Archive for November, 2011
Today I stumbled onto the answer to a question that I have asked my entire life. I am not sure that I ever understood the full scope of what I am about to say. But what I read today- makes sense.
Here is the question. Of all of the countries on planet earth, what made the United States so successful? Why were we able to make tremendous advancements in productivity, in engineering, in the medical and pharmaceutical fields? How and why did we become the leaders in technology? Why do we have the most effective fighting force with the most advanced armament of all time? How did our culture crawl to the top?
Was it luck? Are we smarter than everyone else? How was the United States able to advance so dramatically while other cultures were left in the dust? I have always wondered about this until today.
We got lucky. We isolated here on this continent as free men and we were insanely productive. From that petri dish, we did one other thing right. It would be the key in our separation from all other republics and cultures. It was the underpinning of the greatest period of technological advancement and wealth creation that the world has ever known. Very simply, we had a rule of law. That rule of law was rigid and structured. It was fair and it protected everyone. With the rules in place, people were not afraid to participate. The state was kept at bay. It could not arbitrarily come in and punish people. Competition was fair and protected. Rights were protected. Copyrights, patents, and trademark protection. Innovation, invention, and production- even workers- all protected by a rule of law.
With a level playing field, as close to fair as humanly possible, people were willing to participate.
My premise is simple. The foundation of our entire culture and way of life is based on some operating instructions we call the rule of law. And if you abandon the rule of law- chaos results. People withdraw. They no longer have confidence in their government. The government begins to pick and choose which people will get prosecuted and which will not. Government picks and chooses winners and losers. It gets in bed with the winners and prosecutes those who cannot muster a defense. There is no longer any illusion of fairness. The operating instructions are ignored. Society and our culture see the changing rules and they withdraw. They no longer participate, they no longer innovate. Without a level and protected field, the players quit playing. They lose their mojo. The government throws them some scraps. And all the while, our society just can’t quite put their finger on what’s wrong. Like me. Until today.
We abandoned the rule of law in this country. We abandoned it at Chappaquiddick, we abandoned it at Watergate. The government further abandoned the rule of law. It let illegal aliens in by the millions. It created wars and killed our sons and daughters and offered excuses when the truth was- those wars were simply “good business.” By 2008, Congress had set the stage for the greatest banking ripoff in the history of mankind. The government turned a blind eye to the suspects in that crime and it continues to turn a blind eye. At no time in the history of this country have we had a Congress as morally bankrupt and as unethical as this one. The Supreme Court is not far behind. They cannot prosecute the guilty because they cannot distinguish the guilty from themselves. Society and our culture are breaking down right in front of our very eyes.
The only reason we have not completely broken down as a country and a culture is because we still have some existing rule of law. There are those who are attempting to render the remaining rule of law ineffective. They might succeed. When that happens, you can stick a fork in us. Because I truly believe it was our system and rule of law that set us apart from all others and enabled us to become the greatest country ever. If only for a while. http://www.cato.org/special/threewomen/god-machine.html
My thanks to Isabelle Paterson for answering a question she had mulled over prior to 1943. I ordered the book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_of_the_Machine
by Paul Craig Roberts
November 26, 2011
On November 25, two days after a failed German government bond auction in which Germany was unable to sell 35% of its offerings of 10-year bonds, the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Germany might retreat from its demands that the private banks that hold the troubled sovereign debt from Greece, Italy, and Spain must accept part of the cost of their bailout by writing off some of the debt. The private banks want to avoid any losses either by forcing the Greek, Italian, and Spanish governments to make good on the bonds by imposing extreme austerity on their citizens, or by having the European Central Bank print euros with which to buy the sovereign debt from the private banks. Printing money to make good on debt is contrary to the ECB’s charter and especially frightens Germans, because of the Weimar experience with hyperinflation.
Obviously, the German government got the message from the orchestrated failed bond auction. As I wrote at the time, there is no reason for Germany, with its relatively low debt to GDP ratio compared to the troubled countries, not to be able to sell its bonds.
If Germany’s creditworthiness is in doubt, how can Germany be expected to bail out other countries? Evidence that Germany’s failed bond auction was orchestrated is provided by troubled Italy’s successful bond auction two days later.
Strange, isn’t it. Italy, the largest EU country that requires a bailout of its debt, can still sell its bonds, but Germany, which requires no bailout and which is expected to bear a disproportionate cost of Italy’s, Greece’s and Spain’s bailout, could not sell its bonds.
In my opinion, the failed German bond auction was orchestrated by the US Treasury, by the European Central Bank and EU authorities, and by the private banks that own the troubled sovereign debt.
My opinion is based on the following facts. Goldman Sachs and US banks have guaranteed perhaps one trillion dollars or more of European sovereign debt by selling swaps or insurance against which they have not reserved. The fees the US banks received for guaranteeing the values of European sovereign debt instruments simply went into profits and executive bonuses. This, of course, is what ruined the American insurance giant, AIG, leading to the TARP bailout at US taxpayer expense and Goldman Sachs’ enormous profits.
If any of the European sovereign debt fails, US financial institutions that issued swaps or unfunded guarantees against the debt are on the hook for large sums that they do not have. The reputation of the US financial system probably could not survive its default on the swaps it has issued. Therefore, the failure of European sovereign debt would renew the financial crisis in the US, requiring a new round of bailouts and/or a new round of Federal Reserve “quantitative easing,” that is, the printing of money in order to make good on irresponsible financial instruments, the issue of which enriched a tiny number of executives.
Certainly, President Obama does not want to go into an election year facing this prospect of high profile US financial failure. So, without any doubt, the US Treasury wants Germany out of the way of a European bailout.
The private French, German, and Dutch banks, which appear to hold most of the troubled sovereign debt, don’t want any losses. Either their balance sheets, already ruined by Wall Street’s fraudulent derivatives, cannot stand further losses or they fear the drop in their share prices from lowered earnings due to write-downs of bad sovereign debts. In other words, for these banks big money is involved, which provides an enormous incentive to get the German government out of the way of their profit statements.
The European Central Bank does not like being a lesser entity than the US Federal Reserve and the UK’s Bank of England. The ECB wants the power to be able to undertake “quantitative easing” on its own. The ECB is frustrated by the restrictions put on its powers by the conditions that Germany required in order to give up its own currency and the German central bank’s control over the country’s money supply. The EU authorities want more “unity,” by which is meant less sovereignty of the member countries of the EU. Germany, being the most powerful member of the EU, is in the way of the power that the EU authorities desire to wield.
Thus, the Germans bond auction failure, an orchestrated event to punish Germany and to warn the German government not to obstruct “unity” or loss of individual country sovereignty.
Germany, which has been browbeat since its defeat in World War II, has been made constitutionally incapable of strong leadership. Any sign of German leadership is quickly quelled by dredging up remembrances of the Third Reich. As a consequence, Germany has been pushed into an European Union that intends to destroy the political sovereignty of the member governments, just as Abe Lincoln destroyed the sovereignty of the American states.
Who will rule the New Europe? Obviously, the private European banks and Goldman Sachs.
The new president of the European Central Bank is Mario Draghi. This person was Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of Goldman Sachs’ Management Committee. Draghi was also Italian Executive Director of the World Bank, Governor of the Bank of Italy, a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank, a member of the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements, and a member of the boards of governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank, and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board.
Obviously, Draghi is going to protect the power of bankers.
Italy’s new prime minister, who was appointed not elected, was a member of Goldman Sachs Board of International Advisers. Mario Monti was appointed to the European Commission, one of the governing organizations of the EU. Monti is European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, a US organization that advances American hegemony over the world. Monti is a member of the Bilderberg group and a founding member of the Spinelli group, an organization created in September 2010 to facilitate integration within the EU.
Just as an unelected banker was installed as prime minister of Italy, an unelected banker was installed as prime minister of Greece. Obviously, they are intended to produce the bankers’ solution to the sovereign debt crisis.
Greece’s new appointed prime minister, Lucas Papademos, was Governor of the Bank of Greece. From 2002-2010. He was Vice President of the European Central Bank. He, also, is a member of America’s Trilateral Commission.
Jacques Delors, a founder of the European Union, promised the British Trade Union Congress in 1988 that the European Commission would require governments to introduce pro-labor legislation. Instead, we find the banker-controlled European Commission demanding that European labor bail out the private banks by accepting lower pay, fewer social services, and a later retirement.
The European Union, just like everything else, is merely another scheme to concentrate wealth in a few hands at the expense of European citizens, who are destined, like Americans, to be the serfs of the 21st century.
Guest: Ed Haslam, author of Dr. Marys Monkey. Overview: Ed Haslam, author of Dr. Marys Monkey provides unreported/under-reported information about the murder of Dr. Mary Sherman in New Orleans on July 21, 1964 – and the relationship that existed between Dr. Sherman, Lee Harvey Oswald and others. Mr. Haslam provides critical insight into the covert underground biological laboratories in New Orleans at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Back in the 90s when everyone had gone crazy for the tech bubble I’d get a lot of people asking me what I was investing in. “Nothing,” I’d reply, “I’m too conservative to play the stock market.”
It always got a chuckle and then a double-take; oh, he means it. I’d seen a few bubbles come and go in the comic market and saw the damage they could do when they burst. The tech bubble burst but that was just a sneak preview of what would happened when the housing bubble burst. Bubbles are fundamentally anti-conservative, in my view.
In these Orwellian times, when dominant power structures devote vast resources to destroying our vocabulary and the possibility of discourse itself, the word “conservative” has come to be identified with a person who blindly follows any of the dominant right-wing political modalities; Theocon, Neocon, Corporatist.
None of these modalities are in fact conservative because none of them value modesty, caution, tradition or the preservation of long-standing conditions or institutions.
Instead they are all degrees of soft fascism, in that they all worship corporate power and seek to remake society in their own image and according to their varying precepts of “Progress.” But all of them would result in a world in which civil society would be replaced by corporate dictate.
In many ways I’m a Yankee of the flinty, old school variety– there’s nothing I hate more than arbitrary or unnecessary change. And I still value many of those old school conservative values –such as honesty, industry, loyalty and thrift– that the situationally-ethical corporatist establishment prescribes for others but never practice themselves.
It’s just that I know from study that counterculture, mysticism, psychedelia and the rest are actually traditions as old as the hills.
One of the reasons I wrote Our Gods Wear Spandex and The Secret History of Rock ‘n’ Roll was to prove that cultural movements that are dismissed as aberrations or accidents of history are nothing but, in fact they long predate many of the more respectable cultural institutions like the Church or classical music.
And although I love technology, I have a deep suspicion of the ideal of Progress– the ideal that human history is this linear sequence that is on an infinite arc up, to where depends on who you ask.
You can’t study ancient history and pretend that civilization, technology and culture are anything but cyclical, if not utterly random. One of the best examples of this is Ancient Egypt, which seemed to have started at a peak and then sort of spiraled downward in some ways and stayed utterly stagnant in others.
Europe followed a similar path from the rise of Constantine to the Renaissance. Science, health, social comity and overall education took a nosedive sometime between Theodosius and Romulus Augustus, the last emperor of the West. Things got so bad in Rome proper that the details and chronology of the latter’s reign are still unknown. Modern conservatives protest that Rome continued in the East, but there too we saw incessant decline, just on a slower timetable.
That’s what history teaches you: Progress is subject to the variables that are often impossible to account for- weather, earth changes, plague, etc etc etc. There are no straight lines.
My distrust of Progress is how easily the idea can be twisted to suit the agenda of the least conservative elements in the world. The Plutocracy, for instance sees the replacement of American and European workers with offshore labor or machines as the apogee of human progress, but for everyone else it’s a disaster. They see the replacement of craftsmanship and pride of work with mass-produced plastic or glueboard crap from slave labor camps in China the same exact way.
Correspondingly, the far left have replaced the tradition tenets of liberalism– tolerance, equality of opportunity, economic justice– with the intentionally nebulous ideal of “Progressivism,” which in many ways is not only often radically illiberal, it’s often used as cudgel by the Right to bash the liberals with. There’s no doubt in my mind that it was designed to do so.
My favorite example of the regressive reality of the Progressivist ideal is Antioch College, a legendary liberal institution whose alumni included such luminaries like Coretta Scott King, Rod Serling and Steven Jay Gould. Antioch took every progressive innovation to heart until it became a national laughing stock for its extremist adherence to political correctness, then succumbed to an ugly, prolonged decline before finally being shut down by its trustees in 2008. It’s reopened this past year but has a very long way to go before it can restore its reputation or its student population.
Robert Motherwell’s idea of Progress
Ultimately though, my suspicion of Progress is based, like everything else, in culture and the arts. The only person who wasn’t surprised that the CIA funded the abstract expressionist movement was me, since I’ve long suspected that all of these emperor’s new clothes movements in the fine arts world were designed to drive a wedge between the arts community and the general public.
I’d suspected as much largely due to the fact that the Guggenheim mining dynasty– along with other corporate oligarchs such as the Rockefellers– were the main patrons of these increasingly alienating movements, which allowed the talentless children of privilege like Robert Motherwell (whose father was the president of Wells Fargo) to pretend they were artists. The damage this program did to the prestige and reputation of the visual arts lingers to this day.
This new “Progress” decimated several generations of artists in North America and Europe, as prestigious schools stopped teaching the fundamentals of the craft and filled student’s heads with a bunch of bullshit theory in their place. Representational artists were openly scorned, ridiculed and suppressed as “regressive” and counter-revolutionary. Only in the past couple of decades has the pendulum swung back, thanks largely to the low brow and neo-Surrealist movements openly hostile to the art world establishment.
Some context is needed here, mind you. In many ways abstract expressionism and related movements were a response to the challenge posed by the Industrial Revolution and its aftershocks, especially motion picture and video. Many promising artists- Donald Cammell, to name one– felt like the plastic arts were static and inert compared to the possibilities of electronic media (in Cammell’s case it was cinema and rock and roll).
But the response was the wrong one, in my opinion. And it points to a hideous irony– how the progressive ideal is in many ways actually reactionary, or at least reactive.
Gang of Four before…
But of course the thing that made me come to deeply resent the myth of Progress was the response the music industry had to the disappointing reception most of the first wave of Punk and New Wave bands faced in the late 70s and early 80s.
When disco imploded in 1979, the new crop of rock bands was given a major push by the record companies. The investment paid off for acts like The Knack, Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, The Police, and The Cars. But many other bands tanked or underperformed and success was shortlived for many of the new hitmakers.
In order to jumpstart sales, enormous pressure was put on these bands to radically tone down their music and their images, even acts as seemingly hardcore as The Clash and The Ramones. However, the bands and their labels faced a major problem– the hype that accompanied their debuts proclaimed that these bands had declared war on the soft rock and disco complacency dominating the charts. Now that these bands were themselves recording soft rock and disco only marginally distinguishable from the old guard, a new argument had to be made for them. And that was the “Progress” argument.
The word came down from on high that these bands had embraced “Progress,” which inevitably moved in the direction of the Top 40. These acts weren’t selling out by recording soft rock and pop and disco, they were being Progressive, usually by adding in some vague politics and radio-friendly Third World rhythms into the mix.
By far the most egregious sellouts– and the most obnoxious proponents of the new “Progress” party line dogma– were Gang of Four, who made their mark serving up frantic, aggressive punk funk (influencing acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the process) and confrontational Marxist politicking. But as soon as the record company looked at them cross-eyed the Gang rolled over and played dead, serving up the odious soft rock/disco hybrid abortion Hard in 1983.
By its release, two of the Four had quit in disgust already and the band was laughed out of existence the following year. They made a Stalinist point to erase all of this from their history when hitting the comeback trail a few years back. Ironically, the new generation was only interested in the records they made before this suicidal embrace of Progress took old, as is usually the case.
….and after Progress.
Gang of Four were by no means alone (Combat Rock anyone?). And what neither the bands nor the record companies realized was that the audience was in a state of transition at the time. Music video would make weirdos and punks marketable by mid-1982 and a sizable alternative circuit would emerge and eventually complete the work the punks had set out to do in the late 70s.
The phony idea of “Progress” turned out to be a poison pill when the change came. Many of the acts that compromised collapsed under the weight of all the bullshit or were disgraced and/or relegated to cult act status. The ones that didn’t went on to build huge, dedicated audiences. If only the artists and their managers stuck it out a bit longer, they could have gotten over the hump and helped change the face of the music industry.
Ironically, there were two opposing movements in the 19th Century that enshrined the ideal of Progress. The first was Marxism, which reacted to the massive social crises unleashed by the Industrial Revolution by proposing a “scientific” model in which to re-organize industrial society. The other was Dispensationalism, the Christian Fundamentalist interpretation of scripture which presented a model in which all of history was seen to progressing inexorably to the Great Revelation and the coming of the Kingdom of God.
The unprecedented explosion in machine technology, as well as in chemistry and other sciences, seemed to bolster the idea that culture and religion were both part of this march of progress. Fascism too embraced progress at the same time it presented itself as the great restorer of European tradition.
With the rise of computers and the Internet the idea of linear progress became self-evident to many people. Particularly those who ignored that the Industrial and Information Revolutions were not entirely without precedent. Or ignored that technology has led to the de-evolution of human talents and abilities in many ways.
Many of us take Moore’s Law as a truism, and the idea of this incessant doubling of technological capacity has led to what is in many ways the apotheosis of the Myth of Progress, namely Transhumanism. Yet the idea that computer technology is approaching the Singularity is by no means embraced by the scientific community, and we’re seeing a lot of talk now claiming that progress has stalled. Transhumanism may come to pass or there may be some event that militates against it. But it is not inevitable.
In the final analysis, there’s progress and there’s the myth thereof. I believe absolutely that humans can’t operate without something to look forward to. I believe absolutely that we need goals, sometimes impossible ones to keep us going.
I believe that human beings have potentials yet unrealized, perhaps even a destiny. I strive in all things to improve and innovate, whatever it is that I do. I live with the hope every day that I’ll overcome my health issues and live a better life. I want to think that I’ll be happy and fulfilled in my work. I want the same for everyone around me.
But in order to achieve our objectives I believe we need to stop thinking that wheel needs to be constantly reinvented. We need to place human well-being above all other goals, most especially the goals of Progress. There’s no good innovation that doesn’t contribute the greatest good of the greatest number.
Prophecy Update! for 11=24=2011
What does the word apostasy in 2nd Thessalonians really mean?
Mid-east update as the Russians move war ships off the Syria coast, and lot’s more!
Gerald Celente: Despite Vigilance, An Ironic Victim of The Psychopaths
by: D Sherman Okst
“If you haven’t seen the movie “Horrible Bosses” I’d recommend that you do. Please see it. Go enjoy yourself. As bad as things are getting it is incredible to realize that we can still laugh. And trust me, you’ll laugh hard at this movie. When I left the theater with my wife, I realized why it was that movie theaters did well in the last Great Depression. For an hour and forty minutes we escaped all the negativity that has crept into this world. It had a long lasting effect. For at least a week I was in a good mood.
The movie “Horrible Bosses” is comprised of a few character types: The ‘Psycho’, the ‘Maneater’ and the ‘Tool.’ Three friends come to the realization that their lives are miserable because of them. They like their jobs, they hate their bosses. One friend, Dale used a playground, near the bar he frequented, as a late night urinal. He was arrested for indecent exposure. This got him the tile of “registered sex offender”—for what he claims was entrapment, (putting a playground adjacent to a bar). The irony is that his boss, Dr. Julia is a ‘manteater,’ the one the cops should have arrested. Bottom line—he’s not marketable. Then we have Dave who works for a financial psycho who threatens to expose him to future employers for having a drinking problem—a problem that he really doesn’t have. Another non-marketable, stuck in his job for life worker.
Friend number three is Kurt. The owner of Kurt’s place of employment dies suddenly. This leaves the owners kid, ‘Bobby-the-Tool-Coke-Head’ as Kurt’s new boss. With the economy being what it isn’t, Kurt is also stuck at his job. So the three come to the realization that their lives can only get better if they each kill their friend’s boss. They hire MF Jones as their murder consultant . He got the name MF because when he was a kid he stole from his mother’s purse and it really “set her back.”
The Psychopaths Have Crossed the Line: As I knock out my book “Where Psychopaths & Economics Meet,” I’ve resolved myself to not write “too many” articles. But, Gerald Celente is one of us. He’s one of the economic bloggers. One of the good guys. The ones out there reading good and spreading good in a world ruled by evil. Our world has been taken over by three bad bosses: Political Capture, Economic Capture and Mainstream Media Capture. A sequel to “Horrible Bosses” is about to be written. Sadly I don’t think it’ll be a comedy.
A depression created by psychopaths. I was just a college drop-in. My wife just got her degree. Twelve years of slogging through classes. I read most of her books along the way. When I wasn’t tutoring her in computer programming she was teaching me. I don’t recall the philosopher, but one said something to the effect: “Names aren’t coincidental.” When the Madoff scandal broke we laughed about his name, “made-off,” as in I made-off with your money. As my favorite author, the late Kurt Vonnegut would say, “someone should look into this.”
Celente got taken by MF Global. When I told my wife the story over coffee this morning she laughingly said, “MF as in Mother-F(again, I’ll let you fill in the blanks here)r Global. Hey, just like the movie “Horrible Bosses” and MotherF(ehem)r Jones.” Even the name Jon is a tipoff. I don’t trust people who spell their names like they are better than the rest of us, and Corzine I first misread as Conman somehow. Can you spot the two criminals in this lineup? So here we have 7,000 clients who got MF’d out of some $800,000,000 and Jon is walking around a free man. Let’s not mince words here, Jon is Obama’s top Wall Street Fundraiser.
Pitchforks and Torches: In 2004 we downsized. By 2007 our new house was complete. We literally built it ourselves. I didn’t use the cheapest materials. The house is very sound, 2 x 6 walls, heavier sheathing on the roof, the silent floor system, low-e windows, stone and HardiPlank all on top of a poured concrete foundation. The circa mid-2000 appliances we got are made like junk—and we didn’t buy the cheapest ones. I’ve decided not to let this “slip.” My Jihad these days has been accountability.
The well guy put a computer in that sounds like one of the turbine engines on the planes I used to fly. He claims he did this to save me $300 dollars in electrical wire. I’m still trying to get his Bernanke math. I paid $2,000 bucks for this computer to save $300 bucks in wire. I must be a moron because losing $1,700 dollars doesn’t sound like a savings to me? Of course this computer turns the 3.5 horsepower, electric power guzzling, well pump on every time we so much as flush a toilet, and pushing age 50 we seem to do that a lot more often. As a result our downsizing to a smaller home hasn’t downsized our electric bill. But I “saved” 300 bucks in wire. I’ve got that going for me.
The stove has a broken knob. Turning on various burners is like playing musical knobs. Puts my wife in a great mood. The oven door has to be screwed back together, it only separates when the oven is hot. Using a screwdriver with oven mitts on drives me bat(ehm) crazy. The dishwasher racks had their track “stoppers” fall out, so now the racks fall out the tracks and we get to pick up glass. The ice-maker in the fridge has to be manually turned on and off or ice goes all over the packed freezer. When we use the door dispenser we get more ice on the floor than in our glasses.
The gate opener outside has been replaced 12 times, and is ready again for a new computer board. The intercom by the gate stopped working — I’m not replacing it, I’m not social. It’s one reason I have an 8,400 volt electric fence, the other is I like keeping my garbage outside and I don’t like bears messing with it or eating it. Some poor son of a gun out west shot a bear because he was worried about his kids outside and the police charged him. More governmental insanity that we pay for.
There is something in Celente’s voice. I’m not the only one who hears it. It reminds me of flying in weather, the times we got so close while deviating between cells that I could hear the thunder over the planes engines. Kunstler hears it too. Jim—another good guy—wrote today about Celente’s getting taken by MF Global, “I heard him [Gerald] fulminating over it on a podcast and he is not somebody I’d want to be on the bad side of.” Last week the wood stove manufacturer’s CEO and president heard my thunder. This week they buy their stove back and we put a more expensive one in.
I’m done dealing with morons and through with being robbed blind. It’s bad enough inflation rips us off, but to be forced into buying lifetime warrenties which cost as much as the product that you’re buying, or having to replace what you just bought a year ago is criminal. Things should not come down to pitchforks and torches—but they are quickly coming to that. It isn’t a pleasant fix but when the authorities think that it is permissible for someone to steal $800 million from 7,000 customers and nothing is immediatly done about it then it is proof that they have—once again—failed us. If you can backstop Wall Street you better backstop those ripped off by them—and this time, go liquidate their assets to pay it back. K-Street of course won’t tolerate that, and that’s who really pays our horrible bosses we call politicians. (Ron Paul and a few other good eggs excluded).
What happened to Celente and 7,000 other Celentes is no different from the cops who beat the ex-war vet protester until his spleen ruptured; or pepper sprayed those two little girls; or shot a kid in the head with teargas canisters and then, while lying helplessly on the ground in a puddle of his own blood, proceed to lob a flash grenade at him and those helping him. Sick! Like I told the stove compnay—Nice job champs!
Americans have been very tolerant. We’ve handed money over for Wall Street bonuses rewarding the psychopaths who blew up our economy and created 23.9% unemployment (the real undistorted employment rate). We’ve watched silently as Bernanke lied to us about the banks being fixed—as if we’re too stupid to know that FASB is now just legalized Enron accounting. We’ve rolled our eyes and bitten our tongues when some of the psychopaths later professed to be, “Doing God’s work.” We’ve watched our kids get molested by perverts hired off adds on pizza boxes, had our wives breasts exposed during these idiotic searches and ourselves been exposed to radiation while in naked body scanners that could be used in the oncology departments of hospitals.
I seriously suspect that people have had enough and that it won’t be long before they break out the pitchforks and torches. Throughout history we’ve read about times when citizens were forced to resort to violence in order to restore law and order. Ironic—if you really think about it. I seriously suspect we are about to witness this first hand—pitchforks and torches. Right now I’m just entirely ecstatic that my name isn’t Jon Corzine. Like Kuntsler says, ‘Celente isn’t someone that I’d want to be on the bad side of. If tomorrow I open up my RSS reader and see one of those 7,000 screwed by Mother F#r Global holding a pitchfork with Corzine’s head on it I won’t be surprised.’”
by James Howard Kunstler
It’s really something to live in a country that doesn’t know what it is doing in a world that doesn’t know where it is going in a time when anything can happen. I hope you can get comfortable with uncertainty.
If there’s one vibe emanating from this shadowy zeitgeist it’s a sense of the total exhaustion of culture, in particular the way the world does business. Everything looks tired, played out, and most of all false. Governments can’t really pay for what they do. Banks have no real money. Many households surely have no money. The human construct of money itself has become a shape-shifting phantom. Will it vanish into the vortex of unpaid debt until nobody has any? Or will there be plenty of worthless money that people can spend into futility? Either way they will be broke.
The looming fear whose name political leaders dare not speak is global depression, but that is not what we’re in for. The term suggests a temporary sidetrack from the smooth operation of integrated advanced economies. We’re heading into something quite different, a permanent departure from the standard conception of economic progress, the one in which there is always sure to be more comfort and convenience for everybody, the economy of automatic goodies.
A big part of the automatic economy was the idea of a “job.” In its journey to the present moment, the idea became crusted with barnacles of illusion, especially that a “job” was a sort of commodity “produced” by large corporate enterprises or governments and rationally distributed like any other commodity; that it came with a goodie bag filled with guaranteed pensions, medical care to remediate bad living habits, vacations to places of programmed entertainment, a warm, well-lighted dwelling, and a big steel machine to travel around in. Now we witness with helpless despair as these illusions dissolve.
The situation at hand is not a “depression,” though it may resemble the experience of the 1930s in the early going. It’s the permanent re-set and reorganization of everyday life amidst a desperate scramble for resources. It will go on and on until there are far fewer people competing for things while the ones who endure construct new systems for daily living based on fewer resources used differently.
In North America I believe this re-set will involve the re-establishment of an economy centered on agriculture, with a lot of other activities supporting it, all done on a fine-grained local and regional scale. It must be impossible for many of us to imagine such an outcome – hence the futility of our current politics, with its hollow promises, its laughable battles over sexual behavior, its pitiful religious boasting, its empty statistical blather, all in the service of wishing the disintegrating past back into existence.
This desperation may be why our recently-acquired traditions seem especially automatic this holiday season. Of course the “consumers” line up outside the big box stores the day after the automatic Thanksgiving exercise in gluttony. That is what they’re supposed to do this time of year. That is what has been on the cable TV news shows in recent years: see the crowds cheerfully huddled in their sleeping bags outside the Wal Mart… see them trample each other in the moment the doors open!
The biggest news story of a weekend stuporous from leftover turkey and ceremonial football was a $6.6 billion increase in “Black Friday” chain-store sales. All the attention to the numbers was a form of primitive augury to reassure superstitious economists – more than the catatonic public – that the automatic cargo cult would be operating normally at this crucial testing time. The larger objective is to get through the ordeal of Christmas.
I don’t see how Europe gets through it financially. The jig is up there. Lovely as Europe has become since the debacles of the last century – all those adorable cities with their treasures of deliberately-created beauty – the system running it all is bankrupt. Europe is on financial death-watch and when the money stops flowing between its major organs, the banks, the whole region must either go dark or combust. Nobody really knows what will happen there, except they know that something will happen – and whatever it is portends disruption and loss for the worlds largest collective economy. The historical record is not reassuring.
If Europe’s banks go down, many of America’s will, too, maybe all of them, maybe our whole money system. I’m not sure that we will see a normal election cycle here in 2012. A few bank runs, bank failures… gasoline shortages here and there… the failure of some food deliveries to supermarkets in some region… these are the kinds of things that can bring down a political system drained of once-ironclad legitimacy. All that is left now is the husk of ritual – witness the failure of the senate-house “super-committee.” The wash-out was so broadly anticipated that it was greeted with mere yawns of recognition. It would be like pointing at the sky and saying, “air there.”
This holiday season spend a little time musing on what the re-set economy will be like in your part of the country. Think of what you do in it as a “role,” or a “vocation,” or a “trade,” or a “calling,” or a “way of life,” rather than a “job.” Imagine that life will surely go on, even civilized life, though it will be organized differently. Add to this the notion that you are part of a larger group, a society, and that societies evolve emergently according to the circumstances that their time and place presents. Let that imagining be your new American Dream.
Stacy Summary: Truth About Markets from Prague. 26 November 2011. FYI, tomorrow I will be posting the live Truth About Markets from last week in London.
But next week, Congress will vote on explicitly creating a police state.
The ACLU’s Washington legislative office explains:
The Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.
The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world.
The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself. The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday.
I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?
In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”
The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown.
Part of an Ongoing Trend
While this is shocking, it is not occurring in a vacuum. Indeed, it is part of a 30 year-long process of militarization inside our borders and a destruction of the American concepts of limited government and separation of powers.
As I pointed out in May:
The ACLU noted yesterday [that] Congress is proposing handing permanent, world-wide war-making powers to the president – including the ability to make war within the United States:
As I noted in 2008:
An article in the Army Times reveals that the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team will be redeployed from Iraq to domestic operations within the United States.
The unit will soon be under the day-to-day control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command. The Army Times reports this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command. The paper says the Army unit may be called upon to help with “civil unrest” and “crowd control”.
The soldiers are learning to use so-called “nonlethal weapons” designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals and crowds.
This violates posse comitatus and the Constitution. But, hey, we’re in a “national emergency”, so who cares, right?
I noted a couple of months later:
And everyone understands that staging troops within the U.S. to “help out with civil unrest and crowd control” increases the danger of overt martial law.
But no one is asking an obvious question: Does the government’s own excuse for deploying the troops make any sense?
Other Encroachments On Civil Rights Under Obama
As bad as Bush was, the truth is that, in many ways, freedom and constitutional rights are under attack even more than during the Bush years.
Obama has presided over the most draconian crackdown on leaks in our history — even more so than Nixon.
As Marjorie Cohen – professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and past president of the National Lawyers Guild – writes at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy:
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is facing court-martial for leaking military reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico brig in Virginia. Each night, he is forced to strip naked and sleep in a gown made of coarse material. He has been made to stand naked in the morning as other inmates walked by and looked. As journalist Lance Tapley documents in his chapter on torture in the supermax prisons in The United States and Torture, solitary confinement can lead to hallucinations and suicide; it is considered to be torture. Manning’s forced nudity amounts to humiliating and degrading treatment, in violation of U.S. and international law.
Nevertheless, President Barack Obama defended Manning’s treatment, saying, “I’ve actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures . . . are appropriate. They assured me they are.” Obama’s deference is reminiscent of President George W. Bush, who asked “the most senior legal officers in the U.S. government” to review the interrogation techniques. “They assured me they did not constitute torture,” Bush said.
After State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley criticized Manning’s conditions of confinement, the White House forced him to resign. Crowley had said the restrictions were “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid.” It appears that Washington is more intent on sending a message to would-be whistleblowers than on upholding the laws that prohibit torture and abuse.
Torture is commonplace in countries strongly allied with the United States. Vice President Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s intelligence chief, was the lynchpin for Egyptian torture when the CIA sent prisoners to Egypt in its extraordinary rendition program. A former CIA agent observed, “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear – never to see them again – you send them to Egypt.” In her chapter in The United States and Torture, New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer cites Egypt as the most common destination for suspects rendered by the United States.
As I pointed out in March:
Former constitutional law teacher Glenn Greenwald says that – in his defense of state secrecy, illegal spying, preventative detention, harassment of whistleblowers and other issues of civil liberties – Obama is even worse than Bush.
Indeed, Obama has authorized “targeted assassinations” against U.S. citizens. Even Bush didn’t openly do something so abhorrent to the rule of law.
Obama is trying to expand spying well beyond the Bush administration’s programs. Indeed, the Obama administration is arguing that citizens should never be able to sue the government for illegal spying.
And as I pointed out last year:
An FBI memo also labels peace protesters as “terrorists”.
A 2003 FBI memo describes protesters’ use of videotaping as an “intimidation” technique, even though – as the ACLU points out – “Most mainstream demonstrators often use videotape during protests to document law enforcement activity and, more importantly, deter police from acting outside the law.” The FBI appears to be objecting to the use of cameras to document unlawful behavior by law enforcement itself.
The Internet has been labeled as a breeding ground for terrorists, with anyone who questions the government’s versions of history being especially equated with terrorists.
Government agencies such as FEMA are allegedly teaching that the Founding Fathers should be considered terrorists.
Claims of “national security” are also used to keep basic financial information – such as who got bailout money – secret. That might not bode for particularly warm and friendly treatment for someone persistently demanding the release of such information.
The state of Missouri tried to label as terrorists current Congressman Ron Paul and his supporters, former Congressman Bob Barr, libertarians in general, anyone who holds gold, and a host of other people.
And according to a law school professor and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, pursuant to the Military Commissions Act:
Anyone who … speaks out against the government’s policies could be declared an “unlawful enemy combatant” and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.
Obama has refused to reverse these practices.
There Is Still a Chance to Stop It
The ACLU notes that there is some hope:
But there is a way to stop this dangerous legislation. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is offering the Udall Amendment that will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power. The Udall Amendment will make sure that the bill matches up with American values.
The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.
Now is the time to stop this bad idea. Please urge your senators to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
Congress to Vote Next Week on EXPLICITLY Creating a Police State was originally published on Washington’s Blog
While our holiday specials are indeed something to get hysterical about, there’s no reason why we have to behave like the WalMart crowds. We’re better than that. So if you decide to visit our online store to take advantage of prices so low we’re practically giving it all away, please remain calm and remember that others are also in the store trying to get the best value. There’s no need for denial of service attacks, buffer overflows, or pepper spray exploits. We will do our best to accommodate everyone.