Thursday, October 2, 2008

A shattering moment in America's fall from power

The fate of empires is very often sealed by the interaction of war and debt. That was true of the British Empire, whose finances deteriorated from the First World War onwards, and of the Soviet Union. Defeat in Afghanistan and the economic burden of trying to respond to Reagan's technically flawed but politically extremely effective Star Wars programme were vital factors in triggering the Soviet collapse. Despite its insistent exceptionalism, America is no different. The Iraq War and the credit bubble have fatally undermined America's economic primacy. The US will continue to be the world's largest economy for a while longer, but it will be the new rising powers that, once the crisis is over, buy up what remains intact in the wreckage of America's financial system.

There has been a good deal of talk in recent weeks about imminent economic armageddon. In fact, this is far from being the end of capitalism. The frantic scrambling that is going on in Washington marks the passing of only one type of capitalism - the peculiar and highly unstable variety that has existed in America over the last 20 years. This experiment in financial laissez-faire has imploded.While the impact of the collapse will be felt everywhere, the market economies that resisted American-style deregulation will best weather the storm. Britain, which has turned itself into a gigantic hedge fund, but of a kind that lacks the ability to profit from a downturn, is likely to be especially badly hit.

The irony of the post-Cold War period is that the fall of communism was followed by the rise of another utopian ideology. In American and Britain, and to a lesser extent other Western countries, a type of market fundamentalism became the guiding philosophy. The collapse of American power that is underway is the predictable upshot. Like the Soviet collapse, it will have large geopolitical repercussions. An enfeebled economy cannot support America's over-extended military commitments for much longer. Retrenchment is inevitable and it is unlikely to be gradual or well planned.

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Recapitalise the banking system

By George Soros
 
The emergency legislation currently before Congress was ill-conceived – or more accurately, not conceived at all. As Congress tried to improve what Treasury originally requested, an amalgam plan has emerged that consists of Treasury's original Troubled Asset Relief Programme (Tarp) and a quite different capital infusion programme in which the government invests and stabilises weakened banks and profits from the economy's eventual improvement. The capital infusion approach will cost tax payers less in future years, and may even make money for them.

Two weeks ago the Treasury did not have a plan ready – that is why it had to ask for total discretion in spending the money. But the general idea was to bring relief to the banking system by relieving banks of their toxic securities and parking them in a government-owned fund so that they would not be dumped on the market at distressed prices. With the value of their investments stabilised, banks would then be able to raise equity capital.

The idea was fraught with difficulties. The toxic securities in question are not homogenous and in any auction process the sellers are liable to dump the dregs on to the government fund. Moreover, the scheme addresses only one half of the underlying problem – the lack of credit availability. It does very little to enable house owners to meet their mortgage obligations and it does not address the foreclosure problem. With house prices not yet at the bottom, if the government bids up the price of mortgage backed securities, the taxpayers are liable to loose; but if the government does not pay up, the banking system does not experience much relief and cannot attract equity capital from the private sector.

A scheme so heavily favouring Wall Street over Main Street was politically unacceptable. It was tweaked by the Democrats, who hold the upper hand, so that it penalises the financial institutions that seek to take advantage of it. The Republicans did not want to be left behind and imposed a requirement that the tendered securities should be insured against loss at the expense of the tendering institution. The rescue package as it is now constituted is an amalgam of multiple approaches. There is now a real danger that the asset purchase programme will not be fully utilised because of the onerous conditions attached to it.

Nevertheless, a rescue package was desperately needed and, in spite of its shortcomings, it would change the course of events. As late as last Monday, September 22, Treasury secretary Hank Paulson hoped to avoid using taxpayers' money; that is why he allowed Lehman Brothers to fail. Tarp establishes the principle that public funds are needed and if the present programme does not work, other programmes will be instituted. We will have crossed the Rubicon.

Since Tarp was ill-conceived, it is liable to arouse a negative response from America's creditors. They would see it as an attempt to inflate away the debt. The dollar is liable to come under renewed pressure and the government will have to pay more for its debt, especially at the long end. These adverse consequences could be mitigated by using taxpayers' funds more effectively.

Instead of just purchasing troubled assets the bulk of the funds ought to be used to recapitalise the banking system. Funds injected at the equity level are more high-powered than funds used at the balance sheet level by a minimal factor of twelve - effectively giving the government $8,400bn to re-ignite the flow of credit. In practice, the effect would be even greater because the injection of government funds would also attract private capital. The result would be more economic recovery and the chance for taxpayers to profit from the recovery.

This is how it would work. The Treasury secretary would rely on bank examiners rather than delegate implementation of Tarp to Wall Street firms. The bank examiners would establish how much additional equity capital each bank needs in order to be properly capitalised according to existing capital requirements. If managements could not raise equity from the private sector they could turn to Tarp.

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The nation's social bargain with the rich

No bailout should happen without recreating the nation's social bargain with the rich. The nation can no longer afford the disparity where the average American CEO makes 344 times the pay of the average worker, according to the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy. The CEOs and their boards should pay toward the bailout before a penny of that possible $2,333 comes out of the pockets of Americans.

There is more than enough money among the financial elites to pay for the bailout. The Institute for Policy Studies last week calculated that a securities transaction tax of a penny for every $4 invested would add $100 billion a year to the treasury. Had such a tax been in place after the 2001 Enron scandal, it would have added up to the current cost of the bailout.

A wealth surcharge of no more than 3 percent on households worth more than $10 million would add another $300 billion. In response to the news this year that two-thirds of American corporations paid no income tax between 1998 and 2005, a corporate minimum income tax could add another $60 billion.

The institute said a 50 percent tax on salaries of $5 million or more and 70 percent on salaries of $10 million or more - until the bailout is over - would add another $105 billion. Killing overseas tax shelters, loopholes for excessive CEO pay and the sale of mansions, and creating a progressive inheritance tax would add another nearly $300 billion.

Institute senior scholar Chuck Collins said that would be a much more fair way to deal with the consequences, and discourage a worsening of "casino capitalism," than the rush to dump this on the taxpayer. "Many of these things have been examined, but not implemented," Collins said, "But Congress essentially punted on how to pay for the bailout."

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The U.S. Army's $4 million 'thought helmet' experiment

Soldiers barking orders at each other is so 20th Century. That's why the U.S. Army has just awarded a $4 million contract to begin developing "thought helmets" that would harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops. Ultimately, the Army hopes the project will "lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone."

If this sounds insane, it would have been as recently as a few years ago. But improvements in computing power and a better understanding of how the brain works have scientists busy hunting for the distinctive neural fingerprints that flash through a brain when a person is talking to himself. The Army's initial goal is to capture those brain waves with incredibly sophisticated software that then translates the waves into audible radio messages for other troops in the field. "It'd be radio without a microphone, " says Dr. Elmar Schmeisser, the Army neuroscientist overseeing the program. "Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way."

B-movie buffs may recall that Clint Eastwood used similar "brain-computer interface" technology in 1982's Firefox, named for the Soviet fighter plane whose weapons were controlled by the pilot's thoughts. (Clint was sent to steal the plane, natch.) Yet it's not as far-fetched as you might think: video gamers are eagerly awaiting a crude commercial version of brain wave technology — a $299 headset from San Francisco-based Emotiv Systems — in summer 2009.

The Army doesn't move quite as fast as gamers though. The military's vastly more sophisticated system may be a decade or two away from reality, let alone implementation. The five-year contract it awarded last month to a coalition of scientists from the University of California at Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Maryland, seeks to "decode the activity in brain networks" so that a soldier could radio commands to one or many comrades by thinking of the message he wanted to relay and who should get it. Initially, the recipients would most likely hear transmissions rendered by a robotic voice via earphones. But scientists eventually hope to deliver a version in which commands are rendered in the speaker's voice and indicate the speaker's distance and direction from the listener.

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Bayer pesticide chemicals linked to devastating collapse of honeybee populations

German government researchers have concluded that a bestselling Bayer pesticide is responsible for the recent massive die-off of honeybees across the country's Baden-Württemberg region. In response, the government has banned an entire family of pesticides, fueling accusations that pesticides may be responsible for the current worldwide epidemic of honeybee die-offs.

Researchers found buildup of the pesticide clothianidin in the tissues of 99 percent of dead bees in Baden-Württemberg state. The German Research Center for Cultivated Plants concluded that nearly 97 percent of honeybee deaths had been caused directly by contact with the insecticide.

"It can unequivocally be concluded that a poisoning of the bees is due to the rub-off of the pesticide ingredient clothianidin from corn seeds," said the federal agricultural research agency, the Julius Kuehn Institute.

The pesticide was applied to rapeseed and sweet corn seeds along the Rhine River Valley, which borders Baden-Württemberg to the west and south.

"Beekeepers in the region started finding piles of dead bees at the entrance of hives in early May, right around the time corn seeding takes place," said Walter Haefeker, president of the European Professional Beekeepers Association.

A total of two-thirds of all bees in the entire state are believed to have been killed by the chemical.

"It's a real bee emergency," said Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeepers' Association. "Fifty to 60 percent of the bees have died on average, and some beekeepers have lost all their hives."

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Dems bury resolution due to war fears

The House Democratic leadership has effectively shelved a resolution calling for what critics say would amount to a naval blockade of Iran because of concerns that it could provoke another war, officials on Capitol Hill said.

Even though the document would not be a law but a "statement of policy" aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the Democratic leadership is worried that it could be viewed by the Bush administration as a green light to use military force against Iran, officials said.

Howard L. Berman, California Democrat and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he has concerns about the current text and will not bring it before the committee until those issues are addressed. That, in effect, blocks the document from reaching the floor.

"If Congress is to make a statement of policy, it should encompass a strategy on how to gain consensus on multilateral sanctions to change Iran's behavior," Lynne Weil, a spokeswoman for committee, said in reference to Tehran's defiance of three U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The draft "demands that the president initiate an international effort" that would impose "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran." It would also ban "the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who made his annual appearance in New York at the U.N. General Assembly this week, told fellow heads of state that Iran has an "inalienable right" to produce nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. Tehran denies that it intends to make weapons but has failed to satisfy the concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The nonbinding resolution, which is a top legislative priority of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), also says that "nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran."

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Turkey bans biologist Richard Dawkins' website

Turkish internet users have been blocked via a court order from accessing the site of prominent British biologist Richard Dawkins after complaints from lawyers for Islamic creationist author Adnan Oktar, the website of Turkish television station NTV reported on Wednesday.

A court in Istanbul ordered that Turk Telekom block access to the site and since the weekend Turkish internet users seeking the site have been redirected to a page that says in Turkish 'access to this site has been suspended in accordance with a court decision'.

NTV reported that Oktar complained he and his creationist book 'Atlas of Creation' had been defamed by comments made by Dawkins on the site.

'I am at a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the breathtaking inanity of the content,' Dawkins, a distinguished advocate of the theory of evolution, wrote on his website in July referring to the Atlas of Creation.

The book has caused controversy not just through its advocation of creationism but also through how thousands of copies of book were distributed to schools in a number of European countries.

Oktar has used the Turkish courts on a number of occasions, the latest being earlier this year when he attempted to have Dawkins' book The God Delusion banned in Turkey on the basis that it was insulting religion but a Turkish court threw the case out.

In August 2007, Oktar, who writes under the pen name Harun Yahya, convinced a Turkish court to block access to millions of web blogs using the Wordpress.com hosting service after finding that a number of blogs carried libellous comments.

In May, Oktar was found guilty of creating an illegal organization for personal gain and sentenced to three years imprisonment. He is appealing the decision.

~ Monsters and Critics ~

 

The secret world of voter purges

The center performed a study of purge practices in twelve states: Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin. The report states that "election officials across the country are routinely striking millions of voters from the rolls through a process that is shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation."

Pιrez stated: "Purges can be an important way to ensure that voter rolls are dependable, accurate and up-to-date. Far too frequently, however, eligible, registered citizens show up to vote and discover their names have been removed from the voter lists because election officials are maintaining their voter rolls with little accountability and wildly varying standards. ... Our report finds the following: According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, between 2004 and 2006, thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia reported purging more than 13 million voters from registration rolls. ... Voter Purges finds four problematic practices with voter purges that continue to threaten voters in 2008: purges rely on error-ridden lists; voters are purged secretly and without notice; bad 'matching' criteria mean that thousands of eligible voters will be caught up in purges; and insufficient oversight leaves voters vulnerable to erroneous or manipulated purges. The report reveals that purge practices vary dramatically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, that there is a lack of consistent protections for voters, and that there are often opportunities for mischief and mistakes in the purge process."

Weiser added: "The voter rolls are the gateway to voting, and a citizen typically cannot cast a vote that will count unless his or her name appears on the rolls. Purges remove names from the voter rolls, typically preventing wrongfully purged voters from having their votes counted. Given the close margins by which elections are won, the number of people wrongfully purged can make a difference. We should not tolerate purges that are conducted behind closed doors, without public scrutiny, and without adequate recourse for affected voters."

The report provides some examples of recent purges which were made public:

* In Mississippi earlier this year, a local election official discovered that another official had wrongly purged 10,000 voters from her home computer just a week before the presidential primary.

* In Muscogee, Georgia this year, a county official purged 700 people from the voter lists, supposedly because they were ineligible to vote due to criminal convictions. The list included people who claimed to have never even received a parking ticket.

* In Louisiana, including areas hit hard by hurricanes, officials purged approximately 21,000 voters, ostensibly for registering to vote in another state, without sufficient voter protections.

* In 2004, Florida planned to remove 48,000 "suspected felons" from its voter rolls even though many of those identified were in fact eligible to vote. When the flawed process generated a list of 22,000 African Americans to be purged and only 61 voters with Hispanic surnames, in spite of Florida's sizable Hispanic population, it took pressure from voting rights groups to stop Florida officials from using the purge list.
 

The Trojan Horse in the bailout plan

What a truly Orwellian message this proposal would have sent to our nation's children and honest, hard working people everywhere: loot and collapse a 200-year old financial system and you'll be rewarded with a fresh $700 billion of public money to disperse among your cronies who aided and abetted in the collapse. 

Mr. Paulson worked as Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs until he was sworn in as U.S. Treasury Secretary on July 10, 2006.  Exotic instruments created and peddled by Goldman around the globe while Mr. Paulson was Goldman's Decider have contributed to the collapse.  His former firm has also benefited to the tune of tens of billions from taxpayer money already doled out by the Federal Reserve.  Other firms like Merrill Lynch and Citigroup/Smith Barney that broke the backs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by selling them billions in explosive derivatives have also seen their prior execs appointed to plum spots in the "rescue" mission.

And expect the bailout proposal to become more corrupted as the days go by.  (The proposal reminded me of that cover of BusinessWeek back on May 13, 2002 when the publication posed this question about Wall Street: "How Corrupt Is It?" They answered their own question with a giant picture of a snake encircling the metal pole holding the street sign for Wall Street.)  The bailout proposal was so fluid that while I was reading its 106 pages at the web site of CNNMoney on Sunday evening, September 28, 2008, the screen went blank at 7:59 PM.  Minutes later, I was reading a different version of the proposal, which had now grown to 110 pages.  Fortunately, I had printed out a hard copy of the earlier version and went line by line to see what the Wall Street banksters were up to.

Of particular interest, on page 6, where previously the new Office of Financial Stability would be headed by an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury who would require Senate approval, 13 more words were added at the end of the sentence: "except that an interim Assistant Secretary may serve pending confirmation by the Senate."

Realistically, all they would need to do is keep sending conflicted candidates for confirmation hearings and many billions could be spent before the Senate vetted and confirmed the candidate.  Also changed on pages 14 and 15 was the manner in which The Decider would be policed: previously it said "any action" taken by the Secretary of the Treasury could be reviewed.  That was changed to "policies."

Suspected fraud previously was to be reported to the Inspector General for the Department of the Treasury.  That was radically changed to create a brand new position of Special Inspector General for the Troubled Assets Relief Program. (I think we all know that the position would have been filled with another Wall Street crony.)

But the most duplicitous and frightening aspect of the plan, as always, was to found, buried in the back of the document, located there in the hopes everyone would have  fallen asleep from the legalese before they made it that far.  There's the innocuous sounding Section 128, which was in both the original and amended versions, and says simply:

"Section 203 of the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act of 2006 (12 U.S.C. 461 note) is amended by striking 'October 1, 2011' and inserting 'October 1, 2008.'" 

What would this effectively do?  It was intended to speed up the enactment of this section of the law from 2011 to this week.

And what is the impact of the change in this law? (Take a moment to let this sink in.)  This wonderful bipartisan bailout proposal, negotiated into the wee hours of the morning by sleep-deprived members of Congress was designed to come with a furtive Trojan Horse embedded by Wall Street lawyers.  Banks already in trouble for lack of capital would  get to hold as little as "zero" capital for transactions.

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Washington imposes sanctions on Bolivia

The Bush administration has imposed fresh sanctions on Bolivia in retaliation for the decision of the country's president Evo Morales to expel the US ambasssador and close down US programs in the country.

Morales's actions came in response to thinly veiled US backing for what was described as a "civic coup" carried out by the ruling elites in the country's eastern "Half Moon" region, where the wealthy landowning elite has pushed for autonomy in order to gain control over the considerable energy resources that are concentrated in the area.

A coordinated uprising earier this month left scores dead and nearly 1,000 wounded. Among the worst atrocities carried out by right-wing rebellion was the massacre of some 30 peasants at El Porvenir, near Bolivia's northern border with Peru and Brazil on September 11.

Initial press reports represented the slaughter of peasant marchers as a shootout between two parties. Further investigation revealed, however, that the victims had been ambushed and attacked by a much more heavily armed force. The victims of the masacre were supporters of the Amalgamated Federation of Pando Agricultural Workers (FUTCP), part of a group of 1,000 men, women and children marching to rally support against pro-autonomy demonstrations that were taking place in Pando and the other eastern provinces. The demonstrators were attacked by an armed paramiltary group composed of 300 Bolivian, Peruvian and Brazilian gunmen.

According to a report from the Bolivian Permanent Assembly for Human Rights (BPAHR), "Officials from the Department and gunmen fired with cowardice against men, women, children, peasants and students." The BPAHR also accused road authorities of having sent digging crews to open trenches of up to two meters wide to make it harder for the demonstrators to advance, and, once the shooting began, to retreat.

The Prefect of the Department of Pando, Leopoldo Fernandez, is under arrest—charged with ordering the massacre—as are 14 other Pando officials. Ana Melena de Suzuki and other leaders of the so-called "civic committee," which represents the secessionist interests of the landed oligarchy in Pando, have fled to Brazil and are seeking asylum there, claiming persecution by what they call the Evo Morales dictatorship. As of now the Brazilian government has not granted political asylum to the civic committee leaders and, according to Pagina 12, a Buenos Aires daily, Suzuki and others had been spotted on the streets of Brazil's capital, Brasilia, though they are supposedly in "hiding."

The massacre was part of a series of coordinated attacks and provocations between September 9 and 14. These included the occupation of government buildings, and of natural gas installations, interfering with gas exports to Argentina and Brazil. There were also numerous unprovoked attacks on native Bolivians. A preliminary estimate puts the damages that resulted from what the government calls a campaign of sedicious terrorism at US$10 million. The Morales government charged the United States with supporting the rebellion and expelled Ambassador Philip Goldberg, charging him with working behind the scenes with leaders of the autonomy movement. Also shut down were offices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for its complicity in the civic coup.

USAID is a branch of the US State Department created in 1961 with the supposed purpose of providing "economic and humanitarian assistance" to other countries. Behind this façade, however, the agency was, from the very beginning, employed as a tool to destabilize and overthrow governments that did not toe the US line. In Haiti, USAID was one of the US agencies that helped kidnap and expel President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In Venezuela, it helped finance and organize the failed military coup against President Hugo Chavez in April 2002. In the 1970s, USAID provided cover for torturers and CIA agents sent to exterminate the left in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. These included such figures as Dan Mitrione, who instructed the repressive personnel of the Brazilian and Uruguayan dictatorships in torture techniques.

In retaliation for the expulsions, the United States announced that it would no longer consider Bolivia a partner in the war on drugs and that it would initiate the legal process to raise duties on imports from Bolivia.

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'The credit crisis is working its way up the food chain'

It is the most dramatic and comprehensive bank bail-out in Europe since the Scandinavian rescues of the early 1990s and may serve as a model for Britain and other countries that so far have been muddling through from one mishap to another with a mish-mash of ad hoc policies.

The state guarantee exceeds 200pc of Irish GDP, marking a new phase in the escalation of the crisis.

The move came as Standard & Poor's cut Iceland's sovereign credit rating from AA- to A+ following its nationalisation of Glitnir Bank. It is a warning that the cascade of bank bail-outs on both sides of the Atlantic could start to undermine the credit-worthiness of Western states.

S&P warned that the tiny Nordic island is now saddled with liabilities that dwarf its economy.

The euro suffered the sharpest drop since the launch of the currency, dropping almost 3pc at one stage to $1.40 against the dollar in a day of high drama across Europe.

Belgium, France, and Luxembourg stepped in to rescue Dexia, the world's biggest lender to local authorities. The trio agreed to inject €6.4bn in fresh capital after the share priced crashed on Monday. Dexia's top management stepped down.

"We must have total confidence in the safety of the French banking system: there is absolutely no reason to panic," said Christian Noyer, head of the Banque de France.

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Amy Goodman First Journalist to Win “Alternative Nobel”

New York City, NY – Award-winning journalist and host of Democracy Now! Amy Goodman is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely recognized as the world's premier award for personal courage and social transformation. The annual prize, also known as the Alternative Nobel, will be awarded in the Swedish Parliament on December 8, 2008.

The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honor and support those "offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today". Goodman has been selected for "developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media."

Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the country, Democracy Now! is a daily grassroots, global TV/radio/internet news hour airing on more than 750 public radio and television stations and at democracynow.org.

Goodman said, "I am deeply honored that grassroots, independent journalism and the hard work of my colleagues at Democracy Now! are being recognized in these critical times. I strongly believe that media can be a force for peace. It is the responsibility of journalists to give voice to those who have been forgotten, forsaken and beaten down by the powerful. It is the best reason I know to carry our pens, cameras and microphones out into the world. The media should be a sanctuary for dissent. It is our job to go to where the silence is."

Goodman and two Democracy Now! producers were arrested last month at the Republican National Convention while reporting on street demonstrations. Charges were dropped after widespread public outcry. The video of Goodman's arrest was among the most watched YouTube video's during the convention week. It has now been viewed over 860,000 times.

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Seeing through the manufactured crisis and what might come next

by Colin Donoghue
9/27/08

This financial crisis is not caused simply by greed and uninformed consumers, as has become the Media's suggestion, it was manufactured, just like many previous financial emergencies of the past. See part 2 of zeitgeistmovie.com for a good overview of the Central Banking/Federal Reserve System and how it creates market crashes to further consolidate wealth and power in fewer hands. There are other excellent books and documentaries on the Federal Reserve that can be easily found worth seeing, but that's basically the crux of it, and that's what Benjamin Franklin said was the main cause of the Revolution: the colonists desire to disconnect from the Central Bank of England and the dependence and exploitation they caused. Unfortunately Americans forgot about that by 1913 and were duped into thinking the Fed would prevent a future financial crisis, but of course that was not the case. The Corporate Media has been talking a lot about the Fed in recent months, about how they are doing all they can to keep the economy afloat, by "bailing out" huge financial institutions. This is simply "Cover My Ass" maneuvering by the Fed (and corporate theft of our tax dollars), so that the current crisis, which may get worse,  will not appear (to those uniformed) to be the fault of the Central/International banks behind it all along.

Also worth noting is Bush calling for a "secret meeting" with Obama (to tell him the elections might need to be postponed?), and McCain's talk of canceling the debates. Not that the debates are really anything worth watching, since it's controlled by the Dem/Republican corporate faction that wont allow the views (i.e. Truth) of individuals like Cynthia McKinney (current Green Party presidential candidate) or Ralph Nader to be heard. Why these news bytes are significant is because it is in line with the fascist/neo-con ideology that says democracy can be postponed during a prolonged (manufactured) emergency. I suggest you read some of Bush's "Executive Orders" that support various dictatorial powers and FEMA police-state powers (mass illegal detentions of citizens, etc.), in the event of a "National Emergency":


http://www.freedomfiles.org/war/fema.htm

Among the many "Anti-Terror" laws (Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, etc.) that were passed with little to no attention by the corporate media, were details such as allowing martial law and the suspension of elections altogether if another attack or major crisis emerges. You see, rigging them like they did in 2000 and 04 is much more difficult due to the strong activism that has occurred based on the vast amount of documented evidence showing how they did it, so now they wouldn't even bother with that, they'll just cancel the election, and institute martial law. We may be one step away from that now.
What will that step be? Here are possibilities:

1) Complete collapse of US Dollar followed by the "solution" of a North American Union and the Amero currency.
2) Avian Flu outbreak (state-sponsored).
3) Another "terrorist" attack, possibly blamed on Iran, N. Korea, or their old CIA standby "Al Queda". (Illegal arrests and detention of activists, etc. who will be labeled "enemy combatants" is also likely in this scenario.)

There is a lot of evidence to suggest all of these are possible, and even likely, due to the amount of preparation that has already been done by the neo-con/fascists to carry out each of them. (Look into each are you not familiar with that evidence.) The reason why not of it is really far-fetched is because it has been shown beyond any reasonable doubt that 9/11 was an inside job, and therefore something similar happening while the same perpetrators are in power is actually probable. It's important for the public to be aware of these possibilities, so that if one actually occurs, they wont be fooled again.
If there is another trauma inducing event, please don't buy the line they feed you through their 4th Branch (aka the Media), like you may have bought the 9/11 Fairy Tale. Don't allow your Rights (and democracy) to be ignored in the name of their latest deception.

Over 1 million Iraqi and Afghani civilians (a fact the corporate media ignores), and thousands of our troops, have already been killed on an operation based on lies. The only thing that can probably stop their insane imperial/police-state agenda, bring our troops home and get our Rights back, is the same thing I and many others have been saying for years now: Impeachment (www.impeachbush.tv) & expose the 9/11 Lie which is the foundation of their entire agenda, through quality sources of information, like these:
a) Books:
1."The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions", "Debunking 9/11 Debunking", and "9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press", all by David Ray Griffin
2."The Terror Timeline" by Paul Thompson
3."Crossing the Rubicon" by Michael Ruppert
4."The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation And The Anatomy Of Terrorism" by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
b) Documentaries:
1."9/11 Press For Truth" (http://www.911pressfortruth.com/),
2."9/11 Mysteries" (www.911Mysteries.com/)
3."Martial Law: 9/11 and the Rise of the Police State" (http://www.martiallaw911.info/)
c) Groups:
1.Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice: http://STJ911.org/
2.Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth: www.AE911truth.org/

It's an old game people and it's as simple as this: There have been a few that have always sought increased wealth and power no matter what harm that causes, and there have also always been the many that know there is much more to life than that and have no desire to harm anyone. The battle between good and evil, I'm sure you've heard of it. It's time to stop buying the lies of mass murderers and "strike at the root of evil" as Thoreau said, and in this time and this place, that means exposing the official 9/11 conspiracy theory for what is: pure bullshit.

 

Colin Donoghue has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico and is currently trying to wake up the American People to crucial information the corporate media is mostly ignoring. He is the author of "The Progressive Manifesto"� and the essay "Eating The Apple"�, which contain more crucial and useful information for personal and political liberation, they can be found on his page: http://legalizehemp.gaia.com/.

~ OpEd News ~

 

Analysts: Dollar collapse would result in 'amero'

Think deep recession likely regardless of Fed's actions
Posted: December 13, 2006
 
"The key in how low the dollar goes is the interest rates," Chapman told WND. "In January, the Fed is going to have to make a decision which way to go. If Fed rates go up, the dollar will hold in the 78.33 range, but the stock market and the economy will tank. If next year the Fed lowers rates to keep the economy from crashing, the bottom will fall out of the dollar, and I see it going as low as 55. Once the dollar hits bottom, it will take the stock market and the economy right with it anyway. The Fed is in a box they can't get out of."

As WND reported earlier this week, in an unusual move, the Bush administration is sending virtually the entire economic "A-team" to visit China for a "strategic economic dialogue" in Beijing Thursday and Friday. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are leading the delegation, along with five other cabinet-level officials, including Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. Also in the delegation will be Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.

But Chapman doubts the trip will help the Fed to engineer a slow dollar slide.

"The Chinese are going to do what the Chinese want to do, not what we want them to do," he said. "I believe the Chinese are going to send Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chairman Bernanke home packing, with little or nothing to show for the trip."

How severe will the coming dollar collapse be?

"People in the U.S. are going to be hit hard," Chapman warned. "In the severe recession we are entering now, Bush will argue that we have to form a North American Union to compete with the Euro."

"Creating the amero," Chapman explained, "will be presented to the American public as the administration's solution for dollar recovery. In the process of creating the amero, the Bush administration just abandons the dollar."

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