Obama Prioritizes Weakening Russia, Over Weakening ISIS

Eric Zuesse

Michael Snyder noted at Global Research on March 1st, that the U.S. is now air-dropping weapons into ISIS territory inside Syria. The U.S. is arming ISIS against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, whom Obama wants to remove. Snyder asks rhetorically: “We have the most sophisticated military on the entire planet and yet we drop weapons into the hands of the enemy by mistake? Come on.” Can it be that the U.S. Air Force doesn’t have maps showing the half of Syria that’s controlled by ISIS? Of course not. ISIS’s chunk of the country constitutes almost the entire northeastern half of Syria.

Snyder further notes: “When it comes to airstrikes [against ISIS], the Obama administration has had an ‘Iraq first’ policy.  This has put ISIS on a defensive posture in Iraq, but this has actually encouraged expansion of ISIS in Syria. ISIS is just following the path of least resistance. Is Obama trying to discourage ISIS from committing troops and resources in Iraq because he actually wants them to focus on taking down the Assad regime in Syria?”

Well, it’s certainly working. Snyder also notes that, “ISIS has almost doubled the land it controls in Syria since the US-led coalition began airstrikes against the extremist group in the summer, a new map has revealed.” He points out the obvious conclusion: “Obama knows all of this. He just wants to take down Assad.”

He closes with the question: “So is Barack Obama actually trying to help ISIS take over Syria?” However, Snyder ignores one crucial thing: the reason why Obama is so obsessed with causing regime-change in Syria.

Bashar al-Assad is an ally of Russia, and Obama’s chief foreign-policy objective is to defeat Russia, not to defeat Islamic extremism.

Whereas President George W. Bush did nothing to defeat Islamic extremism (and he may actually be said to have created ISIS by his overthrow of Saddam Hussein and replacement of him by a Shiite, bigoted anti-Sunni, regime in Iraq), President Barack Obama started his Presidency with an authentic focus on killing Osama bin Laden, and on similarly droning-to-death most of Al Qaeda’s top leaders, as well as many Islamic extremists in Yemen and in Pakistan. So: no one can say that Obama just doesn’t care about Islamic extremism (which one could say about Bush, though perhaps Bush did care and was merely too stupid to be at all effective against it). Obama does care about suppressing Islamic extremism; but he cares more about causing regime-change in Russia. (So do Republicans, which is why Bush was even weaker against Al Qaeda than Clinton was, and far weaker than Obama has been.)

Almost all Republicans, plus the top level of the Democratic Party such as Obama, hate Russia, even after communism ended and the Soviet Union broke up. They are simply obsessed with destroying Russia. So: although Bush was weak against Al Qaeda, he was strong against Russia: he brought into NATO, the military club against Russia, the following seven nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia — six of which seven nations had formerly been members of the Warsaw Pact along with the U.S.S.R., against the U.S.

The reality is: Obama, like Republicans generally, hates Russia.

That’s what his Ukraine-policy has been about. That’s what his Syria-policy has been about. That’s what his Iran-policy is about. And that’s what his Libya policy has been about.

Syria is important in this objective he has, because Syria is the key to replacing Russia as Europe’s main source of natural gas. Syria is the sole block against a natural-gas pipeline from Qatar through Saudi Arabia then Jordan then Syria then Turkey into Europe. Building and operating such a pipeline would enable Qatar to compete against Russia as a supplier of gas to Europe — the world’s largest gas-market. (Russia, Iran, and Qatar — in that order —have the world’s largest gas-reserves. Iran, an ally of Russia, has been blocked by U.S. sanctions, so has been out of the picture for supplying that; Obama wants to replace Russia by Qatar, which sponsors the moderate-extremist Muslim Brotherhood, not only in Egypt but in Syria and elsewhere.) Furthermore, the U.S. military alliance (NATO) could then end Russia as a gas-supplier to Europe, and switch all of that business to the royal family of Qatar, which sponsors the Muslim Brotherhood.

The only other route that Qatar had been considering, “through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq” into Turkey, was sidelined because Iraq was considered too unstable. Now, Syria too is on fire, so plans for both pipeline routes are in abeyance.

If Assad is defeated, then the United States will be able to arrange the entire Qatar-Saudi-Jordan-Syrian portion of the non-Iraqi route all the way up to the Turkish border, and the only question then will be Turkey, which at least until recently was hoping to become a transit-nation for Qatari gas. However, on 14 January 2015 was announced, in the anti-Russian news-medium Bloomberg, “Russia to Shift Ukraine Gas Transit to Turkey as EU Cries Foul,” and Turkey, in effect, allied with Russia. The anti-Russian Bloomberg quoted EU-sources as saying that “The decision makes no economic sense.” However, even whether it does make “economic sense” or boost their wealth, is almost beside the point. International aristocrats are far more interested in power than in wealth. What difference does another billion dollars make to someone whose net worth is already ten billion? It makes a difference, but power over an adversary is what’s key to them. At this level, power is key, economics is not.

Obama had been working with Turkey and Qatar to get the Muslim Brotherhood into control of Syria; and, now, Obama is switching to support the Saudi-backed ISIS, because the Muslim Brotherhood (Syria’s Qatari and U.S.-backed ‘moderates’) have simply proven ineffective. Syria, it turns out, is not just another Egypt.

Now that Obama needs to choose between defeating ISIS, or else defeating Russia, he is clearly choosing to defeat Russia. Forced to a choice in this matter, he is finally sacrificing everything, to his war against Russia.

And that gets us to the case of Iran: If Secretary of State Kerry can swing a deal there, then perhaps a way could be found to get Iranian gas into Europe. Turning Iran against Russia would certainly be game-changing. It can’t be done in Iran by a “color revolution” coup like in Ukraine, but our State Department are trying to do it, somehow. However, America’s virtual co-President Benjamin Netanyahu, has solid Republican backing to kill any such deal. So: it’s unlikely that Iran will be able to replace the current role of Qatar (as an alternative supplier of gas to Europe). Israel supports the jihadist Sunni Muslims (including the Qataris), against the Shiites (Iran), because that keeps Israel popular in the United States, where the average person is opposed to jihadists. (And every televised jihadist beheading thus adds to Israel’s support in the U.S.)

Furthermore, the U.S. has long been allied with Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist Sunni sect, against Iran and its Shiite sect. ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other jihadist Muslims are Sunnis, not Shiites; and the Saudi sect of Sunni, the Wahhabist sect, are the most extremist of all muslims. The deal between the fundamentalist Muslim cleric Wahhab and the first King Saud, which made him the king, was reached back in 1744; and it’s the foundation of the Saudi nation even today. Osama bin Laden’s accountant or bookkeeper, who kept the detailed financial records of all of the many million-dollar-plus donations that kept Al Qaeda going and that paid its top fighters handsomely, was kept muzzled by George W. Bush and Barack Obama until just recently, but finally he was able to reveal, and under oath, the deal between Al Qaeda and the royals of all of the Arabic oil kingdoms, all of whom are Sunni. 9/11 was financed by those royals, and Al Qaeda’s bookkeeper explained how he had picked up the checks that kept them going.

Things didn’t start this way. Wahhabist jihad developed only after the CIA arranged for fanatical jihadists to pour into Afghanistan to overthrow the Soviet-backed regime there. This created what Obama now calls “extremism.” Back when it was the weapon-of-choice against the U.S.S.R., it was praised by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who now advises Obama as a friend. Brzezinski said of Al Qaeda’s forefathers – the Mujahadin:

We know of their deep belief in god – that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. That land over there is yours, and you’ll go back to it some day, because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again, because your cause is right, and god is on your side.

Brzezinski is a former Polish aristocrat who has hated Russia throughout his life (the child of Polish aristocrats, who hated Russia and not only communism), but who hid the hatred from birth, for as long as the Soviet Union existed and he could pretend that the only bone he had to pick with the U.S.S.R. was ideological — communism — not ethnicity, not Russians per se, not like the people who are being bombed in today’s Ukraine, people who are not communists but just Russian-speakers in the easternmost region of Ukraine, and the war against whom is financed today by U.S. and European taxpayers because Western aristocrats can arrange for their respective nation’s publics to pay for these aristocrats’ wars-of-conquest against supposedly inferior peoples. So: he has basically been, throughout his life, an undercover warrior against Russians. However, this became clear only when the U.S.S.R. dissolved and broke up and so the ideological  explanation for his hostility was gone. All that was left was: against Russia.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the founder of the progressive Democratic Party, had a very different motivation for creating the U.S.-Saudi alliance. Today’s Republican and Democratic Parties are alien to FDR’s entire pprogram.

Back at the very end of World War II, Roosevelt met with the Saudi King and sealed the Saudi-U.S. alliance, in order to supply Saudi oil in return for U.S. protection of the Sauds against their own people and against any outside power. This was not originally an anti-Russian alliance at all. However, it was anti-communist, and it was even anti-imperialist because both Churchill and Stalin were imperialists, so the U.S. needed this energy-security for its own future, not as part of an alliance against any nation. Indeed, the war was now all but over, and FDR was already planning for a post-war world in which there would be no more big-power war but instead the end of all empires. The Republican Party, as the Party of Big Oil (“Drill, baby, drill!!” in 2008), was especially delighted to have this alliance. However, after Reagan, in this anti-FDR period we’re in, even the Democratic Party is now imperialist. This is the real reason why extending NATO missile-bases up to Russia’s very borders dominates U.S. foreign policy today.

Think of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the way the U.S. felt in 1962 about having missiles in only one nearby country. Russia is being surrounded by them. How much longer will Russia be patient with the return of aggressive U.S. imperialism? Did Obama’s coup in Ukraine in 2014 cross the line?

Obama now is telling Russian President Vladimir Putin, with each one of those weapons-drops into ISIS territory: We’re moving forward against you, no matter what

He’s telling him: Eliminating you is more important to us than eliminating ISIS.

He’s telling him, by his actions (not merely words, which from Obama are always to the contrary): Either resign from office, or we’ll do what we need to do in order to get rid of you.

He’s betting the planet, not merely the house. That’s his message to Putin.

—————

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.

 

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Teaching critical thinking to high school students: Economics research/presentation (6.1 of 6)

The following are my teaching assignments on critical thinking for California 12th grade students in the semester-long courses, “US Government” and “Economics.” I offer them for non-profit use:

This is the final action: students explore their interests with research, writing, and presentation to the class. At this point of the course, the previous sections from this article and my sharing of current events have opened students’ minds that the world they thought existed in government and economics was a fairy tale believed by the ignorant. This conclusion is justified from the objective and independently verifiable facts, and young-adult confidence that they really do know some things more powerfully than adults (please recall this fact from when we were their ages).

This last project for student research, writing, and class presentation is divided into four parts:

6.1: Basis in academics and state teaching standards

6.2: Revealing economics history 1

6.3: Revealing economics history 2

6.4: Political economy, the assignment, supporting historical voices

This is 6.1:

Critical thinking skills in action: economic analysis of ‘current events,’ past and present

Instructions: In order to understand current economic events, people have to discern among competing statements regarding facts, meaning, and policy opinions. This assignment has you:

  • Read a case study history of famous Americans considering one fundamental economic issue: how to create what we use for money. The purpose of this case study is to see that reporting of current events in the present might exclude powerful and game-changing facts.
  • Read a history of  US government “current events” that are typically omitted from high school US History texts, included in many AP texts, and always included in comprehensive college courses. These accounts are not contested to my knowledge; that is, non-controversial for factual accuracy.
  • Research one important economic issue of interest for you. Compare different sources of reports in good faith effort to receive comprehensive facts.
  • Use critical thinking skills to determine the key facts as you best see them, reflect and communicate what the facts mean for you, and state your best policy response from your current understanding in writing.
  • Use your written information as notes and create a visual to report your findings to the class.

To begin, read the sections below by the due dates. Prepare to discuss the section questions listed below. Each reading section will have the short-response questions due at the start of the next class period (details below). As you read, research the documentation at your interest. Please also feel free to do independent research at your interest. As always, please include your parents and any other parties to contribute valuable research for your consideration.

At the end of all the reading, select an economic topic from the list provided, or propose your own for my approval. If economics means, “The creation and management of money, goods, and services,” then you have a broad range of topics to choose from! And remember: the courses of US Government and Economics are taught together for a reason: money funds government policies, and policies direct how money is created and managed.

Consider the questions and resources for each topic, do your own research, and answer all twelve questions at the end of the assignment. I suggest that you access the electronic version. This activates the numerous Internet links, and allows you to cut and paste the questions for your word processing program.

Print a copy of your answers to help present your findings to the class.

This assignment is 70 points:

  • 22 for written responses to questions: 1 point per question (10 for #3), 2 for grammar and spelling.
  • 22 for your oral brief to the class (3-11 only): 1 point per question (5 for #3), 5 for visual element (Prezi, Animoto, video, etc. (up to five extra for great work), 3 for clarity.
  • 26 for reading comprehension short-responses: 2 points per 13 sections.

Sections:

  1. Purpose of Social Science, challenge to get the facts: pages 6-10 
  2. Competent citizenry: three of history’s greatest voices: 11-14 
  3. Reviewing California Content Standards and critical thinking skills: 15-20 
  4. Introducing economics research: a case study of monetary and credit reform: 21-26
  5. If monetary/credit reform is such a big deal, why won’t corporate media and textbooks cover it? 27-34
  6. Who in American history have argued for monetary/credit reform? To start: Thomas Edison and Thomas Jefferson: 35-39
  7. President Andrew Jackson and leading inventor Peter Cooper: 40-44
  8. New York City Mayor John Hylan and two Chairs of Congress’ Banking Committee: 45-48
  9. Benjamin Franklin and William Jennings Bryan: 49-51
  10. Charles Lindbergh, Senior and US top economists during Great Depression: 52-57
  11. Political economy: connections economics students and citizens should know: 58-64
  12. Critical thinking skills in action: economics policy analysis: 65-70
  13. Great voices in history offer insights for effective citizenry: 71-80

Reading comprehension short-responses instructions: This assignment will help your learning (and grade). “Short-responses” can be brief; they can be bullet points. They must clearly demonstrate your understanding of the ideas. Please note: do not directly copy your responses with classmates: you are welcome to benefit from class discussions to improve your ideas, but plagiarized work results in zero grades for giver and receiver, plus school policy consequences.

1. Purpose of Social Science, challenge to get the facts: pages 6-10:

  • The History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools articulates the context or reason to learn US history, government and economics. Explain briefly what this document says about the focus of these classes. Include the skills we want students to master from them, how to teach controversial topics, and the importance of critical thinking skills.
  • Expert testimony is from someone with academic training and/or professional experience to walk an audience through facts of a complex issue. Explain why clear explanation and independently verifiable comprehensive data are the two ways to evaluate the effectiveness of expert testimony.
  • Explain why a person of reasonable intelligence can determine for him or herself when a basic law is being outrageously violated when the person knows the law; that is, the explanation of an alleged expert or the president of the US is not needed to verify the outrageous violation. Invent or explain an example with a rule or law to show your understanding of this idea.

2. Competent citizenry: three of history’s greatest voices: 11-14:

  • Explain Cicero’s admonition against people who avoid a really big responsibility (Cicero was a leader to defend Rome’s constitutional government from those who would subvert it for dictatorial power unlimited by the rules of a constitution).
  • Gandhi wrote that he wanted to serve the British Constitution and God in communicating to the public the gap between British law and what the British were actually doing with grossly unequal treatment. Explain Gandhi’s strategy to remove this “misunderstanding.”
  • Explain what Dr. King meant that “silence is betrayal.” Explain if this is what J.K. Rowling also meant in her remarks to Harvard graduates in 2008.

3. Reviewing California Content Standards and critical thinking skills: 15-20:

  • Explain the degree you find the Principles of Economics Content Standards important to you for your next 70 or so years as an adult.
  • Explain the three components of critical thinking for economic competence that this section reviews.
  • Explain how Lincoln’s advice of “unimpassioned reason” can overcome cognitive dissonance.

4. Introducing economics research: a case study of monetary and credit reform: 21-26:

  • Explain “monetary and credit reform” as a shift from privately-owned business to public services.
  • Explain the claimed benefits of monetary/credit reform with the US national debt, employment, infrastructure, and price levels. Explain to the extent these claims seem likely. Explain the use of professional economic cost-benefit analysis to best approximate costs and benefits.
  • Explain to what extent political and media leadership communicate accurate economics information to the public. Explain how your competent education can upgrade public consideration of important ideas in economics.

5. If monetary/credit reform is such a big deal, why won’t corporate media and textbooks cover it?: 27-34:

  • Explain your analysis (what you see when you take something apart and study it) of J.P. Morgan’s means, motive, and opportunity to purchase favorable media coverage. Explain to what extent you would conclude Morgan did what Congressman Callaway alleged. If you were an advisor to J.P. Morgan, would you advise him to take that action if costs were significantly less than projected business benefits?
  • Explain what CIA Director Colby testified under oath to the US Senate about CIA infiltration of US corporate media, and then verified by Pulitzer-winning journalist, Carl Bernstein.
  • Explain what the polling data says about Americans’ trust of US corporate media reporting. Given the examples of NY Times coverage of the UN Summit for Children, Occupy Wall Street, and your personal experience of corporate media, explain the degree that you trust US corporate media reporting.

6. Who in American history have argued for monetary/credit reform? To start: Thomas Edison and Thomas Jefferson: 35-39:

  • Explain Thomas Edison’s point regarding the cost difference of funding expensive infrastructure from our government selling debt securities versus government simply creating debt-free money to buy it.
  • Explain your analysis of your favorite quote from Thomas Jefferson among the nine provided on this topic.
  • Explain your analysis of your second-favorite quote from Thomas Jefferson among the nine provided.

7. President Andrew Jackson and leading inventor Peter Cooper: 40-44:

  • Explain what Jackson stated in the two paragraphs from his veto message to end his era’s version of today’s Federal Reserve regarding: 1) how the Second Bank of the United States was unconstitutional, and 2) how giving the power to create money to a private bank was a benefit to its owners but not the general public.
  • Explain what you see as Peter Cooper’s most important point in his 1879 address as presidential candidate for the Greenback party.
  • Explain what Peter Cooper’s second most important point in his 1879 address as presidential candidate for the Greenback party.

8. New York City Mayor John Hylan and two Chairs of Congress’ Banking Committee: 45-48:

  • Explain what you see as Mayor Hylan’s most important point in his March, 1922 speech.
  • Explain what you see as Mayor Hylan’s most important point in his December, 1922 speech.
  • Explain what you see as Congressman McFadden’s most important point in his 1932 speech.
  • Explain what you see as Congressman Patman’s most important point in his 1941 speech

9. Benjamin Franklin and William Jennings Bryan: 49-51:

  • Explain how important Franklin found the study of how money is created by a government, and how Pennsylvania operated its government without taxes.
  • Explain how “free silver” as backing for paper money would be a compromise among “greenbackers” who wanted debt-free money without any commodity backing it, compared to the existing policy of only gold-backed currency.
  • Explain Bryan’s communication in the paragraph from his 1896 presidential nominee acceptance speech.

10. Charles Lindbergh, Senior and US top economists during Great Depression: 52-57:

  • Explain what you see as Congressman Lindbergh’s most important point in his 1917 book.
  • Explain what the Chicago Plan proposed to end the US Great Depression, and the reception among university economists.
  • Explain what you see as the most important message from the quotes following the Chicago Plan rejection in order to continue creating what we use in the US for money as debt created by privately-owned banks.

11. Political economy: connections economics students and citizens should know: 58-64:

  • The US Department of Defense admitted to “losing” $2.3 trillion of taxpayer money. Explain how much money that is, and your conclusion if “lost” is the correct description of what happened with the money.
  • Explain an example of US war history regarding the degree the US told the truth and honored existing treaties.
  • Explain your conclusion of any connection between US war history and US monetary history regarding telling the truth to the US public, and the degree policy supports oligarchs versus policy in support of the US public.

12. Critical thinking skills in action: economics policy analysis: 65-70:

  • Explain what current event you’d like to research from the list or the idea you’re proposing to me, and why this topic is of interest.

13. Great voices in history offer insights for effective citizenry: 71-80:

  • If American leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln could talk with you about what it means to be an American, would you give them a few minutes of your time? Well, they can, and did in writing with the intent that you would consider their thoughts in your own expression of American citizenship. Please give them the attention their lives deserve with those few minutes of attention with careful reading. Also please consider that the topic of creating what a nation uses for money is one of the very few policy areas that quickly becomes worth trillions of our dollars.
  • Paraphrase your three most favorite quotes from the list, and why they’re your favorites. Your paraphrasing may be concise if it’s accurate; including the use of bullet points if they’re helpful.

1. Purpose of Social Science, challenge to get the facts

To understand why we study social science in California public schools, we find the answer here: History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, pgs. 2, 7-8

“The study of continuity and change is, as it happens, the main focus of the history–social science curriculum. The knowledge provided by these disciplines enables students to appreciate how ideas, events, and individuals have intersected to produce change over time as well as to recognize the conditions and forces that maintain continuity within human societies.

As educators in the field of history–social science, we want our students to perceive the complexity of social, economic, and political problems. We want them to have the ability to differentiate between what is important and what is unimportant. We want them to know their rights and responsibilities as American citizens. We want them to understand the meaning of the Constitution as a social contract that defines our democratic government and guarantees our individual rights. We want them to respect the right of others to differ with them. We want them to take an active role as citizens and to know how to work for change in a democratic society. We want them to understand the value, the importance, and the fragility of democratic institutions. We want them to realize that only a small fraction of the world’s population (now or in the past) has been fortunate enough to live under a democratic form of government, and we want them to understand the conditions that encourage democracy to prosper. We want them to develop a keen sense of ethics and citizenship. And we want them to care deeply about the quality of life in their community, their nation, and their world.”

This framework encourages teachers to present controversial issues honestly and accurately within their historical or contemporary context. History without controversy is not good history, nor is such history as interesting to students as an account that captures the debates of the times. Students should understand that the events in history provoked controversy as do the events reported in today’s headlines. Students should try to see historical controversies through the different perspectives of participants. These controversies can best be portrayed by using primary sources, such as newspapers, court decisions, and speeches that represent different views. Students should also recognize that historians often disagree about the interpretation of historical events and that today’s textbooks may be altered by future research. Through the study of controversial issues, both in history and in current affairs, students should learn that people in a democratic society have the right to disagree, that different perspectives have to be taken into account, and that judgments should be based on reasonable evidence and not on bias and emotion.

This framework proposes that critical thinking skills be included at every grade level. Students should learn to detect bias in print and visual media; to recognize illogical thinking; to guard against propaganda; to avoid stereotyping of group members; to reach conclusions based on solid evidence; and to think critically, creatively, and rationally. These skills are to be taught within the context of a curriculum that offers numerous opportunities to explore examples of sound reasoning and examples of the opposite.”

The above passages from the California Department of Education explicitly support your learning critical thinking skills and applying them for your analysis of our most important current events. The Framework emphasizes the fragility of democratic forms of government and the need for developing competent citizenry within a constitutional republic.

We shall do so.

The following assignment will take a few hours of your time to read, and further time to verify factual accuracy of the claims. It will then take a few hours to research an economic topic and answer the questions for your analysis. That said, if you’ve spent more than a few hours wondering about how truthful politicians and corporate media are about trillions of dollars worth of power, and you’ve wanted to develop the critical thinking skills to know for yourself the extent that factual claims are true regarding policies that are literally “life or death” to millions, and can uplift or impose tyranny to billions, then this investment of reading is worthwhile.

My challenge in teaching this to you is how to appropriately communicate the facts of historical and current events while bridging gaps of history unknown to you. That statement doesn’t appear to be challenging at all, at first. I mean, that’s what all teaching does, to communicate the facts, yes? But you will discover the challenge of getting to the facts of history that is central to a government’s interests with resources, money, and power in this reading :)

Please allow me to explain this deceptively simple challenge.

Part of my professional contribution to you is my experience working with leadership of both political parties and US corporate media for domestic and international economic policies. The insight people gain who do this is similar to the discovery in the movie The Wizard of Oz when our protagonists seeking intelligence, love, courage, and home see the veil of power pulled back. The story shows that the dominating images and sounds of government are contrived distractions to elicit obedience. We see a human hand upon these knobs and levers that prefers dictatorial power (literally the power to say what we do) rather than educate and empower the will of the people in a democracy, just as our above passage from the California teaching Framework states is the tendency. This wisdom allows us to recognize distractions and propaganda from politicians and media for what they are, and address political leadership, our wizards, face-to-face with the power of objective facts, and without fear.

The following paragraph of my background is what I also shared with your parents/guardians in my letter to them:

“For 18 years I helped create and grow the citizens’ lobby, RESULTS  now in over 100 US communities and 7 countries, working with economics and policy to end domestic and global poverty. RESULTS has been a leading voice for US Head Start programs that reach over a million children. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, James Grant, credited RESULTS with saving over one million children’s lives a year from increased funding we won for cost-effective programs that reduce infant mortality. We championed two UN Summits for heads of state: the 1990 World Summit for Children (largest meeting of heads of state in world history) and the 1997 Microcredit Summit (topic of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics). The UN and nations were so impressed with our work that they asked RESULTS to manage nations’ progress toward the Microcredit Summit’s goals. Today, over 100 million of the world’s lowest income families now have access to credit; a total population greater than the United States. This saves millions of lives, tremendously improves quality of life, and in every historical case has reduced population growth rates and promoted wiser environmental management.”

Part of my work was to help frame and document information on 200-300 policy briefs for members of Congress and heads of state. We practiced the highest professional and academic standards for the accuracy and documentation of our information. Moreover, we helped anticipate and counter likely attacks on our information from political opponents. This assignment will contribute that knowledge and skills to you.

Since 1997 I’ve focused my “hobby” on economics research, writing, and lobbying (teaching is my career). The short version: I helped create The Public Banking Institute by initiating lobbying for a California state-owned bank for at-cost credit, and am a leading advocate for reforms in government CAFR data (Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports), and credit and monetary reform (for example, I was one of six international speakers at Claremont Colleges’ conference on monetary reform in April, 2012). Since 2009, California State University at Sonoma and over 20 affiliated universities invited me to publish my articles for Daily Censored; I also publish on Washington’s Blog, and Examiner.com from 2009 to 2014 (1). Other sites republish from there, with a popular article having page views at least seeing the title in the tens of millions.

“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.”  - Walter Cronkite, 2004, US news journalist likely the most-respected in all US history

Btw: I had assumed my leadership in the above areas would result in my work for policy development and realization. Because both parties’ leadership has so far declined to commit to any of the above policies, I’ve worked as a teacher since 1984. I take teaching social science with the same passion as I do for its real-world application: I’m a National Board Certified Teacher, and was honored by two Los Angeles mayors and USC for being among the best teachers in the city.

My experience working with state legislators, Congress, three US presidents, two UN Summits, and directly engaged with US corporate media coverage qualifies my “brief” to you (this assignment) as “expert testimony” to compare objective facts of current events with the rhetoric of economic/political leadership and corporate media. Evidence also indicates that I’ve been effective to appropriately create assignments for high school-age students to learn critical thinking skills and apply them to understand current events.

Importantly, expert testimony is never to be believed. That is, since The Enlightenment, authorities are never to be believed on their word but to be used as possible guides to point to objective data.

I will always encourage you to never believe anything I say regarding economics, government, and history. If I’m successful in my teaching you critical thinking skills, you’ll be able to ascertain credibility for factual claims on your own. Indeed, anyone of ethics will never ask for “belief,” but transparently provide evidence for others’ thoughtful consideration. Those of us who are serious to get to the facts in social science are deeply appreciative just how hard it is to do so, and apply professional and academic standards in our communication.

Expert testimony is only any good to the extent it does two things for the reader/audience:

  1. Help understand available facts rather than confuse or obfuscate.
  2. Transparently present facts that are objectively true. That is, the testimony shines light upon data that thereafter anyone can confirm or refute. This removes any need for belief, as the facts will speak for themselves.

Successful expert testimony therefore allows an audience that had been confused by an issue at first to understand it in concept and factual detail. The audience would thereafter be able to look at the data and understand the issue for themselves. 

For example, baseball is confusing to someone new to the game. Imagine you became friends with a foreign exchange student who was familiar with baseball, but never saw a game. You two go to a game. If you explained the rule of when a runner is safe or out at first base, your friend would have a noticeable breakthrough in understanding what was going on. Indeed, your friend might ask your opinion on a close play, but could independently see with full confidence when runners are safe or out at first base.

Importantly, if a runner was out by twenty feet and the umpire called the person safe, and the “official” media at the game also said the runner was safe, your friend could determine with full confidence that the game was rigged with a likely economic motive.

Important rules are meant to be crystal-clear to everyone. Egregious violation is clear to anyone informed on the rules, paying attention, and with the intellectual integrity and moral courage to tell the truth.

Similarly, if you understood basic Constitutional rules, you also might ask someone’s opinion on a “close play,” but when there are egregious violations of the law you wouldn’t need anyone to confirm the obvious. The facts would tell you the whole story.

Regarding our case study, the mechanics of creating what we use for money as a debt (a negative number) will produce increased total debt when we “expand” the economy. This basic application of elementary school mathematics doesn’t require an economist or US President’s confirmation. Increasing negative numbers equals a greater negative total. You can understand this on your own.

So, students and young citizens, in hope that my experience speaks to you, and that important current events mean life or death to millions, opportunity or misery to billions, and the power of trillions of our dollars that will have effects on these conditions, I respectfully request your full attention to this lesson.

I understand that I’m asking for your time to read, research, and write. My respect for your time and attention is balanced by my experience of what seems to be required to achieve your learning of critical thinking skills to understand economics for what it is rather than the noises and flashes of distracting colors that come from politicians’ and corporate media’s mouths.

My intent is to empower you with this skill for the rest of your life: about the next 70 years.

“At first blush, a man is not capable of reporting truth; he must be drenched and saturated with it first.”      - Henry David Thoreau, I to myself: an annotated selection from the journal of Henry D. Thoreau, 1837. Thoreau, like Abraham Lincoln in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, recognized claimed “reasons” for a “defensive war” against Mexico were obvious lies when inspected. The economic benefits to acquire what is now the Southwest US would be powerful motivation to say whatever seemed most likely to be believed by the public.

2. Competent citizenry: three of history’s greatest voices

Let’s consider three of history’s greatest voices to understand the fragility of democracy and the demand of your civic competence to defend it. Without democratic freedom, economic freedom is unlikely. History shows that without freedom, economics merges with a parasitic government oligarchy. The American Revolution was sparked by economic issues: taxation, government control of trade, and as you’ll discover in this assignment: who controls money.

These three historic voices were at the heart of having freedom rather than oligarchy.

First: Marcus Tullius Cicero, Rome’s leading political figure who stood for their constitutional republic as would-be dictators and paid-off Senators sought to subvert their government to an oligarchic dictatorship. Cicero rejected an offer of money and power to silence his criticism of Rome’s move toward unconstitutional dictatorship. He felt it was his duty to voice the long-term costs and benefits of the choice between citizen responsibility to stand for their constitutional rights or to submit to dictatorial tyrants.

One of the most important lessons of history is to understand that Cicero and his colleagues failed, as had similar statesmen defending Greece from internal subversion to dictatorship four hundred years earlier.

The American Founding Fathers read and embraced Cicero in consideration of how to create a US Constitution with the best hope to survive tyranny from within our own country. They understood the danger that the United States must have competent citizens in recognizing emerging facts of ongoing “current events,” or else suffer similar self-destruction as Greece and Rome’s democratic republics into dictatorial and war-mongering empires, and then collapse.

Cicero wrote to encourage his fellow citizens to embrace the responsibility of defending their constitutional republic from dictatorial forces, and the fragility of freedom if they chose short-term pleasures:

“We denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammeled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.”  – Marcus Tullius Cicero, On Duties: The Extremes of Good and Evil,  44 BCE, translated by H. Rackham (1914).

Rome’s faction that wanted oligarchic power rather than a constitutional republic targeted Cicero, assassinated him, and then displayed his dismembered body as public warning.

Cicero is also famous for a principle still used today regarding money and power, “Cui bono?” that translates to asking, “Who benefits?” Related to today’s phrase, “follow the money,” Cicero applied this principle to discover who receives economic benefits from specific policies.

Second: Mohandas Gandhi was an attorney who acted to realize political and economic freedom in the rhetoric and religion of the British Empire. When the empire refused to recognize those basic rights, Gandhi led the movement for Indian independence from British imperialism. As an attorney, Gandhi had the academic training and professional experience to powerfully voice the hypocrisy of the Empire’s promises of democracy, civil rights, and economic rights versus the reality of denying the public their power of vote, crushing civil rights, and then using the law to loot India of her resources. Gandhi also shone light upon the hypocrisy between the British’ declared religious values of Christianity versus their brutal control. Gandhi asked British Christians to honor the one commandment Jesus gave them: love.

Gandhi asked that the British show their love by granting full political, economic, and civil rights to all, and with equal protection under just laws. The British response was propaganda and force to retain dictatorial and economic control.

Gandhi communicated to the public through speech, media that would accept his voice, and his own newspaper. He found that he had to address that “current events” as propagandized by the British government was very different from the actual facts:

“One thing we have endeavoured to observe most scrupulously, namely, never to depart from the strictest facts and, in dealing with the difficult questions that have arisen during the year, we hope that we have used the utmost moderation possible under the circumstances. Our duty is very simple and plain. We want to serve the community, and in our own humble way to serve the Empire. We believe in the righteousness of the cause, which it is our privilege to espouse. We have an abiding faith in the mercy of the Almighty God, and we have firm faith in the British Constitution. That being so, we should fail in our duty if we wrote anything with a view to hurt. Facts we would always place before our readers, whether they are palatable or not, and it is by placing them constantly before the public in their nakedness that the misunderstanding… can be removed.”  –  Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian Opinion (1 October 1903)

Another quote you’ve probably heard attributed to Gandhi but unsourced, explains the British government’s strategy to stop activists’ work for recognition of their rights:

“First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. And then you win.”

Regarding your opportunity to earn extra credit, I invite you to watch and then do some kind of review of the 1982 movie, “Gandhi.” It won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. For the HD official trailer, view here.

Need an excuse to ask someone you like in our class on a date? You’re welcome :)

Third: Dr. Martin Luther King stood for civil rights, ending poverty, and equal protection under American laws for all. Dr. King learned from Gandhi, and powerfully communicated the 100 years of American hypocrisy between the legal promises of citizenship and rights versus the reality of brutal segregationist oppression by government. For the last year of his life, Dr. King addressed ending poverty and ending the Vietnam War. His plan for the summer of 1968 was to lead a march, and then camp-in at Washington, D.C. until the US government ended the Vietnam War, and directed war resources to end poverty and invest in US hard and soft infrastructure. He was assassinated after his last speech before beginning the march to D.C. in April, 1968.

Dr. King also had to address Americans’ difficulty to look their “Wizard” in the eye; to address their government directly and without fear:

“‘A time comes when silence is betrayal.’ That time has come for us… The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world.

… A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. … A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. …  A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. …We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.

… These are revolutionary times.”  – Dr. Martin Luther King, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

An excerpt from Dr. King’s article, The Purpose of Education:

“Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.

The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.”

And one surprise bonus for citizen competence to build a brighter future: Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling at Harvard’s 2008 Commencement:

“Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans to gain or maintain power… What is more, those who choose not to empathize may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy… If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

As these quotes assert, part of responsible citizenry is to hold political leaders accountable for the public good. To do so, citizens must understand the fundamental nature of economics because money, resources and power are the historical corrupting forces. Responsible citizenship recognizes these dangers, and constructively uses the power of our group work funded by our group resources.

To naively trust power and money to the people in government is against the intent and design of the US Constitution. Indeed, without intelligent and courageous citizen leaders, the United States would never have become a nation. The US was created by citizens who drove a political wedge between those who valued political and economic freedom, from British government “leadership” who would take freedom away to increase their own power and monetary profit.

Knowledge of your rights, powerful communication of those rights, and the courage to stand for your rights are much of the California teaching standards for the course on US Economics, as you shall read next.

3. Reviewing California Content Standards and critical thinking skills

Principles of Economics Content Standards: California State Curriculum

12.1: Students understand common economic terms and concepts and economic reasoning.

12.2: Students analyze the elements of America’s market economy in a global setting.

12.3: Students analyze the influence of the federal government on the American economy.

12.4: Students analyze the elements of the U.S. labor market in a global setting.

12.5: Students analyze the aggregate economic behavior of the U.S. economy.

12.6: Students analyze issues of international trade and explain how the U.S. economy affects, and is affected by, economic forces beyond the United States’s borders.

These principles of Economics can only be practiced and realized through participation with the current events of the day, including our most important policy decisions. Rational economic participation, of course, is only possible through mastery of critical thinking skills.

This is a big deal, and the purpose of this assignment.

The California Framework and Content Standards, the admonitions of a few of humanity’s most honored historical figures, and I hope now your own conclusions have prepared you to provide your full attention and care to this assignment. Your success empowers your ability to ongoingly build a brighter economic future for yourself, family, organizations, and communities.

The only missing component is your declaration and promise that you have the will, the intellectual integrity, and moral courage to accept being a competent economic citizen. You may make this declaration and promise to yourself, now, if you so choose.

Do you accept?

Let’s review our last assignment on critical thinking skills with attention to how they apply to analysis of current economic events.

Part of the political and economic climate you enter as young adults is public ambiguity as to what the facts are concerning important economic actions, irrational and vicious argument, and disengagement from public participation in policy decisions. This is why it’s difficult for almost all students your age to tolerate listening to most politicians and media pundits discussing economics. You feel that politicians’ and media’s words are at least lies of omission, and that they definitely do not respect American citizens enough to fully and honestly educate them on the issues, and work as the public’s partners to represent their educated views in policy.

For those paying attention, such politicians and media voices who go after the comprehensive facts, attempt to educate the public, and work for the glaring economic needs of the public are recognized as rare national treasures.

The condition of the American public’s confusion and temptation for apathy call for a breakthrough in critical thinking skills for civic and economic competence. Your critical thinking skills and participation can, and should, be a voice of reason with all you touch. As I presented in your first assignment on critical thinking, I suggest that what’s needed for your next ~70 years of citizenry are your mastery of three specific skills:

  • Discern fact from spin.
  • Participate in civil conversations based on fact.
  • Engage in policy decisions.

We will help each other master the above skills daily in our class discussions.

A note about “controversy:” the etymology of this word is a Latin compound that roughly means talking against each other. To “converse” means to be talking together. In democracy, talking against each other, controversy, is predictable and welcome. As we discussed in the assignment on critical thinking, policy consideration begins with people of intellectual integrity and moral courage helping each other get the facts. Facts are the same for everyone, objective, and independently verifiable. We then welcome multiple points of view as to the meaning of those facts; in other words, controversy. Controversy allows the entire audience depth of discussion and multiple policy options. Therefore, we embrace controversy. With your mastery of critical thinking, you will be a voice of reason for the facts, encourage rational discussion with diverse views as to interpretation and policy proposals, support a democratic vote, and respect the losing policy as a possible future option should the winning policy not perform to expectations.

The etymology of “diverse” is to intentionally separate. Encouraging diversity adds depth, unforeseen perspective, and variety of choice; all good in political discussion when based on factual accuracy.

In our consideration of economics and government, we will embrace controversy and diversity. We will use prima facie evidence and help each other clarify facts. We welcome multiple views based on fact.

We touched on the psychological term, “cognitive dissonance” in the last assignment. Let’s consider it deeper here. When one’s beliefs are challenged by factual evidence, people without intellectual integrity and moral courage reject facts in order to cling to a belief system.

A lie is a story known to be untrue. When someone refuses to consider facts, then whatever is communicated without those facts is at least a lie of omission. Being afraid often means not facing something difficult. Rejecting facts from fear of changing what one believes is both an act of fear and irrationality.

You wouldn’t want to still believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny, would you?

Cognitive dissonance means that when facts collide with beliefs, there are two possible outcomes. One: we have the intellectual integrity and moral courage to embrace factual analysis. The other is to reject the facts, keep one’s falsified belief system, and choose lies and fear.

Which outcome do you prefer?

Do you have intellectual integrity and moral courage to follow the facts, wherever they go?

This is simply the definition of “education,” is it not?

Even though we’re discussing this now, and even though all of you want to commit to the truth, some of you will fail the test of cognitive dissonance at least once. It’s not about your age; my experience of communicating challenging information to adults, even among our most successful and educated, has shown me that adults are also subject to cognitive dissonance.

Remember, “fact,” by definition, is objective, measurable, and independently verifiable. Therefore, when we discuss facts there is no element of belief or political point of view. Anyone can check facts and they’re the same for everyone who checks them.

Moments will occur in your life when people you wish to engage in factual consideration will choose a belief system and reject objective evidence. They will choose fantasy over reality. An aspect of cognitive dissonance is that this choice will appear as slightly sub-conscious; that is, you may notice irrational avoidance tactics to keep the fantastical belief system away from the shining light of the facts.

These moments may feel awkward. However, they are entirely human and necessary to understand and move through because we choose competent economic citizenship to lead our lifetimes of consideration of objective evidence in current events.

You may wish to stand with Lincoln related to this issue:

“Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.–Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws.” –  Abraham Lincoln, Lyceum Address, 1838

The easy resolution is for the person involved in a moment removed from reason to recommit to  the facts. However, what might happen is that the person rejecting facts will become resentful at having this behavior become visible. The person may irrationally argue, withdraw, and/or later campaign to speak badly of those who merely asked to engage with the facts. These are likely to be real-world examples of ad hominem and straw man arguments. I invite you to support these people to recommit to our best documented factual evidence.

Please note again: our class practice will be to cooperate in understanding the objective and comprehensive facts, and then welcome diverse interpretation of the meaning of those facts and any policy position. 

This is academic freedom.

I’m about to present economic and US government history that may evoke cognitive dissonance because they reflect US government policies in apparent direct violation of the public good, and even violation at times of the US Constitution. These documented examples of revealing US history are in my professional experience crucial to understand if we want proper context on current economic events in the present. 

As with any ethical good faith prima facie academic argument, I welcome any correction of alleged facts that are in error, inclusion of additional facts for better comprehensive understanding, and analysis that will help bring the facts into a policy perspective. If the evidence presented in the following cases cannot be refuted, we honor the conservative academic practice that these facts will hold as our best available evidence.

Rejecting facts because one doesn’t like them, one is uncomfortable with them, or that one’s beliefs are challenged by them, has no standing and are dismissed in professional academic environments. This includes our class. 

What does that mean?

It means that if the following summaries of economic history and current events cannot be refuted either directly or through a more comprehensive factual understanding, we’ll hold those summaries as our best explanations.

It means that when we see clear lies of omission, we have the intellectual strength and moral courage to say what’s right in front of everyone to see; a kind of “emperor has no clothes” obvious statement of fact.

Two examples:

First, within the lifetime of almost all of your parents, US President Richard Nixon and his administration lied to the American public for two years in the Watergate Scandal. Media had various coverage: from simply repeating White House assurances that the President’s office was completely removed from the scandal, to damning indictments of direct White House involvement in multiple and serious criminal acts.

The American public believed President Nixon for over four months after evidence became public in the media, re-electing him by a landslide in 1972. But eventually, with ongoing commitment to understand the facts, discern who within political leadership and media were reporting on facts and who was not, and eventual disclosure of “smoking gun” evidence (2), the facts of that ongoing “current event” became clear.

But before we move forward, let that sink in: Presidents of the United States lie to the American public (we’ll examine more). And yes, such a scenario begs the question of why at least some in US corporate media would choose to merely repeat White House assurances and fail to communicate powerful facts.

We’ll consider that.

Second:

In the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee (RNC) aired an ad titled, $16,000,000,000,000.00 ($16 Trillion). The ad documents President Obama’s statements on the national debt; complaining when it was $9 trillion and promising as president to cut deficit spending as the debt climbed and climbed. The ad’s punchline: “By his own measurement, President Obama has failed. Talk is cheap. Our debt isn’t.”

The point that Democratic leadership fails to respond with policy to increasing national debt is legitimate. The fact that President Obama doesn’t remind the public of his empty rhetoric while campaigning is legitimate; arguably that he treats you as too stupid to remember his previous promises.

What isn’t legitimate, and are damning lies of omission:

  1. This was also an issue when Republicans were president they did not resolve.
  2. The RNC offers no solution to the problem.
  3. The RNC fails to remind the public that under the US Constitution, funding is a power of Congress, not a power of the president.

“Talk is cheap” becomes an ironic and accurate conclusion for both parties. Are both parties treating you as so stupid that you won’t notice that both complain and neither have any solution? Are both parties treating you as so stupid to pretend they’re “leaders” when all they’ve got to say is blame for the other party? And are both parties so irresponsible to the US Constitution that they think you won’t notice they assign powers to the president non-existent in reality?

This is exactly what Gandhi told you was required, to “never to depart from the strictest facts… Facts we would always place before our readers, whether they are palatable or not, … placing them constantly before the public in their nakedness…”

Endnotes:

1 Examiner.com terminated several authors with reform topics, including me.

2 The “smoking gun” evidence were tape-recordings the President made in order to write books upon retirement. In discussing this scandal, the President ordered the CIA to ask the FBI to end their investigation. Importantly, the reason Nixon gave is that it would “open the whole Bay of Pigs thing.” Nixon’s Chief of Staff wrote this referenced the Kennedy assassination. Transcript here. Related transcripts to put this passage in context here. A 2-minute video from UK History documentary here (The Whole Bay of Pigs Thing). AP US History teacher John Hankey made a powerful documentary on this and other verifiable facts, Dark Legacy. Search online to watch it.

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Russian Opposition: Putin Did NOT Assassinate Opposition Leader

U.S. media is quick to blame Putin for the assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

But Itina Khakamada –  a top ally of Nemtsov in the opposition – said the killing was “clearly not in Putin’s interest. It’s aimed at rocking the situation.”

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agrees.

Even the U.S. government’s Voice of America states – in an article entitled  “Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?” – that Putin loses much more than he gains by the assassination:

With the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, gunned down on a Moscow street, the fiercest critic of President Vladimir Putin has been removed from the political stage. But it remains to be seen whether, in death as in life, Nemtsov will remain a threat to Putin’s rule. 

Already, city authorities have approved a mass march for up to 50,000 people in central Moscow on Sunday. The march, expected to be far larger than the scheduled protest rally it replaces, will provide a powerful platform for Kremlin critics who suspect a government hand in Nemtsov’s death. 

Even officials in Putin’s government seem to sense the danger that the former first deputy prime minister’s martyrdom might pose, hinting darkly that Friday night’s drive-by shooting may have been an deliberate “provocation” ahead of the planned weekend rally. 

Posted in Politics / World News | 15 Comments

BREAKING BAD (DEBT) – EPISODE TWO

‘If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it’ Saul Goodman – Breaking Bad

“As calamitous as the sub-prime blowup seems, it is only the beginning. The credit bubble spawned abuses throughout the system. Sub-prime lending just happened to be the most egregious of the lot, and thus the first to have the cockroaches scurrying out in plain view. The housing market will collapse. New-home construction will collapse. Consumer pocketbooks will be pinched. The consumer spending binge will be over. The U.S. economy will enter a recession.”Eric Sprott – 2007

In Part One of this article I provided the background of how our current debt saturated economy got to this point of ludicrousness. The “crazy” bloggers, prophets of doom, and analysts who could do basic math were warning of an impending financial crisis in 2006 and 2007, which would be caused by the issuance of hundreds of billions in subprime slime by the Too Big To Trust Wall Street shysters. Subprime mortgages, auto loans, and credit card lines provided the kindling for the 2008 conflagration.

Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t have seen such irrational, reckless, greedy behavior from Wall Street for another generation. But, Wall Street didn’t have to accept the consequences of their actions. They were bailed out and further enriched by their puppets at the Federal Reserve, the lackey politicians they installed in Washington D.C., and on the backs of honest, hard-working, tax paying Americans. The lesson they learned was they could continue to take excessive, reckless, unregulated risks without concern for losses, downside, or consequences.

In reality, the Fed and government have worked in tandem with Wall Street to create the subprime economic recovery. The scheme has been to revive the bailed out auto industry by artificially boosting sales through dodgy, low interest, extended term debt. With the Feds taking over the entire student loan market, they have doled out hundreds of billions to kids who don’t have the educational skills to succeed in college, in order to keep them out of the unemployment calculation.

That’s why you have a 5.7% unemployment rate when 41% of the working age population (102 million people) is not working. The appearance of economic recovery has been much more important to the ruling class than an actual economic recovery for average Americans, because the .1% have made out like bandits anyway. Who has benefited from the $650 billion of student loan and auto debt disseminated by the oligarchs in the last four years, the borrowers or lenders?

Continue reading

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Meta-Study On Genetically Modified Food: Virtually All Independent Scientists Are Concerned

Half of the Studies Find Cause For Concern … The Other Half Are Studies By the GMO Food Industry Itself

 Do We Have a Right to Know If Our Food Has Been Genetically Modified?Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com

Tufts University’s Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute (Timothy Wise) points out:

There is no … consensus on the safety of GM food. A peer-reviewed study of the research, from peer-reviewed journals, found that about half of the animal-feeding studies conducted in recent years found cause for concern. The other half didn’t, and as the researchers noted, “most of these studies have been conducted by biotechnology companies responsible of commercializing these GM plants.”

***

The only consensus that GM food is safe is among industry-funded researchers.

By way of background, genetically engineered foods have been linked to obesity, cancer, liver failure, infertility and all sorts of other diseases (brief, must-watch videos here and here).

And genetically-engineered meat isn’t even tested for human safety.

And a leading risk expert says that genetically modified foods could wipe out the global ecosystem.

But government agencies like the FDA go to great lengths to cover up the potential health damage from genetically modified foods, and to keep the consumer in the dark about what they’re really eating.  (Indeed, the largest German newspaper – Süddeutsche Zeitung – alleges that the U.S. government helped Monsanto ATTACK THE COMPUTERS of activists opposed to genetically modified food.)

Indeed – as Tufts’ Timothy Wise notes – huge sums of money are being poured into shutting down all honest scientific debate about the risks from GMOs:

Biotechnology companies and their powerful advocates, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are succeeding in a well-planned campaign to get GM safety declared “settled science.”

***

An indicator was a quiet announcement in the press last summer that the Gates Foundation had awarded a US$5.6 million grant to Cornell University to “depolarize” the debate over GM foods. That’s their word. The grant founded a new institute, the Cornell Alliance for Science.

“Our goal is to depolarize the GMO debate and engage with potential partners who may share common values around poverty reduction and sustainable agriculture, but may not be well informed about the potential biotechnology has for solving major agricultural challenges,” said project leader Sarah Evanega, senior associate director of International Programs in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

Got it? The Gates Foundation is paying biotech scientists and advocates at Cornell to help them convince the ignorant and brainwashed public, who “may not be well informed,” that they are ignorant and brainwashed.

“Improving agricultural biotechnology communications is a challenge that must be met if innovations developed in public sector institutions like Cornell are ever to reach farmers in their fields,” added Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS.

It’s kind of like depolarizing an armed conflict by giving one side more weapons.

Posted in Business / Economics, Energy / Environment, Politics / World News, Science / Technology | 99 Comments

Our Middle Eastern “Allies” Fund Terrorists Abroad So They Won’t Attack Them At Home

With Friends Likes These …

Top U.S. generals say that our closest Middle Eastern “allies” support ISIS.

The Independent reported last week:

Dr Mahmoud Othman, a veteran member of the Iraqi Kurdish leadership who recently retired from the Iraqi parliament, said there was a misunderstanding as to why Gulf countries paid off IS [the Islamic State]. It is not only that donors are supporters of IS, but that the movement “gets money from the Arab countries because they are afraid of it”, he says. “Gulf countries give money to Da’esh so that it promises not to carry out operations on their territory.”

It’s well-known by counter-terrorism experts that Saudi Arabia has long funded Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorists outside the country in order to dissuade them from attacking the Saudi monarchy itself.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Posted in Politics / World News | 2 Comments

22 million reasons black America doesn’t trust banks

By Marcus Anthony Hunter, University of California, Los Angeles

“This bank is just what the freedmen need,” remarked President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1865, as he signed the Freedman’s Bank Act, authorizing the organization of a national bank for recently emancipated black Americans.

A little more than a month later he was killed, making the Freedman’s Bank Lincoln’s last act of emancipation.

His assassination, however, did not impede its rapid growth. By January 1874, less than ten years after the establishment of the Freedman’s Bank, deposits at its 34 branches across the United States totaled US$3,299,201 ($65,200,000 in current dollars).

Despite such successful expansion, the Freedman’s Bank closed on June 28, 1874 under a shroud of suspicion and accusation.

The story of the rise and collapse of the Freedman’s Bank is an important and little known episode in black and American history in the years following Emancipation.

While it is widely known that there are severe disparities in wealth and income between black and white Americans, the origins of this are less appreciated. Indeed, before there was a Great Recession or a Great Depression, recently emancipated black Americans had their first monies as freed persons mishandled and never returned in full.

The genesis

Several issues led to the creation of the Freedman’s Bank: the emancipation of slaves, increased pay of black soldiers, and migration of black Americans throughout the North and South.

Cases of black soldiers being swindled, for instance, were quite common, highlighting the need to establish a formal and central banking institution for newly freed blacks.

Following a meeting of key political and business leaders on January 27 1865, plans proposing the Freedman’s Bank were sent to the United States Congress, which swiftly approved the banking institution.

The subsequent outreach efforts by the bank’s initial president (and inspector and superintendent of schools for the Freedmen’s Bureau – the organization authorized by President Lincoln on March 3, 1865 to support and assist freedmen and freedwomen during Reconstruction) was a white northerner named John W. Alvord.

Alvord, a former minister and attaché to General William Tecumseh Sherman during the Civil War, traveled throughout the South recruiting blacks using endorsements from General OO Howard (the commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau): “as an order from Howard … Negro soldiers should deposit their bounty money with him.”

To assure possible depositors, Alvord also carried a handwritten letter from General Howard which read: “I consider the [Freedman’s Bank] to be greatly needed by the colored people, and have welcomed it as an auxiliary to the Freedmen’s Bureau.”

Success

Due to such recruiting efforts, the bank’s list of black depositors grew quickly, and soon 34 branches were established in locations across the country including New York City, Atlanta, Memphis, Philadelphia and Washington DC which also served as the headquarters.

“Go in any forenoon and the office is found full of Negroes depositing little sums of money, drawing little sums, or remitting to a distant part of the country where they have relatives to support or debts to discharge”

remarked a reporter in 1870 in Charleston, South Carolina amazed by the bank’s popularity.

Problems

By 1871, Congress had authorized the bank to provide mortgages and business loans.

Such mortgages and loans, however, were usually given to whites, creating a financial paradox -— a bank using the savings and income of black depositors to advance the economic fortunes of whites who had at their disposal mainstream banks that excluded blacks.

Soon reports and rumors of corruption within the bank’s white management threatened the bank’s existence. In response, the bank’s management was replaced with a variety of black elites, most notably Frederick Douglass, who was appointed to head the bank in March of 1874.



The Freedman’s Savings Bank last president
National Archives

These changes did not prevent the bank’s closing, with Douglass later describing the experience as being unwittingly “married to a corpse.”

Despite their usual disagreements, both WEB DuBois and Booker T Washington did agree that the bank’s collapse was a major blow to the confidence and livelihood of scores of black depositors who trusted the bank with their savings.

DuBois would remark:

“Then in one sad day came the crash —- all the hard-earned dollars of the freedmen disappeared; but that was the least of the loss —- all the faith in saving went too, and much of the faith in men; and that was a loss that a Nation which to-day sneers at Negro shiftlessness has never yet made good.”

Booker T. Washington noted:

“When they found out that they had lost, or been swindled out of all their savings, they lost faith in savings banks, and it was a long time after this before it was possible to mention a savings bank for Negroes without some reference being made to the disaster of [the Freedmen’s Bank].”

By 1900 only $1,638,259.49 ($43,900,000 in current dollars), or 62%, of the total amount of deposits prior to the bank’s failure had been paid. Deposits worth some $22 million in today’s dollars were largely lost.

In the end, most black depositors lost their savings, receiving little to no money back from the bank or the federal government.

Echoes today

As we mark the 151th anniversary of the Civil War, the lessons of that era remain potent.

For its part, the story of the Freedman’s Bank reveals the important foresight Lincoln had in seeing a connection between the political freedom of black Americans and their financial security.

It also reminds us that to understand black banking and wealth today, we need to know some history.

Black wealth issues are not new problems. Rather, they are historically rooted in a persistent pattern of loss and mistreatment beginning with the mishandling of freedmen and freedwomen’s money during Reconstruction.

This is part of the promise of Black History Month, as it provides an opportunity to shine a light on not only the successes of black Americans but also on the roots of persistent patterns of unequal and unfair treatment endured.

Indeed, as we continue to carve a path through the aftermath of the Great Recession, the mortgage crisis and growing racial disparities in wealth, the history of the Freedman’s Bank can serve as an important reminder of the connection between financial and political freedom and mobility.

Damage was done to black wealth and confidence long before banks were too-big-to-fail.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 1 Comment

ISIS Derangement Syndrome

Here’s Time Magazine‘s David von Drehle: “The greatest threat that ISIS poses — even to the poor souls living under ISIS rule — is the unintended damage that might follow from the effort to eradicate the group. . . . As dangerous as it is to have a terrorist kingdom in the middle of the world’s geopolitical tinderbox, ousting ISIS will be every bit as dangerous.”

Drehle goes from there immediately into the debate over whether U.S. troops or local troops should do the job. His article is followed by Max Boot arguing for U.S. ground troops and Karl Vick arguing for U.S. bombing with local ground troops. All three writers seem to be aware that ISIS wanted U.S. bombing and wants U.S. ground troops even more, that ISIS recruitment climbs in response to U.S. military action. All three can’t help but be aware that terrorist kingdoms like Saudi Arabia already exist in the region with the blessing of the U.S. government (and of magazine writers who seek to please the U.S. government). All three are fairly condescending toward local troops, eager to (somehow) get Sunnis to attack Sunnis, and wary of allowing Iranian “death squads” to get involved in the, you know, mass killing they are proposing.

None of the three have one word to say about the great many innocents already killed in the latest U.S. bombings, but all three seem to grasp that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was necessary for the creation of ISIS, all three seem to understand that fighting ISIS is counterproductive, and yet all three strive to place the need to attack ISIS beyond the range of any debate. The question is not whether to make the disaster worse, but exactly how to do it.

What, after all, makes the region a global tinderbox? Israel’s nukes? Certainly not, those are not supposed to be mentioned or even thought about. Well then, all the other weapons? But over 80% of those are supplied by the United States, so that can’t be it. Perhaps the violent overthrows and devastation of so many governments and countries? But it was the U.S. and friends who destroyed Iraq and made Libya what it is and who have done what they’re still doing to Afghanistan. It is the U.S. that has ruined Yemen. It is the U.S. that arms and supports Israel’s wars. It is the U.S. that props up the terrorist states in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and Egypt. Surely what makes the region a tinderbox (rather than a region rich in oil about which greedy earth-destroying interests might be concerned) is something unthinkable or nonsensical or inscrutable, something ethnic or religious or unworthy of consideration.

Because otherwise we might have to consider cease fires and arms embargoes and diplomacy and humanitarian aid as possible alternatives to the usual choices of (1) do nothing, or (2) make it all worse with more of what caused much of the problem in the first place. We might have to consider that it isn’t ISIS that’s posing the greatest threat in the form of “the effort to eradicate the group.”

Posted in General | 3 Comments

Two Pieces of US Mass Media Propaganda (on Russia, Tamir Rice) Have Revealing Correlation

US mass media outlets such as CBS, NBC, CNN, knowing that consumers are irrational, are attempting to lead viewers to conclude that Putin assassinated the Russian politician who was killed yesterday, or, at the very least, make them suspect as much.  This is part of what veteran journalists John Pilger and Robert Parry have both said is the most stunning display of propaganda they have seen in their careers, both of which have spanned several decades.

Another telling and interestingly related case is currently being displayed at NBC, which is headlining: Fatal Shooting of Cleveland Boy Tamir Rice Was Caused by His Own Actions: City

So, while NBC (like the others) is nefariously peddling the conspiracy theory, based on zero evidence, that Putin is responsible for the killing in Russia, it is simultaneously trying to shift the blame for the execution of a twelve year old boy off the US government.

The reasons for this are: 1) shifting blame onto Putin for a killing, with zero evidence, serves US propaganda which is working to prep the US public for further assault on Russia, and 2) shifting blame off of the violent US domestic police forces for the execution of a twelve year old boy entirely captured on video hurts US propaganda by exposing US brutality.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting:

When you look at the NBC site, it has the video of the Tamir Rice shooting, but the video starts after the shooting, while the police are mulling around. 

Why?

Because if you watch the video of the shooting, then it you see that the police pull up and, literally as fast as humanly possible (see for yourself below), shoot the twelve year old black child to death.

That kind of thing exposes the US for what it is, thus hurting the cultivated self-image of “superiority” that, as Pilger points out, fascist countries so covet and rely on to justify their mass murder and looting campaigns.

Here is the actual video of the police shooting of Tamir Rice.  The shooting takes place just after the 7 minute mark.

I recently spoke to an attorney who represents victims of police violence.  A US military veteran and serious conservative, he looks at these cases from a purely legal standpoint.  He told me that he would love to represent the Rice family against the Cleveland police, solely because it is such a slam dunk.

When you watch the video, you don’t need to have decades of legal experience under your belt, as he does, to understand why.

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published researcher and writer who focuses on global force dynamics and also writes professionally for the film industry.  He is a regular contributor to  Washington’s Blog.  Follow the author and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

Posted in General, Politics / World News | 3 Comments

US Again Considering “Leave it to Bibi” Option on Bombing Iran?

While on the surface it may appear that Obama is trying to slow down US aggression towards Iran (the US has already been an accomplice in aggressively killing literally hundreds of thousands of people in Iran), only those who put religious faith in the pronouncements of “their leaders” could say they know for sure that this is indeed what is happening.

As a review of declassified internal US documents will show, people in and linked to government spend their entire careers figuring out how to do things deceptively.

What appears to be happening is that Obama is easing off the US aggression throttle towards Iran, while Israel is simultaneously on the precipice of teaming up with Saudi Arabia (another close US client/ally) to aggressively bomb Iran – the top international crime.  See “Saudis Said to Aid Israeli Plan to Bomb Iran“, by Robert Parry.  (Netanyahu is currently being widely exposed as a major liar regarding Iran’s nuclear program, though this was always known to those who follow world affairs by reading broadly, not confining themselves to US/Western mass media propaganda.)

However, evidence illustrates that we cannot accept this as the only possibility for what is happening.

In June, 2009, around the beginning of Obama’s presidency, a US think-tank called Brookings, considered the most influential think tank in the world, published a strategy guide for conquering Iran: “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran“.

One of the chapters is titled “Leave it to Bibi: Allowing or Encouraging an Israeli Military Strike” (Bibi is the nickname for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.)

Right away, we see that US strategists thought of this approach at least ~6 years ago: let Israel attack Iran while the US pretends to be a helpless bystander.  So we know Obama has been aware of this “policy option” (of course illegal) for years.

One way the US, if it actually wanted to, could discourage an Israeli strike against Iran (or any other Israeli crime) would be to tell Israel that if it does not cease its illegal threats of force against Iran (terrorism) or if it actually goes through with them, Israel will be completely cut off from receiving US support, which is already illegal anyway, since Israel is a war-criminal and illegal occupier state (settlements in Palestine, for example, in addition to regular massacres, are legally classed as war crimes).  Israel is the single biggest recipient of US support (meaning in amount of cash and lethal weaponry, but support also includes political – ie UN vetoes, etc. – and promised military backing).

Here is a brief look at the “Leave it to Bibi” section of the Brookings strategy report:

The section begins by admitting that “Iran has never been and almost certainly never will be an existential threat to the United States. It harbors no territorial designs on the United States, has never conducted a terrorist operation aimed at the American homeland, and, even should it acquire nuclear weapons, lacks the delivery systems to threaten the United States directly.”

In listing pros and cons of allowing an Israeli strike on Iran, the report states:

  • …the most salient advantage this option has over that of an American air campaign is the possibility that Israel alone would be blamed for the attack. If this proves true, then the United States might not have to deal with Iranian retaliation or the diplomatic backlash that would accompany an American military operation against Iran.
  • It would presumably be easier to convince Israel to mount the attack than it would be to generate domestic political support for another war in the Middle East (let alone the diplomatic support from a region that is extremely wary of new American military adventures). At least some important Israelis want to conduct such an attack and would welcome Washington’s encouragement.
  • [The single major advantage of this approach would be] the possibility that Israel would bear the entire burden for the strike…

It must be noted that while this is listed as a possibility, there are many others.  Here are some of the options from the table of contents:

“An Offer Iran Shouldn’t Refuse: Persuasion”

“Going All the Way: Invasion”

“Airstrikes”

“Toppling Tehran: Regime Change” (The US already did this, to democratic Iran in 1953)

“Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority and Opposition Groups” (The US already did this, to democratic Iran in 1953)

“The Coup” (The US already did this, to democratic Iran in 1953)

“Containment” (The US is already doing this:)

Stars are US Attack Bases

It is made painfully clear that the US is not sorry for overthrowing Iran’s democracy in 1953 and installing a tyrannical king who, as Amnesty International reported, was tied for being the world’s worst human rights violator.  The US is only sorry that it lost control over its conquered territory, and it wants it back.

It must also be noted that while Washington’s puppet king, a top human rights violator and mass torturer, was in power, the US was assisting Iran in achieving nuclear power (and the US later cut a deal with Pakistan, an Islamic fundamentalist US ally, to help it become a nuclear weapons state, and Saudi Arabia has a deal with Pakistan to procure nukes when it deems fit, so we know the US doesn’t care about that, and, as has long been known, that US and Israeli intelligence do not accuse Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons.  Only politicians do that, for the purpose, as noted in the quote above, of prepping the public mind for an attack to reconquer Iran.)

Also note this passage from the Brookings strategy guide:

…any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback [ie 9/11/01] from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer [Obama has already tried to create this scenario several times] —one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons [US intelligence says if Iran ever did go for nukes, they would be for a deterrent against the US and Israel] would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” [note desired adoption of batterer’s logic] by refusing a very good deal.

Thus, it may well be the case that Obama is again strategically setting up a “deal” for Iran to reject, manufacturing the “proper international context”, which could then be followed by an Israeli strike.

We don’t know exactly what is going on, but we do know that we don’t know; ie, we know that governments and their collaborators scheme, perpetrate ruses, and lie, and that their public proclamations carry zero value, and often reveal the opposite of what they profess (ie famous saying, “Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied”).

We know that Israeli and US intelligence do not accuse Iran of pursuing nukes and that only untrustworthy politicians do, and we know that the US does not care if an Islamic or rogue state has nukes (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Israel).  We know that the US is not sorry about having been part of killing and torturing hundreds of thousands of Iranians for their resources and strategic location, that the US will do it again if it feels it can get away with it, and that the US is only sorry that its bloody puppet tyrant was overthrown.

The US may currently be again considering and feeling out the “Leave it to Bibi” option that Obama has known about for years.

Also see:

The US hold secret talks with Israel on plan B: invading Iran, July 29th, 2012

U.S. Iran Attack Plans Shown To Israel: Report – Huffington Post, 07/29/2012

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published researcher and writer who focuses on global force dynamics and also writes professionally for the film industry.  He is a regular contributor to  Washington’s Blog.  Follow the author and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

Posted in Energy / Environment, General, Politics / World News | 4 Comments

Making Sense of Obama’s Foreign Policy

Eric Zuesse

On February 22nd, NBC’s “Meet the Press” presented reporter Richard Engel in a terrific four-minute documentary on Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s catastrophic policy-results in Libya. (You can watch it by clicking on that link.) The segment concluded that Obama and his Administration (including Hillary Clinton) didn’t know where they were going in this operation. That was a ‘kindly’ interpretation, but Obama isn’t really so stupid. He’s a leader, with a clear vision of what he wants, and he subordinates everything to it. Whereas Obama did indeed destroy Libya and (like G.W. Bush’s venture in Iraq) enormously boost Islamic extremism and terrorism (and the main expert that Engel interviewed in that segment has written extensively on this regarding specifically the Libyan case, here and here), Obama knew what his goal was, and he achieved it there, even though it wasn’t to boost Islamic extremism, nor was it to destroy Libya; he actually had his eye on a different ball altogether. Something is an even bigger concern to him than fighting terrorism, or than the welfare of people in Libya or any other foreign country; and this is consistently what guides his decisions in international affairs. 

Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s leader, was famously “anti-Western,” and he never joined the U.S-Saudi alliance, the so-called “Western alliance” (which includes Europe, but only as a junior partner, because Europe is dependent upon the U.S. and upon America’s NATO alliance — the military club of anti-Russian nations). (And, yes, the U.S. Government is allied with the princes who finance Al Qaeda, ISIS and other Islamic terrorism; and the standard ‘history’ of 9/11 is — and is intended to be — largely false.) 

The great John Pilger has provided the best summary description of the horrific and intentional catastrophe that Obama and Clinton perpetrated upon the Libyan people. For example: “In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 ‘strike sorties’ against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that ‘most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten’.” These were international war-crimes, which will never be prosecuted. Hillary Clinton expressed merry pride regarding what she and Obama did in killing Gaddafi, no matter how many people’s lives were destroyed in the process. There is no ‘kindly’ interpretation of that.

Obama was, in fact, knocking out a Russian ally by means of this Libyan operation. He succeeded at his objective there. He knew where he was going, and he achieved that goal.

I have elsewhere documented the case that Obama’s operation in Syria is directed against Russia — that the goal there is anti-Russian regime-change for Syria, like the Libyan operation was anti-Russian regime-change for Libya, and like the Ukrainian operation (the coup there in February 2014) was anti-Russian regime-change for Ukraine. 

All of this follows on George W. Bush’s success at anti-Russian regime-change in Iraq in 2003. He killed Saddam Hussein there, who had been another Russian ally.

Similarly, Bill Clinton succeeded at anti-Russian regime-change in Yugoslavia, via the Bosnian War, by bombing Serbs there, who had always been the core of Yugoslavia’s pro-Russian tilt. Croatia and Slovenia are now full NATO members.

All of these operations pretended to be “humanitarian,” and Barack Obama is so skilled at the rhetoric of humanitarianism and peacemaking, that he actually won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for that rhetoric; it’s definitely world-class deception. Bill Clinton too was highly skilled at that (though perhaps not to the extent Obama is). George W. Bush wasn’t, at all; he was so dumb that he needed to contract-out to his V.P. the actual running of this country.

Each of these three Presidents, and also certainly George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, weren’t merely anti-communists; they were and are anti-Russians: they are deeply committed to the U.S. aristocracy’s central foreign-policy objective, of subordinating Russia’s aristocracy to America’s, in order for America’s aristocracy to achieve unchallengeable dominance over the whole world.

This theme was developed and documented in detail in my lengthiest online article “Obama’s War Policies Show a Pattern.” Virtually all of my recent articles have dealt with, and documented, that very same pattern, by explaining current international relations, current events, on the basis of this consistent pattern in Obama’s actual decisions, not relying upon his mere words. What is remarkable in Obama’s Presidency, in all of its facets, including domestic policy (e.g., this), is his successful operation of the United States Government for the benefit of this nation’s aristocracy.

The United States is now ruled by its aristocracy in both political Parties, not just one. Previously, only the Republican Party was totally in the aristocracy’s grip; but, ever since 1980, both Parties are.

The United States is no longer a democracy. Throw out all those civics textbooks; their connection to reality now (especially at the national level) is virtually nil; and the pressures are in the direction of their becoming more archaic and deceptive, rather than becoming less so. The aristocracy have won. Obama is merely the latest example of that; and this fact shows at least as much in his foreign as in his domestic policies.

But it’s not just him; it’s throughout the national government, including the courts and congress. For example: how else does one explain “U.S. Congress Now Virtually 100% All-In on Ukraine’s War Against Russia; Americans Are at Least 67% Opposed”? When there is a policy that most of America’s aristocrats strongly want and are heavily investing in, and that virtually none of them is strongly opposed to, then what the public wants regarding that particular matter is next to irrelevant in determining the Government’s policy. If what the public then sees on Election-Day turns out to be a choice between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, is that democracy, or is it actually something else? But is that the way the press would report it?

If the public are deceived, then democracy is impossible.

———-

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, Politics / World News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gorbachev: Killing Could Have Been A Provocation, Aimed At “Destabilizing The Situation In The Country, At Heightening Confrontation” With The West

False Flag Terror?

Sniper attacks are commonly used as a form of false flag terror.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says the the killing is aimed at “destabilizing the situation in the country, at heightening confrontation” with the West.

Gorbachev says:

The assassination of Boris Nemtsov is an attempt to complicate the situation in the country, even to destabilize it by ratcheting up tensions between the government and the opposition.

The Saker notes that Putin warned years ago that a false flag of this nature might occur.

Michael Rivero notes:

Another reason to doubt the “Blame Putin” chorus we are already seeing in the corporate media is the manner in which the shooting took place, in public, in front of the girlfriend, to generate the maximum publicity. If Putin had really wanted to kill this guy, it would have been a “suicide” in private or a small plane crash, the way the US Government handles assassinations.

Posted in Politics / World News | 8 Comments

The Kiev Snipers: Everyone Agrees That They Fired On BOTH SIDES

Sniper Attacks As False Flag Terror

Random shootings are a type of false flag terror

For example, in 1985 – as part of the “Gladio” (11-21) false flag operations –  snipers attacked and shot shoppers in supermarkets randomly in Brabant county, Belgium killing twenty-eight and leaving many wounded.

Both Sides?

Additionally, shooting both sides is a tip off that it may be a false flag.

Specifically, when authoritarian regimes want to break up protests, they might shoot protesters.

Likewise, when violent protesters shoot government employees, they might be trying to overthrow the government.

But when secretive snipers kill both protesters and the police, it is an indication of a “false flag” attacks meant to sow chaos, anger, disgust and a lack of legitimacy.

This has happened many times over the years. For example:

  • Unknown snipers reportedly killed both Venezuelan government and opposition protesters in the attempted 2002 coup

Snipers Fired At BOTH Police and Protesters In Ukraine

This happened during the Maidan protests which resulted in the overthrow of the Ukrainian government, as well.  Indeed, the ruthless slaughter of people by snipers was the event which turned world opinion against the then-current Ukrainian Prime Minister, and  resulted in him having to flee the country.

BBC recently interviewed the head of the opposition’s security forces at the time, who confirms that snipers were killing both protesters and police:

The former Ukranian government security boss said the same thing.  Specifically, he said:

Former chief of Ukraine’s Security Service has confirmed allegations that snipers who killed dozens of people during the violent unrest in Kiev operated from a building controlled by the opposition on Maidan square.

Shots that killed both civilians and police officers were fired from the Philharmonic Hall building in Ukraine’s capital, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine Aleksandr Yakimenko told Russia 1 channel. The building was under full control of the opposition and particularly the so-called Commandant of Maidan self-defense Andrey Parubiy who after the coup was appointed as the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Yakimenko added.

So both the chief of the government’s security forces and the head of the opposition’s security forces said that the same snipers were killing both protesters and police.  While they disagree about who the snipers were, they both agree that the snipers were attempting to sow chaos.

Similarly:

[Current Ukrainian Health Minister Oleh] Musiy, who spent more than two months organizing medical units on Maidan, said that on Feb. 20 roughly 40 civilians and protesters were brought with fatal bullet wounds to the makeshift hospital set up near the square. But he said medics also treated three police officers whose wounds were identical.

Forensic evidence, in particular the similarity of the bullet wounds, led him and others to conclude that snipers were targeting both sides of the standoff at Maidan — and that the shootings were intended to generate a wave of revulsion so strong that it would topple Yanukovych and also justify a Russian invasion.

And the Estonian foreign minister – after visiting Ukraine – told the EU foreign affairs minister that the Maidan opposition deployed the snipers – and fired on both the protesters and the police – to discredit the former government of Ukraine.

Was It Maidan Who Fired?

While the American media has proclaimed that the sniper fire was definitely from government forces, some of the above-cited sources dispute that claim.

Additionally, BBC reported at the time:

Reporting for Newsnight, Gabriel Gatehouse said he saw what looked like a protester shooting out of a window at the BBC’s Kiev base, the Ukraine Hotel.

And BBC recently interviewed a Maidan protester who admitted that he fired a sniper rifle at police from the Conservatory, and that he was guided by a military veteran within the Maidan resistance. Here are actual pictures a reporter took of Maidan snipers, recently published by BBC:

gunmen at Kiev Conservatory 20 February

(There were reportedly at least 10 Maidan snipers firing from the Conservatory.)

The Frankfurther Allgemein reported last year that Maidan commander Volodymyr Parasjuk controlled the Conservatory at the time:

Volodymyr Parasjuk – the leader in “self-defense units” of the revolution who had called the night of Yanukovich’s escape, on the stage of Maidan to storm the presidential residence one year ago.

On the day of the massacre Parasjuk was staying with his unit in the colonnaded building of the Kiev Conservatory right at the Maidan. In the days before the death toll had risen, and the fighters grew the conviction alone with limited power as before will not be able to overthrow Yanukovych. “There were at that time many guys who said you have to take the weapon and attack,” said Parasjuk recalls. “Many,” he himself had since long ago it had firearms, often their officially registered hunting rifles.

Tagesschau – a German national and international television news service produced by state-run Norddeutscher Rundfunk on behalf of the German public-service television network ARD – also reported in 2014 that at least some of the sniper fire came from protesters.

And there are other photographs of protesters with rifles, such as this one from Reuters:

Independence Square in Kiev February 20, 2014. (Reuters/Maks Levin)

Reuters/Maks Levin

So the snipers might have been Maidan opposition forces shooting their own.

But – whoever the snipers were – the one thing that is clear is that they were shooting people from both as part of a “strategy of tension” to create maximum chaos. This hints that it may have been a highly-organized campaign of terror.

Posted in Politics / World News | 2 Comments

Ending homelessness SAVES money; monetary reform and public banks should fund this now

8-minute video: Director of US Interagency Council on Homelessness explains how to END homelessness:

Utah has reduced homelessness by 78%, and has targeted ending homelessness this year.

The US federal agency, US Interagency Council on Homelessness states all 50+ economic cost-benefit studies conclude it costs less to provide homeless Americans with shelter, food, health care, and job training than doing nothing at all.

The greatest savings come from decreased emergency room visits, police calls, and court time. What isn’t counted, and significant, is the increase of business in areas where the homeless are vagrants.  In addition, these studies show most participants find jobs and leave these programs.

A 2014 study in Florida reports taxpayers save over $20,000 per homeless person when they are provided basic services rather than languishing on the streets. An academic paper from two University of Pennsylvania professors document it’s more cost-effective to end homelessness than endure it.

Richard Cho, US Interagency Council on Homelessness Policy Director, documents similar studies from New York CityBoston, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, San FranciscoLos Angeles, with smaller cities in Connecticut, and rural areas in Maine that all research have found it’s more cost-effective, intelligent, and moral to end homelessness.

Given that all 50+ professional studies conclude we save money by ending homelessness, all US communities should enact policies to do so.

Given that all communities have problems with funding public programs, even those that save money in the long-term like infrastructure and education, we should also enact monetary reform and public banking for funding.

Monetary reform and public banking are required solutions because what we use for money is created as debt by private banks for their profit. This does not come close to serving public needs, as lack of funding for infrastructure, education, and public services like ending homelessness prove.

The UK Guardian is Earth’s third most-read on-line newspaper. In a revealing article, The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling it in, the author explains what the Bank of England and US Federal Reserve admit:

What we use for money is created as debt by private banks.

This system is like adding negative numbers forever. The aggregate debt only gets larger, and will never be repaid because this is what we use for money. Also, as we see today, the interest and debt total become so tragic-comic we can’t get close to affording to pay.

What this also means is that with monetary and credit reform the public could have instant prosperity: full-employment, zero public deficits and debt, the best infrastructure we can imagine, falling prices, and release of public TRILLIONS held in “rainy day” accounts.

These solutions are OBVIOUS with a few moments of attention, and affirmed by leading Americans since Benjamin Franklin. See for yourself with what we have now, and what these solutions offer.

What we have:

US “leaders” psychopathically pretend to care about American labor while lying about a real unemployment rate of close to 25% (the so-called “official” rate excludes under-employed and discouraged workers). Along with unemployment, Americans receive policy enabling oligarchs to “legally” hide $20 to $30 trillion in offshore tax havens in a rigged-casino economy designed for “peak inequality.” For comparison, $1 to $3 trillion ends global poverty forever, saving a million children’s lives every month from slow and gruesome death (here, here).

We have escalating and unpayable national debt, a real-inflation rate more than double the stated rate, and because private banks and their admitted privately-owned pinnacle bank, the Fed, create credit/debt for what we use as money, this becomes the literal mother of all conflicts of interest. If the Fed were to deliver its three stated goals of “maximize employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates,” we have a stunning observation:an honest Fed would at least ask for independent professional cost-benefit analyses to determine if government-created debt-free money and public credit would do better than their ever-increasing and unpayable aggregate debt

In addition:

And, as always please keep in mind, US “leaders” also  lie-begat Americans into unlawful Wars of Aggression (in comparison, 11 days of US war cost would pay for all tuition of US college students).

OBVIOUS solutions:

What is monetary and credit reform?  Since the 1913 legislation of the Federal Reserve, the US has had a national “debt system;” the Orwellian opposite of a monetary system. What we use for money is created as a debt, with the  consequence of unpayable and increasing aggregate debt. This is the simple description of the sum of forever increasing negative numbers. Although it’s taught in every macroeconomics course in structure, the consequences of increasing and unpayable debt are omitted (unpayable because it destroys what is used for money, and eventually the debt becomes tragic-comic in amount).

Monetary reform creates debt-free money as a public service for the direct payment of public goods and services. This would replace the existing system of creating what we use for money out of debt; both from the Federal Reserve issuing credit for US federal debt instruments charged to taxpayers with interest, and private banks issuing credit through fractional reserve lending.

Closely related is credit reform that replaces private bank credit with public credit (and here). This transfers interest payments from private profits to public service.

Benefits of monetary and credit reform: no debt, optimal infrastructure, falling prices: The benefits include paying the national debt, ending a national debt forever, issuing money and credit for full employment, and optimal infrastructure. The prima facie case of benefits should undergo professional multiple and independent cost-benefit analyses. The facts that a Federal Reserve-type debt-based system causes unpayable debt, unemployment, inflation, and decaying infrastructure is relatively easy to demonstrate.

Debt begone: Monetary reform pays the national debt of over $18 trillion dollars virtually without cost, and ends its gross $400 billion+ annual interest payments. This saves the ~100 million US households an average of ~$180,000 in total debt cost, with ~$4,000 gross annual interest cost. Another way to calculate the savings is to figure those amounts per $50,000 annual household income (for example, if your household earns $100,000/year, you save $350,000 in national debt costs and $8,000 every year in gross interest).

The way the national debt is paid nearly cost-free is to use government-created money to pay the debt securities as they are due instead of what is done today: never pay them and “roll them over” (re-issue the debt to existing owners or issue new debt to pay for redeemed debt instruments) while only paying the interest. What is done today is similar to only paying the interest on a credit card with ever-increasing debt total. The inflationary effect of paying the debt will be counteracted by simultaneously removing private banks’ fractional reserve authority proportional to the payments (increasing banks’ reserve requirements).

When government has authority to transparently create money, a national debt becomes a tragic-comic part of history. Trial and error will inform total money supply, with an option of removing money from the supply through some form of simple taxation. For example, if public credit issues mortgages and credit cards at ~5%, this form of taxation can pay for public goods and services with the ability to raise or lower the interest rate. It also releases CAFR funds back to the public worth TRILLIONS. Again, proposals such as these should be subject to professional and independent cost-benefit analyses.

Full employment, optimal infrastructure, falling prices: Government can become the employer of last resort for hard and soft infrastructure investment. This provides triple benefits for employment, the best infrastructure we can imagine, and falling overall prices to the extent infrastructure investment contributes more economic output relative to costs of inputs. History demonstrates infrastructure investment does reduce overall prices in the current debt-funded model that typically adds ~50% of the projects’ nominal cost to its total cost. Monetary reform with infrastructure means the cost of debt-funding disappears, making this employment even more attractive.

Additional anticipated benefits are reductions of crime and other social costs related to human despair as people see and participate in creating a brighter future for all.

If monetary reform and public banking are so “obvious,” why haven’t these been done?

For three good reasons: 1) Those in charge of the current system “make bank.” 2) Because those in charge commit criminal fraud, they must keep the public ignorant and confused. 3) Those in charge apparently have purchased corporate media to “cover” these crimes and “cover” their assets.

1) The “leaders” of our current system parasitize unimaginable amounts of money under our current system. Former Chief Economist at McKinsey, James Henry, reports the .01% have deposited $21 trillion to $32 trillion in tax havens to evade taxes. Related, the Federal Reserve reports the US top seven banks have over $10 trillion in assets recorded in over 14,000 created “subsidiaries” to avoid taxes. The .01% hide more than total annual economic output of the US and Japan combined. This is also 7 to 32 times the $1 to $3 trillion estimated to end global poverty (here, here).

2) The Federal Reserve system of its member banks creating what we use as debts owed to them with interest is not a “monetary” system, but a “debt system.” This is massive criminal fraud with:

  • annual public damages in the trillions of dollars,
  • unpayable and escalating aggregate debt,
  • Orwellian opposites of Fed promises for maximum employment, stable prices, and minimal interest costs,
  • Lies of commission and omission from Fed and US government officials with legal fiduciary responsibility to accurately communicate public costs and benefits, including omitting the above documented solutions from present-day professional consideration.

Because .01% US “leaders” are engaged in criminal fraud since “Robber Baron” era inception of the Federal Reserve, officials must psychopathically keep the public confused to avoid arrests and forfeiture of fortunes.

3) Congressman Oscar Callaway demanded investigation into JP Morgan purchasing control over the US’ largest 25 publications in 1917. In our world of the present, ~90% of US media is concentrated in just 6 corporations. There is abundant evidence today that corporate media serves particular interests centered in war and money. Historically, every oligarchy works to control media.

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BREAKING BAD (DEBT) – EPISODE ONE

“At this juncture, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained.”Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, Congressional testimony, March, 2007

“Capitalism without financial failure is not capitalism at all, but a kind of socialism for the rich.”James Grant, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer

The Federal Reserve issued their fourth quarter Report on Household Debt and Credit last week to the sounds of silence in the mainstream media. There were minor press releases issued by the “professional” financial journalists regurgitating the Federal Reserve’s storyline. Actual analysis, connecting the dots, describing how the massive issuance of student loan and auto loan debt has produced a fake economic recovery, and how the accelerating default rates in auto loans and student loans will produce the next subprime debt implosion, were nowhere to be seen on CNBC, Bloomberg, the WSJ, or any other status quo propaganda media outlet. Their job is not to analyze or seek truth. Their job is to keep their government patrons and Wall Street advertisers happy, while keeping the masses sedated, misinformed, and pliable.

Luckily, the government hasn’t gained complete control over the internet yet, so dozens of truth telling blogs have done a phenomenal job zeroing in on the surge in defaults. The data in the report tells a multitude of tales conflicting with the “official story” sold to the public. The austerity storyline, economic recovery storyline, housing recovery storyline, and strong auto market storyline are all revealed to be fraudulent by the data in the report. Total household debt grew by $117 billion in the fourth quarter and $306 billion for the all of 2014. Non-housing debt in the 4th quarter of 2008, just as the last subprime debt created financial implosion began, was $2.71 trillion. After six years of supposed consumer austerity, total non-housing debt stands at a record $3.15 trillion. This is after hundreds of billions of the $2.71 trillion were written off and foisted upon the backs of taxpayers, by the Wall Street banks and their puppets at the Federal Reserve.

The corporate media talking heads cheer every increase in consumer debt as proof of economic recovery. In reality every increase in consumer debt is just another step towards another far worse economic breakdown. And the reason is simple. Real median household income is still below 1989 levels. The average American family hasn’t seen their income go up in 25 years. What they did see was their chains of debt get unbearably heavy. Non-housing consumer debt (credit card, auto, student loan, other) was $800 billion in 1989.

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