with voting machines that can be remotely programmed and providing probable deniability. But the same people are used for this, over and over again.

The publication of another book, Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, by Rove confidant John Fund, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, with Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky, serves to illustrate how the Bush strategy for covering up their serial election thefts works. Building on their mainstream credentials operatives such as Fund provide cover which dampens protests by muddying the waters with false facts and rhetoric.

Fund’s first book, “Stealing Elections,” published in 2004, and his presence as a spokesman, has been invaluable as well.

Today, the whole electoral process appears to be a distraction for the public, providing shreds of false hope as the next round of take-downs are put in place, carried out with the callousness of the slaughter house.

Since the moment Bush was inaugurated in 2001 Americans have been subjected to a continuous onslaught of falsehoods, from the infamous weapons of mass destruction used to justify the war in Iraq, and moves by Congress which changed the economic rule book, immunizing the financial sector from wrong doing. Since then, Americans have suffered through a series of shocks which can each be traced back to the income stream of a small number of interests.

Wealth is being transferred from those who earned it to those who use government to fill their own pockets. Changes in statute, rubber stamped by Congress, and the erosion of the rights of Americans, through conversion of our courts, have transformed America.

What began as a trickle into the pockets of special interests has become a hemorrhage, with the 2008 real estate crisis only one of many.

As Americans vote this November, if they bother, the next round of planned takings will begin. The target will, again, be the homes of Americans. This will happen no matter who is elected to fill the office of President and a growing number of Americans realize this.

Today, there are more ‘Obama in 2008′ stickers weathering on cars than new 2012 stickers. Romney signs are still outnumbered by those for Ron Paul.


Melinda Pillsbury-Foster will soon begin her new weekly radio program on Surviving Meltdown. The program examines how government can be brought into alignment with the spiritual goal of decentralizing power and localizing control and links also to America Goes Home americagoeshome.org, a site dedicated to providing information and resources.

She is also the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America and A Tour of Old Yosemite. The former is a novel about the lives of the NeoCons with a strong autobiographical component. The latter is a non-fiction book about her father and grandfather.

Her blog is at: http://howtheneoconsstolefreedom.blogspot.com/ She is the founder of the Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation. She is the mother of five children and three grandchildren.

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Western Powers Double Down On Syria’s Destruction

October 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those, who in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” – Dante

The world watches as a nation is torn, slow motion, at the seams. Money and geopolitics has caused a feeding frenzy of western nations biting and tearing at Syria, all hoping to profit from the regime’s destruction.

Toward this effort, England, France, and the United States announced increased support to the “rebels” of Syria. The Obama administration promised $45 million more in funding for aid that has now totaled $175 million (is it any wonder there are budget problems inside the U.S.?).

And although much of the U.S. aid is designated as “humanitarian,” this money will directly help the military mission by bolstering the prestige of opposition groups, who will use the U.S. aid to gain adherents by being able to feed and house refugees fleeing the destruction (assuming that not all of this money will simply be used to buy guns).

Of course there is no accounting of the amount of money and arms the CIA is funneling into the country. But even The New York Times has admitted the CIA’s involvement; in June it wrote:

“A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers…the weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.”

There you have the Syrian opposition in a nutshell: groups of mercenaries funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States and France, and the Muslim Brotherhood inside Syria. All of these groups have their own self-interest in toppling the Syrian government, while destroying the country and its people in the process.

Saudi Arabia has used the Muslim Brotherhood as a key tool in its foreign policy for decades, funding the organization in countries all over the Middle East and North Africa. When Saudi Arabia beckons, the Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups can be used to destabilize “unfriendly” regimes in the name of “jihad” — officially declared by clerics who work in tandem with the Saudi Arabian government to recruit fighters for the effort. This is why there are “terrorist” groups now fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, including Al Qaeda — itself born from the purse strings of Saudi Arabia, like the Taliban (there is an excellent chapter about this dynamic in Vijay Prashad’s book, the Darker Nations).

It is very revealing that, after the U.S. has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and large amounts of weaponry has been trafficked into the country, the Syrian government still controls the vast majority of the country. This is because the majority of people inside Syria do not support the so-called Syrian Opposition. If this were the case, the Syrian government would have long since been overthrown. The revolutionaries of Egypt and Tunisia did not need any outside help in toppling their government, nor large amounts of money or weaponry.

Therefore, the steady destruction of Syria will continue until it reaches a Libya-like crescendo: a “no fly zone” will be the goal of the western powers, with the motive of toppling the regime.

But like in Libya, a no fly zone equals total war. Syria has advanced Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, which must be destroyed to enforce such a no fly zone. Syria also has fighter jets that must be destroyed. Additional ground support must be destroyed. And like Libya, once the bombs start dropping, the mission quickly changes from a “no fly zone” to “regime change,” i.e., war.

But Syria has a much more powerful army than Libya, requiring that the U.S. military become directly involved in the war, as opposed to outsourcing the conflict to England and France as they did in Libya. Only the U.S. military and its subordinate allies have the required weapons to deal with Syria’s Russian-made weaponry.

But the American people hate war, and thus the U.S. government must introduce the Syrian war slowly, through non-stop anti-Syria media coverage, in the hopes that opinion polls shift enough to allow direct military intervention, as opposed to the current indirect type.

What do the people of Syria really want? The New York Times revealed that, inside Syria, a group of twenty opposition groups recently met in Syria’s capital to demand that Syria’s democratic transition happen peacefully, in effect denouncing the armed rebels who are being funded by foreign nations.

The international implications of this war have already begun to manifest. Neighboring countries are experiencing stress and destabilization by the flood of refugees from Syria. The Kurds in Syria may soon call for independence, which will incite further violence from Turkey. Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, and Iran will work doubly hard to re-enforce the Syrian government as western powers do the opposite.

Ethnic and religious tensions are being stoked in all neighboring countries, which has already led to violence and will be used by politicians in those countries for political aims, leading to more violence. It’s also possible if an official war is declared against Syria, other powers will use the chaos as a shield to pursue their own interests —Israel for example, may opportunistically bomb Iran. Whatever the course of events, the emerging war in Syria has the potential not only to turn the Middle East into dust, but to drag larger powers like Russia — an ally of Syria — into conflict with the United States.

All working people in the United States have a duty to denounce this U.S.-made humanitarian tragedy and the future threat of war.


Shamus Cooke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

America The Next Lost Atlantis: Geographically, Economically, Politically & Morally

September 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Geographically:  Now that the world’s ocean levels have started rising much faster than predicted, America’s coastal cities may become submerged far sooner than we thought.  And, sooner rather than later, Manhattan stands a very good chance of becoming the next lost Atlantis.

Here’s a cute little video from NASA that describes what’s been happening to our planet’s climate over the last 131 years.  Check it out:  http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/131-years-of-global-warming-in-26-seconds/  In this video animation, blue represents minus-two degrees Celsius and red represents plus-two degrees Celsius.  That’s only a four-degree variation — but what a variation it is!  At the blue point, ice all over the planet used to be still intact.  At the red point, however, it has melted.  At this rate, San Francisco will soon join Manhattan in its race to become the first lost Atlantis.

But enough said about that. I just hope that you don’t own a condo down in SoHo or beach-front property in Honolulu.  You do?  You’re screwed.

And then there’s Burning Man.  This year Black Rock City was completely engulfed in air-born dust particles and white-out sand storms almost 24/7.   If this drought doesn’t let up, perhaps they ought to change its name to Dust Bowl City.

And also, for the first time in memory, we have gotten a hecka lot of Canada geese hanging around Berkeley this summer instead of just passing by in the spring and the fall.  Guess they don’t have to fly so far south to get warm any more.  No winter vacation in Cancun for them!   And we humans don’t need to fly south to Puerto Vallarta during the winter months any more either.  Last year was the warmest winter in NorCal that I can remember (but I still love Puerto Vallarta).

Morally:  The Republican party (and the huge corporations that now own it) are completely using and abusing their only staunch allies — the older white American males and blind-faith Christians who support them — in order to enact laws and make policies that not only undermine these staunch allies’ beliefs but also their very existence.

Jobs, Social Security, homes, families, medical care, infrastructure, water supplies, energy sources, the very teachings of Christ Himself, you name it — all have been put in grave danger by the very corporate interests that naive older white Americans and gullible Christians have blindly trusted and supported all these years.  It’s just sad to watch these trusting staunch allies of the GOP constantly getting knifed in the back.

Then there are the famous Fetus Wars.  Jesus is being called upon to testify against Planned Parenthood — and yet Jesus isn’t even allowed on the premises when multiple brutal vicious and bloody wars have been declared against millions of innocent children all around the world.  You wanna call yourself a Christian?  Then you gotta act Christ-like!  Duh.

And Repubs are now actually saying that Ted Kennedy originated the War on Women.  Chappaquiddick was a tragic accident.  That’s not the same thing.  But a true war on women appears to be the GOP’s latest favorite game plan — as Repubs happily head down the same path that other “Christians” took back in the European Middle Ages when an estimated nine million women who dared to speak up for themselves, tried to get an education or attempted to practice medicine were burned alive at the stake.

Economically:  Since outsourcing and deregulation has hit America like a category-5 hurricane, our economy has become a disaster area — literally.  So many jobs have fled overseas and so much wealth has fled to the Caymans that many parts of the USA look almost like New Orleans after Katrina.

All the things that we used to make here?  We don’t even know how to make them any more.  And all that knowledge of how to make them has been lost too.

Sometimes I wish that the UN or NATO or whoever — perhaps the war-criminal-trial folks over at the Hague — would sanction America like they are now sanctioning Iran.  Then we would be FORCED to become economically independent again.

Republicans have deliberately created a vast pool of unemployed Americans so that they won’t have to pay us high wages.  Hence the GOP’s refusal to endorse a job program.  Why would they want to do that!

In their haste to make more and more money, large corporations are polluting our water and air and elevating our risk of cancer of course.  But they are also killing off billions of bees.  Good luck with getting our crops in when there is no pollination.  And bye-bye flowers too.  We don’t even have to wait until water drowns out the new American Atlantis to miss our fruit trees and flowers.  Monsanto has already taken care of that.

Politically:  Anyone can buy a seat in Congress these days — or even buy the White House itself or the Supreme Court (especially the Supreme Court).  Who would have ever thought that it would be that way here in the former Land of the Free.  Not since Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall have our public offices been so “For Sale”.  Shame on us for letting this happen.

And remember back in 1999 when we all thought that YK2 was going to be an international disaster?  Well all the computers didn’t crash, but YK2 turned out to be an incredible disaster anyway — when George W. Bush stole the 2000 election and almost NOBODY in America objected or even noticed.  Then Bush allowed 9-11 to happen, followed by the disastrous Afghanistan invasion, the incredibly expensive Iraq invasion and the 2008 economic crash.

Yes, YK2 really was a disaster.

More political immorality:  Who has been a very important ally of corporate-owned Washington in places like Afghanistan, Syria and Libya?  Wait for it.  “Al Qaeda!”  Arming and encouraging the people behind 9-11?  Isn’t that about as politically immoral as you can get?  But Americans seem to accept this hypocrisy without batting an eye.  Go figure.

And what can our bought-and-paid-for politicians possibly be thinking when they systematically alienate huge countries like Russia and China while kissing the booties of their corporate neo-con counterparts in teeny-tiny Israel.  Israel?  The size of New Jersey?  Israel’s neo-con corporatists are gonna save us from the wrath of Russia, China, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and all the other places and countries that our corporate-owned government has thoroughly screwed over the years?  Huh?

And then there’s that cruel joke that used to be America’s legendary and heroic Supreme Court.  No justice at all to be had there these days — if you are merely working class.  Those guys in black robes take their reverse-Robin-Hood roles very seriously.

“Take from the worker bees and give to the drones” should be carved in marble over our corporate-owned government buildings in Washington — just before America, the next lost Atlantis, slowly sinks into the sea.

But you had better get to carving it soon — because there is something in the air in America these days, a sense that nasty undercurrents are moving stealthily toward us from somewhere very deep, somewhere that the average voter isn’t in touch with — except in our guts.

And our guts seem to be telling us that America is now sinking fast.  And that “We the People” have absolutely no life jackets — but that the billionaires who now own our government are already provisioning their yachtshttp://www.smirkingchimp.com/node/45275.

To paraphrase Plato, “…once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot” — and then their city of Atlantis got all drowned out.

And to paraphrase Ray Bradbury, “Something wicked is definitely coming our way”.


Jane Stillwater is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice
She can be reached at: jpstillwater@yahoo.com

America’s Descent Into Poverty

August 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The United States has collapsed economically, socially, politically, legally, constitutionally, and environmentally. The country that exists today is not even a shell of the country into which I was born. In this article I will deal with America’s economic collapse. In subsequent articles, i will deal with other aspects of American collapse.

Economically, America has descended into poverty. As Peter Edelman says, “Low-wage work is pandemic.” Today in “freedom and democracy” America, “the world’s only superpower,” one fourth of the work force is employed in jobs that pay less than $22,000, the poverty line for a family of four. Some of these lowly-paid persons are young college graduates, burdened by education loans, who share housing with three or four others in the same desperate situation. Other of these persons are single parents only one medical problem or lost job away from homelessness.

Others might be Ph.D.s teaching at universities as adjunct professors for $10,000 per year or less. Education is still touted as the way out of poverty, but increasingly is a path into poverty or into enlistments into the military services.

Edelman, who studies these issues, reports that 20.5 million Americans have incomes less than $9,500 per year, which is half of the poverty definition for a family of three.

There are six million Americans whose only income is food stamps. That means that there are six million Americans who live on the streets or under bridges or in the homes of relatives or friends. Hard-hearted Republicans continue to rail at welfare, but Edelman says, “basically welfare is gone.”

In my opinion as an economist, the official poverty line is long out of date. The prospect of three people living on $19,000 per year is farfetched. Considering the prices of rent, electricity, water, bread and fast food, one person cannot live in the US on $6,333.33 per year. In Thailand, perhaps, until the dollar collapses, it might be done, but not in the US.

As Dan Ariely (Duke University) and Mike Norton (Harvard University) have shown empirically, 40% of the US population, the 40% less well off, own 0.3%, that is, three-tenths of one percent, of America’s personal wealth. Who owns the other 99.7%? The top 20% have 84% of the country’s wealth. Those Americans in the third and fourth quintiles–essentially America’s middle class–have only 15.7% of the nation’s wealth. Such an unequal distribution of income is unprecedented in the economically developed world.

In my day, confronted with such disparity in the distribution of income and wealth, a disparity that obviously poses a dramatic problem for economic policy, political stability, and the macro management of the economy, Democrats would have demanded corrections, and Republicans would have reluctantly agreed.

But not today. Both political parties whore for money.

The Republicans believe that the suffering of poor Americans is not helping the rich enough. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are committed to abolishing every program that addresses needs of what Republicans deride as “useless eaters.”

The “useless eaters” are the working poor and the former middle class whose jobs were offshored so that corporate executives could receive multi-millions of dollars in performance pay compensation and their shareholders could make millions of dollars on capital gains. While a handful of executives enjoy yachts and Playboy playmates, tens of millions of Americans barely get by.

In political propaganda, the “useless eaters” are not merely a burden on society and the rich. They are leeches who force honest taxpayers to pay for their many hours of comfortable leisure enjoying life, watching sports events, and fishing in trout streams, while they push around their belongings in grocery baskets or sell their bodies for the next MacDonald burger.

The concentration of wealth and power in the US today is far beyond anything my graduate economic professors could image in the 1960s. At four of the world’s best universities that I attended, the opinion was that competition in the free market would prevent great disparities in the distribution of income and wealth. As I was to learn, this belief was based on an ideology, not on reality.

Congress, acting on this erroneous belief in free market perfection, deregulated the US economy in order to create a free market. The immediate consequence was resort to every previous illegal action to monopolize, to commit financial and other fraud, to destroy the productive basis of American consumer incomes, and to redirect income and wealth to the one percent.

The “democratic” Clinton administration, like the Bush and Obama administrations, was suborned by free market ideology. The Clinton sell-outs to Big Money essentially abolished Aid to Families with Dependent Children. But this sell-out of struggling Americans was not enough to satisfy the Republican Party. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to cut or abolish every program that cushions poverty-stricken Americans from starvation and homelessness.

Republicans claim that the only reason Americans are in need is because the government uses taxpayers’ money to subsidize Americans who are unwilling to work. As Republicans see it, while we hard-workers sacrifice our leisure and time with our families, the welfare rabble enjoy the leisure that our tax dollars provide them.

This cock-eyed belief, on top of corporate CEOs maximizing their incomes by offshoring the middle class jobs of millions of Americans, has left Americans in poverty and cities, counties, states, and the federal government without a tax base, resulting in bankruptcies at the state and local level and massive budget deficits at the federal level that threaten the value of the dollar and its role as reserve currency.

The economic destruction of America benefitted the mega-rich with multi-billions of dollars with which to enjoy life and its high-priced accompaniments wherever the mega-rich wish. Meanwhile, away from the French Rivera, Homeland Security is collecting sufficient ammunition to keep dispossessed Americans under control.

Source: Paul Craig Roberts

The Next Stage In The Destruction of Syria

July 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The U.S. media has made its intentions clear: the ‘rebels’ attacking Syria’s government must have more support to advance Syria’s “revolution.”  This was the result of the much-hyped advance of Syria’s rebels into the country’s two largest cities, which the western media portrayed as a defining moment in global democracy. But “journalists” like these have blood on their hands, with much more in the works.

The systematic dismantling of Syria has more to do with western media lies and geo-politics than “revolution;” and the more that the U.S. media cheers on this bloodletting, the more politicians feel enabled to spill it.

The rebel attacks on the cities of Damascus and Aleppo were, in actuality, meant to convince the western media that the rebels are near victory, with the hopes of attracting more direct military support from abroad. In reality, however, the attacks in Damascus were instantly crushed by the Syrian government, but the U.S. media predicted “victory just around the corner” for the rebels.

Suddenly Syria is becoming a U.S. presidential topic of debate.  Republicans have accused Obama of “outsourcing” the Syrian conflict, refusing to be involved when the rebels deserve extra support (guns mainly). But Obama is the principal cause of this humanitarian catastrophe. Middle East expert Robert Fisk explains:

“While Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund the rebels of Syria…Washington mutters not a word of criticism against them. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, say they want a democracy in Syria. But Qatar is an autocracy and Saudi Arabia is among the most pernicious of caliphate-kingly-dictatorships in the Arab world.”

Fisk fails to mention that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are virtual puppets of U.S. foreign policy; they would never act independently to overthrow a regional neighbor; they do so on command.

Syria is conveniently surrounded by close allies of the U.S., and it is through these allies that guns and foreign fighters have poured into Syria to cause massive destruction. The rebel-held areas of Syria exist only on the rural borders of Turkey, Jordan, and Northern Lebanon, areas in alignment with U.S. foreign policy.

Revolutions are city affairs, but the Syrian revolution has been a rural undertaking ever since foreign powers decided to destroy the country. It is fortunate for the rebels that Syria’s two largest cities are close to these border countries: the rebels made a quick foray into the cities for some high profile attacks, and then drifted back to the border areas to seek protection from their friends.

Although it is true that the so-called Free Syrian Army includes defectors from the Syrian military, it is possible that these defectors are simply betting that, in the long term, the U.S. will spare no expense in overthrowing the Syrian government.

The commonsense question that the U.S. media never explores is whether Syrians want their country destroyed, the inevitable result of this conflict. In fact, there are numerous indications to the contrary. After constant cheerleading of the Syrian rebels, The New York Times has been forced to admit on several occasions that massive pro-government rallies have been held in Syria’s only two large cities:

“The turnout [at least tens of thousands] in Sabaa Bahrat Square in Damascus, the [Syrian] capital, once again underlined the degree of backing that Mr. Assad and his leadership still enjoy among many Syrians… That support is especially pronounced in cities like Damascus and Aleppo, the country’s two largest.”

This was further confirmed by a poll funded by the anti-Syrian Qatar Foundation, performed by the Doha Debates:

“According to the latest opinion poll commissioned by The Doha Debates, Syrians are more supportive of their president with 55% not wanting him to resign.” (January 2, 2012).

This should be of zero surprise. Syrians have seen Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya destroyed by U.S.-style “liberation.” Americans should know better too — and many do — regardless of their media’s blatantly criminal behavior.

The United States is using a strategy in Syria that has been perfected over the years, starting with Afghanistan (in the 1980′s) Yugoslavia, and most recently in Libya: arming small paramilitary groups loyal to U.S. interests that attack the targeted government — including terrorist bombings — and when the attacked government defends itself, the U.S. cries “genocide” or “mass murder,” while calling for foreign military intervention.

In each instance the targeted society is dismembered, mass murder and ethnic/religious violence is consciously used to gain military advantage that inevitably spirals out of control; refugee crises are also natural consequences, which inevitably lead to cross border destabilization and wider regional conflicts. Millions of lives are completely ruined in each instance, if not ended.

There is every indication that the Syrian conflict has the potential — as the Iraq war before it — to cause incredible ethnic and religious violence on a multi-nation scale. Neighboring Lebanon has already experienced armed conflict as a direct result of Syria and is a powder keg of ethnic and religious tension that needs only a spark to explode, and Syria promises to spew flames.

The U.S. population has largely been spared images of the incredible suffering and social destruction caused by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Syria’s crisis is thus happening in an already-destabilized region, having the potential to completely tear the social fabric of the larger Middle East.

These war crimes benefit nobody except the very rich who take over the helm of governments and use these positions to privatize the invaded country’s economy, though especially the oil. The people in Syria, however, are being used as cannon fodder for an additional reason: so that the U.S. can have a steppingstone towards destroying Iran (Syria is Iran’s close ally). But Russia and China are acting more boldly against this genocidal behavior, and may act with more vigor in defending their allies, a dynamic that could easily lead to a regional or even world war.

Thus, the hell that has become the Middle East is being poked and prodded by U.S. foreign policy with absolutely no regard for the global implications. Both U.S. major presidential candidates are cheerleading the flood of blood to different degrees, ensuring that the next election will provide fresh “legitimacy” to an equally barbarous U.S. foreign policy.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/29-1

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/13/world/middleeast/syrians-rally-in-support-of-assad.html

http://www.thedohadebates.com/news/item/index.asp?n=14312


Shamus Cooke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

Tea Party Targeted by “All the Bolsheviks’ Children” (ABC)

July 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It wasn’t just that ABC’s Brian Ross was wrong in suggesting that the “Jim Holmes” he found on a Tea Party website was the same man who committed the heinous crime inAurora,Colorado.  It’s that his comment was indicative of stupidity and corruption.

If Ross had thought for a moment and possessed a grasp of reality, he would’ve realized that “Jim Holmes” is a common name belonging to many hundreds of men throughout the nation.  If he had some integrity and a desire to be even-handed, he would have vetted the information more before airing it—just as he would have if at issue had been an alleged left-wing association.

Just imagine if someone appeared on TV shortly after theAuroratragedy and stated, not just to provide biographical info but with an ominous implication, “We now know that Holmes attended UC Riverside….”  Now, I’ll be the first to say that modern academia does teach insanity; nonetheless, since this school isn’t known to orchestrate terrorist acts, it wouldn’t leap to mind to implicate it in Holmes’s atrocity.  The fact is that any given person will have had a number of associations in his life, and few, if any, will bear relevance to a crime he may commit.

So there can be only two reasons why ABC would mention a possible Holmes/Tea Party (TP) association: either its people want to demonize conservatives every chance they get, or they think traditionalist thought constitutes a pathology.  It turns out that Effluent Stream Media leftists are deeply involved in doing the former and generally believe the latter.

Now, you see, my last line contains what is called a correct profile.  Because it happens to be true.  On the other hand, if leftists were intellectually honest, they’d accept that the TP has been remarkably civilized.  Unlike Only Whining Socialists (OWS), its events aren’t marked by sexual abuse, the occasional rape, violence, vandalism and slovenly, anti-social behavior.  Rather, TP attendees protest peacefully, abide by the law, listen to speeches and then go home, leaving the site behind them clean and tidy.  It’s the difference between sane citizens and those who mistake police cars for toilet bowls.

In fact, ABC hewed so closely to the leftist profile it’s uncanny.  Liberals have been trying for ages to get the goods on the TP, but the most their sleuthing has uncovered is an allegation that a black politician was targeted by one or two TP attendees with a racial epithet that, curiously, wasn’t caught on audio or video despite today’s ubiquity of electronic devices.  And it must be frustrating.  That darn reality just refuses to conform to leftist prejudices.

And sometimes prejudices persecute those who promote them.  Ross might have learned this through his corrupted act, if liberals were receptive to reality and could learn anything contrary to their deified feelings.  Note that “corrupted” isn’t quite the same as “corrupt,” even though many leftists are both.  When we say a computer file is corrupted, all that’s being recognized is that it’s degraded and cannot function properly.  And to whatever extent liberals are willfully corrupt, they are certainly corrupted.  They cannot, and do not, function properly.

This is, by the way, why ex-newsman Dan Rather’s career was scuttled (far too late) through an act that was somewhat reminiscent of Ross’s.  When Rather peddled documents purporting to show that George W. Bush shirked his military duties, he didn’t know they were forged.  They did, however, align with his prejudices.  “Why, that’s exactly how these conservatives are!  This has to be true; it makes sense.”  But only when you’re senseless.  Just as with Ross, if a leftist person or entity stood to be impugned through the reportage, Rather would have moved mountains to discover if the documents were authentic; that is, if he would have considered doing the story at all.  Instead, after a career running with the bulls of his own bovine excrement, he finally suffered a trampling of his own design.

So I’ll be blunt.  As is often the case, when leftists accuse conservatives of failings, it is projection. Traditionalist thought is not a pathology.

Liberal unthought is a pathology.

And a severe one that destroys everything it touches.

As Peter Schweizer reported in his piece “Don’t listen to the liberals—Right-wingers really are nicer people, latest research shows,” studies have borne out what I’ve always known: Liberals are cheap, ungenerous, uncharitable, unloving, self-centered, envious, greedy and covetous.  They’re less likely than conservatives to devote time to ailing or needy loved ones, and they even hug their children less.  And this reflects one reason why they support big government: they assuage their consciences by outsourcing their charity.  I’ll add to this that they’re lustful, prideful, wrathful, often slothful and, if Michael Moore is any indication, gluttonous as well.  In a word, they are the Seven Deadly Sins incarnate.

As for ABC, since news obviously isn’t its bag, I have a programming suggestion.  It could replace a certain long-running but recently cancelled soap opera it’s famous for with something that can be called “All the Bolsheviks’ Children.”  This could break new ground and help rebuild ABC’s reputation for honesty, as it would be the most self-revelatory reality show in history.


Selwyn Duke is a writer, columnist and public speaker whose work has been published widely online and in print, on both the local and national levels. He has been featured on the Rush Limbaugh Show and has been a regular guest on the award-winning Michael Savage Show. His work has appeared in Pat Buchanan’s magazine
The American Conservative and he writes regularly for The New American and Christian Music Perspective.

He can be reached at: SelwynDuke@optonline.net

Selwyn Duke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: A 1% Global Attack

July 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

During the week of July 1st – 7th an international cabal of corporate lobbyists will be meeting behind closed doors in San Diego. Their aim is moving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) towards completion. For over two years TPP negotiations have been in process, yet the proposals and agreements made so far have been carefully kept from public view, until recently.

A leaked TPP document, published at Public Citizen, has revealed what the 600 corporate advisers involved in the negotiations, including representatives from Verizon, FedEx, and Walmart, have been up to. Considering the contents of this document, it is no wonder why the public and even elected representatives have been kept in the dark.

Publicly the TPP is being described as a Free Trade Act (FTA). This understates its scope. While the FTAs already in existence have raked in giant profits for the corporate elite, for workers internationally they have resulted in lay offs and a race to the bottom in terms of living conditions and rights. The big business tops have been working hard to enhance the power of their moneymaking weapons of mass destruction. If NAFTA was a hand grenade, the TPP is a bunker buster.

What is perhaps most astonishing about the TPP is its architects’ disregard for the consequences of its destructive potential. Their greed has blinded them to the political instability and popular revolt the consequences of the TPP will create. The corporate elite imagines their rule to be absolute and eternal. Sheltered by these illusions and goaded on by the need to increase their riches regardless of social costs, they are creating a bomb that could blow them up as well.

Currently the countries in on the TPP are the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These countries alone are a combined market of 658 million people worth $20.5 trillion annually. (1) Canada, Japan, and Mexico are also expected to get on board. The TPP also has built in mechanisms to allow other nations to join after its ratification.

While China could theoretically become a member, there can be little doubt that part of the intention of this pact is for the United States to build a coalition, in which its big business interests dominate, to compete against China’s economic might. This ratcheting up of competition will result in greater political animosity. In turn, these consequences will contribute to a course towards greater conflict, including the possibility of war. This is because international capitalist competition is not determined by gentlemanly agreements, but by the law of the jungle and, frequently, brute force. While it may be a relatively simple matter for the United States to bully its economically weaker TPP partners into line, China is not so easily dominated. Other more crude and costly measures than diplomacy will be required to get the competitive upper hand and the TPP is laying the foundation for this possibility.

What all FTAs share in common, including the TPP, is how they open up doors for multi-national corporations to transfer operations to other nations where labor is cheaper and the profit rate is greater. In the first 10 years of NAFTA this outsourcing resulted in the net loss of 879,280 U.S. jobs. (2) Considering the greater number of countries involved in the TPP, this number of lost jobs will be all the greater.

In addition, for the nations these jobs are outsourced to, the results are even more devastating. The dislocation of local economies by the larger scale corporations moving in also results in greater unemployment. For instance, NAFTA resulted in the loss of 1.3 million Mexican farm jobs as U.S. agribusiness moved in (3), leaving the farmers to toil for a living in the brutal Maquiladoras or move to the U.S. for jobs where they have been persecuted as “illegal” immigrants. Even more damaging was how NAFTA accelerated the privatization of Mexico’s once strong public sector resulting in huge layoffs, wage cuts, and a dramatic drop in the countries unionization rate. Other than for a well-connected few within the developing nations signing onto the TPP, there is nothing to gain and much to lose for these countries’ citizens if this agreement is enacted.

Where the TPP departs from past FTAs is in the range of issues it covers and the degree it flagrantly defies national sovereignty in favor of multi-national corporate interests. Only two of the TPP’s 26 chapters have to do with trade. The rest are focused on new corporate rights, privileges and tools to override local government interests.

Perhaps the most controversial of these tools would be the setting up of a three attorney tribunal, with no checks on conflicts of interest, to judge foreign corporate complaints regarding government regulations in the countries they are setting up operations in. If, for instance, a foreign owned corporation argues it is losing profits because of its host nation’s overtime laws, this tribunal could rule that the country’s taxpayers owe that corporation compensation for this loss. Such costly judgments could result from any regulations including labor law, local environmental standards, financial rules, etc. In short, the TPP’s tribunal would act as the hammer of multi-national corporate interests above the power of the states’ governments they do business in. While, because of their size, U.S. based corporations have the most to gain from this arrangement, it will result in not only a greater deterioration of the living standards of those working in the U.S. but also any semblance of democracy as well.

As negotiated under the Obama administration by U.S. trade representative Ron Kirkland, the TPP is extremist. Public interest and national sovereignty are sacrificed on the altar of a corporate agenda to a degree that it is doubtful a Republican president could get away with. Should it be passed into law, revolts against its effects are likely. This will set into motion events that will not go as planned by the 1% behind the measure.

The time is now to start trying to defeat the TPP. Currently, many of the organizations expressing concerns about it, including the AFL-CIO leadership, are limiting the fightback to pressuring the Obama administration to amend or drop the TPP. It should first be demanded that the agreements and proposals regarding the TPP are open for all to see. The public needs to be educated about its effects. If such efforts are linked to a mass action campaign for jobs – not cuts, it would go a long way towards creating a grass roots political movement that could take on this extremist 1 percent agreement.
Such a movement cannot afford to counter the TPP with an equally reactionary protectionist program. Currently, this is the position put forward by the AFL-CIO leadership and their “buy America made” slogan. At first glance, it appears to be common sense for many rank and file U.S. workers. “If we want to prevent the off shoring of American jobs we should only buy products made at home” goes the reasoning. However, there are several problems with this line that undercut our ability to combat the TPP.

One problem is that there are very few products that are made exclusively in the U.S. The division of labor to produce even most “American made” commodities is international in scale. Otherwise, few if any of the corporations that make them would be able to survive. Therefore, the logic behind this protectionist slogan is utopian, harking back to a long gone time before the economy became such a globally dependent system.

There are other more pernicious consequences to protectionism, however. It fosters jingoistic “America first” attitudes that, as political tensions increase between economically competing nations, can easily be manipulated into support for military adventures that are against the 99% interests. In addition, even if U.S. jobs are being protected by such measures as tariffs against foreign competitors, this, in effect, exports unemployment and divides the working class by nationality. If extremist 1% measures are to be defeated, it can only be done by a political policy that unites the 99% across national boundaries. Protectionism creates just the opposite.

Workers need their own international campaign to fight the TPP. The labor movement in the U.S. could begin by linking up with other union and community groups from the nations signing onto it. An international conference could be set up to share information, assist one another in their efforts to combat the TPP, and plan for joint actions. However, in order for such a conference to not be limited to purely symbolic value, serious efforts must be dedicated towards turning the ideas coming out of it into a physical force through mass organizing.

The passage of NAFTA was a defeat for workers that we are still suffering from in a big way. Labor and its allies were unprepared to effectively fight it, though there were notable solidarity efforts between U.S. and Mexican unions. The stakes are even higher with the TPP. Statesman like appeals to President Clinton by labor to drop or, at least, reform NAFTA did no good. Likewise, similar appeals to President Obama, especially after the passage of the Korean, Colombian, and Panama FTAs, will leave us saddled with the TPP. Workers need leverage to defeat the TPP, and that leverage comes from mass organizing and action.

For further reading check out the leaked document at http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/tppinvestment.pdf

For “Controversial Trade Pact Text Leaked, Shows U.S. Trade Officials Have Agreed to Terms That Undermine Obama Domestic Agenda go to http://www.citizen.org/documents/release-controversial-trade-pact-text-leaked-06-13.pdf

For Public Interest Analysis of Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Investment text go to http://www.citizen.org/documents/Leaked-TPP-Investment-Analysis.pdf

Footnotes
1.) Trans-Pacific Partnership decoded: Canada lobbied to be part of trade talks. Now what? By Madhavi Achar-Tom Yew for Business Reporter. http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1214595–trans-pacific-partnership-decoded-canada-lobbied-to-be-part-of-trade-talks-now-what

2.)See “NAFTA – Related Job Losses Have Piled Up Since 1993″ by Robert E. Scott for the Economic Policy Institute.
http://www.epi.org/publication/webfeatures_snapshots_archive_

3.) Disadvantages of NAFTA By Kimberly Amadeo for About.Com US Economy.
http://useconomy.about.com/od/tradepolicy/p/NAFTA_Problems.htm


Mark Vorpahl is a guest columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached at Portland@workerscompass.org.

Apple: Why Doesn’t It Employ More US Workers?

April 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The electronics giant assembles its gadgets in China. But, according to new research, if it moved its production home, it would still be hugely profitable and create thousands of jobs.

Employees at a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China.
Employees at a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Corbis

An old rule states that you are a mere six degrees of separation away from anyone else on the planet. For some people, however, the world is even smaller. So let me propose an amendment: you are only one relative, friend or acquaintance away from one of the late Steve Jobs’s creations.

You may be browsing this on a new iPad, one of the 30m Apple sold last year. Or perhaps you’re viewing it on an iPhone screen – which would be unsurprising, since the market analysts at Mintel say that the iPhone 4 is the most popular handset in Britain today. Maybe your children are reluctantly putting away their iPods, of which Apple sells 5m worldwide every three months (a remarkable figure, but half the 10m Jobs and his colleagues were shifting each quarter in 2008 and 2009).

And if you’ve really never done any of those things, rest assured your prime minister has. “The cool thing is that I now control my iMac from the iPad, to play out through the speaker,” David Cameron boasted to the Telegraph a few months after moving into No 10. It was one of those canny-to-the-point-of-irritating references the Old Etonian used to specialise in; a flash of his real-world accreditation.

As Cameron knows, Apple is a byword of everyday sleekness. Yet there is another way of viewing the company. Focus instead on the way it does business, and all those iPhones, iPods and iPads aren’t just exemplars of design and user-friendliness: they are devices that destroy western jobs. And they do so needlessly, because if the California-based giant manufactured its goods in America rather than China, it could still make profits that would be the envy of every other US business.

This is, I know, an unorthodox position. When journalists or politicians discuss the way that western companies make goods in China, or anywhere else in Asia, they almost always start from the premise that this is how business is done nowadays. This is the commonly accepted logic of globalisation, which enables companies to keep their costs down, which allows the ordinary American or Briton to spend less money shopping, and which also offers poorer nations in the east to develop their economies. Expensive shirts might still be made in Italy; high-end kitchens might be assembled in Germany – but the future of mass production inevitably lies in China.

Apple has both made and benefitted from that argument. In January, the New York Times ran a lengthy investigation of the technology firm’s manufacturing processes, which began by disclosing a conversation in 2011 between Jobs and Barack Obama. The president asked why Apple products could not be made in the US. The most admired man in Silicon Valley was reportedly blunt: “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”

Very few people argued with that assessment. In other ways excellent, the New York Times’ piece had an elegiac tone, conveyed by the headline How the US Lost Out on iPhone Work. And the following commentary went on in this it’s-not-you-it’s-me vein. It wasn’t Apple’s fault it didn’t hire Americans to make its goods: it was America’s. US workers weren’t skilled enough; not enough of them were trained in engineering.

All this should be familiar to anyone who’s followed the Westminster debate on globalisation, where prime ministers from Thatcher to Blair to Cameron have agreed that if Britain is to attract employers, its workers need to shape up. Students need to brain up and get degrees, adults need to retrain or sharpen up their attitudes. Even then, the British have to prepare for a post-industrial future, where they do the design and marketing and the Chinese (or the Indians, or the Vietnamese) make the goods.

Such national self-abasement has the merit of at least feeling like a policy; but it’s debatable whether on its own it really will pull in big employers. Apple, after all, used to base its manufacturing in the US. Jobs used to boast about how the Mac was “a machine that is made in America”. And according to new research given exclusively to the Guardian by the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (Cresc), it’s clear that it would not only be affordable for Apple still to make its goods in America, it would remain hugely profitable.

Using a mix of Apple’s own filings and industry data, the academics broke down the cost of making one product in particular: the wildly popular 4G iPhone. Assembled in China, the total cost of putting together just one phone was $178.45. Compare that with a sale price (including downloads) of $630 and Apple makes $452 on each phone: a whacking gross margin of 72%.

Chinese labour accounts for a tiny proportion of the company’s costs: $7.10 for each phone, which accounts for about eight hours of assembly. So what would it cost to make the same iPhone in America? The Cresc team took the average wage in the US electronics industry of $21 per hour and calculated that the total production cost would increase to $337.01. That is a big jump – but it still leaves Apple with a gross margin of 46.5% on each iPhone – a level that Cresc’s Sukhdev Johal estimates would probably still make it the most profitable phone in the world.

So: two models of making one of Apple’s most popular products, and two models for distributing the profits. The made-in-America model still leaves the California giant with a profit margin that most companies can only dream of, but would create hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the US to boot. That may strike you as laughably naive, but it’s more akin to enlightened self-interest: just think of the way Henry Ford raised wages so Ford workers could buy his cars.

The made-in-China model, on the other hand, has carried no such social benefits, either in Apple’s home country or in the People’s Republic. Last year, Apple built up cash reserves of $100bn – more than the US government. Indeed, it was so much money that the company was stumped how to dispose of it. Tim Cook, who is now CEO of Apple, announced a few weeks ago that he would begin buying back shares and paying dividends to investors. Among other people who benefited from this arrangement was Cook himself, who was awarded $376.3m in Apple stock when he took over last year. That pile of shares is now valued at around $634m. The people who win from the made-in-China model are big investors and top executives.

In the case of Apple, outsourcing manufacturing is not about keeping costs to customers down – they are still paying huge prices for the latest handset or tablet computer. Nor is it about the company’s survival: it would still do tremendously well were it to bring those factories back home. No, in the case of Apple, moving jobs offshore has become a way of directing ever more money to those at the top of American society.

This is not just my conclusion, or that of the Cresc team; it is backed up by the Asian Development Bank. In a 2010 study of an earlier model of the iPhone, ADB researchers concluded: “It is the profit maximisation behaviour of Apple rather than competition that pushes Apple to have all iPhones assembled in the PRC.”

This division of labour has certainly not helped China very much. Foxconn, which makes those iPhones, has to work to an incredibly tough contract with Apple that forces it to keep all costs to a minimum. This surely helps account for why Foxconn, whose client list is almost a Who’s Who of the smartphone sector, has had repeated troubles with its workforce, including at least 18 suicide attempts by workers in 2010 alone. After that, and the terrible publicity that followed, Apple put pressure on its subcontractor to raise workers’ pay and improve conditions. But it didn’t take the most obvious route of doing so, which would be: pay more to Foxconn, and direct it to use that surplus to increase wages.

The reason for concentrating on Apple in this fashion is not because it’s a terrible company, but because it’s an exemplary one. It has become the business success story of our age: the firm others want to emulate, and prime ministers want to name check. And yet there is a paradox here. For all the stylishness and sleekness of its products, the Apple business model is an unattractive and, over the long term, possibly an unsustainable one. It subcontracts work that offers the Chinese little prospect of economic development, while at the same time selling to Americans and others products they want but increasingly don’t have the jobs or incomes to buy so readily.

Apple’s rise to primus inter pares in the business world has coincided with a wider social trend: a general anxiety about the decline of the west. Some of the reasons for why America, Britain and others are on the slide are large and abstract. But some of the factors are smaller and closer to hand, like the iPhone in your pocket or the Mac waiting for you at home.

Source: The Guardian

When Bankers Rule The World

April 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The tell-all defection of Greg Smith, a former Goldman Sachs executive, provided an insider’s view of the moral corruption of the Wall Street banks that control of much of America’s economy and politics. Smith confirms what insightful observers have known for years: the business purpose of Wall Street bankers is to maximize their personal financial take without regard to the consequences for others.

Wall Street’s World of Illusion

Why has the public for so long tolerated Wall Street’s reckless abuses of power and accepted the resulting devastation? The answer lies in a cultural trance induced by deceptive language and misleading indicators backed by flawed economic theory and accounting sleight-of-hand. To shatter the trance we need to recognize that the deception that Wall Street promotes through its well-funded PR machine rests on three false premises.

  1. We best fulfill our individual moral obligation to society by maximizing our personal financial gain.
  2. Money is wealth and making money increases the wealth of the society.
  3. Making money is the proper purpose of the individual enterprise and is the proper measure of prosperity and economic performance.

Wall Street aggressively promotes these fallacies as guiding moral principles. Their embrace by Wall Street insiders helps to explain how they are able to reward themselves with obscene bonuses for their successful use of deception, fraud, speculation, and usury to steal wealth they have had no part in creating and yet still believe, as Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein famously proclaimed, that they are “doing God’s work.”

The devastation created by Wall Street’s failure affirms three truths that are the foundation on which millions of people are at work building a New Economy:

  1. Our individual and collective well-being depends on acting with concern for the well-being of others. We all do better when we look out for one another.
  2. Money is not wealth. It is just numbers. Sacrificing the health and happiness of billions of people to grow numbers on computer hard drives to improve one’s score on the Forbes Magazine list of the world’s richest people is immoral. Managing a society’s economy to facilitate this immoral competition at the expense of people and nature is an act of collective insanity.
  3. The proper purpose of the economy and the enterprises that comprise it is to provide good jobs and quality goods and services beneficial to the health and happiness of people, community and nature. A modest financial profit is essential to a firm’s viability, but is not its proper purpose.

The critical distinction between making money and creating wealth is the key to seeing through Wall Street’sillusions.

Ends/Means Confusion

Real wealth includes healthful food; fertile land; pure water; clean air; caring relationships; healthy, happy children; quality education and health care; fulfilling opportunities for service; peace; and time for meditation and spiritual reflection. These are among the many forms of real wealth to which we properly expect a sound economy to contribute.

Wall Street has so corrupted our language, however, that it is difficult even to express the crucial distinction between money (a facilitator of economic activity), and real wealth (the purpose of economic activity).

Financial commentators routinely use terms like wealth, capital, resources, and assets when referring to phantom wealth financial assets, which makes them sound like something real and substantial—whether or not they are backed by anything of real value. Similarly, they identify folks engaged in market speculation and manipulation as investors, thus glossing over the distinction between those who game the system to expropriate wealth and those who contribute to its creation.

The same confusion plays out in the use of financial indicators, particularly stock price indices, to evaluate economic performance. The daily rise and fall of stock prices tells us only how fast the current stock bubble is inflating or deflating and thus how Wall Street speculators are doing relative to the rest of us.

Once we are conditioned to embrace measures of Wall Street success as measures of our own well-being, we are easily recruited as foot soldiers in Wall Street’s relentless campaign to advance policies that support its control of money and thus its hold on nearly every aspect of our lives.

Modern Enslavement

In a modern society in which our access to most essential of life from food and water to shelter and health care depends on money, control of money is the ultimate instrument of social control.

Fortunately, with the help of Occupy Wall Street, Americans are waking up to an important truth. It is a very, very bad idea to yield control of the issuance and allocation of credit (money) to Wall Street banks run by con artists who operate beyond the reach of public accountability and who Greg Smith tells us in his New York Times op-ed view the rest of us as simple-minded marks ripe for the exploiting.

By going along with its deceptions, we the people empowered Wall Street to convert America from a middle class society of entrepreneurs, investors, and skilled workers into a nation of debt slaves. Buying into Wall Street lies and illusions, Americans have been lured into accepting,  even aggressively promoting, “tax relief” for the very rich and the “regulatory relief” and “free trade” agreements for corporations that allowed Wall Street to suppress wages and benefits for working people through union busting, automation, and outsourcing jobs to foreign sweatshops.

Once working people were unable to make ends meet with current income, Wall Street lured them into making up the difference by taking on credit card and mortgage debt they had no means to repay. They were soon borrowing to pay not only for current consumption, but as well to pay the interest on prior unpaid debt.

This is the classic downward spiral of debt slavery that assures an ever-growing divide between the power and luxury of a creditor class and the powerless desperation of a debtor class.

Bust the Trusts, Liberate America

Before Wall Street dismantled it, America had a system of transparent, well-regulated, community-based, locally owned, Main Street financial institutions empowered to put local savings to work investing in building real community wealth through the creation and allocation of credit to finance local home buyers and entrepreneurs.

Although dismissed by Wall Street players as small, quaint, provincial, and inefficient, this locally rooted financial system created the credit that financed our victory in World War II, the Main Street economies that unleashed America’s entrepreneurial talents, the investments that made us the world leader in manufacturing and technology, and the family-wage jobs that built the American middle class. It is a proven model with important lessons relevant for current efforts to restore financial integrity and build an economy that serves all Americans.

Two recent reports from the New Economy Working Group—How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule and Jobs: A Main Street Fix for Wall Street’s Failure—draw on these lessons to outline a practical program to shift power from Wall Street to Main Street, focus economic policy on real wealth creation, create a true ownership society, unleash Main Street’s entrepreneurial potential, bring ourselves into balance with the biosphere, meet the needs of all, and strengthen democracy in the process.

For far too long, we have allowed Wall Street to play us as marks in a confidence scam of audacious proportion. Then we wonder at our seeming powerlessness to deal with job loss, depressed wages, mortgage foreclosures, political corruption and the plight of our children as they graduate into debt bondage.

Let us be clear. We will no longer play the sucker for Wall Street con artists and we will no longer tolerate public bailouts to save failed Wall Street banks.

Henceforth, when a Wall Street financial institution fails to maintain adequate equity reserves to withstand a major financial shock or is found guilty of systematic violation of the law and/or defrauding the public, we must demand that federal authorities take it over and break it up into strictly regulated, community-accountable, cooperative member-owned financial services institutions.

Occupy Wall Street has focused national and global attention on the source of the problem. Now it’s time for action to bust the Wall Street banking trusts, replace the current Wall Street banking system with a Main Street banking system, and take back America from rule by Wall Street bankers.

Source: Yes Magazine

America’s Racial Divide: Wide and Deep as the Grand Canyon

March 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

African-American Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of Hispanic-American Gary Zimmerman in the past week defines America’s racial divide.  It’s huge, it’s wide, it’s deep, it’s unchanging—like the Grand Canyon.  Race relations in America have not changed in 236 years of this republic.  They remain raw, violent, savage and ubiquitous.

Race caused “separate but equal” drinking fountains, schools and eating establishments.[sic] Dr. Martin Luther King marched for equal rights because of race.  The NAACP continues because of race.  Housing and school segregation continue because of race in cities across America.  Racial discrimination continues at break-neck speed in America on all levels.  Racial incidents occur every day of the week in America. Black against white. Hispanic against white.  Mexicans against blacks in Los Angeles.  Whites, of course, fade back as much as possible with the racism tag because have been the dominate tribe that caused discrimination.  But, the same dominate tribe in Africa doesn’t allow whites equal rights.  I have learned in my world travels that racism is biological.  We cannot make it go away by education, wealth, laws or religion.

While the Main Stream Media portrayed Trayvon Martin’s 12 year old picture of innocence, that young man illustrates the inner city and showed himself to be a 17 year old gang-banger, hoodlum and thug.  Yet, 21st century Dr. Martin Luther King wanna-bees—Al “I’m so fat headed” Sharpton and Jesse “the adulterer with love children” Jackson—can’t wait to jump all over the racist Gary Zimmerman who shot Trayvon in self-defense.

God help us if Zimmerman had been a European-American. This nation could have become a conflagration similar to the Rodney King riots.  America rides a thin edge in 2012.

Let’s dig deeper: what about all the other young black murder victims from black on black crime? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. Show me one protest about the thousands upon thousands of black on black murders.

In Los Angeles, Mexicans kill American blacks and run them out of the Mexicans’ turf as a matter of standard operating procedures.  The late black radio talk show host Terry Anderson spoke about Mexican on black crime rates.  He said that Los Angeles blacks were under siege and being murdered at every opportunity.  In high schools, blacks and Mexicans start race riots regularly.  You can cut the racially-intensified air with a knife at multicultural high schools.

Today, 68 percent of African-American children are raised by a single female parent—usually on welfare, food stamps and assisted housing. Those kids never enjoy the balance of a responsible father.

Cincinnati reporter Tanya O’Rourke spoke to a man named Deters who said, “What bothers me is, it’s OK for a young male to impregnate eight different women. It’s almost like a badge of honor. In some parts of the community, young girls, 15 years old having babies. You know I see a girl on the street who’s 18 pushing a baby stroller and she’s pregnant again and you’re just like, do these kids have any chance at all?”

“The biggest challenge is restoring the family unit,” said Rev. Lynch, pastor of a Cincinnati church. “The destruction of the black family is the main cause – the root cause – for all of these ailments that we see in our community. The violence, the teenage pregnancy. In 1920, 90 percent of black families had a father in the house. In 1960, 80 percent of black families had a father in the house. In 2011, it’s only 30 percent. Three out of 10.”

Point blank: the African-American family unit suffered major destruction as the automotive jobs dried up.  It died as a result of offshoring, insourcing and outsourcing of jobs.  It suffered extinction from endless legal and illegal immigration. Instead of black cab drivers and janitors making a good living, Pakistani, Mexican and Somalians now work those jobs.  But does the U.S. Congress do anything?  Answer: it keeps pouring more third world immigrants into America.

Has anyone thought about when we import millions of Sunni, Shiite, Palestinian and Kurdish Muslims into this country? Those folks kill each other with a vengeance.  How about Bosnians and Algerians?  How about Chinese and Indians?  How about another 10 to 15 million Mexicans?  Ah, what a multi-cultural bouquet!  What a diversity feast!

It’s going to be intensely interesting when Congress imports another 100 million immigrants in the next 38 years into the cities, towns and communities of America.

Look for extraordinarily entrenched poverty,  endless welfare,  fatherless families, violence, separation, anger, linguistic chaos, ethnic tension, racial discrimination and a nation of strangers.

By the time all these diverse tribes reach epic ethnic levels, we will look back at our racial problems in 2012 as if they were a kindergarten picnic.

How come I see this situation so clearly and the American people can’t?

If you see it, aren’t you as scared as I am for our children? Our country? Our civilization?


Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece.

He presents “The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at his website: www.frostywooldridge.com

Frosty Wooldridge is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Threats & Bribes: Why U.S. Troops Will Never Leave Afghanistan

January 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

I read somewhere that if you want your children to do what you tell them to do, there are only two things that actually work:  Threats and bribes.  Well, the same thing should be true with regard to international relations — but it’s not.

Internationally speaking, threats and bribes have obviously gotten American corporatist leaders absolutely nowhere.

After decades and decades of administering extremely serious threats and fantastically huge bribes (involving both Cold Wars and hot), American corporatists still aren’t even close to being obeyed — or even respected — by most other countries on this planet.  American corporatists nowadays are just simply being hated.

Instead of having other countries instantly obey Washington and Wall Street like they were a bunch of obedient and/or traumatized children, all these so-called “kids” obviously have become passive-aggressive haters instead — and sometimes not all that passive as well.

Take Pakistan for instance.  In 1947, shortly after it had become a nation, Pakistan willingly and happily signed on to become one of America’s most important allies in the Great Game.  And now, as of May 2011, diplomatic ties between Pakistan and the U.S. have completely disintegrated — but only after a very long time (60 years-plus) spent with Pakistan being the recipient of a whole laundry list of heavy-duty threats and almost-obscene bribes from American corporatists.

I just got back from a friend’s birthday party — where I received the entire 411 on Pakistan from a Middle East expert standing over by the hors d’oeuvre table.  “When American troops entered Pakistan in [alleged] pursuit of bin Ladin, then Pakistanis considered that as an invasion.”  Okay.  Invasion seems like a rather large threat.

“So now Pakistan has finally stopped being our close ally and, thanks to Washington’s bad timing, has become a rogue state with a nuclear bomb — a loose cannon — instead.”

In the matter of US-Pakistan relations, threats and bribes clearly haven’t worked.  Oops.  Sorry about that.

And then there’s Iran.  Currently, our corporatist-controlled mainstream media is busy spreading erroneous rumors that Iran has a nuclear weapons program — and should be stopped at any cost.  Even Elizabeth Warren, who surely should know better, is swallowing up this falsehood hook, line and sinker.  What nuclear weapons program?  Iranians don’t have one.  But even if they did, who could blame them for wanting one after having spent the past 45 years at the business-end of corporatist America’s threats and bribes.

But we all know that the corporatists’ latest flurry of war-drum-beating is, once again, not about nuclear weapons or other WMDs– it’s all about oil.  But even so, threats and bribes clearly haven’t worked with regard to stealing Iran’s oil either.

Losers.

And then there’s good old Macedonia.  “Huh?” you might shrug.  “What’s Macedonia got to do with all this?”  Well, American corporatists, at considerable expense to us ever-gullible American taxpayers, has just built a HUGE new military complex in Macedonia — because it is within bombing range of the Middle East.  So.  Did you know that American corporatists now have an exciting new vacation home in good old Macedonia?  I thought not.

Plus don’t forget Afghanistan.  According to that expert I met at the birthday party over guacamole and cheese sticks, American corporatists’ interests (as compared to the interests of just poor slobs like you and me, mere voters and taxpayers) will NEVER let U.S. troops leave Afghanistan.  “Why is that?” I asked, while reaching for the Gouda and rye.

“Because of its strategic location, right next door to both Pakistan and Iran — and, of course, to Russia and China.”  Four countries who have the chutzpah to withstand American corporatist takeovers.

So American corporatists now have huge bases in Afghanistan and Macedonia (and don’t forget Israel, Iraq and Kuwait) — whose main purpose seems to be to surround Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China with huge threats.

And there’s one more country that I forgot to mention where corporatist threats and bribes may not be working either — America itself.  Even despite all the recent tear gas in Oakland and New York City and all the happy promises offered by Fox News, Americans are also starting to wise up and act like rebellious children — Hansel and Gretel to be specific.

Carrots and sticks.  Threats and bribes.

However, American corporatists are NOT dealing with little kids here — but rather with adult human beings and sovereign nations.  And so their authoritarian theory of threats and bribes — a theory that appears to work well on easily-cowed kindergarteners — is not doing so good when forced down the throats of grown-up countries like Iran, Pakistan, Russia, China, and even the U.S.

As evidenced by the failure of Washington’s and Wall Street’s multi-trillion-dollar post-WWII foreign policies that have forced the rest of the world’s 99 percent into today’s sorry state of disequilibrium between uber-rich and downtrodden, threats and bribes just don’t work all that well in the sphere of international relations.  Cooperation between nations and peoples works better.

And, come to think of it, encouraging cooperation also works better on real children too!

PS:  The birthday party turned out to be a great success.  A birthday was celebrated, deep ideas were discussed — and there was plenty of food.  And speaking of food, I also talked to an expert on America’s failing food production system.  Apparently our lack of food supply sustainability is gonna screw up America’s future bigtime, happily giving us cancer, among other things.  [Monsanto & Cancer Milk:  Fox News Kills Story and Fires Reporters]

And I also talked to someone who stated that the future of America ultimately depends on the success or failure of its small businesses — not on placating huge greedy corporations who will do anything for money.  “Did you know that WalMart opens approximately 30 big-box stores per month?  And that each one of these monsters causes at least ten small local business to fail because they can’t compete with WalMart’s artificially-lowered prices, sweat-shop imports and tax breaks received for outsourcing?”

He also lamented the fact that, over in Afghanistan, authorities openly ask for baksheesh because baksheesh is an accepted custom, understood for what it is:  A bribe.  “But over here in America, these same bribes are disguised and made legal by being called various fog-enshrouding names such as building permit fees, business licenses, liquor licenses, tax codes requirements, parking charges, payments to for-profit health insurance companies, etc. that nickel-and-dime American small businesses to death.  But baksheesh is baksheesh, no matter what you call it.”

Threats and bribes.  Not working!  Let’s try cooperation instead.


Jane Stillwater is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice
She can be reached at: jpstillwater@yahoo.com

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