The Debt To GDP Ratio For The Entire World: 286 Percent

By Michael Snyder.

Global Debt - Public DomainDid you know that there is more than $28,000 of debt for every man, woman and child on the entire planet?  And since close to 3 billion of those people survive on less than 2 dollars a day, your share of that debt is going to be much larger than that.  If we took everything that the global economy produced this year and everything that the global economy produced next year and used it to pay all of this debt, it still would not be enough.  According to a recent report put out by the McKinsey Global Institute entitled “Debt and (not much) deleveraging“, the total amount of debt on our planet has grown from 142 trillion dollars at the end of 2007 to 199 trillion dollars today.  This is the largest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and those numbers mean that we are in substantially worse condition than we were just prior to the last financial crisis.

When it comes to debt, a lot of fingers get pointed at the United States, and rightly so.  Just prior to the last recession, the U.S. national debt was sitting at about 9 trillion dollars.  Today, it has crossed the 18 trillion dollar mark.  But of course the U.S. is not the only one that is guilty.  In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute says that debt levels have grown in all major economies since 2007.  The following is an excerpt from the report

Seven years after the bursting of a global credit bubble resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, debt continues to grow. In fact, rather than reducing indebtedness, or deleveraging, all major economies today have higher levels of borrowing relative to GDP than they did in 2007. Global debt in these years has grown by $57 trillion, raising the ratio of debt to GDP by 17 percentage points (Exhibit 1). That poses new risks to financial stability and may undermine global economic growth.

What is surprising is that debt has actually grown the most in China.  If you can believe it, total Chinese debt has grown from 7 trillion dollars in 2007 to 28 trillion dollars today.  Needless to say, that is absolutely insane…

China’s debt has quadrupled since 2007. Fueled by real estate and shadow banking, China’s total debt has nearly quadrupled, rising to $28 trillion by mid-2014, from $7 trillion in 2007. At 282 percent of GDP, China’s debt as a share of GDP, while manageable, is larger than that of the United States or Germany. Three developments are potentially worrisome: half of all loans are linked, directly or indirectly, to China’s overheated real-estate market; unregulated shadow banking accounts for nearly half of new lending; and the debt of many local governments is probably unsustainable. However, MGI calculates that China’s government has the capacity to bail out the financial sector should a property-related debt crisis develop. The challenge will be to contain future debt increases and reduce the risks of such a crisis, without putting the brakes on economic growth.

What all of this means is that our long-term global economic problems have gotten much, much worse.  This short-lived period of relative stability that we have been enjoying has been fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt and voracious money printing.  Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that this is a giant financial bubble, and in the end it is going to unwind very, very painfully.  The following comes from a Canadian news source

At the beginning of 2008, government accounted for a smaller portion of the debt pie than corporate, household or financial debt. It now exceeds each of those other categories.

The current situation is much worse than in 2000 or 2007, and with interest rates near or at zero, the central banks have already used up their ammunition. Plus, the total indebtedness, especially the indebtedness of governments, is much higher than ever before,” said Claus Vogt, a Berlin-based analyst and co-author of a 2011 book titled The Global Debt Trap.

“Every speculative bubble rests on some kind of a fairy tale, a story the bubble participants believe in and use as rationalization to buy extremely overvalued stocks or bonds or real estate,” Mr. Vogt argued. “And now it is the faith in the central-planning capabilities of global central bankers. When the loss of confidence in the Fed, the ECB etc. begins, the stampede out of stocks and bonds will start. I think we are very close to this pivotal moment in financial history.”

But for the moment, the ridiculous stock market bubble continues.

Internet companies that didn’t even exist a decade ago are now supposedly worth billions upon billions of dollars even though some of them don’t make any money at all.  There is even a name for this phenomenon.  Internet companies that have gigantic valuations without gigantic revenue streams are being called “unicorns”

A dizzying mix of bold ideas and lavish investments has catapulted dozens of privately held start-ups to unicorn status, defined as having market valuations of at least $1 billion often without soaring revenues to match. Social-sharing site Pinterest has soared to $11 billion. Ride-hailing company Uber is now worth a staggering $50 billion.

How long can the party last?

And these days, Wall Street even rewards companies that lose huge amounts of money quarter after quarter.  For example, just check out what happened when JC Penney announced that it only lost 167 million dollars during the first quarter of 2015…

Yippee!!! JC Penney ONLY lost $167 million in the first quarter. The Wall Street shysters are ecstatic because they BEAT expectations. Buy Buy Buy.

This loss now brings JC Penney’s cumulative loss since 2011 to, drum roll please, $3.5 BILLION. They haven’t had a profitable quarter in over four years. But, they are always on the verge of that turnaround just over the horizon.

Wall Street has told you to buy this stock from $42 in 2012 to it’s current pitiful level of $9. They tout the wonderful 3.4% increase in comparable sales. They fail to mention that first quarter 2016 sales are only 30% below first quarter sales in 2011.

They fail to mention that JC Penney burned through another $274 million of cash in the first quarter. Their equity has dropped by $1 billion in the last year, while their long term debt has gone up by $500 million.

This is how irrational Wall Street has become.  JC Penney is ultimately going to zero, and yet there are still people out there that are pouring huge amounts of money into that financial black hole.

Sadly, the truth is that Wall Street is headed for a very painful awakening.

What we are experiencing right now is the greatest financial bubble of all time.

What comes after that is going to be the greatest financial crash of all time.

199,000,000,000,000 dollars of debt is about to come crashing down, and the pain of this disaster will be felt by every man, woman and child on the entire planet.

 

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 3 Comments

Obama Gave Up on Ukraine, Press Simply Ignored It

Eric Zuesse

On Tuesday, May 12th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was asked at a press conference in Sochi Russia, to respond to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s recent statements promising renewed war against Donbass, which were made first on April 30th, “The war will end when Ukraine regains Donbass and Crimea,” and which were repeated on May 11th, by his saying, “I have no doubt, we will free the [Donetsk] Airport, because it is our land.” In other words, Poroshenko had repeatedly made clear that he plans a third invasion of Donbass, and, ultimately, also to invade and retake Crimea. (The Western press, however, had not reported any of these threats that were being made by Poroshenko.)

Kerry responded:

“ I have not had a chance – I have not read the speech. I haven’t seen any context. I have simply heard about it in the course of today [which would be shocking if true]. But if indeed President Poroshenko is advocating an engagement in a forceful effort at this time, we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.”

None of this was reported by Western ‘news’ media. Even Russia’s own Sputnik News, which was Russia’s main English-language medium reporting on Kerry’s comment, ignored this shocking assertion by the U.S. Secretary of State contradicting the nominal leader of the Ukrainian Government that the U.S. itself had installed in February 2014

The Obama Administration now had slammed Poroshenko down on the key issue of whether to resume the war against Ukraine’s former Donbass region, and also slammed him on whether Ukraine should invade Crimea, which is Russian territory and would therefore mean a war against the Russian armed forces. America’s stooge-regime in Kiev was here being publicly taken to the woodshed about the advisability of yet another Ukrainian invasion of Ukraine’s former southeastern breakaway regions, Donbass and, even Crimea. 

Sputnik didn’t quote any of this from Kerry. Instead, they headlined, “Kerry: Poroshenko Should ‘Think Twice’ Before Using Force in Donbass,” and they opened their news-report by saying: “Following an extensive six hour discussion between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and President Putin, Kerry stressed that any Ukrainian efforts to seize the Donetsk Airport through force would violate the Minsk Protocol and would face strict opposition from Washington.” That assertion was true, and important, but all that was quoted from Kerry was the nondescript: “What is important is to make sure that both sides are moving forward in implementing the Minsk accord in its full measure.” Even Kerry’s stunning “think twice” statement, which was actually Washington’s first-ever verbal slam-down of the stooge-regime the U.S. itself had installed in Ukraine in February 2014, in an extremely bloody coup, wasn’t being quoted at all by Sputnik. (Only that two-word phrase was in the headline, but it — and its surrounding passage and context — were entirely absent from the report itself.) Nor was the significance of Kerry’s remark there discussed, at all. Their news-report was a total botch.

Western ‘news’ media were far worse than a botch; they were outright dishonest. Typical was BBC, which headlined on May 12th, “Ukraine Crisis: Kerry Has ‘Frank’ Meeting with Putin,” and their article said nothing whatsoever about Kerry’s shocking slam-down of his Ukrainian stooge. To that ‘news’ report was also appended an “Analysis: Bridget Kendall, BBC News, Sochi,” which simply blathered, and concluded, “There was no breakthrough on anything.” That statement was the exact opposite of the truth.

The one good, and, really, brilliant, news-analysis on this important matter, was from the legendary specialist on “the Empire’s [Washington’s] War on Russia,” the anonymous blogger who goes by the name, “The Saker.” His was not really a news-report, because he, too, failed to quote Kerry’s pathbreaking and shocking statement. He didn’t even quote the insignificant squib that Sputnik itself had quoted from Kerry’s remarks. Instead, he merely paraphrased Kerry, which is far less reliable than a quotation, and also far less informative than the packed shocker that Kerry actually delivered. Saker’s paraphrase was far briefer than was Kerry’s statement which is quoted here; it was merely: “Kerry made a few rather interesting remarks, saying that the Minsk-2  Agreement (M2A) was the only way forward and that he would strongly caution Poroshenko against the idea of renewing military operations.” That’s all there was to it. So, The Saker failed to provide a news-report on Kerry’s shocker. But his news-analysis  of its significance was superb, and it’s extremely worth reading (it’s worth clicking onto the link which will now be provided on the article’s title). That analysis was dated May 13th, and it was bannered, “Yet Another Huge Diplomatic Victory for Russia.”  

But also there was just a slice of real news in The Saker’s article, when he said, only in passing (as if it were insignificant, which it was not), “Then, there was the rather interesting behavior of [Victoria] Nuland, who was with Kerry’s delegation, she refused to speak to the press and left looking rather unhappy.” Nothing more than that, but that’s plenty. In other words: Nuland, the agent whom President Obama had placed in charge of arranging the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, and of selecting the leader of the junta that would be imposed upon Ukraine (“Yats” Yatsenyuk), and who told the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine what to do and how to do it, was now exceedingly disturbed to find herself overridden at this late date in her Ukrainian escapade, publicly overridden by her own immediate boss, Secretary of State Kerry. 

In other words: she is now sidelined. That’s important news, but The Saker there merely hinted at it, and only in passing. So, as a news-report, The Saker’s article was poor but perhaps the best around; but as a news-analysis, it was excellent, and by far the best.

Nuland now knows that she has lost, and that Obama has thrown in the towel on the original plan for Ukraine, which had been for an all-out military conquest of the region, Donbass, where the people had voted over 90% for the man whom Nuland’s team had overthrown on 22 February 2014, Viktor Yanukovych, and so Obama had wanted those people to be either killed or else expelled from Ukraine (so that they’d never again be able to vote in a Ukrainian national election and thus possibly restore a neutralist leadership of Ukraine, such as had existed under the man Obama deposed, Yanukovych).

Consequently, clearly, now, Obama is on-board with the “Plan B” for Ukraine, which Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel had put into place, the Minsk II Agreement, which brought about the present ceasefire, which now has become clearly the utter (even accepted by Kerry) capitulation of Obama’s Plan A on Ukraine, which plan Nuland had been carrying out. Kerry’s public statement there was a public slap in the face to his own #2 official on Ukraine; and it could not have been asserted by him if he were not under Obama’s instruction that the previous plan, to exterminate or drive out all the residents of Donbass, was no longer worth trying, and that the Hollande-Merkel plan would be America’s fall-back position.

Obama’s message in this, through Kerry, to Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, and indirectly also to Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yatsenyuk (the leader whom Nuland herself had selected), is: we’ll back you only as long as you accept that you have failed our military expectations and that we will be stricter with you in the future regarding how you spend our military money. We’re getting in line now behind the Hollande-Merkel peace plan for Ukraine.

Dmitriy Yarosh, and the other outright nazis who had been threatening to overthrow Poroshenko if he doesn’t renew the war against Donbass and seize Crimea; Dmitriy Yarosh, who was the man who had led the Ukrainian coup for the U.S., and whose thugs had dressed as Yanukovych’s security forces when gunning down both police and demonstrators in the February 2014 coup, in order for Yanukovych to become blamed for the bloodshed on that occasion; is now, in effect, being told: if you will try another coup, this time to overthrow our own stooges in Ukraine, then you’re finished, Mr. Yarosh. Don’t do it.

Merkel and Hollande thus won. Putin had decidedly won. Obama and the nazis he had empowered in Ukraine have now, clearly, been defeated. But the mess that Obama’s people have created in Ukraine by their coup and subsequent ethnic-cleansing to eliminate the residents of Donbass, will take decades, if ever, to repair.

Western ‘news’ media can cover it all up, but they can’t change this reality, which, increasingly as time goes by, will expose the press’s failure to have even reported on this historically important U.S. coup in Ukraine and its ultimate failure. As a story about  the press, it is about yet another system-wide press-deceit upon the public, comparable to their ‘news coverage’ of ‘Saddam’s WMD,’ and other lies, in 2002 and 2003. 

More and more people are coming to know what utter rot the Western press are. The news-report that you are now reading here, has been submitted to all of them, but they’ll probably all reject it like they’ve all refused to report the truth that it and its predecessors report and reported about Obama’s nazi (i.e., racist-fascist) takeover of Ukraine. How the Western press will get out of their cover-ups and outright lies, yet again, is hard to imagine. But maybe they’ll just not report it at all — yet again. Obama has thrown in the towel on Ukraine, and still the press hasn’t yet reported it. But now I have, and you’re reading it here, perhaps for the first time, even though Kerry’s sensational remark was made a week ago.

Thus, major historical events (like Kerry’s statement here) occur, in broad daylight, which never were even reported by the Western press — they were instead covered-up, not covered at all, by ‘our’ ‘free’ press.

———-

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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Posted in General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Stratesec’s Walker And His Top Secret Business Partners

Recently it has been noticed that Wirt Walker, a 9/11-insider trading suspect who ran security for several of the impacted facilities, now works with men who were, prior to 9/11, key players in national defense and terrorism response. Given the role that Stratesec played and the relationships between suspects already revealed, this seems more than coincidental. Moreover, these men have top-secret clearances, which further suggests that Walker is a covert operative.

Walker, the son of a CIA and DIA man, was managing director for the Kuwait-American Corporation (KuwAm). This led to his management of Stratesec as well as other KuwAm subsidiaries that have surprising connections to 9/11. Stratesec had contracts to provide security services not only for the World Trade Center (WTC), but also for United Airlines, which owned two of the planes hijacked on 9/11, and Dulles Airport, where American Airlines Flight 77 took off that day.

Walker’s employee Barry McDaniel, the Chief Operating Officer of Stratesec, went from providing security at the WTC to starting a business with one of Dick Cheney’s closest colleagues. The fact that McDaniel is now working with an old partner of Cheney, who as vice president on 9/11 oversaw the failure of the nation’s defenses, raises many interesting questions.

The same kinds of questions can be asked about Walker’s current coworkers. Today, Walker runs Ecohawk Tech Services, an “applied technology company.” The company shares the same address in Leesburg, Virginia as Walker’s other company, Vortex Asset Enhancement. And as with the many other firms registered by Walker, it’s not really clear what the company actually does.

top secretThe only other director of Ecohawk Tech is David W. Hearding, a former military officer. Like other associates of Walker and McDaniel, Hearding has a top secret/SCI security clearance, sometimes called “above top secret.” Why Walker and McDaniel, presumably simple businessmen, are associated with so many secretive individuals can only be guessed.

Until August 2001, Hearding served as the liaison between the commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) and the Joint Staff Office of the Secretary of Defense. Just weeks after Hearding left for a job at SRS Technologies, his STRATCOM office was in the midst of coordinating coincidental military exercises, President Bush’s flight on 9/11, and dispatches of the “doomsday plane.” It appears that, due to the exercises, STRATCOM experienced communications problems and confusion that hindered the air defenses.

EcoHawk is a subsidiary of Walker’s company Eigerhawk. At Eigerhawk, Walker works with Peter H. B. Lejeune, who has been called an expert on terrorism. Lejeune lectures on terrorism and consequence management at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute.

In the years before and after 9/11, Lejeune contributed to several books on terrorism and was considered to be among the nation’s foremost experts. One of his books included a chapter from George Tenet, who was director of the CIA on 9/11. Another contributor to the same book, which had a photo of the smoking WTC towers on the cover, was Michael Sheehan, National Security Council advisor to George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Lejeune’s chapter in the book quoted 9/11 suspect Brian Michael Jenkins as saying, “Terrorists want a lot of witnesses, not a lot of dead.” Jenkins, who designed the WTC security system that Stratesec implemented, is also known to have a history with Miles Kara, who produced the ever-changing stories about the air defense failures on 9/11.

Another surprising thing about Walker’s new partner Lejeune is that he was the Director of Emergency Planning and Response for New York City. From 1978 to 1982, Lejeune ran the City’s emergency response office that later evolved into the Office of Emergency Management under 9/11 suspect Rudy Giuliani. Of course, Lejeune holds top-secret security clearances too so it’s unlikely that he can say much about it.

Lejeune has worked with many of the military contractors that benefited from 9/11. He has also worked directly with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. intelligence communities. Additionally, he is a Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Coincidentally, one of Lejeune’s fellow Fellows there, former SEAL Ken Hamilton, “served as the Air Defense Officer reporting to Commander, U.S. Second Fleet in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.”

Walker and Lejeune have other coworkers at Eigerhawk but it’s difficult to find out much about them. It’s almost as if they were trying to keep a low profile. For example, Aharon Zer, an Israeli financier, is said to have “managed the United States investment activities for an international private business, investment, and trading company.” That seems intentionally vague and therefore details about Zer and his past should draw the attention of 9/11 researchers.

The directors of WTC security companies were an interesting bunch, to be sure. People may remember that Terry McAuliffe, current governor of Virginia, was a director for a WTC security company. However, considering Stratesec’s role “up to the day the buildings fell down,” as McDaniel attested, its leaders and their colleagues are of most interest. Since Walker’s new business partners Hearding and Lejeune have strong links to organizations that were impacted on 9/11, as well as top-secret security clearances, investigators should seek more information about them. If another major terrorist attack occurs, it should not be surprising to find many of the same people in the vicinity of the crime.

Kevin Ryan blogs at Dig Within.

Posted in General | 5 Comments

Is This the Chart of a Healthy Stock Market?

If fundamentals like profits and sales no longer matter, then all that’s left is faith that central banks will never let stock markets fall ever again.

Is this the chart of a healthy stock market? The consensus view is either 1) yes, by definition, as charts don’t matter because the central banks will never let markets fall ever again, or 2) the market has been choppy due to a “soft patch” in the economy, which is about to start growing at 3% instead of .3%.

Nice, but this chart says distribution to me: beneath the jolly surface of new highs, the smart money is selling to greater fools who believe the consensus.

This chart is characterized by lengthy chop-fests in which wild gyrations up and down make a mockery of trends.December 2014 to January 2015 was such a chop-fest, and March to May has been another chop-fest in which Bulls have been unable to put together an uptrend of more than a few days.

The script for insiders distributing (selling) shares to greater foolshasn’t changed in decades. First, juice the market higher with some big orders, then sell into that buying until the market weakens. Reverse the downtrend with another big order, and then resume selling.

This process is even easier in the current era of high-frequency trading and machines executing most of the trades. A few big buy orders is all that’s needed to trigger more buy orders from the trading bots, which are essentially trend-followers, and the smart money can sell into that automated buying.

Despite the occasional new closing high that’s notched to assure the greater fools who have been buying, the market has gone nowhere for months. Beneath the surface, many market internals have been weakening for months–for example, MACD and Chaiken Money Flow.

Those selling into strength can always cherry-pick some market internal that supports the Bull case–if you were selling, wouldn’t you encourage buyers to take the shares you’re dumping off your hands?

Wedges usually break big up or down The current wedge has been formed by the Bulls inability to break out decisively into a new uptrend and the distributors managing to limit any declines lest the herd of greater fools get spooked by the deteriorating fundamentals of stagnating profits, sales, etc. or the painfully obvious blow-off tops forming in global markets.

If fundamentals like profits and sales no longer matter, then all that’s left is faith that central banks will never let stock markets fall ever again. Never, ever; that is of course the language of fairy tales.

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1921: Black Business District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Attacked, Aerially Bombed and Razed, Victims Dumped in Mass Graves

An otherwise poor and uninformative documentary (funded by Pennsylvania Public Television and Corporation for Public Broadcasting) on the US bombing and burning alive of 11 residents, adults and children, of the MOVE house in Philadelphia, 1985, begins with one minute (10:30 to 11:30) on the rarely-mentioned 1921 onslaught, aerial bombing, and incineration of the “Black Wall Street” business district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, by white mobs, including the KKK and government forces.

From the PPT, CPB doc:

May 31st, 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The ‘Negro Wall Street’ district of the Greenwood neighborhood is bombed from the air.

Whites invade the enviable black business district, looting, burning, killing.

The police commandeer private planes. The 101st Airborne is flown in. A load of dynamite is dropped. 75 instantly killed. Hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed.

Four truckloads of bodies are shoveled into mass graves along the Arkansas river.

4,000 black men, women, and children arrested and placed in concentration camps, where they are required to carry ‘passes’.

The city quickly re-zones the neighborhood so that the railroad can be run through, thus completing the destruction of that neighborhood.

Wikipedia states that on May 31 and June 1, 1921:

…a group of white people attacked the black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It resulted in the Greenwood District, also known as ‘the Black Wall Street‘ and the wealthiest black community in the United States, being burned to the ground.

An estimated 10,000 blacks were left homeless, and 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire. The official count of the dead by the Oklahoma Department of Vital Statistics was 39, but other estimates of black fatalities vary from 55 to about 300.

The events of the riot were long omitted from local and state histories. “The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place.”

One official, the police chief, was found guilty of “failing to take proper precautions for protecting life and property, and for conspiring to free automobile thieves and collect rewards.”

“No legal records indicate that any other white official was ever charged of wrongdoing or even negligence.”

Black Wall Street neighborhood after the massacre and being razed:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/Panorama_of_the_ruined_area_tulsa_race_riots.jpg

Of the wider trend of this kind of violence in the US during that period, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elliot G. Jaspin has documented in his book, Buried in Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America, that whites in the US, mainly in the period of about 1900 to about 1920, engaged in extraordinarily widespread, mass “racial cleansings” of large areas in which black people lived.

White terrorists would form mobs and drive out the black people, torturing and killing those who could not escape or refused to leave.  The US government allowed the practice and did not punish or rectify it, and many of the cleansed counties remain entirely white today.

Records, like those from the Black Wall Street massacre, abound of harrowing escapes as white mobs fired at black civilians in their neighborhoods and burned down their houses, forcing people to flee through forests and creeks, hide in wells, or simply get on trains at gunpoint and go away.

Crucially, Jaspin also documents why this history is almost entirely unknown in the US: people either deny or try to explain away racial cleansings [and many other crimes of their society], through tactics such as using euphemisms, making excuses, or, the tactic perhaps most seen today, blaming the victims.

George Orwell wrote: “The nationalist not only does not disprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Lynchings of black people were also a frequent occurrence during, before, and after this period.

Harvard scholar Garikai Chengu notes:

A lynching was a quintessential American public ritual that often took place in front of large crowds that sometimes numbered in the thousands. Historian Mark Gado notes that, “onlookers sometimes fired rifles and handguns hundreds of times into the corpse while people cheered and children played during the festivities”.

…in 1899 the Springfield Weekly described a lynching by chronicling how, “the Negro was deprived of his ears, fingers and genital parts of his body. He pleaded pitifully for his life while the mutilation was going on…before the body was cool, it was cut to pieces, the bones crushed into small bits…the Negro’s heart was cut into several pieces, as was also his liver…small pieces of bones went for 25 cents…”. Such graphic accounts were the norm in the South, and photos, were regularly taken of the lynched bodies on display and made into postcards that were sent all over the country.

Lynchings were sanctioned by the US government, as they were not prevented and went unpunished.

In the US today, Chengu continues, the:

…police state assassinates the Black victim twice. Once by way of lynching and again to assassinate the victim’s character so as to justify the public execution [blaming the victim].

Chauncey DeVega notes at Alternet:

American Exceptionalism [the US state-worshiper’s version of “Our God is the One True God”] blinds those who share its gaze to uncomfortable facts and truths about their own country.

The burned to death images of the black body were a form of mass culture in 19th- and 20th-century America.

DeVega gives some samples of reports on how lynchings were carried out:

Two thousand people gathered for the killing, some taking a special excursion train from Atlanta for the purpose. The leaders of the lynching stripped Hose, chained him to a tree, stacked wood around him, and soaked everything in kerosene. The mob cut off Hose’s ears, fingers and genitals; they peeled the skin from his face. They watched, a newspaper reported, ”with unfeigning satisfaction” as the man’s veins ruptured from the heat and his blood hissed in the flames.

Another lynching:

“Great masses of humanity flew as swiftly as possible through the streets of the city in order to be present at the bridge when the hanging took place … the Negro was … taken to the City Hall … crowds of men, women and children turned and hastened to the lawn.

“On the way to the scene of the burning people on every hand took a hand in showing their feelings in the matter by striking the Negro with anything obtainable, some struck him with shovels, bricks, clubs, and others stabbed him and cut him until when he was strung up his body was a solid color of red, the blood of the many wounds inflicted covered him from head to foot.

“Dry goods boxes and all kinds of inflammable material were gathered, and it required but an instant to convert this into seething flames. When the Negro was first hoisted into the air his tongue protruded from his mouth and his face was besmeared with blood.”

“Life was not extinct within the Negro’s body, although nearly so, when another chain was placed around his neck and thrown over the limb of a tree on the lawn, everybody trying to get to the Negro and have some part in his death. The infuriated mob then leaned the Negro, who was half alive and half dead, against the tree, he having just strength enough within his limbs to support him.

“As rapidly as possible the Negro was then jerked into the air at which a shout from thousands of throats went up on the morning air and dry goods boxes, excelsior, wood and every other article that would burn was then in evidence, appearing as if by magic. A huge dry goods box was then produced and filled to the top with all of the material that had been secured.

“The Negro’s body was swaying in the air, and all of the time a noise as of thousands was heard and the Negro’s body was lowered into the box.” “No sooner had his body touched the box than people pressed forward, each eager to be the first to light the fire, matches were touched to the inflammable material and as smoke rapidly rose in the air, such a demonstration as of people gone mad was never heard before. Everybody pressed closer to get souvenirs of the affair. When they had finished with the Negro his body was mutilated.

“Fingers, ears, pieces of clothing, toes and other parts of the Negro’s body were cut off by members of the mob that had crowded to the scene as if by magic when the word that the Negro had been taken in charge by the mob was heralded over the city. As the smoke rose to the heavens, the mass of people, numbering in the neighborhood of 10,000 crowding the City Hall law and overflowing the square, hanging from the windows of buildings, viewing the scene from the tops of buildings and trees, set up a shout that was heard blocks away.”

In another lynching:

…fingers and toes were cut off, his teeth pulled out by pliers and finally he was castrated. It still wasn’t enough. Irwin was then burned alive in front of hundreds of onlookers (Brundage, p. 42).

DeVega continues that white torture and execution of blacks:

…was a ceremony … with distinct practices, that symbolically purged the black body from the white polity…

The rendering of spectacular violence against non-whites paid a psychological wage to white people that helped to create a type of social cement for White America, one that covered up its own intra-group tensions of class, religion, and gender. This racial logic continues in the present with a racially discriminatory criminal justice system, the murder by police of black and brown people, and how white Americans support such unfair treatment.

A 2001 report on the destruction of Black Wall Street “included the commission’s recommendations for some compensatory actions, most of which were not implemented by the state and city governments. The state passed legislation to establish some scholarships for descendants of survivors, economic development of Greenwood, and a memorial park to the victims in Tulsa. The latter was dedicated in 2010.”

@_DirtyTruths

5/19 Addition:

A 1999 article from The Telegraph notes that “Dr Clyde Snow, the world’s leading authority in forensic anthropology” was at that time “preparing to spend the coming months in his home state of Oklahoma, identifying the remains of hundreds of men, women and children believed buried in communal graves.”

Using radar, scientists found that as many as 400 black people were buried in the mass graves after what Dr. Snow called “a form of ethnic cleansing”.  [Forms the crime takes include physical involuntary transfer of a group, involuntary transfer using terror, murder and other abuses, killing off large parts of the group, as in this case, and others, all of which have been practiced for hundreds of years to create and hold the US territory.]

The Tulsa massacre is largely unknown to US citizens “not least because of a campaign by the local authorities to cover up the full extent of the killing in its immediate aftermath.”

“Dozens of official documents are missing, believed destroyed in the cover-up. Most controversially, a headline and editorial from the Tulsa Tribune that called for whites to “lynch a negro tonight”, which is widely believed to have sparked the slaughter, have been removed from every surviving archive edition. A reward is now being offered for a copy of the original newspaper.”

A survivor, “Clyde Eddy, has come forward to say that he saw boxes of dead blacks being buried secretly in crates in unmarked graves at a city cemetery. Four other possible sites of mass graves are also to be investigated.”

Oklahoma senator Don Ross stated of the massacre that “Some people have worked very hard to keep this hidden”.

Posted in General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | 18 Comments

Seizing an alternative: War lies to hide obviously unlawful wars: propaganda as usual (4 of 7)

The following is my paper for the Claremont Colleges’ conference, Seizing an Alternative Toward an Ecological Civilization, with open registration to the public on June 4-7, 2015.

Paper title:

‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ political collapse: Seizing an alternative to OBVIOUS unlawful wars, bankster looting, lying corporate media

I’ve divided the paper into sections:

Recognizing The Emperor’s New Clothes as THE STORY of today (1 of 7)

Obviously unlawful US/UK wars of the present (2 of 7)

Obviously unlawful Israel wars on Gaza (3 of 7)

War lies to hide obviously unlawful wars: propaganda as usual (4 of 7)

Bankster looting: fundamental fraud that “debt” is “money” (5 of 7)

Lying corporate media: required propaganda trying to hide naked empire (6 of 7)

Integrity for the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (7 of 7)

This section is: War lies to hide obviously unlawful wars: propaganda as usual (4 of 7)

**

How we know US wars are started with lies known to be false as they are told:

In addition to the illegality of US wars, we know from the disclosed evidence of our own government that all claims for current US wars were known to be lies as they were told to the American public and not “mistaken intelligence.” Read this and this for more complete documentation; here’s the summary for lies to initiate War Crimes on Iraq and Afghanistan:

There were four basic claims of facts presented by US political “leadership” to invade Iraq:

  1. Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), a scary-sounding name for specific chemical and biological weapons.
  2. The US intercepted aluminum tubes that could only be used to refine nuclear material; irrefutable evidence that Iraq had restarted a nuclear weapons program.
  3. Saddam had attempted to purchase enriched uranium from Niger; more evidence that Iraq had reconstituted nuclear weapons development.
  4. Saddam had links to Al Qaeda, the alleged terrorists who attacked the US on 9/11.

Here’s what we now know about the evidence from which those claims were made:

  1. George Tenet, Director of the CIA, acknowledged that all US intelligence agency reports “never said there was an imminent threat.”  This was based on a long history of intelligence reports, the facts that the chemical and biological weapons under consideration were relatively weak without a delivery system, and that Iraq was highly motivated NOT to use them against the US given their understanding such use would provoke war with the world’s most powerful military. Because all 16 US intelligence agencies stated in writing in their official National Intelligence Estimate report there is no evidence of any imminent threat, and US leaders used an argument of WMD as a reason for war without documentation of evidence while refuted by every US intelligence agency’s official report, that means this claim was a lie known to be false as it was told.
  2. The Bush administration claim of aluminum tubes that could only be used as centrifuges to refine fissionable material for nuclear weapons is directly refuted by the best expert witnesses available, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Their conclusion is that the tubes in question had diameters too small, the tubes were too thick, using aluminum as the material would be “a huge step backwards,” and the surface was anodized that made them impossible to serve this purpose. They also found that the tubes were easily explained for conventional use, as the specifications perfectly matched tubing for other purposes. The Senate Committee on Intelligence agreed that this claim had no basis from any available evidence. See also here. When the US makes a war-reason without explanation and the evidence is refuted by the two leading expert agencies before the war, that means this claim was a lie known to be false as it was told.
  3. This claim, repeated by President Bush in the 2003 State of the Union Address, was based on the “Niger documents.” These papers were written in grammatically poor French, had a “childlike” forgery of the Niger President’s signature, and had a document signed by a foreign minister who had been out of office for 14 years prior to the date on the document. The forgeries showed-up shortly after the Niger embassy in Rome was robbed, with the only missing items being stationery and Niger government stamps. The same stationery and stamps were used for the forged documents. The CIA warned President Bush on at least three occasions to not make the claim due to the ridiculous evidence. In addition, if Saddam really was making an illegal uranium purchase, it’s likely that both Saddam and the Niger government officials would insist on not having a written record that would document the crime. Republican US Ambassador to Niger, Joseph Wilson, confirmed this information and reported in detail to Vice President Cheney’s office and the CIA. When President Bush and other “leaders” use this claim as a war reason without explanation while analysis of the evidence with all available experts conclude it’s crude forgery, that means this claim was a lie known to be false as it was told.
  4. As to the claim of a relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, all US intelligence agencies reported that no such relationship existed (and here). When Vice President Cheney makes an unsubstantiated war-reason while all 16 US intelligence agencies officially report no such evidence exists AND compelling evidence exists to refute the claim, that means this claim was a lie known to be false as it was told.

Some war liars argue that UN Security Council Resolution 687 from 1991 authorizes resumption of force from the previous Gulf War. This resolution declared a formal cease-fire; which means exactly what it says: stop the use of force. The resolution was declared by UNSC and held in their jurisdiction; that is, no individual nation has authority to supersede UNSC’s power to continue or change the status of the cease-fire (further explanation here). The idea that the US and/or UK can authorize use of force under a UNSC cease-fire is as criminal as your neighbor shooting one of your family members and claiming that because police have authority to shoot dangerous people he can do it. When US leaders claim authority they clearly and OBVIOUSLY do not have, that means this claim was a lie known to be false as it was told.

War lies for unlawful war on Afghanistan: The US acknowledges the Afghanistan government had nothing to do with 9/11. The UN Security Council issued two Resolutions after 9/11  (1368 and 1373) for international cooperation for factual discovery, arrests, and prosecutions of the 9/11 criminals. The Afghan government said they would arrest any suspect upon presentation of evidence of criminal involvement. The US rejected these Resolutions, and violated the letter and intent of the UN Charter by armed attack and invasion of Afghanistan.

The US government requested the cooperation of the Afghanistan government for extradition of Osama bid Laden to be charged with the 9/11 attacks. The Afghan government agreed, as per usual cooperative international law, as soon as the US government provided evidence of bin Laden’s involvement. The US government refused to provide any evidence. The Afghan government refused US troops entering their country and extradition until evidence was provided, and made their argument to the world press for the rule of law to apply to the US extradition request. The US invaded Afghanistan without providing evidence and without UN Security Council approval. President Bush stated, “There’s no need to discuss evidence of innocence or guilt. We know he’s guilty.” Because the Afghanistan government did not attack the US, there was no evidence of imminent threat, the US violated the UN Security Council’s legal authority, the Afghan government took every reasonable act to cooperate, that means this US war claim of “self-defense” was a lie known to be false as it was told.

In conclusion of this section of Emperor’s New Clothes’ unlawful Wars of Aggression, all based on lies known to be lies as they were told: It’s simple enough for anyone to document the crystal-clear letter and intent of two treaties forbidding military armed attack unless under attack by another nation’s government (or imminent threat).

It’s also simple to document what we now know of “reasons” for war to prove they were all known to be false as they were told, when the facts are available for objective view.

If you’re interested in viewing a history of similar easy cases to establish a history of unlawful/treaty-violating wars started with lies, consider:

A history leading to our world of the present of unlawful wars started with lies is vital for understanding political collapse today. If the motivation for wars includes resources and money, we need to address similar Emperor’s New Clothes’ crimes with what we use for money.

**

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

**

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

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

**

Posted in General | 3 Comments

When Europe Gets Greece’s Jingle Mail: Dealing with Default

The costs and consequences of Greece exiting the Eurozone may well dwarf the financial losses triggered by Greece’s default.

The term Jingle mail originated in the great popping of the housing bubble 2008-2011. It refers to defaulting homeowners mailing the keys to their house back to the lender, and it denotes the finality of default: it’s over.

The dream of ownership and easy wealth leveraged by vast debt: over. The dream that loans to marginal borrowers were as good as loans issued to qualified buyers: over.

And most importantly, the lender’s dream that marginal borrowers could somehow make the payments if the terms were tweaked is also over.

Which brings us to the jingle mail Greece is about to send Europe.Greece is analogous to the marginal home buyer who took on way more debt than the household could afford. Europe is analogous to the lender, who faces a spectrum of unsavory options:

1. Accept the reality of default, write off the loans and accept the horrendous losses.

2. Play for time by renegotiating the loan, reducing the payments, stretching the payments over a longer period, etc.

3. Bury the non-performing loan aszombie debt: the loan disappears from the performing loans but isn’t listed as a non-performing loan, either. It has become a zombie loan, neither performing nor non-performing.

Both of the latter strategies are versions of kicking the can down the road: what the lender does not want to do is report the loss and deal with the consequences (such as insolvency, lawsuits, etc.)

So the lender strings the debtor along, squeezing enough interest out to justify the claim that the loan is performing and the asset (i.e. the loan) is still worth its listed value.

The European leadership has done a grand job of stringing Greece along to maintain the illusion that default is not inevitable and final. This stringing the debtor along has yielded impressive returns for Greece’s lenders, at considerable cost to non-Oligarch/non-vested-interests Greeks. Note how little of the Greek “bailout” actually went to the citizenry of Greece and how much was interest paid to Europe’s financial powers.

The loans to Greece benefited both Europe’s financial Aristocracy and Greece’s oligarchies/ kleptocracies. This is ably demonstrated in the recent essay Misrule of the Few: How the Oligarchs Ruined Greece.

Although much has been written about the Troika (the International Monetary Fund–IMF, the European Central Bank–ECB, and the Eurozone), this chart reveals that the IMF and the ECB have relatively little skin in the game. If Greece defaults on all its debts, neither the IMF nor the ECB will be dealt a crippling blow.

The Eurozone’s constituent nations will not be so fortunate: they are on the hook for most of Greece’s loans. Should the loans be written off, the losses will go directly to the nations that ponied up the bailouts and other funds.

Let’s turn to why mortgage lenders have let tens of thousands of defaulted homeowners continue to live rent-free in their jingle-mail homes. If the lender starts liquidation proceedings, the loan immediately becomes non-performing, and the fantasy that the lender will receive the full principle and interest will shatter.

So it’s actually cheaper, in terms of consequences, to let the defaulted borrower continue to live in the home for free. This monthly loss is far more bearable than the enormous loss that must be accepted should the lender start foreclosure proceedings and write the mortgage off.

The Eurozone may well decide that Greece does not have to exit the EU, for analogous reasons. If Greece defaults and exits the Eurozone, the entire Eurozone project is at risk. What’s to stop the other member nations groaning under unpayable debt from defaulting?

The costs and consequences of Greece exiting the Eurozone may well dwarf the financial losses triggered by Greece’s default. Once Greece puts an end to the fantasy that all the principal and interest will be paid in full at some distant point, Greece’s lenders will be forced to jettison the public-relations illusion that tweaking the terms made everyone whole.

That will leave them with only two options: either accept the losses incurred by Greece’s default, or shove Greece’s debt into the zombie column–neither performing nor non-performing.

What’s the PR cover for this zombie status? “Negotiations are continuing.”

Meanwhile, the government of Greece will no longer be able to borrow more money. It will only be able to spend whatever cash it collects. The dream of living beyond one’s means will end. The people of Greece, meanwhile, will continue using euros and remain in the Eurozone.

What’s not to like? Greece doesn’t have to exit the Eurozone, nobody has to pony up more money for a lost cause, and the write-off of debt that will never be paid is set aside in the highly convenient zombie debt status.

Yes, Greece still owes all that principal and interest, and no, it’s no longer making payments, but negotiations are continuing and officials will indefinitely remain close to reaching a deal to squeeze blood from a stone.

 

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

UK PM David Cameron Proclaims: It’s Not Enough To Follow The Law, You Must Love Big Brother

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

It’s not just those domestic extremists and crazy “conspiracy theory” kooks who took serious issue with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent overtly fascist language when it comes to freedom of expression in Great Britain. For example, in a post published today, the UK Independent describes the quote below as “the creepiest thing David Cameron has ever said.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 11.52.20 AM

This statement, and others like it, are a huge deal. This isn’t how the leader of a major civilized Western so-called “democracy” speaks to the citizenry. It is how a master talks to his slaves. How a ruler addresses his subjects. I think the following tweet by Glenn Greenwald earlier today sums up David Cameron’s attitude perfectly well:

Those of us who are in disbelief over David Cameron’s recent language, don’t have to just point to the quote above. There’s a lot more to it than a simple quote. For example, the Guardian reports:

The measures would give the police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”.

A “risk of public disorder,” or a “risk of harassment alarm or distress.” Think about that for a second. Pretty much 90% of all speech could be classified as posing a risk to all of those things. It’s basically banning any criticism the government doesn’t like. Truly remarkable. Now here’s how the magnificent “democracy” of Great Britain plans on dealing with such “extremists.”

They would include a ban on broadcasting and a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media or in print. The bill will also contain plans for banning orders for extremist organizations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but it will fall short of banning on the grounds of provoking hatred.

Although I’m not a British citizen and have never lived in the UK, I have spent some time writing about the disturbing trends happening across the pond due to the historic, cultural, geopolitical and linguistic ties between the U.S. and Great Britain. I warned all about these dangerous trends last fall in the post, The UK’s Conservative Party Declares War on YouTube, Twitter, Free Speech and Common Sense. Here are a few excerpts:

Teresa May wants to “ban non-violent extremist groups that fall short of the current threshold for being banned as terrorist-related organizations.” Think about that very closely. Essentially, she is saying non-violent groups that are currently not breaking any laws should be criminalized by creating new laws. Once this process begins, it will continue to be expanded and expanded until pretty much every form of expression other than government propaganda will be banned.

Secondly, she notes that the new laws are necessary to combat groups that undertake activities “for the purpose of overthrowing democracy.” Considering that the U.S. government changes the meanings of words at a moment’s notice, such as claiming that “imminent” doesn’t really mean “imminent,” I argue that an official government definition of democracy is necessary. Moreover, what if the UK is like the U.S., a state that claims to be a democracy, but in reality is an oligarchy? What are the rules about calling for the removal of an oligarchy?

Have fun mates.

Posted in Politics / World News | 8 Comments

Here’s How Your Senators Voted, in the Key Senate Vote to End American Democracy

Eric Zuesse

The key vote, in the U.S. Senate, to transfer to international corporate panels America’s democratic national sovereignty over the laws and regulations on the environment, workers’ rights, consumers’ rights, and finance, was officially titled with the misleadingly unrelated phrase “Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act,” and it passed the U.S. Senate as “H.R. 1314,” by 65 to 33 votes, at 1:55 in the afternoon of Thursday 14 May 2015. 

That’s five votes more than the 60 votes that the measure needed in order to pass. This is the key congressional action among the many that are required in order for U.S. President Barack Obama’s international-‘trade’ treaties — TPP, TTIP, and TISA — to become law in the United States. It’s the ultimate decision-moment, concerning America’s future.

A “Nay” vote meant that the Senator opposed this transfer of democratic national sovereignty, away from elected representatives of the public, to international corporate panels, whose members will be appointed solely by executives chosen by the controlling stockholders in large international corporations. A “Yea” vote meant that the Senator favored this transfer of democratic national sovereignty over to international corporate panels.

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=114&session=1&vote=00180

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 11.37.17 AM

———-

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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Posted in Business / Economics, Energy / Environment, General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda, Science / Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Top 10 Activist Errors

The number one error, engaged in by the majority of people, is failing to be an activist. The world’s going to hell, countless situations can be easily improved, lives can be saved, and most people just sit there and do nothing. Others actively work to make matters worse. So, if you’re working for peace and justice, you’re among the tiny minority that’s pretty much got the big stuff right. If constructive criticism drives you into despair, please stop reading this article right now and just continue what you’re doing with your life. You have my gratitude.

If you’re open to hearing some suggestions, for whatever they may be worth (and yes, of course, this list of errors will exclude those that I am myself guilty and unaware of), read on:

1. ELECTIONISM. We need elections but do not now have them in the United States, not at the federal level. Working for election reforms is one of the most important things anyone can do. But taking time off from activism to focus on elections is the biggest waste of resources we engage in. Election reform will come through creative nonviolent activism, education, organizing, media, disruption, resistance, and protest. It won’t come through elections. Registering voters is not activism. Creating automatic registration, as just done in Oregon, is activism. Please stifle your compulsion to ask me who I’m voting for. You don’t ask me if I want to win the lottery. (I do, but I will not buy a ticket or devote my life to staring at one.)

2. OBAMANISM. As bad as taking a break from activism every election cycle, is thinking and acting like a voter and a campaigner rather than an activist every day of every year, cheerleading for a team of corrupt officials rather than for policies, reforms, and actions that you support. “The nationalist,” said Orwell, “not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” Nationalism is a huge problem, and its language, which has peace activists using the word “we” in saying “We are bombing Afghanistan,” may contribute to identification with crimes. But the problem of managing not to even hear about them applies to partisanship as well. If a Republican were picking men, women, and children to murder on Tuesdays, you’d see protests.

3. TOKENISM. “Black people are dumb.” “Muslims are violent.” These are understood to be ignorant hate speech. But “Women make better presidents” is not frowned on quite so much, despite its exactly equal idiocy. The problem is not the demographic characteristics of the president. The problem is having a single individual with the powers of a god, in debt to sociopathic billionaires, in a system dominated by militarism and corruption. We won’t change it with a female or gay or Latina corporatist warmonger.

4. STRATEGISM. Winning a first and a second and a third step down a path to peace or justice is not best achieved through the means that many activists think of as “strategic.” If you tell someone that they should halt one war so that the military can be better prepared for other wars, you weaken your argument against the one war, and you provide an argument for future wars. If you oppose the weapons that don’t work, you give legitimacy to the far worse weapons that do work. If you object to a gimmick that boosts weapons spending over a mandated limit by transferring funds from a war budget, you shouldn’t do so in a way that suggests either budget is acceptable at all, or in a way that suggests war spending is preferable to non-war-spending or budget trickery. Pre-compromising doesn’t get you a compromise result; it gets you incoherence and lack of believability. A young woman pointing out to Jeb Bush that his brother (and Hillary and a few hundred others) created ISIS does a lot more to move people against war than do the strategies coming out of DC peace groups. War is counterproductive on its own terms, immoral, illegal, and catastrophic. Its funding should be eliminated. Our job is to demand that. A small reduction is a first step toward our goal.

5. IMPOTENTISM. The most pervasive and powerful propaganda is that of powerlessness. Telling yourself and each other that you are powerless is no different than Judith Miller repeating CIA lies about WMDs. It’s exactly as ridiculous and exactly as damaging. We are not powerless. We quite easily have an impact frequently and could quite easily have a much bigger one. Expecting fairness won’t help. We have to work uphill, but it’s perfectly doable. Being impatient won’t help. We have to keep working however long it takes and however few help out. Self-flagellation won’t help. The money is against you and money is powerful. It’s not your fault you haven’t saved the world, but it might be thanks to you that your grandchildren save it.

6. PAROCHIALISM. We have to form uncomfortably large coalitions, and we really don’t want to. I’m not advocating what I critiqued above as strategism. Don’t sell your soul. Don’t promote destructive ideologies for short-term gain. But don’t be scared of guilt-by-association. Be willing to stand with people on an issue whose views and actions you deeply oppose on other issues.

7. LOCALISM. It’s far more satisfying to find peace in your heart or sustainability in your backyard than to take on the military industrial complex. But if the earth dies, so will you. There are local and hyper-local angles that contribute to the greater cause. Cities and states can change nations. But individual action alone is not enough. Even small group action aimed too near is not enough. If everybody with solar panels on their roofs had put half the money into a movement to create public solar arrays, we’d have them.

8. FREUDISM. In a popular, simplistic notion of nonviolent communication, one never persuades anyone through rational argument. This is a claim, by the way, that comes out of an ideology supposedly dedicated to respecting people and their “needs.” Apparently among those needs is not the need for a good reason to believe something. It would of course be equally simplistic to assert that all one ever needs are facts, or to ignore the age-old wisdom that it is hard to get someone to believe something they are paid not to. But when I tell people that college is free in other countries, their jaws drop, and it’s not 30 seconds before they’re saying it should be that way in the U.S. When I talk to non-self-selected groups about ending war, the majority say at the end that they have been moved toward believing that war can and should be ended. Facts are not enough, but they are one of the main things the corporate media deprives us of, and one of the key components of activism. They do nothing to help us see another’s point of view if we’re unwilling to look. They do nothing to alleviate high levels of fear. But it would be a mistake for us to become inversions of Edward Bernays working to manipulate people in a kinder, gentler manner.

9. FETISHISM. Here’s a little secret. The people who speak the viewpoints that serve big money are not smarter, wittier, pithier, or better at framing a topic. They’re on the air because they speak the viewpoints that serve big money. They may be more eloquent than you. They may be less so. But trying to think and sound like them in general is a quite risky proposition and completely unnecessary. There is nothing we need more than better media and better use of existing media by its readers, listeners, and viewers. There is no smarter place to invest as activists. But what we lack is not spokespeople. What we lack is microphones.

10. PINKERISM. “But haven’t you heard? War is going away on its own? I heard it from someone who read a review of a book by Steven Pinker.” War is not going to go away on its own. It is not even going away with our help. But it could go away if we really get our act together.

<--break->

Posted in General | 1 Comment

Dramatic Clips: The Mystery Bright Spots On Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft flew by the dwarf planet Ceres this week. Located between Mars and Jupiter,  Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt.

Dawn took some stunning pictures.  NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory made an animation from the images:

Animation of Ceres

Then ZLD zeroed in on the bright spots so we could get a good look:

http://i.imgur.com/92iruXN.gif

http://i.imgur.com/tsm3wN0.gif

Scientists are still trying to figure out what’s causing the bright spots … theories being floated are ice, salt, etc.

What do you think the bright spots are: Ice? Salt? Alien disco party? Death Star being powered up?

Update: The new flyby images are making scientists lean towards plain old water ice (as opposed to nastier frozen substances which have been found on other planets).

Posted in Science / Technology | 19 Comments

How America’s ‘News’ Media Killed America’s Democracy: TPP & TTIP

Eric Zuesse

As I reported on Wednesday, a deal was worked out in the U.S. Senate on the early afternoon of May 13th to “Fast-Track” through to approval U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed trade deals, TPP with Asia, and TTIP with Europe. (It should have been reported on the nightly TV news programs, but most of them ignored it then, and reported the news only the next day when the Senators made it official.)

TPP and TTIP have been represented in America’s press as ‘trade’ deals, but instead they’re actually about sovereignty. They’re about America and the other participating countries handing their democratic sovereignty — on regulation of the environment, consumer protection, worker protection, and finance — over to panels, all of whose members will be selected by the large international corporations that for years have been working with U.S. President Obama’s Trade Representative to draft these “trade” treaties.

If some corporation “C” under these ‘trade deals’ then brings a case to one of those panels and says that country “X” has any regulations regarding the environment, consumer protection, worker protection, or finance, that are stricter than the ones that are set forth in TPP and TTIP, then country X will be assessed to pay a fine to corporation C, for “unfair trade practices” against that corporation. 

In other words: these corporate panels will constitute a new international government, with the power to fine countries for exceeding the regulations that are set forth in these international ‘trade’ treaties.

President Obama’s Trade Representative, Michael Froman, has told the AFL-CIO and U.S. Senators that when countries such as Colombia systematically murder labor-union organizers, it’s no violation of workers’ rights — nothing that is of any concern to the U.S. regarding this country’s international trade policies or enforcement. On April 22nd, Huffington Post, one of the few U.S. news media to report honestly on these treaties, bannered “AFL-CIO’s Trumka: USTR Told Us Murder Isn’t A Violation,” and reported that, “Defenders of the White House push for sweeping trade deals argue they include tough enforcement of labor standards. But a top union leader scoffed at such claims Tuesday, revealing that administration officials have said privately that they don’t consider even the killings of labor organizers to be violations of those pacts.” 

In other words: this is and will be the low level of the playing-field that U.S. workers will be competing against in TPP and TTIP, just as it is already, in the far-smaller NAFTA. “Trumka said that even after the Obama administration crafted an agreement to tighten labor protections four years ago, some 105 labor organizers have been killed, and more than 1,300 have been threatened with death.” The Obama Administration is ignoring the tightened regulations that it itself managed to get implemented on paper. “Pressed for details about Trumka’s assertion that murder doesn’t count as a violation of labor rules, Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff, told HuffPost that USTR officials said in at least two meetings where she was present that killing and brutalizing organizers would not be considered interfering with labor rights under the terms of the trade measures.” Furthermore: “’We documented five or six murders of Guatemalan trade unionists that the government had failed to effectively investigate or prosecute,’ Lee said. ‘The USTR told us that the murders of trade unionists or violence against trade unionists was not a violation of the labor chapter.’” That U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, is the same person Obama has negotiating with foreign governments, and with international corporations, both the TPP, and the TTIP.

Any country in TPP or TTIP that brings up worker-protection regulations which are beyond this abysmal level will be fined by corporate panels, and those fines will then become income to the companies whose ‘rights’ (such as to murder labor-organizers) have been violated, under the terms of the given treaty: TPP or TTIP.

And that’s just one example of the type of sovereignty (in this instance over workers’ rights) that is being ceded to international corporations, under these ‘trade’ deals.

As the UN’s top official on such matters has said, TTP & TTIP will produce “a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots.”

It couldn’t have happened if not for the fact that such news reports as that just quoted from Huffington Post have constituted only a tiny minority of the ‘news’ reports about these proposed ‘trade’ deals, in the American press.

Every Senator, and every member of the U.S. House, who votes for “Fast Track” approval for these deals, is looking for big money from big corporations, and not for fulfilling his or her supposed and oathed job: to be an authentic representative of the public back home — and of their children, and future generations.

The idea that these are ‘free market’ treaties is the biggest of all Big Lies. They’re a transfer of sovereignty from national democracies to a fascistic world government. This is the biggest news-story of our times, and it’s been virtually ignored, until it’s too late to stop.

———-

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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Posted in Business / Economics, Energy / Environment, General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda, Science / Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

75% of Americans Have Gum Disease … Here’s a Cheap, Do-It-Yourself Way to Prevent It

Most Americans Have Gum Disease … Which Can Lead to Other Diseases

The New York Times notes that gum disease is rampant:

More than 75% of American adults have some form of gum disease, but according to a major survey, only 60% have any significant knowledge about the problem.

Scientists note that gum disease is associated with host of other diseases, as well.

The Mayo Clinic notes:

Your oral health might affect, be affected by, or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

  • Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
  • Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

WebMD points out:

“There are a lot of studies that suggest that oral health, and gum disease in particular, are related to serious conditions like heart disease,” says periodontist Sally Cram, DDS, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association.

***

One study found that the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease (gingivitis), cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

***

Experts know that bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through the gums. These same bacteria have been found clumped in artery plaques. So one theory is that these bacteria stick to the fatty plaques in the bloodstream, directly contributing to blockages.

Columbia University Medical Center also found that gum disease is associated with lowered brain function, at least in elderly people.

The New York Times notes that gum disease is associated with diabetes and perhaps autoimmune diseases.

Indeed, studies show that health care costs are some 21% higher in those with gum disease. And see this.

Modern Science Proves that Ancient Trick Works

Numerous studies show that the 5,000 year old Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling (i.e. swishing with certain vegetable oils) works to prevent gum disease.

How does it work?

Prevention explains:

“Oral bacteria are fat-loving. Swishing the oil around your mouth attracts the bad bugs to help pull it off of surfaces,” says Jessica Emery, a doctor of dental medicine and owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago.

Similarly, Men’s Health notes (May 2015, p. 20):

Think of oil as a magnet for microbes, says Lyla Blake-Gumbs, M.D., M.P.H., a staff physician and assistant professor of integrative medicine at Cleveland Letter College of Medicine. Oral bacteria contain fats that latch on to the fats in the oil, causing the bugs to be pulled out of your mouth when you spit into the sink.

A study suggested another way that it works:

There are clear indications of possible saponification and emulsification process, which enhances its mechanical cleaning action.

“Saponification” means “soap-making”.  Because vegetable oils have long been used to make soap,  this means that swishing vegetable oil around in your mouth for a while creates soap … which acts to mechanically but gently scrub out your mouth.

Another study suggested another potential mechanism of oil pulling:

The possible mechanism of action of this oil therapy could be that the viscosity of the oil probably inhibits bacterial adhesion and plaque co aggregation.

Studies show that oil pulling can:

  • Reduce cavity-causing bacteria (see this, this, this and this).  One study found, “There was a remarkable reduction in the total count of bacteria. The process of oil-pulling reduced the susceptibility of a host to dental caries.”

And see this and this.

Huffington Post reports:

[Oil pulling] can be a good way to supplement recommended practices like tooth brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist, says Michelle Hurlbutt, RDH, MSDH, an associate professor of dental hygiene at Loma Linda University in Southern California.

“[Oil pulling] should not be used to treat oral disease such as gum disease or tooth decay,” Hurlbutt told The Huffington Post. “It’s more of a preventive rinse that could be used adjunctively with your regular mouthcare routine.”

Hurlbutt found evidence of its effectiveness after recently completing a small pilot study that showed oil pulling can decrease the bacteria associated with dental cavities. She took a group of 45 healthy young adults who had high levels of mouth bacteria and were not currently taking antibiotics or using antimicrobial toothpaste.

Hurlbutt then instructed them to oil pull daily for two weeks and stop on the third week. The participants were divided into three groups according to what they were swishing around their mouths: sesame oil, which is the oil studied most for oral health; coconut oil, which has gained contemporary fans for its anti-microbial properties; and regular old water, the control group.

She then measured levels of Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria associated with a high risk of cavities, throughout the two-week oil pulling period and again after the third week. She found that the sesame oil group experienced a five-fold decrease in the bacteria as compared to the water group, while the coconut oil group experienced a two-fold decrease. But after the daily oil pulling stopped, levels of the bad bacteria began to creep up again.

CNN notes:

Results can be expected in a few months, [Amala Guha, assistant professor of immunology and medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center] says, with benefits such as reduced plaque, cavity prevention and stronger gums for individuals who already have a healthy mouth. For the person with plaque buildup, she recommends a teeth cleaning first for faster results.

DOs and DONTs of Oil Pulling

Studies show that sesame oil or coconut oil work best for oil pulling. Both oils have the right properties and textures to be effective. They also contain ingredients that are good for your gums: sesame oil has a lot of vitamins and minerals, and coconut oil contains a natural antimicrobial substance called lauric acid.

Buy cold-pressed oil. That doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg … for example Trader Joe’s sells cold-pressed coconut oil. (If it’s solid at room temperature, just let it melt in your mouth before you start swishing.) And there are many sources of cold-pressed sesame oil (here’s one example).

Swish gently for 10-20 minutes (don’t swallow), then spit out into a cup or the trash (don’t spit coconut oil in a drain, as it might clog your drain).  Rinse with water, and then brush your teeth.

That’s it!

There are numerous videos showing you how to do oil pulling.

Note:  It is vital that you also brush and floss well, and see your dentist regularly.  If you have gum problems, see a periodontist. Oil-pulling should NOT replace these basic hygiene measures … merely supplement them.

Also, we have no idea about whether oil pulling does anything besides improve oral health.  While there are numerous claims on the Internet, we have not researched any of the other claims about conditions which oil pulling improves … and doubt that it is a cure-all.

We are not health professionals, and this does not constitute medical advice.

For more fascinating health tips, see:

Posted in General, Science / Technology | 5 Comments

The Central Problem with Central Banks: They Become the Greater Fools/Bag-Holders

Those who are confident the central banks can print unlimited money may find there are political and financial consequences to such extremes that cannot be foreseen.

The central problem with central banks is their mandate now includes propping up all asset markets globally. Back in the good old days before the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008-09, central bankers reckoned they could control the “animal spirits” released when the risk-on herd destabilized into a chaotic risk-off stampede.

As former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan noted in his 2014 Foreign Affairs article Why I Didn’t See the Crisis Coming, the models used by central banks and private economists alike presumed the demand for risk-on assets would remain robust even in a downturn:

Almost all market participants were aware of the growing risks, but they also knew that a bubble could keep expanding for years. Financial firms thus feared that should they retrench too soon, they would almost surely lose market share, perhaps irretrievably. In July 2007, the chair and CEO of Citigroup, Charles Prince, expressed that fear in a now-famous remark: “When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.”

Financial firms accepted the risk that they would be unable to anticipate the onset of a crisis in time to retrench. However, they thought the risk was limited, believing that even if a crisis developed, the seemingly insatiable demand for exotic financial products would dissipate only slowly, allowing them to sell almost all their portfolios without loss.

They were mistaken. They failed to recognize that market liquidity is largely a function of the degree of investors’ risk aversion, the most dominant animal spirit that drives financial markets. Leading up to the onset of the crisis, the decreased risk aversion among investors had produced increasingly narrow credit yield spreads and heavy trading volumes, creating the appearance of liquidity and the illusion that firms could sell almost anything.

But when fear-induced market retrenchment set in, that liquidity disappeared overnight, as buyers pulled back. In fact, in many markets, at the height of the crisis of 2008, bids virtually disappeared.

Translated into plain English, what Greenspan and other conventional economists expected was a deep pool of greater fools would gladly lose money by buying assets that were plunging in value. Greenspan et al. reckoned the seemingly insatiable demand for exotic financial products implied that greater fools would continue to “buy the dips,” enabling Wall Street financiers to unload the near-worthless exotic financial products to those willing to absorb rapidly increasing losses.

The problem with this model is the pool of greater fools drains almost instantly, leaving Wall Street holding the bag of collapsing-in-value risk-on assets. As the exotic financial products crashed to Earth, the highly leveraged banks were quickly rendered insolvent.

The world’s central banks have attempted to keep the asset bubbles inflated by lowering interest rates and manipulating markets with secret purchases of assets, either directly or through proxies.

Whenever markets threatened to collapse, central banks stepped in and “bought the dip,” reinforcing the faith that central banks will never let markets fall.

The problem for central banks is the pool of greater fools is increasingly skittish.Once the herd is no longer willing to “buy the dip,” central banks will have no other choice other than to increase their buying–in effect, replacing private demand with their own purchases of assets.

That works when a few billion dollars spent “buying the dips” reinvigorates private “animal spirit” buying. But when the risk-on herd stampedes into risk-off selling, markets go bidless: there are no more greater fools left except the central banks.

Central banks have inflated the markets to such high valuations that no central bank can possibly buy enough to keep the bubble intact. Here is Doug Noland’s summary:

Total Debt Securities grew to $36.152 trillion, or 208% of U.S. GDP. Total Equities inflated to $36.457 trillion, or 209% of GDP. Having inflated almost 2,000% since 1981, Total Securities ended 2014 at $72.608 trillion, or an unprecedented 417% of GDP.

The Federal Reserve expanded its balance sheet of assets owned from $800 billion in 2008 to $4.5 trillion at the end of its quantitative easing programs in 2014. This massive expansion was enough to calm the stampede and reinforce another six years of risk-on herd buying.

But having succeeded in blowing another unprecedented global bubble in assets, central banks have backed themselves into a corner of direct asset purchases to prop up markets. In the U.S. alone, a risk-off selling spree that liquidated 10% of the $72 trillion in financial assets would require the Fed to print $7 trillion and use every dollar to buy the assets being dumped wholesale by the stampeding herd.

Can central banks double, triple and quadruple their balance sheets almost overnight to absorb the mass dumping of risk-on assets? Will there be no consequences, political and financial, to central banks becoming the greater fools who will buy even as asset values are crashing?

The conventional view is that the Fed will never need to print-and-buy more than a few hundred billion dollars to stem the tide of selling. But the conventional view has a fatal flaw that Greenspan outlined in his Foreign Affairs article: when markets go bidless, “animal spirits” may be beyond calming. Once central bank buying fails to stem the tide, markets will truly panic.

At that point, central banks will have to decide to buy trillions of dollars of rapidly depreciating assets or finally let the market find its own level. Those who are confident the central banks can print unlimited money may find there are political and financial consequences to such extremes that cannot be foreseen.


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“Free Trade” Run Amok: Canada Challenges U.S. Laws Reining In Banks

 

We noted in 2013 that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) would let big banks run amok, and would increase the cost of consumer loans.

Ellen Brown asked last month:

Under the TPP, could the US government be sued and be held liable if it decided to stop issuing Treasury debt and financed deficit spending in some other way (perhaps by quantitative easing or by issuing trillion dollar coins)? Why not, since some private companies would lose profits as a result?

Under the TPP or the TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership under negotiation with the European Union), would the Federal Reserve be sued if it failed to bail out banks that were too big to fail?

[U]nder the Netherlands-Czech trade agreement, the Czech Republic was sued in an investor-state dispute for failing to bail out an insolvent bank in which the complainant had an interest. The investor company was awarded $236 million in the dispute settlement. What might the damages be, asks Firestone, if the Fed decided to let the Bank of America fail, and a Saudi-based investment company decided to sue?

Michael Snyder noted:

[TPP] would give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives ….

We’ve all been proven right …

Specifically, Reuters reports today that Canada is trying to stop enforcement of America’s law prohibiting big banks from engaging in risky “prop trading” for the banks’ own gambling profit on Canadian debt:

The U.S. ban on its banks doing proprietary trading of Canadian debt likely violates an international agreement between the nations, Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Wednesday, urging American lawmakers to adjust the so-called Volcker Rule.

The rule, meant to curb risky Wall Street trading seen to have worsened the 2007-2009 financial crisis, would stop U.S. banks from trading non-U.S. government bonds with their own money unless exemptions are met.

“I believe, with strong legal basis, that this rule violates the terms of the NAFTA agreement,” Oliver said of the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

“I hope the United States administration sees that changing the Volcker Rule is in its own best interests

TPP is NAFTA on steroids. If it passes, any ability of the U.S. to rein in the big banks will be lost

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