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?
As Many as 90% of Foreclosed Properties Held Off the Market…
“I still worry about further price declines. There’s no really concrete reason for an upturn now. A recent survey of home buyers didn’t find any sudden change in optimism and there seems to be a souring on the idea of home ownership. That might reverse again as the crisis ends, but I suspect that it’s not easily reversed because the whole idea of proudly owning a home has been tarnished … That’s why I think home prices may still go down.” – Robert Shiller, co founder of S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index
There’s an article on the AOL Real Estate blog that explains much of what is happening in today’s housing market although the piece was written back in July 2012. The article, which was written by journalist Teke Wiggen, was widely circulated when it first appeared, but has since been swept down the memory hole to make room for the nonsensical blabber about a “housing recovery”. Even so, it’s worth reviewing the content of Wiggin’s extraordinary piece since the facts are just as relevant today as when he first wrote them 7 months ago. Here’s a clip from the article titled “‘Shadow REO’: As Many as 90% of Foreclosed Properties Held Off the Market, Estimates Suggest”:
“As many as 90 percent of REOs are withheld from sale, according to estimates recently provided to AOL Real Estate by two analytics firms. It’s a testament to lenders’ fears that flooding the market with foreclosed homes could wreak havoc on their balance sheets and present a danger to the housing market as a whole.
Online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac recently found that just 15 percent of REOs in the Washington, D.C., area were for sale, a statistic that is representative of nationwide numbers, the company said.
Analytics firm CoreLogic provided an even lower estimate, suggesting that just 10 percent of all REOs in the country are listed by their owners, which include mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the Federal Housing Administration.” (“‘Shadow REO’: As Many as 90% of Foreclosed Properties Held Off the Market, Estimates Suggest”, AOL Real Estate)
It’s worth noting, that CoreLogic and RealtyTrac are two of the most respected names in the industry, in fact, Calculated Risk, the nation’s Number 1 economics blog, frequently uses data from CoreLogic to make its point that prices have “bottomed” and that housing is gradually recovering. Here’s more from the article:
“… if lenders turn their REO release valve to full blast, the deluge of foreclosures cascading onto the market could plunge the country into a recession, said Thomas Martin, president of consumer advocacy group Americas Watchdog.
“If they let the dam essentially break. It could be a catastrophic disaster for the U.S. economy,” he said, predicting that some major banks would fail and home prices would nosedive by 20 percent.
That doomsday scenario has many industry professionals supporting lenders’ tactics of holding onto most of their REOs. Otherwise, they would be “causing the floor to fall out from underneath the entire market,” Faranda said. He added that banks don’t have the manpower to push the paperwork required to put all their foreclosures on the market.” (“‘Shadow REO’: As Many as 90% of Foreclosed Properties Held Off the Market, Estimates Suggest”, AOL Real Estate)
So, the banks are deliberately keeping the majority of distressed homes “off market” in order to keep prices artificially high, fleece another generation of credulous buyers, and effect the appearance of a revitalised and soaring housing market. Now–tell me–which part of this equation even vaguely resembles a “free market”? It’s all central planning by a criminal bank cabal that controls all the levers of state power lock, stock and barrel.
Even so, it looks like John Q Public has swallowed this latest load of public relations malarkey judging by data that shows that sales of new and existing homes are gaining pace. Ahh, but looks can be deceiving. A closer inspection of the data suggests that it’s not Mr. Public who’s buying all those homes, but deep-pocket speculators who’ve piled into the market seeking short-term gains. Check this out from Bloomberg:
“Transactions involving investors jumped 75 percent in November from a year earlier in 25 metropolitan areas tracked by Radar Logic Inc. It’s a market that could total 12 million homes, JPMorgan analysts led by Anthony Paolone wrote in a note last month.
Blackstone, the largest U.S. private real estate owner and the only firm with more homes than Hughes, has spent $3 billion on rentals, Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s global head of real estate said today at a Credit Suisse Financial Services Forum in Miami. Blackstone said last month it spent $2.7 billion on 17,000 properties, accelerating purchases as prices rose faster than anticipated…
The New York-based firm, which started buying single-family houses last year, has bought so quickly it’s “warehousing” more than half of the inventory as it completes purchases, renovates and rents the properties, Gray said in January…
Whether the single-family rental market grows from “a $10 to $20 billion market to a $100 to $200 billion market” will depend “on how successfully institutional investors are able to execute over the next few years,” Bordia said.” (“Billionaire Hughes Chasing Blackstone as U.S. Rental King”, Bloomberg)
Get the picture? It’s a speculator feeding frenzy featuring some of Wall Street’s biggest names all plunging into the sharkpool at the same time. The only thing missing from this bizarre mix is the traditional young couple looking to partake in the American dream by buying their first home or the move-up buyer who wants to use the equity he’s built up over the last decade to buy that 3-bedroom Tudor in the country. Normal “organic” buyers have vanished from the marketplace while ravenous speculators are grabbing everything that isn’t bolted to the floor. Naturally, that’s pushed prices higher while creating the illusion of a thriving market.
But what do these investors really have in mind? Are they planning on becoming responsible long-term landlords committed to serving the needs of the community after the devastation they caused by crashing the financial system in 2008?
In your dreams! Here’s more from Bloomberg:
“New York-based JPMorgan, whose private bank oversees $877 billion, started pooling investments from its clients in mid- 2012 into a partnership to purchase distressed properties, betting that prices will rise over the next several years and provide investors with income from renters along the way, said Lyon…
The goal is to sell the houses within three to four years in one of three ways: through an initial public offering of a real estate investment trust, a sale to an existing REIT or to an institutional buyer such as a pension fund, Lyon, who’s based in San Francisco, said. Clients will receive a share of any price appreciation depending on the size of their investment.” (“JPMorgan Joins Rental Rush For Wealthy Clients: Mortgages”, Bloomberg)
There you have it. The banks are only going to hang-around long enough to see prices surge, then they’re going to dump their inventory back on the market so Mom and Pop can see their equity go down the drain for the second time in a decade. Nice, eh? Speculators aren’t interested in building a strong and sustainable housing market, what they’re looking for is a sharp jolt to quarterly profits, so they can nab that new Maserati Gran Tourismo for those long drives to the Hamptons.
And there’s another part of this story that may seem only remotely connected to the “vanishing REO inventory”, but it has a profound effect on the market all the same, that is, the fact that the banks are still cooking the books to make it look like they’re in better shape than they really are. If these fundamentally-insolvent financial institutions had been taken over and nationalized when the government had the chance in 2009, then their stockpile of toxic assets and non performing loans would have been processed and sold via a gov entity like the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) which helped to liquidate bank-owned assets following the savings and loan scandal. That means, housing prices would have found a real bottom by now, and the market would be experiencing positive growth. (unlike the fake investor-fueled growth we see now) But since the TBTF zombies were propped up by trillions in public funds, bailouts, handouts, subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare, the problem persists to this day. Get a load of this from Floyd Norris at the New York Times:
“The board that sets American accounting rules moved on Wednesday to substantially reduce the use of market values in financial statements. The move, if adopted, would give banks more freedom to value financial assets as they deem appropriate.
The proposal by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, contained in what is called an exposure draft, would also end the counter intuitive practice of a bank’s profits rising simply because its credit has worsened, and then falling when the credit recovers…
Under the proposed new rules, which are unlikely to become effective before 2015, it would no longer matter whether a particular bank asset was a bond or a loan. Either way, if the bank intended to keep the asset until it was paid off, it would be carried on the books at cost, without rising or falling in value when market prices changed.” (“Proposal Gives Banks More Freedom to Value Assets”, New York Times)
How do you like that? So, the banks are not only allowed to assign fake prices to their assets, they can also report an increase in profits when their credit deteriorates. Such a deal! In other words, if a mortgage-backed security (MBS) that’s packed with subprimes and liar’s loans has plunged to $.30 cents on the dollar, Mr. Banker can keep it on the books at 100 cents on the dollar, thus, preserving the confidence of his thoroughly-hoodwinked shareholders. This is just another illustration of how the banks have corrupted the regulatory system to the point where no one has the foggiest idea of what they’re really worth.
So, how does all this accounting hanky-panky connect with the fact that the banks are keeping 90% of foreclosed properties off the market?
It just explains how regulators have teamed up with the banks to keep the “housing recovery” charade in place. If the banks were forced to write-down the losses on their stockpile of non performing loans and defunct mortgages, then more REOs would be pushed onto the market and prices would fall sharply. But because the banks are allowed to lie, the housing depression drags on. That’s not only bad for the economy, it also puts the public at risk of another crisis because, as the Wall Street Journal notes:
“… investors will remain reliant on banks’ own views of the worth of their assets. Those judgments proved seriously flawed during the financial crisis and left many with insufficient capital. Taxpayers, who as a result were called upon to bail out numerous institutions, also are left more vulnerable.” (“Banks Have Their Way With FASB”, Wall Street Journal)
Allowing the banks to lie puts everyone at greater risk. Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter to Obama and his cohorts at the Fed. They’ve done everything in their power to preserve black box banking, an opaque, criminal business model built on deception, avarice and theft, the banker’s trifecta.
When I grew up, my younger brother’s homosexual teacher physically attempted to sexually molest my sibling. My brother never told me about it until years later at college when we both suffered from two homosexuals attempting to sexually assault both of us. When you are straight, young and naïve—you just don’t suspect what’s coming at you.
Because we happened to be pretty good looking and at the height of our physical prime, after they cornered us in their apartments, we threatened to kick both their asses because we were SO angry at their cornering us at a frat party.
After the ordeal, I told my brother about how my sixth grade teacher, who was a roommate of his 5th grade teacher, attempted to molest me in the back of the school room for five different sessions. He closed the blinds after the last kid left and proceeded to teach me about his idea of the “birds and the bees.” Thankfully, I would never follow through in what he wanted me to do for him. I felt embarrassed and never told my father or mother, and definitely not my brother.
After my brother’s and my ordeal with the two college homosexuals, we confided in each other about our two teachers back in grade school. To say the least, we felt incredible rage at being attacked in our grade years when we didn’t know any better and had NO idea of what they were trying to do to us or why.
When the college attacks came, both of us felt so angry that we wanted to bust them up and kick them back to San Francisco. We both graduated from Michigan State University. For two straight kids, we suffered incredible trauma, but thankfully, we didn’t allow ourselves to be sucked into their sexual orientation. But we did learn one thing: homosexuals prey on young straight boys. They cannot help themselves and they carry no moral scruples.
Today, you see “gays” on TV and in the movies. They push their sexual ways onto most of us and they make it seem “normal.” Homosexuality works for them, so it must be normal. But for the rest of us, it’s pretty sickening.
As a teacher at the elementary, high school and college levels, I have learned a few things. Gay men prey on straight young men for sport and for sexual release. They don’t care about ethics nor do they care about the child’s traumatic memories of the “gay” sexual event or drawn out sexual events if the victim doesn’t know how to escape their sexual web.
As a teacher and a parent, I would NEVER allow my child to be taught by a homosexual teacher. I would NEVER allow my child to be led by a “gay” Boy Scout leader. I would NEVER allow my boy to join a Boy Scout troop with gay members. Why? Gay young men prey on “straight” young men.
I don’t want my boys or any boys to be presented with a gay boy scout member, gay teacher or gay troop leader because I don’t want even a single, tiny chance that they could be raped by that gay individual at such a young and naïve age.
If the Boy Scouts surrender their honor and their ethics to the “gay” agenda, America will have lost its last bastion for bringing up young men in a “normal” and “healthy” well-being of living.
If gays want to create their own “Gay Boy Scouts of America”, then, have at it “gay” leaders, “gay” boys, “gay” teachers. Parade around and celebrate your gayness, your gay lifestyle, your gay sex, your gay parties, your bed hopping, your AIDS, herpes and every other STD delights you can discover by your “gay” lifestyle.
But leave me alone, leave my boys alone, leave my Boy Scouts alone and leave all of us normal, well-adjusted and straight men alone. We don’t subscribe to the homosexual creed or any of its preying on our young men of America.
I hope more fathers and mothers and Scout leaders come forth to speak up for America, for our values and for our normalcy. Because if we don’t, we will see our “gay” Boy Scouts of America become the sexual predators of tomorrow.
Why am I speaking up? Because my father, a damned good man, said, “Son, if you feel strongly about something, you need to stand up and speak out. When you do, you will give courage for another 10,000 people behind you who are afraid to stand up or speak out because they fear reprisals. Make me proud of you.”
Dad, I stand up for America and I am standing up for the Boy Scouts of America to be normal, well-adjusted and wholesome young men of the future.
I know what my late father is saying right now, “Son, I am proud of you.”
If someone were to ask you for an example of a “totalitarian society”, how would you respond? Most Americans would probably think of horribly repressive regimes such as the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China, East Germany or North Korea, but the truth is that there is one society that has far more rules and regulations than any of those societies ever dreamed of having. In the United States today, our lives are governed by literally millions of laws, rules and regulations that govern even the smallest details of our lives, and more laws, rules and regulations are constantly being added. On January 1st, thousands of restrictive new laws went into effect all over America, but most Americans have become so accustomed to the matrix of control that has been constructed all around them that it does not even bother them when even more rules and regulations are put into place. In fact, a growing number of Americans have become totally convinced that “freedom” and “liberty” must be tightly restricted for the good of society and that “the free market” is inherently dangerous. On the national, state and local levels, Americans continue to elect elitist control freaks that are very eager to tell all the rest of us how to run virtually every aspect of our lives.
According to Merriam-Webster, the following is one of the ways that the word “totalitarian” is defined: “of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation especially by coercive measures”. And that is exactly what we are witnessing in America today – nearly all aspects of our lives and of the economy are very tightly controlled by a bunch of control freaks that just keep tightening that control with each passing year. We still like to call ourselves “the land of the free”, but the truth is that we are being transformed into a totalitarian society unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Where will we end up eventually if we keep going down this road?
If you still believe that America is “free”, just consider some of the things that are illegal in America today…
-Starting on January 1st, it is now illegal to make or import 75 watt incandescent light bulbs anywhere in the United States.
-In Oregon, it is illegal to collect rainwater that falls on your own property.
-In New Jersey, it is illegal to have an “unrestrained” cat or dog in your vehicle while you are driving.
-If you milk your cow and sell some of the milk to your neighbor, you could end up having your home raided by federal agents.
-In Miami Beach, Florida you must recycle your trash properly or face huge fines.
-All over the United States, cops are shutting down lemonade stands run by children because they don’t have the proper “permits”.
-Down in Tulsa, Oklahoma one unemployed woman had her survival garden brutally ripped out and carted away by government thugs because it did not conform to regulations.
-Over in Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch. In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children.
-At one public school down in Texas, a 12-year-old girl named Sarah Bustamantes was arrested for spraying herself with perfume.
-A 13-year-old student at a school in Albuquerque, New Mexico was arrested by police for burping in class.
-All over the United States cities have passed laws that actually make it illegal to feed the homeless.
With each passing year, the number of decisions that we are allowed to make for ourselves gets smaller and smaller.
This includes some really fundamental things such as basic health decisions.
For example, the CDC will soon be recommending that nearly every single American be vaccinated for the flu every single year. The following is from a recent Natural News article…
An advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that every person be vaccinated for the seasonal flu yearly, except in a few cases where the vaccine is known to be unsafe.
“Now no one should say ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’” said CDC flu specialist Anthony Fiore.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-0 with one abstention to recommend yearly flu vaccination for everyone except for children under the age of six months, whose immune systems have not yet developed enough for vaccination to be safe, and people with egg allergies or other health conditions that are known to make flu vaccines hazardous.
These “recommendations” are often made into mandatory requirements by school districts and employers all over the country. Will employers all over the nation soon require all of their employees to take these vaccines each year based on these CDC “recommendations”? This is already happening in the healthcare field. Hundreds of healthcare professionals all over the nation are being firedfor refusing to take certain vaccines. It doesn’t matter that there is atremendous amount of evidence that many of these vaccines are dangerous. Many health professionals today are being faced with the choice of either submitting to the “recommendations” of the “experts” or losing their jobs.
We see this kind of “creeping totalitarianism” in the business world as well. As I have written about previously, small businesses all over the country are being absolutely suffocated by mountains of laws, rules and regulations.
One of the biggest changes that small businesses will be dealing with in the next couple of years is Obamacare. Many small businesses have been cutting back hours in an attempt to get around the new requirements contained in Obamacare. The following is one example from a news story that was published earlier this week…
Around 100 local Wendy’s workers have learned their hours are being cut. A spokesperson says a new health care law is to blame.
“Thirty-six to 37 hours a week.” That’s how many hours T.J. Growbeck works at the 84th and Giles Wendy’s restaurant. The money he earns helps him pay for the basics, but that’s not the case for all his co-workers. “There are some people doing it trying to get by.”
The company has announced that all non-management positions will have their hours reduced to 28 a week. Gary Burdette, Vice President of Operations for the local franchise, says the cuts are coming because the new Affordable Health Care Act requires employers to offer health insurance to employees working 32-38 hours a week. Under the current law they are not considered full time and that as a small business owner, he can’t afford to stay in operation and pay for everyone’s health insurance.
But the IRS has announced that it is going to make it very hard for employers to avoid these new Obamacare regulations. According to new IRS rules, all firms that “have at least 50 full-time employees or an equivalent combination of full-time and part-time employees” will be required to provide healthcare for their employees and their dependents. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
Under the rules, employers must offer coverage to employees in 2014 and must offer coverage to dependents as well, starting in 2015.
The new rules apply to employers that have at least 50 full-time employees or an equivalent combination of full-time and part-time employees. A full-time employee is a person employed on average at least 30 hours a week. And 100 half-time employees are considered equivalent to 50 full-time employees.
Thus, the government said, an employer will be subject to the new requirement if it has 40 full-time employees working 30 hours a week and 20 half-time employees working 15 hours a week.
So conceivably an employer could have only part-time employees and still be required to provide healthcare coverage under Obamacare.
Of course many small businesses will not be able to afford to do this, so expect to see a significant number of them shut down or to try to survive with skeleton crews in 2014 and 2015.
As the number of laws, rules and regulations that govern our lives continues to multiply, the control freaks that run things will continue to try to use technology to watch us all and make sure that we are obeying their rules.
One way that they are doing this is with automated traffic cameras. Of course much of the time the performance of these cameras is terribly flawed. Just consider the following example which recently appeared in the Baltimore Sun…
The Baltimore City speed camera ticket alleged that the four-door Mazda wagon was going 38 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone — and that owner Daniel Doty owed $40 for the infraction.
But the Mazda wasn’t speeding.
It wasn’t even moving.
The two photos printed on the citation as evidence of speeding show the car was idling at a red light with its brake lights illuminated. A three-second video clip also offered as evidence shows the car motionless, as traffic flows by on a cross street.
But even though technology sometimes fails, the control freaks that run things seem absolutely obsessed with using it to monitor us. After all, there are so many of us and watching all of us is a very big job.
For example, did you know that listening devices are being installed on public buses all over the United States? The following is from a recent Wired article…
Transit authorities in cities across the country are quietly installing microphone-enabled surveillance systems on public buses that would give them the ability to record and store private conversations, according to documents obtained by a news outlet.
The systems are being installed in San Francisco, Baltimore, and other cities with funding from the Department of Homeland Security in some cases, according to the Daily, which obtained copies of contracts, procurement requests, specs and other documents.
According to the article, some of these systems are incredibly advanced and pair the audio that is being recorded with video that is being taken at the same time…
In Eugene, Oregon, the Daily found, transit officials requested microphones that would be capable of “distilling clear conversations from the background noise of other voices, wind, traffic, windshields wipers and engines” and also wanted at least five audio channels spread across each bus that would be “paired with one or more camera images and recorded synchronously with the video for simultaneous playback.”
But that is just one example of how the surveillance of the American people is rapidly growing. For many more examples, please see my previous article entitled “29 Signs That The Elite Are Transforming Society Into A Total Domination Control Grid“.
If America continues down the path that it is on right now, the United States will eventually be transformed into a “Big Brother society” that is far more restrictive than anything George Orwell ever dreamed of.
We need a fundamental cultural revolution in this nation. We need a revival of the principals of liberty and freedom that were so important during the founding days of this country. We need to teach people that even though liberty and freedom may be unpredictable at times, such an environment is greatly preferable to a society where all of our decisions are made for us by a tiny elite.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. Time is running out, and we need to wake up as many as we can while there is still time.
Source: The American Dream
While our government still happily continues to peel big bucks off its wad and shower it down on Wall Street, big business and the “war” machine like it was Christmas for banksters and war-mongers all year long whether they need it or not, all too many hard-working tax-paying victims of Hurricane Sandy out in Staten Island and Rockaway are still getting no help at all. Zero. Ziltch. Nada.
Nothing is currently being peeled off our government’s endless roll of big bucks for them.
Last week I was riding in a Muni bus over in San Francisco (on my way back from an audition to play a bored office worker in a student film) and on the bus was a very delightful older couple who seemed to have absolutely no cares.
“Where are you from?” I asked them.
“Rockaway,” they replied hesitantly. Rockaway? OMG! Not THAT Rockaway? “Yeah, that’s the one. And, yes, we did live through Hurricane Sandy and, yes, our home was badly damaged and almost destroyed.” http://www.phillipvan.com/
“So what the freak are you doing out here?”
“Having fun! After having survived a personal visit from Sandy, we realized that life is just too short not to enjoy it. So we came out here to have fun.”
“But did you at least get any help from FEMA?” I asked, figuring that after our government has spent trillions on bailing out Wall Street (where no one hardly ever pays taxes and pretty much lives on Welfare for the Wealthy), then the least that our government could do is send a measly few billion bucks off to bail out afflicted taxpayers in Rockaway. http://www.phillipvan.com/
“Have we received any help from FEMA? In a word? No.”
“Not even anything?” No.
“It’s been a whole month after Sandy and parts of Rockaway still don’t even have electricity now. Or places for people to go.”
“But did FEMA give you any money to help you out?” No.
“We got nothing but an avalanche of paperwork.” They didn’t even get bottled water. “A relative in Wisconsin finally ended up bringing us some.” And they can’t go back to their home because the wife has asthma and their house is a hell-hole of black mold right now. Ah, black mold, the bane of asthma sufferers’ existence.
“We just took out a 60-day insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London on our stuff and left.”
I tried to grill the happy couple for more information on what is happening in Rockaway right now — and right in the middle of the Christmas season too — but they weren’t interested in being reminded. All they wanted to do was forget their worst nightmare and celebrate that they, unlike some of their neighbors, were still alive and had survived one of the fiercest mega-storms ever.
And as our bus drove on past Chinatown, the happy couple soon had all us passengers singing “Merry Christmas” — in Chinese. Brave souls. I almost cried.
At church this weekend, our minister explored the violence that killed 20 2nd and 3rd grade children and six adults in Newtown, CT. With point blank accuracy, one 20 year old disturbed kid, stilled the life of those young children. The father of one of the slain, Robbie Parker said of his daughter Emilie, “I was honored to be her father.” I wept as did one of our other ministers. Hundreds of others in the congregation visibly shuddered.
This tragedy follows in the wake of Columbine in Littleton, Colorado 13 years ago with Harris and Klebold. This fall a man named James Holmes shot up an entire movie theater, also in Denver. A Muslim U.S. Army Major Hasan shot 42 innocent people. The Times Square bomber and thousands of other acts of violence have devolved us into a violent, unsafe and frightening culture.
It’s not the individual acts that make us a violent culture. We promote violence on TV with incredibly violent programs like NCIS in NYC, in Los Angeles and in Miami. Criminal Minds TV show creates horrific and sickening criminal torture and death plots. Springer, Povich, Cunningham and other moronic TV shows celebrate illiteracy, the dregs of society and sheer violence. We create unspeakable brutality via other TV shows. Our movies depict the sickening world of masochists and sadists while movie goers absorb these graphics deep within their minds.
In every town, you may go to a video arcade and watch kids commit murder, mayhem, slaughter and staggering acts of violence—with glee, joy and a sense of victory. All of it mindless, yet potent toward further real life carnage within our society.
On our highways, drunk drivers killed 17,000 to as high as 20,000 innocent lives every single year with their weapon of choice—a 4,000 pound missile speeding down the highway at 75 miles per hour drunk or high on drugs—but we refuse to construct drunk driving laws that would make the crime more prohibitive than the offense. We promote alcoholism via beer commercials sensationalizing the lifestyle of alcohol, replete with beautiful women and fast cars.
Our U.S. Congress reeks of warmongering by starting the Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm War and Iraq War for no valid reason whatsoever. We killed millions of people and destroyed millions of parents, adults and children. Millions! We remain in Afghanistan, long after bin Laden met his death—still killing their people and ours—with no positive result.
Over the decades, our drones and bombs have created hundreds of thousands of “Newtown, Connecticut’s” where millions of people have died in the aforementioned countries. We insist on maintaining 450,000 military personnel on 700 bases around the world to show-case our ability to kill anyone whose perspective doesn’t match ours.
After the 10 year Vietnam War, over 200,000 of our soldiers became so distraught from their experiences—they committed suicide. Today, an average of four present and former US soldiers commit suicide daily from their war traumas. Millions more emotionally limp along from drugs, depression, PTSD and alcoholism. Some experts predict another 200,000 U.S. soldiers will commit suicide from their military service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While we war upon other countries for decades, and after Columbine’s mass murders, we fail to take care of our own youth such as the young man who just killed 26 innocent human beings. An average of 18 teenagers commit suicide in America every single day of the year, every year, every decade—without pause.
A mind-numbing 15,000 people kill others with their knives and guns annually, year after year, decade after decade. Equally lethal, although self-imposed, smokers of tobacco kill themselves off at 450,000 annually.
Let’s talk about men beating wives, girlfriends and lovers:
* There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the United States. There are 3,800 animal shelters. Cruelty to animals abounds in the USA. (Schneider, 1990).
* Three to four million women in the United States are beaten in their homes each year by their husbands, ex-husbands, or male lovers. (“Women and Violence,” Hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Hearing, 101-939, pt. 1, p. 12.)
* One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation).
Our federal officials have arrested and slammed 37 million kids into jail for smoking a joint in the past 41 years of the “War on Drugs”—while alcohol and booze have killed endless millions—legally.
As our government foments, creates and imposes wars on countries 10,000 miles away, we suffer the cruelty of 14 million jobless Americans, 47.7 million living on food stamps, 1.5 million homeless and 2.3 million Americans subsisting in prisons.
The final costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan War will reach into the trillions of dollars when that money could have been used to create a more just, hopeful and prosperous society for all our citizens.
What we need to do
An evolutionary vision must occur within our country. We citizens must create peace in our schools and communities. We must vote for leaders who insist on peace rather than war. We need to move away from TV, movie and arcade violence to peaceful understanding. “Yes,” you say, “but what can I do?”
We need to shift from war spending toward life-enhancing contributions to flourish our society. We spend trillions of dollars on war and a tiny fraction for education and betterment of our society.
What not to continue because it doesn’t work:
- Stop engaging in useless, costly, deadly and meaningless wars overseas
- Stop our empire building by bringing home 450,000 military personnel from those 700 bases. It wastes money, people and resources and it accomplishes nothing.
- Stop meddling in hundreds of countries’ business as if the U.S. ethnocentric position constitutes the bottom line of righteousness
- Stop the War on Terror, War on Drugs and War on Poverty because the energy of fighting anything pales in comparison to the support of human dignity
- Stop violent video games, violent movies, violent TV programming
Transfer war funds to peace funding for our society:
- Spend billions for jobs that give dignity to citizens
- Spend billions on after-school classes, activities and playgrounds
- Spend billions on mental health, emotional health and well-being in families
- Spend billions on high school marriage, relationship and child rearing classes to support fathers and mothers in workable marriages, which will result in viable lives for children
- Spend billions to build personal responsibility, personal accountability and educational excellence for all our citizens to grow our civilization into a positive future
- Spend billions on raising healthy, happy and balanced children with mental health services, parental training and guidance
We Americans need to reassess ourselves. We need to invent or discover another path. We need to open toward a spiritual awakening. We need to move toward slower living, inter-related living and environmentally balanced living. We need to eschew 80,000 chemicals injected into our air, water and ground 24/7—most definitely scrambling our emotions, body chemistries and minds. We need to live and grow in smaller, community-oriented cities. (As John Muir said, “There is not a single sane man in all of San Francisco.) We need both fathers and mothers for our children so they grow into healthy adults who value themselves and know they are essential. We must extricate ourselves from the pervasive violence in our culture by moving toward peaceful solutions, love and kindness.
This transformation requires you, your actions, your passions, your energy and your optimism for the future.
In his recent New York Times op-ed piece, Princeton professor and regular columnist for The New York Times Paul Krugman observed:
“The American economy is still, by most measures, deeply depressed. But corporate profits are at record high. It’s simple: profits have surged as a share of national income, while wages and other labor compensation are down. The pie isn’t growing the way it should — but capital is doing fine by grabbing an ever-larger slice, at labor’s expense.”
And then he adds with almost shocked incredulity: “Wait – are we really back to talking about capital versus labor? Isn’t that an old-fashioned, almost Marxist sort of discussion, out of date in our modern information economy?”
This is exactly the conflict that Marx identified as the fundamental, inescapable contradiction of the capitalist system that would eventually create the conditions of its downfall: there is a tendency for the owners of businesses, the capitalists, to accumulate ever-vaster wealth while the people who work for them experience a declining standard of living.
Marx supported this conclusion by offering a description of the fundamental operating mechanism of capitalism. Capitalism is based on the principle of private ownership and competition. Private businesses compete with one another for customers, and those who fail to attract a sufficient number eventually perish. But in order to attract customers, businesses must maximize the quality of their product while minimizing its price. If two products embody the same quality but one is cheaper, customers, in pursuit of their self-interest, will purchase the cheaper version, all other factors being equal.
This means that capitalists must constantly attempt to minimize the price of their product simply for the sake of their own survival. If a business devises a way to lower costs, it can capture the market. But, as Marx pointed out, labor costs are a huge factor in determining the price of a product. So those businesses that minimize labor costs can prevail in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism. For this reason, a downward pressure on wages and benefits is always operating to one degree or another.
But Krugman made no reference to this aspect of Marx’s analysis and instead identified two other factors that contribute to the growing inequality in wealth between capitalists and workers, both of which are discussed by Marx.
The first factor involves the introduction of technology into the labor process, i.e. “labor-saving” technology. In other words, machines replace workers or reduce the amount of skill required in the labor process. To give a current example, software has been developed that analyzes legal documents at a fraction of the time it takes lawyers while costing much less. Accordingly, many well-paid lawyers lose their jobs to such software. Living during the industrial age, Marx supplied many such examples.
Krugman referred to his second explanatory factor that increases inequality between capitalists and labor as the “monopoly power” of large corporations where “increasing business concentration could be an important factor in stagnating demand for labor, as corporations use their growing monopoly power to raise prices without passing the gains on to their employees.” Here Krugman is approaching the heart of Marxist theory.
Krugman is basically arguing that large corporations use their power to override purely economic trends and simply demand that their employees work for less. But this is precisely the point of Marxism, although from the other direction. Marx persistently argued that capitalism could not function without the willingness of the working class to perform the work. When workers organize and engage in collective action by withholding their labor, the balance of power shifts in favor of the workers who can then demand higher wages as a condition for their return to work, as the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) recently did on the West Coast and the teachers did in Chicago.
Amazingly, Krugman never mentions the decline of organized labor as a huge factor explaining the decline of the standard of living of working people, adding that there has been so little discussion of these developments. But others, especially former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, have discussed these trends and identified the decline of labor as a major factor.
In the 1930s when labor unions were tenaciously fighting for working people, huge gains were made in terms of salaries and benefits. They conducted militant sit-down strikes and mobilized tens of thousands of people from the community to support labor’s struggles. Their successes were to a large degree responsible for the emergence of the so-called middle class that thrived in the 1950s and 1960s.
Workers who are organized, acting both collectively and forcefully, can change the economic landscape. But once organized labor becomes complacent and relaxes its guard and ceases to struggle, the laws of capitalism ineluctably grind down their gains and the growing inequality returns until workers again rise up.
Marx argued that eventually workers would see the futility of this repeating cycle, reject capitalism altogether, and begin to construct a socialist society built on entirely humanistic and democratic principles.
In a recent New York Times article on unionizing workers at the bottom of the pay scale, a union organizer was quoted as saying, “We must go back to the strategies of nonviolent disruption of the 1930s.” Currently organized labor is all but dying out. Strikes are like an endangered species. Rather than engaging in militant struggles, union members are urged to elect Democrats who then call on workers to accept sacrifices.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has called on working people “to fight like hell” to resist cuts to Social Security and Medicare. But these are just words. To this date, the unions have failed to mobilize their members to stage massive demonstrations across the country against cuts to these popular social programs – demonstrations that could culminate in hundreds of thousands of working people descending on Washington, D.C. to make their demands clear to the Obama administration and the rest of the politicians. Without the unions taking the lead in this struggle, there is little individual workers will be able to accomplish. And if the unions refuse to return to their more militant roots but remain invisible, economists like Paul Krugman will continue to ignore their existence and overlook their current historic failure to defend working people.
It’s often overlooked and taken for granted, but it’s the most essential of all human resources.
We’re paying 75% more for it today than we were in the year 2000.
According to a recent study by USA Today, which looked at 100 large municipalities across the country, the price increases over the last decade are so significant that many Americans are having to cut other expenses just to keep up:
…the cost of this necessity of life has outpaced the percentage increases of some of these other utilities, carving a larger slice of household budgets in the process.
“I don’t know how they expect people to keep paying more for water with the cost of gas and day care and everything else going up,” complains Jacquelyn Moncrief, 60, a Philadelphia homeowner who says the price hikes would force her to make food-or-water decisions. She gathered signatures on a petition opposing a proposed water rate increase in her city this year.
USA Today’s study of residential water rates over the past 12 years for large and small water agencies nationwide found that monthly costs doubled for more in 29 localities. The unique look at costs for a diverse mix of water suppliers representing every state and Washington, D.C. found that a resource long taken for granted will continue to become more costly for millions of Americans. Indeed, rates haven’t crested yet because huge costs to upgrade or repair pipes, reservoirs and treatment plants loom nationwide.
In three municipalities — Atlanta, San Francisco and Wilmington, Del. —water costs tripled or more.
Source: USA Today
According to the report, we can expect rates to continue to rise at a whopping 5% to 15% per year going forward, and for a variety of reasons.
The trend toward higher bills is being driven by:
- The cost of paying off the debt on bonds municipalities issue to fund expensive repairs or upgrades on aging water systems.
- Increases in the cost of electricity, chemicals and fuel used to supply and treat water.
- Compliance with federal government clean-water mandates.
- Rising pension and health care costs for water agency workers.
- Increased security safeguards for water systems since the 9/11 terror attacks
One critical aspect USA Today failed to mention as a reason for higher prices and the adverse effects on our purchasing power is, of course, monetary expansion over this same time period. While water prices are up in the high double digits over the last decade, the same cannot be said for Americans’ wages.
Taking that into consideration, we may well see rates go even higher than estimated.
Coupled with an ever expanding global population, the notion that countries will soon be fighting water wars over this critical resource is not out of the question.
The days of endless clean and cheap water are behind us.
All wars require a definitive trigger event in order to come to fruition. Subsequently, at the beginning of all wars lies a governmental apparatus which seeks to justify the outbreak of hostilities. Due to horrific nature of war, all governments feel the need to convince, conscript and control its population in order fulfill its need for war.
Over 2500 years ago, Sun Tzu, renowned author of the Art of War, stated that war is only a means to an end. A false flag attack upon the inhabitants of Chicago will likely prove to be the means to commence the World War III. and impose a draconian version of martial law which will be carried out upon the American people with extreme prejudice with the roll out of FEMA camp re-education centers. World War III, itself, will provide the means to restore the Federal Reserve Petrodollar as the sole reserve currency needed to purchase oil by the nations of the world.
Why is the United States so hell bent on starting World War III? As I reported earlier this week, Iran is selling oil for Gold to India, China and Russia. This is a dramatic departure from past practice in which all of the nations of the world must first purchase Petrodollars from the Federal Reserve before purchasing oil. This practice provides the only form of backing that our dollar enjoys and to remove this backing would result in the total collapse of the dollar and the Federal Reserve. Specifically, Iran and its three powerful oil customers are threatening to bring down the dollar and the American and European economies. Further, the Chinese and the Russians have threatened war if the United States attacks Iran in attempt to reverse the gold for oil deal.
America has positioned naval warships, in record numbers, in the Gulf region in order to launch military strikes upon Syria and Iran in conjunction with Israeli forces. Insider sources are reporting that U.S. forces are on high alert as a pretext to antagonize the Iranians into an aggressive action which will be used to justify the coming war. If U.S. forces are not able to provoke Iran into committing a Gulf of Tonkin event, the American public should be aware of at least one, if not more, stunning false flag events which will be used to justify the coming war and the imposition of martial law.
The American people are war weary and our banker-hijacked government will likely need to “control” the likely backlash many Americans will display in protest of going to war with Iran. Martial law preparations are clearly under way as it painfully obvious that the Department of Homeland Security has ramped up its operation for this likely scenario. A false flag attack upon Chicago will provide the justification to impose martial law and DHS is prepared to meet any public resistance with deadly force. This notion is bolstered by the fact that DHS has purchased hundreds of hardened concrete pillboxes which is also accompanied by the purchase of 1.6 billion rounds of high grade ammunition. We already know that the Fort Carson based Russians troops are training with American weapons and ammunition in large numbers at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. Are the dots beginning to connect? A false flag operation is in the works and it martial law was beta tested in May at the NATO summit as South Chicago.
What does it say when an American president is preparing to go to war with Russia over the sanctity of the Petrodollar, while at the same time, preparing use Russian troops to subjugate an American public’s backlash about the coming war? It says Obama is a traitor to this country and Obama clearly has the past connections to validate his Benedict Arnold pedigree as you will soon discover.
For individuals who think a false flag upon Chicago sounds crazy, ask yourself why Rahm Emanuel, most likely aMossad agent, would leave a high level cabinet post in the Obama Administration and step down to the relative lowly position of being a mayor of city? The simple and obvious answer is that this foreign asset was put in place to carry out the task over overseeing a false flag event, so big, so devastating, that the Obama Administration will have their pretext to execute martial law in order to stem the wave of massive protests which will surely accompany the globalist plans to have the United States commence a war in the Middle East.
Do you remember reading the accounts of how Israel told their workers to not go to the World Trade Center on 9/11? It is apparent that a similar warning has already been issued to key people from Chicago so that they can stay out of harm’s way. And along these lines, does anyone else find it interesting that President Obama is not planning to ever return to his former hometown of Chicago? In case you have not heard, Obama is in the middle of securing a residence in Hawaii while disposing of his Hyde Park properties. Additionally, the News Director of The Common Sense Show with Dave Hodges revealed to a national listening audience the presence of 400,000 FEMA coffins being stored in nearby Gary, Indiana, despite protestations from the local city council. To accurately add fuel to this false flag fire, there were plans in place for a mass evacuation of downtown Chicago in reaction to possible riots which might have taken place from May 20-21, 2012 at the NATO Summit. Local officials were asked to make plans in order to assist Chicago residents in the event of a mass exit from Chicago. This Chicago NATO Summit was merely a Beta test for the real event. One doesn’t have to have a doctorate in history to recall Operation Northwoods, Abel Danger and the relationship to 911. And one doesn’t have to be a Jeopardy contestant to remember the London terrorist drills that coincided with the London subway bombings. And don’t forget, the same exact events transpired a short time later in Spain! Prudent Americans may wish to eliminate Chicago as vacation destination anytime soon where it appears likely that the Windy City will be the next Oklahoma City event as evidenced by the massive purchase of Ammonium Nitrate by DHS which is the same explosive utilized in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Hmmm, I wonder if Obama has bothered to inform his fellow Hyde Park residents, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, that their homes will soon be going up in smoke? You remember Bill and Bernardine don’t you? The Weatherman Underground? You know, the 1960′s radical group of rich, red-diaper babies who perpetrated dozens of bombings of public buildings which led to the death of a San Francisco police officer for which these two thugs were never prosecuted and were eventually pardoned for all other crimes committed while participating in some of the worse domestic terrorism that this country has ever witnessed. Surely, you now remember Bill and Bernardine as they were the ones who launched the political career of Barry Sotero (AKA Barak Obama), in their Hyde Park living room at the dawn of Barry’s political career while running for the State Senate in Illinois. This is the same Bill and Bernardine who was under investigation by the FBI and specifically by FBI informant, Larry Grathwohl. While appearing on The Common Sense Show, Grathwohl revealed he had previously penetrated the inner circle of the Weatherman, on behalf of the FBI, and was exposed to some stunning revelations by Dohrn and Ayers as they announced plans to institute a methodical and systematic, long term communist takeover of the government. When the takeover was complete, Grathwohl reported that Ayers stated that 50 million Americans would have to be sent to re-education camps and an estimated 25 million Americans would have to murdered in order to stop the counter revolution which would follow their communist takeover. The American people are now at the precipice of this long planned takeover. Not only were Bill and Bernardine Obama’s handlers, the Ayers family was intermarried into the family of Valerie Jarrett’s, senior White House advisor to President Obama.
America, you have been sold out!
By connecting all of the aforementioned dots, a clear picture of the interrelationship between a false flag event in Chicago and the resulting martial law imposition designed to suppress dissent against the coming world war for the purpose of eliminating the gold for oil deal begins to crystallize and the road to war with Iran runs through Chicago.
Recent attacks on American embassies and consulates in numerous Muslim countries are claimed to be irrational and undue reactions to a film portraying the Muslim prophet Mohammed in a degraded manner. The film is intentionally sacrilegious and incendiary toward Islamic beliefs and seems intended to add fuel to the rage of a Muslim world already incensed at the U.S. for its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for destructive American drone attacks in Yemen and Somalia and multiple other nations, and one-sided support for Israel accompanied by platitudes for Palestinians. Thus, the roots of widespread anti-Americanism are much deeper than can be explained merely by recent events. Instead, Muslim fury can be traced to the ever increasing intervention by Washington in Muslim countries since the end of World War II. Prior to that, the U.S. was considered a non-interventionist, even anti-imperialist, friend in much of the region. Yet, even before the war ended President Roosevelt made a secret deal with the Saudi king to provide American protection (and ultimately arms as well, used primarily to suppress his own population) to the Saudis in return for unobstructed American corporate access to the recently discovered Saudi oilfields.
Few today remember American policies during the Iranian crisis of 1946, when the U.S. obliquely threatened to force Soviet Troops out of Iran. American, British and Soviet troops occupied Iran in 1941 because it had tilted toward the Nazis under the father of the later American client, Shah Reza Pahlavi. The Soviets occupied the oil fields of northern Iran with Washington’s approval during the war to prevent them from falling into Nazi hands. The Soviets were supposed to withdraw in March of that year but refused until a deal could be arranged whereby the USSR could purchase Iranian oil in order to begin rebuilding its war-ravaged society. Initially the Truman Administration encouraged the Iranian government to accept the deal. Then when the Red Army did withdraw also encouraged the Iranians to renege on the arrangement. It is worth noting that the Red Army did not then re-occupy the territory, thereby putting the lie to the claim made immediately after WWII that the Soviets were bent on world domination. There was nothing, not even employing atomic weapons, that the U.S. could have done to stop the Red Army had it chosen to reoccupy Iran’s oilfields since that would have destroyed the very resources that were being contested. The Soviets were only one of the principal obstacles to American post-war plans- though they were trumpeted as the prime mover. Equally important was nationalism, especially the sort of national independence craved by countries possessing vital resources that the U.S. coveted. Few also realize that until WWII the U.S. was the prime exporter of petroleum. By war’s end the U.S. had used so much of its domestic oil, and its hydrocarbon-based economy had grown so exponentially, that from that point on the U.S. was impelled to begin importing oil.
Many do remember the overthrow of the prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadeqh in 1953. Exceeding its legal mandate to gather intelligence, the newly minted Central Intelligence Agency, initiated its first successful overthrow of a constitutional and elected government because that government decided that Iranian oil belonged to the Iranians and not to the British oil company that would eventually become British Petroleum. The American scheme was calculated to ensure that American companies would thereafter dominate Iranian oil production and get rid of most British competition in Iran as well. The Shah and his brutal government was then installed to act as Washington’s gendarme in the region. To ensure his rule the U.S. military and CIA then trained his dreaded secret police in the fine arts of torture and terror.
Meanwhile the CIA was active in similar efforts across the planet to undermine any form of nationalism, socialism, or communism that would interfere with the overarching American agenda, which was not the promotion of “democracy” but the installation of friendly clients into positions of power in countries considered strategic for their resources or geographic position. Space does not allow a complete catalog but of importance to current events is certainly the role the “Company” played in the overthrow of the British client king of Iraq in 1958, an intrigue in which Saddam Hussein played a role and that led eventually to his dictatorship, one with which Washington was happy to cooperate after the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979. The famous film of Donald Rumsfeld warmly shaking Saddam’s hand perfectly illustrates the lower depths to which Washington has too often stooped to achieve its ends. The U.S. provided highly technical intelligence to Iraq against Iran, aiding the mass slaughter that ensued, and when he used poison gas made from chemicals provided by American corporations against Iraqi Kurds during the war with Iran, Washington prevented sanctions against his regime. At that point he was assisting the American agenda to weaken Iranian fundamentalism so his crimes could be whitewashed. However, his invasion of Kuwait in 1990 became the perfect rationale to inject what evolved into a permanent American military presence in the Persian Gulf.
At the time of 9-11 Michael Scheur was the CIA’s foremost expert on Al Qaeda. His writings emphasize that Americans had to take seriously the reasons spelled out by Osama Bin Laden for Al Qaeda’s antagonism toward the U.S. One of those principal motivations was the American military presence in Saudi Arabia during and after Operation Desert Storm. Bin Laden said clearly that the presence of “infidel” troops on sacred Islamic soil was a desecration. Thereafter, all American forces were to be driven from all Islamic lands. The widespread perception in the Muslim world that Americans had defiled the holiest sites of Islam and were exploiting Muslim resources while propping up corrupt dictatorial apostates like the rulers of the Arab Gulf states contributed to the relative ease with which al Qaeda could recruit new Jihadis to its cause.
Scheur also noted that bin Laden said that the attacks on 9-11 were intended to promote further intervention by Washington in the region and thus promote more of the anti-Americanism that he hoped would fuel his movement. To a great extent American actions have worked almost precisely to Bin Laden’s plan and the current explosion of violence around the world toward the U.S. is a direct outgrowth of the increasing resentment and hatred long stored in memory across the Middle East. Washington is reaping the violent whirlwind sowed by itself.
The so-called “Arab Spring” represented an upwelling of long-simmering opposition to numerous dictatorships in the region, most of them propped up by Washington with a few exceptions that rankled like Libya and Syria. Though President Obama and Hillary Clinton mouthed piously about popular democracy and the “will of the people,” such didn’t help the hapless residents of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, where instantaneous and brutal repression followed, with mere sighs from Washington. Remember that at first, President Obama supported Hosni Mubarak in Egypt until the intensity of the demonstrations in Cairo forced the U.S to abandon him. But not before the Egyptian military high command stepped up to reassure the State Department that it would take his place. Then they threw Mubarak “under the bus.” Nevertheless, the sheer pressure of popular demand for a voice necessitated an election. Since the Egyptian Army is financed and armed by Washington, and Egypt receives the second largest sum of foreign aid (after Israel) widespread knowledge that the Egyptian Army is a creature of the U.S. led to victory in the elections by the despised Muslim Brotherhood. After the election the Egyptian courts sought to prevent the seating of this Parliament dominated by the Brotherhood and with representation by the even more vehement Salafists, but the newly seated president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, does indeed represent the Brotherhood. One reason the Army allowed the elections was because its leadership feared that rank and file troops would not support repression in the face of such an uprising from the depths of their own social origins. Morsi is being very careful now. It remains to be seen how the new configuration of power, of Islamists vs. the Army, will evolve.
The killing of the American ambassador and three other Americans in Libya prompted an embittered Secretary Clinton to ask how those who owed their “liberation” to the U.S. could be so ungrateful to their emancipators, thereby confirming how little she understands of the circumstances fostering the Libyan uprising, nor those her government has wrought, or the degree to which the planned outcome of U.S. intervention islikely to fail utterly. The standard interpretation of what transpired in Libya is that the U.S. and its European allies in NATO conducted a humanitarian intervention to rid Libya of another brutal dictator. It is true that Muammar Qaddaffi ruled autocratically but in this he was supported by a substantial majority at least in western Libya, where traditional tribes were loyal.
Libya came into existence as an independent state only in 1951. Before that it had been an Italian colony, or rather three separate colonies cobbled together and given the name the ancient Romans called most of North Africa. In its efforts to subdue these colonies Italy became the very first European empire to use the airplane in primitive bombing runs on resisting tribes. In this they were soon followed by the French in Syria and Lebanon, and by the British in Iraq and Afghanistan, facts still well remembered in the region. Therefore, like so many nations that acquired independence after World War II, Libya was an artificial construct, merging mutually suspicious or hostile ethnic groups and tribes into a configuration designed by former colonial masters to serve their interests. When Qaddaffi overthrew the corrupt king of Libya in 1969, who made sweetheart deals with western oil companies, and hoarded revenues from Libya’s newly discovered oil, he took over a country already riven with tribal animosities. One of his difficulties was that much of Libya’s oil was in the east, where tribes different from his own loyalists dwelled. He suppressed opposition brutally.
Another problem which Quaddaffi dealt with successfully – and which brought him the unending hostility of the west and led to a deadly cat and mouse game that played out over forty years- were those western oil companies that dominated the industry and reaped the greatest share of profits. Qaddaffi immediately nationalized oil but allowed some companies to remain. However, he imposed significantly higher taxes and royalties on those, like the American company Occidental, resulting in a considerable increase in revenues available to him but he used these to raise the standard of living substantially, mainly for his loyalists, but also to an extent for the entire population. Whether his example stimulated what followed is unclear but the facts are that numerous other former oil producing colonies of the western powers subsequently initiated their own nationalizations, thereby upsetting longstanding and profitable western arrangements. He also refused to peg the Libyan currency, the dinar, to the International Monetary Fund, and refused to submit to the World Bank and International Bank for Settlements. Qaddaffi also styled himself the champion of pan-Arabism, the movement to unify the entire Arab world and funded many nationalist movements hostile to the west.
During all this time the CIA was actively involved with Qaddaffi’s opponents to find a way to overthrow him. This lethal contest led to mutual terrorism (though most American media and scholarly accounts omit the U.S. actions) and culminating in the atrocity of Lockerbie, followed by the bombing of Libya, including Qaddaffi’s house where his adoptive three year old daughter was killed. Qaddaffi then intensified efforts to acquire chemical weapons, and even undertook a nuclear program. However sanctions led him to submit the Lockerbie suspects for trial in the UK, and later to give up these WMD programs. At that point western media reports declared that Qaddaffi had “normalized’” affairs with the west.
Whatever he imagined about his new relations with former enemies, the CIA had other ideas. So when the “Arab Spring” erupted in Tunisia and soon spread across the entire region, many Libyans followed suit and Libya descended into the civil war that Washington and NATO then leapt upon in order to accomplish finally what the western governments and energy corporations had desired all along- the overthrow of Qaddaffi and his replacement with an installed government essentially of handpicked clients who would restore Libyan resources to western corporate domination. In the midst of fighting the private global intelligence company STRATFOR published and circulated a detailed map showing most of Libya’s oil was located in the eastern area of Benghazi. It was also well known that the oil Libya produced was of a type that is refined easily into the gasoline required in European automobiles. South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham waxed feverishly over the lure of profits, braying “Let’s get in on the ground. There’s a lot of money to be made in Libya. Lots of oil to be produced. Let’s get on the ground and help the Libyan people establish a democracy and a functioning economy based on free market principles.” Even before the “revolution” had succeeded and a new government was installed, the rebel group claiming authority announced the dissolution of Qaddaffi’s national bank and replaced it with a new central bank tied to international institutions, which, of course, are dominated by the western financial establishment.
As media images showed clearly, Qaddaffi still had enormous support. The “rebels” included eastern tribal members long hostile to rule from western Libya, but also ethnic minorities like the Berbers, but also Libyan members of al Qaeda as well as al Qaeda jihadists from around the Arab and Muslim world. Included in the toxic mix were CIA operatives and covert American Special Forces. Without western arms supplied to Qaddaffi’s opponents, and especially the U.S. led bombing campaign it is likely Qaddaffi would have hung on. The result we see today, however, was utterly predictable.
The so-called government installed in Tripoli, in the west of Libya, has no control over anything, especially in eastern Benghazi. In May the interim prime minister’s offices were attacked with four aides killed. In June a bomb exploded in the same consulate building where Ambassador Stevens was killed. The British ambassador narrowly escaped assassination last spring. The January ransacking of the National Transition Council offices provides evidence that factions in Benghazi want independence, not the unified state. What more would it have taken for Washington to realize that its best laid plans were going awry? Writing in the Guardian, Benjamin Barber notes that at minimum 100,000 militants of one faction or another, all armed with American and NATO weapons (including the rocket-propelled-grenade launchers used against the American consulate) continue to wage war or jihad upon each other, and that al Qaeda is as much a home –grown faction as any other. Indeed, al Qaeda raised its flag over the Benghazi courthouse the day after Qaddaffi was killed.
On March 2, 2007 Retired General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Commander of NATO forces, and 2004 Democratic contender for the presidency, appeared on Amy Goodman’s televised program Democracy Now. In the interview he revealed that shortly before the invasion of Iraq a highly placed Pentagon officer divulged a secret plan to him to overthrow the governments of seven countries-Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. Speaking in San Francisco the following October Clark repeated this and added commentary about a conversation he had in 1992 with Paul Wolfowitz, a prime architect of George W. Bush’s policies, who at the time was number three in the Defense department. Quoting Wolfowitz Clark said: “One thing we learned [in the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region- in the Middle East- and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq- before the next superpower comes along to stop us.”
The Neo-Conservatives were supposed to have been swept from power by the new Obama Administration, and yet the withdrawal (that is not really a withdrawal) from Iraq was negotiated by Bush, and the “surge” in Afghanistan ordered by Obama out neo-conned the neo-cons, just as the “liberation” of Libya certainly followed their template if not their foolish expectations. Syria awaits our humanitarian ministrations. But that may prove the most disastrous escapade of all.
Source: Paul Atwood | CounterPunch.org
Average citizens evaluate political organizations based on how those organizations actually function. They know a political organization is a microcosm of the society it wishes to create. So after ten months of heavy involvement in Occupy, I have this question for Occupiers: would you honestly want to live in a society that is organized like Occupy and functions like Occupy? Do you want a society that claims to be “leaderless” while its true leaders remain hidden and unelected? Do you want a society with no written rules? Do you really expect the general public to support an organization that would extend this model to the rest of society? Progressives must create a more democratic model than the status quo that also functions better -something regular people would be willing to adopt in principle. Studies show the general public agrees with Occupy’s basic message. But Occupy’s inept organization has managed to squander this strategic opportunity. Occupy is actually impeding Progressives’ outreach to the general public. Progressives need new organizations based on the successful planning and leadership strategies of the civil rights movement to create an army of volunteers.
Occupy provides a valuable function by voicing a public NO to economic injustice and inequality in our society and distributing information about nefarious elite activities. But because of its opposition to leadership and written rules, Occupy can’t move beyond this basic level to become a viable fighting force capable of the positive, complex, constructive action required to re-form society.
Occupiers generally subscribe to the flawed argument that less organization leads to more equality and democracy. So most Occupy groups have avoided creating written rules because they feel this would reduce democracy. But our insistence on using oral traditions to store and communicate our rules hobbles us in competition with adversaries, who all use written codes. Occupy will have no more success with this approach than previous non-literate groups who competed with literates.
We approach every new meeting and item of business with an open, make-it-up-as-you-go, spontaneous oral process, recapitulating at each step all previous steps taken. This process, created by small groups on the street, is ill suited to organizing large groups for the complex tasks necessary for societal re-form: publishing creative works, negotiating with unions, putting laws on the ballot, countering corporate privatization schemes, conducting election campaigns, etc.
Because process is not codified in writing, Occupy can’t build on previous decisions at subsequent meetings to get to the next level of complexity. Without written documents we can only refer to fallible human memory. We lose continuity from meeting to meeting. And without written codes to prevent subversion, we remain more vulnerable to it than our adversaries. Of course, we should not simply imitate authoritarian methods of organization to compete. The challenge facing Progressives is how to create a competitive, highly complex organization while retaining the democracy and equality we value.
The second flawed argument inhibiting Occupy is an inappropriate extension of the idea of equality. Our rightful focus on equal opportunity and representation has led us to erroneously organize ourselves as if all people areequally capable. This entrenched Occupy dogma cannot be challenged within the group and is voluntarily avoided, even though many Occupiers understand that it’s bogus. Asserting that people are unique, non-interchangeable individuals makes you vulnerable to the false charge of being “undemocratic” and “elitist.” And the de facto, unelected leaders often use their own undemocratic authority to squelch discussion of it. This fallacy of human interchangeability is hurting Occupy badly. For example, nobody in our Occupy group can do the technical website work right now, so our website is completely nonfunctional. If we were all truly interchangeable, then any one of us should be able to step in and do it. Obviously, education can make people more interchangeable to some extent. We could teach some (not all) people how to maintain the website. And some of those (not all) would be willing to do it. But regardless of how much educating we do, only a small number in Occupy would be both capable and willing to do this job.
The most important human resource allocation for any organization is in leadership. Leadership is everywhere in human history, indicating we have probably evolved to prefer it. Occupy tries to ignore this fundamental aspect of human nature with its determinedly “leaderless” dogma. But every human group, including Occupy, has leaders whether they admit to it or not. At a minimum, leaders are the more dedicated people: those who do major parts of the work and show up regularly. The best leaders go beyond these basics by contributing brilliant, unique ideas that capture the public imagination and amplify the public mood. They can visualize what has to be done strategically in a way that most us can’t. A group with effective leadership will always defeat a group without it. Occupy’s refusal of leadership seriously impairs its effectiveness. Occupy can’t negotiate with other groups in society (unions) because we have nobody in positions of responsibility/authority. And in the long run, the claim that Occupy has no leaders is dangerous because it hides the process of choosing and monitoring them, placing it outside conscious control by the group. Occupy definitely has leaders. I’ve met them. But ironically, the process of choosing them is not democratic or open.
Progressive organizations should be electing people to positions of responsibility, trusting them to do a good job, and weeding out those who aren’t trustworthy. Occupy won’t do this, however. We claim to want a collective where we all support each other, but we seem strangely reluctant to trust our fellow Occupiers with responsibility/authority. All human organizations must solve this problem: balancing collective authority against assigned authority in leadership. To repulse the complex, highly coordinated attacks on Progressives, we must have leaders like every previous successful social movement.
Progressives must battle strategically for the hearts and minds of the public like a non-violent military organization, or we will lose to our adversaries, who are using military strategy (often violently). Without leadership and written rules, Occupy cannot take the initiative or go on the attack. We can’t even develop a battle plan.
We have no philosophical “spear” to attack with. John Lennon’s challenge to revolutionaries was, “We’d all love to see the plan.” But after a year, Occupy has none. Occupy San Francisco’s website has a one page “declaration” mainly outlining the terrible system we live in. But, like most other Occupy websites, it makes no specific suggestions about the kind of society Occupiers actually want.
Corporate apologists in every area of society regularly present coherent written arguments in favor of privatization. But we offer no alternative, except to say we reject privatization. They have a spear and we do not. A coherent Progressive plan/platform could become the focus of the debate, putting our adversaries on the defensive and forcing them to discuss our vision of society. We would win that debate because our plan would be more congruent with American values of equality, democracy, freedom and individuality. But instead, we play into their hands by constantly reacting to their privatization initiatives. Creating a party platform is hard work requiring structure and organization that Occupy simply cannot provide.
Occupy strategically defaults to defense instead of taking the initiative with direct actions. Most of our time is spent reacting, trying to “defend” something. But we can’t manage to defend anything against highly organized attacks coming from all sides. Ironically, the most effective Occupy events so far in Northern California have been the scattered “direct actions” that took the initiative – the two Port of Oakland closures and the March 5th Occupation of the Capitol Building in Sacramento. Progressives need a system of leadership and rules that can create a coordinated, continuous
Progressives must break the cycle of self-sabotage. We know how to effectively organize but seem reluctant to do it, perhaps because we are sub-consciously afraid we might win. Maybe we subconsciously want to stay in the more psychologically comfortable position of outsider underdog where it’s easy to criticize what the evil powers-that-be are doing. We can always be right if we don’t create our own plan or actually do anything. Winning requires a different mindset. We must stop embracing our powerlessness and the elite’s designated role for us as “losers.” A consistent defensive posture is the hallmark of losers. We must take the initiative and attack.
The fallacious, impractical, unrealistic elements of Occupy philosophy ensure it will never become a viable Progressive fighting force. Only by rejecting these constraints in favor of organization that facilitates winning will Progressives be able to build a serious engine of societal reform. Serious Occupiers who want to re-form society should move to better-organized Progressive groups. I will subscribe to Occupy networks and might attend Occupy direct actions. But mainly I’ll be looking for other progressive groups who could actually do something. The Green Party, for example, has inspiring leaders and a constructive plan for a “Green New Deal.” Perhaps it’s time to (finally) create a national Progressive Party – an umbrella party for all Progressives that articulates a general Progressive platform and provides the leverage to move national policy.
Geographically: Now that the world’s ocean levels have started rising much faster than predicted, America’s coastal cities may become submerged far sooner than we thought. And, sooner rather than later, Manhattan stands a very good chance of becoming the next lost Atlantis.
Here’s a cute little video from NASA that describes what’s been happening to our planet’s climate over the last 131 years. Check it out: http://www.climatecentral.org/
But enough said about that. I just hope that you don’t own a condo down in SoHo or beach-front property in Honolulu. You do? You’re screwed.
And then there’s Burning Man. This year Black Rock City was completely engulfed in air-born dust particles and white-out sand storms almost 24/7. If this drought doesn’t let up, perhaps they ought to change its name to Dust Bowl City.
And also, for the first time in memory, we have gotten a hecka lot of Canada geese hanging around Berkeley this summer instead of just passing by in the spring and the fall. Guess they don’t have to fly so far south to get warm any more. No winter vacation in Cancun for them! And we humans don’t need to fly south to Puerto Vallarta during the winter months any more either. Last year was the warmest winter in NorCal that I can remember (but I still love Puerto Vallarta).
Morally: The Republican party (and the huge corporations that now own it) are completely using and abusing their only staunch allies — the older white American males and blind-faith Christians who support them — in order to enact laws and make policies that not only undermine these staunch allies’ beliefs but also their very existence.
Jobs, Social Security, homes, families, medical care, infrastructure, water supplies, energy sources, the very teachings of Christ Himself, you name it — all have been put in grave danger by the very corporate interests that naive older white Americans and gullible Christians have blindly trusted and supported all these years. It’s just sad to watch these trusting staunch allies of the GOP constantly getting knifed in the back.
Then there are the famous Fetus Wars. Jesus is being called upon to testify against Planned Parenthood — and yet Jesus isn’t even allowed on the premises when multiple brutal vicious and bloody wars have been declared against millions of innocent children all around the world. You wanna call yourself a Christian? Then you gotta act Christ-like! Duh.
And Repubs are now actually saying that Ted Kennedy originated the War on Women. Chappaquiddick was a tragic accident. That’s not the same thing. But a true war on women appears to be the GOP’s latest favorite game plan — as Repubs happily head down the same path that other “Christians” took back in the European Middle Ages when an estimated nine million women who dared to speak up for themselves, tried to get an education or attempted to practice medicine were burned alive at the stake.
Economically: Since outsourcing and deregulation has hit America like a category-5 hurricane, our economy has become a disaster area — literally. So many jobs have fled overseas and so much wealth has fled to the Caymans that many parts of the USA look almost like New Orleans after Katrina.
All the things that we used to make here? We don’t even know how to make them any more. And all that knowledge of how to make them has been lost too.
Sometimes I wish that the UN or NATO or whoever — perhaps the war-criminal-trial folks over at the Hague — would sanction America like they are now sanctioning Iran. Then we would be FORCED to become economically independent again.
Republicans have deliberately created a vast pool of unemployed Americans so that they won’t have to pay us high wages. Hence the GOP’s refusal to endorse a job program. Why would they want to do that!
In their haste to make more and more money, large corporations are polluting our water and air and elevating our risk of cancer of course. But they are also killing off billions of bees. Good luck with getting our crops in when there is no pollination. And bye-bye flowers too. We don’t even have to wait until water drowns out the new American Atlantis to miss our fruit trees and flowers. Monsanto has already taken care of that.
Politically: Anyone can buy a seat in Congress these days — or even buy the White House itself or the Supreme Court (especially the Supreme Court). Who would have ever thought that it would be that way here in the former Land of the Free. Not since Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall have our public offices been so “For Sale”. Shame on us for letting this happen.
And remember back in 1999 when we all thought that YK2 was going to be an international disaster? Well all the computers didn’t crash, but YK2 turned out to be an incredible disaster anyway — when George W. Bush stole the 2000 election and almost NOBODY in America objected or even noticed. Then Bush allowed 9-11 to happen, followed by the disastrous Afghanistan invasion, the incredibly expensive Iraq invasion and the 2008 economic crash.
Yes, YK2 really was a disaster.
More political immorality: Who has been a very important ally of corporate-owned Washington in places like Afghanistan, Syria and Libya? Wait for it. “Al Qaeda!” Arming and encouraging the people behind 9-11? Isn’t that about as politically immoral as you can get? But Americans seem to accept this hypocrisy without batting an eye. Go figure.
And what can our bought-and-paid-for politicians possibly be thinking when they systematically alienate huge countries like Russia and China while kissing the booties of their corporate neo-con counterparts in teeny-tiny Israel. Israel? The size of New Jersey? Israel’s neo-con corporatists are gonna save us from the wrath of Russia, China, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and all the other places and countries that our corporate-owned government has thoroughly screwed over the years? Huh?
And then there’s that cruel joke that used to be America’s legendary and heroic Supreme Court. No justice at all to be had there these days — if you are merely working class. Those guys in black robes take their reverse-Robin-Hood roles very seriously.
“Take from the worker bees and give to the drones” should be carved in marble over our corporate-owned government buildings in Washington — just before America, the next lost Atlantis, slowly sinks into the sea.
But you had better get to carving it soon — because there is something in the air in America these days, a sense that nasty undercurrents are moving stealthily toward us from somewhere very deep, somewhere that the average voter isn’t in touch with — except in our guts.
And our guts seem to be telling us that America is now sinking fast. And that “We the People” have absolutely no life jackets — but that the billionaires who now own our government are already provisioning their yachtshttp://www.smirkingchimp.com/
To paraphrase Plato, “…once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot” — and then their city of Atlantis got all drowned out.
And to paraphrase Ray Bradbury, “Something wicked is definitely coming our way”.
Metaphysical and psychic phenomena have long existed on the fringes of conventional science and academia. ESP, Clairvoyance, Telekinesis and Astral traveling have all been relegated to the back seat of mainstream, accepted belief systems in spite of an extensive mention of these practices down the ages, across myriad cultures. It has always been challenging for practitioners of the science to be validated by the prevailing status quo.
That however changed in 1995 when the CIA declassified a top secret program that had been training individuals in the esoteric science of ’Remote Viewing’ in which, it was claimed, people were able to envision ongoing activities in distant places and future events.
Although reminiscent of a Sci-Fi yarn, Remote viewing was tested and deployed under rigorous scientific conditions to obtain data about foreign espionage activities, counter terrorism efforts, secret military bases abroad and hidden missiles. It recognized the inherent psychic potential in humans and attempted to harness these special faculties or ’powers’ for the purposes of intelligence gathering, often of a vital nature.
The initial testing was done at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) where extensive investigations were carried out into the human mind’s capacity to transcend all bounds of time and space. SRI’s research was supported by the CIA and other government agencies for over two decades.
Journalism student Morley Chalmers has his telepathic powers tested by Dr. W. E. Mann of Western’s Sociology Department. Extra Sensory Perception or ESP was seen as a form of quackery by most scientists, but Professor Mann unperturbed by this attitude compared ESP to the study of hypnosis which he said at one time was regarded as a hoax both by scientists and the general public. Photo Credit London Free Press Collection of Negatives/Western Archives
Russell Targ, Hal Puthoff and Ingo Swann were the original founders of this once-secret program. Their task was to learn to understand psychic abilities, and to use these abilities to gather information about the Soviet Union during the Cold War. They found from years of experience that people can quickly learn to do remote viewing, and can frequently incorporate this direct knowing of the world — both present and future — into their lives.
They were the original ’Psi Spies’ named after the title of Jim Marrs’ exhaustive study of the phenomenon. The project produced some remarkable results. Among them were detailed renderings of secret Soviet bases, the whereabouts of Red Brigade terrorism hostages in Italy, location of victims in the Israeli hostage crisis, locations of Scud missiles during the first Gulf War and even the impending attack on the Twin Towers in NY! (done by a private contractor and ignored until after the event). The program eventually came to be called ’Operation Stargate’.
The initial media flurry (Ted Koppel’s Nightline, ABC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc.) that surrounded the declassification in 1995 uncovered some surprising details. The names that surfaced at the time were of Ingo Swann, who initially helmed the project, Dr.Russell Targ, Pat Price, Dr. Hal Puthoff, Joseph McMoneagle and others, an interesting group comprised of respected senior military personnel, path breaking scientists and academic luminaries. On ABC’s Nightline, one of the operatives, Joe McMoneagle was put to the test by none other than Ted Koppel. He was able to prove the authenticity of the system with flying colors.
Remote viewers can often contact, experience and describe a hidden object, or a remote natural or architectural site, based on the presence of a cooperative person at the distant location, or when given geographical coordinates, or some other target demarcation — which they call an ’address’. Shape, form and color are described much more reliably than the target’s name, function, or other analytical information. In addition to vivid visual imagery, viewers sometimes describe associated feelings, sounds, smells and even electrical or magnetic fields. Blueprint accuracy has occasionally been achieved in these double-blind experiments, and reliability in a series can be as high as 80 per cent.
In 1984 Targ organized a pair of successful 10,000-mile remote viewing experiments between Moscow and San Francisco with famed Russian healer Djuna Davitashvili. Djuna’s task was to describe where a colleague would be hiding in San Francisco. She had to focus her attention ten thousand miles to the west and two hours into the future to correctly describe his location. These experiments were performed under the auspices and control of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Djuna hit the mark on all counts and the experiment was declared a resounding success.
Ten years earlier, in 1974, Russell Targ and his colleague Hal Puthoff carried out a demonstration of psychic abilities for the CIA. Pat Price, a retired police commissioner, described the inside and outside of a secret Soviet weapons laboratory in the far reaches of Siberia — given only the geographical coordinates of latitude and longitude for a reference. (That is, with no on- site cooperation.) This trial was such a stunning success that they were forced to undergo a formal Congressional investigation to determine if there had been a breach in National Security. Of course, none was ever found, and the government supported them for another fifteen years.
Data from these formal and controlled SRI investigations were highly statistically significant (thousands of times greater than chance expectation), and have been published in the world’s most prestigious journals, such as Nature, The Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and The Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences. The twenty years of remote viewing research conducted for the CIA is outlined in ‘Miracles of Mind: Exploring Non-local Consciousness and Spiritual Healing’, co-authored by Targ and Katra.
Recent research in areas as different as distant healing and quantum physics are in agreement with the oldest spiritual teachings of the sages of India, who taught that “separation is an illusion.” The powers we are discovering now are described by Rishis as ‘Siddhis’, or fruits of deep penance and arcane Yogic techniques, verbally transmitted, only known to inner circles.
The military and institutional exploitation of this timeless phenomenon is alarming. It is being harnessed by world governments in a game of cosmic brinkmanship, none of whom can possibly know the complete ramifications of unleashing such latently devastating forces without comprehending the holistic nature of the universe and interconnectedness of all life.
What is remarkable however, is the fact that the cat is out of the bag finally with regard to parapsychology, metaphysics and the occult. The so-called ‘mainstream’ has not only recognized the stunning potential of psychic energy but has gone so far as to harness it for territorial one-upmanship. The human race only needs to realize the vast reserves of raw power that it has at its disposal to effect profound and genuine transformation of the human condition on a global scale.
Source: Vikram Zutshi | RealitySandwich.com
In a recent article, “Pensions Under Attack in America,” Mr. Leo Kolivakis took issue with a proposal by Mark Vorpahl, a union steward, to defend pensions by taxing the rich in order to create jobs (see Pensions Under Attack). Both authors agree that solving the jobs crisis is indispensable to solving the pension crisis, but their divergence occurs with Mr. Kolivakis’ assertion that “taxing the rich to create jobs is not a long-term solution to this jobs crisis.”
Of course, under capitalism there is no long-term solution to the jobs crisis. But leaving that aside, taxing the rich and using the money to finance a massive jobs program, as was done in the 1930s, can certainly substantially lower unemployment.
Mr. Kolivakis’ argument is difficult to follow since he mixes several points without providing argumentation for either. He says, for example: “Look, serious economists have weighed in on the topic of tax fairness in the United States. I think it’s fair to say that the uber rich (say, net wealth of $100 million and more) don’t pay their fair share of taxes but this isn’t the cause or solution to the jobs crisis. And unless you fix the jobs crisis, you will never repair the ongoing slaughter of public and private pensions.”
He seems to be suggesting that only taxing the super rich (not the mere rich) would be morally appropriate. But he presents this claim as an objective fact. Whether the super rich are paying their fair share or not is a value judgment, not an objective fact. And Mr. Kolivakis’ values diverge from most Americans who support raising taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year, according to numerous polls.
As for Mr. Kolivakis’ claim that the failure of the super rich to pay their fair share of taxes “isn’t the cause or solution to the jobs crisis,” he overlooks a number of crucial links between these two seemingly independent economic facts.
First, because taxes on the rich have been steadily declining for the past three decades, state and local governments have suffered declining revenue that in turn has led them to lay off teachers and other public workers, thereby raising unemployment.
Secondly, lower taxes on the rich has been a major contributing factor to the growing inequalities in wealth, because money has essentially been transferred from the working people to the rich through the tax system. (See Hacker and Pierson: “Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer – and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.”) Yet the rich tend to save their money at a significantly higher rate than everyone else. Hence effective demand for consumer products has declined, causing corporations to contract their operations and lay off employees. Corporations have not expanded for lack of money; they are sitting on huge profits. They have not expanded out of fear additional products will not be sold. In any case, the tax policy has consequently had a direct impact on employment in this way.
Thirdly, if the government raised taxes on the rich and used the revenue to launch a massive jobs creation program along the lines that was done in the 1930s, millions of people would be earning paychecks that would then be spent on consumer items. These expenditures would act as a stimulus to the economy. Businesses would experience a rise in demand for their products, and they could expand their operations and hire additional people in order to meet the demand. Such government job creation programs could become a permanent staple of the economy – along the lines of unemployment insurance – to be activated when unemployment reaches a certain percent. In this way it could provide a long-term response to the jobs crisis.
As for his own solution to the pension crisis, Mr. Kolivakis suggests “America needs a wholesale pension reform which includes compromises at the state, federal and union level. Now more than ever, politicians need to sit down and bolster, not weaken, public pensions.”
Again, he provides no elaboration on these points, so one is left to speculate that when he talks about compromises at the union level he is suggesting that workers agree to lower their pensions. If this inference is correct, his proposal will further decimate the “middle class” that is already struggling with inadequate pensions. For example, in California a recent report concluded “half of California workers will face ‘significant economic hardship in retirement,’ says a new report from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education” (San Francisco Chronicle, October 9, 2011).
Finally, if Mr. Kolivakis believes that the solution to the pension crisis simply resides in asking the politicians “to sit down and bolster, not weaken, public pensions,” then he is contributing to the mystification of the real role the politicians are playing in their subservience to the 1%.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the most popular story on WSJ.com on Monday was a report about how Lennar (LEN) may apply for a $1.7 billion loan from China to help finance major multifamily housing developments in San Francisco.
Valued at $10.5 billion in total, the projects to reincarnate two former Pacific Coast naval bases as mixed-use residential and commercial real estate have run aground over lack of funds. As a result, Lennar appears poised to open the door to China owning an interest in a big chunk of prime U.S. beachfront real estate. And that’s just the start.
The Selling of America
Turns out, while Americans are still reeling from the aftershocks of our housing bust, a whole lot of people from around the globe are eager to take advantage of the “bust-ortunity” in cheap American homes. The National Association of Realtors reports that over the 12 months ended in March, nearly 9% of all real estate purchases in the U.S. (by dollar value) were made by buyers abroad. In some markets, real estate professionals are seeing foreign buying at rates more than twice as fast. One real estate agent in Chicago, for example, observed that 20% of the deals he’s closed so far this year involved buyers from Canada, Australia, and elsewhere.
It’s only natural that this news would scare some people. It raises echoes of the “Rising Sun” period of Japanese economic dominance back in the 1980s, when Japanese firms flooded the American market with bags of cash, buying up everything from Columbia Studios to the Pebble Beach golf course to Rockefeller Center itself. What’s different this time, though, is that it’s not just one country’s megamillionaires doing the buying. The whole world has embarked on a U.S. shopping spree.
International purchases of U.S. real estate surged 24% over the past 12 months, with plenty of buyers coming from China, true, but also Canada, Mexico, India, and the U.K. (Indeed, as it turns out, Canadian buyers outnumber Chinese by more than 2 to 1.) But few of these countries bear any resemblance to the dominant Japan of the ’80s. To the contrary, Mexico, India and the U.K. each have significant currency weakness problems of their own, so this is anything but an attack on a “weak U.S. dollar.”
What it is is a recognition that there are pretty incredible values available in U.S. real estate today. According to the Journal, international buyers are focusing their attention in particular on hard-hit real estate markets in Florida, California, Arizona, and New York (but also sunny Texas) — places where the U.S. housing market boomed particularly hard in the last decade, and places where the discounts to past prices now look particularly compelling.
Is It Bad for America?
On one hand, this kind of buying frenzy is likely to rub a few people the wrong way. “The foreigners are coming,” they’ll declaim, with all the jingoistic outrage this implies. It probably doesn’t help that a lot of Americans are out of work these days, can’t get a mortgage, or are underwater on their current homes. So even if they agree that there are good deals in housing to be had, they can’t participate.
That has to grate.
But on the other hand, it’s hard to get too upset over the prospect of some $82.5 billion (and counting) in foreign capital being poured into the country in a time of economic weakness. More so when you learn that unlike so many buyers back in the 1990s and early 2000s, these are not buy-and-flip purchasers we’re talking about.
To the contrary, the Journal reports that 39% of the people buying up all this real estate intend to keep the homes as their primary residences. Add in the 23% who are buying vacation properties, and you’ve got a strong majority of good, responsible homeowners arriving in town. Folks who are going to keep the paint fresh and the lawns mowed — and consequently boost the property values of their neighbors.
In short, if we absolutely, positively must sell America to foreigners, these are exactly the foreigners we should be selling to.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above.
Source: Rich Smith | Daily Finance
45th anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty…
Back in 2009, in Houston Texas, Mimi Adams, a distinguished Palestinian solidarity & human rights activist, gave me a present- a USS Liberty baseball cap. She put it on my head and said,
“Gilad, in the next two weeks, make sure you have it on your head everywhere you go in America. You will see what happens.”
It was around midnight, I was tired and jet-lagged, I couldn’t really understand the significance of the baseball cap, I just wanted to make my way to my hotel room and catch some sleep. At 7 AM in the airport on my way to the gate with a USS Libertybaseball cap on my head, just before boarding on a flight to San Francisco, I noticed an older guy chasing me. He was breathless and agitated.
“Sorry to bother you, were you on the USS Liberty” he asked.
“No” I said, “I was actually four years old in 1967.” Amused I admitted that the Baseball cap was given to me by a friend in a Palestinian solidarity gathering just a few hours ago. I asked him what did he know about the USS Liberty.
“I was a 6th Navy’s pilot” he said. “We were deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. On that day in June 1967, we heard it all, the sailors on board of the Liberty, they were begging for help, it was a real agony, we were fuming, we wanted to get on the planes, we were about 10-12 minutes away, we wanted to save our brothers, but they didn’t let us onto the deck.”
On June 8, 1967 USS Liberty, an American auxiliary technical research ship, a military vessel specialised in gathering intelligence, was attacked by the Israeli forces. It was subject to an 18 hours combined air and sea raids that left 34 American crew-members dead (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian) and 170 injured. The attack also severely damaged the ship. Like the Mavi Marmara, at the time of the attack, the ship was in international waters, north of the Sinai Peninsula, about 50 km northwest from the Egyptian City of El Arish.
Phil Tourney is a USS Liberty Survivor, & like many of his friends who were lucky enough to survive that hot day in June 1967; the event changed his life. I met Phil in Aspen last March. I spent some good hours together with the great man and his lovely wife. We shared our personal stories and thoughts about Israel, America and the Jewish Lobby with a few friends and listeners. When it was time to depart Phillip left me with “What I Saw That Day”; a devastating biographical account written by Phil and the courageous truth teller journalist Mark Glenn.
The book is the life story of a man who survived a murderous Israeli aggression, but it is also the story of a man who has witnessed four decades of deceit. The event, which Phil ‘saw that day’ is something most of us have failed to see for decades.
“What I Saw That Day” is a story of America turning its back on its service-men. It is a story about Israelis slaughtering in cold blood American sailors on the high sea. But it is also a story about a man who battles with wounds and scars that have refused to heal for forty five years. It is a book about the American serviceman being deceived and neglected by American political and military elite. “What I Saw That Day” is also a personal painful account of the tragic consequences of Israeli and Jewish lobby domination in America.
The survival of the USS Liberty was nothing but a miracle. The ship was an old WWII ‘one goer’ that was converted into a military intelligence vessel. It wasn’t built to stand a combat, it wasn’t structured to take any penalty. And yet, it somehow survived hours of heavy Israeli raids. It was hit by napalm bombs and torpedoes, by the end of that horrid day it was soaking with young American blood, but it refused to go down. It didn’t sink. The USS Liberty is there to remind us, our leaders, the Israelis and their lobbies that the memory of this massacre is not going to sink either. Like the Nakba and the Holodomour, USS Liberty bounced back. Seemingly, injustice cannot be suppressed, it always wait patiently for humanity to transform history into a moral lesson.
This horrendous story has been silenced for decades, but not anymore. What Phillip Tourney saw that day was just a glimpse into the magnitude of Western immorality and barbarism. Since then many Americans soldiers lost their life in Zionist global wars. Millions of Muslims and Arabs have been slaughtered in wicked interventionist conflicts.
To save our homes, families, friends, dignity and the world as we know it; is to stand up for the truth and to call a spade a spade.
To buy on Phillip Tourney on amazon.com Click here