Many benefit programs have gone high tech with debit cards and J.P. Morgan Chase and others are making a pretty penny charging users fees. What is there to be done?
The Agricultural Act of 2014, signed into law by President Obama last Friday, includes $8 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next decade. One way the bill proposes to accomplish these savings is by reducing food stamp fraud. When the new farm bill is enacted, many of America’s hardest working families will experience cuts in services and have trouble putting food on their family’s table. But there will be major gains for an industry that most Americans might not expect: banking.
Banks reap hefty profits helping governments make payments to individuals, business that only got better when agencies switch from making payments on paper—checks and vouchers—to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards. EBT cards look and work like debit cards, and by 2002, had entirely replaced the stamp booklets that gave the food stamp program its name. SNAP is the most well-known program delivered via EBT, but they also carry payments for Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF); Women, Infants and Children (WIC); childcare subsidies; state general assistance; and many other programs. EBT use is widespread, from the corner store to the supercenter. According to a 2012 USDA report, SNAP funds, averaging $133 per family member per month, can be spent at more than 246,000 authorized stores, farmers’ markets, farms, and meal providers nationwide.
Not only are the operating costs of delivering benefits by EBT lower—no paper checks to cut, envelopes to stuff, or postage to pay—but electronic forms of payment allow banks to multiply opportunities for revenue generation. Banks hold contracts with federal, state, and municipal agencies to provide EBT cards and services, collect interest on federal reserve money held for government programs (though not on SNAP funds), charge transaction fees for merchant use of bank technology and infrastructure, and levy penalties on users for EBT card loss, out-of-network use, and balance inquiries. Banks make money distributing government benefits if the economy is bad, because more people sign up for assistance; they make money if the economy is good, because rising interest rates mean more profit on the money they hold to distribute to beneficiaries.
Distributing government benefits is a lucrative industry. According to theGovernment Accountability Institute, J.P. Morgan Chase, which currently controls EBT contracts in 21 states, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, made more than half a billion dollars between 2004 and 2012 providing government benefits to U.S. citizens. In New York alone, J.P. Morgan Electronic Financial Services (EFS) holds a nine-year, $177 million EBT services contract with the State Office of Temporary and Disability Services (OTDA). New York currently pays $0.95 per month for each its 1.7 million SNAP cases. In addition, J.P. Morgan EFS collects penalties and fees from benefit recipients: $5 to replace a lost EBT card, $0.40 for each balance inquiry, $0.50 each time their cards are declined for insufficient funds, and $1.50 per withdrawal if they use ATMs to get cash more than once a month. While information about profit margins on EBT contracts is neither collected at the national level nor released by banks, EBT is a significant growth area for big banks. Last year, the Federal Reserve Payments Study reported that the number of EBT transactions more than doubled since 2006.
Electronic benefits delivery is such a rewarding business that banks seem to fear only two things: policy changes and bad publicity. The publicity problems of EBT programs became obvious over the last three months of 2103 when three major EBT system failure scandals erupted. The threat of policy change is perhaps less visible. New regulations could take distribution of these benefits out of the hands of for-profit banks, limit the fees they are able to collect, or mandate a switch from EBT cards to different kinds of electronic funds transfer with fewer opportunities for generating revenue, such as direct deposit. But banks have nothing to fear in the new Agricultural Act; it’s only good news for the finance sector.
The new farm bill lowers benefit levels somewhat, exempts new categories of people—college students, ex-felons, and lottery winners—from SNAP eligibility, and prohibits advertising to increase enrollment of eligible individuals, like radio and television campaign launched by the USDA in 2004. But the bill’s sponsor, Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), and other members of the House Committee on Agriculture seem to trust that detecting and preventing fraud will accomplish much of the hoped-for savings. The new Act includes numerous fraud-fighting provisions, including those that:
- Require merchants to maintain unique terminal identification numbers for point of sale machines, further restrict the kinds of food that can be bought with SNAP, and bar manual sales of food items without bar codes;
- Improve procedures and technologies to facilitate state-to-state and state-to-federal information sharing;
- Invite federal-state collaborative pilot projects to “identify, investigate, and reduce fraud” by merchants; and
- Set aside $40 million to help the USDA store information, such as food purchase data from chain stores and loyalty card companies, and data-mine it, by linking store sales and EBT transaction data at the household level to uncover purchasing patterns, for example.
In short, the SNAP fraud provisions will increase the ability of state and federal agencies to track who bought what food, where, and for how much. A vast amount of information on the purchases of millions of U.S. citizens will be collected by state agencies and private entities, stored by the USDA, and data-mined for patterns of EBT use that indicate fraud.
Why will this intensified focus on fraud work out so well for banks? First, banks innovate and control the most cutting-edge technologies that detect and prevent fraud in electronic funds transfer. The financial sector employs armies of computer programmers, IT specialists, and software engineers, and banks hold dozens of patents on biometric technology, data-mining systems, and payment tracking software. State and federal agencies can develop fraud-fighting code and procedures themselves, but many lack sufficient capacity and choose instead to contract with banks. Florida, for example, piloted an eight-month EBT abuse detection project in 2012 that was staffed by both J.P. Morgan and state employees, as Peter Schweizer reported in The Daily Beast. The anti-fraud provisions of the farm bill, thus, provide a significant opportunity for more, and more lucrative, contracts for banks.
Second, fraud in food stamps, despite public perceptions, is already low, and getting from very little fraud to zero fraud is prohibitively expensive. This is especially true for trafficking—the trading of SNAP benefits for cash—the most common form of SNAP fraud. Merchants and recipients must work together to traffic SNAP benefits. Recipients approach a merchant, who might offer 50 cents on the dollar to convert food stamps to cash. The merchant runs the EBT card, hands over cash, and then reports sales for reimbursement by the Treasury. Current fraud detection and prevention focuses on suspicious patterns—merchants who claim lots of even-dollar sales, recipients who spend all of their SNAP benefits in the first week of the month—but traffickers have adjusted quickly, learning to input odd dollar amounts and to spread requests for reimbursement over time.
The USDA estimates that the amount of SNAP benefits being trafficked has been reduced by 145 percent since 1993. According to a March 2011 Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) report, for the period of 2006-2008, trafficking diverted about 1 cent of each benefit dollar. Trafficking is difficult to detect and prevent, because retailers and recipients who commit fraud adapt as fast as banks, states, and the USDA can develop new data-mining and investigative procedures. This fraud-detection arms race is expensive and time-consuming for government agencies and contractors, and adds cumbersome limits and procedures for users—both merchants and recipients—most of whom aren’t committing fraud.
What cost are we willing to bear to reduce SNAP fraud to less than a penny per dollar? Federal and state government agencies invest astronomical sums in high-tech tools to address a financially negligible problem. For comparison’s sake, while we lose $330 million a year to SNAP trafficking, Ashlea Ebeling of Forbesestimates that the U.S. government loses $40 to $70 billion a year to offshore tax evasion. Nevertheless, in 2012, the FNS conducted 4,396 undercover investigations of retail grocers suspected of fraud, at an undisclosed cost to taxpayers, identifying violations in about 40 percent of cases. In 2011, Alabama’s RFP for EBT services strongly encouraged potential vendors to “recommend the use of new and innovative technologies” to “improve detection and prevention of fraud” and integrate biometrics in their proposals for the state’s SNAP program. The five-year Alabama contract, worth $51 million, went to Xerox, the same company that denied SNAP users in 17 states access to food for several hours when they shut down their EBT system without any warning last October.
Third, only three firms handle the majority of EBT contracts with states and U.S. territories: J.P. Morgan EFS (23 contracts); Xerox State and Local Solutions, Inc. (17 contracts); and eFunds Corporation, a subsidiary of FIS Global (11 contracts). On February 10, J.P. Morgan confirmed that it plans to sell its prepaid card business, including U.S. Public Sector and EBT programs, after suffering a serious data breach on debit cards used at Target stores and facing inquiries from Connecticut and New York about its lack of sufficient privacy safeguards and high card fees. This may leave even fewer players in the mix, and that’s a bad thing, according to Michele Simon, author of the report, “Food Stamps, Follow the Money: Are Corporations Profiting From Hungry Americans?”, who provided a copy of the New York/J.P. Morgan EBT contract for this story. When so few firms control such significant market share, it implies limited competition and excessive market power. Simon suggests, in fact, that the recent changes to SNAP represent a large, mostly overlooked corporate subsidy. “The real policy challenge in SNAP is not fraud. It is the fact that we have an $80 billion a year program that does not solve hunger, and certainly does not provide good nutrition, but instead is a boon for banks, big box retailers, and junk food companies.”
If banks are secret winners, the losers are pretty clear: taxpayers, particularly those who receive nutritional support through the SNAP program. That’s one in seven Americans at this moment, and 52 percent of all Americans at some point in their lifetimes, according to Mark Rank, author of One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All. Put simply, the Agricultural Act of 2014 takes money from a program that serves the majority of Americans and gives it to banks and high-tech companies.
But it does something else. These provisions improve a system meant to collect information on the food purchases of more than half of the U.S. population, and fund the development of increasingly sophisticated technology to sift and analyze it. In the same year that we expressed shock and outrage that the NSA is collecting meta-information on our cellphone calls and Google searches, why are we acquiescing, even welcoming, a sophisticated new program to collect American consumer information? Do we really want the federal and state governments data-mining our grocery lists?
We need a solution that contains bank profits and prevents this kind of mass surveillance. The answer’s simple: stop trying to predict fraud, eliminate complicated rules about what can and cannot be bought with food stamps, and switch to direct deposit.
A key challenge of this solution is connecting benefits recipients with affordable bank accounts, because for-profit banks are not particularly interested in low-balance, high-transaction customers. But, according to Aleta Sprague, policy analyst in the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation, strategies that focus on eliminating barriers to bank accounts will provide significant benefits for poor and working Americans. Connecting benefits recipients to the financial mainstream poses real challenges to both the public assistance system and current financial practices, but there are intriguing experiments already underway. In Washington state, for example, a collaboration of the Department of Commerce and Burst for Prosperity is connecting households on public assistance with affordable banking services and requiring that no-fee accounts be included in future EBT provider contracts.
“Instead of seeking to monitor and regulate every purchase a low-income consumer makes,” says Sprague, “we should recognize and capitalize on the potential of the public assistance system to serve as a mechanism for financial inclusion. That way, rather than constructing the safety net around distrust of the poor, we would leverage the system to increase families’ financial autonomy and capabilities.”
Direct deposit is more efficient, cheaper, and requires less administrative oversight. That’s why the IRS, Social Security, and Unemployment Insurance encourage us to use it. What direct deposit would not allow is paternalistic rules about how public assistance beneficiaries choose to use their resources to best support their families. Treating SNAP recipients like the reasonable, hard-working adults they are is not only simpler and less expensive; it is most just.
Al Nebek, Syria - Who authored the seemingly designed-to-fail UN Security Council Draft Resolution on delivering urgent humanitarian aid into the Old City of Homs and other besieged areas of conflict-torn Syria? When we know this, much may become clearer with respect to the cynical politicization of the continuing civilian suffering.
The draft resolution was put forward by Australia, Luxembourg, and Jordan, and according to a UN/US congressional source—one who actually worked on rounding up the three countries to front for the US and its allies—none was pleased with the decidedly raw and undiplomatic pressure they received from the office of US UN Ambassador Samantha Power.
When this observer inquired how such a poorly drafted, one-sided, adversary-bashing draft resolution could actually have seen the light of day and been submitted to the UN Security Council, the reply he received was terse: “Ask Samantha.”
Suspicions are being raised in Geneva, in Syria, and among certain UN aid agencies, in Homs and elsewhere, that efforts on behalf of those they are trying to save from starvation were ‘set-up’ to fail as a result of power politics and influences emanating from Washington and Tel Aviv.
This observer is not a big fan of conspiracy theories. No doubt it’s a personal congenital defect of some sort that makes him want to hear at least a modicum of relevant, prohibitive, material, non-hearsay evidence to support some of the wilder and internet-fueled claims ricocheting around the globe. However, some things are becoming clear as to what happened at the UNSC last week and why certain specific language was included in the resolution.
Ms. Power, it has been claimed by two Hill staffers who monitor AIPAC, owes her position as UN Ambassador to Israeli PM Netanyahu, who views her and her husband, AIPAC fund raiser, Cass Sunstein, as Israel-first stalwarts. Congressional sources claim the White House went along with her appointment so as not to provoke yet another battle—either with AIPAC’s congressional agents or the wider US Zionist lobby. As part of her continuing gratitude for her “dream job,” as she told an American Jewish Committee convention on 2/10/14 in New York, Ms. Power assured the AJC that the United States “strongly supports Israel’s candidacy for a seat on the UN Security Council, and we have pushed relentlessly for the full inclusion of Israel across the UN system.” Ms. Power is said to have assured AIPAC officials in private that evening that “one of Israel’s few survival reeds may be to grasp, in the face of rising anti-Semitism, a seat on the council.” Insisting that “there is growing and rampant hostility towards Israel within the UN, where a large number of member states are not democratic,” Ms. Power, continued” “I will never give up and nor should you.”
Following the standing ovation from her adoring audience, she repeated, according to one eye witness: “We have also pushed relentlessly for the full inclusion of Israel across the UN system.” What the Zionist regime still occupying Palestine knows, as does no doubt Ms. Power, is that the American public and increasingly even the US Congress is finally pulling back from the regime in favor of justice for Palestine. Thus the lobby’s strange reasoning that the UN system, where the American public is essentially absent, is increasingly important.
So what’s the problem with the US-mission-spawned Security Council draft resolution on Syria so dutifully submitted by three chummy and faithful allies?
Well, for starters, the resolution is DOA, as presumably every sophomore poli-sci, civics, or governance student would have recognized from the outset. The aggressive language—demanding the UNSC immediately take action by targeting only one claimed violator with yet more international sanctions—would have caused chaff and cringing among many, probably most. But even beyond that, Moscow, with a UNSC veto ready to use, sees the US-initiated draft as a bid to lay the groundwork for military strikes against the Syrian government, interpreting the language as an ultimatum: that if all this isn’t solved in two weeks then the Security Council will automatically follow with sanctions against the Syrian government.
As Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told the media on 2/10/14, “Instead of engaging in everyday, meticulous work to resolve problems that block deliveries of humanitarian aid, they see a new resolution as some kind of simplistic solution detached from reality.”
The draft text, obtained by this observer from Reuters, expresses the intent to impose sanctions—on individuals and entities obstructing aid—if certain demands are not met within the next two weeks.
“It is unacceptable to us in the form in which it is now being prepared, and we, of course, will not let it through,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov.
One diplomat in Syria, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, had told the Security Council on 2/11/14 that Moscow opposes some 30 percent of the original draft, but did not specify what which parts. He added, “We’re not aiming for a Russian veto, we’re aiming for a resolution that everybody can agree. That is what we want.”
For his part, President Obama, speaking at a joint news conference in Washington with French President Francois Hollande, kept up the pressure for the Security Council to accept the US resolution. He insisted that there is “great unanimity among most of the Security Council” in favor of the resolution and “Russia is a holdout.” Secretary of State John Kerry and others have “delivered a very direct message” pressuring the Russians to drop their opposition.
“It is not just the Syrians that are responsible” for the plight of civilians, but “the Russians as well if they are blocking this kind of resolution,” Kerry claimed. “How you can object to humanitarian corridors? Why would you prevent the vote of a resolution if, in good faith, it is all about saving human lives?”
Among international observers, the draft resolution is widely viewed as one-sided, condemning rights abuses by Syrian authorities, demanding Syrian forces stop all aerial bombardment of cities and towns as well as indiscriminate use of bombs, rockets and related weapons. It also, parenthetically and somewhat obliquely, condemns “increased terrorist attacks,” and calls for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters from Syria, but the latter language is believed to be aimed mainly at Hezbollah. Sources in Syria claim that the draft heaps all the blame on the Syrian government without devoting the necessary attention to the humanitarian problems created by the actions of the rebels.
These gratuitous draft elements are not only aggressive, but frankly appear calculated to end serious discussion and to undermine a solution of the problem.
Being new on the job is one thing for Ms. Power (she has served as UN ambassador only since August of last year), but politicizing relief from starvation for a besieged civilian population is quite another. Likewise for promoting a draft resolution focusing all blame on one side. Such things violate a broad range of applicable and mandatory international norms, and if Ms. Power is hazy on this subject, the State Department’s Office of International Organization Affairs is not—or at least was not when this observer interned there following law school years ago.
Language that would have stood a much better chance of ending the siege of Homs, Yarmouk and other areas under siege was drafted this week by a Syrian law student at the Damascus University Faculty of Law. The widely esteemed university witnessed the death of 17 of its students, along with the serious injuring of more than 20 others, when rebel mortar bombs, on 3/28/13, targeted the canteen of the College of Architecture. Those responsible for the shelling later admitted they were trained and armed by agents of the US government.
The DU law student’s draft resolution on unfettered humanitarian aid into besieged areas of Syria will hopefully be widely discussed over the weekend at a news conference tentatively scheduled on campus. Perhaps the next UN draft resolution will reflect the student’s homework assignment.
The starving victims besieged in Syria, and all people of goodwill, are demanding immediate, non-politicized humanitarian aid without further delay. Virtually every American voter is in a position to pressure his or her congressional representative, and would possibly achieve much good by making the White House aware of their demands to end playing international ‘gotcha’ politics, and to cooperate to end the needless deaths by starvation that continue today.
In 2014, half of American citizens can’t stand Mr. Barack Hussein Obama and the other half love him. The first half still work jobs while the other half (about 47 percent) live off welfare in a variety of forms.
On December 4, 2013, Obama gave his “income inequality speech.” He expects to fundamentally change America by forcing those of us who work to give up more of our money to those who lack education, refuse to work or simply cannot function intelligently enough to sustain a job.
In early January 2014, Bob Lonsberry, a Rochester talk radio personality on WHAM 1180 AM, said we now encompass two Americas.
“The Democrats are right, there are two Americas,” said Lonsberry. “The America that works , and the America that doesn’t . The America that contributes , and the America that doesn’t.
“It’s not the haves and the have not’s, it’s the do’s and the don’ts. Some people do their duty as Americans, obey the law, support themselves, contribute to society, and others don’t. That’s the divide in America.
“It’s not about income inequality , it’s about civic irresponsibility. It’s about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in order to win elective office. It’s about a political party that loves power more than it loves its country. That’s not invective, that’s truth, and it’s about time someone said it.
“The politics of envy was on proud display a couple weeks ago when President Obama pledged the rest of his term to fighting “income inequality.” He noted that some people make more than other people, that some people have higher incomes than others, and he says that’s not just.
“That is the rationale of thievery. The other guy has it, you want it, Obama will take it for you . Vote Democrat. That is the philosophy that produced Detroit . It is the electoral philosophy that is destroying America . It conceals a fundamental deviation from American values and common sense because it ends up not benefiting the people who support it, but a betrayal.
“The Democrats have not empowered their followers, they have enslaved them in a culture of dependence and entitlement, of victim-hood and anger instead of ability and hope.
“The president’s premise–that you reduce income inequality by debasing the successful–seeks to deny the successful the consequences of their choices and spare the unsuccessful the consequences of their choices. Because, by and large, income variations in society is a result of different choices leading to different consequences. Those who choose wisely and responsibility have a far greater likelihood of success, while those who choose foolishly and irresponsibly have a far greater likelihood of failure.
“Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family income.
You choose to drop out of high school or to skip college–and you are apt to have a different outcome than someone who gets a diploma and pushes on with purposeful education.
“You have your children out of wedlock and life is apt to take one course; you have them within a marriage and life is apt to take another course. Most often in life our destination is determined by the course we take.
“My doctor, for example, makes far more than I do. There is significant income inequality between us. Our lives have had an inequality of outcome, but, our lives also have had an inequality of effort. While my doctor went to college and then devoted his young adulthood to medical school and residency, I got a job in a restaurant.
“He made a choice, I made a choice, and our choices led us to different outcomes. His outcome pays a lot better than mine. Does that mean he cheated and Barack Obama needs to take away his wealth? No, it means we are both free men in a free society where free choices lead to different outcomes.
“It is not inequality Barack Obama intends to take away, it is freedom. The freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail. There is no true option for success if there is no true option for failure.
“The pursuit of happiness means a whole lot less when you face the punitive hand of government if your pursuit brings you more happiness than the other guy. Even if the other guy sat on his butt and did nothing. Even if the other guy made a lifetime’s worth of asinine and shortsighted decisions.
“Barack Obama and the Democrats preach equality of outcome as a right , while completely ignoring inequality of effort .
The simple Law of the Harvest–as ye sow, so shall ye reap–is sometimes applied as, “The harder you work, the more you get.” Obama would turn that upside down. Those who achieve are to be punished as enemies of society and those who fail are to be rewarded as wards of society.
“Entitlement will replace effort as the key to upward mobility in American society if Barack Obama gets his way. He seeks a lowest common denominator society in which the government besieges the successful and productive to foster equality through mediocrity.
“He and his party speak of two Americas, and their grip on power is based on using the votes of one to sap the productivity of the other. America is not divided by the differences in our outcomes, it is divided by the differences in our efforts. It is a false philosophy to say one man’s success comes about unavoidably as the result of another man.”
Lonsberry stated the obvious: 48 million Americans subsisting on food stamps shows they made poor decisions about graduating from high school. They chose to remain stupid. With 68 percent of African-American children growing with a single mother who lives on welfare—shows those women made very poor choices. When 76 percent of high school students in Detroit, Michigan dropout or flunkout, their choices condemn them to a difficult life.
At some point, Barack H. Obama needs to inspire people to remain in school, earn an educated mind, earn a good job and become a parent who marries a spouse and brings up kids with a home, food and responsibilities to contribute to our society.
One way works and the other doesn’t. As you know, Obama came from a broken home where the father split, then, the second father split and Barack Obama has never held a job. Someone gave him a free education, free college tuition and a free pass from his life of lying, i.e., birth certificate, Social Security number, Selective Service Card and enrollment in Harvard with non-qualifying grades. Seems like he needs to backtrack on his life to come up with a better speech on “income inequality.”
When writing investigative examinations on the corrupt state of American government and American economy, invariably one is met with the same set of ever cycling broken-record questions and assertions. One of the primary responses I have received and I’m sure most Liberty Movement analysts have received is this:
“Okay, now we know what the problem is, but when are YOU going to tell US what the solution is…?”
The question seems “reasonable”, but in reality, everything that is weak minded in our culture today is summed up in its content.
First, the question insinuates that there is no utility in exploring the nature of a crisis without “fixing” the situation right then and there. Often, the most complex problems of our world require years if not decades of thought and action, trial and error, before a single working solution is generated. When the problem involves a criminal government run by corporatist oligarchs bent on total globalization and centralized control of finance, society, and law, you have to expect that there will be some difficulties in finding a remedy. You will never defeat your enemy without knowing your enemy, and our particular fight requires endless analysis.
Second, I wish I could convey the palm-to-forehead agony I feel every time I hear someone begging for myself, or anyone for that matter, to overnight mail them a solution on a silver platter wrapped in perfect little pink bow. Why is it that so many Americans today refuse to offer THEIR OWN solutions to the problems they perceive in the world? Is it laziness, or stupidity, or both? They are so busy waiting for a “white knight” to come and save them they have forgotten to learn how to save themselves. Don’t sit idle expecting analysts to make your life better. Become industrious. Take initiative. Think of something we haven’t thought of yet. Stop being followers and start becoming leaders within your own communities.
Third, the worst of all dilemmas when dealing with the above question is that most of the time, it is being asked by people who already have a preconceived answer they want to hear. Many in our movement today want a silver bullet solution. They want magic and fairy dust. They want to end tyranny with a snap of their fingers, the press of the button, within the span of a day, or perhaps a week. They don’t want to have to work beyond their normal capacity, they don’t want to struggle, they don’t want to sacrifice, and they certainly don’t want to risk their property, livelihood, or life.
They want a civil rights style MLK/Ghandi march on Washington D.C., which has already been done over and over again leading to nothing but ever more corruption (you don’t ask tyrants to police themselves, nor do you ask for their permission to change government). They want an armed march on Washington D.C. (perhaps the most tactically moronic strategy ever to be suggested year after year), leading to nothing more than a bloodbath which would only make the Liberty Movement appear weak, or insane, all in a failed attempt to unseat a bunch of politicians who are merely puppets and middle men for the financial elites. They want Generals grandstanding as purveyors of constitutionalism to initiate a military coup to remove the “evil Muslim” from his seat of power (is Obama a Muslim, or an atheist Communist? These methodologies tend to negate each other…), while the truth is, Obama is nothing more that a minor obstacle compared to the greater evil of central banking and internationalism, and a Neo-Con Republican (or provocateur General) could easily continue Obama’s work without missing a beat.
And, most of all, they want something flashy, something new, something technological and glorious to solve all their woes. How many times have you heard the claim, for instance, that digital currencies like Bitcoin would “bring down” the central banks and turn the globalist empire to dust at our feet? Yet, Bitcoin’s very existence relies on the web, a government dominated networking system which they can remove from our hands any time they wish.
These are not solutions, they are distractions, or worse, con-games. They are designed to fool you into thinking that you can lounge behind your computer, or walk blindly down the street with a sign or a gun, and the nation will attain renaissance without a tear or a drop of blood shed. They are pleasant lies that many people want to have whispered to them.
I have no interest in making people feel comfortable, or safe, or at ease in the nature of the task before us. I’m only interested in the truth, and the truth is, REAL solutions have already been offered to the Liberty Movement. For years we’ve been talking about them, implementing them, and attempting to convince others to implement them. These solutions are not easy. They are not pleasant or quick. They will require much sacrifice, and unimaginable suffering. There is no way around these tasks if we are to succeed and dismantle centralized totalitarianism in our lifetimes…
This is a simple concept that for some reason tends to confound people. If you march to the steps of the White House motivated by a desire to educate others on the hidden dangers of our political situation, then this is all well and good. But, if you march to the steps of the White House with the expectation that this gesture will somehow impress or frighten the military industrial complex into forsaking its criminal ways and step down from power, then you have fallen into a delusional paradigm.
If you are using a government controlled communications medium like the internet to educate others while the system still exists, then this is practical. But, if you really believe that you are going to exploit that same network as an offensive tool to destroy Big Brother, you are living in techno-geek dreamland.
And, if you still think that the diseased political arena has any merit whatsoever and that the system can be inoculated from the within, or that you can rewrite the rules on a whim (constitutional convention) and have those rules followed, at this point I don’t hold much hope for you.
Now, I want you to imagine, just for a moment, that the government does not exist. The internet does not exist. Corporate banking chains and department stores and grocery outlets do not exist. State law enforcement organizations do not exist. State run schools do not exist. How would you go about living day to day without the bureaucracy, the welfare, the infrastructure, the safety nets? This is how ALL Liberty Movement activists are going to have to start thinking if they want to change anything.
The Non-Participation Principle is best summarized like this:
When facing a corrupt system, provide for yourself and your community those necessities that the system cannot or will not. Become independent from establishment-controlled paradigms. If you and your community do this, the system will have one of two choices:
1) Admit that you do not need them anymore and fade into the fog of history, OR…
2) Reveal its tyrannical nature in full and attempt to force you back into dependence.
In either case, you win. You have taken proactive measures to remove yourself as a cog in the machine. The machine can then of course try to demonize you, or attack you, but ultimately, they will attack from a place of social and moral weakness, and you will defend from a position of logistical and moral strength.
Stop waiting for the system to change, or collapse. Change the way YOU live and survive. Build your own localized systems and walk away.
Learn a vital trade skill, grow your own food, purchase resource rich raw land, learn self defense methods beyond what law enforcement personnel are trained in (which is not too difficult), take EMT training courses so that you can provide general and emergency medical care for your family, get your children out of the state run common core indoctrination centers and homeschool them, build neighborhood watch groups, emergency response groups, barter markets and alternative economies.
Decentralization is about dissolving our unbalanced relationship with the state and taking away their power to dictate how we live. If a core necessity is centralized in the hands of a select few, then we start producing it ourselves and remove that option from their deck of cards. You cannot fight a corrupt system if you are dependent on a corrupt system.
The very essence of globalism is centralized oversight of every aspect of our lives. When we allow ourselves to feed from the government or corporate trough because it’s “easier”, we are essentially volunteering to be herded like animals. It is within the power of every single individual, no matter their age or financial circumstances, to find creative ways in becoming more independent. It is up to you. There are no excuses.
We should have no illusions that the criminal elements of our government will simply shrug their shoulders and give up. When we decentralize, we show the world how irrelevant they are. Tyrants must remain relevant to the masses, otherwise, they have no means to dominate except pure force. When that force is eventually applied, the ONLY logical response is revolution. Decentralization is not a means to “avoid” such revolution, it is only a means to strengthen our position in preparation for revolution.
There is no ideal revolutionary model because the unique nature of one’s epoch determines the nature of one’s rebellion. However, I can say that any revolution that does not focus on the foundational culprits behind the offending tyranny is doomed to failure. When I see the overt obsession with Barack Obama as some kind of linchpin in the development of socialism in America, I have to remind people that Obama has merely stood on the legislative efforts of George W. Bush, and so many other globalist presidents before him, in order to bring the U.S. to the current point of catastrophe. And who made these men, these so-called “leaders”? Who financed their campaigns? Who taught them the internationalist methodologies they now implement? Who really controls money, and thus economy, and thus politics in this country?
Revolution must be directed at the oligarchs, not just their mascots, and if anyone asks you to rally around a revolution that does not name central banking and international banking entities and the men who run them as direct culprits, they are probably controlled opposition. We don’t need a French or Bolshevik Revolution to replace old puppets with new puppets, we need to go to the very heart of the cancer that has stricken our nation and remove it. If this means we have to physically fight back, then so be it, but we must be smart in how we fight.
In the end, the average citizen is his own defender, his own governor, his own industrialist, his own “king maker”. He may consciously realize this, or he may be oblivious. All of the solutions, all of the tools, are right there, in his hands, waiting to be used. The saddest truth of all is that the only thing holding him back from legitimate freedom is his own fear. Only when we stop avoiding the pain required to procure independence, will we finally have it.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Economic illiteracy is a hallmark of most political policies. The prime example of this principle is the idiocy out of the Obama administration that maintains that the Affordable Care Act is favorable to job seekers. The ranks of progressive euphoria reporting on the joys of Obamacare want to spin the latest Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis as favorable. As these imbeciles push out their demented dreams for a neo Great Society, the facts of trade and industry need to be buried in order to institute the total welfare state.In the face of ignoring that productive employment is a worthy and necessary goal for a healthy economy, avid Obama supporters cannot escape empirical reality. Even a flagship liberal publication like Atlantic is obliged to ask, Is Obamacare a Job-Killer After All?
“The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024. Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the ACA.”
Such words, often dismissed by those who reject conflicting statistics, need to view the video CBO: Obamacare is a Job Killer. If the revered NYT: It’s Actually Great Obamacare Will Spur 2.5 Million to Leave their Job, can joke about the fate of the unemployed, maybe their writers better hit the streets and try to find a useful job.
The 2.5 million workers that will be driven out of the workforce due to Obamacare is actually “a liberating result of the law,” according The New York Times (emphasis added):
“The Congressional Budget Office estimated on Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of full-time workers by 2.5 million over the next decade. That is mostly a good thing, a liberating result of the law. Of course, Republicans immediately tried to brand the findings as “devastating” and stark evidence of President Obama’s health care reform as a failure and a job killer. It is no such thing.
The report estimated that — thanks to an increase in insurance coverage under the act and the availability of subsidies to help pay the premiums — many workers who felt obliged to stay in a job that provided health benefits would now be able to leave those jobs or choose to work fewer hours than they otherwise would have. In other words, the report is about the choices workers can make when they are no longer tethered to an employer because of health benefits. The cumulative effect on the labor supply is the equivalent of 2.5 million fewer full-time workers by 2024.”
In the real world, large corporations strive to cut costs and such organizations aim to reduce or forestall adding new employees whenever possible. Therefore, when the establishment press comes to the defense of Obamacare, they are actually making the argument that their own importance in their corporate enterprise is expendable.
Well before the release of this CBO report, the example of Kroger Confronts Obamacare by Reducing Employee Hours illustrates that reduced income is the byproduct for many workers.
“Kroger is a large grocery store chain which employs nearly 350,000 people and had sales sales of $90 billion last year. Last week, employees found out that, starting in 2013, there will be some changes for employees. These scheduling changes will be made to account for increased costs due to Obamacare. Employees who are not already considered full time will have their hours limited whereas, now, they are allowed to work as many hours as needed in the store. For many employees, this means that they will need to find a second job or another job altogether.”
Factor in The New Normal: Part-Time Employment and you have a perfect storm for years of diminished economic activity. Then lump in the prerequisite of joining an Obamacare exchange and those government subsidies seem like little compensation for effectively using those high deductable schemes.
It is a well-demonstrated fact that Small Businesses Once Again Create More Jobs Than Big Businesses. “Small businesses created almost double the new jobs in January 2014, compared with large businesses. And when you add growth among medium-sized businesses to the employment growth in small businesses, the numbers swamp the job growth of large corporations.”Any entrepreneur with the experience of making a payroll understands that the added costs of employing labor discourages new hiring. If the economy was expanding and growing, such additional expenses might be able to be absorbed. Sorry to say, the main street economy is faltering on several levels.
“Many rules hinge on who are your employees—independent contractors aren’t covered. But that assumes that your independent contractor classification holds up. If it doesn’t and your independent contractors are recharacterized, you are back in the soup. The risk isn’t theoretical, as the IRS is active in independent contractor reclassification efforts. And more scrutiny is coming.”
The implication should be clear. As people refuse to join the exchanges, the IRS will ramp up compliance by stripping the illusion that workers are legitimate independent contractors. The result is that fewer new hires will follow.
Finally, consider the impact of the ACA’s cuts to Medicare threaten home health care jobs. “Newly implemented administration policies, which slash home health care funding by 14 percent over the next four years, are already resulting in a downturn in job growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
As the quality of health care declines under Obamacare, the burden of financing theguaranteed profits of the major insurance companies will fall upon the few remaining full time employees. Many part timers will opt for the taxpayer supported Medicaid coverage. This situation is hardly a bright health care future, nor is it a positive incentive for a lasting recovery. An honest job will become as rare as the few remaining practicing physicians.
Few subjects present an undisputable window into modern society than the electronic version of reality that is dispensed through television broadcasts. This technology does not require interactive skills or critical thinking acumen. Just watch and fall into a daydream trance. TV is the stealth killer that penetrates 114.7 million American households. According to Nielsen, the 2012 Universe Estimate (UE), reflects a reduction in the estimated percent of U.S. homes with a television set (TV penetration), which declined to 96.7 percent from 98.9 percent. Should this turn down suggest promise or is it merely a result of internet substitution?
With the proliferation of cable channels and 24 hour programming, the landscape of TV addiction vastly impacts perception and dramatically excludes normal interpersonal relations. Melissa Melton cites the following in her article, TV: Your Mind. Controlled.
“According to last year’s Nielsen report, the average American over the age of two years old watches more than 34 hours of television per week, plus at least three more hours of taped programming. The report also noted that the amount of time we spend watching television increases as we get older.”
This overwhelming intrusion into and over personal time and space are often called entertainment. Broadcasts that bill themselves as news or business shows claim to provide useful information. Sport coverage makes no pretense of presenting socially significant content. Yet, vast segments of the public are wrapped up in the childish exercise of false hero adoration.
Television’s reporting on politics is miserable by any coherent standard of journalism. The business of television has little to do with an accurate chronicle of events or the meaning of decisions and actions. In order to understand the objectives of the content producers and the basic purpose behind the cultural soothsayers, a review of Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media, which is a well documented source that outlines how the mass media really operates, is useful. Examine the specifics and draw your own lessons.
“Mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes and defines what is normal and acceptable. This article looks at the workings of mass media through the theories of its major thinkers, its power structure and the techniques it uses, in order to understand its true role in society.”
The conclusion of this account is a valid summary.
“Lippmann, Bernays and Lasswell have all declared that the public are not fit to decide their own fate, which is the inherent goal of democracy. Instead, they called for a cryptocracy, a hidden government, a ruling class in charge of the “bewildered herd.” As their ideas continue to be applied to society, it is increasingly apparent that an ignorant population is not an obstacle that the rulers must deal with: It is something that is DESIRABLE and, indeed, necessary, to insure total leadership. An ignorant population does not know its rights, does not seek a greater understanding of issues and does not question authorities. It simply follows trends. Popular culture caters to and nurtures ignorance by continually serving up brain-numbing entertainment and spotlighting degenerate celebrities to be idolized. Many people ask me: “Is there a way to stop this?” Yes, there is. STOP BUYING THEIR CRAP AND READ A BOOK.”
Such a sensible solution as turning off the misinformation screen is not an option for most of the typical dullards that think of themselves as normal and informed citizens. Society is populated with marginally functional and enthusiastic compliant serfs. Contentment is judged by actions not merely by sentiment. An unquestioning and obedient populace perpetually distracted from serious issues and unaware of comprehending the linkage and ultimate aims behind world events, has always been the goal.
The most profound use of these media techniques usually deal with War & Peace: Media and War. Stanford University publishes this account by Johnnie Manzaria & Jonathon Bruck, Media’s Use of Propaganda to Persuade People’s Attitude, Beliefs and Behaviors.
“Propaganda is so powerful because everyone is susceptible to it. This is true as explained by Robert Cialdini, an expert in influence, because people exist in a rapidly moving and complex world. In order to deal with it, we need shortcuts. We cannot be expected to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event, and situation we encounter in even one day. We do not have the time, energy, or capacity to process the information; and instead we must very often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb, to classify things according to a few key features and then to respond without thinking when one or another of these trigger feature are present (Cialdini 6). While this makes people highly susceptible to a propagandist who understands persuasion, in general it is the most efficient form of behaving, and in other cases it is simply necessary. Additionally, propaganda includes the reinforcement of societal myths and stereotypes that are so deeply embedded within a culture that it is often difficult to recognize the message as propaganda.”
The attitude that such practices are “most efficient form of behaving, and in other cases it is simply necessary”, is most disturbing and certainly fits the mold of how TV operates.
The examples cited in this case study deal with foreign policy issues. However, the summary on How to Defend Against Propaganda, is worth a look.
“As a result of our increasing sophistication and to build our civilization, we have created and environment so complex, so fast-paced, and information-laden, that we must increasingly deal with it in the fashion of the animals we long ago transcended. Thus, from the case studies on how the media uses propaganda, we can understand that the media does more than presentation facts and information. The media has the ability to exploit persuasive tactics to the specific definition of propaganda: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.”
Now ponder the disclaimer from this academia project: “We are not advocating that propaganda is wrong; we have tried to show, that overall it is usually helpful to respond to messages mindlessly, and that the truly only way to defend against it is to be more aware of the tactics being used.”
Also referenced in this study is Phil Zimbardo.
1) Be aware of the general perspective that others use to frame the problem or issue at hand, because accepting their frame on their terms gives them a powerful advantage.
2) Be sensitive to situational demands however trivial they may seem: group norms, group pressures, symbols of authority, slogans, and commitments. Don’t believe in simple solutions to complex personal, social, and political problems.
3) In the end, it must be remembered that it is not enough to dissent vocally — one must be willing to disobey, to defy, to challenge, and to suffer any ensuing consequences of these actions.
Relate this thinking to the television broadcasts and series that occupy the gratuitous viewing of the general-public. It may be functionally realistic not to expect current event discernment from the mediocre crowd, but what motivates these distraction deprived viewers from absorbing the brainwashing message?
Escape from reality probably is the most adept answer. Nonetheless, the dependency on relinquishing individual responsibility and living under the principle of personal integrity is too difficult for most. The easy way out is to believe the junk fed from the TV screen.
Newspeak has become the dominant culture and TV is the chief vehicle for spreading the lies and deceit. Jack Blood provides a succinct summary in, TV = Mind Control (Why do you think they call it Programming?)
“Once again the system is at work, knowing how easy it is to control the minds of a dumbed down population that has been well trained, and some might say socially engineered, to never question authority, never think outside the box, never seek accountability and never think for itself. Easily manipulated, millions of people are conditioned to believe, from a very early age, that anything emanating from television is sacrosanct. Thus, everything they watch is reality and anything they hear is truth. Anchors and reporters become trusted personalities voicing reticent opinions whose veracity are seldom, if ever, questioned.
The Establishment has perfected its machination of propaganda, creating the realities it wants into society, forming whatever truth that will be of the greatest benefit, not to society, but to itself. Whatever reality it wants to create and disseminate is quickly absorbed by a population eager to feed off the mammary glands of television. The Establishment, the corporate world and government have for years told us how and what to think, how to act, who to obey and where to follow, condemning our minds to obedience, our lives to conformism and silent acquiescence.”
Is it not time to make a clean break from this self-induced imprisonment of images and sounds that spills out of the television machine?
A geopolitically tense atmosphere prevails.
Security is extremely tight. It’s prioritized for good reason. Terrorist attacks are possible. Don’t discount potential Washington shenanigans.
Perhaps raining on Putin’s parade is planned. Obama may want him embarrassed. False flags are a longstanding US tradition. Will Sochi be Washington’s next target? The fullness of time will tell.
It’s a virtual armed camp. Measures in place are unprecedented. Around $2 billion was spent on security.
Ahead of February 6, around 23,000 personnel assured proper measures were in place as planned.
Tens of thousands of police officers are deployed. They’re backed by helicopters, drones, gunboats, submarines, and 70,000 Russian troops.
Hundreds of Cossacks are involved. They’ll check IDs. They’ll detain suspects. Sochi’s proximity to the North Caucasus raised concerns.
Islamist jihadists named it a target. They’re US assets. They’re used strategically. Washington used likeminded ones against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan.
Libya was targeted this way. They comprise America’s anti-Syrian proxy death squads.
Russia raised concerns after December Volgograd bombings killed 34 people. Were Washington’s dirty hands involved?
Is something similar planned for Sochi? Hegemons operate this way. America is by far the worst. Anything ahead is possible.
According to Sochi Organizing Committee chairman Dmitry Chernyshenko:
“Terrorism is a global threat, and for terrorism there is no boundaries, no territories, but here in Sochi from the very beginning of the construction phase the state authorities did their utmost to prepare special measures, starting from the screening of raw materials, checking all the venues and preparing far-reaching security measures to provide the safest ever environment here.”
A controlled zone was established. It covers 60 kilometers. It runs along the coast. It extends 25 kilometers inland.
It includes all venues. They’re heavily guarded. The entire area is for authorized visitors only.
Western anti-Russian sentiment persists. Cold War politics continues. Putin bashing is featured. He’s not about to roll over for Washington.
He wants rule of law principles respected. He opposes Western imperialism. He’s against meddling in the internal affairs of Russia, Syria, Ukraine and other nations.
He stresses Moscow’s “independent foreign policy.” He affirms the “inalienable right to security for all states, the inadmissibility of excessive force, and unconditional observance of international law.”
He and Obama disagree on fundamental geopolitical issues. Key is national sovereignty. So are war and peace. America claims a divine right to fight. Putin prioritizes diplomatic conflict resolution.
Disagreements between both countries play out in dueling agendas. Washington notoriously plays hardball. Putin protects Russia’s national interests. They’re too important to sacrifice.
US media scoundrels target him. They vilify him. They mischaracterize him. They call him a Russian strongman. They make all kinds of baseless accusations.
Lies, damns lies and misinformation substitute for truth and full disclosure. They want him embarrassed. They’re raining on his Sochi parade.
On February 6, the Financial Times headlined “Putin gambles all on creation myth behind Sochi.”
“I am particularly pleased to see what is happening here because I chose this place myself,” he said.
“It must have been in 2001 or 2002,” he added. “(W)e were driving around and arrived at this brook, and I said: ‘Let’s start from here.’ That’s how it all began.”
Putin staked much on the games, said the FT. George Washington University’s Sufian Zhemukhov said “(i)f all goes well, (he’ll) be seen as the leader who resurrected Russia.”
Failure perhaps won’t be forgiven, he added. His forthrightness for peace “made him a force on the world stage,” said the FT.
A January Levada Center poll showed he’d be elected today by a wide margin. At the same time, his overall support dropped.
Excluding undecided respondents, its “higher than ever.”
He’s taking no chances. He’s going all out to make Sochi successful. FT comments were tame compared to America’s media.
The Wall Street Journal headlined “The Putin Games.” He wants them to “showcase…modern Russia.”
“(H)e succeeded (but) not as he intended…What could go wrong?” Sochi is the most expensive Olympics in history.
Around $50 billion was spent. It’s five times the original estimate. It’s double what Britain’s 2012 summer games cost. It’s a fourth more than China spent in 2008.
Much of Sochi’s cost related to building vital infrastructure. It had to be done from scratch. Doing so added enormously to costs.
Major projects are expensive. According to Journal editors, “(t)he games are proving to be a case study in the Putin political and economic method.”
They claim billions of dollars “lost to corruption.” They provide no evidence proving it. They said “Russians call this Olympiad the Korimpiad.”
More Putin bashing followed. It’s standard scoundrel media practice. Journal editors feature it.
They claim he “made it impossible to hold his regime accountable through free elections or media.”
Russian elections shame America’s sham ones. They’re democratic. They not rigged. Monied interests don’t control them.
Outcomes aren’t predetermined. Russian voters decide. US ones have no say.
Don’t expect Journal editors to explain. Or how Voice of Russia and RT (formerly Russia Today) shame America’s corporate media.
They feature news, information and opinion viewers most need to know. They do it forthrightly. They’re polar opposite America’s managed news misinformation.
Truth is systematically suppressed. Demagoguery, propaganda, scandal, sleaze, junk food news, and warmongering substitute.
Journal editors ignore truth and full disclosure. Bias permeates their opinions. They betray readers. They shame themselves doing so.
They claimed billions spent on Sochi left it unprepared. They cite “unfinished hotel rooms, incomplete road work and now the famous photographs of two toilets in a single stall.”
RT.com responded. On February 6, it headlined ”Spread fear, toilet humor? MSM guide to ‘Worst. Olympics. EVAR!” (Repeat: EVAR!)
Even before the opening ceremony, MSM scoundrels drew conclusions “Sports? Not really,” said RT. At issue is malicious Putin bashing. It’s longstanding practice.
It’s MSM’s “own Sochi 2014 moan-athon.” Imagine claiming something yet to occur the “worst Olympics ever.” They beat up on Beijing the same way.
They “never believed in Sochi,” said RT. They called its climate unfit for winter games. They cite corruption with no substantiating evidence.
They claim lax security despite unprecedented measures in place. They discuss possible terrorist threats. They leave unexplained what most worrisome – a possible disruptive US false flag attack.
It bears repeating. Perhaps Washington plans raining on Putin’s parade.
On August 7, 2008, hours before Beijing’s summer Olympics’ opening ceremony, Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia. He did so at Washington’s behest. Attacking was strategically timed.
After Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution, South Assetia broke away from Georgia. It declared independence. It’s home to many Russian nationals.
Moscow responded responsibly. Conflict continued for days. Then President Medvedev was on vacation. Then Prime Minister Putin was in Beijing.
In half a day before Russia intervened, 1,700 people were killed. Included were 12 Russian peacekeepers.
Moscow was blamed for Georgian aggression. Does Washington plan something similar this time? Will a false flag attack occur?
Will Obama usurp a freer hand in Ukraine? Will he take advantage in Syria? Does he plan other mischief? Is disrupting Sochi planned?
Hegemons operate this way. Washington’s disturbing history gives Russia good reason for concern.
Preparations in Sochi aren’t perfect, said RT. “(F)laws and problems” exist. “But what makes the Sochi Olympics ‘the worst’ so far is…accommodation for the global media elite.”
“See it, slam it,” said RT. “Intrepid Olympic reporters, we thought, would get behind the scenes, unravel the PR.”
“Nope. Not this time. Of global importance were rooms (if they were available), toilets, floors, and shower curtains.”
“Oh – and a request to not flush toilet paper (it’s rarely done in public toilets) had the press pack throwing up.”
Washington Post reporter Kathy Lally was upset about “a tiny, tiny (hotel room) sink.”
It “sits atop an exposed white plastic pipe, stuck to the wall and surrounded by an unruly gob of caulk,” she said.
“The single room has two lamps – which don’t have light bulbs, but that’s okay because they aren’t near any unused outlets.”
Other journalists reported missing shower curtains, lamps, chairs, inadequate heat and hot water, and whatever else they wanted to cite to bash Putin.
Fox News called conditions “laughably bad.” It warned about event coverage being just as dreadful.
MSM scoundrels feature daily “hotel horror stories.” They regurgitate similar tweets to each other. They find new reasons to complain.
BBC journalist Steve Rosenberg tweeted about two sit-down toilets shown side-by-side with no partition. It went viral.
RT calls it a “must have” for every Sochi story. Imagine toilet humor substituting for real journalism. It gets worse.
Whatever is happening in Russia multiple time zones away gets reported. A Moscow school shooting creates Sochi shudders.
So does a derailed gas-laden freight train exploding. It happened 500 miles northeast of Moscow. It made Sochi headlines.
CNN connected Sochi to the September 2004 Beslan school siege. Its February 5 report said:
“Amid the shrill noise of militant threats ahead of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, the gym in Beslan is now steeped in silence, a monument to the dead, untouched almost.”
Trashing Sochi bashes Putin. MSM scoundrels are deplorable. They disgrace themselves before dwindling audiences.
CNN and other US cable news networks report increasing to fewer viewers. Maybe one day they’ll all tune out.
RT called Sochi the “biggest construction site in the world over the past seven years.”
“Everything there – most of the hotels, sport venues, high-speed rail links, highways, 50 bridges, even the Olympic village itself – was built from scratch.”
It’s an extraordinary achievement in a short time. It’s almost like building an entirely new city in record time. Sochi deserves praise, not criticism.
Toronto Star reporter Rosie Dimanno wrote:
“Mounds of debris, parts of roads unpaved, mesh hoarding to hide the eyesore bits, lots of trash, unreliable power – nothing upsets journalists more than an internet that goes up and down – these have all featured in Olympics over the past three decades, as the Games have grown too big, too gaudy and too complicated.”
“The Olympics are no (place) for old sissies,” she added. “So I’ll take my own advice: Just chill.”
Most MSM scoundrels report as expected. They mock legitimate journalism. It’s verboten in America. It’s lacking in Canada. It’s largely absent in Western Europe. Managed news misinformation substitutes.
WSJ editors called Sochi “a shrine to authoritarianism.” They bashed Putin relentlessly. One bald-faced lie followed others.
“(T)he underbelly of Mr. Putin’s regime (was) exposed,” they claimed.
New York Times editors were just as bad. They headlined “A Spotlight on Mr. Putin’s Russia,” saying:
“(T)he reality of (his) Russia…conflicts starkly with Olympic ideals and fundamental human rights.”
“There is no way to ignore the dark side – the soul-crushing repression, the cruel new anti-gay and blasphemy laws, and the corrupt legal system in which political dissidents are sentenced to lengthy terms on false charges.”
NYT editors have a longstanding disturbing history. They one-sidedly support wealth, power and privilege. Whenever Washington wages imperial wars or plans them, they march in lockstep.
They long ago lost credibility. They feature mind-numbing misinformation. They violate their own journalistic code doing so.
They invented anti-gay law controversy. Russian gay propaganda law has nothing to do with persecuting people for their sexual orientation.
Everyone’s rights are respected. Russia wants its children protected from malicious anti-gay propaganda, illicit drugs, alcohol abuse and whatever else harms them.
Responsible governance demands it. America leaves millions of children unprotected. Cutting food stamps alone denies them vital nutrition.
Don’t expect Times editors to explain. Or about thousands of political prisoners languishing in America’s gulag.
About torture being official US policy. About rigged US elections. About impoverishing neoliberal harshness.
About destroying social America. About eliminating America’s middle class. About waging war on freedom.
About unprecedented levels of public and private corruption. About kleptocracy masquerading as democracy.
About out-of-control corporate empowerment. About Washington being corporate occupied territory. About crushing organized labor.
About commodifying public education. About ignoring international, constitutional and US statute laws.
About violating fundamental human and civil rights. About Obama’s war on humanity.
Bashing Putin takes precedence. Managed news misinformation proliferates.
Times editors report like other media scoundrels. MSM ones long ago lost credibility. They replicate the worst of each other.
They support what demands condemnation. They back wrong over right. Readers and viewers demand better.
MSM scoundrels don’t deliver. Sochi games run through February 23. Expect lots more Putin bashing ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
A book review: Who Lost America by Bromwell Ault…
Part 1: How Americans lost their country like having the rug of their republic pulled right out from under them.
“The Americans cannot even conduct a military operation there,” said General Salami of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. “The conditions and the factors that facilitate the exercise of military power for them have for years been destroyed and today they (the Americans) are in an erosion of political, cultural, financial and military power.”
Military leaders in the Middle East know more about America’s weaknesses than we citizens understand about ourselves. We know we cannot trust anything the president or military tell us that happens in Iraq or Afghanistan. The same thing happened with Vietnam.
- Politically—after five years, our president staggers knee deep in quicksand while our U.S. Congress bogs down in muck so deep it can’t extricate itself to take meaningful or logical action.
- Culturally—we don’t know if we represent American citizens or illegal alien migrants or the America Way or Iranian-Americans or Coke’s Super Bowl version of our multicultural and multi-lingual morphing into a Muslim nation represented by an Islamic American female covered in a burka to turn her into a non-being.
- Financially—we drown in an $18 trillion national debt with no escape. Our third president, John Adams said, “There two ways to conquer a country: by the sword and by debt.”
- Military Power—We spent trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan with absolutely nothing to show for it but slaughter for our kids and untold PTSD chaos in our young soldiers that will linger for their lifetimes. We couldn’t defeat a goat-herder nation like Afghanistan for the past 11 years and counting.
Beyond the Iranian general’s understanding of our predicament, Americans in the past 45 years relinquished the American Way to the new Multicultural Way that forces us into hyphenated-Americans, confusing languages and lack of the cohesiveness of what an American stood for in this world.
We’ve become a “schizophrenic or multiple-personality- disorder” country via our immigration system that pumped 100 million immigrants from all over the planet into American from 1965 to 2013 with another 100 million projected to arrive from 150 countries within the next 36 years.
As the Super Bowl Coke advertisement illustrated, we don’t know what we stand for as a culture, language or country. While the Islamic girl wore a headscarf, you see tens of thousands of Muslim women in Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver and Chicago wearing black burkas with only slits for their eyes to see out. They remain non-beings with no identity within America. Their Muslim husbands subjugate them with fear and cultural dominance. Yet, they represent the beachhead for Islamic conquest in America in the 21st century. At 7 million Muslims in 2014, we must brace ourselves for their aggressive actions when they reach 20 million within two decades and 50 million soon after.
With one look at the Muslim conquest of Europe, an idiot can see Islam’s march, but we think ourselves immune. Such denial placed the United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain and Sweden reeling from the havoc created by Islamic immigrants. Lesson: Muslims never integrate into host countries. They create enclaves, which force those countries to tolerate and even adopt Sharia Law, which proves the most barbaric form of subjugation by any religion on the planet.
“Immigrants devoted to their own cultures and religions are not influenced by the secular politically correct façade that dominates academia, news-media, entertainment, education, religious and political thinking today,” said James Walsh, former Associate General Counsel of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. “They claim the right not to assimilate, and the day is coming when the question will be how can the United States regulate the defiantly unassimilated cultures, religions and mores of foreign lands? Such immigrants say their traditions trump the U.S. legal system. Balkanization of the United States has begun.”
Whether you stand as a liberal, conservative, libertarian or not-involved in our country’s future by your apathy—this multicultural train speeds into America with a load of cargo 100 million immigrants full, that no one understands—thus we face consequences of an overpopulated, fractured and fragmented culture society. And ultimately our civilization splinters and degrades.
Brilliant historian Bromwell Ault, at 84, and a graduate of Yale University, brings the brunt of what Americans face in his new book: Who Lost America? www.
He writes, “Can America’s democratic identity and government survive our ethical, political and economic failures?”
Ault begins, “During the State of the Union speech, the President declares that the “State of the Union is strong.” This has become a tradition and touches upon several emotions and strength; and it creates a sense of unity that binds us to each other and to our past. The problem is that it is a lie centered on its two key words—“union” and “strong”.
Via his extraordinary longevity in America’s story, Ault said, “Technology and progress have a way of overwhelming cultures that are not spiritually, geographically, economically or politically resistant. And it is the ever shifting mix of these elements which determines whether different cultures will succumb or survive.”
With an added 100 million legal immigrants from 150 countries from around the world about to be injected into the United States in the next three decades, can we survive the clash of civilizations they represent?
Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations said, “It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation-states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.”
Ault stated the most obvious aspect of an “intact” civilization depended on its culture. With America scattering into hundreds of cultures within the next three decades, the question arises: can it survive its own lack of a single cohesive culture and people? Huntington’s research as well as Ault’s shows that the United States will not survive as a single united people or culture.
Ault asks, “Who lost America? Or, more specifically, who replaced the America we were, with what we have become? And, why? And, how?”
Part 2: How we lost the rule of law. Institutional failure. Transforming and devolving America via the culprits doing the dirty work.
Who Lost America? By Bromwell Ault
ISBN # 978-1-4634-7446-1
Price: $22.46, 284 pages softcover, Kindle $3.99
Publisher direct copies: 1 888 280 7715
If you really want to understand the world we are living in, you better stick with the Zionist media. The Jerusalem Post will provide you with the names of the Jews who own the planet. The British Jewish Chronicle will teach you about arch pedophile Jimmy Seville’s ties with Israel. Haaretz will even let me speak about all those topics The Guardian (Of Zion) is there to shamelessly suppress.
Yesterday I came across a text by Dave Rich, a Hasbara mouthpiece operating within the UK ultra-Zionist Community Security Trust. Rich suggested that making a common cause “between Holocaust deniers, neo-fascists, the pro-Palestinian left, and the revolutionary Islamists of Iran is precisely what Dieudonné has spent the past decade trying to achieve.”
Let us admit it, no one could have been more succinct and precise in analysing Dieudonné’s vast impact. Yet in order to fully understand Rich’s statement we’ll have to decode the kosher sound bites and rewrite the above sentence using terminology that may resemble a familiar language.
Holocaust deniers – In the real world there are no ‘Holocaust deniers’: what we have instead are history revisionists – people who understand that the making of history, is a continuous attempt to narrate the past as we move along. The so-called revisionists re-visit, re-write and revise the past. Those whom Zionists and progressives often tag as ‘Holocaust deniers’ are often enough the last True Historians.
Neo-Fascists and Fascists – Zionists and Progressives tend to attach the ‘Fascist’ label to those who refuse to surrender to the tyranny of political correctness. Those few people who insist to say what they think against all odds. Thus, those whom the Zionists call ‘Fascists’ are in practice merely a bunch of Authentic People.
Pro-Palestinian Left – points in the direction of the last pockets of resistance to Kosher indoctrination within the Left, namely, those few resilient subjects and organisations that say NO to George Soros’ funding. Rich is basically referring here to the Genuine Left, people and organisations that are committed to Labour, working class politics and solidarity, as opposed to Identity politics spin.
Revolutionary Islamists of Iran – is the tag Zionists and progressives often attach to Proper Resistance – those Muslims who won’t work for Israel, not even in the spring.
Now that we are familiar with the basic Zionist glossary we are ready to translate Rich’s statement into proper English.
By suggesting that Dieudonné is articulating a common cause for “Holocaust deniers, neo-fascists, the pro-Palestinian left, and the revolutionary Islamists of Iran” Rich actually admits that Dieudonné has managed to unite the True Historians, Authentic People, Genuine Left and the Proper Resistance.
In case someone fails to realize it, what Rich is describing here is the true dissidence, an uncompromised league of people that forms the un-controlled opposition: those people and institutions that do not subscribe to Zionist hegemony funded by Soros and his ilk.
It is not a secret that the Zionists and Left are in a state of panic, and for a good reason. The ‘anti-quenelle’ campaign that was supposed to ruin Dieudonné’s career backfired colossally. Pretty much when it seemed as if the French people had been Zionised by means of ‘correctness’ and were stripped of their revolutionary inclinations, a tsunami of resentment towards kosher socialism and Jewish political power swept the ground. They panicked and struck back hard. But you cannot fight a tsunami with a boomerang.
Dieudonné’s ‘quenelle’ is already a monumental development in the history of the Jews and their stooges within the Left and the media.
In 1979, Iran shocked the world—and directly confronted America’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East — by charting its own revolutionary course toward participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence. Over the past thirty-five years the Islamic Republic of Iran has held dozens of presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections and attained impressive developmental outcomes—including more progressive results at alleviating poverty, delivering health care, providing educational access, and (yes) expanding opportunities for women than the last shah’s regime ever achieved. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic has done these things while withstanding significant regional challenges and mounting pressure from the United States and its allies. Below, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett suggest that like 1979, 2014 is likely to be, in unique ways, another Year of Iran, when Tehran’s foreign policy strategy will either finally compel Western acceptance of Iran’s sovereign rights—especially to enrich uranium under international safeguards—or fundamentally delegitimise America’s already eroding pretensions to Middle Eastern hegemony.
Hassan Rohani’s election as Iran’s president seven months ago caught most of the West’s self-appointed Iran “experts” by (largely self-generated) surprise. Over the course of Iran’s month-long presidential campaign, methodologically-sound polls by the University of Tehran showed that a Rohani victory was increasingly likely. Yet Iran specialists at Washington’s leading think tanks continued erroneously insisting (as they had for months before the campaign formally commenced) that Iranians could not be polled like other populations and that there would be “a selection rather than an election,” engineered to install Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “anointed” candidate—in most versions, former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. On election day, as Iranian voters began casting their ballots, the Washington Post proclaimed that Rohani “will not be allowed to win”—a statement reflecting virtual consensus among American pundits.
Of course, this consensus was wrong—as have been most of the consensus judgments on Iran’s politics advanced by Western analysts since the country’s 1979 revolution. After Rohani’s victory, instead of admitting error, America’s foreign policy elite manufactured two explanations for it. One was that popular disaffection against the Islamic Republic—supposedly reflected in Iranians’ determination to elect the most change-minded candidate available to them—had exceeded even the capacity of Khamenei and his minions to suppress. This narrative, however, rests on agenda-driven and false assumptions about who Rohani is and how he won.
“The Islamic Republic aims to replace American hegemony with a more multi-polar distribution of power and influence. It seeks to achieve this by using international law and by leveraging participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence to accumulate real “soft power”.”
At sixty-five, Rohani is not out to fundamentally change the Islamic Republic he has worked nearly his entire adult life to build. The only cleric on the 2013 presidential ballot, Rohani belongs to Iran’s main conservative clerical association, not its reformist antipode. While he has become the standard bearer for the Islamic Republic’s “modern” (or “pragmatic”) right, with considerable support from the business community, his ties to Khamenei are also strong. After Rohani stepped down as secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council in 2005, Khamenei made Rohani his personal representative on the Council.
Backing Rohani was thus an unlikely way for Iranian voters to demand radical change, especially when an eminently plausible reformist was on the ballot—Mohammad Reza Aref, a Stanford Ph.D. in electrical engineering who served as one of reformist President Mohammad Khatami’s vice presidents. (Methodologically-sound polls showed that Aref’s support never exceeded single digits; he ultimately withdrew three days before Iranians voted.) The outcome, moreover, hardly constituted a landslide—not for Rohani and certainly not for reformism: Rohani won by just 261,251 votes over the 50-percent threshold for victory, and the parliament elected just one year before is dominated by conservatives.
The other explanation for Rohani’s success embraced by American elites cites it as proof that U.S.-instigated sanctions are finally “working”—that economic distress caused by sanctions drove Iranians to elect someone inclined to cut concessionary deals with the West. But the same polls that accurately predicted Rohani’s narrow win also show that sanctions had little to do with it. Iranians continue to blame the West, not their own government, for sanctions. And they do not want their leaders to compromise on what they see as their country’s sovereignty and national rights—rights manifest today in Iran’s pursuit of a civil nuclear program.
The Iranian Challenge
Iran’s presidential election and the smooth transfer of office to Rohani from term-limited incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stand out in today’s Middle East. Compared to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia, the Islamic Republic is actually living up to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s description of Iran as “an island of stability” in an increasingly unsettled region. And compared to some Gulf Arab monarchies, where perpetuation of (at least superficial) stability is purchased by ever increasing domestic expenditures, the Islamic Republic legitimates itself by delivering on the fundamental promise of the revolution that deposed the last shah thirty-five years ago: to replace Western-imposed monarchical rule with an indigenously generated political model integrating participatory politics and elections with principles and institutions of Islamic governance.
“Partnering with Tehran would require Washington and its friends in London and Paris to accept the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign state with legitimate interests.”
These strengths have enabled the Islamic Republic to withstand sustained regional and Western pressure, and to pursue a foreign policy strategy likely to reap big payoffs in 2014. This strategy aims to replace American hegemony, regionally and globally, with a more multi-polar distribution of power and influence. It seeks to achieve this by using international law and institutions, and by leveraging the Islamic Republic’s model of participatory Islamist governance, domestic development, and foreign policy independence to accumulate real “soft power”—not just with a majority of Iranians living inside their country, but (according to polls) with hundreds of millions of people across the Muslim world and beyond, from Brazil to China and South Africa. Such soft power was on display, for example, in the last year of Ahmadinejad’s presidency, when, during a trip to China, he won a standing ovation from a large audience at Peking University, where a representative sample of next-generation Chinese elites showed themselves deeply receptive to his call for a more equitable and representative international order.
In the current regional and international context, the West is increasingly challenged to come to terms with the Islamic Republic as an enduring entity representing legitimate national interests. In Tehran, the United States and its European allies could have a real partner in countering al-Qa’ida-style terrorism and extremism, in consolidating stable and representative political orders in Syria and other Middle Eastern trouble spots, and in resolving the nuclear issue in a way that sets the stage for moving toward an actual WMD-free zone in the region. But partnering with Tehran would require Washington and its friends in London and Paris to accept the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign state with legitimate interests—something that Western powers have refused to accord to any Iranian government for two centuries.
President Obama’s highly public failure to muster political support for military strikes against the Assad government following the use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21, 2013 has effectively undercut the credibility of U.S. threats to use force against Iran. On November 24, 2013, this compelled an American administration, for the first time since the January 1981 Algiers Accords that ended the embassy hostage crisis, to reach a major international agreement with Tehran—the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1—largely on Iranian terms. (For example, the interim nuclear deal effectively negates Western demands—long rejected by Tehran but now enshrined in seven UN Security Council resolutions—that Iran suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment).
But recent Western recognition of reality is still partial and highly tentative. The United States and its British and French allies continue to deny that Iran has a right to enrich uranium under international safeguards. They also demand that, as part of a final deal, Tehran must shut down its protected enrichment site at Fordo, terminate its work on a new research reactor at Arak, and allow Western powers to micromanage the future development of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Such positions are at odds with the language of the interim nuclear deal and of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They are also as hubristically delusional as the British government’s use of the Royal Navy to seize tankers carrying Iranian oil on the high seas after a democratically-elected Iranian government nationalised the British oil concession in Iran in 1951—and as London’s continued threat to do so even after the World Court ruled against Britain in the matter.
If Western powers can realign their positions with reality on the nuclear issue and on various regional challenges in the Middle East, Iran can certainly work with that. But Iranian strategy takes seriously the real prospect that Western powers may not be capable of negotiating a nuclear settlement grounded in the NPT and respectful of the Islamic Republic’s legal rights—just as Britain and the United States were unwilling to respect Iran’s sovereignty over its own natural resources in the early 1950s. Under such circumstances, more U.S.-instigated secondary sanctions that illegally threaten third countries doing business with Iran will not compel Tehran to surrender its civil nuclear program. Rather, Iran’s approach—including a willingness to conclude what the rest of the world other than America, Britain, France, and Israel would consider a reasonable nuclear deal—seeks to make it easier for countries to rebuild and expand economic ties to the Islamic Republic even if Washington does not lift its own unilaterally-imposed sanctions.
“Continuing hostility toward the Islamic Republic exacerbates America’s inability to deal with popular demands for participatory Islamist governance elsewhere in the Middle East.”
Likewise, Iranian strategy takes seriously the real prospect that Washington cannot disenthrall itself from Obama’s foolish declaration in August 2011 that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go—and therefore that America cannot contribute constructively to the quest for a political settlement to the Syrian conflict. If the United States, Britain, and France continue down their current counter-productive path in Syria, Tehran can play off their accumulating policy failures and the deepening illegitimacy of America’s regional posture to advance the Islamic Republic’s strategic position.
How Will the West Respond?
Coming to terms with the Islamic Republic will require the United States to abandon its already eroding pretensions to hegemony in the Middle East. But, if Washington does not come to terms with the Islamic Republic, it will ultimately be forced to surrender those pretensions, as it was publicly and humiliatingly forced to do in 1979. Moreover, continuing hostility toward the Islamic Republic exacerbates America’s inability to deal with popular demands for participatory Islamist governance elsewhere in the Middle East. Less than a month after Rohani’s election, it was widely perceived that the United States tacitly supported a military coup that deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected (and Islamist) government. The coup in Egypt hardly obviates the fact that, when given the chance, majorities in Middle Eastern Muslim societies reject Western intervention and choose to construct participatory Islamist orders. Refusing to accept this reality will only accelerate the erosion of U.S. influence in the region.
The United States is not the first imperial power in decline whose foreign policy debate has become increasingly detached from reality—and history suggests that the consequences of such delusion are usually severe. The time for American elites to wake up to Middle Eastern realities before the United States and its Western allies face severe consequences for their strategic position in this vital part of the world is running out.
About the Authors
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are authors of Going to Tehran: America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran (New York: Metropolitan, 2013), which has just been released in paperback, with a new Afterword. They had distinguished careers in the U.S. government before leaving their positions on the National Security Council in March 2003, in disagreement with Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror. They teach international relations, he at Penn State, she at American University.
Source: The World Financial Review
1911, May 15
The Supreme Court of the U.S. finds John Rockefeller and his Trust guilty of corruption, illegal business practices and racketeering. As a result of this decision, the entire Rockefeller Standard Oil-Trust, the world’s largest corporation of its time, was sentenced to be dismantled. But Rockefeller was already above the Supreme Court and did not care about this decision.
In order to disperse public and political pressure on him and other robber-barons, Rockefeller uses a trick called “philanthropy”, whereby the illegal gains from his robber-practices in the oil business are used to launch the Rockefeller Foundation. This tax haven was used to strategically take over the health care sector in the U.S..
The Rockefeller Foundation was the front organization for a new global business venture of Rockefeller and his accomplices. This new venture was called the pharmaceutical investment business. Donations from the Rockefeller Foundation went only to medical schools and hospitals. These institutions had become missionaries of a new breed of companies: the manufacturers of patented, synthetic drugs.
This was also the time when the first vitamins were discovered. It soon became clear however that these natural molecules had live-saving health benefits and that they were able to prevent many chronic health conditions. The first books appeared with research, subsequently abandoned, about the health benefits of vitamins. These newly discovered molecules had only one disadvantage: they were non-patentable.
Thus, in its first years of existence, the pharmaceutical investment business already faced a mortal thread: vitamins and other micronutrients promoted as public health programs would prohibit the development of any sizable investment business based on patented drugs. The elimination of this unwanted competition from natural micronutrients therefore became a question of life and death for the pharmaceutical business.
The Rockefeller Foundation uses the Spanish flu epidemic – and the media (that it already controlled by this time) – to start a witch-hunt on all forms of medicine that were not covered by its patents.
Within the next 15 years, all medical schools in the U.S., most hospitals and the American Medical Association all essentially became pawns on the chessboard of Rockefeller’s strategy to subjugate the entire health care sector under the monopoly of his pharmaceutical investment business.
Disguised as a “Mother Theresa”, the Rockefeller Foundation was also used to conquer foreign countries and entire continents for the pharmaceutical investment business – just as Rockefeller himself had done a few decades previously with his petrochemical investment business.
On the other side of the Atlantic, in Germany, the first chemical / pharmaceutical cartel is founded in order to compete with Rockefeller’s quest for control of the global drug market. Lead by the German multinationals Bayer, BASF and Hoechst, the I.G. Farben cartel was founded with a total number of employees surpassing 80,000. The race for global control was on.
1929, November 29
The Rockefeller cartel (U.S.A.) and the I.G. Farben cartel (Germany) decided to divide the entire globe into interest spheres – the very same crime Rockefeller had been sentenced for 18 years earlier, when his trust had divided up the U.S. into “interest zones”.
1932 / 33
The I.G. Farben cartel, equally insatiable, decides no longer to be bound by the 1929 constraints. They support an uprising German politician, who promises I.G. Farben to militarily conquer the world for them. With millions of dollars in election campaign donations, this politician seized power in Germany, turned the German democracy into a dictatorship and kept his promise to launch his conquest war, a war that soon became known as WWII.
In each and every country Hitler’s wehrmacht invaded, the first act was to rob the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries and assign them – free of charge – to the I.G. Farben empire.
1942 – 45
In order to cement its global leadership with patented drugs, the I.G. Farben cartel tests its patented pharmaceutical substances on concentration camp inmates in Auschwitz, Dachau and many other sites. The fees for conducting these inhumane studies were transferred directly from the bank accounts of Bayer, Hoechst and BASF to the bank accounts of the SS, who operated the concentration camps.
I.G. Farben’s plan to take control of the global oil and drug markets has failed. The U.S. and the other allied forces won WWII. Nevertheless, many U.S. and allied soldiers had lost their lives during the conflict, and the allies’ reward was little compared to the rewards of others. The corporate shares of the losers, I.G. Farben, went to the Rockefeller trust (U.S.A.) and Rothschild / J.P. Morgan (U.K.).
In the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, 24 managers from Bayer, BASF, Hoechst and other executives of the I.G. Farben cartel were tried for crimes against humanity. These crimes included: leading wars of aggression, instituting slavery and committing mass murder. In his final pleading, U.S.-Chief Prosecutor Telford Taylor summarized the crimes committed by these corporate criminals with the following words: “Without I.G. Farben, the second World War would not have been possible”.
Amazingly, the real culprits for the death of 60 Million people in World War II – the I.G. Farben executives – received the mildest verdicts. Even those executives directly responsible for the crimes in I.G. Auschwitz only received a maximum of twelve years in jail. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
By 1944 Nelson Rockefeller had already entered the executive branch of the U.S. government. He started off as Under-Secretary of State and ended up a few years later as Special Adviser of President Truman for Special Affairs. In other words, at critical junctures of the 20th century, the Rockefeller interests took direct charge. They decided the post war shape of the world and the distribution of its wealth.
As such, under the influence of the U.S. State Department, the verdicts in Nuremberg against the I.G. Farben managers can easily be explained. In return for taking over the corporate shares of I.G. Farben, and thereby global control of the oil and drug business, Nelson Rockefeller made sure that the real culprits of World War II were not hanged. In fact, and as we shall see, they were needed.
The Federal Republic of Germany was founded. This was the first time in history that the constitution and society of an industrialized nation could be planned and modeled as a fortress of the pharmaceutical investment business – a transatlantic outpost of the Rockefeller interests.
Within only a few years, the I.G. Farben managers sentenced in Nuremberg were released from jail and put back into their previous positions as stakeholders of the Rockefeller interests. Fritz Ter Meer, for example, sentenced to twelve years in jail for his crimes in Auschwitz, was back as chairman of the board of Germany’s largest pharmaceutical multinational, Bayer, by 1963!
1945 – 49
The role of the Rockefeller brothers was not limited to their taking over the global monopolies of the oil and drug businesses. They also needed to create the political framework for these businesses to thrive. Under their influence, therefore, the United Nations was founded in 1945, in San Francisco. To seize political control of the post war world, three countries – leading drug export nations – had all the say, and 200 other nations were rendered mere spectators.
Founded as organizations to allegedly serve the wellbeing of the people of the world, the UN’s subsidiary organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO), soon turned out to be nothing more than the political arms of the global oil and drug interests.
On behalf of the Rockefeller interests, the government of the pharmaceutical banana republic Germany spearheaded one of the most infamous efforts ever made within the United Nations. Under the pretense of consumer protection, it launched a four-decade-long crusade to outlaw vitamin therapies and other natural, non-patentable health approaches in all member countries of the United Nations. The goal was to simply ban any and all competition for the multi-billion dollar business with patented drugs. The plan was simple: copy for the entire world what had already been accomplished in America in the 1920s – a monopoly on health care for the investment business with patented drugs.
Since the marketplace for the pharmaceutical investment business depends upon the continued existence of diseases, the drugs it developed were not intended to prevent, cure or eradicate disease. Thus, the goal of the global strategy was to monopolize health for billions of people, with pills that nearly cover symptoms but hardly ever address the root cause of disease. The deprivation of billions of people from having access to life saving information about the health benefits of natural health approaches, whilst at the same time establishing a monopoly with largely ineffective and frequently toxic patented drugs, caused disease and death in genocidal proportions.
This epidemic of unnecessary disability and death by the pharmaceutical business with disease is unparalleled in history.
Linus Pauling and other eminent scientists deserve credit for having kept open the door of knowledge about the health benefits of vitamins and other effective natural health approaches. If it were not for them we would already be living in a health prison today, guarded by the gatekeepers of the pharmaceutical business with disease in medicine, politics and the media.
Linus Pauling should also be credited for having identified the significance of Dr. Rath’s early research in vitamins and cardiovascular disease, and for having invited Dr. Rath to join him during his last years to continue his life’s work.
1990 – 92
These years will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the pharmaceutical business with disease. In a series of scientific publications, in some of which Dr. Rath invited Linus Pauling to join him as co-author, Dr. Rath identified micronutrient deficiency as the primary cause of diseases. These diseases include heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetic circulatory problems, cancer and even immune deficiency diseases, including AIDS.
Like a Sherlock Holmes of science, Dr. Rath traced the real cause of these diseases, and found that they had been deliberately nebulized or even hidden away from millions of people for one purpose only: to feed the insatiable greed of the pharmaceutical business with disease.
Source: Dr. Rath Health Foundation
There are times when hatred is a needed, logical and moral stance to take. Evil, injustice and corruption are fine examples of what to appropriately hate. For the overwhelming majority of people it is now rational to hate the super rich, notably the thousands of billionaires holding most of the world’s wealth and wielding power over political and economic systems. They have been successfully raping the global economy and while doing that have kept increasing their wealth as well as economic inequality afflicting ordinary people. One dollar, one vote describes the new reality.
Before discussing some basic reasons to hate the super rich consider some facts about them.
How many billionaires are there? According to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, the global billionaire population reached a record 2,170 individuals in 2013, with a combined net worth of $6.5 trillion. What happened after the most recent global economic meltdown? Some 810 individuals became billionaires since the 2009 global financial crisis. In other words, plain millionaires moved up to billionaire status.
But the super rich include many more than the billionaires, because the top one percent on the economic scale have monster size wealth, according to a new report Working for the Few. The one percent of the richest people in the world have $110 trillion. That equates to some 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. But among the millions of the top one percent, the richest 85 people, true billionaires, have wealth equal to the bottom half of the world’s population. As to the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer. That leaves 9 percent, about 30 million Americans, in the upper class that did very well as they strive to make it into the top one percent.
When people talk about economic, wealth or income inequality they are really talking about the incredibly small fraction of the richest people relative to the larger population that still are not sharing in the global jackpot, no matter how hard they work. Inequality means that money is not being fairly distributed. There have been times in history when prosperity was shared, as in the several decades after World War II.
No surprise that only 7 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup report, currently feel “very satisfied” with our nation’s distribution of income and wealth. Similarly, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 81 percent of Americans believe the economy is working very or fairly well for the wealthy, compared to 22 percent for the middle class.
Why hate the super rich and the rising economic inequality that benefits them?
This distorted economic system means that democracy is more delusional than real. Consider this: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.” Truly wise words.
The near total lack of public confidence in Congress, both major political parties and the whole political system by Americans goes hand-in-hand with the perverted economic system. You have every right to hate the super rich because for a long time in many visible and invisible ways they have intentionally manipulated the political system to create and maintain the unjust economic system. Their economic power gives them political power. Rather than one person one vote, think in terms of one dollar one vote.
Hate the super rich because their degree of wealth and power is obscene.
Hate the super rich because they persecute the vast majority of people worldwide. Some of the super rich play up their charitable activities, but that does not negate all the evil consequences of economic inequality on the daily lives of billions of people.
Hate the super rich because their greed is ungodly. If true democracy is to be restored, then Americans need to be much more than dissatisfied. They need to get more emotional. They need to hate. Then they must convert that hatred into political demands and actions.
After Connecticut enacted one of the most draconian gun-control regimes in America, official estimates suggest that the overwhelming majority of the citizens targeted by the latest assault on gun rights failed to comply. Indeed, analysts say it appears that most people largely ignored the new statute, which purports to ban numerous non-registered “assault” weapons and standard-capacity magazines. Now, despite resistance by the governor, state lawmakers are reportedly “scrambling” to come up with a possible amnesty plan allowing gun owners to register past the deadline.
According to news reports, some 50,000 newly mislabeled “assault weapons” and 40,000 so-called “high-capacity” magazines (10 or more rounds) targeted under the scheme were registered with state officials by the January 1 deadline. However, estimates and an official report by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research issued before the new law suggest there are many, many more that went unregistered. Massive non-compliance with gun-registration schemes has been the norm in the United States and abroad, experts pointed out — and analysts say that is likely what happened in Connecticut.
Noting that the real number of “large-capacity” magazines in the state was unknown, the 2011 Connecticut Office of Legislative Research report said that it “could be in the tens of millions.” Estimates on the number of guns subject to the legislation, meanwhile, indicate that there may be as many as 500,000. Based on those figures, analysts suggested that perhaps less than 10 percent — possibly even less than five percent — of the items subject to the draconian new gun-control regime were registered with authorities by the deadline.
“Governor Dannel Malloy and the government of the state of Connecticut are having their own ‘Oh, poop’ moment, now that they’ve tallied the number of citizens who have registered their ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high-capacity magazines’ required by the state’s unconstitutional gun laws, compared that to the estimated number of applicable weapons and magazines in the state, and realize they’ve been ignored,” observed Bob Owens, editor of the pro-Second Amendment website BearingArms.com.
“Historically speaking, 90-percent or more of those required to comply with gun registration laws in the U.S. refuse to do so, and there is no reason to suspect that this registration attempt in Connecticut is any different,” Owens continued in comments about the radical new registration scheme. “I’ve seen estimates of 1,000,000 firearm magazines that should have been registered under the law, but the state reports registering only 40,000 … just 4 percent.”
Other analysts came up with similar non-compliance estimates, suggesting that the new anti-gun scheme — widely lambasted as unconstitutional and currently being fought in court — has been largely ignored by the public. “In past cases of firearms bans, noncompliance with registration is not uncommon,” pointed out Chris Eger in an analysis for Guns.com, another popular pro-Second Amendment website. “In California in 1990, out of an estimated 300,000 guns classified as ‘assault weapons’ just 7,000 were registered.”
Even in other nations without strong gun rights traditions and constitutional guarantees for the unalienable right to keep and bear arms, citizens have balked at registration. After all, historically, tyrants have almost always tried to force subjects to register their weapons prior to confiscation and eventual totalitarianism. When the Canadian government tried to register guns, Eger said, there was massive civil disobedience, with estimates indicating that the compliance rate was less than a third. Even in Austria and Germany, the number of guns registered was drastically below what authorities had estimated.
As The New American reported a year ago, in the state of New York, a radical assault on gun rights dubbed the “SAFE Act” was met with open calls for defiance. Setting the stage for what some analysts said might be the largest act of civil disobedience in New York history, countless gun-rights activists and owners vowed never to register their weapons. Even some lawmakers took to the floor of the legislature and said they would not comply with the draconian law. Sheriffs and other law enforcement officials also vowed to fight it as unconstitutional.
In Connecticut — ironically, also known as the “Constitution State” — lawmakers are now reportedly seeking to offer “amnesty” in an apparent bid to raise compliance levels. “It had come to my attention and the attention of others that many people who were attempting in good faith to comply with the law … were not able to because of what I would argue were circumstances not under their control,” Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) was quoted as claiming by the Hartford Courant.
In the state House, Rep. Rob Sampson is also working to extend the registration period, and other lawmakers have been involved in the discussions. News reports, citing officials, said that “many citizens” had tried to register their purportedly banned property by mail on December 31. However, because post offices closed, the documents were postmarked January 2 and were returned by state officials due to being past the statutory deadline. Pro-amnesty lawmakers are hoping an extension would encourage more citizens to obey.
The Democrat governor’s office, however, opposes the so-called “amnesty” effort, sending a letter to legislators saying that gun owners who failed to comply by the deadline were just “too late” to do anything about it. “Individuals whose late registrations were not processed,” the message to lawmakers says, “can render their magazine or firearm inoperable, sell it to a licensed gun dealer, remove it from the state, or turn it over to law enforcement.”
The penalty for being found with an “unregistered” standard-capacity magazine or semi-automatic firearm misclassified as an “assault” weapon under the new scheme is a fine — the first time. Further violations of the unconstitutional statute can result in up to five years in prison. While the long lines to register guns by the deadline drew numerous comparisons to historical instances of tyranny — as well as sympathy from gun owners across America — it remains unclear how many citizens failed to comply, and for what reasons.
Suggesting that some gun owners may have simply not known about the purported registration requirements, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League is calling on authorities to extend the deadline for compliance. “There are still too many gun owners that either do not know about this new law, or do not realize that it applies to them,” said CCDL President Scott Wilson. “I would ask the governor and state legislators what there would be to gain by punishing persons that are otherwise law abiding that do not legitimately know about this law?”
In addition to extending the deadline, the organization, which represents more than 10,000 members and has challenged the statute in federal court, is also urging officials to adopt an open-ended “amnesty” scheme to avoid criminalizing potentially massive numbers of everyday citizens. “CCDL also suggests that the state should consider an ongoing amnesty program in the future, for those that discover they own banned firearms or magazines that are not registered,” Wilson said. “This would likely alleviate some of the concerns people may have about the intent of the state.”
Gun rights proponents, meanwhile, ridiculed state officials for expecting citizens to comply with the oppressive gun-control regime — and for efforts in the legislature to save it. “They’re calling for an amnesty period because their internal estimates likely show that their attempt to browbeat the citizenry into registering their arms for future confiscation has been an abject failure, and they are desperate to do anything they can do to encourage compliance now that their threats have failed,” wrote Bob Owens at BearingArms.com.
Other pro-Second Amendment commentators made similar remarks. “So, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people waited until the last absolute second to send in this paperwork? I’m thinking not,” said Dan Cannon at GunsSaveLives.net. “I think this ‘amnesty’ deal is a chance for anti-gun politicians to try and save face after a massive civil disobedience movement was discovered.”
At the federal level, the Obama administration has continued to issue unconstitutional decrees on gun control after failing spectacularly last year in its push for Congress to approve more infringements on the human right to keep and bear arms. Ironically, however, as The New American reported this month, the nationwide assault on gun rights by Obama, the establishment media, and certain extremist Democrats has backfired, big time. In addition to sparking record firearm sales across America, dozens of state laws easing restrictions were enacted — almost double the number of laws purporting to impose new infringements. Efforts to fight the radical new scheme in Connecticut are ongoing.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The New American
Is there any doubt that America’s foreign policy, based upon maintaining a global empire, actually makes us less safe? The misgiving is that such intercession has any actual benefits to the citizens of the country. What once was a respected leadership role of non-interventionism in international affairs, has become a dominating imperium for worldwide control and subjugation. Exporting the “land of the free” is a myth, especially when domestic freedom is a dying memory. Internationalists tell us that military and surveillance drone technology promises enhanced security, with little concern for collateral damage or loss of innocent life. However, the facts do not bear out such claims.
Factor in the expansion of robot deployment and replacement of human assets, produces the net effort of an even more depersonalize and dehumanizing use of coercive force. Nonetheless, such a trend gets little public concern and even less outrage. Military branches, filled with voluntary recruits, are losing faith in the spin. CIA and unnamed black bag missions rely upon eager operatives that believes in the importance of the assignment or demented mercenaries that enjoy their macabre trade.
The practice of desensitizing defense forces is an essential component of basic training. With robot brigades, moral considerations need not interfere with killing tasks. The essay, Kant’s moral philosophy and the question of pre-emptive war illustrates the quid essential example of an amoral tech that avoids the very nature of profound ethical issues. The stick question of morality is foremost in areas of human endeavors, but total absent in the wiring of tech carnage machines.
“That the international arena is indeed a state of nature in something approaching Hobbes’s sense of the term is a theme upon which Kant insists in both Perpetual Peace and the Metaphysics of Morals; it becomes a much more insistent theme in the latter. Such a conceptualization does not, however, diminish Kant’s commitment to upholding and, if possible, promoting fundamental principles of right within this arena, nor his condemnation of those individuals and governments, however numerous, which violate them. It is in this context that his pronouncements concerning the justifiability of war, and whether a pre-emptive war is ever acceptable, must be understood. In Perpetual Peace, these pronouncements are unequivocal. Famously, Article 5 of the preliminary principles conducive to perpetual peace is “No state shall interfere by force in the constitution and government of another state.” In the long Appendix to this essay Kant warns against demanding that another state divest itself of a despotic constitution – at least as long as this state is in danger of being swallowed up by other states – even while expressing the hope that despotic constitutions will gradually give way throughout the world to republican forms of government. (Republican and despotic are the only two types of Regierung, as distinguished from forms of authority, or Beherrschung - that is, whether the ruling power consists of one person, several, or all of civil society taken together – that Kant recognizes; he is far removed from the distasteful combination of frivolity with brutality that has led to the identification of certain regimes as “rogue states,” hence undeserving of any respect, by apologists for the great powers of our day.) Further on in the same Appendix, in the context of considering possible antinomies between morality and politics, Kant asks whether, if a neighboring power has grown to such size as to warrant apprehension that it might attack, it would be permissible for an allied coalition of weaker states to stage a pre-emptive attack on that state, “even without preceding insult,” and answers in the negative.”
Surely, the memory chips in drones and robots are not programmed to reflect a Kantian standard for the use of deadly force and destructive weaponry. It is exactly because of this lack of understanding between right and wrong that drones and robots are so attractive to the enforcers of the imperial empire.
Even an establishment mouthpiece like CBS must acknowledge the risks and non-decisive functions of this technology. Drone wars: Pentagon’s future with robots, troops, clearly raises the dangers of android warfare.
“Washington’s post-9/11 military interventions have been a boon for drones. The numbers tell the story. At the turn of this century, the Department of Defense had 90 drones with plans to increase the inventory by 200 over the next decade, according to Dyke Weatherington, a Defense Department deputy director overseeing acquisitions of hardware for unmanned warfare. As 2012 began, there were more than 9,500 remotely piloted aircraft in the U.S. arsenal.
Air Force contracting documents suggest that the estimated five Reaper sorties flown each day in 2012 will jump to 66 per day by 2016. What that undoubtedly means is more countries with drones flying over them, more drone bases, more crashes, more mistakes. What we’re unlikely to see is armed drones scoring decisive military victories, offering solutions to complex foreign-policy problems, or even providing an answer to the issue of terrorism, despite the hopes of policymakers and the military brass.”
Yet, the military is rapidly expanding the footprint and capacities for their drone force. Obama’s Two Words for Us: ‘Predator Drones’, is not only a sick joke, but more importantly a very obscene policy. America’s Secret Empire of Drone Bases, documents that this immoral combatant system is spreading indiscriminate causalities from “The Agency” who has a long record of war crimes.
“Over the last decade, the American use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has expanded exponentially, as has media coverage of their use. On September 21st, the Wall Street Journal reported that the military has deployed missile-armed MQ-9 Reaper drones on the “island nation of Seychelles to intensify attacks on al Qaeda affiliates, particularly in Somalia.” A day earlier, a Washington Post piece also mentioned the same base on the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago, as well as one in the African nation of Djibouti, another under construction in Ethiopia, and a secret CIA airstrip being built for drones in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. (Some suspect it’s Saudi Arabia.)
Post journalists Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock reported that the “Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen.” Within days, the Post also reported that a drone from the new CIA base in that unidentified Middle Eastern country had carried out the assassination of radical al-Qaeda preacher and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.”
Is this the kind of stealth death that shares the adage “if you build it they will die” or can the capabilities of these systems be limited strictly to reconnaissance intelligence? Now such a goal is not covered by international law, because the AMERIKA super power does not recognize any legal or moral restrains on their use of armed elimination of anyone designated as an enemy of the state.
Reigning terror from the skies is rationalized because suspected terrorists are such existential threats that allow for the use of any means necessary. The NDAA mentality covers the entire globe using the standard that removing anyone without due process is warranted. The Drone Wrath for a Compliant Society essay, implores that active resistance is long overdue.
“The National Defense Authorization Act is the latest unconstitutional measure that targets domestic citizens for punitive punishment. Due process, now reduced to “Due or Die” is the harbinger of the use of domestic drone capitulation. What will it take to awaken submissive citizens that the capability of foreign deployed drones easily can be weaponized for local operations?”
The NSA calls for the elimination of Edward Snowden, who just happens to be the most current and celebrated target. Nevertheless, with the readying of robot assassin squads, anyone could be the next victim. As long as the internationalists are in control of our government and the globalists are the masters of the world economy, the focus and missions of the U.S. military will be uses to further the interests of these treacherous elites.
The technocratic authoritarians diminish the sacred nature of life with each new death system. Absent from their design specifications is the moral imperative. For these deranged enablers of a global gulag, humans are expendable and unnecessary. The concept of Kantian duty is never a factor in their robotic monsters.
When empires are in the last thralls of decay, they go to war. The failures of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions have exposed the futility and betrayal of globalist government service. Defense of country has never been the mission for these expeditions.
Future operations will use drone and robotic weapons whenever possible, since human doubt in a rightful purpose in the mission is rapidly diminishing. Troop reduction and replacement with machines is the technology solution, when moral authority is absent.
Perpetual war will seek full spectrum dominance, which is now dependent upon unman aircraft and land based devices. The next false flag excuse will claim a fictitious necessity to unleash the bombing drones. GPS coordinates; unencumbered by moral doubt, guide Hellfire missiles.
The rancour between Japan and China was on public display at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave his keynote speech to the gathering of billionaires, bankers, CEOs, and political leaders on Wednesday.
After expounding on his “Abenomics” pro-market restructuring agenda, Abe spent the second half of his speech making barely-veiled jabs at China that were calculated to further inflame tensions.
Abe began by declaring that “freedom of movement” was of particular importance—a reference to the dangerous dispute that emerged last month over China’s declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea, including the disputed islets known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
The US, followed by Japan, immediately flew war planes into the zone unannounced, challenging Chinese authority and sharply escalating tensions. As China scrambled its own fighters in response, the danger emerged of a clash precipitated by a mistake or miscalculation on either side.
Referring to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, Abe repeated his adage that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and the rule of law, not through force and coercion. In fact, his government refuses to even recognise that there is a dispute over the rocky outcrops and has stepped up military measures in the area, raising the risk of a military clash.
Again pointing to China, Abe proclaimed the need to “restrain military expansion in Asia, which could otherwise go unchecked.” He called for military budgets to be made “completely transparent”—a criticism repeatedly made by the US and its allies over China’s military spending.
While repeatedly declaring his commitment to peace, Abe last year announced the first increase in the Japanese military budget in a decade. His government continued to shift the strategic focus of the Japanese military to “island defence” and Japan’s southern island chain adjacent to the Chinese mainland.
Japan’s defence expansion has been encouraged and backed by the Obama administration, as part of its “pivot to Asia” that includes strengthening of alliances and partnerships throughout the region aimed against China.
Making clear the dangers of war were real, Abe warned his audience: “If peace and stability were shaken in Asia, the knock-on effect for the entire world would be enormous.”
Asked by the chair of the session, Abe defended his visit in December to the notorious Yasukuni war shrine—a hated symbol of Japanese militarism in the 1930s and 1940s, where many “Class A” Japanese war criminals are buried. Abe claimed he was simply “praying for the souls of the departed,” which should be “something quite natural for a leader of any country in the world.”
While Abe did not name China in the course of his speech, the target of his remarks was unmistakable.
In another Davos session, Chinese academic Wu Xinbo responded by calling Abe a “troublemaker”, likening him to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Political relations between our two countries will remain very cool, even frozen for the remaining years of Abe in Japan,” he warned.
In a less public forum at Davos with international journalists, Abe was more explicit. Asked by Financial Times journalist Gideon Rachman if war with China was “conceivable”, the Japanese prime minister did not rule it out. Instead, he compared the current tensions between China and Japan to the rivalry between Britain and Germany in the years before the World War I, saying that it was a “similar situation”.
While various commentators have made the same comparison, such remarks carry added significance coming from Japan’s prime minister. Abe reinforced the point by declaring that China’s increase in military spending was a major source of instability in the region.
As reported in Rachman’s blog, Abe noted that, “Britain and Germany—like China and Japan—had a strong trading relationship. But in 1914, this had not prevented strategic tensions leading to the outbreak of conflict.” He warned of the danger of “some conflict or dispute arising out the blue, on an ad hoc level… or inadvertently”—a reference to the killing of the Austrian archduke in 1914 that sparked war.
Abe offered no suggestion as to how conflict could be avoided, other than a half-hearted proposal for a “military-force level communications channel” between Beijing and Tokyo. “Unfortunately we don’t have a clear and explicit roadmap,” he said, adding later than Japan would “very much like to strengthen our military relationship with the US.”
This last remark highlights the role of the Obama administration is stoking up tensions throughout the region. Its “pivot to Asia” has encouraged allies as Japan and the Philippines to take a far more aggressive stance in their maritime quarrels with China. Four years ago, the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands barely registered in international politics. Today it has become a dangerous flashpoint for war in Asia.
Abe’s speech is part of an escalating propaganda war between Japan and China. Following Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, Chinese and Japanese ambassadors have engaged in embittered exchanges in the newspapers in at least a dozen countries, including the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
In Britain, the exchange took the bizarre form of likening the other country to Lord Voldemort—the ultimate incarnation of evil the Harry Potter children’s novels—and accusing it of militarism and aggression.
Like the Abe government, the Chinese regime has seized on the dispute to whip up reactionary patriotic sentiment, seeking to divert attention from the social crisis at home and manoeuvre diplomatically abroad. Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming concluded his diatribe against Japan with an appeal for Britain and China to renew the World War II alliance—that is, against Japan—in order “to safeguard regional stability and world peace.”
The tensions between Japan and China at Davos, where business and political leaders are supposedly gathered to iron out the problems of global capitalism, underlines the bankruptcy of the social order that they all defend. Five years after the global financial crisis, the economic breakdown continues unabated, fuelling geo-political rivalries that are driving towards a catastrophic war.
New and Old…
Even the definition of “asymmetric war” is controversial, because it can concern at least three drivers and methods of conflict, usually between large organized fighting forces and the opposite. Firstly there is the political-economic or other motivation, second the tactics, and thirdly the weapons utilised in asymmetric war – which itself is usually defined by the negative. Some writers say the term was first used by Andrew J. Mack in a 1975 book titled “Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars”. Some military historians conversely say asymmetric war dates from Antiquity, and included the surprise outcome of larger fighting forces losing an asymmetric war with smaller insurgent, militia, terrorist or tight knit politically motivated forces and entities in specific theaters of conflict.
Other than wars of Antiquity like the Ancient Greek Pelopennesian war series which lasted about 30 years in the 5th century BC, and certainly included asymmetric war and “surprise defeats” for larger forces, the 200-year Crusader war series (about 1095-1299) had recurring battles and campaigns where asymmetric war featured, and sometimes dominated. Our problem is that certainly for a near-century from the late 19th century to about 1980-2000, the Clausewitz doctrine of “God is with the big battalions” held firm. This in turn can be traced to the nature as well as the goals of war following the Industrial Revolution. Drivers of change included European nationbuilding, colonialism, mass migration and by 1948 the later “bipolar world” of the so-called Soviet Empire opposing the Western liberal-capitalist democracies. The collapse of the USSR was naively believed to mean “the end of history and of warfare itself”.
Although not defined as an asymmetric war campaign leading to total victory, by historians like Andrew Mack, the Long March of Mao Zedong culminating in total victory in 1949 was for most of its time called “terror war” by external major powers, including the US, Japan, the UK and other European nations. This only underlines the fact that asymmetric war for losers is often called terrorism, but also underlines the wider tactics and strategy, and weapons used by smaller insurgent forces during an asymmetric war campaign or series. It also underlines that like the asymmetric wars of the distant past, these are generally long series of wars, not setpiece short-term frontline battlefield warfare.
Strategy and Tactics
Strategy above all means command and control because decisive gains and losses need close combat at some stage for any type of war excluding setpiece formal warfare of the pre-Cold War type or paradigm. The Cold War “bipolar paradigm”, we should note, was not for nothing subtitled Mutually Assured Destruction because a charred, radioactive wasteland was the booty or logical peace dividend for any hypothetical “winner”. Also, the MAD paradigm more subtly underlined the role of economic and military infrastructures, which as they become more sophisticated, become more vulnerable. Often scenarized by US and Soviet military strategists during the Cold War, the utilization of a small number of missile-launched airburst nuclear weapons would instantly paralyse the enemy’s command and control infrastructure, electric power and telephone systems, water supplies, fuel supplies, road transport and so on. There could be no winner, only two losers.
Discussion of military infrastructure, and its fragility, however shifts the spotlight away from a key element of asymmetric war the role of ideology and personal commitment. Command and control operated by for example Mao Zedong in his Long March war campaign, was primarily ideological at its beginnings. Conversely in nearly all conventional setpiece wars, which are now likely a thing of the past, the belligerents deployed forces that were essentially of similar type. The war’s outcome could normally be predicted by the physical size, quantity and control of the forces in play. Where the forces are essentially equal, with access to the same technology, the outcome is usually stalemate. The Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 was a classic example.
This already makes it possible to define probably the most decisive motivating role for asymmetric fighting forces technological superiority is canceled by infrastructure fragility. Alternately stated technological inferiority is often canceled by the enemy’s vulnerable military, ideological and economic infrastructures. The Afghan war of 1979-88 was a classic example.
Including vulnerable economic infrastructures, asymmetric wars such as this Afghan war (and the US-Afghan war of 2001-2014) will heavily feature urban insurgency and the destruction of economic infrastructures, which either directly support the more-powerful enemy’s military capability or provide indirect aid to the enemy’s ideological action, attempting to maintain a semblance of “normal life”. Asymmetric wars, we can again note, are often very long and measured in decades, not years, and in part due to this can include a major element of attrition, both economic and ideological.
Terrain and Proxies
Certainly the case in asymmetric wars of Antiquity, small inferior forces fighting the opposite can “trump the enemy” using terrain which today includes and features urban areas. As I have noted in recent articles concerning Syrian war geopolitics, one basic reason why “Syria” is a non-nation or a geopolitical metastase of the Sykes-Picot era of Great Power diplomacy, is the extreme geological folding of the mountainous coastal strip with peaks higher than 2000 meters, where more than 90% of the population lives. This rough, hilly terrain has always favored small autonomous or semi-autonomous population groupings, all of them with a long tradition of conflict including “asymmetric” combat. Ideological differences are often extreme, for example the age-old conflict between traditional Alawites and the Assassin heretic sect of the Alawites.
During the long Crusader war series, for example, the Assassins turned their fighting skills against the invading European crusaders. After this 200-year war series, they returned to fighting any centralising power based in Damascus. The same applies to the Druzes, and to other “mountain fighters”. On numerous occasions, often for decades, fighting groups in what is called “Syria” served as proxies in and for highly complex military campaigns. One examples was the period through about 1204-1260 when a loose alliance of southern powers or “statelets” opposed the larger, better armed Latin Empire of the Byzantines.
No power, either great or small can change geology and geomorphology. To be sure, Stalin-era Soviet campaigns against Chechens, Daghestanis and other small, ideologically tight-knit “mountain fighters”, and the campaign waged in this geopolitical rimland or shatterbelt since the 1990s by Russia, have attempted their eradication. In Afghanistan, as the USSR and later the US found out, so-called mountain fighters can easily urbanize and rapidly shift to urban theater conflict, broadening their warfare tactics with ease.
The major and increasing role of proxy fighting itself favors a shift to asymmetric war. Since the end of World War II, some military historians claim the majority of wars on a numerical basis fought since 1945 have either included, or been dominated by proxy fighters. This in turn means more belligerants, with usually different motivations, staying power, weapons and tactics, will be operating in any warfare. This also means that “surprise outcomes” become more commonplace, for example when proxies turn against their original partners or actively side with their former enemy or enemies.
Deed Horses and Stynking Beestes
Widely used in the Crusader war series, and imported back to Europe with returning Crusaders by the start of the 14th century, early biological warfare featured the catapulting of diseased putrefying corpses, often of horses or other animals, sometimes of humans into castle moats. By the time of the so-called Hundred Years War starting about 1340, biological war was commonplace in siege warfare. With the Black Death (bubonic plague) epidemic which spread from the western Balkans and killed an estimated 25%-33% of the total population of Europe in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, bodies of bubonic plague victims were utilised as weapons as commonly as munitions, arrows and other weapons in the majority of European wars. Death rates obtained using these “asymmetric weapons”, according to military historians could often exceed 950 killed for every 1000 enemy attacked.
Today we hear about the Syrian regime of Bashr al-Assad, and-or rebel forces, utilizing chemical weapons, but chemical weapons akin to napalm were utilized on a common basis in warfare opposing the Byzantime Empire and sometimes-insurgent, often small scale Muslim forces, by 670 AD. These early chemical weapons increasingly used additives including chalk powder, arsenic sulfide, copper oxides and other toxic suffocants to increase lethality.
By the early 18th century, the UK Royal Society was theater to recurring debates on how to protect land armies against biological warfare, in particular protection against smallpox bacteria due to smallpox being already known as a biological weapon. By about 1715, the technique of variolation, or immunization against smallpox was developed, firstly with a view to protecting British fighting forces despite early immunization by variolation causing an estimated 2%-3% mortality of treated soldiers. As we know, the conquest of the US Wild West in the 18th-19th centuries made frequent use of smallpox bacteria to kill Indian fighters and peoples who were not immunized. Historians contend that General George Washington who had warned his troops that English forces might use smallpox as a weapon in the Battle of Quebec (1775) which was lost by the Americans, was himself killed by smallpox poisoning in 1776.
It is therefore either by hypocrisy, ignorance or blindness that mainstream media and many politicians pretend that CBW (chemical and biological weapons) are both strange and repulsive. For numerically inferior forces, they can provide a decisive advantage similar to the historical role of crossbows, in the Middle Ages. Their utilization in asymmetric war has been more the rule, than exception. This logic certainly extends to the broad group of asymmetric arms called NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) weapons – the arsenals held by the small nations North Korea and Israel reflect their political rulers’ fear of numerically superior enemy forces. As we know, both mass-produced pesticides and relatively abundant nuclear wastes, among others, are major potential asymmetric weapons.
The Coming Global Asymmetric War
Andrew J. Mack made the point that big nations can easily lose small wars. He did not add that due to weapons technology and MAD, they can only lose big wars. This standoff or new weakness – of the great powers whether they describe themselves as “great” or not, has certainly been observed and noted by the large number of their asymmetric war-oriented opponents and rivals.
When added to the impacts of economic and industrial technology change, described in other recent articles by myself, the concept of either one or a select few hegemonic powers dominating world political-strategic relations is consigned to trashcan of History. Probably since as early as 1980, certainly in the coming decades from today, this observation will be put to the test.
The Syrian civil war which is a showcase of asymmetric war and proxy war could be taken as an example. Neither Russia nor the US can win this war. Iran’s supposed interest in this war can be questioned. European influence in any outcome to this war is small and weak. Chinese, Indian and other Asian interest in this war is very low. Only extremely massive and sustained, therefore very expensive military occupation on a long-term basis could create or restore any simulacre or surrogate for “the nation state of Syria”. No major external power has any interest in this outcome. The staying power of KSA, Qatar, UAE and other sunni-minority small states paying for Syrian theatre proxy fighters, called “djihadis”, despite the petrodollars and the Wahabism, can easily be questioned.
What was called “Syria” therefore become a shatterbelt zone in modern geopolitical parlance, very comparable with the pre-1914 Balkan states, and pre-1917 Middle Eastern and North African states. Formerly called “rimland states”, shatterbelt zones can also be called the Funeral Pyres of Empire due to these intrinsically volatile and ungovernable zones often being gateways to larger zones of major economic significance, drawing repeated attempts at dominance by the great powers.
Multiple examples exist outside the zone including southern Russia, the Balkans (of 2014), western Asia, and the MENA. Under certain hypotheses, zones like the Europe of the EU28, engaged in an undeclared power struggle with Russia to win power over the Ukraine, may be an example.
More important for this article, most definitely intensified by asymmetric war ideology, tactics and weapons, world shatterbelt zones of “permanent instability” are growing and they are necessarily growing. Sometimes called “multipolarity” and presented as the positive spinoff from economic globalisation, and above all presented as consensual by the great powers (and would-be great powers), the loss of centre and the growth of periphery is a stark fact of the coming world.
This stark fact is of course denied by the so-called great powers. However, when there is no longer a ruling centre and the central power or Hegemon, there is only periphery and no Hegemon in a series of complex rimlands and shatterbelts.
Source: Andrew McKillop