A striking poverty of imagination may lead to change that will tear this nation to pieces.
Venturing out each day into this land of strip malls, freeways, office parks, and McHousing pods, one can’t help but be impressed at how America looks the same as it did a few years ago, while seemingly overnight we have become another country. All the old mechanisms that enabled our way of life are broken, especially endless revolving credit, at every level, from household to business to the banks to the U.S. Treasury.
Peak energy has combined with the diminishing returns of over-investments in complexity to pull the “kill switch” on our vaunted “way of life” — the set of arrangements that we won’t apologize for or negotiate. So, the big question before the nation is: do we try to re-start the whole smoking, creaking hopeless, futureless machine? Or do we start behaving differently?
The attempted re-start of revolving debt consumerism is an exercise in futility. We’ve reached the limit of being able to create additional debt at any level without causing further damage, additional distortions, and new perversities of economy (and of society, too). We can’t raise credit card ceilings for people with no ability make monthly payments. We can’t promote more mortgages for people with no income. We can’t crank up a home-building industry with our massive inventory of unsold, and over-priced houses built in the wrong places. We can’t ramp back up the blue light special shopping fiesta. We can’t return to the heyday of Happy Motoring, no matter how many bridges we fix or how many additional ring highways we build around our already-overblown and over-sprawled metroplexes. Mostly, we can’t return to the now-complete “growth” cycle of “economic expansion.” We’re done with all that. History is done with our doing that, for now.
Making an appearance on the Morning Joe television show, the Rockefeller globalist Zbigniew Brzezinski said it is high time the rich who have made billions since the days of the Clinton administration help out the poor and struggling masses. Said Brzezinski:
Where is the monied class today? Why aren’t they doing something: the people who made billions, millions. I’m sort of thinking of Paulson, of Rubin. Why don’t they get together, and why don’t they organize a National Solidarity Fund in which they call on all of those who made these extraordinary amounts of money to kick some back in to [a] National Solidarity Fund?
Brzezinski almost looked grandfatherly as he said this (see video). He almost came off as a good-natured humanitarian… almost. It all sounded good, if implausible — that is until Brzezinski reached the end of his carefully crafted diatribe:
And if we don’t get some sort of voluntary National Solidarity Fund, at some point there’ll be such political pressure that Congress will start getting in the act, there’s going to be growing conflict between the classes and if people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there could be even riots.
In other words, Brzezinski is afraid that if some filthy lucre is not dispensed among the unwashed, they will rise up and burn down the banks, sack the corporations, and destroy the globalist edifice so painfully erected over the last fifty or so years — and maybe even go so far as to string up Brzezinski and his fellow globalists from trees and overpasses, the sort of dirty and regrettable business that invariably occurs in the process of violent revolutions in response to decades of provocation.
It’s not the pain suffered by the unemployed and homeless that concerns Brzezinski and the one-world patricians. It is the prospect of class warfare. It is the horrific prospect of losing it all.
It is becoming clear that the bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with.
The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that it allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.
According to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) the bailout bill originally called for a cap on executive salaries, but Paulson changed the requirement at the last minute. Welch and other members of Congress were enraged by “news that banks getting taxpayer-funded bailouts are still paying exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other benefits.” In addition, as AP reported in October, “Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock. `There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders,’ he said.”
Even more reprehensible is the fact that since the bailouts, Paulson and the Treasury Department have refused to provide details of the Troubled Assets Relief Program spending of hundreds of billions of dollars, while the New York Federal Reserve has refused to provide information about its own bail-out (using government-backed loans) that amounts to trillions. This lack of transparency has been challenged by Fox TV in a FOIA suit against the Treasury Department, and a suit by Bloomberg News against the Fed.
The financial bailout legislation of September 2008 was only passed after members of both Congressional houses were warned that failure to act would threaten civil unrest and the imposition of martial law.
U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., both said U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson brought up a worst-case scenario as he pushed for the Wall Street bailout in September. Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO, said that might even require a declaration of martial law, the two noted.
Renowned US intellectual Noam Chomsky says Barack Obama did not comment on Israel’s war on Gaza, as it was part of the “premeditated” plan.
We have been informed by an Israeli source that the recent invasion of the Gaza Strip was completely premeditated, Chomsky said in an interview with the French Al-Ahram daily.
The plan was to deliver the maximum blow to Gaza before the new US president took office, so that he could put these matters behind him, added the famous intellectual, referring to Obama’s pledge to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
According to Chomsky, while Israel was pounding the Gaza Strip — during which over 1300 Palestinians were killed –, Obama excused his silence by saying that “There’s only one president at a time.”
I was listening to Robert Reich, once the left end of the spectrum in the Clinton cabinet, talking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer a few days ago, and Reich, who has in the past sometimes made sense, was talking about how Americans’ incomes had fallen over the last eight years of the Bush/Cheney administration and that it was necessary to get their incomes back on an upward trend, so that they could “start shopping again.”
Now I understand Reich was trying to make the case that the bailout so far has been focused on the banks and the insurance industry, and that none of this will help unless ordinary people start getting some relief, but still, there’s something completely twisted and out of whack when the best we can come up with is that we need to get Americans back into the malls.
In fact, that is a good part of what’s wrong with the US economy: Fully 75 percent of GDP in America is consumer spending.
The problem facing America, and to a great extent the broader world economy, is that we’ve pretty much met basic human needs long ago, and now it’s about creating human wants and then convincing people that they need to buy more stuff and more services.
This is wrong in so many ways and on so many levels.
Evidence suggests a payoff to Italy for supplying the forged documents Bush famously used to justify launching the Iraq war.
“Obama Confronts a Choice on Copters” read this week’s New York Times. The President soon “will have to decide whether to proceed with some of the priciest aircraft in the world — a new fleet of 28 Marine One helicopters that will each cost more than the last Air Force One….The choice confronting Mr. Obama encapsulates the tension between two imperatives of his nascent presidency, the need to meet the continuing threats of an age of terrorism and the demand for austerity in a period of economic hardship.”
This is a gross misrepresentation of the choice Obama faces. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) and others have alleged that the contract for 28 Marine One helicopters was awarded to the Italian firm Finmeccanica as a thank you for Italy’s participation in the Iraq War. The evidence, however, indicates that the contract was more specifically a payoff to the Italian government for supplying the forged documents showing Saddam had obtained weapons grade uranium from Niger. President Bush famously used this fraudulent “yellowcake” intelligence to justify launching the war.
When reviewing the helicopter contract, President Obama can either be actively complicit by continuing with Finmeccanica; he can duck and cover by simply switching to the proper supplier, Sikorsky; or he can use the mandated review of this purchase decision to root out those in military, the aerospace industry and Congress who were willing to compromise the security of all subsequent American presidents so that Bush could cover up his core war crime.
Officials up and down the chain who awarded the contract knew that they were doing something extraordinarily wrong. The rigged bidding process bypassed, for example, Marine One pilots who repeatedly sought to give input. They had many safety concerns. At the time of the bid, the helicopter chosen was not certified to fly in the U.S. It was an old model made of heavy materials; this flew in the face of why the President supposedly needed a new fleet: i.e., so many extra security devices had been added to Marine One after 9/11, it was struggling to lift off. In its losing bid, the Connecticut-based Sikorsky, which had manufactured virtually all presidential helicopters since Eisenhower first ordered one, proposed a new model made of much lighter, composite materials.
But the Marine One pilots’ prime objection, which was raised repeatedly by many other officials in private, was national security. Finmeccanica was doing business with Iran, China and Libya. Why outsource so sensitive a project?
Yes, it’s great to have a black face in the White House. And yes, it’s nice to have a bright, well-educated, eloquent president for a change.
But national leaders who are dark-skinned, bright, well-educated, and eloquent are a dime a dozen. The Third World is full of them. They’re called dictators.
In the Third World, dictators are often alumni of American ivy league universities. The bankers, and the foundations they control, give the brightest students from places like Rwanda and Kenya and Benin scholarships to places like Harvard and Yale and Princeton. Then they send them home, help them out with money and organization, and reap the benefits when their protegés seize power and make themselves heads of state.
I hate to say it, but I’m afraid that’s pretty much what has happened to America.
Many Americans will soon realize we do not know everything about this world in which we live…
You hear the news, but do you have any idea WHERE they are talking about?
Click on the “learn more” link below. Once you are there, drag the country’s name onto the map where you think it belongs. There is no score nor time limit, but rather this exercise is a learning tool.
Don’t be afraid to make an error; and once you finish the puzzle, you will be far more educated about this very intense part of our world.
On February 10, Israel held parliamentary elections for 120 seats in its 18th Knesset. The process repeats every four years unless the body calls an earlier election by majority vote. The prime minister may also ask the president to request one early that will proceed unless the Knesset blocks it. Parliamentary terms may be extended beyond four years by special majority vote. Israel has no constitution. Under Article 4 of its Basic Law: The Knesset:
“The Knesset shall be elected by general, national, direct, equal, secret and proportional elections, in accordance with the Knesset Elections Law.” Every Israeli citizen 18 or older may vote, including Arabs who are nominally enfranchised, may serve in the parliament, but can’t govern or in any way influence policy.
Knesset seats are assigned proportionally to each party’s percentage of the total vote. A minimum total is required to win any seats. Jewish parties alone are empowered. Arab parliamentarians have no decision-making authority. They’re also constrained by the 1992 Law of Political Parties and section 7A(1) of the Basic Law that prohibits candidates from denying “the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”
Under the law for Arabs and Jews, no candidate may challenge Israel’s fundamental Jewish character or demand equal rights, privileges, and justice. The essential Zionist identity is inviolable. The law works only for Jews. Israeli Arabs have no rights. They’re denied equal treatment and justice, even those elected to public office. Israel calls this democracy. South Africa called it apartheid. Nazi Germany called it fascism.
On January 12, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) banned two Arab parties from participating in the February elections on grounds of incitement, racism, supporting terrorist groups, and refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Two extremist right wing parties requested it – Yisrael Beiteinu and National Union. Named were United Arab List-Ta’al and Balad. All charges were bogus and hateful.