The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine, Professor Richard Falk, came to Lebanon last week on an unofficial visit to survey opinion while fact finding the condition in Palestinian refugee’s camps.
It was the Professors first visit to Lebanon since the fateful summer of 1982. Back then, en route by sea to Beirut, which was under Israeli siege and blockade, Falk was Vice-Chair of the Sean McBride Commission of Inquiry into Israeli crimes against Lebanon. Mid –way between Cyprus and Lebanon, the Zionist navy, in a blatant act of piracy on the high seas, intercepted, circled and demanded the passenger list from the vessel.
Eventually, under reported American pressure via US Envoy Morris Draper’s telephoned profanity to Tel Aviv, the pirates allowed Falk’s delegation to disembark at the port of Jounieh, just north of Beirut. Draper, who like so many US diplomats, claims he finally “saw the light after retiring”, told this observer that “I never swore so much in my life as I did at those SOBS during that summer of 1982 and after I learned the details of Ariel Sharon’s choreography of the Sabra-Shatila massacre!” Ambassador Draper added, “The world will never know the extent of Israeli crimes committed against Lebanon and its refugees until Washington threatens to cut off all aid until Tel Aviv opens up its archives on this period.”
Professor Falk, as he mentioned during several events here, including a first-rate conference on the status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and their struggle for the most elementary civil rights to work and to own a home, organized by the Institute of Palestine Studies, came to Lebanon not to offer counsel to Lebanon’s sects or even to the Palestinians. (The IPS, (http://www.palestine-studies.org) founded in 1969, is considered by this observer and many others, as the most reliable and authoritative source of information on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israel conflict.)
Falk came to listen and to learn. He did both. He listened intently to each speaker, scribing hurried notes regarding the current conditions of Palestinian refugee, including education and health status, in Lebanon’s 12 camps and two dozen “gatherings,” reports that were presented by several academics and NGO’s based here.
Falk and others in attendance at the briefings found the findings sobering and alarming. They included but are not limited to, the following.
There are currently 42,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria who have been forced into Lebanon as a result of the crisis in Syria. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – UNRWA -reported to the IPS workshop, that they expect 80,000 Palestinians by the end of the year. Others estimate the December 2013 number will exceed 100,000. According to figures, forwarded to Professor Falk by the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, supplied by refugee camp committees, approximately 6,000 Palestinians who fled Syria remain in Lebanon’s Bekaa |Valley, close to the Syrian borders, in two main gatherings, al-Jalil (4,216 refugees) and central Bekaa (2,352). In the North, Baddawi camp hosts 4,116 and Nahr al Bared 2,016. In Beirut, Burj al-Barajneh camp hosts 2,928 additional refugees from Syria, Shatila and the surrounding areas 2,800, and Mar Elias 862. In the South, 8,549 refugees arrived to Ain al-Hilweh and 2,400 are dispersed around Saida. Mieh Mieh camp hosts 1,512, with an additional 2,160 in Wadi al-Zaineh. Further south to Tyre, Palestinian refugees from Syria are distributed among Shabriha (184), Rashidieh (1,370), Al Bass (478), Burj al-Shemali (2,800), Qasimiyeh (372), and Jal al-Bahr (128).
Falk knew, before gracing Lebanon with his visit, that UNWRA is basically out of money and cannot continue to meet its mandate for aiding Lebanon’s Palestinians even less those arriving from Syria at the rate of more than two dozen families per day. On 5/5/13, the popular committee representative at Jalil Camp near Baalbec reported that they receive on average 8 additional families per day, with dozens now living in the Jalil camp cemetery.
Palestinian children in Lebanon, Falk was advised, unfortunately provide textbook examples of the fact of life that it is difficult to concentrate on school when ones stomach is growling with hunger. And it’s even harder to stay in school when there’s even a remote chance to work odd jobs and earn money for food – something education doesn’t immediately offer. One new local initiative is the Meals for Schools, whose organizers hope serve food to impoverished schoolchildren in Lebanese slum areas. One idea is to give coupons for meals to schools. Unfortunately the scope will not include Palestinian children “at this time due to limited funding”, according to one AUB student hoping to help children stay in school by helping them to have breakfasts.
Palestinian refugee children have limited access to the public educational system in Lebanon. Only 11 per cent these “foreign” children can access free public education in Lebanon while most refugees can’t afford the high tuition fees of private schools. Palestinian refugees who attend one of the 58 UNRWA begin at age seven since UNWRA cannot afford pre-school level education. Consequently, for Palestinians here, while the elementary sector comprises more than 60% of students, the number drops to 28% in intermediate and only 10% at the secondary level. While the attendance rate for 7 year olds is 98.6%, by the time they reach age 11 attendance falls to 93.4%. But from this level, the primary level school completion rate cascades to only 37%, due to astronomical dropout rates. The above figures reveal that Palestinian education levels have been indeed progressively dropping in recent years. This is further supported by the passing rate in the Brevet Official exams (official diploma qualifying entry into secondary) which was in some schools as low as 13.6% in some schools according to the UNRWA results of Brevet exams, despite the average passing rate in UNRWA schools being 43% for the 2009-10 academic year.
Professor Falk was briefed on myriad realities including the fact that Palestinians camps in Lebanon remain sites of control and surveillance by the Lebanese Army. People’s mobility and access to construction materials have been restricted by the army check points at the entrance of camps. Palestinian refugees are forbidden by law – since 2001 – to own or inherit real estate in Lebanon; consequently when a Palestinian dies, even if she or he inherited property between 1948-2001, before a wave of revenge led to the 2001 racist law, the property goes to Sunni Muslim Dar al-Fatwa one of the richest real estate holding entities in Lebanon. Accused of deep corruption by some, their leadership has a history of opposing full civil rights for Palestinian refugees here remain opposed to home ownership.
The UN’s humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, reported this week that seven million people need humanitarian assistance in Syria. “The needs are growing rapidly and are most severe in the conflict and opposition-controlled areas” of the civil-war ravaged country, the global body’s humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told the U.N. Security Council. Amos cited data showing there are 6.8 million people in need — out of a total population of 20.8 million — along with 4.25 million people internally displaced and an additional 1.3 million who have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
Falk was briefed on most recent household surveys of Palestinian refugees carried out by the American University of Beirut which show that two thirds of Palestine refugees are poor. The extreme poverty rate in camps (7.9%) is almost twice of that observed in gatherings (4.2%). The study also developed a Deprivation Index based on components of welfare which included components such as good health, food security, and adequate education, access to stable employment, decent housing, and ownership of essential household assets. The Deprivation Index showed that 40% of Palestine Refugees living in Lebanon are deprived. The study reported that 56% of refugees are jobless and only 37% of the working age population is employed (Hanafi et al. 2012). It is unsurprising that the poor socio-economic situation often encourages students to leave school to get a paid job.
Despite the importance of education fewer Palestinian refugee students are actually interested in continuing their higher education. Lack of motivation to learn, is believed to be one of the main reasons for the high dropout rates. Palestinian refugees’ access to Lebanon’s public university is limited by their status as foreigners, and their access to private universities is restricted by a lack of resources to pay tuition fees (Hroub, 2012).
The old cliché that stated that “The Palestinians are the most educated Arab nation”, is just a myth today. This educational hemorrhage among young Palestinians has been attributed to a number of factors such as the deteriorating socio-economic conditions amongst Palestinian refugees and the growing disillusionment with schooling and the benefits it brings. Palestinian students also suffer from an education acculturation as they are forced to learn only the Lebanese curriculum without being able to access the country’s system. The following section examines these three main challenges.
Statistics indicate that just under half of the classrooms in public schools have less than 15 students per class while 20 % are overcrowded with 26 to 35 students per class. However, in UNRWA schools, the average number of students per classroom is 30 making them the most crowded classrooms in Lebanon.
With respect to the UN refugee agency, (UNHCR) the current situation in both Syria and among the more than 450,000 Syrian in Lebanon is only marginally better than the conditions of arriving Palestinians. As Maeve Murphy, UNHCR’s Senior Field Coordinator in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, explained to this observer and others during a visit on 5/5/13, near the Nicolas Khoury Center in Zahle, Lebanon, amidst sea of hundreds of Syrians, some waiting for three months or longer just to get registered, the UN refugee agency is also unable to meet its mandate for the same reason as UNRWA and the World Food Program and others. Ms. Murphy reported that over 453,000 Syrians have either registered with the U.N. agency or are waiting to register. An additional several hundred thousand people are thought to be refugees but haven’t approached the U.N.
Complicating the desperate situation of Palestinian and Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary in Lebanon is the fact that millions of Syrian refugees face food rationing and cutbacks to critical medical programs because oil-rich Gulf states have failed to deliver the funding they promised for emergency humanitarian aid, an investigation by James Cusick for The Independent on Sunday has found. Pledges for $ 650 minion in donations from various sources including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, made during the January 2013, Kuwait UN emergency conference, have yet to materialize.
The World Food Program (WFP), the food aid arm of the UN, says it is spending $19m a week to feed 2.5 million refugees inside Syria and a further 1.5 million who have fled to official camps in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. By July, the WFP says, there is no guarantee that its work on the Syrian crisis can continue. A spokesman told the UK Independent, “We are already in a hand-to-mouth situation. Beyond mid-June – who knows?”
The emergency conference in Kuwait – hosted by the Emir of Kuwait and chaired by Mr Ban Ki Moon – promised to bring a “message of hope” to the four million Syrian refugees. Mr Ban proclaimed the outcome a shining example of “global solidarity in action”. The reality has been markedly different. Oxfam recently issued an appeal: “The League of Arab States must urge all Arab countries that have pledged to the Syrian crisis, to be transparent and to share information about their commitments, and mechanisms for fulfilling their pledges.”
Mousab Kerwat, Islamic Relief’s Middle East institutional funding manager, said: “It’s better for countries to stay away from donor conferences than to attend and make pledges they don’t intent to keep. As a minimum, they should communicate where their pledges have gone in a transparent process.
If Professor Falk was weary as he left Lebanon from all the data, visits, and wrenching experiences he was presented with, it would be understandable. But the humanitarian and scholar he showed no signs of fatigue but rather appeared to be energized by the experience. Given his history as a supporter of resistance to occupation and oppression, Richard Falk’s assurances that he will continue his work armed with the above sampling of data offers new hope for Palestinian and Syrian refugees from Syria and to those who support their Right and Responsibility to Return to Palestine.
Not only will Senate Bill 744, called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, add 33 million immigrants to the USA within the next 10 years, it will cost American taxpayers a mind-numbing $6.3 trillion. That amount of money piles on top of our already crippling $16.5 trillion national debt. When you consider 12 to 20 million illegal alien migrants taping into our social security, schools, medical systems, assisted housing and food stamp benefits—the costs skyrocket beyond imagination.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation stated, “Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers.”
Government provides four types of benefits and services that are relevant to this issue:
- Direct benefits. These include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
- Means-tested welfare benefits. There are over 80 of these programs which, at a cost of nearly $900 billion per year, provide cash, food, housing, medical, and other services to roughly 100 million low-income Americans. Major programs include Medicaid, food stamps, the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
- Public education. At a cost of $12,300 per pupil per year, these services are largely free or heavily subsidized for low-income parents.
- Population-based services. Police, fire, highways, parks, and similar services, as the National Academy of Sciences determined in its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, generally have to expand as new immigrants enter a community; someone has to bear the cost of that expansion.
“The cost of these governmental services is far larger than many people imagine,” said Rector. “For example, in 2010, the average U.S. household received $31,584 in government benefits and services in these four categories.
“The governmental system is highly redistributive. Well-educated households tend to be net tax contributors: The taxes they pay exceed the direct and means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services they receive. For example, in 2010, in the whole U.S. population, households with college-educated heads, on average, received $24,839 in government benefits while paying $54,089 in taxes. The average college-educated household thus generated a fiscal surplus of $29,250 that government used to finance benefits for other households.
“Other households are net tax consumers: The benefits they receive exceed the taxes they pay. These households generate a “fiscal deficit” that must be financed by taxes from other households or by government borrowing. For example, in 2010, in the U.S. population as a whole, households headed by persons without a high school degree, on average, received $46,582 in government benefits while paying only $11,469 in taxes. This generated an average fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of $35,113.
“The high deficits of poorly educated households are important in the amnesty debate because the typical unlawful immigrant has only a 10th-grade education. Half of unlawful immigrant households are headed by an individual with less than a high school degree, and another 25 percent of household heads have only a high school degree.”
Imbedding intractable human poverty into the American fabric
“Some argue that the deficit figures for poorly educated households in the general population are not relevant for immigrants,” said Rector. “Many believe, for example, that lawful immigrants use little welfare. In reality, lawful immigrant households receive significantly more welfare, on average, than U.S.-born households. Overall, the fiscal deficits or surpluses for lawful immigrant households are the same as or higher than those for U.S.-born households with the same education level. Poorly educated households, whether immigrant or U.S.-born, receive far more in government benefits than they pay in taxes.
“In contrast to lawful immigrants, unlawful immigrants at present do not have access to means-tested welfare, Social Security, or Medicare. This does not mean, however, that they do not receive government benefits and services. Children in unlawful immigrant households receive heavily subsidized public education. Many unlawful immigrants have U.S.-born children; these children are currently eligible for the full range of government welfare and medical benefits. And, of course, when unlawful immigrants live in a community, they use roads, parks, sewers, police, and fire protection; these services must expand to cover the added population or there will be “congestion” effects that lead to a decline in service quality.
“In 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes. This generated an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household. This cost had to be borne by U.S. taxpayers. Amnesty would provide unlawful households with access to over 80 means-tested welfare programs, Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare. The fiscal deficit for each household would soar.
“If enacted, amnesty would be implemented in phases. During the first or interim phase (which is likely to last 13 years), unlawful immigrants would be given lawful status but would be denied access to means-tested welfare and Obamacare. Most analysts assume that roughly half of unlawful immigrants work “off the books” and therefore do not pay income or FICA taxes. During the interim phase, these “off the books” workers would have a strong incentive to move to “on the books” employment. In addition, their wages would likely go up as they sought jobs in a more open environment. As a result, during the interim period, tax payments would rise and the average fiscal deficit among former unlawful immigrant households would fall.
“After 13 years, unlawful immigrants would become eligible for means-tested welfare and Obamacare. At that point or shortly thereafter, former unlawful immigrant households would likely begin to receive government benefits at the same rate as lawful immigrant households of the same education level. As a result, government spending and fiscal deficits would increase dramatically.”
If passed, S744 not only breaks the back of American taxpayers with jobs, it continues to take jobs away from American workers with an infusion of 1.5 million legal immigrants annually. That number equates to over 125,000 new green card workers per month.
What is it that makes young men, reasonably well educated, in good health and nice looking, with long lives ahead of them, use powerful explosives to murder complete strangers because of political beliefs?
I’m speaking about American military personnel of course, on the ground, in the air, or directing drones from an office in Nevada.
Do not the survivors of US attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere, and their loved ones, ask such a question?
The survivors and loved ones in Boston have their answer – America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That’s what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston bomber has said in custody, and there’s no reason to doubt that he means it, nor the dozens of others in the past two decades who have carried out terrorist attacks against American targets and expressed anger toward US foreign policy. 1 Both Tsarnaev brothers had expressed such opinions before the attack as well. 2 The Marathon bombing took place just days after a deadly US attack in Afghanistan killed 17 civilians, including 12 children, as but one example of countless similar horrors from recent years. “Oh”, an American says, “but those are accidents. What terrorists do is on purpose. It’s cold-blooded murder.”
But if the American military sends out a bombing mission on Monday which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Tuesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Wednesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and the military then announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” … Thursday … Friday … How long before the American military loses the right to say it was an accident?
Terrorism is essentially an act of propaganda, to draw attention to a cause. The 9-11 perpetrators attacked famous symbols of American military and economic power. Traditionally, perpetrators would phone in their message to a local media outlet beforehand, but today, in this highly-surveilled society, with cameras and electronic monitoring at a science-fiction level, that’s much more difficult to do without being detected; even finding a public payphone can be near impossible.
From what has been reported, the older brother, Tamerlan, regarded US foreign policy also as being anti-Islam, as do many other Muslims. I think this misreads Washington’s intentions. The American Empire is not anti-Islam. It’s anti-only those who present serious barriers to the Empire’s plan for world domination.
The United States has had close relations with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar, amongst other Islamic states. And in recent years the US has gone to great lengths to overthrow the leading secular states of the Mideast – Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Moreover, it’s questionable that Washington is even against terrorism per se, but rather only those terrorists who are not allies of the empire. There has been, for example, a lengthy and infamous history of tolerance, and often outright support, for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when their terrorist acts were committed in the United States. Hundreds of anti-Castro and other Latin American terrorists have been given haven in the US over the years. The United States has also provided support to terrorists in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran, Libya, and Syria, including those with known connections to al Qaeda, to further foreign policy goals more important than fighting terrorism.
Under one or more of the harsh anti-terrorist laws enacted in the United States in recent years, President Obama could be charged with serious crimes for allowing the United States to fight on the same side as al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Libya and Syria and for funding and supplying these groups. Others in the United States have been imprisoned for a lot less.
As a striking example of how Washington has put its imperialist agenda before anything else, we can consider the case of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord whose followers first gained attention in the 1980s by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. This is how these horrible men spent their time when they were not screaming “Death to America”. CIA and State Department officials called Hekmatyar “scary,” “vicious,” “a fascist,” “definite dictatorship material”. 3 This did not prevent the United States government from showering the man with large amounts of aid to fight against the Soviet-supported government of Afghanistan. 4 Hekmatyar is still a prominent warlord in Afghanistan.
A similar example is that of Luis Posada who masterminded the bombing of a Cuban airline in 1976, killing 73 civilians. He has lived a free man in Florida for many years.
USA Today reported a few months ago about a rebel fighter in Syria who told the newspaper in an interview: “The afterlife is the only thing that matters to me, and I can only reach it by waging jihad.” 5 Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have chosen to have a shootout with the Boston police as an act of suicide; to die waging jihad, although questions remain about exactly how he died. In any event, I think it’s safe to say that the authorities wanted to capture the brothers alive to be able to question them.
It would be most interesting to be present the moment after a jihadist dies and discovers, with great shock, that there’s no afterlife. Of course, by definition, there would have to be an afterlife for him to discover that there’s no afterlife. On the other hand, a non-believer would likely be thrilled to find out that he was wrong.
Let us hope that the distinguished statesmen, military officers, and corporate leaders who own and rule America find out in this life that to put an end to anti-American terrorism they’re going to have to learn to live without unending war against the world. There’s no other defense against a couple of fanatic young men with backpacks. Just calling them insane or evil doesn’t tell you enough; it may tell you nothing.
But this change in consciousness in the elite is going to be extremely difficult, as difficult as it appears to be for the parents of the two boys to accept their sons’ guilt. Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, stated after the Boston attack: “The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks … We should be asking ourselves at this moment, ‘How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?’” 6
Officials in Canada and Britain as well as US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice have called for Falk to be fired. 7
President Kennedy’s speech, half a century ago
I don’t know how many times in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy made his much celebrated 1963 speech at American University in Washington, DC. 8 I’ve heard or read that if only he had lived he would have put a quick end to the war in Vietnam instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years, and that the Cold War might have ended 25 years sooner than it did. With the 50th anniversary coming up June 13 we can expect to hear a lot more of the same, so I’d like to jump the gun and offer a counter-view.
Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims such as the allegation that “American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war … that there is a very real threat of a preventative war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union” … [and that] the political aims – and I quote – “of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries … [and] to achieve world domination … by means of aggressive war.”
It is indeed refreshing that an American president would utter a thought such as: “It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write.” This is what radicals in every country wonder about their leaders, not least in the United States. For example, “incredible claims such as the allegation that ‘American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war’.”
In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States had unleashed many different types of war, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat – one or more of these in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Congo, Haiti, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil. This is all in addition to the normal and routine CIA subversion of countries all over the world map. Did Kennedy really believe that the Soviet claims were “incredible”?
And did he really doubt that that the driving force behind US foreign policy was “world domination”? How else did he explain all the above interventions (which have continued non-stop into the 21st century)? If the president thought that the Russians were talking nonsense when they accused the US of seeking world domination, why didn’t he then disavow the incessant US government and media warnings about the “International Communist Conspiracy”? Or at least provide a rigorous definition of the term and present good evidence of its veracity.
Quoting further: “Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint.” No comment.
“We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people.” Unless of course the people foolishly insist on some form of socialist alternative. Ask the people of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, British Guiana and Cuba, just to name some of those in Kennedy’s time.
“At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends …” American presidents have been speaking of “our friends” for many years. What they all mean, but never say, is that “our friends” are government and corporate leaders whom we keep in power through any means necessary – the dictators, the kings, the oligarchs, the torturers – not the masses of the population, particularly those with a measure of education.
“Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides.”
Persistent, yes. Patient, often. But moral, fostering human rights, democracy, civil liberties, self-determination, not fawning over Israel … ? As but one glaring example, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, perhaps the last chance for a decent life for the people of that painfully downtrodden land; planned by the CIA under Eisenhower, but executed under Kennedy.
“The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.”
See all of the above for this piece of hypocrisy. And so, if no nation interfered in the affairs of any other nation, there would be no wars. Brilliant. If everybody became rich there would be no poverty. If everybody learned to read there would be no illiteracy.
“The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.”
So … Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, and literally dozens of other countries then, later, and now, all the way up to Libya in 2012 … they all invaded the United States first? Remarkable.
And this was the man who was going to end the war in Vietnam very soon after being re-elected the following year? Lord help us.
This is not to put George W. Bush down. That’s too easy, and I’ve done it many times. No, this is to counter the current trend to rehabilitate the man and his Iraqi horror show, which partly coincides with the opening of his presidential library in Texas. At the dedication ceremony, President Obama spoke of Bush’s “compassion and generosity” and declared that: “He is a good man.” The word “Iraq” did not pass his lips. The closest he came at all was saying “So even as we Americans may at times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families.” 9 Should morality be that flexible? Even for a politician? Obama could have just called in sick.
At the January 31 congressional hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, Senator John McCain ripped into him for his critique of the Iraq war:
“The question is, were you right or were you wrong?” McCain demanded, pressing Hagel on why he opposed Bush’s decision to send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the so-called ‘surge’.
“I’m not going to give you a yes-or-no answer. I think it’s far more complicated than that,” Hagel responded. He said he would await the “judgment of history.”
Glaring at Hagel, McCain ended the exchange with a bitter rejoinder: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you are on the wrong side of it.” 10
Before the revisionist history of the surge gets chiseled into marble, let me repeat part of what I wrote in this report at the time, December 2007:
The American progress is measured by a decrease in violence, the White House has decided – a daily holocaust has been cut back to a daily multiple catastrophe. And who’s keeping the count? Why, the same good people who have been regularly feeding us a lie for the past five years about the number of Iraqi deaths, completely ignoring the epidemiological studies. A recent analysis by the Washington Post left the administration’s claim pretty much in tatters. The article opened with: “The U.S. military’s claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends.”
To the extent that there may have been a reduction in violence, we must also keep in mind that, thanks to this lovely little war, there are several million Iraqis either dead, wounded, in exile abroad, or in bursting American and Iraqi prisons. So the number of potential victims and killers has been greatly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in Iraq (another good indication of progress, n’est-ce pas? nicht wahr?) – Sunnis and Shiites are now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down. On top of all this, US soldiers have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like … well, dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down.
One of the signs of the reduction in violence in Iraq, the administration would like us to believe, is that many Iraqi families are returning from Syria, where they had fled because of the violence. The New York Times, however, reported that “Under intense pressure to show results after months of political stalemate, the [Iraqi] government has continued to publicize figures that exaggerate the movement back to Iraq”; as well as exaggerating “Iraqis’ confidence that the current lull in violence can be sustained.” The count, it turns out, included all Iraqis crossing the border, for whatever reason. A United Nations survey found that 46 percent were leaving Syria because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about improved security.
How long can it be before vacation trips to “Exotic Iraq” are flashed across our TVs? “Baghdad’s Beautiful Beaches Beckon”. Just step over the bodies. Indeed, the State Department has recently advertised for a “business development/tourism” expert to work in Baghdad, “with a particular focus on tourism and related services.” 11
Another argument raised again recently to preserve George W.’s legacy is that “He kept us safe”. Hmm … I could swear that he was in the White House around the time of September 11 … What his supporters mean is that Bush’s War on Terrorism was a success because there wasn’t another terrorist attack in the United States after September 11, 2001 while he was in office; as if terrorists killing Americans is acceptable if it’s done abroad. Following the American/Bush strike on Afghanistan in October 2001 there were literally scores of terrorist attacks – including some major ones – against American institutions in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific: military, civilian, Christian, and other targets associated with the United States.
Even the claim that the War on Terrorism kept Americans safe at home is questionable. There was no terrorist attack in the United States during the 6 1/2 years prior to the one in September 2001; not since the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. It would thus appear that the absence of terrorist attacks in the United States is the norm.
William Blum speaking in Wisconsin, near Minnesota
Saturday, July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. Peacestock is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace in an idyllic location near the Mississippi, just one hour’s drive from the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Peacestock is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 115, and has a peace-themed agenda. Kathy Kelly, peace activist extraordinaire, will also speak.
You can camp there and be fed well, meat or vegetarian. Full information at:http://www.peacestockvfp.org 11
- William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapters 1 and 2, for cases up to about 2003; later similar cases are numerous; e.g., Glenn Greenwald, “They Hate US for our Occupations”, Salon, October 12, 2010 ↩
- Huffington Post, April 20, 2013; Washington Post, April 21 ↩
- Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget (1990), p.149-50. ↩
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II ↩
- USA Today, December 3, 2012 ↩
- ForeignPolicyJournal.com, April 21, 2013 ↩
- The Telegraph (London), April 25, 2013; Politico.com, April 24 ↩
- Full text of speech ↩
- Remarks by President Obama at Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library ↩
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2013 ↩
- Anti-Empire Report, #52, December 11, 2007 ↩
Drone Contractor caught exposing himself in Taunton, MA, two days after Boston Marathon Explosion near Boston
John B. (Jack) Douglas, an attorney and author of the long touted,“Reebok Rules,” famously filled with advice on how to make it as a corporate counsel, caught in ‘the act,’ told the off-duty officer what he was doing was a family tradition. Officer McGowan did not find the argument compelling.
Douglas exposed himself to Officer McGowan’s wife and children as the family ate a meal together at Olive Garden Restaurant on County St, Taunton, MA.
Some will chuckle. Others will be outraged. A few will talk about the beauty of the human body and their support of nudity. But Jack Douglas revealed something about his real values and operating principles, there, between Dunkin’ Donuts and the Olive Garden, something he would prefer was not transparent to the world.
When we can see and understand the actions of those, who otherwise, we would automatically trust, we are far better able to ensure our trust is not misused.
Jack knows perfectly well what the prevailing standards are for nudity, legally and culturally. He is a seasoned and sophisticated graduate of Harvard. On June 7th Douglas will face pre-trial in Taunton District Court.
Covert behavior which gratifies or profits individuals flies underneath a system of law and the original American culture which, localized and community based, allowed us to know each other well enough to know the predilections and motives of those around us. We knew who we could trust and how much we could extend that trust.
Modifications in our form of government and business took place over time. But this form of ‘security,’ knowing about the operating principles of those around us, which are not enumerated in their resumes and CVs, is exactly what the burgeoning centralization of government and corporations has worked diligently to suppress.
When you look at Jack’s smiling face in the line up of his fellow team members from the corporation for which he is Vice President, the last thing you would think about is him is the I image of him lifting his kilt to expose himself to a family eating their garlic bread.
But what you don’t know about those in corporations and government can, and is, killing people around the world and reducing all of us, who struggle to do the right thing, to poverty and ill-health.
Jack Douglas is Senior Vice-President for Green Hills Software, Inc., a company which provides software for war drones to the military. Using drones in an illegal, undeclared war in Pakistan which is, daily killing innocent civilians, is good for their bottom line. But this policy of death for profits both violates our Constitution and is is making America a nation, hated for its disregard of human rights, across the globe.
Green Hills took off for the big bucks in 2003 when the War in Iraq was just getting under way, at the same time they supplied uncertified documents to individuals closely associated with the Bush Administration in an attempt to protect one of their operatives, John Fund.
Look closely at these photos of the Management Team. You are going to learn some interesting things about them which will change your perception of the sheen of respectability which the presentation of their images and resumes create.
The President and CEO of Green Hills is Dan O’Dowd. Dan owns 97% of the company with his wife, Amy Chang. O’Dowd, whose life ambition is to be wealthier than Bill Gates owns other companies, purchased with his profits. Covert should be Dan’s middle name.
Unlike Gates, O’Dowd did not have a wealthy father. Dad O’Dowd was a psychologist.
Dan was a poor graduate from CalTech when, in 1982, with the financial backing of another very successful CalTech graduate, Glenn Hightower, they founded Green Hills.
Despite claims, it was not an immediate success. In fact, in 1985 it seemed likely they would have to return to Hightower for more funding, diluting his shares. It was then Craig Franklin entered Dan’s life. Franklin, ignoring Dan’s marketing, read the code and recommended it to friends in the industry, saving Dan’s equity position. Making Franklin an offer he could not refuse, Dan hired Franklin on as vice president of advanced products development in 1986.
The two men each have much to hide.
In 1998 it was Franklin who organized the walk-out of critical employees which, part of a carefully orchestrated plan, allowed O’Dowd to buy out the company from Hightower at a fraction of its real value. Hightower had been an active participant in the company, not a passive investor.
The deal between Franklin and O’Dowd was of the, “Throw Mama from the Train,” variety. Franklin assisted in defrauding Hightower and O’Dowd made sure Franklin’s wife did not receive her marital share of the stock options issued to Franklin the year before. Their actions callously, and intentionally, left her disabled, destitute, and struggling to care for a completely disabled son, who Franklin had adopted.
Today, Craig Franklin, is widely known to engage in bizarre sexual behavior and to have exposed himself to his adopted daughters. The focus of his sexual drive is young girls, and his fantasies turn on incest. Franklin’s son, Jonathan Scott Franklin, is presently serving time for the attempted murder, by hitman, of his wife.
Green Hills provides software for aerial guidance systems, high level encryption, and covert surveillance, directly to government and to other government contractors, among other products.
Today, we must openly confront the fact government contractors and other multi-national corporations have become a powerful partner in government. Therefore, the operating principles of the real, flesh and blood people who determine their corporate strategies and policies must be transparent to us, the people who supply the money which has allowed them to ramp up to billion dollar enterprises.
Those on corporate management teams, officers of the company, and members of their boards, are not private individuals. Our need to know supersedes their privacy, as it would for elected or appointed officials. The American people supply the money which pays for their corporate jets and income. On our behalf, they are making decisions which are impacting all of us.
We have it in our power to provide the transparency in this sector which is so desperately needed. The responsibility is ours, each of ours, as individuals. When we see wrong being done we need to speak out, informing others as we demand justice be done.
This was true in Nazi Germany. It is true now.
Today, it is obvious just how deep and wide the corruption of our institutions has gone. Read, “Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever,“ by Matt Taibbi, now published in Rolling Stone Magazine, if you still doubt. It is not just war contractors. From the highest level of banking down to the seemingly honest faces of the men above, the need for transparency screams to us like a man dying for want of air, lost in an ocean of deceit, all undertaken for profit, without a shred of integrity.
As we continue the campaign to ‘get to know,’ the Management Team for Green Hills Software, remember there are 2,500 drone companies which are members of the Association for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Systems International, of which Green Hills is a Silver member.
Forget their attempts to look honest, normal and respectable. Remember how much they have hidden, tolerated, and the murders committed in the name of money in their pockets. Character, and values, do matter. The lack of integrity, the real thing, not Dan’s ironically named software, can destroy all of us unless we, as individuals step up and take action.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Visit: DroneFreeZone.info for updates.
John B. Douglas, III Police Report I received the report from an anonymous source. Checked it with the local police who pointed out the article in the paper, which included the date for the pre-trial.
In 1965, as a college student, I felt the U.S. Government and Congress worked for and represented the best interests of the American people. As I learned more, and later as I understood more as a U.S. Army officer, I discovered presidents and Congress lie. When I became a math-science teacher in Denver, Colorado, I discovered that superintendents lie when it benefits them. I discovered people lie.
Lyndon Baines Johnson lied to plunge us into the Vietnam War. Bill Clinton lied from the day of his birth. George W. Bush lied us into Iraq War. Barack H. Obama continually lies to us as to immigration, Afghanistan War, Obamacare, his past history and more than we can count.
But the one lie that will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the United States of America goes to the late Senator Teddy Kennedy (D-MA) and his 1965 Immigration Reform Act. He exploded immigration from 175,000 annually to over 1.2 million year after year, decade after decade. He jumped our population from a reasonable 194 million to its current 316 million on our way to 625 million in this century.
In front of Congress he said, “First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same. Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset. Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia.
“In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think. The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. The bill will not place a burden on the legal citizens by increasing taxes to pay the huge costs for care-and-feeding, medical care, education, etc of the “immigrants”… and additional social-services for their family members. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.” [Ted Kennedy at Judiciary Committee hearing on Feb. 10, 1965, commenting on the Hart-Celler Act]
Kennedy’s bill DID flood the country with another 100 million people. It created intractable poverty and entrenched illiteracy. It created cultural conflicts being played out across America in 2013, i.e. Mexicans battling African-Americans in Los Angeles, Muslims taking over entire cities like Detroit and running out everyone else; it imported many third world immigrants lost in the morass of this high speed society and unable to assimilate. We feature “Black flash mobs” terrorizing citizens in Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Chicago. We feature female genital mutilation, arranged marriages and honor killings in America in 2013. We see exploding illiteracy rates among citizens. We house 47 million people who cannot secure a job: thus, they exist on food stamps. Over 14 million Americans cannot secure a job at a living wage.
This new Comprehensive Immigration Bill expects to swamp our country with another 100 million immigrants within 37 years. From 2050, we face another 200 million beyond that.
In the meantime, Congress, led by a “Gang of Eight” senators expects to unload the gates of hell upon our country. Not only will Congress give total amnesty to 20 million, they in turn, can and will chain-migrate endless millions of their families into our country. This thing will become SO ugly on SO many levels, but we will become the victims and no one wins and everyone loses.
Amazingly enough, after the failure of the 1986 amnesty, our borders remain as porous as ever. Nothing in this bill shows any intention of enforcing past or current immigration employment, housing or transporting of illegal migrant laws. Thus, illegals will careen into our country in ever greater numbers.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said, “This is not amnesty — amnesty is the forgiveness of something. We’re going to create an alternative that says OK, you want to stay here, you’ll have to wait more than 10 years, you’ll have to pay this fine, you’ll have to pay your registration fee, you’ll have to be gainfully employed, you won’t qualify for any federal benefit, and then after all of that you don’t get to apply for anything until the enforcement mechanisms are in place.”
Schumer lies like a rug, like Al Capone, like a snake, like the 19 terrorists who flew airplanes into the Twin Towers and elsewhere.
- When the bill becomes law, every single illegal alien in America becomes legal.
- Legal status will never be revoked; it can and will only be expanded with every inevitable subsequent act of Congress.
- This amnesty will leader to more amnesties for millions of other aliens crossing our borders or overstaying their visas.
If you expect to save your own rear end and that of your children’s future, I implore you to join the following organizations for free and start sending pre-written faxes to your reps to defeat this bill.
As you read in the First Basic Law of Stupidity, our U.S. Congress works on yet another mass amnesty for 20 million illegal alien migrants now working and residing in our country in violation of dozens of our laws. Notice that Congress failed to enforce the employment laws from the 1965 Immigration Reform Law as well as the 1986 Amnesty that gave four million Mexicans instant citizenship. All totaled, those two new laws by Congress flooded this country with over 120 million more people since 1965. This next amnesty will flood the country with yet another 100 million immigrants at the bare minimum.
Today, we live in 2013 with a few other interesting facts Congress bestowed on the American people:
- Congress placed our country into a $16.5 trillion national debt. It’s wrecking the foundation of our republic and our financial ability to survive.
- Congress waged two useless, worthless and meaningless wars for the past 10 years at a cost of $3 trillion. Trillions more when it comes to the emotional, physical and psychological chaos incurred by our military veterans.
- Congress outsource, insourced and offshored millions of US jobs so we now suffer 14 million unemployed and 7 million underemployed.
- Congress killed so many jobs and job training that 47 million Americans subsist on food stamps in April of 2013.
- Congress refuses to enforce internal immigration employment, housing and transport laws—so that we face 20 million illegal aliens scamming American workers out of jobs as well as using $346 billion annually in taxpayer services like education, medical care, anchor babies, incarceration, drug distribution, shop lifting and more.
- Congress refuses to aid lawful American citizens with jobs, but it works its magic in allowing over eight million illegal aliens full time work in our country—and much of it off the books and no taxes collected, but we subsidize their children, health care and prison costs.
- Congress huddles in Washington, DC to gift another 20 million illegal aliens with instant citizenship and all the cash and welfare benefits that entails. Heritage Foundation estimates $3 to $5 trillion for the cost of this new amnesty paid for by you, the legal American taxpayer.
Which brings us to the “Second Basic Law of Stupidity” by Carlo M. Cipolla, Professor of
Economics, UC Berkeley in Whole Earth Review, Spring 1987
Cipolla said in the Second Basic Law of Stupidity, “Cultural trends now fashionable in the West favor an egalitarian approach to life. People like to think of human beings as the output of a perfectly engineered mass production machine. Geneticists and sociologists especially go out of their way to prove, with an impressive apparatus of scientific data and formulations that all men are naturally equal and if some are more equal that others, this is attributable to nurture and not to nature.
“I take an exception to this general view. It is my firm conviction, supported by years of observation and experimentation, that men are not equal, that some are stupid and others are not, and that the difference is determined by nature and not by cultural forces or factors. One is stupid in the same way one is red-haired; one belongs to the stupid set as one belongs to a blood group. A stupid man is born a stupid man by an act of Providence.”
The collective IQ of America declines below three digits. Notice that 7,000 high school kids drop out or flunk out of high school every day in America. Notice those failure rates correspond to the millions of third world immigrants imported into America. Not only does our Congress import illiteracy, it imports poverty and cultures of poverty. One look at Los Angeles today provides ample proof where a teenager cannot read the bus schedule. Unemployment screams off the charts and immigrants ride the welfare gravy train like a new art form.
“Although convinced that fractions of human beings are stupid and that they are so because of genetic traits,” said Cipolla. “I am not a reactionary trying to reintroduce surreptitiously class or race discrimination, I firmly believe stupidity is an indiscriminate privilege of all human groups and is uniformly distributed according to a constant proportion. This fact is scientifically expressed by the Second Basic Law with states that: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.”
Today in America 42 million Americans cannot read, write or perform simple math problems. Another 50 million cannot read past the 4th grade level. It will be interesting when we import the projected 100 million more immigrants from the burgeoning third world by 2050—as to what kind of a completely stupid, dumb, dysfunctional and totally illiterate civilization the majority of our citizens will have become.
The democrats and republicans will probably tell us we need more immigrants to revitalize the nation, freshen it and bring new ideas to solve all our problems.
Everything about a mass amnesty allowing 20 million illegal aliens instant citizenship smolders under a cloak of hidden agendas in Washington, DC. At present, eight U.S. senators negotiate the future of our country. Not only will they allow illegality by making it legal, they will increase legal immigration from its current 1.2 million annually to as high as 3.1 million annually. In other words, they will swamp this country with third world immigrants from every corner of the globe.
Few Americans realize that demographic experts project the United States adding 100 million more people by 2035 and 138 million people, net gain, to reach 438 million by 2050—a scant 37 years from now.
In our world of water shortages, energy depletion and resource exhaustion—our Congress inundates our civilization with more and more people without any appreciation of growing consequences.
Roy Beck, president of www.NumbersUSA.org offers the most comprehensive understanding of our predicament in his 10 minute video: “Immigration by the numbers–off the charts.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?
If every American viewed that video along with 535 congressional representatives, we would drastically reduce our legal and illegal immigration to less than 100,000 annually. Why 100,000? That’s how many egress the country annually. That would create a zero net gain of population.
Less appreciated: adding endless millions of legal and illegal immigrants guarantees ath 47 million Americans subsisting on foot stamps—will never escape their poverty.
The founder of Black Entertainment Television spoke about the indifference of Congress to incredibly high unemployment of African Americans. Federal data show that 40 percent of working-age Black Americans don’t have a job of any kind.
“But there is no Senate Gang of Eight working day and night to put those Black Americans back to work. There is no Gang of Eight grabbing headlines by creating legislation to keep blacks from being a lost generation in the labor market,” said Beck. “No, the only Gang of Eight working day and night with top priority urgency is the one trying to shove through an immigration bill to further engorge the labor markets with obviously unneeded workers.”
Roy Beck spoke about a mass amnesty:
“The Senate Gang of Eight was doing high-fives all weekend about an agreement between business and labor lobbyists that supposedly would allow their comprehensive amnesty bill to be rushed to the Senate floor for a vote by May,” said Beck. “But suddenly, it was the Gang of Seven, with the stalwart eighth member, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), talking about the need to “do it right”… let the other 92 Senators find out what is in the bill, find out the true costs, to include the impact on JOBS and U.S. unemployment, and study whether there might be better ways to reform our immigration system.”
Rubio demanded something rather extraordinary and old-fashioned: hearings of experts, an open amendment process and a full debate before the television cameras:
Rubio said, “The success of any major legislation depends on the acceptance and support of the American people. That support can only be earned through full and careful consideration of legislative language and an open process of amendments.”
“The Gang of Seven has not embraced Rubio’s attempt to slow-down the fast-track process by which pro-amnesty supporters have planned to rush the still-secret bill through the Judiciary Committee in a couple of weeks and get a vote on the Senate floor within a month with little debate and amending,” said Beck. “The fast-track approach always attempts to side-track the public while giant amnesties and immigration increases are created in secret and then hurried through the legislative process before most elected officials even know what is in the thick bills.
“Sen. Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee chairman, announced last week that he did not intend to hold any hearings on the Gang of Eight bill once he receives it and that he would not allow opponents to slow-down his plan to get it to the floor by May.”
So, the “process” is the big issue of the moment and maybe this entire week.
“This is comforting news for those of us who oppose a bill that would further harm the 20 million Americans who can’t find a full-time job… and the millions more whose wages are depressed by a labor market glutted with 26 million foreign-born workers,” said Beck. “Many Floridians who suffered through years of Marco Rubio killing immigration enforcement legislation when he was in the state legislature doubt their junior Senator’s sincerity in his flap with other amnesty supporters. Others believe he will hop off the amnesty train if his demands for an open process are not met.”
Rubio’s letter included this:
“I respectfully suggest that such a process must begin with a careful examination in the Committee including: hearings that explore taxpayer-costs and multiple perspectives on the scope of the problems we face and the efficacy of the solutions we propose, markups in which a broad range of amendments can be considered, and a robust floor debate.”
“All of this, and any Conference Committee deliberations, should occur in the full view of the American people, broadcast on CSPAN, and streamed live on the internet.”
Rubio says about that claim:
“I am certain that those hearings deepened your knowledge of these issues and will guide much of your work this Congress. But they cannot be a substitute for fresh hearings to consider specific legislation as part of a national conversation.”
We desperately need a national discussion as to whether or not we will maintain ourselves as a sovereign country or “destination” for the world’s human population overload. We must ask ourselves if we want to add 100 million immigrants into our country. We must ask ourselves if we can survive the water, energy, resource and environmental consequences. If we don’t, we will become victims of our own apathy and stupidity.
If you watched NBC’s anchor Lester Holt on Saturday evening’s news, he reported that Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, features a “food pantry” for students who cannot afford to feed themselves while attending college. Further into the report, Holt announced that 50 colleges across the United States feature “food pantries” that give donated food stuffs out to destitute college students barely able to make their way through college.
The whole report sickened me. NBC’s Brian Williams last week reported that this month is the 10 year anniversary of invading Iraq with “Shock and Awe” from former President George W. Bush. We suffered 4,750 dead young men and women, 32,000 hideously wounded and $2 trillion in expenditures. Brian also announced that no “Weapons of Mass Destruction” existed in Iraq. We also killed over 150,000 Iraqi citizens.
As I sat there in my chair watching the news, I felt an overwhelming disgusting feeling that a band of 535 lunatics and one lunatic former president and the present incompetent president lack any ability to deal with reality and create solutions that solve American’s problems.
No one in his right mind would invade a sandbox country run by an idiot dictator over 10,000 miles away. Iraq posed no threat whatsoever to our country.
Yet, we feed 47.7 million Americans with food stamps because those individuals cannot find a job or are too illiterate to hold a job. We suffer 14 million unemployed Americans looking for work. Our infrastructure and bridges crumble right before our eyes. We stand eye-ball deep in $16.5 trillion in debt. Our educational systems spit out functionally illiterate and welfare-dependent kids by the hundreds of thousands every year.
A mind-numbing 13.4 million American children live below the poverty level in conditions that sicken any middle-American. Some one million Americans remain homeless night after night in the city streets of America. One in six Americans face hunger. www.feedingAmerica.org “In many ways, America is the land of plenty. But for 1 in 6 people in the United States, hunger is a reality. Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different. Right now, millions of Americans are struggling with hunger. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days.”
Yet, our Congress just gave Egypt $250 million dollars in aid this month. We send billions of dollars that we borrow from other countries to give to dozens of countries around the world in foreign aid. Yet, our own country rides on the thin margins of pretention.
That same Congress imports 100,000 legal, unskilled, undereducated, welfare-prone, food stamp and assisted housing recipients every 30 days into America. Those same immigrants along with illegals cost American taxpayers $346 billion annually across 15 federal agencies. (Source: Edwin Rubenstein, ESR, www.TheSocialContract.com )
It’s so beyond the realm of stupidity that it morphs into the realm of insanity—but Congress carries out this level of insanity as a normal method of day to day business.
We flounder at saving ourselves on the margins of our national debt by waiting until the last minute to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling. Yet, we never solve the debt problem at the cause. We continue with endless wars that cost us trillions of dollars, but we march right into new wars that provide no security or freedom—but plenty of death and debt. Our children suffer with educational systems bankrupting, but we add more to our military budgets where we must train poorly educated citizen soldiers.
We stagger into the future without a plan. Specifically, President Barack Obama staggers forward without a plan and our Congress waltzes into the financial and social abyss with him.
The American people become victims of our leaders’ incompetence, their corruption and their outright greed. For those 535 Congress critters to continue their pretenses of leading this country, it’s appalling that they can sleep at night knowing they fail us and fail us utterly.
One reader said, “Your latest article regarding immigration expresses what I’ve been saying for years. Neither Bush nor Obama care about securing the borders. All the talk about creating jobs is smoke and mirrors and rhetoric. Congress is still allowing 100,000 people to come here legally each month. How can we possibly put Americans to work at this rate? Looking at the whole picture, I firmly believe our country is finished, and it’s not going to return to what it was when we were younger. We will not out-vote those whose gave Obama a second term. He is bent on destroying our way of life, and succeeding. Morality and a belief in our Creator have been severely weakened. The U.S.A. is controlled by a despotic president, and parasites in Congress.”
Well, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is at it again. In their typical obsessive hate-filled paranoia, the SPLC has issued another baseless assassination piece against anyone whom they consider to be “right-wing.” They call their hit piece, “The Year in Hate and Extremism.” Of course, only “right-wing” leaders are so characterized. According to the SPLC, left-wing leaders are always the voices of reason and goodness. Barf!
The SPLC article lists several conservative leaders as examples of “hate and extremism.” They include Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), U.S. Representative Trey Radel (R-FL), former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel, FOX News radio host Todd Starnes, and ConservativeDaily.com’s Tony Adkins. “Even further to the right,” according to the SPLC, are Oath Keepers (founded by Stewart Rhodes), Judicial Watch’s Larry Klayman, and, yes, yours truly.
I take special delight in knowing that the SPLC ALWAYS puts me on or near the top of their most “dangerous” patriot lists. (Richard Mack and Stewart Rhodes also seem to merit this same attention.) I can’t tell you what a relief this is to me! I would hate to think that all of this work that I’m doing would somehow be overlooked by an extremist left-wing hate group like the SPLC. Plus, every time the SPLC puts me on one of their lists, donations, contributions, and support for my work always skyrocket. So, if you want to put your money behind a man who especially irritates the SPLC, you can donate to Chuck Baldwin Live here:
The SPLC maintains that 2012 saw a dramatic increase in the number of right-wing “hate groups.” Again, according to the SPLC, there are no left-wing hate groups. Of course, the SPLC doesn’t bother to name or locate these groups. Everyone is just supposed to take their word that they exist.
In addition, the SPLC maintains that anyone who opposes the UN’s Agenda 21 is also part of the “radical right,” as is anyone who belongs to the John Birch Society. Predictably, the SPLC report associates any and all of the above with neo-Nazis. This is a typical tactic of the SPLC (and other ultra-liberal organizations) to discredit conservatives by associating them with Nazis.
See the SPLC report at:
Back in 2010, the SPLC issued its list of 40 patriot leaders: people whom they consider to be part of the “radical right.” And, yes, Chuck Baldwin is at the very top of the list. Others who made the list in 2010 include Stewart Rhodes and Richard Mack (again), Alex Jones, Devvy Kidd, Cliff Kincaid, Jack McLamb, John McManus, Daniel New, Larry Pratt, Joel Skousen, Edwin Vieira, Jr., Andrew Napolitano, and Ron Paul.
See my column on this report at:
The SPLC is such a paranoid, extremist, ultra-liberal organization it would seem that only those who are the most biased and prejudiced in their liberal philosophy could even take them half-way seriously. Unfortunately, however, the SPLC is one of the most-often quoted sources by the mainstream media. Of course, most Americans realize that the mainstream media, for the most part, is itself extremely biased in favor of a left-wing agenda, so it is not surprising that they would gravitate to the left-wing paranoia that emanates from the SPLC.
However, even more unfortunate is the fact that the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C., also gives credence to the SPLC’s ultra-left-wing propaganda. This is the most disturbing part of the SPLC hysteria: the nation’s law enforcement agencies that receive instructions, bulletins, memos, briefs, etc., from the DOJ are watching the feds regurgitate the left-wing propaganda of the SPLC. This is why State police agencies, such as what we saw happen in Missouri’s MIAC report, end up characterizing conservatives as “extremist hate groups.” They got it from the DOJ, which got it from the SPLC.
So, how is it that a private extremist organization such as the SPLC is given this kind of notoriety and credibility by the federal government?
In a previous column, I pointed out that the SPLC and DOJ enjoy a very cozy relationship. In that column I said, “The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Alabama, has long been used by the federal government and the national press corps to paint conservative organizations as ‘extremists,’ ‘anti-government,’ ‘hate groups,’ etc. No sooner would the SPLC issue some attack piece in their newsletter and police agencies all over the country would be issuing bulletins to their officers regurgitating what the SPLC had just spewed out. No private organization has this kind of connection to, and influence over, police agencies nationwide without collaboration with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C. Well, now, we have evidence that such a collaboration exists.
“Brietbart.com has just released a report by Judicial Watch confirming that the DOJ and the SPLC are intricately tied to the hip. The report states, ‘Judicial Watch (JW), a Washington D.C. based non-partisan educational foundation, released some two dozen pages of emails it obtained on Tuesday revealing connections between the Department of Justice Civil Rights and Tax divisions and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).’”
See the column at:
That the DOJ has such a cozy relationship with this type of ultra-liberal organization should be cause for concern by all Americans. After all, justice is supposed to be adjudicated equally to all men–conservatives or liberals–according to the rule of law, not parceled out with the taint of bias and prejudice.
So, the SPLC is at it again. And, once again, I am flattered to be included in their list, because a man is known as much by his enemies as he is his friends. If the SPLC is attacking me, I must be doing something right.
On the front of the March 11, 2013 cover of Time Magazine, legless athlete Oscar Pistorius stands like a physical specimen held up by his prosthetic legs. The title reads, “Man, superman, gunman: Oscar Pistorius and South Africa’s culture of violence,” by Alex Perry.
“Don’t keep sweeping your troubles under the rug for someday you’ll trip over it.” Taylor Wapaha
While reading the article, I felt overwhelmed by the statistics: South Africa # 6 in the world for gun killings, 88 percent rise in home robberies in the past five years and total racial separation. Black poverty skyrocketed after the end of apartheid. Two surveys found: “…28 percent of men admitted to being rapists and 46 percent of victims were less than 16 years of age, 23 percent under 11 and 9 percent under six years old. Out of 3.5 million residents of Cape Town, 2.1 million live in shacks without toilets or running water.”
“In the townships, vigilante beatings and killings are the norm,” wrote Time writer Alex Perry. “South Africa’s private security industry employs 411,000 people, more than double the number of police officers. South Africa knows crime as a vast stretch of lawlessness covering an area twice the size of Texas. As much as $50 billion annually is lost to graft and crime.”
Much of Africa comprises dictators and unimaginable human brutality toward women. When you include the Muslim world’s honor killings of 5,000 women killed by fathers, brothers and husbands annually, you get a sick feeling in your stomach. While the world “rapes” Africa for its natural resources, its human residents suffer indescribable misery from Cape Town to Cairo. Note Egypt’s internal revolution, Syria killing of over 70,000 and Libya’s ongoing war, Somalia’s starving people, Sudan, etc.
What about human nature in America?
In my Denver Post, another equally disturbing article appeared by Lisa Wirthman: “I felt like I was dying inside.” (February 24, 2013) The rape victim said, “I was paralyzed by flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety attacks.”
Domestic violence in America:
- One in four U.S. adult women is a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. A woman in America suffers a violent attack every 15 seconds 24/7. Four million abuse cases annually.
- Three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day in America.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control)
In America in the 21st century in a highly educated society: rape and brutality continue without pause.
In the meantime, our country brutalized and killed countless people in Iraq in a war started by George W. Bush via the fabrication of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” David Brown, Washington Post staff writer said, “A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.”
When it comes to mechanized violence, our U.S. Military killed over 2.1 million men, women and children in Vietnam. The total deaths from the 11 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan may total over one million human beings. How can our U.S. Congress act with such arrogance and self-righteousness to continue those wars for so long with so much cost and so much death? Yet, we sweep it under the rug and out of our minds.
War on Mother Nature succeeding
While we spend so much money on the “War on Terror”; “War on Poverty”; “War on Drugs” and other such “wars”, we fail dramatically. Ten years of war in Iraq did absolutely nothing whatsoever to protect the United States of America. Instead, it ravaged a sovereign society and flooded our country with tens of thousands of Muslim refugees. Same with Afghanistan!
Notwithstanding, our “War on Mother Nature” proceeds with blinding speed. We humans, in the blink of 50 years and the invention of plastic, managed to create the 100 million ton Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the size of Texas, floating 1,000 miles off San Francisco. It kills millions of marine and avian life annually. We have done nothing to stop adding to it. No deposit-return laws worldwide—no nothing.
(Unfathomable billions of pieces of plastic washing throughout the oceans, lakes, seas, rivers and streams of the world—all created by humans around the planet.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com
“The world’s navies and commercial shipping fleets make a significant contribution, throwing some 639,000 plastic containers overboard every day, along with their other litter,” said ocean reporter Richard Grant. “But after a few more years of sampling ocean water in the gyre and near the mouths of Los Angeles streams, Moore concluded that 80 per cent of marine plastic was discarded on land. There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer of the world’s oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.”
(Endless plastic trash washes up on beaches around the world and kills wildlife by the millions.) Photo bywww.thewritefuture.com
In an Associated Press article by Verena Dobnic, “River of trash”, (March 3, 2013) she reports, “Just across the East river from midtown Manhattan’s shimmering skyscrapers sits one of the nation’s most polluted neighborhoods, fouled by generations of industrial waste, overflow from the city’s sewage system and an underground oil leak bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill. Oily, rainbow-slick water is filled with soda cans, plastic bottles, raw sewage and decaying food. Ditched vehicles are stuck in the mud. What was once a watershed is now a sewage shed. Today, the creek’s bottom is lined with 15 foot thick layer of petroleum-based pollutants that scientists have dubbed “black mayonnaise.”
(Wildlife eat the plastic trash that eventually kills them.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com
With endless poisons injected into our rivers, the Mississippi River creates a 10,000 mile square dead-zone at its mouth. The Yangtze, Ganges and other great rivers create 20,000 square mile dead zones at their mouths. Yet, we humans do absolutely nothing to clean up our messes all over the planet.
I’ve tried for 40 years to get Peter Coors of Coors Brewing to support a 10 cent deposit return law in Colorado. Instead, his money killed our deposit-return efforts in Colorado in 1974 and 1988. Why do men and women with money and power in this country—do nothing for the good of our environment? Why do the men and women of our U.S. Congress do absolutely nothing for the good of our natural world?
What would solve so many of the aforementioned problems? Answer: first and foremost—education to create responsible citizens who care about their world, loving families, jobs, stable communities, recreation and a healthy natural world. Is it asking too much for our leaders to work for the betterment of our lives rather than endless wars, profits over humanity and destruction of planet?
In the end, with another 3.1 billion people projected to be added to this planet within the next 37 years, is there any hope for civility, care about our planet and care about our fellow human beings?
The Dow is at a record high and so are corporate profits – so why does it feel like most of the country is deeply suffering right now? Real household income is the lowest that it has been in a decade, poverty is absolutely soaring,47 million Americans are on food stamps and the middle class is being systematically destroyed. How can big corporations be doing so well while most American families are having such a hard time? Isn’t their wealth supposed to “trickle down” to the rest of us? Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works. Today, most big corporations are trying to minimize the number of “expensive” American workers on their payrolls as much as they can. If the big corporation that is employing you can figure out a way to replace you with a worker in China or with a robot, it will probably do it. Corporations are in existence to maximize wealth for their shareholders, and most of the time the largest corporations are dominated by the monopoly men of the global elite. Over the decades, the politicians that have their campaigns funded by these monopoly men have rigged the game so that the big corporations are able to easily dominate everything. But this was never what those that founded this country intended. America was supposed to be a place where the power of collectivist institutions would be greatly limited, and individuals and small businesses would be free to compete in a capitalist system that would reward anyone that had a good idea and that was willing to work hard. But today, our economy is completely and totally dominated by a massively bloated federal government and by absolutely gigantic predator corporations that are greatly favored by our massively bloated federal government. Our founders tried to warn us about the dangers of allowing government, banks and corporations to accumulate too much power, but we didn’t listen. Now they dominate everything, and the rest of us are fighting for table scraps.
In early America, most states had strict laws governing the size and scope of corporations. Individuals and small businesses thrived in such an environment, and the United States experienced a period of explosive economic growth. We showed the rest of the world that capitalism really works, and we eventually built the largest middle class that the world had ever seen.
But now we have replaced capitalism with something that I like to call “corporatism”. In many ways, it shares a lot of characteristics with communism, and that is why nations such as communist China have embraced it so readily. Under “corporatism”, monolithic predator corporations run around sucking up as much wealth and economic power as they possibly can. Most individuals and small businesses cannot compete and end up getting absorbed by the corporations. These mammoth collectivist institutions are in private hands rather than in government hands (as would be the case under a pure form of communism), but the results are pretty much the same either way. A tiny elite at the top gets almost all of the economic rewards.
There are some out there that would suggest that the answer to our problems is to move more in the direction of “socialism”, but to be honest that wouldn’t be the solution to anything. It would just change how the table scraps that the rest of us are getting are distributed.
If we truly wanted a return to prosperity, we need to dramatically shift the rules of the game so that they are tilted back in favor of individuals and small businesses. A much more pure form of capitalism would mean more wealth, less poverty and a more equitable distribution of the economic rewards in this country.
But it will never happen. Most of our politicians are married to the big corporations and the wealthy elitists that fund their campaigns. And most Americans are so uneducated that they believe that what we actually have today is “capitalism” and that the only alternative is to go “to the left” toward socialism.
Very few people out there are suggesting that we need to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations, but that is exactly what we need to do. We need to give individuals and small businesses room to breathe once again.
With each passing year, things get even worse. In fact, the founder of Subway Restaurants recently said that the environment for small businesses is so toxic in America today that he never would have been able to start Subway if he had to do it today.
For much more on how small business is being strangled to death in the United States, please see my previous article entitled “We Are Witnessing The Death Of Small Business In America“.
What I want to do now is to discuss some of the results that “corporatism” is producing in America.
First of all, we continue to see incomes go down even though we live in an inflationary economy.
As Time Magazine recently reported, personal incomes took a huge nosedive during the month of January…
Data released by the Commerce Department last week showed that personal income fell 3.6% in January, the biggest decline in 20 years. The drop was even bigger when taxes and inflation are taken into account. Real personal disposable income fell by 4%, the biggest monthly drop in half a century.
Real median US household income — that’s “real,” as in “adjusted for inflation” — was $50,054 in 2011, the most recent data available from the US Census Bureau. That’s 8% lower than the 2007 peak of $54,489.
Meanwhile, big corporations are absolutely raking in the cash. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
“So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.”
The result has been a golden age for corporate profits, especially among multinational giants that are also benefiting from faster growth in emerging economies like China and India.
Just check out the following chart. Corporate profits have absolutely exploded over the past decade…
Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP continue to fall rapidly…
Most of the jobs being created in America today are “low wage” jobs. Tens of millions of Americans are working as hard as they can only to find that they can barely put food on the table and provide a roof over the heads of their children. The ranks of the “working poor” are exploding and the middle class continues to shrink.
Many of you that are reading this article are members of the working poor. You know what it is like to stare up at your ceiling at night wondering how you are going to pay the bills next month.
Today, most Americans are living very close to the edge financially. A recent article by NBC News staff writer Allison Linn shared some of their stories. The following is one example…
Crystal Dupont knows what it’s like to try to live on the federal minimum wage.
Dupont has no health insurance, so she hasn’t seen a doctor in two years. She’s behind on her car payments and has taken out pawn shop and payday loans to cover other monthly expenses. She eats beans and oatmeal when her food budget gets low.
When she got her tax refund recently, she used the money to get ahead on her light bill.
“I try to live within my means, but sometimes you just can’t,” said Dupont, 25. The Houston resident works 30 to 40 hours a week taking customer service calls, earning between $7.25 and $8 an hour. That came to about $15,000 last year.
It’s a wage she’s lived on for a while now, but just barely.
Sadly, the number of Americans that are “just barely” surviving continues to grow.
But if corporate profits are soaring to unprecedented heights, then who is getting all of those rewards?
The monopoly men of the global elite are.
Just check out the following video which does a great job of illustrating how corporatism has systematically funneled all of the economic rewards in our system to the very top…
Once again, I want to make it very clear that I am not advocating socialism as the answer in any way, shape or form. Socialism takes away the incentive to create wealth and it almost always results in almost all of the economic rewards going to a very tiny elite anyway.
As I said earlier, what we need is a return to a much more pure form of capitalism, but this is so foreign to the way that most people think that most people will not be able to grasp this.
It certainly would be possible to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations at the same time, but this is so “outside the box” for most people that they cannot even conceive of doing such a thing.
We need to create an environment where individuals and small businesses can thrive once again. But instead, most of us are content to continue “playing the game” and getting enslaved in even more debt.
For example, according to CNBC, auto loans just continue to get larger and continue to get stretched out for longer periods of time…
American car buyers, attracted by new models and cheap financing, are taking out bigger auto loans and stretching out the terms of those loans to a new record length.
New analysis from Experian Automotive shows the average new car loan in the fourth quarter of last year was $26,691 and stretched out over an average of 65 months. The length of the average loan is one month longer than the previous record set in the third quarter of last year.
What will they think of next?
Will we eventually have auto loans that get paid off over 10 years?
By the way, that is another way that the monopoly men of the global elite get all of our money. They enslave us to debt, and we spend year after year of our lives slaving away to make them even wealthier.
They are very smart. There is a reason why they have 32 TRILLION dollars stashed away in offshore tax havens. They know how to play the game, and they are very happy that most of the rest of us are asleep.
Fortunately, it appears that an increasing number of Americans are waking up.
For example, I wanted to share with you all an excerpt from a comment that one of my readers left on one of my recent articles…
In the past year, I’ve been slowly but surely waking up to the nonsense happening around me. There’s so many things I need to simply get off my chest, so excuse the length of this post. Recently in the past two years, I’ve gotten married and have been medically discharged from the Marines after being injured in Afghanistan. Being 23 years old and married, my goal is secure a secure a future for my family, but with the way things are going, I’m not exactly sure how much of a future we’re going to have in 50 years. I can’t explain it, but I’ve felt this need to change my attitude and motivations lately.
I started by turning off the garbage music, television and other mindless entertainment that seems to plague my generation. It was easier than it looked – I don’t miss most of it really. The next order of business was to educate myself on world news, so that’s what I did. Every day, like clockwork, I check all major mainstream news feeds (NBC, Fox, Abc, CNN, Reuters, BBC, etc.) as well as not-so-mainstream news sites – yours being one of them. It’s incredible how fast our world changes and the manner in which it changes. The local 10 o’clock doesn’t show anything but local news, sports, weather, lottery #’s and whatever else they decide to throw in. It’s a night and day difference once you start to actually research and see what’s happening all over the world. Look at the number of comments about a news story on the economy and then look at a celebrity story on the “news”….People are so blind, it truly amazes me. My friends, family and classmates at college seem to be under a spell of some sort. They’re distracted – and it’s contagious. Nobody I know gives a damn about global affairs/economics. They’re more interested in the newest iPhone, cars, shows, movies, and just about anything else you can think of. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these things, but my friends/family/peers are CONSUMED by these distractions. When the election was taking place in 2012, every Tom, Dick and Harry on Facebook had an opinion and rant. After the circus ended however, everyone simply went back to posting about parties, kittens, Farmville etc. It’s a huge joke. For me, it’s little terrifying and exciting to see history unfolding in front of our eyes. This country of ours is going through big changes now that will most certainly affect our future, so I strive to adapt and prepare myself and my family. I’m looking at buying my first home this summer. Right now I live in an apartment right outside Philly and spend more money on rent than most pay for a mortgage. I need a house with a little land to raise chickens, grow fruits/vegetables, store canned food – and to be as independent from the system as I can. For my job, I wanted a skill/trade that people would always need, so I picked the funeral business. On the side, I work in construction and have been learning everything there is to know about building with my own two hands. I feel as though these old forgotten skills are going to be handy in a short while.
Hopefully we can get a lot more people to wake up and start breaking out of “the matrix” of control that is all around us.
Right now, the system is designed to continually funnel more money and more power to the very top of the pyramid. The global elite are becoming more dominant with each passing day. Unless something dramatic happens, at some point the American people will become so powerless that they won’t be able to do anything about it even if they wanted to.
The idea of a very tiny elite completely dominating all the rest of us goes against everything that America is supposed to stand for. In the end, it will result in absolute tyranny if it is not stopped.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Psychopathy and sociopathy are both anti-social personality disorders. While both these disorders are the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.
Psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence.
Anti-social personality disorder results in extremely violent acts. Though psychiatrists often consider and treat sociopaths and psychopaths as the same, criminologists treat them as different because of the difference in their outward behaviour.
Differences in Outward Behavior of a Psychopath and a Sociopath
Psychopaths often live at the fringes of society. They often tend to be extremely disorganized and are unable to maintain normal relationships with family, friends or co-workers.
Unlike psychopaths, sociopaths can be almost obsessively organized and are normal in their social relationships, often forming symbiotic or parasitic relations. A sociopath would likely live an outwardly normal life and appear to blend in well with society; they may even be charming.
Psychopaths often find it hard to maintain a steady job and home.
Sociopaths often have successful careers and try and try to make others like and trust them. This is because they understand human social emotions quite well but are unable to experience them. This allows them to be master manipulators of human emotions.
A psychopath’s outbreaks of violence are erratic and unplanned. After an erratic act, psychopaths can often be easily identified as they generally leave behind a trail of clues and a history of violent outbursts.
A sociopaths can plan acts of violence for years and may often be motivated by greed or revenge. Violent crimes by sociopaths are often controlled and often go undetected until after a sociopath is caught.
Video explaining the difference
Here’s a short video of HLN’s Dr. Drew explaining the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath:
Similarities between Psychopaths and Sociopaths
Sociopaths and psychopaths both face medical disorders that can be treated or alleviated if properly diagnosed. Treatment involves therapies and may involve proper medication. In fact, psychiatrists often don’t distinguish between the two based on behavior; instead, they label a person with ASPD a sociopath if their mental condition is a result of mainly social conditions like abuse during childhood and a psychopath if the condition is mainly congenital.
The symptoms in both cases begin to establish and surface at approximately fifteen years of age. The initialsymptom can be excessive cruelty to animals followed by lack of conscience, remorse or guilt for hurtful actions to others at a later stage. There may be an intellectual understanding of appropriate social behavior but no emotional response to the actions of others. Psychopaths may also face an inability to form genuine relationships, and may show inappropriate or out of proportion reaction to perceived negligence.
If the economy is improving, then why are many of the largest retail chains in America closing hundreds of stores? When I was growing up, Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack were all considered to be unstoppable retail powerhouses. But now it is being projected that all of them will close hundreds of stores before the end of 2013. Even Wal-Mart is running into problems. A recent internal Wal-Mart memo that was leaked to Bloombergdescribed February sales as a “total disaster”. So why is this happening? Why are major retail chains all over America collapsing? Is the “retail apocalypse” upon us? Well, the truth is that this is just another sign that the U.S. economy is falling apart right in front of our eyes. Incomes are declining, taxes are going up, government dependence is at an all-time high, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed has been steadily falling since 2006. The top 10% of all income earners in the U.S. are still doing very well, but most U.S. consumers are either flat broke or are drowning in debt. The large disposable incomes that the big retail chains have depended upon in the past simply are not there anymore. So retail chains all over the United States are now closing up unprofitable stores. This is especially true in low income areas.
When you step back and take a look at the bigger picture, the rapid decline of some of our largest retail chains really is stunning.
It is happening already in some areas, but soon half empty malls and boarded up storefronts will litter the landscapes of cities all over America.
Just check out some of these store closing numbers for 2013. These numbers are from a recent Yahoo Finance article…
Forecast store closings: 200 to 250
Sears Holding Corp.
Forecast store closings: Kmart 175 to 225, Sears 100 to 125
Forecast store closings: 300 to 350
Forecast store closings: 125 to 150
Barnes & Noble
Forecast store closings: 190 to 240, per company comments
Forecast store closings: 500 to 600
Forecast store closings: 150 to 175
Forecast store closings: 450 to 550
The RadioShack in a nearby town just closed up where I live. This is all happening so fast that it is hard to believe.
But the truth is that those store closings are not the entire story. When you dig deeper you find a lot more retailers that are in trouble.
For example, Blockbuster recently announced that this year they will be closing about 300 stores and eliminating about 3,000 jobs.
Toy manufacturer Hasbro recently announced that they will be reducing the size of their workforce by about 10 percent.
Even Wal-Mart is going through a tough stretch right now. According to documents that were leaked to Bloomberg, Wal-Mart is having an absolutely disastrous February…
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, according to internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News.
“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”
So what in the world is going on here?
The mainstream media continues to proclaim that we are experiencing a robust “economic recovery”, but at the same time there are a whole host of indications that things are continually getting worse.
Even global cell phone sales actually declined slightly in 2012. That was the first time that has happened since the last recession.
Perhaps it is time that we faced the truth. The middle class is shrinking, incomes are declining and there are not nearly as many jobs as there used to be.
Mort Zuckerman pointed this out in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal…
The U.S. labor market, which peaked in November 2007 when there were 139,143,000 jobs, now encompasses only 132,705,000 workers, a drop of 6.4 million jobs from the peak. The only work that has increased is part-time, and that is because it allows employers to reduce costs through a diminished benefit package or none at all.
So how can the mainstream media be talking about how “good” things are if we still have 6.4 million fewer jobs than we had back in November 2007?
And sadly, things may soon be getting a lot worse. If Congress does not do anything about the “sequester”, millions of federal workers may shortly be facing some very painful furloughs according to CNN…
Federal workers could start facing furloughs as early as April, according to federal agencies trying to prepare for the worst.
Unless Congress steps in, some $85 billion in massive spending reductions will hit the federal government, doling out furloughs to much of the nation’s 2.1 million federal workforce, experts say.
If you still live in an area of the country where the stores and the restaurants are booming, you should be very thankful because that is not the reality for most of the country.
I often write about the stunning economic decline of major cities such as Detroit, but there are huge sections of rural America that are in even worse shape than Detroit in many ways.
For example, many Indian reservations all over America have been shamefully neglected by the federal government and have become hotbeds for crime, drugs and poverty.
Business Insider recently profiled the Wind River Indian reservation in western Wyoming. The following is a brief excerpt from thatoutstanding article…
The Wind River Indian Reservation is not an easy place to get to, but I had to see it for myself.
Thirty-five-hundred square miles of prairie and mountains in western Wyoming, the reservation is home to bitter ancestral enemies: the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.
Even among reservations, it’s renowned for brutal crime, widespread drug use, and legal dumping of toxic waste.
You can see some amazing photos of the Wind River Indian reservationright here.
It is hard to believe that there are places like that in America, but the truth is that conditions like that are spreading to more U.S. communities with each passing day.
We are a nation that is in an advanced state of decline. But as long as the financial markets are okay, our leaders don’t seem too concerned about the suffering that everyone else is going through.
In fact, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan essentially admitted as much during a recent interview with CNBC. The following is how a Zero Hedge article summarized that interview…
Starting at around 1:50, Greenspan states the odds of sequester occurring are very high – in fact, the playdough-faced ex-Chair-head notes, “I find it very difficult to find a scenario in which [the sequester] doesn’t happen” But when asked how this will affect the economy, Awkward Alan is unusually clearly spoken - “the issue is how does it affect the stock market.”
While not so many of our leaders have taken the path to direct truthiness, Greenspan somewhat shocks a Botox’d and babbling Bartiromo when he admits “the stock market is the key player in the game of economic growth.”
Bartiromo shifts uncomfortably in her seat, strokes her imaginary beard and stares blankly as Greenspan explains that while the sequester will have a real effect on the real economy, “if the stock market can hold up through this, then the effect will be rather minor.”
Do you see?
As long as the stock market is moving higher they think that everything is just fine and dandy.
And the Obama administration?
They continue to pursue the same policies that got us into this mess.
Their idea of “economic reform” is to threaten to sue businessesthat do not hire ex-convicts.
And of course now that Obama has been re-elected he is putting a tremendous amount of effort into “stimulating the economy”.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is getting worse with each passing day.
If you doubt that economic conditions are getting worse, please read this article: “Show This To Anyone That Believes That ‘Things Are Getting Better’ In America“.
When you look at the cold, hard numbers, it is undeniable what is happening to America.
And our leaders are not doing anything to fix our problems. In fact, most of the time they are just making things worse.
So buckle up and get prepared. We are in for very bumpy ride, and this is only just the beginning.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Recently I was asked to give a presentation on the current state of the global economy to a local group of concerned citizens here in Northwest Montana. I was happy to oblige but when composing my bullet points I realized that, in truth, there were no legitimate economic numbers to examine anymore. You see, financial analysts have traditionally used multiple indicators of employment, profit, savings, credit, supply, and demand in their efforts to divine the often obscured facts of our financial system. The problem is, nearly every index we used in the past, every measure of capital flow and industry, is absolutely useless today.
We now live in an entirely fabricated fiscal environment. Every aspect of it is filtered, muddled, molded, and manipulated before our eyes ever get to study the stats. The metaphor may be overused, but our economic system has become an absolute “matrix”. All that we see and hear has been homogenized and all truth has been sterilized away. There is nothing to investigate anymore. It is like awaking in the middle of a vast and hallucinatory live action theater production, complete with performers, props, and sound effects, all designed to confuse us and do us harm. In the end, trying to make sense of the illusion is a waste of time. All we can do is look for the exits…
There is some tangible reality out there, but it is difficult to find, and there are few if any mainstream numbers to verify. One has to remember always that the fundamental world of money and trade revolves around real people and real circumstances. No matter how corrupt our economic system is, as long as there are human beings, there will always be supply and demand that cannot be hidden. We have to look past the “official numbers” and look at the roots of trade. Where has demand fallen? Where has supply diminished? Where are the tangible goods and needs and how have they changed?
Let’s first start with the mainstream version of our system, looking at each aspect of the economy that no longer represents the truth of our situation…
Employment, Savings, And Debt
Much of this information is old news to those of us in the Liberty Movement, who tracked the progress of the global collapse long before the general public even knew of its existence. However, it is useful to take a step back and look at the basic picture every once in a while.
According to numbers issued by the Department of Labor, weekly unemployment reports have dropped to a five year low, and the overall employment rate is holding at 7.9%. This would seem to be a vast improvement over the dreadful bloodletting in the system only a few years ago. Has the private Federal Reserve and the Obama Administration really done it? Have they turned back the tide on the greatest fiscal crisis the U.S. has seen since the Depression?
No. They haven’t.
They have only changed how the data is disseminated to the public. In order to understand how the employment statistics con is being engineered, it is important to understand the difference between “Adjusted” and “Unadjusted” numbers.
Labor Department data is “seasonally adjusted”, using a series of statistical assumptions including something called “Trend Cycle Analysis”. Trend Cycle Analysis is, basically, a sham, but a sham put together in a very complex and confusing manner. If you ask a mainstream economist what it is, you’ll likely get a three hour long dissertation filled with financial babble and very little concrete explanation. So let me break it down as simply as I can…
Imagine that you are going to estimate how much profit you plan to make in a particular month, but you don’t just consider your current pay rate and pop it into a calculator; you also throw in the possibility of a few pay raises, an inheritance from a grandma who might kick the bucket, and, your exaggerated expectations of the entire year’s profit on top of that. You may also take into account future bad weather, a mugging, a nuclear war….whatever. All hypothetical situations not based in reality. Basically, you decide that a particular trend in your income is inevitable, then, mold your statistical analysis around that assumption.
When your real profit numbers come in (the unadjusted numbers) and they do not meet your expectations, you simply change them according to what you believe SHOULD have happened. If you insist that your profits are going to go up for the year, and they go down for a couple months instead, you change the variables you use to calculate the statistical average so that the results match your expectations, assuming that it will all balance out in the end.
Now, this sounds utterly insane for the common person out there trying to make a living. If you ran your household this way, without accepting the cold hard unadjusted numbers in front of you, you’d find yourself broke and on the street in no time. Unfortunately this is EXACTLY how our government handles most financial data; by coming to a final conclusion before hand, and then forcing the numbers to fit that conclusion.
This is why in February of 2013, “adjusted” first week unemployment rate was reported at 366,000 – a 5000 person drop from the week before. A seeming improvement in the trend. But, unadjusted numbers came in at 386,176 – a 16,000 person spike from the week before. When one examines real unemployment numbers, he finds that the divergence between the adjusted and unadjusted statistics is growing larger with each passing quarter. That is to say, the contradiction is becoming so blatant between the hard numbers and the Labor Department’s fantasy numbers that one must question whether or not the government is lying to us outright about the state of the economy (hint – they are lying).
These same methods are used by the government to calculate progress in the housing market, disposable income, etc.
The claim of “recovery” in the jobs market simply doesn’t jive with other indicators, like 2012 Christmas retail, which had the worst showing since the crash in 2008 (and these are still mainstream numbers!):
Average household savings continue to scrape the bottom of the barrel, indicating that the public is not spending or withholding cash. They are simply broke:
The downturn in consumption and industry also seems to be supported by the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global shipping and rates. The BDI has fallen to near historic lows THREE TIMES in the past year, which to my knowledge, has never happened before. In the past, the BDI has been a strong prophetic indicator of future market volatility. Usually, around a year after a severe decline in the index, a dangerous economic event takes place. The BDI made its first sharp drop to all time lows at the end of January 2012, exactly a year ago.
U.S. household debt was recently reported to have fallen to a 29 year low, but the ratio used by the Federal Reserve applies a statistic for disposable income that is derived from the Trend Cycle boondoggle method. While markets cheer, the truth is, the only reason household debt obligations have fallen at all is because bank lending and credit issuance remains frozen. Consumer debt falls when there is no money to borrow. In fact, the Federal Reserve actually pays large banks NOT to lend to the public; an activity which was exposed by Dennis Kucinich in 2009 on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. An activity that continued through 2012:
Keep in mind, one of the primary arguments the Federal Reserve used when promoting the bailout concept was that it would “free up credit markets” so that lending could pick up again and fuel a recovery, and yet, at the same time, they were paying banks to NOT lend.
Meanwhile, the supposed job recovery has produced an astonishing increase in welfare recipients in the U.S., including a record 46 million Americans on foodstamps (approximately 15% of our population):
If we are to apply any “trend” to our calculations on overall economic health, then we should include the extreme level of government handouts, and poverty levels which are now at all time highs. The facts are undeniable; the number of people who have much less than they did in 2008 has grown. How then could the U.S. be considered “in recovery”?
National Debt And The Fiat Lie
With the Dow Index hovering near highs of 14,000 our system truly looks to be on a rocket ship to pre-2008 money market bliss. In a mere five years we have returned to equity spikes that stagger the mind and the wallet. At least, that’s how it all appears…
What needs to be taken into account, though, is the amount of fiat money being created by the Federal Reserve, and how much of that printed pixie dust currency is fueling our magical flight to Neverland. Since 2008, our official national debt has increased from $10 trillion to $16.4 trillion, and some estimate $17 trillion to $18 trillion by the end of 2013 (unless, of course, a collapse occurs). Which means our national debt, which took decades to reach the $10 trillion mark, will have nearly doubled in only six years!
So, what has a doubling of our national debt in such a short span of time bought us? Well, credit markets remain frozen, property markets remain stagnant, poverty is at historic levels, welfare recipients are at epic highs, and consumer activity and GDP is back at 2008 lows. Where did all that printed money go? Where was it spent? To answer that question, we only need to find what area of the economy has seen the most positive (or fantastical) activity. What sector is seeing a massive boost while the rest tumbles?
I suggest that a large portion of QE1 through QE3 has gone to prop up the stock market, and nothing else. I suggest that American taxpayers are fronting the bill for the equities bonanza we see today. I suggest that the Dow is being used as a Red Herring to distract the populous for as long as possible while real assets are being snapped up and hoarded by international banks and foreign entities. I suggest that we are being leached dry and that the parasites are almost ready to move on…
When will it all end? Perhaps sooner than many people think. The decision by D.C. to delay talks on the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” until March may not be coincidence. Extensive cuts in federal spending are absolutely necessary and cannot be dismissed forever, but, because the last vestiges of our system that still operate do so through government money, such cuts will cause immediate damage to the economy, including possible default and dollar devaluation. Refusal to make cuts will result in credit downgrades, currency inflation, and a loss of the greenback’s world reserve status. There is no “right” way out of this quandary.
When this collapse is initiated, it would certainly behoove all parties involved, including central banks, international banks, and criminal politicians, to have a scapegoat handy for the citizenry to direct their rage at.
Event Horizon Economics
An “Event Horizon” in physics is a moment or singularity in spacetime at which a gravitational pull becomes so great that there is no way to escape it. It is a point of no return. I believe America’s economy has reached its own Event Horizon. Our system is now entirely fiat driven, with very little or no true economy left. Without constant injections from the Fed, and perpetually low interest rates, the country would implode tomorrow. This is not recovery. Actually, I’m not sure what to call it.
Today, independent economic analysts cannot look to the numbers to determine future trends. Most are fake, and the rest are ugly, and I’m not sure much else can be said in their regard. Instead, we must now look to events, rather than statistics, because our country has been maneuvered into a position of utmost frailty. Like an avalanche shelf waiting for that perfectly timed disturbance to trigger its roaring collapse. All that is needed is a macro-crisis, and it is no great feat for such a thing to be created in our tension filled global environment.
War in Syria and Iran leading to a tripling of energy prices. Sanctions and strife with North Korea leading to Chinese economic retribution. Conflict between China and Japan, again leading to Chinese economic warfare and perhaps real warfare. An opportune “cyber attack” which could be used as an excuse for a market crash and even an internet shutdown. A “political impasse” between Reps and Dems which leads to a default of U.S. credit. Any one of these catastrophes could easily occur (with a little nudge from some well placed people) and feed a wider global tragedy. The important thing to remember is that while this event will be blamed for the breakdown, it was international banks, the Federal Reserve, and elements of our own government that made the domino effect possible. They put the pieces in place. The act that knocks them over is secondary.
I have spent the past seven years writing about “potential” threats to our overall system, but these dangers were always just beyond our sight. Just around the corner. Today, it is as if the journey is over, and all those threats have materialized right before my eyes as real, and imminent. I am watching that which I warned of come to fruition, and this is certainly not a pleasant thing. What is valuable, though, is what we have all done in the Liberty Movement with the time that we had. From when I began writing for the movement until now, I have seen an overwhelming increase in public awareness. It may not be obvious to newer activists, but it is there all the same. While we still face disparaging odds, and millions upon millions of oblivious bystanders, there is, amidst these darker moments, a steadfast community of free men and women forming. I have full faith in the future. Much more so than I ever did before. Our economy may be detached from reality, but our endeavors as individuals will not be. Our resolve will be the great game changer. Not fiscal calamity.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Alabama, has long been used by the federal government and the national press corps to paint conservative organizations as “extremists,” “anti-government,” “hate groups,” etc. No sooner would the SPLC issue some attack piece in their newsletter and police agencies all over the country would be issuing bulletins to their officers regurgitating what the SPLC had just spewed out. No private organization has this kind of connection to, and influence over, police agencies nationwide without collaboration with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C. Well, now, we have evidence that such a collaboration exists.
Brietbart.com has just released a report by Judicial Watch confirming that the DOJ and the SPLC are intricately tied to the hip. The report states, “Judicial Watch (JW), a Washington D.C. based non-partisan educational foundation, released some two dozen pages of emails it obtained on Tuesday revealing connections between the Department of Justice Civil Rights and Tax divisions and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
“According to JW, the e-mails reveal questionable behavior by agency personnel while negotiating for Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) co-founder Morris Dees to appear as the featured speaker at a July 31, 2012, ‘Diversity Training Event.’ Judicial Watch obtained the records pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) submitted to the DOJ on September 10, 2012:
“‘The Judicial Watch FOIA request was prompted by an apparently politically motivated shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in August, 2012. At the time of the shooting, FRC president Tony Perkins accused the SPLC of sparking the shooting, saying the shooter “was given a license to shoot… by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations as hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.” On its website, the SPLC has depicted FRC as a hate group, along with such mainstream conservative organizations as the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, and Coral Ridge Ministries.’
“The FOIA request specifically requested ‘any and all records concerning, regarding, or relating to the Southern Poverty Law Center’ between January 1 and August 31, 2012, including the Dees’ presentation sponsored by the Civil Rights and Tax divisions of the DOJ.
“JW says that they filed the request to see if any of SPLC’s branding of hate groups had an influence on government agencies. According to the emails SPLC’s diversity speech ‘was to be simulcast to everyone’s PC throughout the Department’ which fulfilled DOJ supervisors’ ‘mandatory annual diversity training.’
“The emails produced by the DOJ show communications between DOJ personnel planning the Diversity Training Event and SPLC personnel, including Dees.”
The report went on to say, “The Southern Poverty Law Center has, in the past few years, taken to labeling organizations with conservative views on social issues as ‘hate groups,’ said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, in a press release.
“‘Given these fawning emails, one would have thought that a head of state was visiting the Justice Department. The SPLC is an attack group, and it is disturbing that it has premier access to our Department of Justice, which is charged with protecting the First Amendment rights of all Americans. And these emails further confirm that politically-correct “mandatory” diversity training programs are a waste of taxpayer money,’ Fitton claimed.
See the report here:
I have been personally victimized by the SPLC and DOJ’s vicious smear campaigns. In 2008, the State of Missouri issued their now infamous MIAC report, which identified supporters of Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and me as being potential dangerous militia members and similar absurdities. This report was issued after State officials received the inflammatory accusations from DHS Fusion Centers. After an outcry of protest from people all over America, and after Ron, Bob, and I demanded an apology from those Missouri officials who issued this libelous report, the report was rescinded and an apology was issued.
I have an entire webpage devoted to the MIAC fiasco. To see it, go here:
I wish I could say that the MIAC episode was the only such time this has happened, but that just isn’t true. I have had police officers and deputy sheriffs in several states personally show me memorandums that they had received from their respective police agencies depicting me and other notable conservatives with the same derogatory characteristics. These memos were once again issued to local police departments and sheriff’s offices via DHS-DOJ Fusion Centers. And those memos were almost word-for-word the same kind of character-assassination that appeared in SPLC publications. Now we know why, don’t we?
So, will the national and even local media now stop using the SPLC as a credible source for identifying so-called “hate” groups? Don’t count on it. The national press corps is mostly in bed with big-government zealots in Washington, D.C., and will do everything they can to smear and besmirch limited-government conservatives. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this matches the definition of the word “conspiracy.”
On a related topic, let me remind readers to let their pastor-friends know about the webpage where they can sign up to publicly state that they will support the right of their church members to keep and bear arms, no matter what law is passed in Washington, D.C.
All over America, hundreds of sheriffs have publicly said that that they will not enforce any attempt by the federal government to confiscate semi-automatic rifles from the citizens of their counties and neither will they allow federal police agents to confiscate semi-automatic rifles from the citizens of their counties. We are asking pastors all over the country to take a similar stand, by encouraging their congregants to NOT obey any federal law to disarm.
By the way, I have personally received hundreds of emails from members of the US military, including special forces troops, who have stated unequivocally that, not only will they not obey orders to confiscate the semi-automatic rifles of the American people, but that they would join those Americans who would resist such an order.
Now, it’s time for pastors to stand and be counted!
America’s War for Independence began on April 19, 1775, when Pastor Jonas Clark and the male members of his Church at Lexington stood on Lexington Green (outside the very church house where they assembled for worship each Sunday) and fired the “shot heard ’round the world.” It was a local church pastor and the plucky patriots of his congregation who were willing to resist the tyrannical laws of their national government to confiscate their guns and illegally seize Sam Adams and John Hancock that ignited our revolutionary war. Without the pastors of 1775 and 1776, there would have been no Lexington Green, no Concord Bridge, no Bunker Hill, no Declaration of Independence, no British surrender at Yorktown, no US Constitution, and no United States of America.
So, where are today’s pastors?
Here is the webpage where pastors can sign up:
And here is the webpage that shows the list of those pastors who have already signed up:
Think about this: the federal government is using “private” organizations such as the SPLC to denigrate, mischaracterize, and marginalize us; it sends hit pieces to local police departments and sheriff’s offices to inflame animosity, suspicion, and even prejudice among law enforcement officers against us; it has created an entire Army division–not to mention the DHS–targeting America’s “homeland”; it is releasing thousands of drones over the skies of the continental United States; it uses its lackeys in the national media as propaganda agents to promote an ever-burgeoning police state; and now it is attempting to take away the right of the people to keep and bear their most fundamental self-defense tool: the semi-automatic rifle. And we are supposed to think that all of this is mere coincidence? Hogwash!
Let me here quote from Patrick Henry’s immortal “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death” speech. By the way, this most-famous-of-all American speech was delivered almost one month to the day before the shots fired on Lexington Green. Henry’s speech was delivered on March 23, 1775; the shots fired on Lexington Green occurred on April 19, 1775.
Listen to Patrick Henry:
“Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these war-like preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, Sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask, gentlemen, Sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, Sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.
“They tell us, Sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.”
As you read those words, remember that Henry was 39-years-old when he spoke them; that he was the father of seventeen children; that among those in the audience were Thomas Jefferson and George Washington; and that he was every bit the Christian as any American who has ever lived–including us Christians today.
Sheriff, if you are going to take a stand, you must take it now! Mr. Police Chief, if you are going to take a stand, you must take it now! Soldier and Marine, if you are going to take a stand, you must take it now! Pastor, if you are going to take a stand, you must take it now! Mr. and Mrs. America, if you are going to take a stand, you must take it now!
Let me remind readers, too, that my constitutional attorney son and I are in the process of publishing a brand new book designed to give Christians the tools they need to be able to properly understand that the Bible nowhere teaches that they should be willing to disarm themselves under any tyrannical order to do so. The book is entitled, “To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns.” The book will be released soon, and we are now taking pre-orders.
To pre-order the book, “To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns,” go to:
I submit that we are able to defend our liberties and defeat attempts by modern would-be tyrants to enslave us as much NOW as we were in 1775. It starts by settling the matter in your own heart that you are NOT going to surrender your semi-automatic rifle no matter what law is passed in Washington, D.C. Next, let your elected representatives and senators (both State and federal) know in no uncertain terms that the protection of our Second Amendment liberties is an absolute litmus test for re-election–political party notwithstanding. Thirdly, if your sheriff won’t take a stand for your right to keep and bear arms RIGHT NOW, vote him or her out of office at the earliest opportunity. You might even consider issuing a recall petition against him or her. And if your pastor will not take a stand RIGHT NOW, vote with your feet and leave his church and find a pastor who will. And while you’re at it, stop listening to these radio and TV preachers who keep telling you that it’s wrong to resist tyranny. They are aiding and abetting the enemies of freedom.
To quote Patrick Henry again, “Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?”
I say, again, if you are going to take a stand, you must take it now!
The Great Recession has quietly devastated public services on a state-by-state basis, with Republican and Democratic governors taking turns leading the charge. Public education has been decimated, as well as health care, welfare, and the wages and benefits of public sector workers. The public sector itself is being smashed. Since the recession began, states have made combined austerity cuts of at least $337 billion, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities
The 2012-2013 budget deficits for 34 states resulted in $55 billion in cuts, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. The coming budgets for 2013-2014 that begins on July 1st is becoming clear as well, and the deficits are rolling in by the billions: Connecticut, Minnesota, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington, and many others have large deficits projected.
You’d expect after years of austerity cuts to public services, state politicians would think of new ways to raise revenue from those who can afford it — the wealthy and corporations. Not so. The cuts that began as a consequence of the 2008 recession are set to continue; raising revenue from the wealthy is “off the table” for Republicans and Democrats alike.
The pattern of budget cuts has revealed that the age-old distinction between Republican and Democrat has evaporated on the state level. The state budget trends — what’s getting funded and what’s not — are similarly aligned across the country. Both parties have merged their state-level agendas into a singular focus on “economic growth,” a bi-partisan euphemism meaning “corporate profits.”
Below is the bi-partisan funding trends for the states that began with the 2008 recession and continue to this day:
1) The Attack on Public Employees and Pension “Reform”
It wasn’t long ago that everyone understood that the states’ budget crises was caused in part by the recession, itself caused by the big banks and greedy corporations, and in part by the politicians continuing willingness to lower taxes on the rich. Now the corporate media and politicians have re-written history: suddenly it’s “greedy” public workers and their “lavish” pensions that are bankrupting the states. Two years ago it was the health care of public employees that was bankrupting the states, which resulted in large cuts to workers in many states.
The pre-recession pension system was working fine, but it, too, suffered under the bank-caused financial crisis; pension returns sank and right-wing economists projected ruin for the states in the future (they conveniently assumed that recession era rates would continue forever, thus under-funding the system).
Democratic governors are now as eager as their Republican counterparts to destroy the pensions of public employees. Democratic politicians in Oregon, Washington, California, New Jersey, Illinois, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, and several other states are leading the charge to erode the last bastion of retirement security for working people, while continuing to lay off public employees by the thousands. This national shrinkage of state governments is a long-standing right-wing dream: the smaller the state, the greater the “growth opportunities” for corporations that take over privatized public services and the lower their taxes since a smaller state requires less revenue for operating expenses.
2) Education Reform
The National Governors Association (NGA) spoke for both political parties when announcing a renewed focus on education funding for the states during the annual “state of the states” address. The funding is necessary because schools across the country are expecting an influx of students, while school districts everywhere have been starved funds by the ongoing austerity cuts; the system has been literally crumbling. But the new funding is to be used for the undermining and destruction of public education, since it is based on Obama’s pro-corporate Race to the Top education “reform” where charter schools replace public schools.
Democrats and Republicans are in complete agreement over Obama’s education policy, which closes “failing schools,” (those in poor neighborhoods), opens privately run, non-union charter schools, and fires “bad teachers,” (typically those who teach poor students). The whole system is based on standardized testing, which poorer students will spend most of their education preparing for, (those who don’t drop out from sheer boredom). Bi-partisan education reform targets teacher unions while privatizing education — the Democrats have adopted the ideas from the right-wing think tanks of the 1990′s.
3) Raising Revenue – But Not From the Wealthy or Corporations
Many states have implemented — or are planning to implement — a variety of taxes that disproportionally affect working and poor people, including increased sales taxes, alcohol, tobacco and other “sin” taxes, not to mention increases in different fees, from state parks to driver registration.
At the same time that these taxes have been upped, a consistent clamor has been raised by the media and politicians to lower the taxes for corporations, give them new subsidies or “freeze” their already-low taxes so that future tax increases will be impossible. In Oregon the Democratic governor declared a “special session” emergency in order to ensure that NIKE’s super low tax status would be frozen in place for decades, outside the reach of the public, which might want to raise corporate taxes to fund public services.
Democrat and Republican controlled states are equally competing for the adoration of corporations by lavishing a never-ending flow of taxpayer money on them, while “guaranteeing” them “investment security,” i.e., promising low taxes and an open spigot of taxpayer money. This is the basis for several states implementing “right to work” laws that target unions for destruction, while also attempting to “revamp the tax code,” which is a euphemism for lowering corporate taxes.
4) Welfare Reform: Attacking the Safety Net
Waging war against the safety net is like picking a fight with road kill — the states’ safety net is already disfigured beyond recognition, but the bi-partisan assault nevertheless continues. Bill Clinton started welfare “reform” as president, and the 2008 Great Recession accelerated the attack on those in poverty. The year 2011 was a devastating one for welfare, now called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
In 2011, states implemented some of the harshest cuts in recent history for many of the nation’s most vulnerable families with children who are receiving assistance through [TANF] … The cuts affect 700,000 low-income families that include 1.3 million children; these families represent over one-third of all low-income families receiving TANF nationwide.
But these TANF “reforms” continue, to the detriment of the neediest. Newly released budgets in several states — including California and Oregon — further tighten the program, a relentless boa-like constriction that’s already suffocated millions of the country’s poorest citizens. Typically TANF reform either lowers the monthly payment, shortens the time one can receive benefits, or raises the standards for staying in the program.
Before the giant TANF cuts in 2011, the program was already shrunken such that TANF only assisted 28 families for every 100 in poverty — the ludicrous definition of “poverty” being a family of four that makes only $22,000 or less.
There is a direct link between the assault on TANF and the rising poverty levels in the United States. Cutting TANF in a time of mass unemployment means consciously consigning millions of families to grinding poverty, hunger, homelessness, and the many other barbarisms associated with extreme poverty.
It wasn’t long ago that the Democrats understood that the government can and should create jobs, especially during a recession. But now the Democratic Party has fully adopted the economics of Reaganism. As a result, the only “job creators” now recognized are the corporations. This bi-partisan agreement not to tax the rich and use the revenue for public spending to create jobs — hiring more teachers, firefighters, roads and parks workers, etc. — is unnecessarily prolonging the job crisis, ensuring more years of deficits and a deeper gouging of the public sector.
These cuts are having a devastating effect on public sector unions, the last bastion of union strength in the country. These unions are being weakened to such an extent that stripping them of their right to collectively bargain — the nail in the coffin — becomes a real possibility. No state is safe from this threat.
If unions don’t unite with community groups to demand that public services be fully funded by taxing the wealthy and corporations, the cuts will continue, communities will feel helpless, inequality will continue to spiral out of control, and working people will be further subjected to the policies of the 1%, now implemented in chorus by Republicans and Democrats alike. But, of course, this means that the unions will have to break with the suicidal strategy of relying on the Democrats for handouts. Time and again the Democrats have demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice the needs of working people in order to curry favor with the rich and corporations, their greatest benefactors when it comes to election campaign contributions.