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Is the United States on the brink of a revolution?

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ProtestsPolitical scientists have historically been bad at foreseeing the most important developments. Few of us guessed the end of the Cold War; almost no one saw the Arab Spring coming.

In defence of my discipline, there is a reason for that.

Before a momentous event occurs, there are numerous possibilities and different ways events can unfold. After it happens, however, it will appear inevitable. And after it happens, we will be very good at explaining why it had to happen.

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Biden Rejects Medicare for All

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medical-imgOn major policy issues, Biden’s agenda resembles Trump’s with a party label difference — both unacceptable, demanding rejection.

Throughout his time in public office, Biden one-sidedly supported and continues supporting privileged interests at the expense of the public welfare — notably against world peace and social justice, ideas he rejects.

The world’s richest country USA is the only developed one without some form of universal healthcare.

It’s the only equitable system for all its citizens and residents — everyone in, no one left out.

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Banana America: The Fix Is in! “US Politics These Last 48 Hours, …Bernie vs. Biden”

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sanders-trump-400x300This writer has watched countless boxing matches over the years, and has seen how in many instances ‘The Fix is in’. The powers that be want a certain prospect to move up the ranks, they ‘Fix’ it. With boxing all you needed was two judges and maybe the referee, and wallah, your guy wins. It was on  March 13th 1963, when heavyweight prospect Cassius Clay fought journeyman fighter Doug Jones at Madison Square Garden. My dad and I watched it on I believe video tape (not sure of that) and we both felt that Jones won the fight. Clay (soon to be Muhammad Ali) got the decision and went on to fight Sonny Liston for the championship. Well, what just transpired in politics these past 48 hours was right up there with any good old FIX.

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The Missing Narratives in the Debate on “Medicare for All”

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ashamed_Liberty The onslaught of misinformation from the corporatist wings of both political parties and media biases against universal healthcare are obviously confusing the electorate. This is seemingly evident in this week’s Super Tuesday with Joe Biden winning the majority of the states.  This confusion leaves citizens bewildered about how they will pay their bills unless a fundamental overhaul of medical insurance is undertaken. More important, what will happen when you are diagnosed with a serious illness and are not fully covered? What are your chances of joining the ranks of the 530,000 families that file bankruptcy annually for medical reasons?

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Remembering Joe...R.I.P. - Hung Over in the End Times

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If liberal society is to survive the rise of the Godwacks, we need to start by calling them what they are

GodwacksSince George Bush’s reelection, the Christian nutjobs have mounted an assault on my block. In the five years I’ve lived in this neighborhood I’ve never had so much as one Jehovah’s Witness knock at the door. But last Saturday morning my neighbor Tinka-the-wool-weaver called to warn of approaching Bible thumpers working the doorbells on my side of the street. Sure enough, out the window were two women in long skirts with bad Bible hairdos headed my way. "Incoming Jesus freaks at nine o’clock high!" I yelled to my wife. We jumped back into bed and let 'em pound on the door and drop tracts in the mailbox while Barb read the Washington Post and I caught another 20 zees.

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Remembering Joe...R.I.P. - Hung Over in the End Times

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If liberal society is to survive the rise of the Godwacks, we need to start by calling them what they are

GodwacksSince George Bush’s reelection, the Christian nutjobs have mounted an assault on my block. In the five years I’ve lived in this neighborhood I’ve never had so much as one Jehovah’s Witness knock at the door. But last Saturday morning my neighbor Tinka-the-wool-weaver called to warn of approaching Bible thumpers working the doorbells on my side of the street. Sure enough, out the window were two women in long skirts with bad Bible hairdos headed my way. "Incoming Jesus freaks at nine o’clock high!" I yelled to my wife. We jumped back into bed and let 'em pound on the door and drop tracts in the mailbox while Barb read the Washington Post and I caught another 20 zees.

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Hillary-The-Hawk Flies Again

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Hillary_Clinton_ii“Hillary works for Goldman Sachs and likes war, otherwise I like Hillary,” a former Bill Clinton aide told me sardonically. First, he was referring to her cushy relationships with top Wall Street barons and her $200,000 speeches with the criminal enterprise known as Goldman Sachs, which played a part in crashing the U.S. economy in 2008 and burdening taxpayers with costly bailouts. Second, he was calling attention to her war hawkish foreign policy.

Last week, Hillary-The-Hawk emerged, once again, with comments to The Atlantic attacking Obama for being weak and not having an organized foreign policy. She was calling Obama weak despite his heavy hand in droning, bombing and intervening during his Presidency. While Obama is often wrong, he is hardly a pacifist commander. It’s a small wonder that since 2008, Hillary-The-Hawk has been generally described as, in the words of the New York Times journalist Mark Landler, “more hawkish than Mr. Obama.”

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“The Russians are coming … again … and they’re still ten feet tall!”

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EagleSo, what do we have here? In Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere the United States has been on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. But not in Ukraine. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in Ukraine the United States is on the same side as the neo-Nazi types, who – taking time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Jews, Russians and Communists – on May 2 burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded. Try and find an American mainstream media entity that has made a serious attempt to capture the horror. 1

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21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare

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CanFlagDear America:

Costly complexity is baked into Obamacare. No health insurance system is without problems but Canadian style single-payer full Medicare for all is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal.

In the early 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months. There were no websites. They did it with index cards!

Below please find 21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare.

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Don’t Ignore How Others See Us

robert_burnsIn watching the massive media coverage and the reaction to the brutal bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the wise poem “To A Louse…” composed in 1785 by the Scottish poet Robert Burns came to me:

“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us/ To see oursels as ithers see us!”

English translation:
“And would some Power the small gift give us/To see ourselves as others see us!”

What must the “ithers” in the Middle East theatre of the American Empire think of a great city in total lockdown from an attack by primitive explosives when Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Yemenis experience far greater casualties and terror attacks several times a week? Including what they believe are terror attacks by U.S. drones, soldiers, aircraft and artillery that have directly killed many thousands of innocent children, women and men in their homes, during funeral processions and wedding parties, or while they’re working in their fields.

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Truth Is Offensive

Julian_AssangeIn America truth is offensive. If you tell the truth, you are offensive.

I am offensive. Michael Hudson is offensive. Gerald Celente is offensive. Herman Daly is offensive. Nomi Prins is offensive. Pam Martens is offensive. Chris Hedges is offensive. Chris Floyd is offensive. John Pilger is offensive. Noam Chomsky is offensive. Harvey Silverglate is offensive. Naomi Wolf is offensive. Stephen Lendman is offensive. David Ray Griffin is offensive. Ellen Brown is offensive.

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Generalissima Clinton Expanding the Empire

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hilary_imageHillary Clinton has completed her four-year tenure as Secretary of State to the accolades of both Democratic and Republican Congressional champions of the budget-busting “military-industrial complex,” that President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address. Behind the public relations sheen, the photo-opportunities with groups of poor people in the developing world, an ever more militarized State Department operated under Clinton’s leadership.

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Obama Inauguration Day: Two Nobel Peace Laureates, “Drones Apart”.

Martin Luther King: “From Every Mountainside, Let Freedom Ring.”

 

martin-luther-king-jr

 

(Martin Luther King,15th January 1929-4th April 1968.)

Oh the cynicism. The man whose words have rung down over four decades, encapsulating a non-violent demand for peace, equality and fairness: “I have a dream”, has again been resurrected as President Obama’s philosophical icon.

In the most blatant act of symbolism, as Africa is now threatened by a President who touted the importance of his African roots four years ago, Obama reaffirmed his Presidential oath today on both Abraham Lincoln’s Bible – and that of Martin Luther King – on the day dedicated to Martin Luther King.

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The Lies Of Democracy and the Language Of Deceit

We_The_PeopleIn an increasingly media-driven age, language is everything and is often used by officialdom to tyrannise meaning. With the deaths of millions on its hands since 1945, the US has become the world’s number one terror state. By the 1980s, former CIA man John Stockwell had put the figure at six million. As a recent article has indicated, from mass bombing in Southeast Asia to employing death squads in South America, the US military and the CIA have been directly and indirectly responsible for an updated figure of an estimated ten million deaths (1). But it’s not called mass murder these days. Ironically, the US has hijacked the word ‘terror’ to justify its brand of tyranny through a war on terror.

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Terrorism with a “Human Face”:

The History of America’s Death Squads

Death Squads in Iraq and Syria. The Historical Roots of US-NATO's Covert War on Syria

salvador death squad imageThe recruitment of death squads is part of a well established US military-intelligence agenda. There is a long and gruesome US history of covert funding and support of terror brigades and targeted assassinations going back to the Vietnam war.

As government forces continue to confront the self-proclaimed “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), the historical roots of the West’s covert war on Syria –which has resulted in countless atrocities– must be fully revealed.

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Fiscal Cliff:

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Let’s Call Their Bluff!

moneybagThe “fiscal cliff” has all the earmarks of a false flag operation, full of sound and fury, intended to extort concessions from opponents. Neil Irwin of the Washington Post calls it “a self-induced austerity crisis.” David Weidner in the Wall Street Journal calls it simply theater, designed to pressure politicians into a budget deal:

The cliff is really just a trumped-up annual budget discussion. . . The most likely outcome is a combination of tax increases, spending cuts and kicking the can down the road.

Yet the media coverage has been “panic-inducing, falling somewhere between that given to an approaching hurricane and an alien invasion.” In the summer of 2011, this sort of media hype succeeded in causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to plunge nearly 2000 points. But this time the market is generally ignoring the cliff, either confident a deal will be reached or not caring.

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America R.I.P.

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crying_eagle_flagDuring the second half of the 20th century the United States was an opportunity society. The ladders of upward mobility were plentiful, and the middle class expanded. Incomes rose, and ordinary people were able to achieve old-age security.

In the 21st century the opportunity society has disappeared. Middle class jobs are scarce. Indeed, jobs of any kind are scarce. To stay even with population growth from 2002 through 2011, the economy needed about 14 million new jobs. However, at the end of 2011 there were only 1 million more jobs than in 2002. http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm

Only 426,000 of these jobs are in the private sector. The bulk of the net new jobs consist of waitresses and bartenders and health care and social assistance.

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Fraudulent Educational Reform in America

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”—William Arthur Ward

Education_FactoryWhat goes on in America’s schools is essentially identical to what goes on in the Madrassas of the Muslim world. In both, orthodox beliefs are taught as truth and critical examination is discouraged. Two worlds clash in loggerheads.

In the 1960s, I came across a little book entitled Master Teachers and the Art of Teaching. This unpretentious little book, written by John E. Colman of St. John’s University, not only enlightened me as a young university professor but proved to be invaluable. In it, about a dozen different teaching methods are described along with some information about the master teachers who designed them. Each of these methods was used successfully to teach some subjects to some students. None was used successfully to teach all subjects to all students. Throughout my teaching career, I found opportunities to utilize many of these methods when the right situations arose. The lesson I learned from this little book is that there is no one teaching method that works for teaching all subjects to all students. Finding the right method for the students at hand is at best an art, never a science, and is never easy.

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Jimmy Carter:

US Elections are Corrupt

jimmy_carter_largeInjecting billions of dollars into U.S. politics is a recipe for corruption, says former President Jimmy Carter. Placing the blame squarely on the Supreme Court for endorsing a corporate spending free-for-all in American politics, he said the justices gave unlimited freedom to special interest groups representing corporations and lobbyists to provide campaign funding through third parties that don’t have to disclose their donors.

“We have one of the worst election processes in the world right here in the United States of America,” he said, “and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money.

“You know how much I raised to run against Gerald Ford?” asked Carter in his latest Conversation at the Carter Center. “Zero. You know how much I raised to run against Ronald Reagan? Zero. You know how much will be raised this year by all presidential, Senate and House campaigns? Six billion dollars. That’s 6,000 million.”

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Syria, the story thus far

obama_romney"Today, many Americans are asking — indeed I ask myself," Hillary Clinton said, "how can this happen? How can this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated, and at times, how confounding the world can be." 1

The Secretary of State was referring to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya September 11 that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans. US intelligence agencies have now stated that the attackers had ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.2

Yes, the world can indeed be complicated and confounding. But we have learned a few things. The United States began blasting Libya with missiles with the full knowledge that they were fighting on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. Benghazi was and is the headquarters for Muslim fundamentalists of various stripes in North Africa. However, it's incorrect to claim that the United States (aka NATO) saved the city from destruction. The story of the "imminent" invasion of Benghazi by Moammar Gaddafi's forces last year was only propaganda to justify Western intervention.

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How much freedom can one man stand?

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Editor's Note: I came to Joe's writing and views of the world far too late in his life.  I contacted Joe asking for his permission to reproduce his work, he said in reply, "By all means feel free to use anything of mine you find on the internet. That's why I put them out there...to be read.  In friendship, Joe".  I did and I do consider Joe a friend . I miss him.  I urge everyone to read a daily dose of Joe's understanding of the real world, as he saw it and how the people he came into contact with saw it.  Here, on this site you will find a small but growing sample of Joe's musings and observations. In the meantime, please take the time to visit Joe's website and read his work as often as you can. If you can manage it, purchase his books. You will not be sorry.  Joe had a way of getting down to the basics that very few have, while having a greater understanding of the results of that reality.     Joe Bageant (1946–2011) R.I.P.

Not much more, dear hearts, not much more

Poverty_AmericaFreedom comes in many forms in America, and new forms are constantly being created. The latest has been freedom from basic financial security. The weakened economy has given corporatists an excuse to, as they say, "let workers go." Which sounds as if companies are granting employees some sort of freedom: "Go on George, twenty years on the job is long enough, so git outta here. Have yourself a ball!"

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Poetic Justice Finds US Enablers of Terror

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"Indeed, I asked myself, how could this happen, how could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction."
Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State [1]

hillary_clintonThe recent armed attack on a lightly defended United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya that took the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens is an alarming reminder of the disastrous foreign policy direction being taken by Washington. Tired euphemisms of “liberation” and “freedom fighters” have grossly distorted public opinion into supporting a narrative that has very little relationship with reality. Images of the Ambassador being dragged through the streets of Benghazi are the product of a stark reality that the general public must recognize – one that is absent of the romance and fervor of televised “revolutions.” For Ambassador Stevens, an early proponent of the no-fly zone and a staunch supporter of NATO’s campaign in Libya, the untimely death he was dealt came delivered by the very militants he enabled in brazen. The pathological reasoning of bombing a country to “save it from destruction” reflects the unrestrained irrationality of the foreign policy direction being taken under the Obama Administration and its rabid Secretary of State.
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Two Conventions:

Profiles in Decadent Cowardliness

obama_romneyThe Republican and Democratic Conventions are mercifully over but their corrosive impacts on our democracy persist.

First, did you know that taxpayers helped fund these conventions at a level of $100 million for logistics and police sequestrations of demonstrators in Tampa and Charlotte and an additional $18.2 million each for general convention expenses?

The two party duopoly obviously controls the honey pot in Congress. That corporate welfare is what they enacted in spite of the fact that the party’s convention committees are private corporations that should pay for their own big political party and their many smaller social parties with plentiful food and drink. No third party – Green, Libertarian or others – received any taxpayer money for their conventions this year.

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Obama At Large:

Where Are The Lawyers?

Fathers_of_ConfederationThe rule of law is rapidly breaking down at the top levels of our government. As officers of the court, we have sworn to “support the Constitution,” which clearly implies an affirmative commitment on our part.

Take the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The conservative American Bar Association sent three white papers to President Bush describing his continual unconstitutional policies. Then and now civil liberties groups and a few law professors, such as the stalwart David Cole of Georgetown University and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, have distinguished themselves in calling out both presidents for such violations and the necessity for enforcing the rule of law.

Sadly, the bulk of our profession, as individuals and through their bar associations, has remained quietly on the sidelines. They have turned away from their role as “first-responders” to protect the Constitution from its official violators.

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How Ron Paul Could Win

Ron_PaulIn the Soviet Union common criminals were punished less harshly and received better treatment than political prisoners. A person who had committed a violent crime had more rights than someone who expressed criticism of the government and could be portrayed as having acted against the government. We now have the same situation in the US.

In a recent case the Supreme Court overturned the sentence of a drug dealer who was convicted on the basis of a warrantless 28-day search by having a GPS device affixed to his car. In other words, a common criminal still has privacy rights under the Constitution, but not US citizens who are suspected of vague and nebulous “terrorist support.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have demonstrated disregard for the civil liberty protections guaranteed by the US Constitution. Among the visible candidates for president, only Ron Paul has respect for the Constitution. As it is now possible for the executive branch to take away the life and liberty of a US citizen without due process of law, the Constitution is for all practical purposes lost. Tyranny looms, and Ron Paul is the only candidate who stands against tyranny.

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More On Ron Raul

Ron_Paul_iiIf Ron Paul’s libertarian handlers and support base could escape their ideology, Ron Paul could be much better positioned to win the Republican nomination.

Here are some suggestions.

Ron Paul should be making the point that Social Security and Medicare are threatened by multi-trillion dollar wars that are funded by debt, by bailouts of a deregulated banking system, and by money creation to keep the banks afloat. Libertarians support deregulation, but their position has always been that deregulated industries must not be bailed out with public subsidies, much less subsidies that are so extensive that they threaten government solvency and the value of the currency.

Instead of hitting hard on the serious threat to Social Security and Medicare posed by Obama and Republican candidates for the nomination, all of whom serve Wall Street, the military/security complex, and the Israel Lobby, Ron Paul has been positioned both by his supporters and his opponents as the danger to Social Security and Medicare. This is an amazing strategic mistake by the Ron Paul campaign.

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Police State USA and the NDAA:

Creating American Terrorists

Big_BrotherDefenders of the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, which declares the entire world to be a “battlefield” against terrorism and authorizes the U.S. military to detain indefinitely anyone suspected of being a terrorism supporter, have claimed that the White House will only use its new power carefully and with due process. Opponents note that the White House has never hesitated to use any new authority, no matter how outrageous, and that the trend of law enforcement and security agencies is to expand on powers granted, not to rein them in or limit them.

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Iraq. Began with big lies. Ending with big lies.

Never forget.

iraq1"Most people don't understand what they have been part of here," said Command Sgt. Major Ron Kelley as he and other American troops prepared to leave Iraq in mid-December. "We have done a great thing as a nation. We freed a people and gave their country back to them."

"It is pretty exciting," said another young American soldier in Iraq. "We are going down in the history books, you might say." (Washington Post, December 18, 2011)

Ah yes, the history books, the multi-volume leather-bound set of "The Greatest Destructions of One Country by Another." The newest volume can relate, with numerous graphic photos, how the modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state; how the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly, ... how the people of that unhappy land lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ... More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lying anywhere in wait for children to pick them up ... a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back together again.

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The President Who Signed Indefinite Detention Without Charge or Trial Into Law

Obama_Mirror_ImagePresident Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill.

“President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”

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THE INAUGURATION OF POLICE STATE USA 2012

Obama Signs the “National Defense Authorization Act" 

We_The_PeopleWith minimal media debate, at a time when Americans were celebrating the New Year with their loved ones, the “National Defense Authorization Act " H.R. 1540 was signed into law by President Obama. The actual signing took place on the 31st of December.

According to Obama's "signing statement", the threat of Al Qaeda to the Security of the Homeland constitutes a justification for repealing fundamental rights and freedoms, with a stroke of the pen.

The controversial signing statement (see transcript below) is a smokscreen. Obama says he disagrees with the NDAA but he signs it into law.

"[I have] serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists."

Obama implements "Police State USA", while acknowledging that certain provisions of the NDAA are unacceptable. If such is the case, he could have either vetoed the NDAA (H.R. 1540) or sent it back to Congress with his objections.

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Ron Paul's Political Platform for America:

A Critical Assessment

Ron_PaulCompared to a rogue's gallery of Republican aspirants, supporters claim Paul looks good by comparison. Look again and think carefully about America in his hands.

True enough, he wants the Federal Reserve abolished. He calls it "dishonest, immoral, unconstitutional," and America's "great(est) threat to....security and prosperity."

"Out-of-control (and) secretive, (it) pumps money into the economy whenever it chooses and makes secret deals with Wall Street executives, foreign central banks, and other politically-connected insiders without any significant oversight from Congress."

Several times in Congress he introduced the Federal Reserve Abolition Act. Without co-sponsors, no further action followed.

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Obama’s Global Murder, Inc.

Obama_speachThe Obama administration has erected a vast apparatus of global assassination involving unmanned aerial drones operated by the CIA and the military. This network of "targeted killing" machines is run in secrecy, behind the backs of the American people and with virtually no congressional oversight.
The US drone program is the subject of an exposé published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, headlined "Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus of drone killing." While restrained in its presentation, the Post article is a chilling account of a government that has asserted for itself the right to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, without even a pretense of legal proceedings. The lives of thousands of people have been wiped out in this manner.

The US drone program, according to the Post, "involves dozens of secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force cockpits in the Southwest and clandestine bases in six countries on two continents."

A study by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the US had 775 Predator and other drone aircraft, plus an unknown number operated by the CIA as part of covert operations. Not including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, assassinations have been carried out in at least three countries. The recent downing of a drone over Iran, however, points to much broader operations.
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Remembering Joe...R.I.P. - Adam Smith Meets Cousin Ronnie's Boy

That ain't no class underclass; it's 250 million rugged individuals being pissed on.

July 27, 2006
Montage_by_Jerry_Jones
U
nbelievable as it seems today, there was a time when such people as doctors and lawyers did not necessarily live apart from the dirt front yards and Saturday night domestic scraps of the laboring class. The doctor who delivered me in 1946, the most prosperous in town by all accounts, lived just a few short blocks from the rundown Kent Street "white trash and nigger street" my parents called home. His fee for dragging my screaming ass into the light was an exorbitant $100 -- and for a caesarian birth at that -- because the US Army was writing the check. The good doctor lived close enough that my old man could walk a five-dollar payment over to his house on payday, close enough that I could see his rooftop from my upstairs bedroom window. As a kid, knowing such an educated, prosperous man lived so near was somehow comforting. And at least it gave an example of what one might possibly aspire to, given the education.
Not that the working people then generally aspired to an education. In those days most folks could make a living without being very educated, or even very bright. A high school education was adequate for the jobs available in East Coast agriculture and manufacturing based town like Winchester.  
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Military to Designate U.S. Citizens as Enemy During Collapse

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FEMA Continuity of Government Plans Prep Total Takeover of Society

UPDATE: Government censors document revealing plans to wage war on Americans. READ HERE.

NOTE: Within an hour of posting this article and linking to the pertinent document, the feds at FBO.gov have pulled the link and implied that it was a classified posting. We believe this was public and of interest to American citizens, taxpayers and peoples of the world and are in the process re-establishing an archive link of the material. Obviously, however, this information is revealing and certain parties do not wish it to be widely known. If you believe this material is important, please archive it and share it with your contacts. In the meantime, here are links to many of the pages: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9, Page 10, Page 11

Infowars has discovered new FEMA documents that confirm information received from DoD sources that show military involvement in a FEMA-led takeover within the United States under partially-classified Continuity of Government (COG) plans. It involves not only operations for the relocation of COG personnel and key officials, population management, emergency communications and alerts but the designation of the American people as ‘enemies’ under a live military tracking system known as Blue Force Situational Awareness (BFSA).

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Bringing the ‘War on Terror’ Home

Forget that the ACLU called it “an historic threat to American citizens,” this bill is so dangerous not only to our rights but to our country’s security that it was criticized by the Directors of the FBI and the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Defense Secretary!
For the first time in our history, if this Act is not vetoed, American citizens may not be guaranteed their Article III right to trial. The government would be able to decide who gets an old-fashioned trial (along with right to attorney and right against self-incrimination) and who gets detained without due process and put into a modern legal limbo.
Does anyone remember that none of the first thousand people the FBI rounded up after 9/11, and who were imprisoned for several months (some brutalized) were ever charged with terrorism? Does anyone remember that hundreds of the Gitmo detainees who were handed over to their American military captors in exchange for monetary bounties were found, after years of imprisonment, to have no connection to terrorism?
When in doubt about a case, what do you think the government will again do? Does it prefer to submit its evidence to a jury’s scrutiny and its witnesses to the trouble of being cross-examined in court by a defense attorney or would it be easier to have no questions asked and dump the accused into detainee prison without rights? I think we already know that answer from the nearly ten years of experience at Guantanamo.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, declared that suspected citizens open themselves up “to imprisonment and death” He added: “And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them: ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”
Of course, the politicians will say we are just talking about a few cases. But in fact the sky’s probably the limit given the current legal ambiguity in the Patriot Act expansion of “material support for terrorism” to now include humanitarian aid and even mere advocacy speech without any need to prove an accused person intended to support any kind of terrorist violence.
The Department of Justice has been currently using this ambiguity for over a year to investigate 23 American citizens who are anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. Additionally, the “war on terror” will undoubtedly expand even more when it is de-linked from 9/11.
See “The War on Terrorism Congress Never Declared — But Soon Might” by Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor, expert on these issues and associate dean for scholarship at American University Washington College of Law, which states:
“An individual may be detained for providing ‘direct support’ (which, in the government’s view, may be nothing more than minor financial or logistical assistance) in aid of ‘associated forces’ that are ‘engaged in hostilities against … coalition partners.’
“Thus, the NDAA effectively authorizes the military detention of any individual who provides such assistance anywhere in the world to any group engaged in hostilities against any of our coalition partners, whether or not the United States is in any way involved in (or even affected by) that particular conflict.”
Given this expansion of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force contained in the 2012 NDAA to encompass undefined “associated forces,” we could witness the U.S. government targeting a large range of political dissidents, human rights activists, humanitarians, and maybe even “occupiers.”
The NDAA is deliberately confusing for political purposes but much is at stake. President Barack Obama’s determination as to whether or not he will veto the problematic 2012 war funding bill will determine how Benjamin Franklin’s glib response to the woman waiting outside the Constitutional Convention is ultimately answered. Franklin and other founding fathers had created “a Republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
But a lawless Military Empire could now await where U.S. “emergency war powers” trump the Constitution, where the Commander in Chief becomes king for a term(s), the military enters into domestic police-state actions in violation of 130 years of Posse Comitatus law, and the Constitution becomes as quaint as the Geneva Conventions were for Alberto Gonzalez and the Bush Administration.
Corrupted, compliant politicians have already allowed their fears to get the better of them by going along with pre-emptive war in violation of the Nuremberg Principles and international law and torturing in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture.
So why should they also not go for detaining American citizens without constitutional rights or trial?
You can tell President Obama he needs to live up to his threat to veto this legislation or you can sign Sen. Mark Udall’s petition.
Coleen Rowley, a FBI special agent for almost 24 years, was legal counsel to the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis from 1990 to 2003. She wrote a “whistleblower” memo in May 2002 and testified to the Senate Judiciary on some of the FBI’s pre 9-11 failures. She retired at the end of 2004, and now writes and speaks on ethical decision-making and balancing civil liberties with the need for effective investigation.
Forget that the ACLU called it “an historic threat to American
citizens,” this bill is so dangerous not only to our rights but to our country’s
security that it was criticized by the Directors of the FBI and the CIA, the
Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Defense Secretary!

For the first time in our history, if this Act is not vetoed,
American citizens may not be guaranteed their Article III right to trial. The
government would be able to decide who gets an old-fashioned trial (along with
right to attorney and right against self-incrimination) and who gets detained
without due process and put into a modern legal limbo.

Does anyone remember that none of the first thousand people the
FBI rounded up after 9/11, and who were imprisoned for several months (some
brutalized) were ever charged with terrorism? Does anyone remember that hundreds
of the Gitmo detainees who were handed over to their American military captors
in exchange for monetary bounties were found, after years of imprisonment, to
have no connection to terrorism?

When in doubt about a case, what do you think the government
will again do? Does it prefer to submit its evidence to a jury’s scrutiny and
its witnesses to the trouble of being cross-examined in court by a defense
attorney or would it be easier to have no questions asked and dump the accused
into detainee prison without rights? I think we already know that answer from
the nearly ten years of experience at Guantanamo.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, declared that suspected
citizens open themselves up “to imprisonment and death” He added: “And when they
say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them: ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”

Of course, the politicians will say we are just talking about a
few cases. But in fact the sky’s probably the limit given the current legal
ambiguity in the Patriot Act expansion of “material support for terrorism” to
now include humanitarian aid and even mere advocacy speech without any need to
prove an accused person intended to support any kind of terrorist violence.

The Department of Justice has been currently using this
ambiguity for over a year to investigate 23 American citizens who are anti-war
activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. Additionally, the “war on terror” will
undoubtedly expand even more when it is de-linked from 9/11.

See “The War on Terrorism Congress Never Declared — But Soon Might
by Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor, expert on these issues and associate
dean for scholarship at American University Washington College of Law, which
states:

“An individual may be detained for providing ‘direct support’
(which, in the government’s view, may be nothing more than minor financial or
logistical assistance) in aid of ‘associated forces’ that are ‘engaged in
hostilities against … coalition partners.’

“Thus, the NDAA effectively authorizes the military detention
of any individual who provides such assistance anywhere in the world to any
group engaged in hostilities against any of our coalition partners, whether or
not the United States is in any way involved in (or even affected by) that
particular conflict.”

Given this expansion of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military
Force contained in the 2012 NDAA to encompass undefined “associated forces,” we
could witness the U.S. government targeting a large range of political
dissidents, human rights activists, humanitarians, and maybe even
“occupiers.”

The NDAA is deliberately confusing for political purposes but much is at
stake. President Barack Obama’s determination as to whether or not he will veto
the problematic 2012 war funding bill will determine how Benjamin Franklin’s
glib response to the woman waiting outside the Constitutional Convention is
ultimately answered. Franklin and other founding fathers had created “a
Republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

But a lawless Military Empire could now await where U.S.
“emergency war powers” trump the Constitution, where the Commander in Chief
becomes king for a term(s), the military enters into domestic police-state
actions in violation of 130 years of Posse Comitatus law, and the Constitution
becomes as quaint as the Geneva Conventions were for Alberto Gonzalez and the
Bush Administration.

Corrupted, compliant politicians have already allowed their
fears to get the better of them by going along with pre-emptive war in violation
of the Nuremberg Principles and international law and torturing in violation of
the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture.

So why should they also not go for detaining American citizens
without constitutional rights or trial?

You can tell President Obama he needs to live up to his threat to veto
this legislation or you can sign Sen. Mark Udall’s
petition
.

Coleen Rowley, a FBI special agent for
almost 24 years, was legal counsel to the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis from
1990 to 2003. She wrote a “whistleblower” memo in May 2002 and testified to the
Senate Judiciary on some of the FBI’s pre 9-11 failures. She retired at the end
of 2004, and now writes and speaks on ethical decision-making and balancing
civil liberties with the need for effective investigation.
police stateU.S. intelligence says the terror threat from al-Qaeda is receding, but Congress keeps on expanding the scope of this “war” so as not to look “weak on terror,” now adding new military powers that could be used against American citizens, writes ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
 The political, military industrial, corporate class in Washington DC continues to re-make our Constitutional Republic into a powerful, unaccountable Military Empire.
The U.S. Senate has just voted 93 to 7 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, which allows the military to operate domestically within the borders of the United States and to possibly (or most probably) detain U.S. citizens without trial.
Forget that the ACLU called it “an historic threat to American citizens,” this bill is so dangerous not only to our rights but to our country’s security that it was criticized by the Directors of the FBI and the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Defense Secretary!
Read more...
 

Lest We Forget

PNAC banner

June 3, 1997

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Elliott Abrams Gary Bauer William J. Bennett Jeb Bush

Dick Cheney Eliot A. Cohen Midge Decter Paula Dobriansky Steve Forbes

Aaron Friedberg Francis Fukuyama Frank Gaffney Fred C. Ikle

Donald Kagan
Zalmay Khalilzad I. Lewis Libby Norman Podhoretz

Dan Quayle
Peter W. Rodman Stephen P. Rosen Henry S. Rowen

Donald Rumsfeld
Vin Weber George Weigel Paul Wolfowitz

 

American Decline:

In the 2011 summer issue of the journal of the American Academy of Political Science, we read that it is "a common theme" that the United States, which "only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal -- is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay." It is indeed a common theme, widely believed, and with some reason. But an appraisal of US foreign policy and influence abroad and the strength of its domestic economy and political institutions at home suggests that a number of qualifications are in order. To begin with, the decline has in fact been proceeding since the high point of US power shortly after World War II, and the remarkable rhetoric of the several years of triumphalism in the 1990s was mostly self-delusion. Furthermore, the commonly drawn corollary -- that power will shift to China and India -- is highly dubious. They are poor countries with severe internal problems. The world is surely becoming more diverse, but despite America's decline, in the foreseeable future there is no competitor for global hegemonic power.
To review briefly some of the relevant history: During World War II, US planners recognized that the US would emerge from the war in a position of overwhelming power. It is quite clear from the documentary record that "President Roosevelt was aiming at United States hegemony in the postwar world," to quote the assessment of diplomatic historian Geoffrey Warner. Plans were developed to control what was called a Grand Area, a region encompassing the Western Hemisphere, the Far East, the former British empire -- including the crucial Middle East oil reserves -- and as much of Eurasia as possible, or at the very least its core industrial regions in Western Europe and the southern European states. The latter were regarded as essential for ensuring control of Middle East energy resources. Within these expansive domains, the US was to maintain "unquestioned power" with "military and economic supremacy," while ensuring the "limitation of any exercise of sovereignty" by states that might interfere with its global designs. The doctrines still prevail, though their reach has declined.

Wartime plans, soon to be carefully implemented, were not unrealistic. The US had long been by far the richest country in the world. The war ended the Depression and US industrial capacity almost quadrupled, while rivals were decimated. At the war's end, the US had half the world's wealth and unmatched security. Each region of the Grand Area was assigned its 'function' within the global system. The ensuing 'Cold War' consisted largely of efforts by the two superpowers to enforce order on their own domains: for the USSR, Eastern Europe; for the US, most of the world. By 1949, the Grand Area was already seriously eroding with "the loss of China," as it is routinely called. The phrase is interesting: one can only 'lose' what one possesses. Shortly after, Southeast Asia began to fall out of control, leading to Washington's horrendous Indochina wars and the huge massacres in Indonesia in 1965 as US dominance was restored. Meanwhile, subversion and massive violence continued elsewhere in the effort to maintain what is called 'stability,' meaning conformity to US demands.

But decline was inevitable, as the industrial world reconstructed and decolonization pursued its agonizing course. By 1970, US share of world wealth had declined to about 25%, still colossal but sharply reduced. The industrial world was becoming 'tripolar,' with major centers in the US, Europe, and Asia -- then Japan-centered -- already becoming the most dynamic region.

Twenty years later the USSR collapsed. Washington's reaction teaches us a good deal about the reality of the Cold War. The Bush I administration, then in office, immediately declared that policies would remain pretty much unchanged, but under different pretexts. The huge military establishment would be maintained, but not for defense against the Russians; rather, to confront the "technological sophistication" of third world powers. Similarly, they reasoned, it would be necessary to maintain "the defense industrial base," a euphemism for advanced industry, highly reliant on government subsidy and initiative. Intervention forces still had to be aimed at the Middle East, where the serious problems "could not be laid at the Kremlin's door," contrary to half a century of deceit. It was quietly conceded that the problems had always been "radical nationalism," that is, attempts by countries to pursue an independent course in violation of Grand Area principles. These policy fundamentals were not modified. The Clinton administration declared that the US has the right to use military force unilaterally to ensure "uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources." It also declared that military forces must be "forward deployed" in Europe and Asia "in order to shape people's opinions about us," not by gentle persuasion, and "to shape events that will affect our livelihood and our security." Instead of being reduced or eliminated, as propaganda would have led one to expect, NATO was expanded to the East. This was in violation of verbal pledges to Mikhail Gorbachev when he agreed to allow a unified Germany to join NATO.

Today, NATO has become a global intervention force under US command, with the official task of controlling the international energy system, sea lanes, pipelines, and whatever else the hegemonic power determines.

There was indeed a period of euphoria after the collapse of the superpower enemy, with excited tales about "the end of history" and awed acclaim for Clinton's foreign policy. Prominent intellectuals declared the onset of a "noble phase" with a "saintly glow," as for the first time in history a nation was guided by "altruism" and dedicated to "principles and values;" and nothing stood in the way of the "idealistic New World bent on ending inhumanity," which could at last carry forward unhindered the emerging international norm of humanitarian intervention.

Not all were so enraptured. The traditional victims, the Global South, bitterly condemned "the so-called 'right' of humanitarian intervention," recognizing it to be just the old "right" of imperial domination. More sober voices at home among the policy elite could perceive that for much of the world, the US was "becoming the rogue superpower," considered "the single greatest external threat to their societies," and that "the prime rogue state today is the United States." After Bush Jr. took over, increasingly hostile world opinion could scarcely be ignored. In the Arab world particularly, Bush's approval ratings plummeted. Obama has achieved the impressive feat of sinking still lower, down to 5% in Egypt and not much higher elsewhere in the region.

Meanwhile, decline continued. In the past decade, South America has been 'lost.' The 'threat' of losing South America had loomed decades earlier. As the Nixon administration was planning the destruction of Chilean democracy, and the installation of a US-backed Pinochet dictatorship -- the National Security Council warned that if the US could not control Latin America, it could not expect "to achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world."

But far more serious would be moves towards independence in the Middle East. Post WWII planning recognized that control of the incomparable energy reserves of the Middle East would yield "substantial control of the world," in the words of the influential Roosevelt advisor A.A. Berle. Correspondingly, that loss of control would threaten the project of global dominance that was clearly articulated during World War II and has been sustained in the face of major changes in world order ever since.

A further danger to US hegemony was the possibility of meaningful moves towards democracy. New York Times executive editor Bill Keller writes movingly of Washington's "yearning to embrace the aspiring democrats across North Africa and the Middle East." But recent polls of Arab opinion reveal very clearly that functioning democracy where public opinion influences policy would be disastrous for Washington. Not surprisingly, the first few steps in Egypt's foreign policy after ousting Mubarak have been strongly opposed by the US and its Israeli client.

While longstanding US policies remain stable, with tactical adjustments, under Obama there have been some significant changes. Military analyst Yochi Dreazen observes in the Atlantic that Bush's policy was to capture (and torture) suspects, while Obama simply assassinates them, with a rapid increase in terror weapons (drones) and the use of Special Forces, many of them assassination teams. Special Forces are scheduled to operate in 120 countries. Now as large as Canada's entire military, these forces are, in effect, a private army of the president, a matter discussed in detail by American investigative journalist Nick Turse on the website Tomdispatch. The team that Obama dispatched to assassinate Osama bin Laden had already carried out perhaps a dozen similar missions in Pakistan.

As these and many other developments illustrate, though America's hegemony has declined, its ambition has not.

Another common theme, at least among those who are not willfully blind, is that American decline is in no small measure self-inflicted. The comic opera in Washington this summer, which disgusts the country (a large majority think that Congress should just be disbanded) and bewilders the world, has few analogues in the annals of parliamentary democracy. The spectacle is even coming to frighten the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the extremists they helped put in office in Congress may choose to bring down the edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state that caters to their interests.

The eminent American philosopher John Dewey once described politics as "the shadow cast on society by big business," warning that "attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance." Since the 1970s, the shadow has become a dark cloud enveloping society and the political system. Corporate power, by now largely financial capital, has reached the point that both political organizations, which now barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.

For the public, the primary domestic concern, rightly, is the severe crisis of unemployment. Under current circumstances, that critical problem can be overcome only by a significant government stimulus, well beyond the recent one, which barely matched decline in state and local spending, though even that limited initiative did probably save millions of jobs. For financial institutions the primary concern is the deficit. Therefore, only the deficit is under discussion. A large majority of the population favor addressing the deficit by taxing the very rich (72% for, 21% opposed). Cutting health programs is opposed by overwhelming majorities (69% Medicaid, 79% Medicare). The likely outcome is therefore the opposite.

Reporting the results of a study of how the public would eliminate the deficit, its director, Steven Kull, writes that "clearly both the administration and the Republican-led House are out of step with the public's values and priorities in regard to the budget...The biggest difference in spending is that the public favored deep cuts in defense spending, while the administration and the House propose modest increases...The public also favored more spending on job training, education, and pollution control than did either the administration or the House."

The costs of the Bush-Obama wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now estimated to run as high as $4.4 trillion -- a major victory for Osama bin Laden, whose announced goal was to bankrupt America by drawing it into a trap. The 2011 military budget -- almost matching that of the rest of the world combined -- is higher in real terms than at any time since World War II and is slated to go even higher . The deficit crisis is largely manufactured as a weapon to destroy hated social programs on which a large part of the population relies. Economics correspondent Martin Wolf of the London Financial Times writes that "it is not that tackling the US fiscal position is urgent.... The US is able to borrow on easy terms, with yields on 10-year bonds close to 3 percent, as the few non-hysterics predicted. The fiscal challenge is long term, not immediate." Very significantly, he adds: "The astonishing feature of the federal fiscal position is that revenues are forecast to be a mere 14.4 percent of GDP in 2011, far below their postwar average of close to 18 percent. Individual income tax is forecast to be a mere 6.3 percent of GDP in 2011. This non-American cannot understand what the fuss is about: in 1988, at the end of Ronald Reagan's term, receipts were 18.2 percent of GDP. Tax revenue has to rise substantially if the deficit is to close." Astonishing indeed, but it is the demand of the financial institutions and the super-rich, and in a rapidly declining democracy, that's what counts.

Though the deficit crisis is manufactured for reasons of savage class war, the long-term debt crisis is serious, and has been ever since Ronald Reagan's fiscal irresponsibility turned the US from the world's leading creditor to the world's leading debtor, tripling national debt and raising threats to the economy that were rapidly escalated by George W. Bush. But for now, it is the crisis of unemployment that is the gravest concern.

The final 'compromise' on the crisis -- more accurately, a capitulation to the far right -- is the opposite of what the public wants throughout, and is almost certain to lead to slower growth and long-term harm to all but the rich and corporations, which are enjoying record profits. Few serious economists would disagree with Harvard economist Lawrence Summers that "America's current problem is much more a jobs and growth deficit than an excessive budget deficit," and that the deal reached in Washington in August, though preferable to a highly unlikely default, is likely to cause further harm to a deteriorating economy.

Not even discussed is the fact that the deficit would be eliminated if the dysfunctional privatized health care system in the US were replaced by one similar to other industrial societies, which have half the per person costs and at least comparable health outcomes. The financial institutions and pharmaceutical industry are far too powerful for such options even to be considered, though the thought seems hardly Utopian. Off the agenda for similar reasons are other economically sensible options, such as a small financial transactions tax.

Meanwhile, new gifts are regularly lavished on Wall Street. The House Appropriations Committee cut the budget request for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the prime barrier against financial fraud. The Consumer Protection Agency is unlikely to survive intact. And Congress wields other weapons in its battle against future generations. In the face of Republican opposition to environmental protection, "A major American utility is shelving the nation's most prominent effort to capture carbon dioxide from an existing coal-burning power plant, dealing a severe blow to efforts to rein in emissions responsible for global warming," the New York Times reports.

The self-inflicted blows, while increasingly powerful, are not a recent innovation. They trace back to the 1970s, when the national political economy underwent major transformations, bringing to an end what is commonly called "the Golden Age" of (state) capitalism. Two major elements were financialization and offshoring of production, both related to the decline in rate of profit in manufacturing, and the dismantling of the post-war Bretton Woods system of capital controls and regulated currencies. The ideological triumph of "free market doctrines," highly selective as always, administered further blows, as they were translated into deregulation, rules of corporate governance linking huge CEO rewards to short-term profit, and other such policy decisions. The resulting concentration of wealth yielded greater political power, accelerating a vicious cycle that has led to extraordinary wealth for a tenth of one percent of the population, mainly CEOs of major corporations, hedge fund managers, and the like, while for the large majority real incomes have virtually stagnated.

In parallel, the cost of elections skyrocketed, driving both parties even deeper into corporate pockets. What remains of political democracy has been undermined further as both parties have turned to auctioning congressional leadership positions. Political economist Thomas Ferguson observes that "uniquely among legislatures in the developed world, U.S. congressional parties now post prices for key slots in the lawmaking process." The legislators who fund the party get the posts, virtually compelling them to become servants of private capital even beyond the norm. The result, Ferguson continues, is that debates "rely heavily on the endless repetition of a handful of slogans that have been battle tested for their appeal to national investor blocs and interest groups that the leadership relies on for resources."

The post-Golden Age economy is enacting a nightmare envisaged by the classical economists, Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Both recognized that if British merchants and manufacturers invested abroad and relied on imports, they would profit, but England would suffer. Both hoped that these consequences would be averted by home bias, a preference to do business in the home country and see it grow and develop. Ricardo hoped that thanks to home bias, most men of property would "be satisfied with the low rate of profits in their own country, rather than seek a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign nations.

In the past 30 years, the "masters of mankind," as Smith called them, have abandoned any sentimental concern for the welfare of their own society, concentrating instead on short-term gain and huge bonuses, the country be damned -- as long as the powerful nanny state remains intact to serve their interests.

A graphic illustration appeared on the front page of the New York Times on August 4. Two major stories appear side by side. One discusses how Republicans fervently oppose any deal "that involves increased revenues" -- a euphemism for taxes on the rich. The other is headlined "Even Marked Up, Luxury Goods Fly Off Shelves." The pretext for cutting taxes on the rich and corporations to ridiculous lows is that they will invest in creating jobs -- which they cannot do now as their pockets are bulging with record profits.

The developing picture is aptly described in a brochure for investors produced by banking giant Citigroup. The bank's analysts describe a global society that is dividing into two blocs: the plutonomy and the rest. In such a world, growth is powered by the wealthy few, and largely consumed by them. Then there are the 'non-rich,' the vast majority, now sometimes called the global precariat, the workforce living a precarious existence. In the US, they are subject to "growing worker insecurity," the basis for a healthy economy, as Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan explained to Congress while lauding his performance in economic management. This is the real shift of power in global society.

The Citigroup analysts advise investors to focus on the very rich, where the action is. Their "Plutonomy Stock Basket," as they call it, far outperformed the world index of developed markets since 1985, when the Reagan-Thatcher economic programs of enriching the very wealthy were really taking off.

Before the 2007 crash for which the new post-Golden Age financial institutions were largely responsible, these institutions had gained startling economic power, more than tripling their share of corporate profits. After the crash, a number of economists began to inquire into their function in purely economic terms. Nobel laureate in economics Robert Solow concludes that their general impact is probably negative: "the successes probably add little or nothing to the efficiency of the real economy, while the disasters transfer wealth from taxpayers to financiers."

By shredding the remnants of political democracy, they lay the basis for carrying the lethal process forward -- as long as their victims are willing to suffer in silence.
In the 2011 summer issue of the journal of the American Academy of
Political Science, we read that it is "a common theme" that the United States,
which "only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with
unparalleled power and unmatched appeal -- is in decline, ominously facing the
prospect of its final decay." It is indeed a common theme, widely believed, and
with some reason. But an appraisal of US foreign policy and influence abroad and
the strength of its domestic economy and political institutions at home suggests
that a number of qualifications are in order. To begin with, the decline has in
fact been proceeding since the high point of US power shortly after World War
II, and the remarkable rhetoric of the several years of triumphalism in the
1990s was mostly self-delusion. Furthermore, the commonly drawn corollary --
that power will shift to China and India -- is highly dubious. They are poor
countries with severe internal problems. The world is surely becoming more
diverse, but despite America's decline, in the foreseeable future there is no
competitor for global hegemonic power.
To review briefly some of the relevant history: During World War II, US
planners recognized that the US would emerge from the war in a position of
overwhelming power. It is quite clear from the documentary record that
"President Roosevelt was aiming at United States hegemony in the postwar world,"
to quote the assessment of diplomatic historian Geoffrey Warner. Plans were
developed to control what was called a Grand Area, a region encompassing the
Western Hemisphere, the Far East, the former British empire -- including the
crucial Middle East oil reserves -- and as much of Eurasia as possible, or at
the very least its core industrial regions in Western Europe and the southern
European states. The latter were regarded as essential for ensuring control of
Middle East energy resources. Within these expansive domains, the US was to
maintain "unquestioned power" with "military and economic supremacy," while
ensuring the "limitation of any exercise of sovereignty" by states that might
interfere with its global designs. The doctrines still prevail, though their
reach has declined.
Wartime plans, soon to be carefully implemented, were not unrealistic. The US
had long been by far the richest country in the world. The war ended the
Depression and US industrial capacity almost quadrupled, while rivals were
decimated. At the war's end, the US had half the world's wealth and unmatched
security. Each region of the Grand Area was assigned its 'function' within the
global system. The ensuing 'Cold War' consisted largely of efforts by the two
superpowers to enforce order on their own domains: for the USSR, Eastern Europe;
for the US, most of the world. By 1949, the Grand Area was already seriously
eroding with "the loss of China," as it is routinely called. The phrase is
interesting: one can only 'lose' what one possesses. Shortly after, Southeast
Asia began to fall out of control, leading to Washington's horrendous Indochina
wars and the huge massacres in Indonesia in 1965 as US dominance was restored.
Meanwhile, subversion and massive violence continued elsewhere in the effort to
maintain what is called 'stability,' meaning conformity to US demands.
But decline was inevitable, as the industrial world reconstructed and
decolonization pursued its agonizing course. By 1970, US share of world wealth
had declined to about 25%, still colossal but sharply reduced. The industrial
world was becoming 'tripolar,' with major centers in the US, Europe, and Asia --
then Japan-centered -- already becoming the most dynamic region.
Twenty years later the USSR collapsed. Washington's reaction teaches us a
good deal about the reality of the Cold War. The Bush I administration, then in
office, immediately declared that policies would remain pretty much unchanged,
but under different pretexts. The huge military establishment would be
maintained, but not for defense against the Russians; rather, to confront the
"technological sophistication" of third world powers. Similarly, they reasoned,
it would be necessary to maintain "the defense industrial base," a euphemism for
advanced industry, highly reliant on government subsidy and initiative.
Intervention forces still had to be aimed at the Middle East, where the serious
problems "could not be laid at the Kremlin's door," contrary to half a century
of deceit. It was quietly conceded that the problems had always been "radical
nationalism," that is, attempts by countries to pursue an independent course in
violation of Grand Area principles. These policy fundamentals were not modified.
The Clinton administration declared that the US has the right to use military
force unilaterally to ensure "uninhibited access to key markets, energy
supplies, and strategic resources." It also declared that military forces must
be "forward deployed" in Europe and Asia "in order to shape people's opinions
about us," not by gentle persuasion, and "to shape events that will affect our
livelihood and our security." Instead of being reduced or eliminated, as
propaganda would have led one to expect, NATO was expanded to the East. This was
in violation of verbal pledges to Mikhail Gorbachev when he agreed to allow a
unified Germany to join NATO.
Today, NATO has become a global intervention force under US command, with the
official task of controlling the international energy system, sea lanes,
pipelines, and whatever else the hegemonic power determines.
There was indeed a period of euphoria after the collapse of the superpower
enemy, with excited tales about "the end of history" and awed acclaim for
Clinton's foreign policy. Prominent intellectuals declared the onset of a "noble
phase" with a "saintly glow," as for the first time in history a nation was
guided by "altruism" and dedicated to "principles and values;" and nothing stood
in the way of the "idealistic New World bent on ending inhumanity," which could
at last carry forward unhindered the emerging international norm of humanitarian
intervention.
Not all were so enraptured. The traditional victims, the Global South,
bitterly condemned "the so-called 'right' of humanitarian intervention,"
recognizing it to be just the old "right" of imperial domination. More sober
voices at home among the policy elite could perceive that for much of the world,
the US was "becoming the rogue superpower," considered "the single greatest
external threat to their societies," and that "the prime rogue state today is
the United States." After Bush Jr. took over, increasingly hostile world opinion
could scarcely be ignored. In the Arab world particularly, Bush's approval
ratings plummeted. Obama has achieved the impressive feat of sinking still
lower, down to 5% in Egypt and not much higher elsewhere in the region.
Meanwhile, decline continued. In the past decade, South America has been
'lost.' The 'threat' of losing South America had loomed decades earlier. As the
Nixon administration was planning the destruction of Chilean democracy, and the
installation of a US-backed Pinochet dictatorship -- the National Security
Council warned that if the US could not control Latin America, it could not
expect "to achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world."
But far more serious would be moves towards independence in the Middle East.
Post WWII planning recognized that control of the incomparable energy reserves
of the Middle East would yield "substantial control of the world," in the words
of the influential Roosevelt advisor A.A. Berle. Correspondingly, that loss of
control would threaten the project of global dominance that was clearly
articulated during World War II and has been sustained in the face of major
changes in world order ever since.
A further danger to US hegemony was the possibility of meaningful moves
towards democracy. New York Times executive editor Bill Keller writes movingly
of Washington's "yearning to embrace the aspiring democrats across North Africa
and the Middle East." But recent polls of Arab opinion reveal very clearly that
functioning democracy where public opinion influences policy would be disastrous
for Washington. Not surprisingly, the first few steps in Egypt's foreign policy
after ousting Mubarak have been strongly opposed by the US and its Israeli
client.
While longstanding US policies remain stable, with tactical adjustments,
under Obama there have been some significant changes. Military analyst Yochi
Dreazen observes in the Atlantic that Bush's policy was to capture (and torture)
suspects, while Obama simply assassinates them, with a rapid increase in terror
weapons (drones) and the use of Special Forces, many of them assassination
teams. Special Forces are scheduled to operate in 120 countries. Now as large as
Canada's entire military, these forces are, in effect, a private army of the
president, a matter discussed in detail by American investigative journalist
Nick Turse on the website Tomdispatch. The team that Obama dispatched to
assassinate Osama bin Laden had already carried out perhaps a dozen similar
missions in Pakistan.
As these and many other developments illustrate, though America's hegemony
has declined, its ambition has not.
Another common theme, at least among those who are not willfully blind, is
that American decline is in no small measure self-inflicted. The comic opera in
Washington this summer, which disgusts the country (a large majority think that
Congress should just be disbanded) and bewilders the world, has few analogues in
the annals of parliamentary democracy. The spectacle is even coming to frighten
the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the
extremists they helped put in office in Congress may choose to bring down the
edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state
that caters to their interests.
The eminent American philosopher John Dewey once described politics as "the
shadow cast on society by big business," warning that "attenuation of the shadow
will not change the substance." Since the 1970s, the shadow has become a dark
cloud enveloping society and the political system. Corporate power, by now
largely financial capital, has reached the point that both political
organizations, which now barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the
right of the population on the major issues under debate.
For the public, the primary domestic concern, rightly, is the severe crisis
of unemployment. Under current circumstances, that critical problem can be
overcome only by a significant government stimulus, well beyond the recent one,
which barely matched decline in state and local spending, though even that
limited initiative did probably save millions of jobs. For financial
institutions the primary concern is the deficit. Therefore, only the deficit is
under discussion. A large majority of the population favor addressing the
deficit by taxing the very rich (72% for, 21% opposed). Cutting health programs
is opposed by overwhelming majorities (69% Medicaid, 79% Medicare). The likely
outcome is therefore the opposite.
Reporting the results of a study of how the public would eliminate the
deficit, its director, Steven Kull, writes that "clearly both the administration
and the Republican-led House are out of step with the public's values and
priorities in regard to the budget…The biggest difference in spending is that
the public favored deep cuts in defense spending, while the administration and
the House propose modest increases…The public also favored more spending on job
training, education, and pollution control than did either the administration or
the House."
The costs of the Bush-Obama wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now estimated to
run as high as $4.4 trillion -- a major victory for Osama bin Laden, whose
announced goal was to bankrupt America by drawing it into a trap. The 2011
military budget -- almost matching that of the rest of the world combined -- is
higher in real terms than at any time since World War II and is slated to go
even higher . The deficit crisis is largely manufactured as a weapon to destroy
hated social programs on which a large part of the population relies. Economics
correspondent Martin Wolf of the London Financial Times writes that "it is not
that tackling the US fiscal position is urgent…. The US is able to borrow on
easy terms, with yields on 10-year bonds close to 3 percent, as the few
non-hysterics predicted. The fiscal challenge is long term, not immediate." Very
significantly, he adds: "The astonishing feature of the federal fiscal position
is that revenues are forecast to be a mere 14.4 percent of GDP in 2011, far
below their postwar average of close to 18 percent. Individual income tax is
forecast to be a mere 6.3 percent of GDP in 2011. This non-American cannot
understand what the fuss is about: in 1988, at the end of Ronald Reagan's term,
receipts were 18.2 percent of GDP. Tax revenue has to rise substantially if the
deficit is to close." Astonishing indeed, but it is the demand of the financial
institutions and the super-rich, and in a rapidly declining democracy, that's
what counts.
Though the deficit crisis is manufactured for reasons of savage class war,
the long-term debt crisis is serious, and has been ever since Ronald Reagan's
fiscal irresponsibility turned the US from the world's leading creditor to the
world's leading debtor, tripling national debt and raising threats to the
economy that were rapidly escalated by George W. Bush. But for now, it is the
crisis of unemployment that is the gravest concern.
The final 'compromise' on the crisis -- more accurately, a capitulation to
the far right -- is the opposite of what the public wants throughout, and is
almost certain to lead to slower growth and long-term harm to all but the rich
and corporations, which are enjoying record profits. Few serious economists
would disagree with Harvard economist Lawrence Summers that "America's current
problem is much more a jobs and growth deficit than an excessive budget
deficit," and that the deal reached in Washington in August, though preferable
to a highly unlikely default, is likely to cause further harm to a deteriorating
economy.
Not even discussed is the fact that the deficit would be eliminated if the
dysfunctional privatized health care system in the US were replaced by one
similar to other industrial societies, which have half the per person costs and
at least comparable health outcomes. The financial institutions and
pharmaceutical industry are far too powerful for such options even to be
considered, though the thought seems hardly Utopian. Off the agenda for similar
reasons are other economically sensible options, such as a small financial
transactions tax.
Meanwhile, new gifts are regularly lavished on Wall Street. The House
Appropriations Committee cut the budget request for the Securities and Exchange
Commission, the prime barrier against financial fraud. The Consumer Protection
Agency is unlikely to survive intact. And Congress wields other weapons in its
battle against future generations. In the face of Republican opposition to
environmental protection, "A major American utility is shelving the nation's
most prominent effort to capture carbon dioxide from an existing coal-burning
power plant, dealing a severe blow to efforts to rein in emissions responsible
for global warming," the New York Times reports.
The self-inflicted blows, while increasingly powerful, are not a recent
innovation. They trace back to the 1970s, when the national political economy
underwent major transformations, bringing to an end what is commonly called "the
Golden Age" of (state) capitalism. Two major elements were financialization and
offshoring of production, both related to the decline in rate of profit in
manufacturing, and the dismantling of the post-war Bretton Woods system of
capital controls and regulated currencies. The ideological triumph of "free
market doctrines," highly selective as always, administered further blows, as
they were translated into deregulation, rules of corporate governance linking
huge CEO rewards to short-term profit, and other such policy decisions. The
resulting concentration of wealth yielded greater political power, accelerating
a vicious cycle that has led to extraordinary wealth for a tenth of one percent
of the population, mainly CEOs of major corporations, hedge fund managers, and
the like, while for the large majority real incomes have virtually stagnated.
In parallel, the cost of elections skyrocketed, driving both parties even
deeper into corporate pockets. What remains of political democracy has been
undermined further as both parties have turned to auctioning congressional
leadership positions. Political economist Thomas Ferguson observes that
"uniquely among legislatures in the developed world, U.S. congressional parties
now post prices for key slots in the lawmaking process." The legislators who
fund the party get the posts, virtually compelling them to become servants of
private capital even beyond the norm. The result, Ferguson continues, is that
debates "rely heavily on the endless repetition of a handful of slogans that
have been battle tested for their appeal to national investor blocs and interest
groups that the leadership relies on for resources."
The post-Golden Age economy is enacting a nightmare envisaged by the
classical economists, Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Both recognized that if
British merchants and manufacturers invested abroad and relied on imports, they
would profit, but England would suffer. Both hoped that these consequences would
be averted by home bias, a preference to do business in the home country and see
it grow and develop. Ricardo hoped that thanks to home bias, most men of
property would "be satisfied with the low rate of profits in their own country,
rather than seek a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign
nations.
In the past 30 years, the "masters of mankind," as Smith called them, have
abandoned any sentimental concern for the welfare of their own society,
concentrating instead on short-term gain and huge bonuses, the country be damned
-- as long as the powerful nanny state remains intact to serve their interests.
A graphic illustration appeared on the front page of the New York Times on
August 4. Two major stories appear side by side. One discusses how Republicans
fervently oppose any deal "that involves increased revenues" -- a euphemism for
taxes on the rich. The other is headlined "Even Marked Up, Luxury Goods Fly Off
Shelves." The pretext for cutting taxes on the rich and corporations to
ridiculous lows is that they will invest in creating jobs -- which they cannot
do now as their pockets are bulging with record profits.
The developing picture is aptly described in a brochure for investors
produced by banking giant Citigroup. The bank's analysts describe a global
society that is dividing into two blocs: the plutonomy and the rest. In such a
world, growth is powered by the wealthy few, and largely consumed by them. Then
there are the 'non-rich,' the vast majority, now sometimes called the global
precariat, the workforce living a precarious existence. In the US, they are
subject to "growing worker insecurity," the basis for a healthy economy, as
Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan explained to Congress while lauding his
performance in economic management. This is the real shift of power in global
society.
The Citigroup analysts advise investors to focus on the very rich, where the
action is. Their "Plutonomy Stock Basket," as they call it, far outperformed the
world index of developed markets since 1985, when the Reagan-Thatcher economic
programs of enriching the very wealthy were really taking off.

Before the 2007 crash for which the new post-Golden Age financial
institutions were largely responsible, these institutions had gained startling
economic power, more than tripling their share of corporate profits. After the
crash, a number of economists began to inquire into their function in purely
economic terms. Nobel laureate in economics Robert Solow concludes that their
general impact is probably negative: "the successes probably add little or
nothing to the efficiency of the real economy, while the disasters transfer
wealth from taxpayers to financiers."
By shredding the remnants of political democracy, they lay the basis for
carrying the lethal process forward -- as long as their victims are willing to
suffer in silence.
 
Causes and Consequences
chomskyIn the 2011 summer issue of the journal of the American Academy of Political Science, we read that it is "a common theme" that the United States, which "only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal -- is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay." It is indeed a common theme, widely believed, and with some reason. But an appraisal of US foreign policy and influence abroad and the strength of its domestic economy and political institutions at home suggests that a number of qualifications are in order. To begin with, the decline has in fact been proceeding since the high point of US power shortly after World War II, and the remarkable rhetoric of the several years of triumphalism in the 1990s was mostly self-delusion. Furthermore, the commonly drawn corollary -- that power will shift to China and India -- is highly dubious. They are poor countries with severe internal problems. The world is surely becoming more diverse, but despite America's decline, in the foreseeable future there is no competitor for global hegemonic power.
Read more...
 

The US Dictatorship and its White House Servant ‘President’

If there is one thing that the office of President Barack
Obama demonstrates it is that democracy does not exist in the United States.
This may seem a rather outlandish statement. For many people, the fact that the
44th president is the first black man to preside over the White House – with its
American colonial-style architecture – is a tribute to the triumph of US
democracy.


 


But many other more telling facts indicate that Obama is but a
figurehead of an unelected government in the US. This unelected power of
corporate elites – commercial, financial, military – governs with the same core
policies regardless of who is sitting in the White House. Whether these policies
are on social, economic or foreign matters, the elected president must obey the
direction ordained by the unelected elite. That kind of untrammeled power
structure conforms more closely in practice to dictatorship, not democracy.


 


As Michael Hudson and Ellen Brown reveal in their analyses of
the US budget debacle, Obama is pathetically doing the bidding of Wall Street –
much like an errand boy [1] [2].


 


Brown writes: “The debt crisis was created, not by a social
safety net bought and paid for by the taxpayers, but by a banking system taken
over by Wall Street gamblers. The gamblers lost their bets and were bailed out
at the expense of the taxpayers; and if anyone should be held to account, it is
these gamblers.


 


“The debt ceiling crisis is a manufactured one, engineered to
extort concessions that will lock the middle class in debt peonage for decades
to come. Congress is empowered by the Constitution to issue the money it needs
to pay its debts.”


 


Obama’s servile toeing of Wall Street’s line is not the
behavior of a free leader boldly defending the interests of the people and the
greater good. Rather, his behaviour is that of one doing what he is told to do –
and doing it with grateful deference.


 


In this way, of course, Obama is hardly different from his
predecessors. But of difference is just how blatant the White House is now
appearing to function as a mere tool of the rich and powerful elite.


 


The irony is that Obama’s election was presented as a potent
symbol of American democracy; the truth is that the two-party system has become
a threadbare cover for immense feebleness when it comes to serving the diktat of
elite power as opposed to the good of the people. “The most powerful office in
the world” would be more accurately referenced as “the most feeble purveyor of
elite interests”.


 


Obama’s presence in the White House indulges a superficial
moral/political correctness while the masters whip us all into austere
servitude.


 


The US “war on terror” is another illustration of America’s
dictatorship of the elite – and Obama’s pathetic servile role of carrying out
the masters’ orders in defiance of the will of the people.


 


Recall that Obama’s bid for presidential election in 2008 was
avowedly based on ending the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also
denounced his incumbent rival George W Bush over the use of special powers that
enabled such aberrations as the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp and a host of
draconian home security policies infringing on civil rights


 


Obama also signaled in his inaugural speech – reiterated again
soon after in Cairo – that under his watch the US was resetting foreign policy –
turning away from the militarist policies of Bush to a more enlightened approach
for settling conflicts with the Muslim World and Iran in particular. “If they
unclench their fist, we will extend our hand,” Obama declared with seemingly
heartfelt eloquence.


 


But on every count, Obama has reneged on his supposed
opposition to the US “war on terror”. Indeed, under his watch, the US has
expanded its militarist foreign policy – which is apparently predicated on the
belief that “western democracy is threatened by Islamic extremism”. Obama has
done nothing to roll back draconian home security policies, indeed appears to
have extended them. And he continues his predecessor’s deception of conflating
Iran and its alleged nuclear ambitions as part of this phony “Islamic
extremists” narrative.


 


To perform such a disgraceful U-turn on so many election
promises, the presidency of Barack Obama is clear proof that the holder of
office in the White House is not the one who is setting policy – rather, he is
following policy that is set by unelected others.


 


When news broke about the massacre in Norway where more than 70
people were killed in a twin bomb and gun attack, Obama reacted like an
automaton of the unelected power system, instead of like an independent,
reasonable political leader. Even though it was clear within hours of the
atrocity that the perpetrator was a blond-haired Norwegian with fascist and
deeply Islamophobic views, nevertheless Obama reacted immediately to present it
as an act of Islamic terrorism.


 


Speaking from the White House, Obama said: “It's a reminder
that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of
terror from occurring, and that we have to work co-operatively together both on
intelligence and in terms of prevention of these kinds of horrible attacks.”


 


The president may not have used the words “Islamic terrorism”
but it is clear that he was invoking the massacre as part of the “war on terror”
which is predicated on the notion of Islamic terrorism.


 


In this mindset, Obama was not alone. British Prime Minister
David Cameron moved into action stations, saying that British intelligence would
help their Norwegian counterparts to track down the culprits – again implying
that the perpetrators were part of an international organization – which in war
on terror code means an Islamic organization.


 


The US and British news media also jumped to the conclusion
that the Norwegian attacks must have something to with Al Qaeda or some other
“Jihadist” group.


 


That such a widespread and erroneous reflex response from
Western political leaders and news media – the so-called free press – can be
elicited so uncritically shows how trenchantly the war on terror and its
Islamophobic mindset are embedded.


 


The consequences of this are deeply disturbing. For a start,
such a mindset of the Western political and media establishment can only lead to
further Islamophobia in these societies. There were reports of hate attacks
against ordinary Muslims across Europe immediately after the Norway atrocity, no
doubt caused by the malign and erroneous way that politicians and the media
attributed the incident to Islamists.


 


Even more disturbing is that the war on terror mindset fomented
by Western governments and media over the past 10 years has led to the creation
of lunatic fascist psychopaths like Anders Behring Breivik who carried out the
Norway mass murder. Breivik and others like him think that Europe and the US
must be defended from some kind of Muslim threat. This kind of logic does not
conjure from thin air. It is rather the logical conclusion of the war on terror
mindset that Western governments and news media have pushed down the throats of
their citizens for a decade.


 


The sad part is that the majority of Western citizens are not
convinced by the phony crusading of their governments and media, nor of the
alleged threat of Islamic extremists. Most people realize that whatever Islamic
extremists operate, they are either a creation of Western intelligence or a
backlash against Western imperialism. That is why Obama’s avowed election
promises to end America’s criminal wars and reset foreign policy on a more
reasonable, democratic footing got him elected.


 


The even sadder part is that as Obama’s ineffectual election
shows, the US (and its Western lackeys) is being driven further and further into
bankrupting, criminal wars of aggression that will cause more victims of
violence and social mayhem at home and abroad. And it’s all because democracy in
the US (and elsewhere in the West) is non-existent. The US is a dictatorship.
And Mr Obama is too ineffectual (save for the masters) and irrelevant to be even
loosely called its dictator.


 


 


Finian Cunningham is a Global Research
Correspondent based in Belfast, Ireland.


 


This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  


 


 


 


NOTES


 


[1] http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25825


 


[2] http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25842

obamaosamaIf there is one thing that the office of President Barack Obama demonstrates it is that democracy does not exist in the United States. This may seem a rather outlandish statement. For many people, the fact that the 44th president is the first black man to preside over the White House – with its American colonial-style architecture – is a tribute to the triumph of US democracy.

But many other more telling facts indicate that Obama is but a figurehead of an unelected government in the US. This unelected power of corporate elites – commercial, financial, military – governs with the same core policies regardless of who is sitting in the White House. Whether these policies are on social, economic or foreign matters, the elected president must obey the direction ordained by the unelected elite. That kind of untrammeled power structure conforms more closely in practice to dictatorship, not democracy.

Read more...
 

Sanders: Obama should resolve debt crisis by invoking 14th Amendment

Sanders: Obama should resolve debt crisis by invoking 14th Amendment
by Press Release | July 31, 2011

Sanders Statement on the Crisis of Imminent Default

Editor's note: Since this press release was issued, the Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. John Boehner plans have both been rejected. There is still no deal in place, though a vote in the Senate on a new compromise plan forged by Sen. Mitch McDonnell and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled at 1 p.m. Sunday.

WASHINGTON, July 29 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today as Congress faced an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt limit:

"Vermonters are deeply concerned about the possibility of the United States defaulting on its debt for the first time in our nation's history. My office has received hundreds of calls about this.

"Vermonters want to continue receiving their Social Security checks and payments for Medicare and Medicaid services. They also want our veterans to continue to receive the benefits they have earned, and they want our soldiers on the battlefield to get paid.

"Because of Republican Tea Party intransigence, the options that are currently before Congress run the gamut from bad to worse.

"A default would be a disaster for the American people and for the future of our economy. It would mean that people who receive federal benefits or payments might not get what they are entitled to receive.

"Republican House Speaker John Boehner's proposal would likewise be extremely harmful because of the very significant, immediate cuts in programs that working families desperately need – especially in the midst of this terrible recession. The Boehner proposal, for obvious political reasons, also would continue the debt-ceiling circus for at least another six months, continuing to paralyze the ability of Congress to address the serious economic problems we face.

"The proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is somewhat less onerous, but also would impose significant cuts in many important programs for working families. Importantly, because of Republican desire to defend the interests of the wealthy and powerful, neither proposal asks the wealthy or large corporations to contribute one nickel toward deficit reduction.

"That's where we are and it surely is a sad state of affairs.

"Given these dismal options, it appears that the least damaging approach might just be (as former President Bill Clinton has suggested) for President Obama to rely upon the 14th Amendment, which says the debts of the United States 'shall not be questioned.' The president is responsible under the Constitution for protecting and defending the nation and the general welfare of its citizens. I think that is just what he should do if he is left with no other way to protect the full faith and credit of the United States. What makes this preferable is that we would prevent default while also preventing the devastating cuts proposed under the other options."




by Press
Release
| July 31, 2011


Sanders
Statement on the Crisis of Imminent Default


Editor’s
note: Since this press release was issued, the Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. John
Boehner plans have both been rejected. There is still no deal in place, though
a vote in the Senate on a new compromise plan forged by Sen. Mitch McDonnell
and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled at 1 p.m. Sunday.


WASHINGTON,
July 29 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today as
Congress faced an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt limit:


“Vermonters
are deeply concerned about the possibility of the United States defaulting on
its debt for the first time in our nation’s history. My office has received
hundreds of calls about this.


“Vermonters
want to continue receiving their Social Security checks and payments for
Medicare and Medicaid services. They also want our veterans to continue to
receive the benefits they have earned, and they want our soldiers on the
battlefield to get paid.


“Because of
Republican Tea Party intransigence, the options that are currently before
Congress run the gamut from bad to worse.


“A default
would be a disaster for the American people and for the future of our economy.
It would mean that people who receive federal benefits or payments might not
get what they are entitled to receive.


“Republican
House Speaker John Boehner’s proposal would likewise be extremely harmful
because of the very significant, immediate cuts in programs that working
families desperately need – especially in the midst of this terrible recession.
The Boehner proposal, for obvious political reasons, also would continue the
debt-ceiling circus for at least another six months, continuing to paralyze the
ability of Congress to address the serious economic problems we face.


“The
proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is somewhat less onerous, but
also would impose significant cuts in many important programs for working
families. Importantly, because of Republican desire to defend the interests of
the wealthy and powerful, neither proposal asks the wealthy or large
corporations to contribute one nickel toward deficit reduction.


“That’s
where we are and it surely is a sad state of affairs.


“Given
these dismal options, it appears that the least damaging approach might just be
(as former President Bill Clinton has suggested) for President Obama to rely
upon the 14th Amendment, which says the debts of the United States ‘shall not
be questioned.’ The president is responsible under the Constitution for
protecting and defending the nation and the general welfare of its citizens. I
think that is just what he should do if he is left with no other way to protect
the full faith and credit of the United States. What makes this preferable is
that we would prevent default while also preventing the devastating cuts
proposed under the other options.”


Senator_Bernie_Sandersby Press Release | July 31, 2011
Sanders Statement on the Crisis of Imminent Default
Editor’s note: Since this press release was issued, the Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. John Boehner plans have both been rejected. There is still no deal in place, though a vote in the Senate on a new compromise plan forged by Sen. Mitch McDonnell and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled at 1 p.m. Sunday.
WASHINGTON, July 29 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today as Congress faced an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt limit:
Read more...
 

The Fed Audit:

User Rating: / 136
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The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve
uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16
trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses
during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by
Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week
directed the Government
Accountability Office
to conduct the study. "As a result of this
audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in
total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and
corporations in the United States and throughout the world," said Sanders.
"This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged,
you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else."


Among the investigation's key findings is that the Fed
unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign
banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO
report. "No agency of the United States government should be allowed to
bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress
and the president," Sanders said.


The non-partisan, investigative arm of Congress also
determined that the Fed lacks a comprehensive system to deal with conflicts of
interest, despite the serious potential for abuse. In fact, according to the
report, the Fed provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private
contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions
and corporations that were given emergency loans.


For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New
York Fed's board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than
$390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Moreover, JP Morgan Chase
served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed's emergency lending programs.


In another disturbing finding, the GAO said that on Sept.
19, 2008, William Dudley, who is now the New York Fed president, was granted a
waiver to let him keep investments in AIG and General Electric at the same time
AIG and GE were given bailout funds. One reason the Fed did not make Dudley
sell his holdings, according to the audit, was that it might have created the
appearance of a conflict of interest.


To Sanders, the conclusion is simple. "No one who works
for a firm receiving direct financial assistance from the Fed should be allowed
to sit on the Fed's board of directors or be employed by the Fed," he
said.


The investigation also revealed that the Fed outsourced most
of its emergency lending programs to private contractors, many of which also
were recipients of extremely low-interest and then-secret loans.


The Fed outsourced virtually all of the operations of their
emergency lending programs to private contractors like JP Morgan Chase, Morgan
Stanley, and Wells Fargo. The same firms also received trillions of dollars in
Fed loans at near-zero interest rates. Altogether some two-thirds of the
contracts that the Fed awarded to manage its emergency lending programs were
no-bid contracts. Morgan Stanley was given the largest no-bid contract worth
$108.4 million to help manage the Fed bailout of AIG.


A more detailed GAO investigation into potential conflicts
of interest at the Fed is due on Oct. 18, but Sanders said one thing already is
abundantly clear. "The Federal Reserve must be reformed to serve the needs
of working families, not just CEOs on Wall Street."


To read the GAO report, click here.


"U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out US and foreign banks"

fed-accountability2

The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. "As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world," said Sanders. "This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else."

Among the investigation's key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO report. "No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president," Sanders said.
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Time to Topple Corporate Dictators

BubbleThe 18 day non-violent Egyptian protests for freedom raise the question: is America next? Were Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine around, they would likely say “what are we waiting for?” They would be appalled by the concentration of economic and political power in such a few hands. Remember how often these two men warned about concentrated power.                                   

Our Declaration of Independence (1776) listed grievances against King George III. A good number of them could have been made against “King” George W. Bush who not only brushed aside Congressional War-making authority under the Constitution but plunged the nation through lies into extended illegal wars which he conducted in violation of international law. Even conservative legal scholars such as Republicans Bruce Fein and former Judge Andrew Napolitano believe he and Dick Cheney still should be prosecuted for war and other related crimes. The conservative American Bar Association sent George W. Bush three “white papers” in 2005-2006 that documented his distinct violations of the Constitution he had sworn to uphold.

Here at home, the political system is a two-party dictatorship whose gerrymandering results in most electoral districts being one-party fiefdoms. The two Parties block the freedom of third parties and independent candidates to have equal access to the ballots and to the debates. Another barrier to competitive democratic elections is big money, largely commercial in source, which marinates most politicians in cowardliness and sinecurism.

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A Cautionary Tale

World_GovernmentIn July of 1975 I went to Portugal because in April of the previous year a bloodless military coup had brought down the US-supported 48-year fascist regime of Portugal, the world's only remaining colonial power. This was followed by a program centered on nationalization of major industries, workers control, a minimum wage, land reform, and other progressive measures. Military officers in a Western nation who spoke like socialists was science fiction to my American mind, but it had become a reality in Portugal. The center of Lisbon was crowded from morning till evening with people discussing the changes and putting up flyers on bulletin boards. The visual symbol of the Portuguese "revolution" had become the picture of a child sticking a rose into the muzzle of a rifle held by a friendly soldier, and I got caught up in demonstrations and parades featuring people, including myself, standing on tanks and throwing roses, with the crowds cheering the soldiers. It was pretty heady stuff, and I dearly wanted to believe, but I and most people I spoke to there had little doubt that the United States could not let such a breath of fresh air last very long. The overthrow of the Chilean government less than two years earlier had raised the world's collective political consciousness, as well as the level of skepticism and paranoia on the left.
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AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM?

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Ignorance and courage in the age of Lady Gaga   
Dumb_americaIf you hang out much with thinking people, conversation eventually turns to the serious political and cultural questions of our times. Such as: How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked? Much of the world, including plenty of Americans, asks that question as they watch U.S. culture go down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.
One explanation might be the effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp, and 44 ounce Big Gulp soft drinks. Another might be pop culture, which is not culture at all of course, but marketing. Or we could blame it on digital autism: Ever watch commuter monkeys on the subway poking at digital devices, stroking the touch screen for hours on end? That wrinkled Neolithic brows above the squinting red eyes?
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The National Security State and the Assassination of JFK

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The CIA, the Pentagon, and the `Peace President`
 

DallasJust 47 years ago, on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. This marked the turning of the American National Security State apparatus against its own leadership. After having overthrown, assassinated leaders, and orchestrated coups around the world, the moment its growing power was threatened by the civilian leadership in America, the apparatus of empire came home to roost.
 
The National Security State
 The apparatus of the National Security State, largely established in the National Security Act of 1947, laid the foundations for the extension of American hegemony around the globe. In short, the Act laid the foundations for the apparatus of the American Empire. The National Security Act created the National Security Council (NSC) and position of National Security Adviser, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) as the Pentagon high command of military leaders, and of course, the CIA.
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Nine Billion Little Feet

On the Highway of the Damned, Are We There Yet, Pa?

Hopkins_Village"John Raymond Castillo, age 91. Sunrise, January 14, 1917. Sunset, February 1, 2008. He leaves 21 children, 140 grandchildren and 302 great-grandchildren."
-- Obituary announcement on Belize’s LOVE Radio station

"The population of Belize? Officially it's about 300,000. But if you include all the kids, it's probably three million."
-- Greg, longtime expatriate American in Belize

Hopkins Village, Belize

The din of squealing, laughing children is the background white noise of the Third World. In Belize, as in most of the Third World, 45% of all people are under the age of 16. About a dozen of that 45% swarm around me as I cut my toenails under the mango tree. A few are picking on the mangy, quarreling dogs but the majority are drawn in close, giving advice about how to cut gnarly, old man type toenails: "Saw dem off wid a file" seems to be the consensus.

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Lost on the Fearless Plain

Big Brother's got that ju-ju, Gaia's got the blues -- hologram carry me home.

Ajijic, Mexico

Joe_BageantI've spent most of this week watching American television and movies. I leave the TV on all night long. I toss and turn with my bad back, and bad lungs, catch a rerun episode of Two and a Half Men, or CSI, and conk out again. Then I awaken to the U.S. morning talk shows. It's a grueling regimen, only for the strong. Or the lonely. For periodic relief, I switch to Mexican television (be patient, I really am going somewhere with this). Mexican TV is not one iota better than US television, but is veeerrry heavy on the booty. More than heavy. Astronomical. Think all-but-bare tits and ass close-ups every fifteen seconds, straight through commercials, dramas, comedy shows, history shows, and even the news where possible.  Every show but the bullfights and that old nun who comes on at ten PM, who invariably drives me back to the U.S. channels.

Ahhhh … Safely in the American national illusion, where all the world's a shopping expedition. Or a terrorist threat. No matter, as long as it is colorful and wiggles on the theater state's 400 million screens. Plug in and be lit up by the American Hologram.

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America's Complicity in Evil

Freedom_FlotillaAs I write at 5 pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn "all the facts about this morning's tragic events" and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House.

Thus has Obama made America complicit once again in Israel's barbaric war crimes. Just as the US Congress voted to deep-six Judge Goldstone's report on Israel's war crimes committed in Israel's January 2009 invasion of Gaza, Obama has deep-sixed Israel's latest act of barbarism by pretending that he doesn't know what has happened.

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State Crimes Against Democracy

Liberty_shamedNew research in the journal American Behavioral Scientist (Sage publications, February 2010) addresses the concept of “State Crimes Against Democracy” (SCAD). Professor Lance deHaven-Smith from Florida State University writes that SCADs involve highlevel government officials, often in combination with private interests, that engage in covert activities for political advantages and power. Proven SCADs since World War II include McCarthyism (fabrication of evidence of a communist infiltration), Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (President Johnson and Robert McNamara falsely claimed North Vietnam attacked a US ship), burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist in effort to discredit Ellsberg, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, Florida’s 2000 Election (felon disenfranchisement program), and fixed intelligence on WMDs to justify the Iraq War.1

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Top 10 Problems With America Assassinating Americans

CNN: Intelligence chief: U.S. can kill Americans abroad

 

Dennis_Blair_iiThe director of U.S. national intelligence told the House Intelligence Committee the government has the right to kill Americans abroad.

 

Here are 10 problems with this:

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Yeswecanistan

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William Blum :: Anti-Empire Report, Number 76

Obama_speachAll the crying from the left about how Obama "the peace candidate" has now become "a war president" ... Whatever are they talking about? Here's what I wrote in this report in August 2008, during the election campaign:

We find Obama threatening, several times, to attack Iran if they don't do what the United States wants them to do nuclear-wise; threatening more than once to attack Pakistan if their anti-terrorist policies are not tough enough or if there would be a regime change in the nuclear-armed country not to his liking; calling for a large increase in US troops and tougher policies for Afghanistan; wholly and unequivocally embracing Israel as if it were the 51st state.

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Compulsory Private Health Insurance:

Just Another Bailout of the Financial Sector?

 

Obama_HealthcareDr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is quoted as warning two centuries ago:

“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an underground dictatorship. . . . The Constitution of this republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom."

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The United States, Cuba and this thing called Democracy

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The United States, Cuba, and this thing called Democracy

Killing Hope

Polling_BoothFor more than a decade, the sentiment has been proclaimed on so many occasions by the resident and other political leaders, and dutifully reiterated by the media, that the thesis: "Cuba is the only non-democracy in the Western Hemisphere" is now nothing short of received wisdom in the United States.

Let us examine this thesis carefully for it has a highly interesting implication.

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Watching Obama Morph Into Dick Cheney

cheney_obamaAmerica has lost her soul, and so has her president.

A despairing country elected a president who promised change. Americans arrived from every state to witness in bitter cold Obama’s swearing in ceremony. The mall was packed in a way that it has never been for any other president.

antiwar.com

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Buyer's Remorse:

Is it too late to swap Obama for McCain?

obamamccainAnyone who has ever wasted good money on a clunker only to drop the transmission 15 minutes after leaving the car-lot, knows the feeling. It's like a swift-kick in the groin followed by weeks of fist-pounding rage. It's called buyer's remorse; "Gawd, I wish I hadn't bought that piece of dogshite!"

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Military Escalation and Obama's "War on Terrorism"

US Officials "Rediscover" ISI-Taliban Nexus

AfganpakistanmapLong considered the realm of "conspiracy buffs" The New York Times, citing anonymous "American government officials," have belatedly "discovered" that Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) is aiding the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
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George Carlin Was Right!

Oh, so damned right... Language Warning...of course!