Percentage of Health-Uninsureds in U.S. Rises by 1.7%

Since Obama First Promised to Lower It by 100%

Eric Zuesse

On 23 June 2015, Bloomberg news bannered “Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Since Obamacare Implementation” and reported that, “Last year, 16.3 percent of adults under age 65, or about 31.7 million people, lacked medical coverage, according to a CDC survey published Tuesday. That’s down from 20.4 percent a year earlier [2013, when Obamacare started].” 

However, back at the start of 2008, when Barack Obama was campaigning against Hillary Clinton and they were both promising “Making health insurance universal” (The New York Times said that Obama “aims for universal coverage”) or a 0% rate of uninsureds, the most-reliable figure at that time for the percentage who had no health insurance was Gallup’s: 14.6%. Comparing that with the just-released figure from the CDC of 16.3%, there has been a rise in uninsureds, of 1.7%. (However, the latest figure from Gallup is from March 2015, 12.9%, which is a decline of 1.7% from that initial 14.6%, instead of an increase of 1.7% from it.)

What happened since 2008 was that, when Obama became elected in November of that year, the Gallup percentage started rising to a peak of 18.0% in October 2013, when Obamacare first began enrolling people; and it has declined since that time, back down to (according to Gallup in March this year) 12.9%.

Apparently, when Obama became elected, millions of Americans dropped their insurance in the expectation that much better policies (including a public option) would soon become available — those people didn’t want to lock themselves into anything during that interim, while there was uncertainty as to what would soon become available. As the delays in Obamacare became unexpectedly extended until October 2013, more and more people simply became uninsured — waiting for something better. Obama is now comparing that peak versus the latest figures in order to show (by focusing on a claimed decline in uninsureds) that his promise of “Universal Coverage” hasn’t been a total lie — which it is, and was. The media play along with his fraud.

What Bloomberg and other news-media are now doing is to stenographically report the Administration’s deceptions, by comparing the latest percentage to the peak percentage — which was about 17% in 2013 according to Gallup, or about 20% in 2013 according to CDC, which always shows around 3% higher figures than Gallup. That peak was artificially inflated by the accumulation of people waiting for Obamacare before making renewal-commitments; so, comparing to that peak in order to indicate progress at bringing the rate down in comparison to the situation that existed in 2008 is fraudulent.

Honest would be to compare the 2008 uninsureds-rate versus the latest uninsureds-rate. (After all: 2008 is when the promise of “Making health insurance universal” was being made, and upon which voters were relying. It wasn’t being made in 2013 — five years after the election. The 2013 figure is irrelevant.) The latest percentage of uninsureds according to the CDC’s just-released figure was actually 16.3% (which covered throughout all of 2014), but the latest figure in the Gallup survey, March 2015, was 12.9%. The CDC figures appear steadily to be approximately 3% higher than Gallup’s. If the actual uninsureds-rate back in 2008 was 3% higher than Gallup’s 14.6%, or was 17.6%, and if the March 2015 rate was not Gallup’s 12.9% but instead was also 3% higher, or 15.9%, then the March 2015 uninsureds-rate is actually 1.7% lower than was the rate in 2008 — and that’s probably the best possible way to estimate the effect that Obamacare has thus far had on the numbers of uninsured persons: The uninsureds-percentage is probably around 1.7% lower now than it was then.

The Bloomberg News report goes on to say that, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has helped many Americans get health insurance, including about 10 million through new markets with government subsidies, and millions more through an expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor.” Bloomberg’s stenographic report from the Administration further makes clear that some Republican-controlled states have tried to sabotage the ability of Obamacare (“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”) to reduce the numbers of uninsureds. However, that Republican effect nationwide actually accounts for very little of Obama’s failure to have lived up to his promise of “Universal Coverage,” which (100% insureds) is something that all other industrialized nations (and some non-industrialized nations) already have. Obama’s plan (which was virtually identical to Hillary Clinton’s and to John Edwards’s) simply wasn’t even designed so as to make universal insurance possible. He (and they) simply lied to Democratic voters, in order to win the Party’s nomination.

Voters were treated like suckers by all of the well-funded candidates. It was a lying-contest (just as the Republican campaigns were). And, subsequently President Obama’s Solicitor General presented an argument to the U.S. Supreme Court that political lying is protected speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, so that no state may legislate any restrictions against it. The Court ruled unanimously in favor of that view as constituting the Founders’ conception of our ‘democracy’ — essentially dictating that ‘democracy’ should be a lying-contest (as if that’s what our Founders had in mind). This is the view that liberals and conservatives — as represented by ‘our’ Government today — now hold about “democracy.” Essentially, they despise democracy, if they even think it’s possible at all. However, regardless of whether democracy exists, it certainly doesn’t exist in the U.S. (even though many people here who should know better continue to say that it does — but maybe they too endorse political lying). And here is the best quickie-summary video on that study, and it even explains why the U.S. has turned into a dictatorship. It shows how this transition, from a democracy into a dictatorship, results from the institutionalization of political lying — the type of thing that all of the well-funded candidates were engaging in during 2008.

Lies control the U.S.; so, it’s no longer a democracy; it’s institutionalized rule by liars: truth-tellers can’t even compete politically. That’s the real reason why the United States still doesn’t have what all other industrialized countries do: healthcare for all — basic essential healthcare as a right, instead of as a privilege that is accessible only to those who can afford it.

So, that’s the fuller story behind “Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Since Obamacare Implementation.” Bloomberg’s headline was intentionally misleading — fraudulent.

The headline here, “Percentage of Health-Uninsureds in U.S. Rises by 1.7%,” using statements from the Obama Administration (which have at various times cited as the latest both the 16.3% CDC figure for 2014 and the 12.9% Gallup figure for March 2015) might instead be (and without sacrificing basic honesty, and this would actually be the most likely true estimate:

Percentage of Health-Uninsureds Declines by 1.7%

Since Obama First Promised to Eliminate It by 100%

Not that it would make much difference, because even a 1.7% decline isn’t anywhere near to being a 100% decline.

In summary, then: Obama lies through his teeth; it’s a fact, no mere charge by Republicans — who are just as much liars as he is. And the press play along by (like they did with “Saddam’s WMD” in 2002 and 2003, propagandizing for an unnecessary multi-trillion-dollar ongoing catastrophe in Iraq) stenographically reporting deceptions by the government as if they weren’t even intended to deceive the public. (“Oh, it’s ‘mistakes’!”) America’s press aren’t in the business of exposing the government’s lies. America’s press are instead in the business of transmitting the government’s lies to the public. (And, then, politicians, if confronted later with their lies, might admit their ‘mistakes’ — as if a lie were instead a mistake — so, that’s yet another lie from such a politician. They think that the American public are endless, irremediable, suckers, people who can never rationally learn from experience.)

Or, in other words: However much trust Americans have in the government and the ruling establishment (including the nation’s press), it’s too much. (For example, this news report is being sent to them all; but if you’ll google the headline here you’ll see how many of them actually report it. One thing that virtually no major news-media report is the virtually total corruption of America’s press, as propagandists for corporate-funded political parties. But that very corruption is my main topic. So, please spread this news-report to everyone you know. It’s samizdat in the U.S., just like was so in the U.S.S.R. — it’s merely exposing fascism, instead of exposing communism. Your friends should know about it, too.)

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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.

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How to Stop the TPP

The House and Senate have rammed through Fast Track.

Here are the senators who voted for Fast Track: http://1.usa.gov/1GtAdTH

And the House members who voted for Fast Track: http://1.usa.gov/1GAl1TT

We always said this would virtually guarantee passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But it doesn’t absolutely guarantee it.

One way to stop it would be to pull out a seldom-used tactic in the United States that is indispensible in other nations. We could threaten consequences at the polling place for TPP supporters.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, I know — No, not kidding, I actually know — that in some small percentage of cases this could end up meaning that you’ve committed to voting against someone who faces in a future election someone else who looks even worse. But fear of that has in fact produced a pattern of, in fact, worse candidates followed by even worse candidates for years now. How, pray tell, do you propose to ever get any better candidates?

The TPP is a disaster that towers over considerations of gentility and lesser-evilism. This is Congress, as our supposed representatives, giving the power to overturn its own laws to corporations. Why would you care whom you elect to a body that no longer has the power to make laws? It’s already given up the power to stop wars.

The TPP is NAFTA on steroids, economically and environmentally destructive at home and abroad. Most of it has nothing to do with trade, but is rather about empowering banks and corporations with powers that couldn’t be passed separately or transparently because they’re too terrible and unpopular.

It’s time we take a stand against wrecking the world, even with corrupt politicians who can find someone slightly more corrupt to run against.

It’s time we signed this petition:

If you don’t oppose and vote against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, I will oppose and vote against you in every future primary and general election in which you are a candidate.

Please sign it here.

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Collapse Part 3: No Institutional Path to Contraction

One poorly understood source of collapse is the lack of pathways to contraction and a reduction of complexity/cost. The only pathway that is clearly marked is the one to expansion–of production, debt, credit, government, income, benefits, costs and complexity: more agencies, more regulations, more committees, more staff, more of everything.

The path to less complexity, less debt, less production and a contraction of the entire system doesn’t exist in most institutions.

Many dismiss any talk of collapse as mere fear-mongering. This is a legitimate issue to discuss, for if we focus exclusively on the lurid horrors of being killed by a shark in open water (for example) while ignoring the much higher risks of being killed by falling off a ladder at home, we have distorted the risks of accidental death and done a disservice to our understanding of various risks.

But collapse is not an event, it is a process. As a result, systemic collapse doesn’t lend itself to statistical calculations of probability. Processes are driven by dynamics, not odds.

So those dismissing any discussion of collapse as mere fear-mongering are doing a disservice to our understanding of processes–or lack thereof. One interesting feature of collapse is that it can result from either a choking over-abundance of complex, costly processes or a complete lack of essential processes, conceptually and practically.

Which brings us to the process that is lacking virtually everywhere–the process of contraction: shrinking the system, income, headcount, complexity and being productive with less of everything.

The corporate world offers many examples of what happens when the process of contraction and reducing complexity does not exist: companies buckle, fold and go bust. The world’s corporate darling Apple experienced this precise death-spiral in 1996-1997 before the company’s board brought Steve Jobs back as CEO. (So tentative was the board that Jobs was appointed “interim CEO.”)

Apple had only one path: expansion. More fiefdoms, more staff, more product lines, more models, more sales, more profits. The reversal from profits to losses marooned the company, for there was no institutional history of a vast reduction in products, fixed costs and organizational complexity.

Not only was there no institutional history of downsizing, there was no conceptual or practical pathway from unprofitable bloat and institutional failure to a leaner, flatter more productive system. Without an emergency infusion of cash from Microsoft and the appointment of a manager empowered to slash and burn fixed costs and re-set priorities and product lines, Apple would have collapsed.

The same can be said of the European Union. The bylaws of the EU (as I understand them) define the pathway of expanding the EU but not the pathway of forcibly shedding members. Member nations may elect to leave the EU of their own volition, but there is no mechanism in place for the EU to eject member nations such as Greece.

In other cases, systems are structured so any contraction leads to collapse. This is the nature of our debt/leverage-based financial system: any contraction in debt, credit or inflation will bring the system down because the system is predicated on the permanent expansion of collateral to support more debt and the expansion of income to service debt.

If either collateral or income declines, the system implodes:

a

This is not an event, it is a process. If debt and leverage expand while collateral and income decrease, the system becomes systemically more fragile and prone to destabilization. The financial system is dynamic and has multiple inputs; on its current setting, the system will become increasingly fragile. If alternative policies were put in place, it could become increasingly resilient.

Systems with no conceptual or practical pathway to contraction and reduced complexity/fixed costs are more at risk of collapse than systems with institutional pathways for successful reductions in debt, credit, income, fixed costs and complexity.

How many institutions have proven pathways for becoming smaller, leaner, and flatter in organizational structure? Very few, as the default setting for the past 60 years has been expansion and more of everything. Less of everything does not compute.

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Update to US War Manual Makes it Easier to Defend Killing Journalists

The US has always been a deadly force for journalists.  The US invasion of Iraq launched in 2003, for example, as Al Jazeera reports, is the single “deadliest war for journalists” ever waged: “More journalists were killed during the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq than in any war in history.”

Now, as US and EU officials and propagandists regularly denounce the journalism of outlets they don’t like (ie ones that debunk Western propaganda), and the US positions tanks, artillery, trainers, and other equipment and hostile forces on Russia’s border, the US is further muddying its official definition of “journalist”.

Under the Bush Jr. regime, a phrase with no occurrence or standing in law was invented as an “excuse” to illegally violate the Geneva Convention and use outlawed treatment, such as execution, torture, military instead of civilian courts, and indefinite imprisonment, on whomever the US wanted, including journalists.  That phrase was “unlawful combatant”.  (The perpetrators of crimes “excused” by the phrase are all being protected by Obama.)

Under the Obama regime, the made up phrase is being replaced by the Pentagon with a new one that is even broader and more vague: “unprivileged belligerent”.  This is different from the previous term in that it does not specify any relation to law, but rather to a notion of “privilege”.  Likewise, it conveys no direct relation to combat, but rather simply to “belligerence”.

Obama is already infamous for creating false definitions for words and terms to cover major crimes, such as executions of thousands of suspects and civilians (see: 1, 2, 3).

And the new war-conduct manual directly links the new vague and highly exploitable phrase, “unprivileged belligerent”, to journalists, stating:

“In general, journalists are civilians. However, journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents.”

A Telesur News analyst notes that “The classification of journalists as ‘unprivileged belligerents’ is leading experts to conclude that the U.S. Department of Defense has given the green light for soldiers to kill journalists.”  The classification could also be used to justify the continuation and/or extension of other types of illegal treatment of journalists, such as torture or indefinite imprisonment, which the US practices.

In response, the Pentagon assured media that this was not the case (what else would it say?).

Obama is known as particularly hostile towards informational awareness and the press, having persecuted more whistle-blowers than all previous presidents combined, and having carried out other actions such as classifying journalists as terrorists, having journalists imprisoned without trial, and aiding armed groups, such as the post-coup regime in Kiev, as they purge and murder journalists en masse.

While the new manual does not necessarily represent the stance of the US government as a whole, it applies to the armed wings and could be cited by anyone, as Telesur notes, including foreign actors, as justification for continued crimes.

Also see: Award-winning Serbian director Emir Kusturica predicts that if Washington starts a hot war with Russia, RT, one of the world’s most popular news outlets, will be among the US’s first targets.  In the late ’90s, US forces planted and detonated explosives in Serbian state media buildings.

@_DirtyTruths

Author focuses on force dynamics, national and global.

Posted in General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | 5 Comments

The Day the Earth Died

And Why Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Etc., Were Virtually Silent About It

Eric Zuesse

As the civilizations that we all know, and love, and lived, slide increasingly into totalitarian misery; and the environment, which had been our lives, becomes less and less livable, there will be, in retrospect, one key day, which historians will mark, as the turning-point toward Earth’s death; and it was 23 June 2015. That’s the day when the U.S. Senate, which had previously turned down the procedural move (called “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority,” and discussed here) that opens the door to passing U.S. President Obama’s falsely-called ‘trade’ deals, finally (in effect) passed it — thereby reducing the Constitutionally required two-thirds of Senators that’s needed to approve any of these treaties in order for it to become law, down to merely an unConstitutional 50% of the Senators (+ the Vice President as the tie-breaker), as if a treaty were like any merely ordinary law (which requires only 50%+1); “Fast Track” thus enormously increases the likelihood of passing any of Obama’s world-murderous ‘trade’ treaties, from approximately 0%, to approximately 100%.

Here is how these treaties will murder the Earth:

Each of these ‘trade’ deals is about lots more than merely international commerce; it is far more fundamentally about sovereignty — who rules?  There is a feature in each one of them that empowers international corporations to sue any member-nation to the treaty, which tries to pass any regulation, including any environmental regulation, that is stricter than what is set in stone forever in the given ‘trade’ deal. If, for example, scientists discover that, in order for our planet not to go into an exponentially increasing temperature — basically, to go environmentally haywire, and a rapid descent into planetary death (unlivable) — then the requirements for cutting back on fossil fuels must be increased, the situation will already be one in which any member nation that would even try to increase those requirements will be sued by international oil and coal and gas corporations for trying to prevent such environmental haywire, and these lawsuits will be adjudicated by panels not of judges who are appointed by democratically elected representatives of the given nation’s public, but instead by mere panels of international ‘arbitrators’ whose careers will be dependent upon how favorably they rule for international corporations. There will be no democracy, at all, in this. The member-nations to the treaty will no longer actually be democracies. (If they ever were.) There will be a higher power, and it’s trans-national: the hundred or so individuals who collectively control all of the major international coporations.

Instead of national democracies, the member-nations of these ‘trade’ deals will have become little more than supplicants to the international corporate dictatorship, which dictatorship rules collectively over all of the national signatories to the international ‘trade’ treaty.

Now, it’s true that the international corporations will not be empowered to change any law within any one of the member-nations; but, they won’t even need to. How do you think that, in this circumstance, countries will handle their regulatory obligations, if they can be sued for increasing their national standards so as to accommodate new scientific findings, or even merely in order to change financial regulations so as to prevent crashes such as in 1929 and 2008? Any increase in any national regulation will place that nation in almost certain jeopardy of being internationally assessed to pay huge fines to the suing international corporations. That will become the great international racket: suing nations, for violating the ‘rights’ of international investors — ‘rights’ that transcend any of the rights of the citizenry in any one of those countries. (No contrary provision is afforded for nations, to sue international investors; it’s all just one-way.)

So: these ‘trade’ deals will not directly and overtly block any increase in the regulations of food-safety, the environment, drug-safety, worker-safety, workers’ wages, medical care, education, or any of the many other things that governments must regulate in order for the public to be protected, and served. Instead, this legislative blockage will be indirect, and covert. But it will be just as real, and just as effective, as if it were an outright legal prohibition. The individual nations will be forced to yield to the ‘higher’ rights (the real sovereignty) of the top international investors.

In other words: What the U.S. Senate did on 23 June 2015 was to hand America’s sovereignty over to international corporations. It gave President Obama what he had been seeking with unprecedented intensity, and which he has called his “legacy”: it’s the power to transfer lots of America’s democratic national sovereignty over to international corporations — that is, to the roughly 100 individuals on this planet who own the controlling blocks of stock in the world’s large international corporations, the people who are the real beneficiaries in all of this.

Not only will environmental regulations be frozen into place, once a given treaty is in force, and so the entire planet will become, essentially, doomed (because emerging science will be ignored if it doesn’t serve the interests of the hundred or so top billionaiures); but protections of workers’ rights will also not increase — not rise in any country — beyond what the treaty specifies. The set-in-stone standards will govern, while the planet simply boils away, and boils off. This will have been the ultimate conservative victory.

The end result of that conservative victory will be global impoverishment, and ultimate environmental collapse, while the world’s few billionaires, and especially the richest hundred of them, will become enormously richer, because their freedoms and associated power will be enormously increased, at everyone else’s expense, by what happened on 23 June 2015. And, of course, those international corporations have been lobbying and buying politicians to the tune of billions of dollars, precisely in order to achieve this outcome — their totalitarian international power.

The most curious aspect of this catastrophic outcome is that the so-called ‘charities’ and ‘non-profits,’ such billionaires’ tax-writeoffs as the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations that are already heavily beholden to international corporations and to the people who control those, have been basically silent about the planetary destruction that their sponsors have been fighting to achieve, via Obama’s ‘trade’ deals. (There’s been token resistance, but only token.) The American public had falsely thought that only a few amendments needed to be added in order for these to be ‘good’ ‘trade’ deals for the public — amendments such as “Trade Adjustment Assistance,” which would provide token and brief transitional training to some of the millions of Americans who will be losing their jobs, as those jobs become increasingly outsourced abroad to lower-wage or more brutally anti-union countries and make ‘us’ more like ’them’ — the low-wage and desperate masses there.

The real “us,” and “them,” are instead the public, versus the aristocracy. It’s so within every country, but it’s unmentionable in the United States; and when you look at ‘non-profits’ such as Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc., and see that they were virtually silent and not vigorously exposing the corrupt ‘liberals’ during the legislative process, while this monstrosity was passing into law — a monstrosity that will make all of those organizations’ alleged ‘missions’ into mere mockery — the victory of them, over us, was as if those nominal ‘charities’ had never even existed.

For example: the websites of all of those ‘charities’ should have been flaming against “ISDS” as being an Earth-killer, but they weren’t. Instead, they focused on far less-dangerous features, “threats to forests” and the like. That was more covering-up than exposing the mega-threat.

We’re not all in this together. And they know it. Only the public were prevented from knowing it — until too late. 

For more about this, see the article I previously linked to. It also provides the historical background, and the only remaining way forward that still might possibly be available to block Obama’s success in this (a Constitutional challenge to the “Fast Track” provision of Richard Nixon’s Trade Act of 1974).

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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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Collapse, Part 2: The Nine Dynamics of Decay

While collapse may be sudden, the decay that generated the collapse had been rotting away the foundation for years or decades. In distilling the vast literature on collapse into nine dynamics, I am drawing upon many other authors’ work, including:
The Collapse of Complex Societies
The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History
The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age
Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects

Here are the nine dynamics of decay that lead to collapse:

1. complacency and intellectual laziness

2. profound political disunity

3. rise of unproductive complexity

4. those bearing the sacrifices opt out/quit

5. decay of effective leadership

6. rise of bread and circuses social welfare and entertainment to distract/placate restive citizenry

7. decline of wealth-producing capacity–status quo living off financial trickery

8. sclerosis–status quo controlled by vested interests

9. resource depletion/environmental damage

All of these dynamics are currently in play around the globe.

Michael Grant touched on many of these dynamics in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a short book I have been recommending since 2009:

There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.

This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.

This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.

If our idea of intellectual rigor is Paul Krugman dancing around the Neo-Keynesian Cargo Cult campfire waving dead chickens and spewing nonsensical claims of grand success, we’re doomed. Placing our faith in failed monetary-legerdemain and policies of the past is the height of hubris and complacency. There is a cost to complacency and it’s called collapse.

A lengthier book on the same subject by Adrian Goldsworthy, How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower, found that a key driver of decline was the constant political struggle for power drained resources and led to ineffective leadership.

This profound political disunity is not the usual staged battles of the Demopublicans vs. the Republicrats. The real disunity is between a doomed Status Quo and those willing to deal with reality. Right now those willing to deal with reality are few, but they have the distinct advantage of reality on their side, while the Status Quo has only propaganda, artifice, phony political theater and empty promises.

Another dynamic of decay is expansive, sclerotic bureaucracies that lose sight of their purpose while piling on unproductive complexity. The top leadership abandons the pursuit of the common good for personal gain, wealth and power, and this rot at the top soon spreads down the chain of command to infect and corrupt the entire institutional culture.

Grant describes how key classes of productive citizens opt out as their sacrifices are squandered on propping up rapacious elites. Those making the sacrifices look around at what they’ve sacrificed to maintain and decide it’s no longer worth it. So they opt out or quit, draining the status quo of talent, drive and wealth-producing assets.

As the masses become debt-serfs or dependents on the state, the costs of providing bread and circuses becomes unsustainable. The state and central banks are currently papering over this mismatch by printing or borrowing money in the trillions of dollars. But financial trickery is no substitute for actual wealth creation: printing money is not the same as printing real-world wealth.

As for resource depletion and environmental damage–look no further than aquifer depletion, soil erosion, the stripmining of the seas and the poisoning of our air/water/soil on a grand scale.

Rome didn’t fall so much as erode away, its many strengths squandered on in-fighting, mismanagement of resources, complacency and personal aggrandizement/corruption. That’s the template for collapse, and you see it in every status quo globally.


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Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy
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Obama: TPP a secret treaty because ‘US War on Terror requires secrecy’

(Satire): President Obama announced at a White House press conference in the Rose Garden today that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade treaty details must remain secret because the now 14-year-old US War on Terror requires secrecy from terrorist enemies, secrecy is the founding principle of American freedom, and that secrecy equals safety. Press conference excerpts:

President Obama: As you know, secrecy is a foundational principle of American freedom. From the Founding Father’s secret “Committees of Correspondence,” to Boston’s Old North Church spy signal of “one if by land, two if by sea,” to Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay using the secret name, “Publius,” to publish The Federalist Papers to win support for our Constitution, American patriots have used secrecy to protect our great nation. Secrecy equals freedom.

This is why the current Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, TPP, is a classified national security secret that cannot be disclosed to the public, even four years or more after it is passed into law. Secrecy keeps Americans safe.

I also remind everyone that America is fighting a War on Terror, and that even after 14 years of brave combat and support of the American public, the terrorists are not defeated. War requires secrecy to keep our troops as safe as possible. TPP makes America stronger, which supports our troops.

Q: Sir, what about the “fast track” that violates the US Constitutional requirement that all treaties be ratified by the Senate under at least 2/3 vote?

Obama: The United States is a democracy. Fast track authority was passed into law by Congress. When Congress has the votes and the President approves, that’s the law of the land.

Q: I’m sorry, Mr. President; but how can Congress and you violate the Constitution by ignoring the 2/3 vote requirement just because you say so?

Obama: (chuckles) That’s a secret. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill ‘ya. (press laugh nervously)

Q: Sir, we understand how military planning requires secrecy, but how does a treaty on trade require secrecy?

Obama: Let’s go back to 9/11. If the location of the World Trade Center and Pentagon were secret, would terrorists have been able to attack them?

Q: … Uh, I guess not…

Obama: Exactly! TPP has to remain secret to protect American trade from terrorists. If the terrorists don’t even know what TPP is, they can’t attack it!

Q: You can’t argue with that logic, sir! Who are the terrorists who would want to attack American trade?

Obama: There are two. The first is China. Nobody wants China to do a 9/11 on American trade! As I’ve said, “If we don’t write the rules, China will.”

The second threat is the American people. Homeland Security will be updating their slogan: “All Americans: Terrorists or potential terrorists. If you see something, call the American terrorist hotline.”

I know the idea of American terrorism might be hard to get used to, but let me explain: when you go to the airport, TSA gives a security screening to everyone as a potential terrorist. This is because your government wants to bring you the highest protection possible. And Americans can be terrorists; consider Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon bombs, and now Charleston.

Q: Sir, I’m sorry: I don’t understand how Americans threaten our own trade.

Obama: That’s ok: it’s my job to sell this. All Americans are terrorists or potential terrorists to our economy because they work to maximize their own profits. This conflicts with our economic job-creators who work together as oligarchies to maximize their own profits: about $30 trillion in off-shore tax havens in current total holdings. They need this profit to motivate their job-creating. If we allow ordinary Americans to follow their own interests, folks might start thinking about banking structures that maximize public benefits rather than bank profits. This thinking would be the beginning of the end of our financial system. The public might think about debt-free money that ends national debt, demand the return of the trillions we’ve taken from them for “investments” in CAFRs, and not stop until they had full-employment for infrastructure investment.

Q: That’s a lot, sir: can you put that into a sound bite?

Obama: Yes. US trade oligarchs are asset-holes. Trade and economic policy that helps the 99.99% rather than our asset-holes’ profits is terrorism. We kill terrorists.

Q: Thank you, sir. Speaking of killing terrorists, how long do you think the War on Terror will last?

Obama: God only knows. Consider history: the Wars on the Roses lasted 32 years. Even then, roses were not defeated. I mean, look around you; we’re in the middle of a rose garden.

Q: First, it’s the Wars of the Roses, not some war on roses. But this is what I really want to ask: Mr. President, how is this 14-year-old war on “terror” even legal, given two US treaties after both world wars expressly making our armed attacks illegal? Even the US Army law handbook clearly states “preventative” armed attacks are illegal.

Obama: Thank you for your question; I have a definitive answer for you.

(Obama places a finger on his nose, and smiles at the reporter. A small bird-shaped drone descends from a tree behind the reporter. The drone injects a needle into the reporter’s neck; he drops to the ground. Two Secret Service agents drag the body away.)

Obama: Here’s a secret for you, press corps: this reporter was a designated “unlawful enemy combatant” under the Military Commissions Act (MCA). He was an example of an American terrorist. Under authority of the US Constitution as Commander-in-Chief of US military, I ordered his drone assassination by lethal injection.

His disrespect for our troops, to question their commitment to protect America, also classified him as an “unprivileged belligerent” under the Defense Department Law Manual, and I have no legal prohibitions for drone use against any terrorist threat.

The answer to his question of how US wars on eight current nations are legal: it’s a secret.

Remember our slogans:

  • “If it’s secret, it’s safe.”
  • “Want it safe? Keep it secret.”
  • “Secrecy = safety”
  • “Secrecy = freedom”

I assume that’s your last question for today?

Q: One more, sir: we all know it’s legal to assassinate American domestic terrorists, of course.

Obama: Of course. As Peter King, Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security said, it’s “totally right, totally Constitutional.” And if you question this, you’re a “horrible moron.”  It’s now US law to stop terrorists before they have a chance to kill. All associated deaths are the fault of the terrorists, and Attorney General Holder affirmed we can kill anyone we say is “engaged” in combatting America. After all, as Commander-in-Chief I respect the military Oath to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Let’s end on a happy note. We’ve received hundreds of responses from school children to help people understand how drone kills around the globe protect America’s freedoms. We’ll put this catchy-one on-screen from an elementary school student for everyone to sing-along: it’s called the Drone drone (everyone stands to chant):

D is for death that comes from the skies!

R is for respect in all the world’s eyes!

O is for Obama – bringer of peace!

N is for niceness – what the US seeks!

and E is for everyone under control!

(non-satiric note): Explore the links for historical connections and Orwellian acts of US government in the present. The most elegant solution is for Americans in military and government to recognize “emperor has no clothes” unlawful orders, refuse them, and arrest those who issued them.

And to learn more of TPP, here’s Ellen Brown in a 16-minute interview with USAWatchDog:

previous satire:

**

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 | 4 Comments

Resistance in Honduras Alive and Jumping

June 28 will mark 6 years since the U.S.-backed military coup in Honduras took the people’s government away from them. Thousands of people are still in the streets every week demanding that the wrongful president step down.

“Whoever’s not jumping supports the coup!” is the shout as a sea of people leaps repeatedly into the air. The makers of an amazing new film called Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley, will be allowing anyone to view it online for free for two weeks. I recommend you do so.

Honduras has not simply turned into the worst home of violent crime. And the people have not simply fled to the U.S. border (much compassion they’d receive there!) — No, thousands and thousands of people in this little nation have taken back their land, occupied it, created communities, and built a future, with or without the coup.

President Manuel Zelaya had said he would help. Oligarchs had seized land, or bought land and then devalued the currency. Miguel Facussé took over palm oil plantations, evicted people from their land, got richer than rich, and allowed cocaine flights from Colombia to land on his plantations with U.S. knowledge.

The U.S. for years had been funding, training, and arming soldiers for the oligarchs of Honduras. The leaders of the 2009 coup that overthrew Zelaya had all trained at the School of the Americas in the United States. The U.S. assisted in the coup and in recognition of the coup government. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were part of and are part of this ongoing crime, and U.S. military supply shipments to Honduras are at record levels now as the military has merged with the police and turned its weaponry against the people.

The coup was followed by phony elections. The people knew to look elsewhere for answers. They looked to themselves. In the Aguan Valley in the north, thousands of families took over thousands of hectares by squatting, building, and farming. And they created communities of such camaraderie that they found themselves saying thanks for the coup.

They faced, and still face, regular attacks by killers on motorcycles, but they have nowhere else to go, and they have made the most of it, creating self-sustaining centers of life in the countryside, replacing palm oil monoculture with farming that cares for the land. The dead in the film are of such a different type from the dead in Hollywood movies, that I wonder if people can really see these dead. I hope so. There is never any police investigation, never any charges brought. The people have lost a lawyer and a journalist as well as numerous of their own; the oligarchs have lost a few guards.

The people have also organized local and national assemblies. The men have learned to include women in positions of power. This popular resistance movement always backed the return of Zelaya, who finally negotiated his return to Honduras in 2011. He returned to a people demanding more democratic participation. He joined their movement and encouraged them to participate in the 2013 elections that they had determined to boycott.

During the meeting in the city at which the decision to participate in the election was made, the police in Aguan burned and bulldozed 90 houses, plus churches, and schools. The tears and the eloquence of the people affected must be watched; I cannot tell them to you.

You should watch the scenes of the people meeting with their ousted president, Zelaya, the rightful president of Honduras, and then watch the scene of President Obama meeting with his usurper in the White House. As Facussé threatens to evict everyone from their land, we see a U.S. State Department official meet with some of the campesinos. They tell him that they are offered land at 14% interest, while the World Bank offers it to the big corporations for 1%. He replies that his only area of work is human rights. So they tell him they have been gassed, imprisoned, tortured, and shot. He replies that he just wants to talk about peace. Or maybe he said “piece” of the action, I don’t know.

The people see the United States as working on behalf of Dole, formerly the Standard Fruit Company, the same people for whom the U.S. military has been overthrowing governments since that of Hawaii in 1893. Is there any good reason anyone should ever buy Dole products?

The struggle, and the movie, goes on — filmed over a period of years. Leaders are forced into exile after murder attempts. The burned and bulldozed buildings are rebuilt. And the November 2013 elections arrive, and are blatantly stolen. Zelaya’s wife runs on the people’s platform against the “law and order” candidate of the military. Observers from the EU and the OAS declare the election legitimate, but individual members of those commissions denounce that conclusion as corrupt and fraudulent. Students lead the protests, and the protests continue to grow.

And the people in the country go right on taking back more of their land and reclaiming it as a source of life rather than death. These people need no aid. They need simply to be allowed to live. All immigrants should be welcomed everywhere by everyone, with no hesitation. Obama should immediately cease deporting children back to a nation he’s helped to ruin. But I think most people would be shocked by how little immigration there would be in the world if the corporations and the killers stopped migrating, and people were allowed to live peacefully and equally in the place they love: their land.

Posted in General | 2 Comments

US criminal economics: TPP secret treaty = ‘constitutional republic,’ debt = ‘money’, 500 million+ dead from poverty = ‘necessary.’ Had enough to demand arrests?

hat tip: Ellen Brown, Web of Debt Blog

“Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people… When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous.” – Psychology Today

The .01% psychopathic oligarch “leaders” (and here) in US government, banking/finance, and corporate media wage war upon the 99.99%  in ~100 crucial areas. Aside from lie-began overt unlawful military Wars of Aggression connected to economic domination with the US starting over 200 such armed attacks since WW2 and war-murdering ~30 million people (with these crimes “covered” by corporate media, let’s consider three central economic policies:

  • Attempting to pass TPP (so-called, “Trans-Pacific Partnership”) to remain a classified “secret treaty” for four years if passed, and without the US Constitutional requirement of 2/3 Senate approval. This is clear to anyone with a high school US government class as illegal and the Orwellian opposite of limited government under a representative constitutional republic. This is unlimited government with “rules” dictated as they go.
  • Claiming that US escalating total debt is a “money” supply, despite the fact that creating what we use as money as debt is the same as adding negative numbers forever, and clear to anyone with a middle school mathematics education that such mechanics can only increase the total debt and interest totals forever. This “debt supply” guarantees increasing and unpayable debt to the big banks who create the debt out of nothing, and is fundamental fraud with harm in annual trillions of dollars to claim debt rather than debt-free money is “good for us” (full documentation). Government leaders have legal fiduciary responsibility to best represent the American public.
  • Claiming that ~ one million children dying every month in gruesomely slow and painful deaths from poverty is an economic necessity because we don’t have “enough money,” despite the facts that money is paper, the investment is less than 1% of income (which developed nations continuously promise and then fail to deliver), this reduces population growth rates in every historical case, and the CIA claims this is the best way to end global terrorism. The total number of deaths from preventable poverty since just 1975 is ~500 million; more than all deaths from all wars and acts of violence in all recorded human history (full documentation of all poverty claims). These are Crimes against Humanity for the systemic mass-murders of millions while supporting policies such as TPP as a “race to the bottom” to further animalize human labor.

The above three bullet points summarize, with the links providing complete and professional documentation. Those of us working for reforms are unaware of even any attempts to refute our factual claims; our experience is as attributed to Gandhi:

“First they ignore you.

Then they laugh at you.

Then they fight you.

And then you win.”

Explaining Gandhi’s statement of unchallenged facts, MIT’s Simon Johnson (and former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund) describes our big banks being led by gambling oligarchs who have captured government as in “banana republics” (his words). He concludes fraud is the heart of Wall Street. His immediate best-selling book, 13 Bankers: The Wall Street takeover and the next financial meltdown, was discussed with President Johnson’s Press Secretary and journalist with over 30 Emmy Awards, Bill Moyers, to explain the US banking system, loss of trillions of American taxpayer dollars to oligarchs’ manipulation as a matter of definitive fact, the looting of America being protected by partners with political muscle, and all rational consideration of the facts proving massive financial crimes:

SIMON JOHNSON: The American democracy was not given to us on a platter. It is not ours for all time, irrespective of our efforts. Either people organize and they find political leadership to take this on, or we are going to be in big trouble, okay?… That’s absolutely the heart of the problem. I would also say and tell you, and emphasize, these people will not come out and debate with us. The heads of these companies or their representatives, they will not come out. They’re afraid. They don’t have the substance. They don’t have the arguments. We have the evidence. They have the lobbyists. And that’s all they have.

BILL MOYERS: They’ve got the power, the muscle, the money.

SIMON JOHNSON: They have money.

BILL MOYERS: You just have the arguments. You just have the facts. On your side.

SIMON JOHNSON: Absolutely. That’s exactly what it comes down to.

The punchline of these .01% crimes is to ask you:

Are you demanding arrests of .01% criminal leaders for obvious crimes annually killing millions, harming billions, and looting trillions?

You can also rely upon your basic history education from middle and high school to remind you that such crimes are usual on Earth, from the Roman Empire to US treaty-violations to steal land in “expansions” for “self-defense.”

Let’s look at the reasoning to support a “yes” or “no” answer for demanding lawful arrests (arrests would be to stop apparently obvious crimes; more on refusing orders for obvious crimes).

Yes, I’m demanding arrests: Confirming the facts about this article’s three topics, and/or the ~100 other crucial areas of lies and crimes, along with consideration that the .01% propaganda you hear from “leaders” and corporate media are exactly the non-responses described by Gandhi and Simon Johnson, your demand for arrests of obvious .01% “leaders” is simple responsible citizenship to stop what any prudent observer would conclude are obvious crimes. This is exactly the response the US Founding Generation demanded of Americans in order to keep a constitutional republic.

“It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power… Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go… In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”  – Thomas Jefferson, Draft Kentucky Resolution (1798. ME 17:388)

No, I’m not demanding arrests: My questions to you:

  1. Explain to us how this article’s three topics are lawful, including the US ongoing Wars of Aggression.
  2. If you conclude these are crimes, explain how failure to demand lawful arrests to stop these crimes is responsible citizenship.

Really, if you’re not demanding arrests and have answers to the above two questions, please respond at this article at Washington’s Blog. Those of us working for reforms have yet to find reasonable explanation that US policies centering in war and what is used for money are lawful.

**

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 | 34 Comments

Ukraine’s Pres. Poroshenko Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was a Coup

Eric Zuesse

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko requests the supreme court of Ukraine to declare that his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown by an illegal operation; in other words, that the post-Yanukovych government, including Poroshenko’s own Presidency, came into power from a coup, not from something democratic, not from any authentic constitutional process at all.

In a remarkable document, which is not posted at the English version of the website of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, but which is widely reported outside the United States, including Russia, Poroshenko, in Ukrainian (not in English), has petitioned the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (as it is being widely quoted in English): 

“I ask the court to acknowledge that the law ‘on the removal of the presidential title from Viktor Yanukovych’ as unconstitutional.”

The official Ukrainian news-agency, Interfax-Ukraine, headlined this on June 20th, “Poroshenko asking Constitutional Court to recognize law stripping Yanukovych of presidential title as unconstitutional”

I had previously reported, and here will excerpt, Poroshenko’s having himself admitted prior to 26 February 2014, to the EU’s investigator, and right after the February 22nd overthrow of Yanukovych, that the overthrow was a coup, and that it was even a false-flag operation, in which the snipers, who were dressed as if they were Ukrainian Security Bureau troops, were actually not, and that, as the EU’s investigator put his finding to the EU’s chief of foreign affairs Catherine Ashton [and with my explanatory annotations here]:

“the same oligarch [Poroshenko — and so when he became President he already knew this] told that well, all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers, from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, [this will shock Ashton, who had just said that Yanukovych had masterminded the killings] that they were the same snipers, killing people from both sides [so, Poroshenko himself knows that his regime is based on a false-flag U.S.-controlled coup d’etat against his predecessor]. … Behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”

This was when Ashton first learned that the myth that Yanukovych had been overthrown as a result of public outrage at his having rejected the EU’s offer of membership to Ukraine was just a hoax. (Actually, the planning for this coup was already under way in the U.S. Embassy by at least early 2013, well prior to Yanukovych’s EU decision. Furthermore, the Ukrainian public’s approval of the government peaked right after Yanukovych announced his rejection of the EU’s offer, but then the U.S.-engineered “Maidan” riots caused that approval to plunge.)

If the Court grants Poroshenko’s petition, then the appointment of Arseniy Yatsenyuk by the U.S. State Department’s Victoria Nuland on 4 February 2014, which was confirmed by the Ukrainian parliament (or Rada) at the end of the coup on February 26th, and the other appointments which were made, including that of Oleksandr Turchynov to fill in for Yanukovych as caretaker President until one of the junta’s chosen candidates would be ‘elected’ on May 25th of 2014, which ‘election’ Poroshenko won — all of this was illegal.

However, this illegality had already been known. It was already explained in detail on 28 February 2014, that, “Yanukovych’s removal was unconstitutional.” That’s for lawyers; but, now, finally, Ukraine’s Constitutional Court is faced with the shocking predicament of Ukraine’s own President, who won his post as a result of this coup, requesting them to “acknowledge” that it was a coup, much as the founder of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor had even called it, “the most blatant coup in history.” (It was that because the authentic video and other evidence of its having been a Washington job was so massive.)

Also in the news now is that Dmitriy Yarosh‘s Right Sector — the same group that Washington had hired for the coup and for the ethnic cleansing campaign in Ukraine’s former Donbass region — have announced that they will assemble in Kiev on July 3rd to overthrow Poroshenko unless he restarts right now the war against Donbass. The people whom Washington paid to oust Yanukovych are planning to do the same to Poroshenko. There is a struggle inside the Obama Administration about how far they can successfully go with their Ukrainian nazis not formally leading the country. Washington is having a hard time keeping in line the Ukrainian nazis upon whom Washington’s plan for Ukraine has been based. Ukraine’s nazis are thirsting for Russian blood, and want to slake their thirst faster than the Obama Administration is willing to go along with. Washington’s previous “F—k the EU!” hasn’t worked as well as they had hoped. There is thus increasingly bad blood between the Obama Administration and the Ukrainian enforcers upon whom Obama has been relying. Basically, Poroshenko now is torn between the EU, on one side, and Ukraine’s well-armed nazis, on the other; and, thus far, the ultimate decider, U.S. President Obama, who has needed cooperation both from Ukraine’s nazis and from the EU, in order for his Ukrainian gambit against Russia to work, is on the fence between those two sides. John Kerry sides with the EU; Victoria Nuland sides with the nazis. But Obama himself hasn’t yet played his hand.

———-

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Collapse, Part 1: Greece

The theme this week is collapse. It’s a big, complex topic because there are as many types of collapse as there are systems. Some systems appear stable on the surface but collapse suddenly; others visibly decay for decades before finally slipping beneath the waves of history, and some go through stages of collapse.

The taxonomy of collapse is broad, and each unsustainable system (i.e. a system that will fail despite claims to the contrary) has its unique characteristics.

Which brings us to Greece.

I have written extensively about Greece and the doomed financial arrangement known as the euro for many years–for example: Greece, Please Do The Right Thing: Default Now (June 1, 2011).

When Debt is More Important Than People, The System Is Evil (February 18, 2012)

Greece at the Crossroads: the Oligarchs Blew It (January 27, 2015)

Greece and the Endgame of the Neocolonial Model of Exploitation(February 19, 2015)

When Europe Gets Greece’s Jingle Mail: Dealing with Default (May 15, 2015)

With the bankruptcy of Greece now undeniable, we’ve finally reached the endgame of the Neocolonial-Financialization Model. There are no more markets in Greece to exploit with financialization, and the fact that the mountains of debt are unpayable can no longer be masked.

Europe’s financial Aristocracy has an unsolvable dilemma: writing off defaulted debt also writes off assets and income streams, for every debt is somebody else’s asset and income stream. When all those phantom assets are recognized as worthless, collateral vanishes and the system implodes.

The peripheral nations of the EU are effectively neocolonial debtors of the core, and the taxpayers of the core nations are now feudal serfs whose labor is devoted to making good on any loans to the periphery that go bad. (see chart of Greece’s debtors below)

Greece’s financial/political Elites milked the entry into the EU for all it was worth, effectively destroying the Greek economy in their limitless looting: Misrule of the Few: How the Oligarchs Ruined Greece.

What has already collapsed is the faith that institutions within Greece and the European Union can effectively manage the inevitable Greek default. As noted in the essay linked above, Greece’s power structure is designed to do one thing: protect vested interests and dissipate accountability.

The same can be said of the European central Bank (ECB) and the European Union (EU). Both were sold as abstract financial magic: the Elitist power structures of every nation in the union–the ultimate source of the rot that is now emitting the foul stench of collapse–would be left intact while the economies of all member nations would magically produce more goods and services based on ever-expanding debt and leverage.

This leads to the critical question of the hour: who’s saving whom? Are last-ditch bailouts saving the Greek people and the integrity of their nation, or are they simply saving the political/financial Elites who benefited from EU membership and the systemic expansion of debt?

Here’s another key question: who’s being punished by the Troika’s “nobody defaults and gets away with it” policy? Clearly, the Greek people are being punished–but to what end? What about punishing the political/financial Elites who benefited from Greece’s entry into the EU and the banking Elites who profited from the irresponsible expansion of loans to Greece?

If Greece had defaulted four years ago when default was already visibly inevitable, the Greek citizenry would already have worked through the painful crisis of adjusting to a dearth of external credit and perhaps a new currency, and maybe they would have jettisoned their corrupt and self-serving Elites, clearing the way for sustainable growth and governance.

Instead, the Greek people have suffered for nothing. Default is still inevitable, as is the resulting EU-wide currency-political crises.

When systems are broke and broken, collapse is the only way forward. Only collapse breaks the grip of vested interests and opens the political process to non-Elite participation. By pushing default/collapse forward for four long years, the Greek Elites have punished their citizens for absolutely no yield on their immense suffering. Greece can no more escape the black hole of default than it could four years ago.

Central and private banking magic has failed. The idea that corrupt, self-serving Elites would magically create widespread prosperity by borrowing money that could never be paid back has collapsed, though the Power Elites of the Troika cling to this foolish fantasy because they have no other choice if they want to retain power.

The only faith remaining in the EU Elite is belief in the goddess TINA–there is no alternative. But there is always another alternative: collapse of the status quo and the assembly of an alternative arrangement that doesn’t concentrate power in the hands of a few at the expense of the many.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Father’s Day 2015: Man-up with strength, honor, and humor for victory

Dr. King’s two minutes to you:

On Earth in 2015, men and fathers are in literal planet-changing contest of virtues held dear by 99.99% of humanity versus a .01% oligarchy who annually kill millions, harm billions, and loot trillions with:

Men: the day will come to be recognized for our actions in this contest. Consider your highest calling as men, fathers, and children from Divine Origin. Strength, honor, and humor are much of what men and fathers are all about, with these virtues having much to contribute for victory of:

Strength: Act how you can best contribute your virtues, unique to you. Considering this contest has existed for all history (and here), strength includes persistence within the paradox of patient activism. Be who you most strongly are, and you will contribute your part. There are ~100 areas of crucial concern.

Honor: Connected to strength, this is the courage to fully express and experience who you say/stand that you are. Those with a religious/philosophical/spiritual life are compelled to live it, not merely provide lip-service. Honor allows one to move forward in good-faith effort. Again, this is consistent with what one wants to be accounted for thinking, speaking, and taking action when this contest is over.

Humor: Again all in connection, given the facts of this history-long contest, honor for good-faith effort, and that we humans are mere guests on Earth removed from all evidence of management, hey, a sense of humor seems both required and contributive. Humor, as with all virtues, is unique to your own beautiful and powerful self-expression. Have fun with it… so to speak. I’ve tried with satire :)

**

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 | 5 Comments

America’s U.N. Ambassador Continues Standing Up for Nazis

Eric Zuesse

Recently, President Barack Obama’s friend whom he appointed to represent this country at the United Nations visited Ukraine and used the Ukrainian-language translation and variant of the German Nazi Party’s “Deutschland über alles,” or  “Germany above all,” to honor Ukraine’s own racist fascists, that nation’s ideological nazis, whom the U.S. had used in February 2014 for overthrowing Ukraine’s neutralist democratically elected President. This was not our U.N. Ambassador’s first foray into international nazi political pandering.

On 21 November 2014, Samantha Power, America’s U.N. Ambassador, had, in fact, been one of only three out of the 173 nations at the U.N., who voted against a resolution that condemned nazism and all forms of state-sponsored bigotry, and that specifically condemned Holocaust-denial; and she gave as the reason, that the resolution offended the government of Ukraine; but Ukraine wasn’t even mentioned in it. Canada voted against it because the United States did; and the United States voted against it because Ukraine did. Both Canada and U.S. were thus supposedly copying Ukraine. 

Ukraine happens to be the world’s only country that has two nazi, or racist-fascist, political parties. One of them, Svoboda meaning “Freedom,” had originally been named the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine (inverting Hitler’s National Socialist Party of Germany), until the CIA advised them to change that to “Svoboda” so that the U.S. public (who take pride in “freedom”) could accept them. The other, Right Sector, provided the storm-troopers who carried out the extremely violent February 2014 overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, while the “Maidan” demonstrations against him had been organized by one of the two co-founders of Svoboda, Andrei Parubiy, who was even called the “Commandant of Maidan.” Obama relied upon Parubiy to succeed. Parubiy did; and his chief assistant, Dmitriy Yarosh was the head of Ukraine’s other nazi party, and had trained the storm-troopers. Parubiy and Yarosh were a perfect team. It was a skillful Obama job.

The current Ukrainian government came to power with Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department making the key appointments both during those ‘democracy’ demonstrations and then finally in determining who would lead the new government. (The founder of the ‘private CIA’ firm, Stratfor, called it “the most blatant coup in history.”) And, then, this new Ukrainian government commenced an ethnic cleansing campaign against the residents of its Donbass region, which had voted more than 90% for the Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew. If Donbass’s voters survive within Ukraine, then Obama’s government won’t stand a chance of staying in power in future elections. So, these people have to be gotten rid of. Obama needed nazis in order to stand even a chance of getting rid of the people in Donbass. He needed the nazis first in order to win power in Ukraine, and then in order to be able to hold it (via that ethnic cleansing). Andrei Parubiy became the head of Ukraine’s ‘Anti Terrorist Operation’ (ATO) to exterminate (and/or drive out) the residents in Donbass; and Dmitriy Yarosh became the provisioner of the storm troops who supplied the terror within the now-rump Ukraine, such as by means of the burning-alive of regime-opponents inside the Odessa Trade Unions Building on 2 May 2014.

Our U.N. Ambassador, Ms. Power, recently visited the scene of this overthrow, in Kiev, and she presented there “Remarks at the October Palace,” on 11 June 2015. Her first big applause-line to the assembled hyper-nationalists was: “As one of the great rallying cries of the Maidan put it: Ukraina po-nad u-se! Ukraine above all else! [Applause.]” That phrase resonates deeply among Hitler-admirers in Ukraine’s population. (There aren’t many of them, but they’re America’s most devoted supporters in Ukraine, who associate America with hatred of Russia.)

Here is a video of that phrase (“Ukraine above all!”) being used frequently by Ukraine’s nazis — their “Ukraine über alles!” As they make clear by their accompanying phrase, “Russians on knives!” their craving to kill Russians, just as much as Hitler’s nazis — the original ones — craved to kill Jews. But instead of Hitler’s promise to hang all Jews from lamp-posts, Ukraine’s nazis crave especially to stab Russians to death. Right Sector rallies often combine that “Russians on knives!” with the Ukrainian version of “Heil! Heil! Heil!,” and “Death to enemies!” Various nazi insignia, sometimes even the swastika, festoon their clothing and the flags they proudly carry. Here is a good history of Right Sector. It even documents their collaboration with Hitler’s forces in mass-murdering Jews and Poles. But this was prior to recent decades, when the CIA demanded they tone that rhetoric down — express their hatred against only Russians. However, in private, both Svoboda and Right Sector make clear that they intend to get rid of Jews and Poles after Russia is conquered. So: for the time being, they toe America’s line. It’s the only way they can have a chance to achieve their hoped-for victory against Russia, because each of the two nazi parties wins only about 3 to 4 percent of the votes — even residents in the most conservative northwestern parts of Ukraine aren’t nearly as far to the right as what Obama’s Administration wishes they were.

Samantha Power said in Ukraine:

Let me begin with what we know brought people out to the Maidan in the first place.

We’ve all heard a good number of myths about this. One told by the Yanukovych government and its Russian backers at the time was that the Maidan protesters were pawns of the West, and did not speak for the “real” Ukraine. A more nefarious myth peddled by Moscow after Yanukovych’s fall was that Euromaidan had been engineered by Western capitals in order to topple a democratically-elected government.

The facts tell a different story. As you remember well, then-President Yanukovych abandoned Kyiv of his own accord, only hours after signing an agreement with opposition leaders that would have led to early elections and democratic reforms. And it was only after Yanukovych fled the capital that 328 of the 447 members of the democratically-elected Rada voted to strip him of his powers – including 36 of the 38 members of his own party in parliament at the time. Yanukovych then vanished for several days, only to eventually reappear – little surprise – in Russia.

As is often the case, these myths reveal more about the myth makers than they do about the truth. Moscow’s fable was designed to airbrush the Ukrainian people – and their genuine aspirations and demands – out of the Maidan, by claiming the movement was fueled by outsiders.

She was feeding the anti-Russian hatred that helped (besides U.S. payments) to fuel the shock-troops for the coup and that continue to fuel the ethnic-cleansing campaign against the residents in Donbass.

Her words mean nothing, but the evidence means everything, and it’s all here. She can’t be ignorant of those things. She simply ignores them. After all: how could she even conceivably counter such solid evidence? It’s much easier for her simply to lie.

Barack Obama is the first U.S. President ever to install, in any country, an outright racist-fascist, or nazi, regime. His friend Ms. Powers is merely part of that operation. She is a scholar of genocide whose cumbersomely written 2002 book about that subject, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, won the 2003 Non-Fiction Pulitzer Prize. And, of course, Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

The reason is clear how the United States came to have one of only three nazi or pro-nazi governments in the world: the United States Government wants to destroy Russia; and the strong nazi contingent in next-door Ukraine are eager to help; so, they’re used.

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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.

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IMF Violates IMF Rules, to Continue Ukraine Bailouts

Eric Zuesse

The IMF, whose bailout operations are absorbed by the taxpayers in the member countries whenever a particular bailed-out nation defaults, announced on Friday, June 19th, that it will “continue to support Ukraine through its Lending-into-Arrears Policy even in the event that a negotiated agreement with creditors in line with the program cannot be reached in a timely manner.” Though this new “Lending-into-Arrears” policy violates two IMF rules, it was justified by the IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the basis of the Ukrainian government’s “continued efforts to reach a collaborative agreement with all creditors.” 

In other words: a statement by Ukraine’s government that it wants to reach an agreement with its private creditors is being used by the IMF as if it were an excuse to extend into the indefinite future the IMF’s continued taxpayer-guaranteed financing of (‘lending’ to) the Ukrainian government, despite the fact that the IMF is violating two of the IMF’s own most-basic rules restricting its lending-authority — these rules are lending-restrictions whose purpose was to reduce the riskiness of the IMF’s lending, and so to minimize the amount that the IMF will be taking from taxpayers to fund its losses:

1: The IMF does not lend to nations at war — but Ukraine continues being at war against its former Donbass region despite the Minsk II ceasefire agreement; ceasefire violations, especially by the Ukrainian side, continue regularly.

2: The IMF does not lend to nations that are likely to default — but every independent source categorizes Ukraine as being virtually certain to default, and the only actual question regarding Ukraine is: when? The IMF’s answer: we’ll keep lending, building Ukraine’s public debt even higher, until our aim is achieved, and then we won’t — and that’s when the default will occur — the default will happen when we decide it will happen. It will happen when we will stop lying and saying that it won’t happen. 

The reasons for Ukraine’s actual insolvency are obvious. As John Helmer reported on 3 September 2014, “of the $3.2 billion disbursed to the Ukrainian treasury by the IMF at the start of May [in order to finance the war], $3.1 billion had disappeared offshore by the middle of August. The role of the leading Ukrainian banks, and of the Kiev officials allied with them, in arranging this was reported here.” His “here” linked to his earlier report, “Stress Test for IMF in Ukraine — Igor Kolomoysky’s PrivateBank Is the Biggest Beneficiary of the IMF’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance,” which article of his had also noted that, “According to Gerry Rice …, the spokesman for the IMF’s managing director, Christine Lagarde …, there’s no telling how much of the IMF payments will be transferred to the Ukrainian banks.” In fact, “the NBU [National Bank of Ukraine, their central bank] said it refuses to disclose what liquidity assistance it has been paying to Privatbank because ‘information on banks or customers, collected during banking supervision, is a bank secret’.” That earlier report from Helmer, in turn, linked to Helmer’s prior “Dniepropetrovsk Governor Igor Kolomoysky to Get IMF Bailout for PrivateBank,” which had opened: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is preparing to release Privatbank, the largest commercial bank in Ukraine, from independent tests of its solvency and capital adequacy, and allow a bailout of the bank with Ukrainian public funds, backed by the IMF. The Ukraine mission of the IMF has also revealed this week that it is allowing Igor Kolomoisky …, the control shareholder of Privatbank, to direct his own audit and stress test of the bank. This is despite independent evidence of large related-party lending in which the bank has been engaged; and despite judgements recently issued in the UK courts that Kolomoisky presents evidence that is ‘false or materially incorrect’.”

I had previously reported about Kolomoysky, on 18 May 2014, which was two weeks after hundreds of opponents of the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President in February 2014 were burned alive, shot, and clubbed to death, in and around Odessa’s Trade Unions Building, and I headlined, “The Key Man Behind the May 2nd Odessa Ukraine Trade Unions Building Massacre: His Many Connections to the White House.” Kolomoysky had largely funded the U.S.-supported massacre in Odessa.

Moreover, as the Helmer report on 3 September 2014 (the one that I linked to) noted also: “Christine Lagarde (4), managing director of the Fund, is in other trouble. She is under investigation for a €400 million French government heist several years ago. So far she hasn’t been obliged to make public her alibi.”

Consequently, the IMF’s rules are highly flexible. Those rules actually became even more flexible soon after the U.S. Administration of President Barack Obama succeeded at overthrowing in February 2014 Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych. On 23 June 2014, Brett House at QZ headlined, “A great new way for the IMF to help debt-laden countries without forcing them to default,” and he reported that, “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is considering a big shift in its lending rules.” it would permit the IMF to allow “reprofiling instead of restructuring” for countries that the IMF is determined to keep going. “Creditors would be asked to defer or ‘reprofile’ their debt-service payments for a number of years, in the expectation that the country’s adjustment program would enable it to return to growth and pick up these payments at a later date.” (A subsequent IMF study showed that almost invariably, such an “expectation” turns out to have been wrong; yet the IMF continues with it. That type of “expectation” is the usual basis for “fiscal consolidation,” otherwise known as “austerity” economics.) This change would enable the IMF to continue lending to the country, so that IMF member-nation taxpayers would share the burden along with private investors. Then, after default happens, those private investors will, essentially, be handed any Ukrainian public asset that wouldn’t already have been sold off in order to help fund Ukraine’s war against its former Donbass region. The defaulted government bonds become instead shares of stock in Ukrainian government assets that are sold off at pennies on the dollar. Investors are protected, while taxpayers get scalped. (Mr. House supported the change, using this argument: “The beauty of an IMF-supported debt reprofiling is that it takes the final assessment of sustainability away from the IMF staff and hangs it on the ability of a country’s reformers to convince financial markets that their public finances are sound. That’s a change worth making.” He favored anything that expedites privatizing government assets. However, Christine Lagarde’s statement that was now being issued, a year later, on June 19th, showed what a sham that argument was, because “the ability of” this “country’s ‘reformers’ to convince financial markets that their public finances are sound” turned out to be of no real concern to the IMF: Lagarde now says, “This is important since this means that the Fund will be able to continue to support Ukraine through its Lending-into-Arrears Policy even in the event that a negotiated agreement with creditors in line with the program cannot be reached in a timely manner.” The public agents for the aristocracy are all fakes. That’s why they got their jobs — to carry out con-jobs.)

Here is an excellent discussion of the way the economics of this actually works. It’s by Michael Hudson, who was one of only 29 economists in the world who had predicted, years in advance, the crash of 2008, and who accurately explained the crash even before it occurred. He discusses there the IMF’s duplicity by their violating their own lending-rules in order to enable aristocrats to rip off Ukrainian state assets at bottom dollar. These mega-scams are not rocket science; he presents the matter in clear terms.

So: the IMF’s rules are, indeed, highly flexible, and one must look to whom the controlling force in the IMF is, in order to understand the IMF’s bailouts, not just in Greece but in Ukraine and elsewhere. That controlling force is the President of the United States. The IMF’s Managing Director always receives his or her appointment only with the approval of the U.S. President. That’s the way the IMF was set up: the President has a veto, at the IMF, just as he does at Congress. And this is the reason why the IMF has always served as a handmaiden to U.S. foreign policies and priorities.

Here is a highly informative video about how U.S. President Barack Obama installed the present regime in Ukraine. Subsequent confirmatory evidence about how the coup was done is presented in text with links to sources, here and here and here. Obviously, therefore, in order for Ms. Lagarde to be able to keep her job (and its retirement perks), she must continue to please her real boss. And, in turn, Obama’s real boss is the U.S. aristocracy, Wall Street’s megabanks and the controlling interests in America’s international mega-corporations.

Those are some of the reasons why the founder of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor said that the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych in Kiev in February 2014 had been “the most blatant coup in history.”

The massacre by Kolomoysky and the U.S.-installed Ukrainian regime, on 2 May 2014, was likewise in furtherance of that longstanding U.S. Government objective, of conquering Russia

This is the reason why the IMF has by now made unequivocally clear that, no matter how bad things get in Ukraine, its government will continue to be propped up by the West, unless and until its government violates the will of the U.S. President, as reflected and supported (whenever necessary) by the U.S. Congress.

On June 12th, Christine Lagarde issued to the press a statement: “The Ukrainian authorities have embarked on an ambitious economic program for 2015-18 aiming at deep-reaching macroeconomic adjustment and structural reforms. It includes a substantial fiscal consolidation.” The IMF always ‘recommends’ what it calls “fiscal consolidation.”

That phrase “fiscal consolidation” is economist-speak for what is commonly called “austerity,” or cuts to a government’s spending for infrastructure, public health, income redistribution downward, progressive taxation-rates, and help for the poor. The IMF already knew that what they call “fiscal consolidation” flops in every way, unless the goal is simply to increase the maldistribution of wealth (so that wealth will flow from the many to the extremely few. A massive empirical analysis of the world’s economic data going back decades and published by the IMF in January 2013 had already shown that, “We find that forecasters [including the IMF’s] significantly underestimated the increase in unemployment and the decline in private consumption and investment associated with fiscal consolidation.” Since this finding contradicted standard IMF policy, the IMF’s management commissioned another study, by different ones of its empirical economists, and the resulting report was published just this month, June 2015, and it not only reconfirms the earlier one, but it goes even farther, by asserting that:

“Earlier IMF work has shown that income inequality matters for growth and its sustainability. Our analysis suggests that the income distribution itself matters for growth as well. Specifically, if the income share of the top 20 percent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 percent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth.”

This finding is the exact opposite of IMF policy (such as regarding both Greece and Ukraine). 

In other words: the West, led by the U.S. government, is committed to economic policies that redistribute wealth from the many poor to the few rich, regardless of the empirically proven falseness of the underlying theory that weath trickles down instead of percolates up. Any politician who so much as merely hints at trickle-down as being a ‘justification’ for his policies is nothing more than a liar for hire — a peddler of the worst, for the worst (such as for the people who impose upon the IMF leaders whose policies are exactly contradictory to the findings even by the IMF’s own empirical economists).

Whoever controls the West, and especially the U.S. federal government, pursues these policies — wealth-redistribution from the many poor to the few rich — regardless of what the empirical data show, and regardless of the rhetoric of political leaders in ‘democratic’ countries (such as the United States) that “reducing inequality” of both wealth and income is a goal (of the U.S. government). It’s not a goal; to the exact contrary: the enormous loading up on debt by the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Federal Reserve and ultimately by U.S. taxpayers, for the benefit of Wall Street and their counter-parties and the international corporations they control, is part of the U.S. government’s plan; it’s a feature, not a bug, of our federal government; and such debt-buildup even finances things like the ethnic cleansing that Ukraine is perpetrating against its former Donbass region to get rid of the residents there, 90%+ of the voters there having voted for the man whom Obama overthrew and replaced.

U.S. foreign policy is not in the interests of the American public. (The State Department aren’t. The ‘Defense’ Department aren’t. The CIA aren’t.) It’s a private matter, controlled by the aristocrats who, as a result of their private deals, place their ‘public servants’ in office, in their ‘democracy,’ dictating to the entire world (excepting perhaps Russia, China, and the other BRICS countries).

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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.

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Public Didn’t See Last Two World Wars Coming Either

Books about how World War I started, and to a lesser degree how World War II started, have tended in recent years to explain that these wars didn’t actually come as a surprise, because top government officials saw them coming for years. But these revised histories admit that the general public was pretty much clueless and shocked.

The fact is that anyone in the know or diligently seeking out the facts could see, in rough outline, the danger of World War I or World War II coming years ahead, just as one can see the threats of environmental collapse and World War III approaching now. But the general public lacked a decent understanding prior to the first two world wars and lacks it now on the looming dangers created by environmental destruction and aggressive flirtation with World War III.

What led to the first two world wars and allowed numerous wise observers to warn of them years ahead, even to warn of World War II immediately upon completion of the treaty that ended World War I? A number of factors ought to be obvious but are generally overlooked:

  1. Acceptance of war, leading to steady preparation for it.
  2. A major arms race, making instruments of death in fact our leading industry, with hope placed in a balance or domination of powers of war, rather than an overcoming of war.
  3. The momentum created for war by massive investment in highly profitable (and status and career advancing) weaponry and other military expenditures.
  4. Fear in each nation of the war intentions of the others, driven by propaganda that encourages fear and discourages understanding of the other sides.
  5. The belief produced by the above factors that war, unlike the tango, only takes one. On the basis of that belief, each side must prepare for war as self-protection from another war-maker, but doing so is not believed to be a choice or an action of any kind; rather, it is a law of physics, an inevitable occurrence, something to be observed and chattered about like the weather.
  6. The consequent, though seemingly mad, willingness by those in power to risk potentially apocalyptic war rather than to pursue survival without war.

World War I was preceded by wars in North Africa and South-Eastern Europe. Weapons spending and war planning soared. Efforts to preserve the peace were launched. Then Austria-Hungary was handed an excuse for attacking Serbia, and certain Germans saw an excuse for attacking Belgium and France, and certain Brits saw an opportunity for fighting Germany, and so forth, and the slaughter was on. It could have been prevented, but the policies of decades made it likely, regardless of the immediate trigger. The public had very little idea.

World War II followed decades of the first war’s victors causing the German people to suffer economically while building up bitter resentment, of another unprecedented arms race, of Western investment in Nazis as preferable to leftists, and of training up Japan as a junior partner in empire but turning against it when it went too far. The Nazi treatment of Jews was knowable and protested. The U.S. military’s aggression toward Japan was knowable and protested. The U.S. government drew up a list of actions that could provoke a Japanese attack, including an embargo on oil, and took each of those actions.

Much of the public never saw either world war coming. Much of the U.S. public believed the U.S. would stay out of the wars once they had begun. And U.S. voters twice elected presidents who were planning to enter world wars but campaigning on promises not to.

David Fromkin’s book on the beginning of World War I, Europe’s Last Summer, draws just the wrong conclusions. “It was no accident that Europe went to war at that time,” he writes. “It was the result of premeditated decisions by two governments. [He means Austria and Germany.] Once those two countries had invaded their neighbors, there was no way for the neighbors to keep the peace. That was true in World War II; at Pearl Harbor, Japan made the war-or-peace decision not merely for itself, but for the unwilling United States as well, by launching its attack. Nor had America any more choice in Europe in 1941; Hitler’s Germany declared war on the United States, to which America was obliged to respond.”

Fromkin is giving an accurate description of a war of rich on poor. When the United States attacks Iraq or Syria or Pakistan or Yemen or Somalia or Afghanistan or Libya or Panama or Vietnam, etc., etc., no cooperation is required from the poor nation that is bombed or invaded. There is war because the Pentagon says so, although the form that resistance takes is completely open to choice. But had the nations that Fromkin grants innocence in World Wars One and Two spent the previous decades disarming and practicing respectful diplomacy, aid, cooperation, peacemaking, and establishment of the rule of law, there could not have been the rich-on-rich wars that constitute the worst short-time-period events in human history and have been avoided since 1945. Fromkin traces, as most authors do, Germany’s WWI aggression to its fear of its neighbors. What if those neighbors had been unfearable?

Perhaps they would have been attacked anyway. Iraq and Libya disarmed, in terms of so-called WMDs, and the U.S. attacked them.

Or perhaps they would have been left alone. Most nations that do not threaten their neighbors are not threatened in return.

In any case, there would have been no world wars killing tens of millions of people if there hadn’t been willing partners on both sides. Any war there was would have been one-sided. Any nonviolent resistance would likewise have experienced one-sided suffering. But most of the death and destruction would not have happened.

The United States has pulled out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty and expanded NATO to a dozen new nations, moving right up to the border of Russia. It’s placed troops and weapons on the Russian border. It’s organized a coup in Ukraine and installed a Ukrainian government full of neo-Nazis. It’s lied to its people about Russian invasions and Russian attacks on airplanes. It’s fantasized about its missile-defense system allowing it to attack Russia, or China for that matter, without counter-attack. It’s proposed to put more nukes in Europe aimed at Russia. It’s built bases around the edges of China. It’s trying to militarize Japan again. It’s imposed sanctions on Russia. It’s threatened, mocked, ridiculed, and demonized Russia and its president — and North Korea for good measure. Informed observers warn of the heightened risk of nuclear Armageddon. And most people in the United States haven’t a clue.

While I’m not suffering under the delusion that violence is Russia’s only or wisest or most strategic response, neither am I urging Russia to turn the other cheek. Having been saddled with a U.S. identity when I’d prefer a local or global one, it’s not my place to tell Russia what to do (could I improve on Tolstoy?). But I can tell the U.S. public to wake up and put a stop to this madness before it kills us all. World War III is not inevitable, but it is clearly headed our way if we don’t change course. And changing course would give us our best shot at avoiding environmental disaster as well.

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