When the Aristocracy Leaves the Commoners in the Dust, The Empire Is Doomed

Historian Peter Turchin identified “the degree of solidarity felt between the commons and aristocracy” as a key ingredient of the Republic of Rome’s enormous success. Turchin calls this attribute of social structure vertical integration, a term that usually refers to a corporation owning its supply chain.

In Turchin’s meaning, it refers to the sense of purpose and identity shared by the top, middle and bottom of the wealth/power pyramid. One measure of this vertical integration is the degree of equality/inequality between the commoners (shall we call this the lower 90% of American households by income?) and the Power Elite aristocracy (top .5%, or perhaps top .1%).

The vertical integration of the Roman Republic’s social strata is striking. In his book War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires, Turchin tells this anecdote:

“Roman historians of the later age stressed the modest way of life, even poverty of the leading citizens. For example, when Cincinnatus was summoned to be dictator, while working at the plow, he reportedly exclaimed, ‘My land will not be sown this year and so we shall run the risk of not having enough to eat!'”

Can you conjure up the image of any presidential hopeful in a field actually working to grow food for his/her family?

Turchin goes on to say this vertical integration is a feature of all successful empires:

“(This) lack of glaring barriers between the aristocracy and the commons seems to be a general characteristic of successful imperial nations during their early phase.”

Once the barriers between commoners and the Elite become impassable, the Empire is doomed. As noted in Following in Ancient Rome’s Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Wealth Inequality (September 30, 2015), military service was a distinguishing feature of the Elites and landowning commoners of Rome.

Indeed, as noted in the above essay, Rome’s aristocracy suffered higher rates of KIA (killed in action) than the commoners.

Can you conjure up the image of any presidential hopeful in a combat zone risking his/her life? Please don’t make me laugh by saying “yes”… George Bush I was the last president to actually risk his life in theater, in combat.

By the end of the empire, the middle class of asset-owning commoners had been extinguished. Confiscatory taxes (ahem, ring any bells?) drove the middle class into serfdom.

Imagine this happening in present-day America: “The wealthy classes were also the first to volunteer extra taxes when they were needed.”

Paging all presidential hopefuls–here’s your chance to reclaim the glory of Republican Rome by volunteering to pay higher taxes. Hillary? The Donald? Anyone?

Accessibility is another measure of low barriers between the wealthy Elites and the commoners. A few corporate leaders are making an effort to be accessible to their employees. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, lives in a trailer that is often the site of meetings. Is this perfect vertical integration? No, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction compared to wealthy elites buying and fortifying islands against anything but a drone/cruise missile strike.

This chart shows the number of households in each income category, broken into $5,000 segments. The last two bars to the right are those making $200,000+ annually, roughly 4% of households.

What this doesn’t show is the preponderance of income/wealth in the top .1%:

We all know the barriers between the commoners and the Elite rise higher every year, despite the claims of the corporate media and the Power Elite aristocracy, which is naturally desperate to maintain the fantasy that they are “regular folks” despite their immense wealth.

The Power Elite aristocracy isn’t dumb; they fully understand once the illusion of their shared purpose and identity with the commoners is shattered, their invulnerability is history.

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Nobel Peace Prize for Peace

Alfred Nobel’s will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Most winners in recent years have either been people who did nice things that had nothing whatsoever to do with the relevant work (Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for promoting education, Liu Xiaobo for protesting in China, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for opposing climate change, Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for economic development, etc.) or people who actually engaged in militarism and would have opposed the abolition or reduction of standing armies if asked, and one of whom said so in his acceptance speech (the European Union, Barack Obama, etc.).

The prize goes disproportionately, not to the leaders of organizations or movements for peace and disarmament, but to U.S. and European elected officials. Rumors swirled, prior to Friday’s announcement, that Angela Merkel or John Kerry might win the prize. Thankfully, that did not happen. Another rumor suggested the prize could go to defenders of Article Nine, the section of the Japanese Constitution that bans war and has kept Japan out of war for 70 years. Sadly, that did not happen.

The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday morning to “the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.” The Nobel Committee’s statement goes on to actually cite Nobel’s will, which Nobel Peace Prize Watch (NobelWill.org) and other advocates have been insisting be followed (and which I’m a plaintiff in a lawsuit demanding compliance with, along with Mairead Maguire and Jan Oberg):

“The broad-based national dialogue that the Quartet succeeded in establishing countered the spread of violence in Tunisia and its function is therefore comparable to that of the peace congresses to which Alfred Nobel refers in his will.”

This was not an award to a single individual or for work in a single year, but those are differences from the will that no one has really objected to. This was also not an award to a leading war maker or arms dealer. This was not a peace prize for a NATO member or a Western president or foreign secretary who did something less awful than usual. This is encouraging as far as that goes.

The award did not directly challenge the arms industry that is led by the United States and Europe along with Russia and China. The award did not go to international work at all but to work within a nation. And the leading reason offered was the building of a pluralistic democracy. This verges on the watered-down Nobel conception of peace as anything good or Western. However, the effort to claim strict compliance with one element of the will is quite useful. Even a domestic peace congress that prevents civil war is a worthy effort to replace war with peace. A nonviolent revolution in Tunisia did not directly challenge Western militarized imperialism, but neither was it in line with it. And its relative success, compared with the nations that have received the most “assistance” from the Pentagon (Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, etc.) is worth highlighting. An honorable mention for Chelsea Manning for her role in inspiring the Arab Spring in Tunisia by releasing communications between the U.S. and Tunisian governments would not have been out of place.

So, I think the 2015 award could have been much worse. It could also have been much better. It could have gone to work opposing armaments and international warmongering. It could have gone to Article 9, or Abolition 2000, or the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, or the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, or the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Arms, or the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, all of which were nominated this year, or to any number of individuals nominated from around the world.

Nobel Peace Prize Watch is far from satisfied: “An encouragement to the Tunisian people is fine, but Nobel had a much greater perspective. Indisputable evidence shows that he intended his prize to support a visionary reorganization of international affairs. The language in his will is a clear confirmation of this,” says Tomas Magnusson, Sweden, on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize Watch. “The committee continues reading the expressions of the testament as they like, instead of studying what type of ‘champions of peace’ and what peace ideas Nobel had in mind signing his will on Nov. 27, 1895. In February the Nobel Peace Prize Watch lifted the secrecy around the selection process when it published a list of 25 qualified candidates with the full nomination letters. By its choice for 2015, the committee has rejected the list and, again, is clearly outside the circle of recipients Nobel had in mind. In addition to not understanding the least bit of Nobel’s idea the committee in Oslo has not understood the new situation in the committee’s relation to its principals in Stockholm,” continues Tomas Magnusson. “We must understand that the whole world today is under occupation, even our brains have become militarized to a degree where it is hard for people to imagine the alternative, demilitarized world that Nobel wished his prize to promote as a mandatory urgency. Nobel was a man of the world, able to transcend the national perspective and think of what would be best for the world as a whole. We have plenty for everyone’s needs on this green planet if the nations of the world could only learn to co-operate and stop wasting precious resources on the military. The members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation risk personal liability if a prize amount is paid over to the winner in violation of the purpose. As late as three weeks ago seven members of the Foundation’s Board were hit by initial steps in a lawsuit demanding that they repay to the Foundation the prize paid to the EU in December 2012. Among the plaintiffs are Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, a Nobel laureate; David Swanson, USA; Jan Oberg, Sweden, and the Nobel Peace Prize Watch (nobelwill.org). The lawsuit follows after a Norwegian attempt to regain the ultimate control of the peace prize was finally turned down by the Swedish Chamber Court in May 2014.”

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Weisburd’s World: American Jihadi Targeting Americans in US!

Have you ever wanted to put somebody on a no-fly list because they were black, white, Christian, Muslim, liberal or conservative.  Maybe because they believed in fundamentalist family values, or claimed black lives matter, or cops lives matter? Or maybe just because you just felt like it for your own reasons?

Come on, you know you’ve always wanted to put Sarah Palin supporters, Obama policy supporters, John McCain, or human rights activists on terrorist support lists so they can be investigated.

Have you written your opinion on anything in a comment, facebook post, tweet, liked something or shared anything on the internet over the last 14+ years?

It’s not a joke, you are on somebody’s list and as soon as you become a potential cash cow, you are going on all the lists they can get you on. It’s part of how they get paid.


The other part of how they earn their income directly correlates to how much of your life they can destroy. In literal terms:

  • Get you fired from your job
  • Get your bank to close your accounts
  • Harass your employer, family, and friends, church, synagogue, or mosque
  • Put you on terrorist investigation lists and no Fly lists
  • Ruin your reputation

The best part is you will never know they were there. If this sounds like tin-foil hat conspiracy talk, tell that to the thousands of people in America and around the world that this has been done to over the last 14 years.

If you live in the US, Canada, Europe, or anywhere with an internet connection this isn’t a possible threat you could face, it’s the reality you live in.

Freelancing Hate for Hire

In the wake of 9/11 a new industry emerged that quickly developed into personal NSA-style intrusive stalkers. These are people with no background in intelligence, law, law enforcement, or security. They aren’t connected to any State or agency like the FBI, CIA, or NSA.

Early on after September 11th, 2001 these people quickly became aware of what is known as OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) tools. They use different software and programs that data mine information exhaustively. They are not the designers of the various software. Their claim to fame is turning that software on to look at you and hack your life.

Freelancers work for whoever will hire them and early in the last decade they found plenty of work hunting potential terrorists. Even though law enforcement rarely agrees with their assessments, the freelancers still have to deliver the terrorists to get paid.

Many of them started circumventing the law and taking due process away from US and EU citizens in the name of the War on Terror at the behest of foreign governments, people, PACs, or companies that hired them.

Between 2002 and 2011, just one of these operators did everything listed above to thousands of US citizens after the FBI stated categorically that the people on his lists were not terrorists. They were US citizens expressing their 1st Amendment Rights under the Constitution, writing comments, in forums, articles, and of course, social sharing including Facebook likes.

This needs to be understood against the backdrop that the OSINT industry including ethical- hacking is both good and necessary. Much of the most invasive software developed was supposed to alarm people how easy it had become for anyone to stalk, track, or destroy their lives.

Some of the new software was designed to give the 99% recourse because the laws governing this are gray or nonexistent and protections aren’t there. Because this goes way beyond the Snowden disclosures, perhaps we should have listened.

Pride and Prejudice

Before going further it is necessary to address both pride and prejudice as being central to the reason that these things are going on. In a democracy of any form the only thing that makes it work is equal law. The purpose of this article isn’t to debate why the Twin Towers fell or who did it. It certainly isn’t to justify any reason or cause of terrorism.

Because societies allowed legal and gray area precedence to be set based on prejudice, all of us fell victim to the precedence of law and lack of law we set. Society has gone beyond Orwell’s 1984. Historians will look back on the time Western societies resembled “The Trial” by Josef Kafka.

Weisburd’s victims were never formally accused. Now we aren’t. They were never provided evidence of their guilt. Now no one is. They were never able to face their accusers. We didn’t know they even exist. Now we are always guilty because of prejudice built through media manipulation. And we always agree because we are never told the guilty party is us.

Guilt by the loosest associations was enough and is enough today. We are not being tried by recognized courts. If it was the government out to get us we would at least have some veneer of legal protections. We are being tried by freelancers that get paid to hate us.

Privatizing McCarthyism

The Guardian made the point in November 2014 with “Our choice isn’t between a world where either the good guys spy or the bad guys spy. It’s a choice of everybody gets to spy or nobody gets to spy.” So said the security luminary Bruce Schneier at BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit in October…With so many cheap or free tools out there, it is easy for anyone to set up their own NSA-esque operations and collect all this data. Though breaching systems and taking data without authorisation is against the law, it is possible to do a decent amount of surveillance entirely legally using open-source intelligence (OSINT) tools.”

From 2003 until present, the story of this one OSINT practitioner shows how quickly the jump from citizen activist to private intel operator could morph into an online campaign that dwarfs Joseph McCarthy’s Anti-American Activities Committee activities in scope.

According to powerbase.info Andrew Aaron Weisburd started the Society for Internet Research (will be important in a later article) and www.internethaganah.com after the attack on the Twin Towers and as a reaction to the 2000 Camp David Accords when Yasser Arafat rejected the agreement. The website had the taglines “Online Counter-Insurgency,” “Confronting Islamist terrorists and their supporters online” and “Defending Israel and the Jewish people.”

Within a short period of time, he started collaborating with Israeli retired Colonel Reuven Erlich and the Israeli Intelligence and Information Center. More than likely it was through him that Weisburd was initially immersed in real OSINT tools.

After starting in 2002, Weisburd was already gaining media attention as early as January 2003. With no prior education and only a few months of web trolling experience, he was already touted as an expert by regional and national media.

Looked at progressively, the articles which were written like promotional pieces give very damning warnings from law enforcement, security, and the national intelligence community that the situation described above was very likely already starting. Weisburd very proudly admits that is how he operates. During this period, Weisburd spent his time at politically radical Islamic websites and forums looking for terrorists. The most famous catch he was almost known for is “Irhabi 007.” The terrorist was caught, tried, and sentenced in spite of Weisburd, rather than with his help. If you don’t provide real evidence police can’t do anything.

The most important development was that Weisburd was perfecting the use of specific tools that are now his trademark. In his own words during media interviews he started using Al Qaeda’s methods and tactics. Weisburd geo-locates people he decides are terrorists and then destroys them.

In January 2003 the Chicago Tribune wrote an article that shows the early methods Weisburd adopted. Weisburd stated that www.internethaganah was made up of US and Israeli counter-terrorism and internet experts. He would later backtrack from this.

The featured website he dismantled supposedly belonged to Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian terrorist group. According to the article “The group is the latest target of Internet Haganah, which, according to Weisburd, has helped shut down 65 terrorism-related Web sites in the U.S. and overseas by contacting government officials and firms like Hostway.” Hostway, a large internet provider almost immediately shut the website down.

The problem with this in the age after 9/11 is that the US government was very active hunting terrorists at home and if the claim was true within that time frame the FBI should have jumped on the information. When the journalists contacted the FBI for their take on the site the response was “The site is not illegal in any way [nor does it condone] illegal activity,” said FBI spokesman Frank Bochte in Chicago. “We cannot be the Orwellian thought police. If it is mere words and nothing beyond that, there’s nothing we can do.

What was the overwhelming proof of supporting terror in the article? “It talks about the “Zionist” rope over American leaders and lists 45 Jews in top positions of U.S. government. A photo gallery features the burning of the American flag, and one section is called “Know Your Enemy.”

Internet Haganah’s original banner stated it all. The new terrorist hunter definition included anyone that spoke against Israel, for Palestinians rights, or a two State solution.

By April, 2004 Weisburd claimed he had taken down 420 Jihadist websites by targeting the internet service providers in “Politics: Activists Crusade Against E-Jihad.” Note that it isn’t in conjunction or assisting any law enforcement investigations.

In 2005 he clarified who and what his experts and expertise was in a Washington Post article. According to the article- Weisburd said he and his supporters are responsible for dismantling at least 650 and as many as 1,000 sites he regards as threatening, especially Islamic radical sites.

“I’m sort of like a freelance investigator,” Weisburd said. Like the foes they pursue, online crusaders like Weisburd are adept at using the Internet’s unique characteristics — its anonymity, speed and ability to reach across nation-state boundaries. Some work alone and in secret; others like Weisburd have managed to put together well-organized operations that run almost like companies. Their causes can vary widely, be it stopping spam or holding large corporations accountable for poor products or service. There are groups that investigate murders and those that fight terrorism and other crimes.

The activists often operate at the boundaries of what is legal and illegal. For his part, Weisburd insists that he uses only legal means to go after his targets. A posting on his site explains that in fighting crime he does not think it proper to commit one, but he admits he cannot always control the actions of those who help him.”

At this point, Weisburd had a few thousand like minded followers working with him. When you consider that there are thousands of operators like him the damage they can do goes exponential.

In the UK, a partner of Weisburd’s Glen Jenvey also shares the same mentor. Jenvey fabricated stories in media about terror plots, falsified and planted evidence, falsified testimony of “terrorist activity” by using online sock puppets, hacking accounts and posting as the account owner, as well as setting up entrapment scams. Is it a wonder law enforcement and intelligence agencies look down on them?

In the same Washington Post article that lionizes him “Weisburd said an analyst from a federal agency recently wrote him a scathing letter calling him a “grave threat to national security” because his work was interfering with its investigations.

Marshall Stone, a spokesman for the FBI, said that while the agency encourages citizens to report alleged wrongdoing, it believes any attempt to stop criminals should be left to the governmentWithout due process, evidence could be tainted and become unusable in court cases or, worse, targets could be condemned as guilty when they are really innocent, said Paul Kurtz, executive director of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, a coalition of tech company chief executives. “When we all become ‘law enforcement officers’ justice becomes very blurry,” he said…

Weisburd quickly listed the discovery in his daily log of offensive and dangerous sites, alerting his supporters. A few days later, Ekhlaas experienced an unusual surge in activity, the hallmark of a hacker attack, forcing the company hosting the site to take it down…In one case, Weisburd identified an Atlanta-based Web provider that appeared to be hosting a site that advocated attacks against the United States and its Western allies. The provider, however, seemed to be ignoring requests to remove it. So some Weisburd supporters figured out which church the owner went to and got his personal cell phone number and began lobbying him non-stop until he took down the site.”

Even with expert opinion from an Intelligence agency, the FBI, and the director of the Cyber Security Alliance pointing at the problems “operators” like this were causing law abiding citizens and complicating real intelligence work freelancers like this found an open field to work in.

In a 2007 CNN interview he further clarified his methodologyAaron Weisburd, founder of Internet Haganah and director of the Society for Internet Research, is a fighter on the frontline in this new type of warfare. Weisburd, who works out of his Carbondale, Illinois home, describes his organization as a “global non-governmental ad-hoc intelligence network” which he’s modeled after al Qaeda’s network.”

Who were and are the dangerous terrorists Aaron Weisburd targets? Should we thank him?

During the period of 2002-2005 Weisburd and his associates learned their craft on Indymedia websites. Indy Media started out as a news service providing grass roots coverage of the Seattle WTO protests in 1999 and describes itself as “The Independent Media Center is a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media’s distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity.”

Indy Media is a loose collection of local political activists, journalists, and human rights activists with locations around the US and abroad. They are not Al Qaeda, IGIL, Azov, or any other recognizable terrorist-related groups.

According to these activists that later built local chapters of the “Occupy Movement”-Weisburd has not merely “dismantled” websites. He has harassed individuals engaged in perfectly legal online dissent, threatened their family members, harassed their employers, and harassed their web hosts. He regularly uses lies, disinformation and threats to accomplish these goals. Weisburd decides what is “threatening.” He considers all effective dissent threatening. Many of Weisburd’s “foes” are innocent Americans exercising their right to free speech. Making any kind of equivalence between these innocent Americans and Weisburd is absurd. In fact, Weisburd is the biggest menace to the Internet.”

…As well, they did NOT stay within the PUBLIC boundaries of what Mr. Weisburd claimed on his website are their procedures. Joel Dutterman of Erie, PA who owned a company we were hosted with has been threatened over one hundred times in one weekend when Weisburd called for Mr. Dutterman to be “pressured” to stop hosting us. He said that he did not wish to die and was threatened with death and told he was violating the law by hosting us. He said that at no time did any branch of Law Enforcement contact him. It was all people calling him and threatening his life and safety over the weekend…”

Even this statement is supported by the CNN article. Weisburd states coldly that if he thinks you are helping Al Qaeda he will report you to associates that “may or may not be law enforcement. While he won’t hurt you, if you don’t go quietly, they might.

Weisburd is the creator of Internet Haganah, a self-proclaimed “global open-source intelligence network dedicated to confronting Internet use by Islamist terrorist organizations, their supporters, enablers and apologists.” In other words, he’s an Internet vigilante… His group either contacts the Internet Service Providers that may be unwittingly hosting sites connected to terrorist organizations or simply posts the offending URLs on Internet Haganah (haganah.org.il)–and trusts that their thousands of Net-savvy readers will use less civil tactics, like denial of service attack (a massive flood of Web traffic designed to overwhelm a Web site) to oust terror sites from the Web.

How long does it take him to vett a suspect? How long did the decision take to ruin the lives of US, UK, and EU citizens? In the 2005 interview with the Washington Post Weisburd stated even though he doesn’t speak Arabic, it only takes a few words or images to determine a particular website needs to be taken down. “I understand enough of what they say to know they are my enemy, and that’s all I need to know,” Weisburd said.”

Weisburd’s progression shows that he has consistently scaled up his operation. Starting with dismantling a few dozen websites in the beginning, within a short amount of time he was dismantling hundreds of peoples lives. That over time became thousands of people’s lives.

How many thousands or tens of thousands has Weisburd’s group put on terrorism-related lists? How many employers didn’t want to be called “terrorist supporters” for having workers that had opinions this freelancer’s employers didn’t like? How many people will never know why all those things happened to them?

Today Weisburd and associated groups are targeting over 200,000 in America alone. Part 2 of this article series will show who the freelancers are targeting, why, and how they are doing this. If you have an opinion about anything, they are targeting YOU.

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5-minute video: geo-political Syria facts, analysis. 99.99%: demand US/UK .01% arrests or gamble on WW3

Storm Clouds Gathering’s outstanding documentation and 5-minute video demonstrates Earth’s imminent threat of World War 3 with nuclear weapons that destroy nearly all life on Earth.

Better read the preceding sentence twice to let it penetrate. I also recommend Luke Rudkowski’s videos for briefings.

But hey, there is another option than this nuclear high-stakes game: US military leadership enact their oaths to arrest .01% obvious War Criminals issuing unlawful orders for unlawful wars.

These facts are certain and actionable to demand arrests of US .01% “leaders” now in order to avoid risk of WW3:

Given the provable existing crimes and costs of millions killed, billions harmed, and trillions looted, we don’t have to wait to understand any further chess moves. This recent history continues literal centuries of US lie-began Wars of Aggression that involved your families in two horrific previous global wars.

Do you really want to wait before demanding arrests for unlawful Wars of Aggression when the crimes are soooooo Emperor’s New Clothes obvious?

Importantly, this is just one of literally ~100 game-changing areas of crimes and lies that require criminal arrests from those authorized to do so. You’re willing to apply basic education to see, speak, and act for lawful arrests to stop these HUGE and obvious crimes, yes?

I mean, you do consider yourself an American defending limited government under the US Constitution rather than a work animal serving pathetic would-be dictators, right?



Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008 among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.


Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu

Note: Examiner.com has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers), so some links in my previous work are blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to http://archive.org/web/, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” then click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).


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“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Everyone has seen the pictures of the unemployed waiting in soup lines during the Great Depression. When you try to tell a propaganda believing, willfully ignorant, mainstream media watching, math challenged consumer we are in the midst of a Greater Depression, they act as if you’ve lost your mind. They will immediately bluster about the 5.1% unemployment rate, record corporate profits, and stock market near all-time highs. The cognitive dissonance of these people is only exceeded by their inability to understand basic mathematical concepts.

The reason you don’t see huge lines of people waiting in soup lines during this Greater Depression is because the government has figured out how to disguise suffering through modern technology. During the height of the Great Depression in 1933, there were 12.8 million Americans unemployed. These were the men pictured in the soup lines. Today, there are 46 million Americans in an electronic soup kitchen line, as their food is distributed through EBT cards (with that angel of mercy JP Morgan reaping billions in profits by processing the transactions).

Continue reading

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European Publishers Pretend that Obama Is Right and Putin Is Wrong

Eric Zuesse

A typical example is Christophe Leclercq’s Euractiv website, news for Europeans. (Leclercq “was EU Commission official with DG Competition (coordinator for Information Society). Before that, he was a management consultant with McKinsey.”)

On Thursday October 8th, his euractiv bannered, “NATO says will defend Turkey against Russian airspace violations” — a headline that suggests perhaps World War III will be sparked by Russia’s military campaign against the Sunni extremists in Syria, and that Russia had therefore better stop it right now. This article opened: “NATO said today (8 October) it was prepared to send troops to Turkey to defend its ally after violations of Turkish airspace by Russian jets bombing Syria, and Britain scolded Moscow for escalating a civil war that has already killed 250,000 people” (as if all of those 250,000 were killed by Assad’s forces instead of by the ones that America/NATO is backing). Turkey has, in fact, been supporting the Islamists — Sunnis who demand that sharia law be imposed on Syria — and NATO is supposedly (according to this article) threatening to send “troops” into Turkey in order to stop Russia’s military campaign against that jihad. But nowhere in the article itself is any evidence provided to back up that allegation of NATO’s considering “to send troops to Turkey.” Instead, the article is sheer scaremongering in order to get the site’s sucker-readers to demand that Russia stop so as to avoid ‘provoking’ a nuclear conflict with the good guys: NATO. NATO is presented as the peace-advocate, Russia (which had nothing to do with starting this war) as being the war-monger. “‘There has to be a political solution, a transition,’ [NATO Secretary-General Jens] Stoltenberg said.” (As if NATO and Turkey should determine Syria’s leader, not the Syrian public, whom all polls show would win a democratic election in a landslide. The hypocrisy of the Western press is blatant. Even Obama’s constant allegations that Assad was responsible for the August 2013 sarin gas attack are blatant lies: whereas Obama might have been behind that attack, Assad couldn’t even possibly have been. The rocket had been fired from the U.S.&Turkey-controlled area.)

A reader-comment to this euractiv article is a far more accurate representation of the reality than is the article itself:

Posted by: mvp019aa Thu, 08/10/2015 – 12:56

“Russia is making a situation much more dangerous” – yeah, the US has been putzing around for 2 years, invading Syrian airspace without the permission of their government, and now these Russian strikes at the behest of the Syrian government (and it doesn’t matter what Obama THINKS about the legitimacy of the Syrian government, or how much of a bad guy Assad is) have laid bare that the CIA has trained militants and is very possibly at least partly in bed with some elements of ISIS. So of course NATO has to ratchet up the rhetoric, because the USA agenda (which is all NATO is really about anyway) is being compromised – Russia has done more damage to ISIS in a week than the USA has in many months. The USA hates when someone plays their own game in foreign affairs, and plays it better than they do. The hypocrisy of it all in light of the interventionist disasters that are Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and the “Arab Spring” would be humorous were it not so dangerous for the whole planet.

One of the basic problems that hasn’t yet been rectified in democracies, is that inevitably the news-media (such as euractive, but also including, of course, Rupert Murdoch and other major operators) are owned by aristocrats — people who are, or else are in service to, the controlling stockholders in large corporations, the advertisers  in the successful ‘news’ media and therefore the determinants regarding which media will thrive and which ones will simply fade away. They advertise not only in order to boost their products against those of the competition (the competiton between aristocrats), but in order to sustain and promote the agenda that each one of them shares and cooperates in order to promote to the general public: The system in our society is just and fair, and our nation are the good guys and our enemies are bad guys. (It’s the competition between aristocracies.) In other words: though they sell different products, they sell the same system. It’s the system that sustains their own privileged position, their wealth. Anything other than that is, to them, theft — from them, not by them (which is actually far more comon).

A publication such as euractive, therefore, is almost always owned or controlled by an individual who knows what the aristocracy want the public to think, and the ‘news’ medium sells that, if it’s at all a successful ‘news’ medium. Obviously, aristocrats want the public to think that large wealth reflects their own large merit, not their large criminality — they don’t want the public to think that aristocrats are generally a rather scummy lot. And, therefore, the powers-that-be are represented in the ‘news’ media as the opposite of what they are — as being generally well-intentioned. You don’t sell ads by raising questions, suspicions, or distrust, regarding large advertisers. This fact is basic knowledge in order to be able to survive as a ‘news’ medium in any ‘democracy.’

What that reader-comment shows is: some of the readers aren’t suckers such as the media-owners are hoping constitute their audience. Some of the public see through the aristocracy’s sham. (Perhaps these are the few who have encountered the few news-media in the West that honestly report international news, such as this. And any of them that start succeeding, get crushed by the aristocracy. This is, in a sense, the basic problem in any country that even aspires to be a democracy.)


However, though the idea of a NATO-Russia war resulting from the Syrian conflict might be overblown, there does exist a realistic possibility of a nuclear war resulting from this conflict; it’s just not via NATO (at least not directly) so much as it’s via the Saudis, who have been the main financial backers of the jihad movement, in Syria and elsewhere. On October 3rd, the Guardian  bannered, “Gulf states plan military response as Putin raises the stakes in Syria,” and reported a much more serious direct threat:

“There is no future for Assad in Syria,” Saudi foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir warned, a few hours before the first Russian bombing sorties began. If that was not blunt enough, he spelled out that if the president [Assad] did not step down as part of a political transition, his country would embrace a military option, “which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power”.

The Saudi royal family is there essentially promising to supply its Syrian jihadists with surface-to-air missiles to shoot down Russian jets. (That’s what would be required in order for them now to be able militarily to establish “the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power.”) NATO (mainly the U.S.) would then face a choice of whether to back the Saudis on that, or else let Russia conquer both the Sauds and the Syrian Islamists. At that point, the propagandists (‘news’ media) in the West would have a field day, trying to whip up public support for going to war against Russia (which would expose U.S. aristocrats as serving Saudi aristocrats, not the other way around — as is commonly supposed).

Who has dominated the West: America’s aristocracy, or Saudi Arabia’s. It’s not something that’s likely to be investigated in Western ‘news’ media; but, in the crunch, we might find out, despite them, by experiencing the results.

If it does come down to that, a lot will probably be riding on the decisions that will be made by three heads-of-state: the ones in U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Posted in General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fed Taking Emergency Crisis Measures … Shoving Collateral Onto Banks’ Balance Sheets

Mike Maloney with an insightful analysis:

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 2 Comments

Global Financial Meltdown Coming? Clear Signs That The Great Derivatives Crisis Has Now Begun

By Michael Snyder, the Economic Collapse Blog.

Global Financial Meltdown - Public DomainWarren Buffett once referred to derivatives as “financial weapons of mass destruction“, and it was inevitable that they would begin to wreak havoc on our financial system at some point.  While things may seem somewhat calm on Wall Street at the moment, the truth is that a great deal of trouble is bubbling just under the surface.  As you will see below, something happened in mid-September that required an unprecedented 405 billion dollar surge of Treasury collateral into the repo market.  I know – that sounds very complicated, so I will try to break it down more simply for you.  It appears that some very large institutions have started to get into a significant amount of trouble because of all the reckless betting that they have been doing.  This is something that I have warned would happen over and over again.  In fact, I have written about it so much that my regular readers are probably sick of hearing about it.  But this is what is going to cause the meltdown of our financial system.

Many out there get upset when I compare derivatives trading to gambling, and perhaps it would be more accurate to describe most derivatives as a form of insurance.  The big financial institutions assure us that they have passed off most of the risk on these contracts to others and so there is no reason to worry according to them.

Well, personally I don’t buy their explanations, and a lot of others don’t either.  On a very basic, primitive level, derivatives trading is gambling.  This is a point that Jeff Nielson made very eloquently in a piece that he recently published

No one “understands” derivatives. How many times have readers heard that thought expressed (please round-off to the nearest thousand)? Why does no one understand derivatives? For many; the answer to that question is that they have simply been thinking too hard. For others; the answer is that they don’t “think” at all.

Derivatives are bets. This is not a metaphor, or analogy, or generalization. Derivatives are bets. Period. That’s all they ever were. That’s all they ever can be.

One very large financial institution that appears to be in serious trouble with these financial weapons of mass destruction is Glencore.  At one time Glencore was considered to be the 10th largest company on the entire planet, but now it appears to be coming apart at the seams, and a great deal of their trouble seems to be tied to derivatives.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Of particular concern, they said, was Glencore’s use of financial instruments such as derivatives to hedge its trading of physical goods against price swings. The company had $9.8 billion in gross derivatives in June 2015, down from $19 billion in such positions at the end of 2014, causing investors to query the company about the swing.

Glencore told investors the number went down so drastically because of changes in market volatility this year, according to people briefed by Glencore. When prices vary significantly, it can increase the value of hedging positions.

Last year, there were extreme price moves, particularly in the crude-oil market, which slid from about $114 a barrel in June to less than $60 a barrel by the end of December.

That response wasn’t satisfying, said Michael Leithead, a bond fund portfolio manager at EFG Asset Management, which managed $12 billion as of the end of March and has invested in Glencore’s debt.

According to Bank of America, the global financial system has about 100 billion dollars of exposure overall to Glencore.  So if Glencore goes bankrupt that is going to be a major event.  At this point, Glencore is probably the most likely candidate to be “the next Lehman Brothers”.

And it isn’t just Glencore that is in trouble.  Other financial giants such as Trafigura are in deep distress as well.  Collectively, the global financial system has approximately half a trillion dollars of exposure to these firms…

Worse, since it is not just Glencore that the banks are exposed to but very likely the rest of the commodity trading space, their gross exposure blows up to a simply stunning number:

For the banks, of course, Glencore may not be their only exposure in the commodity trading space. We consider that other vehicles such as Trafigura, Vitol and Gunvor may feature on bank balance sheets as well ($100 bn x 4?)

Call it half a trillion dollars in very highly levered exposure to commodities: an asset class that has been crushed in the past year.

The mainstream media is not talking much about any of this yet, and that is probably a good thing.  But behind the scenes, unprecedented moves are already taking place.

When I came across the information that I am about to share with you, I was absolutely stunned.  It comes from Investment Research Dynamics, and it shows very clearly that everything is not “okay” in the financial world…

Something occurred in the banking system in September that required a massive reverse repo operation in order to force the largest ever Treasury collateral injection into the repo market.   Ordinarily the Fed might engage in routine reverse repos as a means of managing the Fed funds rate.   However, as you can see from the graph below, there have been sudden spikes up in the amount of reverse repos that tend to correspond the some kind of crisis – the obvious one being the de facto collapse of the financial system in 2008:

Reverse Repo Operation

What in the world could possibly cause a spike of that magnitude?

Well, that same article that I just quoted links the troubles at Glencore with this unprecedented intervention…

What’s even more interesting is that the spike-up in reverse repos occurred at the same time – September 16 – that the stock market embarked on an 8-day cliff dive, with the S&P 500 falling 6% in that time period.  You’ll note that this is around the same time that a crash in Glencore stock and bonds began.   It has been suggested by analysts that a default on Glencore credit derivatives either by Glencore or by financial entities using derivatives to bet against that event would be analogous to the “Lehman moment” that triggered the 2008 collapse.

The blame on the general stock market plunge was cast on the Fed’s inability to raise interest rates.  However that seems to be nothing more than a clever cover story for something much more catastrophic which began to develop out sight in the general liquidity functions of the global banking system.

Back in 2008, Lehman Brothers was not “perfectly fine” one day and then suddenly collapsed the next.  There were problems brewing under the surface well in advance.

Well, the same thing is happening now at banking giants such as Deutsche Bank, and at commodity trading firms such as Glencore, Trafigura and The Noble Group.

And of course a lot of smaller fish are starting to implode as well.  I found this example posted on Business Insider earlier today

On September 11, Spruce Alpha, a small hedge fund which is part of a bigger investment group, sent a short report to investors.

The letter said that the $80 million fund had lost 48% in a month, according the performance report seen by Business Insider.

There was no commentary included in the note. No explanation. Just cold hard numbers.

Wow – how do you possibly lose 48 percent in a single month?

It would be hard to do that even if you were actually trying to lose money on purpose.

Sadly, this kind of scenario is going to be repeated over and over as we get even deeper into this crisis.

Meanwhile, our “leaders” continue to tell us that there is nothing to worry about.  For example, just consider what former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is saying

Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke doesn’t see any bubbles forming in global markets right right now.

But he doesn’t think you should take his word for it.

And even if you did, that isn’t the right question to ask anyway.

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal event on Wednesday morning, Bernanke said, “I don’t see any obvious major mispricings. Nothing that looks like the housing bubble before the crisis, for example. But you shouldn’t trust me.”

I certainly agree with that last sentence.  Bernanke was the one telling us that there was not going to be a recession back in 2008 even after one had already started.  He was clueless back then and he is clueless today.

Most of our “leaders” either don’t understand what is happening or they are not willing to tell us.

So that means that we have to try to figure things out for ourselves the best that we can.  And right now there are signs all around us that another 2008-style crisis has begun.

Personally, I am hoping that there will be a lot more days like today when the markets were relatively quiet and not much major news happened around the world.

Unfortunately for all of us, these days of relative peace and tranquility are about to come to a very abrupt end.

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 4 Comments

‘Neutralizing’ John Lennon: One Man Against the ‘Monster’

By John Whitehead. Constitutional and civil rights attorney, and founder of the Rutherford Institute.


“You gotta remember, establishment, it’s just a name for evil. The monster doesn’t care whether it kills all the students or whether there’s a revolution. It’s not thinking logically, it’s out of control.”—John Lennon (1969)

John Lennon, born 75 years ago on October 9, 1940, was a musical genius and pop cultural icon.

He was also a vocal peace protester and anti-war activist and a high-profile example of the lengths to which the U.S. government will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority.

Long before Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was Lennon who was being singled out for daring to speak truth to power about the government’s warmongering, his phone calls monitored and data files collected on his activities and associations.

For a little while, at least, Lennon became enemy number one in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Years after Lennon’s assassination it would be revealed that the FBI had collected 281 pages of files on him, including song lyrics, a letter from J. Edgar Hoover directing the agency to spy on the musician, and various written orders calling on government agents to set the stage to set Lennon up for a drug bust. As reporter Jonathan Curiel observes, “The FBI’s files on Lennon … read like the writings of a paranoid goody-two-shoes.”

As the New York Times notes, “Critics of today’s domestic surveillance object largely on privacy grounds. They have focused far less on how easily government surveillance can become an instrument for the people in power to try to hold on to power. ‘The U.S. vs. John Lennon’ … is the story not only of one man being harassed, but of a democracy being undermined.”

Indeed, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, all of the many complaints we have about government today—surveillance, militarism, corruption, harassment, SWAT team raids, political persecution, spying, overcriminalization, etc.—were present in Lennon’s day and formed the basis of his call for social justice, peace and a populist revolution.

For all of these reasons, the U.S. government was obsessed with Lennon, who had learned early on that rock music could serve a political end by proclaiming a radical message. More importantly, Lennon saw that his music could mobilize the public and help to bring about change. Lennon believed in the power of the people. Unfortunately, as Lennon recognized: “The trouble with government as it is, is that it doesn’t represent the people. It controls them.”

However, as Martin Lewis writing for Time notes: “John Lennon was not God. But he earned the love and admiration of his generation by creating a huge body of work that inspired and led. The appreciation for him deepened because he then instinctively decided to use his celebrity as a bully pulpit for causes greater than his own enrichment or self-aggrandizement.”

For instance, in December 1971 at a concert in Ann Arbor, Mich., Lennon took to the stage and in his usual confrontational style belted out “John Sinclair,” a song he had written about a man sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana cigarettes. Within days of Lennon’s call for action, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair released.

What Lennon did not know at the time was that government officials had been keeping strict tabs on the ex-Beatle they referred to as “Mr. Lennon.” FBI agents were in the audience at the Ann Arbor concert, “taking notes on everything from the attendance (15,000) to the artistic merits of his new song.”

The U.S. government was spying on Lennon.

By March 1971, when his “Power to the People” single was released, it was clear where Lennon stood. Having moved to New York City that same year, Lennon was ready to participate in political activism against the U. S. government, the “monster” that was financing the war in Vietnam.

The release of Lennon’s Sometime in New York City album, which contained a radical anti-government message in virtually every song and depicted President Richard Nixon and Chinese Chairman Mao Tse-tung dancing together nude on the cover, only fanned the flames of the conflict to come.

The official U.S. war against Lennon began in earnest in 1972 after rumors surfaced that Lennon planned to embark on a U.S. concert tour that would combine rock music with antiwar organizing and voter registration. Nixon, fearing Lennon’s influence on about 11 million new voters (1972 was the first year that 18-year-olds could vote), had the ex-Beatle served with deportation orders “in an effort to silence him as a voice of the peace movement.”

Then again, the FBI has had a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures, most notably among the latter such celebrated names as folk singer Pete Seeger, painter Pablo Picasso, comic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, comedian Lenny Bruce and poet Allen Ginsberg.

Among those most closely watched by the FBI was Martin Luther King Jr., a man labeled by the FBI as “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” With wiretaps and electronic bugs planted in his home and office, King was kept under constant surveillance by the FBI with the aim of “neutralizing” him. He even received letters written by FBI agents suggesting that he either commit suicide or the details of his private life would be revealed to the public. The FBI kept up its pursuit of King until he was felled by a hollow-point bullet to the head in 1968.

While Lennon was not—as far as we know—being blackmailed into suicide, he was the subject of a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment by the U.S. government (spearheaded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), an attempt by President Richard Nixon to have him “neutralized” and deported. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times points out, “The F.B.I.’s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose. What is more surprising, and ultimately more unsettling, is the degree to which the surveillance turns out to have been intertwined with electoral politics.”

As Lennon’s FBI file shows, memos and reports about the FBI’s surveillance of the anti-war activist had been flying back and forth between Hoover, the Nixon White House, various senators, the FBI and the U.S. Immigration Office.

Nixon’s pursuit of Lennon was relentless and in large part based on the misperception that Lennon and his comrades were planning to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. The government’s paranoia, however, was misplaced.

Left-wing activists who were on government watch lists and who shared an interest in bringing down the Nixon Administration had been congregating at Lennon’s New York apartment. But when they revealed that they were planning to cause a riot, Lennon balked. As he recounted in a 1980 interview, “We said, We ain’t buying this. We’re not going to draw children into a situation to create violence so you can overthrow what? And replace it with what? . . . It was all based on this illusion, that you can create violence and overthrow what is, and get communism or get some right-wing lunatic or a left-wing lunatic. They’re all lunatics.”

Despite the fact that Lennon was not part of the “lunatic” plot, the government persisted in its efforts to have him deported. Equally determined to resist, Lennon dug in and fought back. Every time he was ordered out of the country, his lawyers delayed the process by filing an appeal. Finally, in 1976, Lennon won the battle to stay in the country when he was granted a green card. As he said afterwards, “I have a love for this country…. This is where the action is. I think we’ll just go home, open a tea bag, and look at each other.”

Lennon’s time of repose didn’t last long, however. By 1980, he had re-emerged with a new album and plans to become politically active again.

The old radical was back and ready to cause trouble. In his final interview on Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon mused, “The whole map’s changed and we’re going into an unknown future, but we’re still all here, and while there’s life there’s hope.”

That very night, when Lennon returned to his New York apartment building, Mark David Chapman was waiting in the shadows. As Lennon stepped outside the car to greet the fans congregating outside, Chapman, in an eerie echo of the FBI’s moniker for Lennon, called out, “Mr. Lennon!”

Lennon turned and was met with a barrage of gunfire as Chapman—dropping into a two-handed combat stance—emptied his .38-caliber pistol and pumped four hollow-point bullets into his back and left arm. Lennon stumbled, staggered forward and, with blood pouring from his mouth and chest, collapsed to the ground.

John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He had finally been “neutralized.”

Yet where those who neutralized the likes of John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and others go wrong is in believing that you can murder a movement with a bullet and a madman.

Thankfully, Lennon’s legacy lives on in his words, his music and his efforts to speak truth to power. As Yoko Ono shared in a 2014 letter to the parole board tasked with determining whether Chapman should be released: “A man of humble origin, [John Lennon] brought light and hope to the whole world with his words and music. He tried to be a good power for the world, and he was. He gave encouragement, inspiration and dreams to people regardless of their race, creed and gender.”

Sadly, not much has changed for the better in the world since Lennon walked among us. Peace remains out of reach. Activism and whistleblowers continue to be prosecuted for challenging the government’s authority. Militarism is on the rise, with police acquiring armed drones, all the while the governmental war machine continues to wreak havoc on innocent lives. Just recently, for example, U.S. military forces carried out airstrikes in Afghanistan that left a Doctors without Borders hospital in ruins, killing several of its medical personnel and patients, including children.

For those of us who joined with John Lennon to imagine a world of peace, it’s getting harder to reconcile that dream with the reality of the American police state. For those who do dare to speak up, they are labeled dissidents, troublemakers, terrorists, lunatics, or mentally ill and tagged for surveillance, censorship or, worse, involuntary detention.

As Lennon shared in a 1968 interview:

I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives… I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal means. If anybody can put on paper what our government and the American government and the Russian… Chinese… what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing. I think they’re all insane. But I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

So what’s the answer?

Lennon had a multitude of suggestions.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

“Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders….You have to do it yourself. That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be. There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

“Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friends.”

“Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”

“If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.”

“Say you want a revolution / We better get on right away / Well you get on your feet / And out on the street / Singing power to the people.”

And my favorite advice of all: “All you need is love. Love is all you need.”

Posted in Politics / World News | 5 Comments

How the TPP Could Lead to Worldwide Internet Censorship

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.59.19 AM

On Monday, we learned that global “leaders” had come to an agreement on the infamous Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP. While discouraging, this doesn’t mean the game is over — far from it.

Although politicians have come to a secret agreement, this democracy killing, corporate monstrosity still has to pass the U.S. Congress. So it’s now up to all of us to create an insurmountable degree of opposition and make sure this thing is dead on arrival.

The more I learn about the TPP, the more horrified I become. In case you need to get up to speed, check out the following:

U.S. State Department Upgrades Serial Human Rights Abuser Malaysia to Include it in the TPP

Julian Assange on the TPP – “Deal Isn’t About Trade, It’s About Corporate Control”

Trade Expert and TPP Whistleblower – “We Should Be Very Concerned about What’s Hidden in This Trade Deal”

As the Senate Prepares to Vote on “Fast Track,” Here’s a Quick Primer on the Dangers of the TPP

If that wasn’t enough to concern you, here’s the latest revelation.

From Common Dreams:

The “disastrous” pro-corporate trade deal finalized Monday could kill the Internet as we know it, campaigners are warning, as they vow to keep up the fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

“Internet users around the world should be very concerned about this ultra-secret pact,” said OpenMedia’s digital rights specialist Meghan Sali. “What we’re talking about here is global Internet censorship. It will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money. This deal would never pass with the whole world watching—that’s why they’ve negotiated it in total secrecy.”

If that part isn’t obvious by now, I don’t know what is.

TPP opponents have claimed that under the agreement, “Internet Service Providers could be required to ‘police’ user activity (i.e. police YOU), take down Internet content, and cut people off from Internet access for common user-generated content.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Maira Sutton wrote on Monday, “We have no reason to believe that the TPP has improved much at all from the last leaked version released in August, and we won’t know until the U.S. Trade Representative releases the text. So as long as it contains a retroactive 20-year copyright term extensionbans on circumventing DRMmassively disproportionate punishments for copyright infringement, and rules that criminalize investigative journalists and whistleblowers, we have to do everything we can to stop this agreement from getting signed, ratified, and put into force.”

Furthermore, “The fact that close to 800 million Internet users’ rights to free expression, privacy, and access to knowledge online hinged upon the outcome of squabbles over trade rules on cars and milk is precisely why digital policy consideration[s] do not belong in trade agreements,” Sutton added, referring to the auto and dairy tariff provisions that reportedly held up the talks.

“Successive leaks of the TPP have demonstrated that unless you are a big business sector, the [U.S. Trade Representative, or USTR] simply doesn’t care what you have to say,” wrote EFF’s Jeremy Malcolm.

“If you like your freedom of speech, you can keep your freedom of speech.”

Brace yourselves for Obamatrade.


Posted in Politics / World News | Leave a comment

Right Now There Are 102.6 Million Working Age Americans That Do Not Have A Job

By Michael Snyder, the Economic Collapse Blog.

Unemployed Man - Public DomainThe federal government uses very carefully manipulated numbers to cover up the crushing economic depression that is going on in this nation.  For the month of September, the federal government told us that 142,000 jobs were added to the economy.  If that was actually true, that would barely be enough to keep up with population growth.  Sadly, the truth is that the real numbers were actually far worse than that.  The unadjusted numbers show that the U.S. economy actually lost 248,000 jobs in September and the government added more than a million Americans to the “not in the labor force” category.  When I first saw that number I truly believed that it was inaccurate.  But you can find the raw figures right here.  According to the Obama administration, there are currently 7.9 million Americans that are “officially unemployed” and another 94.7 million working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”.  That gives us a grand total of 102.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.

That is not an economic recovery – that is an economic depression of an almost unbelievable magnitude.

This is something that my friend Mac Slavo pointed out the other day.  I encourage you to read his analysis right here.  If we measured unemployment the way that we did decades ago, we would all be talking about how similar Obama’s economy is to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But instead we let the feds get away with feeding us this completely fraudulent “5.1 percent” unemployment number and most of us believe the mainstream media when they tell us that everything is just fine.

Well no, everything is not just fine.  At this point, the labor force participation rate is the lowest that it has been since 1977.  And the labor force participation rate for men is at the lowest level ever recorded.  The only way that the federal government has been able to get the official unemployment rate to go down so much is by pretending that hundreds of thousands of Americans that have been unemployed for a very long time “leave the labor force” each month.

The chart posted below shows how our labor force participation rate has deteriorated since the year 2000.  And in particular, the decline since Obama first entered the White House has been very striking.  Does this look like a “healthy economy” to you?…

Labor Force Participation Rate October 2015

To me, the civilian employment-population ratio is a far more accurate measurement of the employment picture in America than the official unemployment rate is.  Just prior to the last recession, approximately 63 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  During that recession, that figure slipped below 59 percent and it stayed there for several years.  Just recently it slipped back above 59 percent, but as you can see we are now falling once again…

Employment Population Ratio October 2015

The reason this number is falling is because lots of Americans have been losing jobs lately.

In fact, we are seeing layoffs at major firms at a level that we have not witnessed since 2009

The jobs report today has been described as “ugly,” though it certainly didn’t, or shouldn’t have, come out of the blue: Layoffs in the energy, Big Tech, retail, and other sectors have recently mucked up our rosy scenario.

“The third quarter ended with a surge in job cuts,” is how Challenger Gray, which tracks these things, started out its report yesterday. In September, large US-based companies had announced 58,877 layoffs. In the third quarter, they announced 205,759 layoffs, the worst quarter since the 240,233 in the third quarter of 2009!

Year-to-date, we’re at nearly half a million job cut announcements (493,431 to be precise), up 36% from the same period last year.

Some of the companies that have recently announced layoffs include Wal-Mart, RadioShack, Delta, Sprint, ConAgra, Caterpillar, Bank of America, Halliburton, Qualcomm, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.

If you need to find a job or you plan to switch jobs in the near future, time is of the essence.  Jobs are going to become much, much harder to find in the months ahead, and so every single day of job searching is absolutely critical at this point.

Right now, there are more than 100 million Americans that get some sort of assistance from the federal government every month.  Government dependence is at a level that we have never seen before in U.S. history, and it is going to get a lot worse.

If we get to a point where the government is either unwilling or unable to take care of all of these people, we are going to have a massive societal problem on our hands.  More than a third of the people living in our nation cannot independently take care of themselves, and more Americans are falling out of the middle class every single day.  When the welfare state starts breaking down, the chaos that will ensue will be far worse than most people would dare to imagine.

So what do you think?

Are job losses and layoffs starting to happen in your area?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…


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Welcome to the Recovery – Homelessness Amongst Students Doubles Since Before the Recession

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

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How’s that recovery going for you? That’s what I thought.

Here’s the latest data point from the ongoing oligarch crime spree shamelessly marketed to the masses as an “economic recovery.”

From Five-Thirty-Eight:

The number of homeless students in the country’s classrooms has more than doubled since before the recession, according to recently released federal data. That’s an alarming trend, but a new report offers some hope: At least part of the increase, the authors say, is not because more students have become homeless, but because states have gotten better at identifying homeless students.

Here’s a visual representation of America’s Banana Republic neo-feualism for those of you so inclined:

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Bull market in serfdom. If this is what a recovery looks like, I don’t want to see a recession.

There were about 1.4 million homeless students nationwide in the 2013-14 school year, according to the Department of Education, twice as many as there were in the 2006-07 school year, when roughly 680,000 students were homeless.

The rankings are based on an array of indicators that range from the concrete, like the number of available rental units that are affordable for extremely low-income families, to the less so, like the number of policies that reduce homeless families’ barriers to accessing child care. Matthew Adams, the institute’s principal policy analyst, said that rather than try to measure the effectiveness of policies in each state, which can be hard to quantify, the goal of the report is to identify and compare the efforts being made by each state.

Don’t forget to send thank you notes to America’s #1 criminal at large. Return address optional:

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What Happens to our Economy as Millions of People Lose the Habits of Hard Work?

Simply put, job growth is not keeping pace with population growth–specifically, the growth of the labor force which is generally defined as the population between the ages of 18 and 64.

So what happens to the economy as millions of people never acquire the habits of hard work or lose them due to chronic joblessness?

Yesterday I presented data on not in the labor force, which is defined as “persons aged 16 years and older in the civilian noninstitutional population who are neither employed nor unemployed.”

The federal government reckons about 95 million people are not in the labor force. But this doesn’t necessarily tell us whether these people could take a job or not.

To get some sense of what this means, let’s look at the U.S. population in basic terms. The U.S. Census reckons there are about 322 million residents of the U.S.

About 74 million are under the age of 18, and about 42 million are retired (i.e. receiving Social Security benefits) and almost 11 million receive Social Security disability benefits.

About 2.4 million people are in prison.

Roughly 1.4 million are in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

That totals about 130 million people who aren’t in the civilian labor force, with some caveats: workers can draw Social Security benefits and still earn a wages, for example.

That leaves about 192 million people as a base labor force. Out of this total, we need to subtract mentally disabled people who are not institutionalized or drawing Social Security disability benefits (unfortunately, many are homeless or in prison.)

We also need to subtract those who are earning money in the cash economy but not reporting their income–i.e. those who are employed but not showing up as employed in the data.

Then there are people who are raising children, home-schooling their children, etc. as fulltime work.

Others are providing care to elderly parents or relatives without compensation.

It is difficult to estimate the number of people who are performing work but not counted as employed because they’re not being paid. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), about 146 million people have some kind of paid job in the U.S. This could be anything from a $100 million hedge fund manager to someone with $100/year in self-employed eBay-sales income.

Roughly 24 million are part time jobs, and 122 million are full-time jobs. (The numbers vary depending on which agency assembles the data.)

Our focus should be on the millions who are not working at unpaid positions at home or at paid positions. Those who fall out of the work force (or never join it in the first place) may lose (or never develop) the habits of hard work and cooperating with others that are necessary to be productive.

As correspondent Kevin K. recently noted, the earlier one acquires the habits of hard work, the more likely it is that those habits will last a lifetime:

“Just like kids that start smoking when they are young tend to keep smoking until they die, people that start working hard when they are young tend to work hard until they die. On the flip side, kids today that don’t do any work when they are young and are told what to do every minute of their days are not wired to work hard or think outside the box, which is an essential part of making the kind of decisions necessary to run a business.

I’ve noticed that the people that work the hardest grew up working hard because they HAD to. The kids that got up early EVERY DAY to feed and water the livestock so it would not die (my cousins in Oregon) are different than the kids who fed and got water for their dog knowing that Mom would feed the dog if they forgot. The guy up late because he needed to turn off the water to 20 units and change the angle stops before he can change a leaking faucet in an apartment where people are moving in the next day is a different person that the guy who spends a year deciding on the new faucet for the wet bar in his “man cave”.

Most people know that kids who spend years taking golf, tennis or swimming lessons are not only better than most people at those sports but are FAR more likely to continue to participate in those sports as adults.

What most people don’t know is that kids who spend years learning how to cook, maintaining their own cars and performing volunteer work are not only better than most people at those activities, but are FAR more likely to continue to participate in those activities as adults.”

We encourage studying hard and playing hard, but how many programs in our educational system give young people an opportunity to learn how to work hard, especially for themselves as entrepreneurs/ self-employed? All too often it’s assumed that studying hard and playing hard teach people to work hard. That is not necessarily the case, as work requires another set of attributes and habits. Some of these overlap with study and athletics, but not all.

Personally, I would make hands-on entrepreneurship a required course from intermediate school on, taught solely by people who have started and operated enterprises. Rather than a teaching credential, the qualification would be limited to the instructor has launched and operated enterprises in the real world.

If we’re going to dig our way out of what lies ahead, we need people who can work hard and start/operate new businesses. The two go together. Entrepreneurship is not for slackers or those who give up as soon as the going gets difficult. It takes good work habits to persevere and keep learning from others and from one’s own mistakes.

 How to forge a career in a make-your-own-job economy:
Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy
a mere $9.95 for the Kindle ebook edition and $18 for the print edition.

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The Real Reasons Saudi Arabia Hates Iran

The Saudis Hate Iran Because It’s Not a Monarchy

Everyone knows that the Saudi Arabia – the center of Sunni Islam – hates Iran because it is the center for the rival Shia Muslim sect.

The Saudis – close U.S. allies – also hate Iran because it is allied with Russia.

But there is a third, little-known reason why the Saudi government hates Iran.

As the Gulf Cooperation Council – the official council for the Arab Gulf States, comprised of the monarchies of Saudi Arabi, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Omanwrites:

More than any other single factor, the Iranian Revolution helped to coalesce the security concerns of Saudi Arabia and the other monarchies in the Gulf region. As the largest Arab monarchy, Saudi Arabia was in a position to lead the others toward cooperative efforts. The impact of the Iranian Revolution on Saudi Arabia was manifold. The revolution destroyed the most powerful monarchy in the Gulf area. It was the second revolution to send shock waves throughout the Gulf region, the first being the revolution in Iraq that destroyed the monarchy in 1958. The Iraqi revolution had been followed by deteriorating relations between Riyadh and Baghdad, when the Baathist regime tried to subvert the Gulf monarchies. The Iranian example, however, appeared more menacing. The balance of forces seemed to have changed further against the monarchical regimes in the region because Iran, like Iraq, replaced the monarchy with a republic. Whatever course the new Iranian republic took, its very existence would threaten Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies.

In other words, the Saudi government hates Iran because it is a republic, while Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are monarchies.

Indeed, Vijay Prashad – Professor of South Asian History at Trinity College, Connecticut – said today (starting at 33:22) that the Saudis want to crush Iran so that it cannot set an example showing that Muslims can live in a republic without a monarchy.

Prashad points out that the “Saudis made claim that a Muslim country has to be a monarchy”, and Iran’s very existence undermines that claim.

Why does the U.S. support Saudi Arabia and not Iran?

As Lawrence Davidson – author of Islamic Fundamentalism, and professor of history at West Chester University – explains:

Saudi Arabia is a monarchy without representative institutions. Iran, though ideologically authoritarian and possessing the dictatorial office of jurisprudent, is a republic with a parliament and an electoral process. Saudi Arabia strictly forbids female participation in the public realm, whereas Iran leaves some space for women in this regard.

Given these comparisons, it would seem that, in terms of institutions and their potential for “democratic evolution,” the Islamic Republic in Iran has much more to recommend it to the West than does Saudi Arabia.  Why then, one might ask, is the United States so much more hostile to Iran than to Saudi Arabia?


For decades, the United States supported the shah’s monarchy in Iran and continued to do so even after it was clear that it was unpopular, corrupt, and oppressive. When the shah was overthrown, the fundamentalists who took power identified the United States with the deposed government. The new Iranian government’s predictable hostility made difficult any reconciliation between the two powers and fueled continued American animosity.

Indeed, the U.S. supports virtually all of the dictatorial monarchies in the Arab Gulf.

And, of course, there is oil and pipelines play a big part.

Postscript:   By way of background, the CIA admits that the U.S. overthrew the moderate, suit-and-tie-wearing, Democratically-elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. He was overthrown because he had nationalized Iran’s oil, which had previously been controlled by BP and other Western oil companies. As part of that action, the CIA admits that it hired Iranians to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its prime minister.

If the U.S. hadn’t overthrown the moderate Iranian government, the fundamentalist Mullahs would have never taken over. (Moreover, the U.S. has had a large hand in strengthening radical Islam in the Middle East by supporting radicals to fight the Soviets and others).

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“Marketplace” Program, from ‘Nonprofit’ NPR, Pumps Fascism

Eric Zuesse

Here’s a pretty blatant example:

On October 7th, U.S. National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) “Marketplace’ show headlined glowingly “How the TPP will drive domestic reform in Asia,” and reported that:

In an interview with Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal, President Obama gave a nod to the idea [that ’trade agreements can also be about changes countries want to make for themselves’]. The TPP, he said, ‘will strengthen the hand of reformers inside China.’ … ‘These kind of trade-liberalization efforts are not just drivers of reforms; in a lot of cases they are the actual reforms themselves,’ said Nick Consonery, an analyst with with Eurasia Group. … Peter Petri, a professor at Brandeis, said … ‘It’s when you use foreign pressure to do the things that you know you have to do but are politically very difficult.’ … Vietnamese officials also said they want to use TPP to push domestic reforms, including limiting support for state-owned enterprises. ‘And if they say this is an unmatched opportunity for us to be able to export to the U.S. and Japan and other TPP members, and you got to bite the bullet, it gives them a reason to drive those reforms over domestic opposition,’ said Derek Scissors, with the American Enterprise Institute. But Scissors cautioned that we can’t say how much change the TPP might spur until we know more about the terms that were agreed to this week.

Mr. Ryssdahl reported there the views of only those four people, one of them President Obama, who created his three mega-‘trade’ deals — TPP, TTIP & TISA — and three supporters of these ‘trade’ deals. That’s all.

However, in reality, these ‘trade’ deals are the most corrupt and dangerous three treaties in the history of the world; and, if they get passed into law, then democracy will be dead, or else meaningless, in the signing nations, because regulations there will get locked in permanently, with no ability to be increased where needed in order to accommodate new scientific findings; and sovereignty will to a large extent pass from voters via national elections, to huge international corporations, whose ‘rights’ are in these deals placed above the rights of the voters and taxpayers of the participating signatory nations. It would be international corporate fascism, but the ’nonprofit’ NPR propaganda-operation in the U.S. calls it ‘reform’ and other such lies.

For example (see at that last link):

Everyone who has seen the agreement (the negotiators for those international corporations, and their politicians) has signed a form promising:

“to treat negotiating texts and other documents exchanged in the course of the negotiations as confidential government information,” and “that these confidentiality requirements shall apply for four years after entry into force of the TPP.”

Compare that reality, versus this  from the propagandist Ryssdahl (and NPR):

But Scissors cautioned that we can’t say how much change the TPP might spur until we know more about the terms that were agreed to this week.

He doesn’t add: “and that won’t be made public until the agreement has already been in force for four years — if ever.” And, of course, that will be more than four years too late to be able to do anything about it. This is now ‘Western democracy,’ and ‘our free press.’ The Ministry of Truth has trained us to believe in it. But this example exposes the fraud like few others can.

These deals are a wet dream for the controlling stockholders in international corporations; and ‘news’ media such as NPR are merely their propagandists. It’s the only way that we can go from democracy (however corrupted) to outright fascism; so, this is what we’re getting, and how we’re getting there.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Posted in Business / Economics, Energy / Environment, General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda, Science / Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments