Archive for the ‘Pyramidal system’ Category

Are Existing Economic and Financial Arrangements Causing Ever More Destructive Weather Events and Species Die-Off?

June 7, 2014
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Cosmos pulled no punches this past week with “The World Set Free,” and it spent the better part of forty minutes explaining how climate change happened, why humans are the cause of it, and the detrimental side effects of the waste products of our oil-&-coal-based economy. 

Climate change is real and humans are causing it. More specifically, existing economic and financial arrangements, which we have allowed to develop, are causing ever more destructive weather events. Blow by blow, Neil deGrasse Tyson defeats every single argument made against the idea of human-made climate change. Then, to add salt to our self-inflicted wound, he tells the tale of two scientists who long ago brought solar-powered generation of electricity to the world — way back in the 1800s!

If you don’t have a chance to see this episode, check out the accomplishments of Augustin Mouchot(who presented his solar-powered steam engine to Napoleon in 1868, and also, a few years later, at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, where he won a Gold Medal for having the best and most important invention Then too there was Frank Shuman (who created an entire solar-based power plant in 1913).

America could have gotten solar-power technology going a whole lot sooner, and could probably be quite advanced with it by this time, if not for the emergence of our booming coal-, and then also petroleum-based, economy. But because of the huge fortunes being made by a powerful few, with the sale of millions of tons of coal and oil, America dropped solar energy technology and research, and began to pollute the environment big-time, and continued this at an accelerating pace for the next hundred years, leading to many hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and enormous amounts of illness, all as a result of the continuous breathing of carbon-based exhaust fumes by millions of people, but which allowed huge fortunes to be made by our financial elite.

In an unusual twist for the series, the ‘doomsdaying’ lasts for most of the episode, including cites of Carl Sagan’s warnings from 1980. At the core, it’s a presentation of the science behind the tragedy that’s unfolding, and an explanation of how we knew this was going to happen, decades in advance, and yet we did nothing about it. It’s only in the last ten minutes of the program that Tyson offers any hope, and it can be summed up thusly: Humans are adaptive and we can persevere through dark times until we arrive at solutions.

The episode ends with JFK’s speech about putting a man on the moon. It was an impossible feat, but we did it. Now, to adequately address the mire that the carbon-based industrialized world and the hyperconsumption, hyperproduction treadmill society has put us into, we are going to have to step up to the plate and do the impossible once again. Link

 

Some of us prefer dreaming and talking about possible solutions to the problem of global climate change and environmental destruction, rather than quietly resigning ourselves to ecocide and the death of civilization as we know it. Watch the most recent installment ofCosmos on public television (or at the first link presented above) if you want to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Rethe certainty that our carbon-fueled manufacturing processes and hyper-consumption habits are causing more than 90% of the global warming that is playing hell with the ecosphere (causing ever more violent storms, tornadoes etc.) and helping to kill thousands of species, Tyson makes the most compelling and easy-to-understand argument I’ve heard. His graphic demonstration of how the planet Venus is thought to have lost its oceans through the excessive CO2 coming from volcanoes is quite sobering: There was so much CO2 in the atmosphere that almost no sunlight could escape after it bounced off the surface of that planet, and eventually the temperature there got hot enough to melt lead. (The CO2 molecule in their trillions have the unusual property of reflecting sunlight right back to earth after it bounces up from the earth.)

Proof of Tyson’s thesis

It turns out that the CO2 produced from modern industrial/manufacturing processes, combined with the use of coal used in producing electricity (and the burning of fuel by cars, trucks and airplanes), can be scientifically distinguished from the CO2 that is belched out of volcanoes. It’s also measurably true that the former kind of CO2 is now a vastly larger (and rapidly growing) component of our atmosphere than is the latter.

Then too there is the gradually melting arctic permafrost vegetation, long dead, which, as the planet continues to warm, and the dead vegetation thaws out and rots, will emit millions of tons of methane into the atmosphere. This poses a huge danger since methane is an even deadlier (i.e. more reflective) greenhouse gas than CO2. Then too, as the arctic ice melts and its surface area shrinks, ever less sunlight will be reflected back into space from (highly reflective) ice, and ever more of it will be absorbed by the dark (and thus heat absorbing) ocean thus warming it at an accelerating rate.

Finally there is the concern that as the ocean absorbs ever more of the excessive CO2 in the atmosphere, it (the ocean) will become ever more acidic (by way of carbonic acid which thereby forms), a process that will gradually kill ever more marine life. Eventually, all that will be left in the oceans are jelly fish and a few other species useless to mankind as food. And so millions more people will likely starve.

Planetary suicide (ecocide) is underway my friends, and blind as most of us are, we are doing nowhere near enough to stop it. Worst of all are the damn fools who deny that mankind’s hyper-production industrial procedures, hyper-consumption habits, and internal combustion engines are the cause of the overall process that is gradually unfolding.

As the glaciers disappear, the rivers (coming from those glaciers), which provide crop irrigation for the people of Asia, will also shrink and eventually all but disappear, and then millions of Asians will starve. And, as the oceans rise with the melting arctic and Greenland ice sheets, huge amounts of coastal land will be submerged and coastal cities will be, too.

And here come the rants from the world’s greatest fools:

“But godamit, we gotta keep this (hyperproduction-hyperconsumption treadmill) going, (no matter what the ultimate cost to our planet)! We need our ‘stuff‘!! And we WILL not be denied! WE have a right to the (bourgeois/affluent) “good life,” no matter what the cost to our children and grandchildren and their children. So fu*k’em. It’s not our problem.”

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Humanistic Economy vs. finansocracy

February 15, 2014

February 13, 2014

 

By Peter Palms

An economic system that is humanitarian.

::::::::

The first version of this paper (“Humanistic Economy Concept”)
was published in 2008 in a Web Journal “New Paradigm”.

This new version of the paper is supplemented with some additional facts and arguments. This paper is neither about charity and welfare works nor about introducing more humanistic details or features to the existing economy. It’s about the economy of the future if it materializes – since the existing modes of economy and civilization are incompatible not only with sustainability but also with the survival of civilization itself!

I believe the humanistic details will be comprehensively dramatically introduced to the exiting economy before 2034 and most likely significantly sooner through collapse of existing economies and their radically change through revolution so I would not categorically rule out that this paper might be about that as well.

Of course the current economy of parasitism and exploitation theoretically may have some chance to survive somehow if it is able to reduce harmful environmental impacts and to smooth over other conflicts and contradictions,  but it means only that although parasitism on the Nature/Environment may be decreased significantly the exploitation of people will continue and may become more severe.

Historically when this exploitation reaches the level of Czarist Russia, The Kingdom of France, The United Kingdom (India and America) it results in revolution. But in today’s new global economy the revolution might also be global. With the internet the usefulness of weapon in retaining power for a minority has evaporated as described in :

Cyber War, for which there is presently no defense (replaces Nuclear War. 1 hour video ESPN of Richard Clarke, White House Counter-Terrorist Staff under 4 Presidents

and also described in

NASA held its first information technology 08/22/2010 summit. Speaker at the second day included Internet pioneer and Google Vice President Vint Cerf, who shared his thoughts about the past and future of the Internet, including the possible creation of an interplanetary network. Mr Cerf has been called  one of the founders of the Internet.  President Clinton presented him with the United States National Medal of Technology for his founding of the Internet. He received the Allan Turek Award, also sometimes known as the Noble Prize of Computer Science. President Bush presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work, which is the highest Award given to an American citizen

Many of the ideas and concepts stated below may sound revolutionary but please don’t consider them as my appeal for immediate socio-economic revolution. If I appeal to anybody for anything it is for a mind revolution, which in turn will be followed by changes in “real life”: economy, politics etc.

President Bush succeeded prior to leaving office to bring about a new law that for the first time in the history of the United States of America now permits the armed forces of the USA to be used INSIDE the USA for purposes of maintaining order.

Any attempt to employ the armed forces of the USA against the population of the USA most likely would result in the armed forces choosing to side with the American people.

The last 200 pages of “The Creature from Jekyll island” 5th edition released September 2010 (24th printing) indicated that reversal of the path to collapse is likely to be irreversible as describes the actual debt of the USA as $202 trillion. It is difficult to comprehend such numbers. If you had a stack of $100 bills 101.6 centimeters high, you would be a millionaire. $202 trillion would rise over 204.343 thousand miles into space. By the time you read this, after the expenditures of subsequent administrations that stack has reached the moon
I “invented” the term “Humanistic economy” independently (when I was invited by Dr. Michael Ellis to contribute to above New Paradigm Journal in 2008) but after browsing in the English and Russian Internet I’ve found that of course I am not the first who has started to apply this term. However, despite unavoidable resemblance to other ideas and views there is no one fixed or commonly accepted concept of Humanistic economy since of course it’s a rather new concept which is being developed by just a few economists.

Total circulation of 24 printings of “the Creature from Jekyll Island”

Numbers in the hundreds of thousands developing this new concept.

What I have read about “humanistic economy” is mostly a fragmentary recommendation to correct certain economic problems.
In January of 2011 I read an article published by Irene Nygеrdsvik: “A HUMANISTIC ECONOMY -Life-enriching businesses with life-enriching bottom lines”. Conceptually her thinking resonates with mine. She stated, inter alia: “In a capitalistic economy ‘the business of business’ is to make profits. In a humanistic economy ‘the business of business’ is to enrich the lives of the owners, the employees, the customers, the suppliers, and also to be an enriching force in relation to the local community, the global community and to nature”. She provided a sound comparison between “a capitalistic economy” and “a humanistic economy” and also gave examples or appearances of a humanistic economy within dominating capitalistic economy. However, political and hidden power background of the modern (more and more globalized) economy was not considered in her article, I mean the stranglehold of finances (financial institutes, instruments and their holders/owners) and the virtual economy.

I think it’s important to create the holistic image or model of the future Humanistic economy, which would be desirable for over 95 % of the planet population. We will otherwise miss the core issues. I hope that my own view presented in this brief thesis is comprehensive and adequate.

Is the modern type of the economy the best and only possible economy? I think the majority of people and many economists would say: “No, of course the existing economy is not perfect and may be even far from perfection.” Some economists would emphasize that the major problem is that the economy generates external effects, and that it doesn’t properly take into consideration the interests of our future generations.

Ecological economists who are in all probability the most progressive thinkers among the economists, would mention undervaluation of Nature, ecosystems etc. Some economists will mention the far from optimal taxation systems that tax, i.e. de-stimulate, some positive factors and create obstacles and disincentives for production while some negative factors are not taxed and thus are stimulated.

Liberal and neoliberal economists rebel against any subsidies and governmental involvement in and influence on the economy. Many people would mention financial and economical crises — especially now, after global crisis started in 2008. Socialist and communist theoreticians and some other outstanding thinkers such as E. Fromm would say about tremendous disparities, about private appropriation of land and rental income as well as exploitation and about the incompatibility of the modern western-style economy with the positive evolution of humankind and the maintenance of a sustainable civilization and global existence.

My opinion is that the existing economy is getting antiquated in its cornerstone concepts and in the near future will not be able to maintain a sustainable civilization.

Of course an economic model depends on the state of people’s minds, people’s consciousness, and Humankind’s collective karma. One can say that people’s imperfections predetermine the economy’s defects. Someone may conclude that consumer’s preferences including their vices cause economic deficiencies and distortions and that if people were righteous the existing mode of economy would be in this case quite adequate. The Modern dominating economy is not just a consequence, a simple result of people’s consciousness, preferences, values, needs, and demands – it is now also able itself to actively and intentionally form state of mind, world outlook, values, needs and demand.

I am going to describe a very different mode of economy that is not derived from the existing economic type by means of certain improvements.
I would like to draw a framework of a constructive (not purely ideal) economy in principle free of the vices of the current economy, which like tiny cracks in a stone monolith will sooner or later destroy it. Humanistic economy is the economy without the cracks of false distribution and redistribution, parasitism and exploitation potentials. I believe that educated people will support and vote for a new economic model.

So, what I want to do here is not to describe the ideal economy but just to portray major principles of the positive, constructive economy that is able to improve people’s lives and societies. For the beginning we need only to follow the principle of human rights and democratic procedures while the majority of people vote for transition to the new type of economy. Of course, all important components of this new economy should be comprehensively explained to the people, including providing comparison with the existing economy.

Such a new Economy serves for the good of the whole society and each person’s inner well being.

It means that the beneficiaries are all people – not the extreme minority as is now. Economy serves humans – The people do not serve the economy but improve and modify it to make it more and more in harmony in which there is direct dependence between income and public benefit in order to, meet both long-term interests of the society and short- and long-term interests of individuals. These interests should be well balanced between mind, body, social and environmental ones. People should serve each other and society both through the economy and also without any mediation of the economy. Economy is designed to improve people’s lives and their personal grade of development including spiritual, mental, and soul.

1. Today people are enslaved by the economy and by a global technocratic civilization. It is usually the higher social ranks that impose slavery on many other people. At the same time they have themselves to follow the rules which they impose on those around them and are thus limited in the creation of human values The existing form of economy promotes economic growth, technical growth and development creating technical perfection and efficiency. This is at the expense of an approaching global catastrophe based on a spiritual and global health crisis which in turn is creating global environmental or military, genetic or microbiological, or humanitarian disaster.
To be honest the currently dominating civilization is not only technocratic but also finansocratic and even (what is much worse) parazitoctratic. This statement should be supported by serious substantiative explanations/arguments. Let me start with some historic background.

At first the financial capital of usury was relocated from Venice to Amsterdam as the place with the most favourable conditions for augmentation of financial and trade capital thanks to the fact that, in the first place, the liberation from the rule of the Spanish Crown along with the firm establishment of Protestantism left no obstacles in the way of moneylending practice and, secondly, the Dutch fleet by then had grown to be one of the biggest fleets in the world while it was the colonial trade that was bringing major profits. By the middle of the 17th century the Dutch priority at sea was indisputable: Holland owned 15-16 thousand ships of the European total of 20,000 vessels. The trade domination of Holland however was far from corresponding to the level of the country’s industrial development and by late 17th century the world trade hegemony of Holland was coming to an end. The lead was being taken by England which was far ahead in terms of industrial production development. The defeat of Holland in the Anglo-Dutch wars of the 17th century resulted in the country’s capital being increasingly reallocated to foreign loans. Greater financial, economic and political potential in comparison to Holland apparently made it the finansocrats’ next target.

A series of dynastic and religious conflicts and wars had a logical ending: the English and Dutch usurers-moneychangers paid William of Orange to invade England. The new King managed to convince the government of the necessity to borrow 1.2 million pounds sterling from a private corporation required to wage a war against France . That corporation, also known as the Bank of England, was ready to obtain the required sum from an anonymous group (future shareholders) and lend it to the King at 8% interest plus 4,000 pounds per year. The offer was approved and the Bank of England was granted the right to issue bonds bearing stamps of the Kingdom and the Bank to the amount of the loan and on security of the government . This was how the first private central bank came into being in 1694. By 1698 the national debt had reached Ј16,000,000 and continued to grow. According to the Bill of Rights (1698), the King had no authority to abrogate the Banks’ privileges without consent of the Parliament, i.e. in fact of the Bank of England itself skilfully controlling all critical parliamentary activities . That was how London became the capital of international usury (in the second half of the 18th century London took over from Amsterdam the title of the financial capital of the world), the country’s government institutions turned into accomplices of the financial oligarchy, and the country itself came to be used as a money-making mechanism.

The creation of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913 provided the international bankers an opportunity to rapidly build up their financial and political power in the USA. The Federal Reserve was established on 23 December 1913 as a private corporation with member-banks holding all shares and receiving tax-free dividends. The corporation is liable to postage as any other private company and its employees are not public servants.

In 1932 Louis McFadden, Chairman of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency, summarised the activity of the FRS in his speech to the Congress: “… we have in this Country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks, hereinafter called the Fed. … This evil institution has impoverished and ruined the people of these United States … and has practically bankrupted our Government. It has done this … through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.” This was said at the time of the worst economic crisis of 1929/1933. “Crisis” — that’s the favourite justification for reformatting (imperceptibly for the profane) the world’s financial setup. It is also the best instrument for revision of the world itself as well. Each crisis therefore serves several objectives. The progression of the FRS owners towards the world domination has been and will always be marked with milestones of carefully masterminded crises, be it stock market crash, war or currency, and security prices slump. The Great Depression of the 20s-30s offers a perfect illustration to the above statement.

Just like the Great Depression the present crisis was preceded with a period of massive economic development. The rapid growth was associated with the actions of the Federal Reserve, which had dramatically increased money supply in circulation. What was it done for? The FRS owners were planning to buy up local US assets they were interested in for a song and, at the same time, to ruin all financial actors beyond their control so that nobody in the USA could take advantage of the election win to change the legislation and, with a dash of a pen, destroy the existing FRS to create an alternative organisation. Only finances, the overwhelming power of money supported by the mighty media, can lift a politician to power.

What is required to create a financial crisis? First, lend as much money as possible so that new credits would be required to pay debts with interest. The mechanism of organising a crisis is simple: lend no more money and demand old debts to be paid. That was how the Great Depression was created; the same pattern was used to trigger off the crisis of 2008/09. The money supply, which was deliberately accumulated during the pre-crisis period, was reduced from 49 billion USD in July 1929 to 30 billion dollars by July 1933. Then it was time for the next step: once created, the problem had to be dealt with. How? The solution was sought and found: new personality and new policy. On March 4, 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President of the United States. His primary objective was to destroy the gold standard. This was what the Great Depression was all about. The Dollar had to be dissociated from the lasting values heretofore considered unshakable. It was to become the highest universal value itself and, in fact, to replace gold.

World War II manifested another step towards strengthening the world power of the finansocrats. In 1944, the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in Bretton Woods created an international monetary and financial system making it an obligation for each country to adopt a monetary policy that maintained the exchange rate by tying its currency to the U.S. dollar ($35 per troy ounce), i.e. the US dollar was actually made an international currency. The USA domination in the post-war world economy facilitated the expansion of the dollar and ever-growing power of the international bankers. The termination of convertibility of the dollar to gold in 1971 resulted in the situation when dollars were no more supported by any real assets; the money, of course, is to be secured by commodities and services (but the size of the US produced goods and services is incomparable with the money supply) to be evaluated in that same money . But the issue of money is controlled by a small group of people exclusively in their own interests no matter how contradictory those might be to any interests or benefits of any states and nations.

The US Federal Government borrows dollars from the Federal Reserve System. As a result, as of now the US Government owes to the Federal Reserve over $10 trillion while continuing to pay annual interest of about $400 billion from the taxes collected from US citizens. No unencumbered, interest-free money is generated by the USA : both companies and citizens therefore ultimately have to borrow money from the Federal Reserve System only in order to pay interest on loans and credits. The population is sinking deeper and deeper into a bottomless debt abyss. As a consequence the accumulated debt of individuals, legal entities and authorities of all levels currently exceeds $60 trillion, which they don’t have the ability to service (i.e. pay interest). In fact 98% of the US citizens are in life debt bondage, i.e. all their property and earnings are far less than their total debt and debt service cost; moreover, neither they nor their children will never ever be able to break free from the debt slavery. Past decades have been marked by a world-wide expansion of that kind of usurious enslavement practiced by the US Federal Reserve System.

The international finance system, which is based on the US dollar issued by the FRS and secured by nothing but bonds never to be redeemed, is characterised by all signs of a typical financial pyramid. The only difference is in the gigantic, global scale of the enterprise and unprecedented, unparalleled resources of the powers that support it. The value of the dollar is determined by continuously generated artificial demand on it as the world’s main reserve currency. The annual increase of the dollar supply is estimated at 10%. The dollar is a “security” that relies exclusively on the payers’ trust, which is maintained by a complex system of political, military, financial and institutional measures. The international finance system dictates an obligation for each country to adopt the US dollar as the main reserve currency, the primary payment instrument supporting the world trade; moreover, a much more significant obligation consists in the fact that those countries must take loans in dollars and borrow more and more dollars to service their debts. Thus the FRS is granted the right and possibility of unlimited issue of money, which is creating the world financial pyramid. “Having engaged the USA first and further all the dollar-wise countries into the servicing of the financial pyramid, the Federal Reserve System already cannot (and doesn’t want to — Author) stop this process. All actors on the international financial market become involuntary players or participants of the pyramid. In order to support relative stability of the dollar pyramid, the Federal Reserve System assisted by the US Government artificially creates demand on this currency thereby forming an endless chain of ongoing refinancing of old loans and progressive borrowing, i.e. procurement of new loans.

The surplus money supply is dumped on the international commodity market in exchange for raw materials or otherwise injected in the high-profit sectors of the financial market.  The dollar must be in constant demand on the international market in order to maintain the pyramid operation, while the growing dollar supply requires ever growing consumption to discharge the surplus. Surplus dollars are being increasingly tied  by means of inflating fictitious speculative bubbles of various securities. The money has ultimately lost connection with the production of real values since the 1970s; the “financial bubble” kept growing at a simply threatening rate by far exceeding the real economy rates of growth — see table 1 and figure 1 below.

Table 1
Year 1973 1988 1990 1997 2000 2008
Speculative finance capital, $ billions ~20 ~150 ~210 ~370 ~400 >900
World GDP, $ trillion. 3.9 18.07 20.4 32.3 40 65.6

The dominating type of the modern economy can be characterised as parasitic. This situation is supported by a system of financial, political, military, institutional, information/ideological and a number of other instruments. From the historic perspective, the main driving force of the fictitious parasitic economy has been primarily represented by usurers and moneychangers. Over two centuries ago those instruments were supplemented with a privately controlled issue of uncovered, or rather partially covered monetary funds. The mechanisms of fictitious economy and parasitism in general were essentially improved in the 20th century. The instruments of usury, private issue of money uncovered by real assets and currency speculation were combined with catalytic mechanisms for the issue of dollars. These mechanisms were, in the first place, to support high dollar demand in the real economic sector on a global scale in prejudice of other currencies and respective economies (actually weakening those), which required inspiration of the two world wars, revolutions, numerous local conflicts and coups; secondly, the objective was to tie  surplus dollars by means of inflating fictitious speculative bubbles while establishing international financial institutions to maintain ever growing demand of the “developing countries” for the dollar loans and thus increasing their debt bondage.

The most dramatic unfavourable trend does not consist even in the scale of economically measured injustice. The transformation boils down to the following: while earlier there existed religious or secular authorities capable of even temporarily suspending usury as such or at least limiting interest rates, now the power and authority of the former usurers and moneychangers proved to be superior to those of once sovereign states. At present the level and scope of injustice have soared by orders of magnitude: firstly, colossal scale of redistribution of income from the majority of the population in favour of a few individuals; secondly, subordination of governments and media to the interests of the finansocrats.

The latter phenomenon is particularly important. On the one hand, it resulted in the full legalisation of all critical instruments of the fictitious economy with the public failing to understand not only the viciousness and depravity of such an economy but unable to admit even a possibility of an alternative non-parasitic economy; on the other hand, this alliance allowed organisation of local and global crises, wars and revolutions, subversive actions under the kind of an information and ideological cover that the overwhelming majority of the people can’t even suspect who indeed stands behind those actions. Last but not least the parasitocrats have prepared a foundation for the ultimate seizure of power at a global scale to be followed by the coup legalisation and establishment of “the new world order”.

Since the world finansokratia (finansocracy) has been most actively using the USA for the past 100 years as a substrate while preparing the final spurt to the global supremacy, the USA got the better of the two world wars and secured world leading positions both politically and economically. The brutal exploitation of the US population by the finansocrats is accompanied with a far more oppressive and ruthless exploitation of the other countries, first of all of the third-world economies. The parasitism and exploitation are at their highest at the international, global level.

According to the official statistics, the USA accounts for about 20% of the world GDP while consuming 40% of the world product. Meanwhile, the estimated real GDP of the USA does not exceed 15% of the world product. While spending next to nothing on printing of dollars, the USA exchanges full-value goods for actually worthless paper. If Russia, for example, keeps the national gold and foreign currency reserves in the US long-term securities at maximum 2 to 3% annual rate thereby transferring annually $175 billion into the country’s reserves, it means that the Russian investments in the American economy in the past years will amount to hundreds of billions US dollars. Since this money, which was initially received by Russia for raw materials, then are returned back to the USA , the net outcome of such transactions is nothing but pumping over of resources from Russia to the USA.

The monetary value of imports in the USA has been considerably higher than that of exports over past years resulting in an approximate annual trade deficit of $700 billion; the trade deficit accumulated over 25 years is approaching $10 trillion. Profitability of issuing/printing $100 banknotes is 165,566.7%. When a tonne of steel or oil is sold to the USA for $100 with the exporting countries using dollars received for respective goods for mutual settlements, everything they got from the USA is a couple of paper slips each worth around 5-6 cents in terms of self-cost. It is not possible to get from the USA real values equivalent to the sum of dollars circulating outside the USA as no such values are physically available inside the USA: it is estimated that each $100 bill is covered with tangible assets worth $2.75; besides, it is an American bank only that has a legal right to declare a dollar banknote counterfeit. Printed dollars impose no obligations on the USA FRS while the exchange value of the dollar reflects the readiness of other countries to deliver resources and goods for dollars.

The UN Human Development Report 1996 says, that today, the net worth of the 358 richest people is equal in dollar terms to the combined income of the poorest 45% of the world’s population.   It is this finansokratia (finansocracy) that sets the current rules of the global development. They operate through their agents in control of the critical government positions while the national governments act as “supply-line fuses” covering global oligarchs (globoligarchs).

The parasitic evil essence of the finansocracy (finansokratia) can be most convincingly demonstrated with the following calculation: “one penny invested at the birth of Jesus Christ at 4% interest would have bought in 1750 one ball of gold equal to the weight of the earth. In 1990, however, it would buy 8,190 balls of gold…”   That is why the fictitious financial capital has grown to loom large: turnovers of the foreign exchange and stock markets are hundreds of times higher than production and trade turnovers. However, the public productive force, which draws on natural and human resources, cannot support an exponential growth of production in theory or essence. In any case, the usury, which is virtually authorised to issue world money and create worldwide demand for their “merchandise” and which has all the potential to instigate financial crises, is an ideal foundation to enable a small group of people at some moment in history to misappropriate all basic assets and acquire the overall authority, i.e. plenitude of the power. After legalisation of the usury followed with usurpation by private individuals of the right to issue “the very world” money, the ultimate financial enslavement of the earthmen became just a question of time.

Figure 1 illustrates the income distribution in a modern finansocratic economy (on the left) and a hypothetical model which may evolve out of the present model should it persist freely on a global basis. The income size is marked on the vertical axis while the share of the population with respective income level is depicted horizontally. The current model is developed on the basis of the diagrams from the “Poverty, inequality and the distribution of income in the Group of 20″ by Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Sanket Mohapatra, which provides ample graphic data on the distribution of the population for each the G20 economies.

Fig. 1 Income distribution in a modern parasitofinansocratic economy as illustrated by a “developed country” (on the left) and a hypothetical model of per-capita income distribution on a global basis (on the right). (The figure scales are different).

Similar income distribution “bulbs” can be produced to match conditions in each country the only difference being that the “bulb body” (including the bottom section, “the equator” (in particular), and the narrowing of the shoot) will be positioned much lower for Russia, China, leave alone India, than for the western countries or economies.

Fig. 2 Income distribution models for different groups of economies (developed, “in transition”, “developing”).

The income distribution “bubbles” for Japan (as a typically developed country), Russia, China,   and India are schematically represented in Fig. 2 to visually facilitate comparison. The income distribution model is a bulb shaped with the shoot billion times taller/higher than the bulb body (at least for the USA and “the global bulb” model). The upper sections of “the shoot” (see fig.1, on the right) are occupied by “almighty” owners of the FRS, the USA and of the major part of the world; big bankers and industrialists sit a couple of steps lower; comes the main (as the most massive) part of the establishment, i.e. all those who are actively interested in the support of this finansocratic system; the systems small fry (rank-and-file political scientists, analysts, etc.) feel comfortable at the base of the bulb’s shoot. All the above mentioned form a solid, unshakeable hierarchical structure and, at the same time, they are one mechanism of the interest-money-issuing power. The occupants of the bulb’s shoot not only receive huge incomings: they parasitize on the rest of the population, in fact, they hold it in bondage.

Of the world’s 6 billion people, almost half live on less than $2 a day. Globally, the 20% of the world’s people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures. Developing countries return $13 per each $1 received in subsidies. One hundred billion dollars a year would be required to provide the entire planet’s population with education and healthcare, to eliminate famine and appalling misery. Annual sums required to cope with plagues of today: $5 billion to eliminate famine; $9 billion to provide the entire planet’s population with good quality drinking water; $13 billion to ensure primary healthcare services and adequate food supply for everybody. An estimated breakdown of annual destructive expenses is rather impressive: $400 billion for drugs, $780 billion for weapons, and $1.5 trillion for daily stock exchange speculations. The rapid growth of the financial debt of the “third world” countries resulted in $1 trillion accumulated by early “90s. The debt interest annually paid by the developing countries is three times higher than the assistance received. All this occurs against the background of the growing intensity of enslavement of and parasitizing on the non-developed countries.

The evolution of the finance-centred (finacocentric) economy has been developing both by means of expanded application of traditional instruments of usurers and moneychangers as the world finances were getting concentrated in the hands of the few favoured along with a large-scale internalisation of financial and economic processes, and by way of improvement of conventional instruments, appearance of new ones and combination of those. The process also involved the establishing of special financial and economic institutions and engagement of essentially new non-financial instruments and institutions: pressure through preliminarily acquired media, through national and international political institutions.

A summary of the analysis of the world prevailing economic system allows the following conclusions: this system rests on the foundation which is composed of the four main sources and components:

” usury together with privately-controlled issue of the world money
” competition;
” certain postulates of Calvinistic Protestantism and Judaism;
” Newton-Carthusian scientific paradigm.

The above sources are listed in an ascending order, from particulars to generals, wherein the second two form a vision basis while the first two components are practical action mechanisms.

While competition is a general principle of relations in this society, the usury is a particular though most efficient instrument of success in that competitive struggle.

Much has been said about the usury. What about competition? What is bad about it? The opposition of an individual (i.e. oneself) to others and the entire surrounding world in general is an anti-Christian and anti-divine vision foundation of the world dominating western civilization. However, a most universal simulator for the competition struggle training is the income distribution “bulb” in fig. 1: each level has a limited number of accommodations (ecological niches); the higher up the more rapidly this number decreases.

The humanistic logic requires that correct fundamental principles be embedded in the foundation. The four source and four component parts of the humanistic economy society are:

” new scientific paradigm that would unite science and spirituality;
” purposeful evolution of the society, harmonious development of the personality;
” interest-free money;
” cooperation and competitiveness.

The new paradigm resolves contradictions in the dual pairs: spirit vs. matter, science vs. religion, physical (corporeal) values vs. spiritual ones. This paradigm describes the structure of the universe on an essentially new level, including explanation of the materiality of thought, emotions, soul. The authors of the communist and socialist theory did not have a conceptual basis of this kind.

A purposeful evolution of the society oriented towards harmonious development of personality and society is the result of application of the new scientific paradigm to the solution of the ultimate objective for sustainable progressive development of the society on the basis of the principally new knowledge of the universe organisation. In a way, the socialist society was also developing purposefully. However, in view of knowledge and approaches limited by the Newton-Carthusian scientific paradigm, the goals and objectives could not be identified accurately; the methods of achieving those were not always correct. One cannot leave aside the objectives associated with the external threat. The defence needs, respective industries, etc. Combined to cause a forced “skewness of economy”.

In the current economic view, need creates demand. The problem is not that needs create demand. The real problem is that needs are not value driven but economy driven.

This means that values do not play a part in the so called science of economics. Where there is a demand there is supply and perverse desires and voyeuristic needs are therefore easily satisfied in an economic market. This so called vicious “economy” is a symptom of how the ego has broken free from control of the basic principals relating to the common ground of consciousness, spirituality and universal intelligence as the fundamental basis of personality. Because of the supremacy of the ego we have a fragmented accessory and auxiliary world where the natural growth of the natural market (liberal economy) is inextricably entwined with occupation of all possible vicious market niches, and thus, with an accelerated development of the “vicious economy”. This is because of two factors.

Firstly the degradation of the personality and the enhancement of the ego is much more easily obtainable and seemingly enjoyable than the full development of the true self or true personality which above all requires spirituality, tenacity of purpose, strong will, inner strength, dedication, continuous effort and self improvement.

Secondly the development of egoistic drives for satisfaction and aggrandisement is vast in comparison to the narrow sector of balanced development and harmony within the self and with the environment. An analogy is it is rare to hear a virtuoso performance of Mozart compared with the many poor or bad performances.

This means that the more we satisfy basic human needs and drives the greater is the role whereby artificial and unnatural needs of humans are stimulated. These artificial or unnatural needs which are stimulated are not limited to drugs and alcohol and pornography, but also include an industry of racial discrimination, sexploitation, seamy-side movies, as well as such seemingly harmless market economic segments of the market pertaining to the sports industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the legal market, the medical system and the casino or stock markets.

In fact, the accelerated growth of this form of vicious economy is intrinsically tied to the development of a technocratic, materialistic civilization which seeks for the achievement of the highest possible level of the satisfaction needs of the majority.

Economy is meant to be subordinate to the people and properly governed to secure its subordinate role as service to the people. Nowadays public governance is neglected in favor of so called market self-regulation.
What this means is that the economy is share-held by transnational corporations, a number of the worlds largest banks and especially the Federal Reserve System of the USA.

This is neither federal nor reserve and owns almost all the US assets. The US Federal Government annually pays to the financial authorities over 400 billion USD as percentages for debts and only 2% of US citizens are 100% owners of their dwellings and cars.

One can assume that private owners of the US Federal Reserve are hundreds to thousands times richer than ordinary inhabitants of the Forbes pages which rank the richest people in the world.

In fact it is a reasonable hypothesis that this Forbes list was designed to hide those individuals who are in fact the richest ones, even though showcased billionaires are abnormally rich.

The basic function of economy should be to better serve to the good of the whole society on the one hand, and to produce necessary conditions for discovery and development of people’s talents, creative abilities, spiritual and psychic potencies, in order to broaden people’ consciousness. It is clear existing economic signs leaves all these tasks and issues outside the actual economy.

Consequences

Economy structures should be modified and designed to meet the needs of people in society. It is the government that should be responsible for this structural policy implementation which needs to be designed and substantiated by new research institutions. The current economy is deteriorating generally as shown by a possible global recession, global food shortages and peak oil in which there is an increasing sector to the global economic market of destructive and criminal tendencies.

It is essential that there be governance and regulation of the economy related to genuine public needs with the development of beneficial aspects and the abolition of harmful sections.

For example, long term strategies should be put in place relating to national and regional requirements aimed at enhancing the satisfaction of people’s genuine needs and creating beneficial economic structures. Strategic planning should among other issues be aimed at increasing of economy sustainability, environmental safety, transition to the use of renewable natural resources instead of non-renewable, reduction and finally elimination of non-renewable resources use, improvement of geographical distribution of the economy.
There also needs to be a new science of economy devoted to the understanding of population distribution, conversion of large urban conglomerations into more decentralized eco-settlements and substitution of exploitative industries into more eco and human friendly production and services.

Specific sectoral policies

Promotion of the useful/positive economy sectors and sound consumption:
clean energy, ecologically sound agriculture and food production, environmentally sound town-planning and harmonic architecture, ecologically clean construction and building material production; advanced public and environmentally sound personal transport, qualitative water supply; science, education especially based on new intellectual paradigm, including education aimed on preventative health, self care, ecological education and spiritual development, positive arts, medicine placing emphasis on organic foods, sustainable agricultural practices and cellular and herbal medicines; tourism, especially environmental, scientific and educational tourism; small business in all above and other positive sectors.

Limitation of negative aspects of economy

This includes military industry, cigarette and alcohol production. If these sectors are in private ownership it is impossible to limit the production of hazardous goods compared with the ownership being the hands of the state.

Criminal or vicious sectors

The criminal or vicious sectors such as narcotics/drugs, slave-trading, internal organs trade, pornography production, prostitution of course can not be in the state property. Possible remedies are as follows:

-Education based on the new paradigm, raising spirituality;
-Creation (via direct founding and through different types of incentives) of attractive jobs, businesses, fields of activities in all regions;
-Criminal prosecution for those who was not affected by the above measures; however convicted people and prisoners should be re-educated again based on the new paradigm and humanistic concepts in terms of changing consciousness and trained from the professional point of view to be able to work in new sectors of the economy.

Geographical and Ecological Economy

This requires the optimization and improvement of the geographical and spatial distribution of people, settlements and means of production: primary and secondary industries, energy/power generation and transmission, agriculture, transport, communication; services, science, education entities. Optimization involves taking into consideration such criteria as climate, transportation efficiency, availability of and distances to raw materials sources and suppliers, access to goods consumers and the carrying and assimilative capacity of the environment. There needs to take place the development of new regions and places for the conversion of large urban dwellings into more decentralized eco-settlements. The development of eco-settlements should be directly financed from the states or federal, regional and local budgets or stimulated by 0 % loans, subsidies etc. Overcrowded cities create toxic conditions of environment, psychological climate, extreme deficiency of personal space, polluted energy from electromagnetic fields and pollutants in the atmosphere. They negate the possibility of enabling an individual to have solitude and the opportunity to be in contact with the pure energies of Nature.

Employment

Any country has the right to create economic conditions based on their local requirements rather than be subject to economic efficiency criteria created by world and international markets. People have the right to live. To secure this right people should be given a possibility to work and get salary at a level exceeding the respective costs of living. Doles, in fact, should be a rare commodity even if there are sufficient reserves. This is because it is not sufficient to give a dole allowance to people purely to maintain their survival. Instead money should be available to give people possibilities for their personal growth and development through interesting work, study, trainings etc. This opportunity is the basis for true human rights which is more significant than the need to balance a country’s economy.

Household economy

Household economy should be valued as equal in labour and usefulness to society as the dominating/money economy. “The ability of people to create political will to enable their governments to act against globalised economic pressure is found in them being able to create greater self reliance and a sustainable lively hood in their local communities”. (Hilkka Pietila, M. Sc, Basic elements of human Economy)

It is more appropriate to consider household economy in a broader context of “domesticized” life style when people will be able to work for the “external” monetary economy much shorter than now: 6 hours a day, then 5, finally 4.
If people’s office work is home based due to advanced communication technology then they will be able to spend less time at their offices and have more time for other activities including interests, continual education, enhancing the household economy as well as cooking and also would include garden cultivation, growing vegetables and fruits, landscape works and repairs. Thus the simple domestic activities would be enhanced to the sustainability of the community in an eco sustainable and social way.

Transport Policy

In the scenario of a humanistic economy, will gradually force out personal cars which now are a celebration egoism, inefficiency and environmental unfriendliness. Personal transport within eco-settlements boundaries will be fuel free and enabled by the use of bicycles and similar kinds of transport. In these situations, people will be able to walk and exercise more for the benefit of their health. Public transport will also be available.

In a humanistic economy there is direct dependence and connection between personal income and the public benefit in the sense that the personal economy is related to the overall good of society. No possibilities for inverse negative relationship between individual benefit and good for the society exist. Initially this principle can be introduced and secured by legislation. Later it will become a cultural norm that each person will be able to self monitor themselves that they do not have earnings that exceed the benefits for society.

Actual situation

There are many types of parasitism, exploitation and unequal wealth distribution and re-distribution associated mostly with the interest rate based banking system, private appropriation of natural resources, rentals and the monopolies created by transnational corporations.

While in some situations there is a direct correlation between personal income and products and in a lot of situations there are severe failures where profits are made a the expense of harm to people in terms of poverty and illness. The overwhelming majority of people get far less than their contribution to the GDP.

One of the world leading experts Dr. Margrit Kennedy explains in clear detail about the parasitism and exploitation caused by “interest money”. She emphasize that we pay interest money only when we borrow money (though overwhelming majority of people in USA and other western countries used to borrow money to buy dwelling and cars). I placed below a couple of quotations from her work “Why Do We Need Monetary Innovation?”:

“Every price we pay includes a certain amount of interest. The exact proportion varies according to the labor versus the capital costs of the goods and services we buy. This ranges from a 12 % interest component for garbage collection, (because here the share of capital costs is relatively low and the share of physical labor is particularly high) to 38% for drinking water and up to 77% in the rent for public housing (over 100 years, which is the time houses in Germany mostly last). On the average we pay about 40% interest in all the prices of our goods and services. In medieval times people paid ‘the tenth’ of their income or produce to the feudal landlord. In this respect they were better off than we are nowadays, where almost one half of each dollar goes to the people who own capital.”

“There are indeed huge differences as to who profits and who pays in this system. Comparing the interest payments and income from interest in ten equal parts of 2.5 million households in Germany, this figure shows that 80% of the population pay almost twice as much as they receive, 10% receive slightly more than they pay, and the remaining 10% receive more than twice as much interest as they pay, that is the share the first 80% lose. This illustrates one of the least understood reasons why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In Germany, in the year 2004, this amounted to a transfer of about 1 billion Ђ every day from those who work for their money to those can make their ‘money work for them’. But have you ever seen money work? In other words, in our monetary system we allow the operation of a hidden redistribution mechanism which continually transfers money from the large majority to a small minority, creating a social polarization which no democracy can tolerate.”

Practical Consequences/corollaries

a. The financial system should serve the wellbeing of society.
Interest money should be substituted by interest-free money. Interest rate credits should be liquidated, and since private banks would hardly agree to issue interest free loans it likely that traditional private banks will be replaced by the state or co-operative or private interest-free banks. National currency should not be issued by private financial entities. Minimal participation of private interests in central banks issuing money should excluded. Credits should become instruments of public governance applied for structural purposes, geographical distribution, development of priority economic directions. Insurance companies should be recreated so that they have no purpose in profit maximization.

b. Rental income from natural resource exploitation should not be appropriated by private businesses. There should be public ownership for subsurface resources and land (except for land which sustains residential houses and small business) and water (except for isolated water bodies attached to the land plots). There should be withdrawal of rental incomes by state, federal, regional and local public authorities. Instead this money should go towards enhancing wellbeing of the common good.

c. Transparency of corporate and personal incomes
It is important that we have openness as regards to corporate and incomes so that the public is not deceived as with respect to improper sequestration of funds and income.

Motivation to work

The true motivation for work:
” to produce something of value for the society;
” to improve one’s environment, society and make people happier;
” to manifest, to apply one’s creativity, ability and skills, to reach perfection in one’s skills and arts;
” to earn as much as the equivalent of person’s work goods (services) costs (salary share in the total cost/price of a product/service).

Of course, even now there are people that fully or partially follow the above principles. The overwhelming majority of people, at least in the developed countries, think about gaining as much money as possible irrespective of any other aspects/considerations. There are many people in society who through their activities selfishly acquire enormous amounts of money for themselves at the expense of harm to the society, economy, people and environment. It is important to compare consequences of a materialistic, consumer oriented society to a more spiritual, humanistic economy which is a humanistic economy.

Humanistic economy is not an ideal economy (at least in the beginning) but it is an economy based on strong sound principles. As the existing destructive economy is leading to spiritual, cultural, moral, environmental and other degradation while the new constructive (and not necessarily ideal) economy may serve to create positive development and evolution for humankind.
The picture of the humanistic economy I have drawn up in many respects looks utopian. However, my task is to describe the economy which meets principles of a humanistic and fair economy. Any compromise or deviation would be unfair. Of course, I do not appeal to the violent transition to the humanistic economy but I appeal to our ability to look at a hopeless future created by the current economic reality. The simple factor is that transition to a better economic mode and humanistic economy exists and depends on our own will and understanding of knowledge about the real situation we face with its extreme distortion and disharmony.

I’d like to complete by quotation from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” To become free we need first realize how enslaved we are, why and what we can do to slip the collar. I am sure that total and even fragmentary slavery is incompatible with Humanistic economy.

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The Washington – Wall Street Mutual Backscratching Society

December 18, 2013
Article image
Jim Hightower
NationofChange/Op-ed
Published: Wednesday 18 December 2013
Yes, Timmy Geithner, the guy who was responsible for rescuing and regulating Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail, multibillion-dollar, financial casinos is now president of one.

Timmy Geithner has landed.

The Secretary of the Treasury in President Obama’s first term resigned early this year, and we lost track of him for months. But in November, Geithner reappeared, having spun himself through Washington’s revolving door — whoosh, whoosh, whoosh — and flung himself all the way up to Wall Street, landing softly in the cushy quarters of Warburg Pincus, one of America’s top 10 private-equity empires. Yes, the guy who was responsible for rescuing and regulating Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail, multibillion-dollar, financial casinos is now president of one.

Writing in The New Yorker magazine, Andrew Huszar says we need not be surprised that the former treasury chief is cashing in on his insider knowledge and contacts. Huszar worked at the New York Federal Reserve bank a decade ago and saw Geithner in action when the up-and-coming bank whiz became president of that powerful overseer of Wall Street firms. He says that, rather than promoting knowledgeable regulators from within the Fed, Geithner broke with tradition (and prudence) to put top bankers from JPMorgan Chase, American Express, Goldman Sachs and other powerhouse firms in key regulatory positions. In other words, the new honcho built his own revolving door in the New York Fed, wooshing bankers in to regulate themselves.

Thus, when Obama promoted Geithner to head the Treasury Department, Huszar was again unsurprised that our nation’s top financial official quickly proved to be the bankers’ comforter and protector. “Geithner never publicly advocated for the truly forceful and clean revamp of Wall Street,” writes Huszar, instead using his influence to convince “Obama and other lawmakers to be more accommodating to the big banks.” 

 

Article image

Whether spinning from the inside out, or from the outside in, Geithner is proof that the Washington-Wall Street revolving door serves bankers, not the public interests. 

We need to weld that door shut, seal it off with concrete, wrap it with razor wire and put motion detectors on it.

In contrast to Geithner’s Jell-O spine, one financial regulator showed some real backbone during Obama’s first term, proposing rules to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street crash and bailout syndrome. He is Gary Gensler, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and he dared to push the Treasury Secretary and other major bank supervisors to join him in seriously limiting Wall Street’s cavalier proliferation of complex “derivatives.” As the ProPublica news service noted, these convoluted schemes are “poorly disclosed, poorly understood and could lay waste to the economy.”

So, good for Gensler, right? Yes! But of all the agency heads who are involved in writing new banking rules, guess which one was not invited this year by President Obama to stay on the job. Yes, the tough one, the one actually trying to protect the people, the one not afraid to offend Wall Street greedheads: Gary Gensler.

He’s being replaced by Timothy Massad, who appears to be more of an industry lapdog than a watchdog. Massad, a career insider, has been a corporate lawyer for banks, a lickspittle lieutenant for Timmy Geithner during his Treasury Department stint, and a chief blocker of tough provisions to stop big banks from unfairly squeezing hard-hit homeowners.

Apparently, Gensler wanted to keep doing his work at this once-obscure agency, which he had brought out of the shadows into the daylight. He hoped to stay on guard against financial connivers trying to twist the new rules to legalize more banker robbery. But Wall Streeters certainly didn’t want him there, and Obama bowed to them, displacing the one guy, the one regulatory chief, who had the guts and gumption to stand up to coddled financiers and wealthy speculators.

Not only is Gensler gone, but Wall Street now gets a regulator who’s being entrusted to return the agency to obscurity. What we have here is another product of the Washington-Wall Street Mutual Backscratching Society. What a disgraceful performance by all parties.

Copyright Creators.com
Author pic
ABOUT JIM HIGHTOWER
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.
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Comment: Money buys power, which returns money.

Lapdog Media Beats War Drums Again

September 1, 2013

Remember how the media sold us their wars? (photo: Luke Frazza/AP)
Remember how the media sold us their wars? (photo: Luke Frazza/AP)

go to original article

By Patrick L. Smith, Salon

31 August 13

 

s of this writing, early Thursday morning, some Syrians are scheduled to pay with their lives for America’s “credibility.” The bombarding of an already war-ravaged country is acknowledged as “symbolic,” intended simply to “send a message.” This is an obscenity as great as the one Washington purports to answer. Another Middle Eastern society will come further unstitched, and those doing the unstitching will have nothing on offer to replace it.

The U.S. long ago squandered what credibility it may once have enjoyed or desired in the Mideast. If credibility were the cause, Washington need do no more than start dismantling the Potemkin village it has made of the principles it tediously mouths.But this thought goes nowhere these days.

And so the U.S. stalks into another war in the Middle East. Unlike the Iraq and Afghanistan wars-American works of art, both-the conflict in Syria is somebody else’s canvas. But apart from this, the similarities among these three instances of Washington’s wanton hostility toward uncompliant regimes are astonishingly similar.

Make that tragically similar. History proceeds, we Americans insist on the virtue of ignorance, on learning nothing and knowing nothing. And what we are about to get is what we get, predictably and always. We are a singular people, no question. Maybe even exceptional.

As of these hours, the Obama administration is on the record as rejecting any deliberations the U.N. may judge just. On Wednesday evening, British Prime Minister David Cameron gave in to Labour Party objections to his support for Washington’s invasion plans. Britain now wants to see a U.N. report on the alleged chemical attacks from weapons instructors, and to give the Security Council process more time.

But listen closely to President Obama speaking Wednesday on PBS’ “Newshour” and it is clear the U.S. could go it alone against the Syrian regime if need be. “We’re prepared to work with anybody – the Russians and others – to try to bring the parties together to resolve the conflict,” Obama said. “But we want the Assad regime to understand that by using chemical weapons on a large scale against your own people … you’re also creating a situation where U.S. national interests are affected, and that needs to stop.”

So not even the fig leaves of international assent matter now.

Events since the apparent attacks with chemical substances in four residential districts of Damascus last week bear all the marks of a disgraceful bum’s rush. Given that the cruise missiles the Obama administration is about to send into Syria will bear the chalk signatures of every American, like a World War II bomb, we are the chumps of the piece (once again, that is). This is a shared responsibility. It makes us complicit.

The fabrications and duplicity put before us as Washington prepares to “respond” to the latest savagery in Syria are so strangely formed that it is hard to follow the bouncing ball. The Obama people have changed their story diametrically before our eyes, casting aside all consistency, self-evidently making it up as they go along. And it is the same story recited countless times before. Maybe it is the only story Americans can articulate or grasp-a disturbing thought, but one begging consideration at this point.

Stories require media, of course, and there they are, on the case in the Syrian crisis and delivering the goods with irresponsible single-source stories dressed up as responsible multiple-source stories. When was it that journalists began thinking of themselves as national security operatives? It is getting unbearable, this errand-boy act in the face of power. If journalists did their jobs properly we would get into fewer messes such as Syria and would be more nationally secure. As it is now, the press is a defective piece in the democratic mechanism.

Instantly after news of chemical weapons and fatalities arrived last week, Washington and its allies began clamoring for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to allow a team of U.N. inspectors to examine the sites in question. It absolutely had to be. Nothing else would do. We read this.

Within 48 hours, the Obama people asserted that any such scrutiny was beside the point. When Assad gave assent to the U.N. team’s visit, which was not much delayed given the shelled zone is a battlefield, he was “too late to be credible.” All the evidence would have “degraded,” as we also read.

Too late? Degraded? The U.N. team is one of experts. They are in Syria to examine sites where chemicals were allegedly used months ago and would not be there if the question of degradation were authentic. This we did not read, with one exception. On Wednesday the New York Times’ science correspondent, William Broad, had the integrity and sense to cite non-government sources-Yikes!-to point out that chemical agents used in weaponry do not dissipate for a woefully long time. Skeptics can ask the Vietnamese.

The Broad piece got the bottom of page eight. As I.F. Stone once said of the Washington Post, the paper is always a kick because you never know where you will find a front-page story.

By early this week, if you can take this in, U.S. officials were privately urging the U.N. to abort the mission in Syria. Washington had plainly decided by this time that evidence was not quite the thing. We did not read this, either-not in an American publication.

We come to the Mack truck Obama’s people want to park unnoticed in the driveway. “Evidence” of chemical weapons use, even as Obama’s people dodged from any, quickly became “undeniable” (Secretary of State Kerry), a matter of “no doubt” (Vice President Biden), and many other forcefully stated things. This language we read in abundance-and with no decent, professional scrutiny on the part of those conveying it.

And did you notice? Evidence of use became evidence of the Assad regime’s use. This is the trump suit in the game. No mention by any U.S. official that responsibility may lie with the awful-as-Assad insurgents. And of course one could not read of this prospect in U.S. newspapers or hear it from U.S. broadcasters. An indefensible lapse in logic also goes unnoted. I honestly cannot figure how dumb we are supposed to be.

We are promised incontrovertible evidence of Assad’s guilt in the course of Thursday. Needless to anticipate. In wars of imagery and spectacle, variants of the above-described routine are frequently rehearsed. Think yellowcake, or Colin Powell at the United Nations, or Judith Miller’s “metal tubes” or “mobile weapons labs” in Iraq so eagerly reported by the New York Times.

I aired my suspicions that the insurgents might well be the culprits in this space last week. I stand by these thoughts times two.

Assad’s opponents do not possess supplies of sarin gas or other chemical agents, it is suggested.

Rubbish. Not so by a long way. And they have behaved as savagely as anyone in Assad’s army.

The rebels could not be capable of mounting an attack of the scale apparent in Damascus last week, we are also advised.

The defensible position is that of the Russians and responsible elements within Britain: They want a proper investigation and propose we all abide by it.

Carla del Ponte, the noted investigator of war crimes and a member of the U.N. inquiry on Syria, asserted in May that there was sound reason to examine whether the insurgents were responsible for an obscenity in Syria at that time involving sarin gas. The U.N. human rights investigator said that, “According to the testimonies we have gathered, the rebels have used chemical weapons, making use of sarin gas,” adding that her commission’s best understanding of the facts was that “sarin gas has been used … by opponents, by rebels, not by government authorities.”

She was tarred and feathered, as our media are versed at doing in the best American tradition.

But Obama appears determined to circumvent the U.N. regardless of what its investigators suggest. On Wednesday Britain advanced a resolution in the Security Council calling for intervention, but this was pro forma. The Security Council is composed as it is so that alternative worldviews are properly represented. Obama honors alternative worldviews as much as George W. Bush treasured them. So no U.N., not with a veto in the offing from Russia, a Security Council member. Better to go lawless again, and that is the word to bear in mind as the fireworks display unfolds in the coming days.

In the run-up, there is some piling on. We have once again the crummy “coalition of the willing” junk, familiar from the Iraq war: There are the batboy British, the flimsy resistance of Labourites notwithstanding, and the uncertain France of François Hollande, and Angela Merkel’s Germany (complicated motives there), and of course Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel, which is (on the record) eager to regionalize the Syria question so that Iran can be bombed. I have previously identified Bibi as the most dangerous man in the Middle East, and he earns the title once again.

The Arab League says no. The European Union says no. Even NATO equivocates as of this hour. Take it apart. Most of humanity is not on board for this adventure in theater.

I conclude with what I consider the caker, the preposterous-news- of-the-week prize, even if we cannot read about it in our country but online.

“The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime’s deployment of chemical weapons-which would provide legal grounds essential to justify any western military action-has been provided by Israeli military intelligence.” That would be the reliable folk at Mossad. The quotation comes from the Guardian, which simply reported on a report in a German magazine called Focus.

My goodness. Send in the clowns. They’re already here.

Oil, Dollar Hegemony and Islam by Prof. Francis A. Boyle

January 16, 2012

Oil, Dollar Hegemony and Islam by Prof. Francis A. Boyle

Global Research, January 15, 2012
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28661

Little has changed in the imperialist tendencies of American foreign policy since the founding of the United States of America in seventeen eighty-nine. The fledgling United States opened the nineteenth century by stealing the continent of North America from the Indians, while in the process ethnically cleansing them and then finally deporting the pitiful few survivors by means of death marches (a la Bataan) to Bantustans, which in America we call reservations, as in instance of America’s manifest destiny to rule the world.

Then, the imperial government of the United States opened the twentieth century by stealing a colonial empire from Spain – in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, then inflicting a near-genocidal war against the Filipino people. While at the same time, purporting to annex, the kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the native Hawaiian people to near-genocidal conditions from which they still suffer today- all in the name of securing America’s so-called place in the sun.

And today at the dawn of the twenty first century, the world witnesses the effort by the imperial government of the United States of America to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Moslem states and peoples, surrounding central Asia and the Persian Gulf under the pretext of fighting a war against international terrorism or eliminating weapons of mass destruction or promoting democracy which is total nonsense.

For the past two hundred and sixteen years, the imperialist foreign policy of the United States of America since its foundation, has been predicated upon racism, aggression, genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, war crimes and outright genocide. At the dawn of the third millennium of humankind’s parlous existence, nothing has changed about the operational dynamics of American imperial policy. And we see this today in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and what appears to be an illegal attack upon Iran.

Now the topic today is the Middle East Agenda : Oil, Dollar Hegemony and Islam. So, I’m only going to limit my comments to that subject. We have to begin the story with the Arab oil embargo in nineteen seventy-three. As you know in nineteen sixty-seven, Israel launched an illegal and preventive war against the surrounding Arab states, stole the land and ethnically cleansed the people. But eventually Egypt offered a Peace Treaty to Israel which Israel rejected and the Egyptians and the Arab states decided then to use force to recover their lands.

Israel almost collapsed, the United States and Europe came to their support by providing weapons and in reaction the Arab states imposed an oil embargo on the United States and Europe, and brought their economies to their knees. Whereupon, the then U.S Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger threatened them and said, this will never happen again, and if you do, we will prevent it. And it was not just a threat. The United States government then at that time, planned, prepared and conspired, to steal the oil of the Persian Gulf. They did not have the military capability to do this at that time, to carry out the Kissinger threat, which was also then repeated by the Ford administration, and the Carter administration under Harold Brown and Brzezinski.

So they put into planning an interventionist force, designed expressly for the purpose of stealing Arab oil fields, and that was called the rapid deployment force. And it took ten years of training, planning, positioning, and supply to build that interventionist force of that capability and eventually it was called the U.S. Central Command. The purpose of the U.S. Central Command is to steal and control and dominate the oil and gas resources of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. And that’s exactly what the U.S. Central Command proceeded to do in the Bush Sr. war against Iraq, their first military expedition.

And as we know, that war exterminated probably two hundred thousand Iraqis. Half of them innocent civilians. Simply wiped out in a bombing campaign and a military expedition of unprecedented dimensions. But remember, it took fifteen years for the Pentagon and three different administrations both Republicans and Democrats to get the capability to do this. And then, when that genocide or conflict was over, what happened? The United States carved Iraq up into three pieces with their air force, the so-called no-fly zones, a zone for the Kurds in the North, a zone for the Shi’ah in the South, and the Sunni in the middle. Why? To destroy Iraq as an effectively viable state.

In his book, Clash of Civilizations, Huntington from Harvard who advised the Pentagon and advised the state department pointed out that the only Arab state with the capability to lead the Arab world and challenge the United States and Israel was Iraq. And so Iraq had to be destroyed, to maintain the domination of the United States and its proxy, Israel. And remember after nineteen seventy-three, whatever it was before then, Israel is nothing more than a catspaw of the United States. They do what America tells them to do. Otherwise Israel is nothing more than a failed state.

In addition then, to destroying Iraq as a state, carving it up into three pieces, was the decision to debilitate and destroy the Iraqi people. And so they continued the genocidal economic sanctions on the people of Iraq, that my colleagues, Denis Halliday, Hans Von Sponeck, so courageously resisted and finally resigned as a matter of principle, calling them by what they really were, genocide. The United States and Britain maliciously and criminally imposed genocidal sanctions on the people of Iraq, that killed approximately 1.5 million Iraqis, all of whom were innocent civilians.

And when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked about the five hundred thousand dead children, she said that she thought the price was worth it. Now, I could have taken that statement to the International Court of Justice, and filed it against the United States as evidence of genocidal intent against the people of Iraq in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. And indeed I offered to do so to the then President of Iraq, but for whatever reasons he decided not to take these claims to the International Court of Justice.

And now, as you see, he is on trial in a total kangaroo court proceeding in Baghdad that is completely controlled and dominated by the United States government. So, 1.5 million Iraqis died as the result of these genocidal sanctions. And then came September 11. And we know for a fact that the Bush Jr. administration knew that a major terrorist attack was going to be launched on the United States. And they let it happen anyway deliberately and on purpose. Why? They wanted a pretext for war. And not just one war but for a long war which they are talking about today.

Indeed, from my research the war plans drawn up by the Pentagon for the war against Afghanistan were formulated as early as 1997. Enormous military forces fielded by that same U.S. Central Command, were already in and around and surrounding the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean before September 11. This war had been planned against Afghanistan. And armed, equipped, supplied, trained and war-gamed and ready to go. They just needed the pretext and that was September 11. Why? The United States wanted access to the oil and natural gas of Central Asia.

That had been a Pentagon objective since at least before the collapse of the Soviet Union in nineteen ninety-one. And the Nine Eleven attack gave them the pretext to make this major grab for the oil and gas of Central Asia. And they are there today with their bases, with their troops, in the surrounding countries in Central Asia. And of course in the process, obliterated, we don ‘t even have an estimate of the Muslims in Afghanistan who were killed in the air bombardment, twenty, twenty five thousand, maybe more, and tens of thousands of others starved to death and still suffering today.

But that, as we know from all the records was only the first step in the process. They wanted to finish the job in Iraq. And so immediately after September 11, Bush ordered Rumsfeld to update and operationalize the plans for attacking and invading Iraq. It had nothing at all to do with weapons of mass destruction. We in the peace movement in America had been saying that all along. The United Nations had determined there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. These were lies designed to scaremonger the American people and Congress into supporting an illegal war of aggression, a Nuremberg crime against peace, against Iraq. And they told whatever lies and broke what international laws they had to break in order to attack Iraq.

And today the estimate, again we don’t know. Perhaps two hundred thousand people in Iraq had been killed outright by the United States, Britain, its allies, Australia in Iraq. And again, most of them civilians. Clearly if you add up what United States government has done to Iraq from August of 1990, when it imposed the genocidal economic embargo until today. The United States and Britain have inflicted outright genocide on the Muslim and Christian people of Iraq and they are predominately Muslim as we know.

Now comes the third step in the Pentagon’s pre-existing plan, to control and dominate the oil and gas resources of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. It’ s sounds a bit like the plan that Hitler and the Nazis had in the 1930″s. Does it not? First go into Austria, then go into Czechoslovakia, then go into Poland. So first Afghanistan, then Iraq, and now Iran. And so now Iran is going to be the next victim of these outright criminals unless you and I can stop them.

Right now there are three aircraft carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf. And whenever they had put three aircraft carrier task forces over there, it’ s always to prepare for an attack. And according to Seymour Hersch, the award winning journalist, it will probably be an aerial bombardment, along the lines of what they did to Yugoslavia in 1999. As you remember there, seventy eight days of aerial bombardment by the United States and NATO with no authorization from the Security Council. Clearly illegal. Killing again, we don’t know the exact number outright, four to five thousand innocent civilians. And targeting civilian infrastructure, all up and down, from which the people still suffer today. The use of depleted uranium ammunitions, outbreaks of cancer are documented today.

So this is what, is being planned right now as we speak; an attack upon Iran. Using jet fighter aircraft, fighter bombers, on these three aircraft carrier task forces, using cruise missiles on submarines and of course Israel will be involved and have a role to play, doing exactly what the Americans tell them to do. In addition, it appears that if they attack Iran, they will also attack Syria. Yesterday, if you heard President Bush’s press conference in Vienna, he threatened Syria, right? There’s no other word for it. He threatened Syria.

These Neo-Conservatives want to take out Syria as a favour to Israel. Remember, many of these Neo-Conservatives are affiliated personally and professionally with the Likhud Party in Israel and Ariel Sharon, the butcher of Beirut, the man who exterminated twenty thousand Arabs in Lebanon, most of them, not all of them were Muslims. And in addition, slaughtered two thousand completely innocent Palestinian women, children and old men at Sabra and Shatila. Ariel Sharon, the man who went to Haram Al-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam, where Muhammad, (Peace Be Upon Him) ascended into heaven, and desecrated the Haram on September

28th, 2000, and deliberately provoked the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada and has inflicted death and destruction on the Palestinian people since then. Close to thirty seven hundred Palestinians since then alone have been killed..most of them shot down like dogs in the street, and what has the Muslim world done about this?

My Palestinian friends tell me that they are worried that the government of Malaysia might recognize Israel and establish diplomatic relations with Israel. I certainly hope this is not true. We must treat the criminal apartheid regime in Israel, the same way the world treated the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. If the United States attacks Iran, they will probably attack Syria with the Israeli air force and they will attack Lebanon to take out the Islamic resistance movement in southern Lebanon – Hezbollah that defended the legitimate rights of Lebanon and the Lebanese people and expelled the invading longstanding occupying Israeli army that had the full support of the United States government for over twenty years.

So they could attack Iran, Syria, Southern Lebanon and inflict yet another round of ethnic cleansing on the suffering Palestinian people. Remember Sharon and Likhud believe that Jordan is Palestine. And they want to drive as many Palestinians as possible out of their homes and into Jordan.

So if the United States as reported by Hersh and other reliable sources, goes ahead and attacks Iran, we could see warfare erupt all the way from Egypt to the border with India. This whole area convulsed in warfare. And who will be the primary victims of this war? Muslims. The United States could not care less about Muslim life. Look at the demonization and victimization of Muslims that we have seen inflicted by the United States and its surrogate, Israel. Look at Guantanamo, where six hundred Muslim men have been treated like dogs in a kennel. Pretty much the way the Nazis treated the Jews. Look at Abu Ghraib and the sadism and sexual exploitation and perversion of Muslims by their American captors. And the same thing has been done in Baghram in Afghanistan. And when Professor Sharif Bassiouni, the UN special rapporteur filed the report with the Security Council against US practices in Afghanistan, the Americans had Kofi Annan fire him. Just as they had Kofi Annan fire Mary Robinson, the UN high commissioner for human rights, when she protested what was going on down in Guantanamo.

The United States could not care less about Muslim life. And the same is true for the genocidal apartheid regime in Israel. They would be happy to use nuclear weapons against Iran. They would be happy to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki against Muslims in Iran. It would create no problem at all for them. Indeed, I went to school with these Neo-Conservatives at the University of Chicago. Wolfowitz was there, Chalabi, Khalilzad, Shulsky, all the rest of them. I went through the exact same program. Their mentor, Professor Leo Strauss. And who was his teacher in Germany and his sponsor? Professor Carl Schmitt who went on to become the most notorious Nazi law Professor of his day, justifying every atrocity that the Nazis inflicted on everyone.

We must understand that these Neo-Conservatives are in fact Neo-Nazis. They have espoused the Nazi doctrine of Schmitt and Strauss and Machiavelli and Nietzsche, the ‘superman’. They are the supermen, and the Muslims are the scum of the earth.

Now, I do not believe the United States will initially start bombing Iran with nuclear weapons. But if things get out of control they are fully prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons. And here in our materials, you have the Pentagon’s Joint Publication 3-12, which you can get on the internet.. just do a Google search and read it. And you will see there dated fifteenth March 2005; nuclear, tactical nuclear weapons have been fully integrated into United States conventional forces.

So if Iran were to defend itself, human wave attacks, whatever, they will be happy to use nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. Remember, these Neo-Nazis, Neo-Cons want to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They want to use tactical nuclear weapons, to be able to say to the rest of the world, you do what we tell you to do or else look what we did to the Iranians.

It’s a very serious situation. And this could even get further out of control. Remember that before Bush invaded Iraq, President Putin of Russia said that if he invades Iraq he could set off World War Three. Well, I interpreted that as an implicit threat. Even the famous American news broadcaster Walter Cronkite said that if Bush invaded Iraq he could set off World War Three. Two weeks ago we had the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; China, Russia and Iran. So again, if Bush were to attack Iran, he very well could set off a Third World War, a nuclear war. And that is where you come in.

Francis A. Boyle is a leading American expert in international law. Professor Boyle teaches international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign and is author of, inter alia, The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy, Foundations of World Order, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, Destroying World Order, Biowarfare & Terrorism. And Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. He holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University.

The Geopolitical Implications Of “Peak Everything”

January 11, 2012

[globalnetnews-summary] The Geopolitical Implications Of “Peak Everything” By Richard Heinberg

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:57 PM
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“This game of resource “musical chairs” could well bring about conflict and privation on a scale never seen before in world history. “

The Geopolitical Implications Of “Peak Everything” By Richard Heinberg
By carolyn, on January 10th, 2012
http://www.postcarbon.org/article/660520-geopolitical-implications-of-peak-everything

Compassion Is Our New Century

December 23, 2011
BY REBECCA SOLNIT
Published: Friday 23 December 2011
“Nothing has been more moving to me than this desire, realized imperfectly but repeatedly, to connect across differences, to be a community, to make a better world, to embrace each other.”

Usu­ally at year’s end, we’re sup­posed to look back at events just passed — and for­ward, in pre­dic­tion mode, to the year to come. But just look around you! This mo­ment is so ex­tra­or­di­nary that it has hardly reg­is­tered. Peo­ple in thou­sands of com­mu­ni­ties across the United States and else­where are liv­ing in pub­lic, ex­per­i­ment­ing with di­rect democ­racy, call­ing things by their true names, and oblig­ing the media and politi­cians to do the same.

The breadth of this move­ment is one thing, its depth an­other. It has re­jected not just the par­tic­u­lars of our eco­nomic sys­tem, but the whole set of moral and emo­tional as­sump­tions on which it’s based. Take the pair shown in a pho­to­graph from Oc­cupy Austin in Texas.  The ami­able-look­ing el­derly woman is hold­ing a sign whose com­puter-printed words say, “Money has stolen our vote.” The older man next to her with the base­ball cap is hold­ing a sign hand­writ­ten on card­board that states, “We are our broth­ers’ keeper.”

The photo of the two of them of­fers just a peek into a sin­gle mo­ment in the re­mark­able pe­riod we’re liv­ing through and the as­ton­ish­ing move­ment that’s drawn in… well, if not 99% of us, then a strik­ing enough per­cent­age: every­one from teen pop su­per­star Miley Cyrus with her Oc­cupy-homage video to Alaska Yup’ik elder Es­ther Green ice-fish­ing and hold­ing a sign that says “Yirqa Kuik” in big let­ters, with the trans­la­tion — “oc­cupy the river” — in lit­tle ones below.

The woman with the stolen-votes sign is re­fer­ring to them. Her com­pan­ion is talk­ing about us, all of us, and our fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples. His sign comes straight out of Gen­e­sis, a de­nial of what that com­pet­i­tive en­tre­pre­neur Cain said to God after fore­clos­ing on his brother Abel’s life. He was not, he claimed, his brother’s keeper; we are not, he in­sisted, be­holden to each other, but sep­a­rate, iso­lated, each of us for our­selves.

Think of Cain as the first So­cial Dar­win­ist and this Oc­cu­pier in Austin as his op­po­site, claim­ing, no, our op­er­at­ing sys­tem should be love; we are all con­nected; we must take care of each other. And this move­ment, he’s say­ing, is about what the Ar­gen­tin­ian up­ris­ing that began a decade ago, on De­cem­ber 19, 2001, calledpo­lit­ica afec­tiva, the pol­i­tics of af­fec­tion.

If it’s a move­ment about love, it’s also about the money they so un­justly took, and con­tinue to take, from us — and about the fact that, right now, money and love are at war with each other. After all, in the Amer­i­can heart­land, peo­ple are be­gin­ning to be im­pris­oned for debt, while the Oc­cupy move­ment is ar­gu­ing for debt for­give­ness, rene­go­ti­a­tion, and debt ju­bilees.

Some­times love, or at least de­cency, wins.  One morn­ing late last month, 75-year-old Josephine Tol­bert, who ran a day­care cen­ter from her mod­est San Fran­cisco home, re­turned after drop­ping a child off at school only to find that she and the other chil­dren were locked out be­cause she was be­hind in her mort­gage pay­ments. True Com­pass LLC, who bought her place in a short sale while she thought she was still ne­go­ti­at­ing with Bank of Amer­ica, would not allow her back into her home of al­most four decades, even to get her med­i­cines or di­a­pers for the chil­dren.

We demon­strated at her home and at True Com­pass’s shabby of­fices while they hid within, and stu­dents from Oc­cupy San Fran­cisco State Uni­ver­sity demon­strated out­side a True Com­pass-owned restau­rant on be­half of this African-Amer­i­can grand­mother. Thanks to this sol­i­dar­ity and the media at­ten­tion it gar­nered, Tol­bert has col­lected her keys, moved back in, and is rene­go­ti­at­ing the terms of her mort­gage.

Hun­dreds of other fore­clo­sure vic­tims are now being de­fended by local branches of the Oc­cupy move­ment, from West Oak­land to North Min­neapo­lis. As New York writer, film­maker, and Oc­cu­pier Astra Tay­lor puts it,

Not only does the oc­cu­pa­tion of aban­doned fore­closed homes con­nect the dots be­tween Wall Street and Main Street, it can also lead to swift and tan­gi­ble vic­to­ries, some­thing move­ments des­per­ately need for mo­men­tum to be main­tained. The banks, it seems, are softer tar­gets than one might ex­pect be­cause so many cases are rife with legal ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and out­right crim­i­nal­ity. With one in five homes fac­ing fore­clo­sure and fil­ings show­ing no sign of slow­ing down in the next few years, the num­ber of peo­ple touched by the mort­gage cri­sis — whether be­cause they have lost their homes or be­cause their homes are now un­der­wa­ter — truly bog­gles the mind.”

If what’s been hap­pen­ing lo­cally and glob­ally has some of the char­ac­ter­is­tics of an up­ris­ing, then there has never been one quite so per­va­sive — from the sci­en­tists hold­ing an Oc­cupy sign in Antarc­tica to Oc­cupy pres­ences in places as far-flung as New Zealand and Aus­tralia, São Paulo, Frank­furt, Lon­don, Toronto, Los An­ge­les, and Reyk­javik. And don’t for­get the tini­est places, ei­ther. The other morn­ing at the Oak­land docks for the West Coast port shut­down demon­stra­tions, I met three mem­bers of Oc­cupy Amador County, a small rural area in Cal­i­for­nia’s Sierra Nevada.  Its largest town, Jack­son, has a lit­tle over 4,000 in­hab­i­tants, which hasn’t stopped it from hav­ing reg­u­lar out­door Fri­day evening Oc­cupy meet­ings.

A lit­tle girl in a red parka at the Oak­land docks was car­ry­ing a sign with a quote from blind-deaf-and-ar­tic­u­late early twen­ti­eth-cen­tury role model Helen Keller that said, “The best and most beau­ti­ful things in the world can­not be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.” Why quote Keller at a demon­stra­tion fo­cused on labor and eco­nom­ics? The an­swer is clear enough: be­cause Oc­cupy has some of the emo­tional res­o­nance of a spir­i­tual, as well as a po­lit­i­cal, move­ment.  Like those other up­heavals it’s aligned with in Spain, Greece, Ice­land (where they’re ac­tu­ally jail­ing bankers), Britain, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Chile, and most re­cently Rus­sia, it wants to ask basic ques­tions: What mat­ters? Who mat­ters? Who de­cides? On what prin­ci­ples?

Stop for a mo­ment and con­sider just how un­fore­seen and un­fore­see­able all of this was when, on De­cem­ber 17, 2010, Mo­hamed Bouaz­izi, a Tunisian veg­etable ven­dor in Sidi Bouzid, an out-of-the-way, im­pov­er­ished city, im­mo­lated him­self. He was protest­ing the dead-end life that the 1% econ­omy run by Tunisia’s au­to­cratic ruler Zine Ben Ali and his cor­rupt fam­ily al­lot­ted him, and the po­lice bru­tal­ity that went with it, two things that have re­mained front and cen­ter ever since. Above all, as his mother has since tes­ti­fied, he was for human dig­nity, for a world, that is, where the pri­mary sys­tem of value is not money.

“Com­pas­sion is our new cur­rency,” was the mes­sage  scrawled on a pizza-box lid at Oc­cupy Wall Street in Zuc­cotti Park in lower Man­hat­tan — held by a pen­sive-look­ing young man in Je­remy Ayers’s great photo por­trait.  But what can you buy with com­pas­sion?

 

Quite a lot, it turns out, in­clud­ing a global move­ment, and even pizza, which can ar­rive at that move­ment’s camp­ground as a gift of sol­i­dar­ity.  A few days into Oc­cupy Wall Street’s sur­prise suc­cess, a call for pizza went out and $2,600 in piz­zas came in within an hour, just as ear­lier this year the oc­cu­piers of Wis­con­sin’s state house had been co­pi­ously sup­plied with pizza — in­clud­ing pies paid for and dis­patched by Egypt­ian rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies. 

The Re­turn of the Dis­ap­peared

Dur­ing the 1970s and 1980s dic­ta­tor­ship and death-squad era in Chile, Ar­gentina, Brazil, and Cen­tral Amer­ica, the term “the dis­ap­peared” came to cover those who were kid­napped, held in se­cret, tor­tured, and then often ex­e­cuted in se­cret. So many decades later, their fates are often still being de­ci­phered.

In the United States, the dis­ap­peared also exist, not thanks to a bru­tal army or para­mil­i­taries, but to a bru­tal econ­omy.  When you lose your job, you van­ish from the work­place and sooner or later ar­rive at empti­ness in your day, your iden­tity, your wal­let, your abil­ity to par­tic­i­pate in a com­mer­cial so­ci­ety. When you lose your home, you dis­ap­pear from fa­mil­iar spaces: the block, the neigh­bor­hood, the rolls of home­own­ers.   Often, you van­ish in shame, leav­ing be­hind friends and ac­quain­tances.

At the ac­tions to sup­port some of the 1,500 mostly African-Amer­i­can home­own­ers being fore­closed upon in south­east­ern San Fran­cisco, sev­eral of them de­scribed how they had to over­come a pow­er­ful sense of shame sim­ply to speak up, no less de­fend them­selves or join this move­ment. In the U.S., fail­ure is al­ways sup­posed to be in­di­vid­ual, not sys­temic, and so it tends to pro­duce a sense of per­sonal dev­as­ta­tion that leaves its vic­tims feel­ing alone and lying low, even though they are among le­gions of oth­ers.

The peo­ple who de­stroyed our econ­omy through their bot­tom­less greed are, on the other hand, shame­less — as shame­less as the CEOs whose com­pen­sa­tion shot up36% in 2010, dur­ing this deep and grind­ing re­ces­sion. Com­pas­sion is def­i­nitely not their cur­rency.

 

Article image

The word “oc­cupy” it­self speaks pow­er­fully to the Amer­i­can dis­ap­peared and the very idea of dis­ap­pear­ance.  It speaks to those who have lost their oc­cu­pa­tion or the home they oc­cu­pied. In its many mean­ings, it’s a big tent. It means to fill a space, take pos­ses­sion of it, em­ploy one­self, busy one­self, fill time.  (In the sev­en­teenth and eigh­teenth cen­turies, the verb had a mean­ing so sex­ual it fell out of com­mon use.)  It de­scribes the state of being pre­sent that the Oc­cupy move­ment’s Gen­eral As­sem­blies and tent camps have lived out, a space in which — as Mo­hamed Bouaz­izi might have dreamed it — the dis­ap­peared can reap­pear with dig­nity. 

Oc­cupy has also cre­ated a space in which peo­ple of all kinds can co­ex­ist, from the home­less to the tenured, from the inner city to the agrar­ian. Co­ex­ist­ing in pub­lic with like­minded strangers and ac­quain­tances is one of the great foun­da­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences of democ­racy, which is why dic­ta­tor­ships ban gath­er­ings and groups — and why our First Amend­ment guar­an­tee of the right of the peo­ple peace­ably to as­sem­ble is being tested more strongly today than in any re­cent mo­ment in Amer­i­can his­tory. Nearly every Oc­cupy has at its cen­ter reg­u­lar meet­ings of aGen­eral As­sem­bly. These are ex­per­i­ments in di­rect democ­racy that have been messy, ex­as­per­at­ing and mirac­u­lous: are­nas in which every­one is in­vited to be heard, to have a voice, to be a mem­ber, to shape the fu­ture. Oc­cupy is first of all a con­ver­sa­tion among our­selves.

To oc­cupy also means to show up, to be pre­sent — a rad­i­cally un­plugged ex­pe­ri­ence for a dig­i­tal gen­er­a­tion. Today, the term is being ap­plied to any place where one plans to be pre­sent, ge­o­graph­i­cally or metaphor­i­cally: Oc­cupy Wall Street, oc­cupy the food sys­tem, oc­cupy your heart. The ad hoc in­ven­tion of the peo­ple’s mic by the oc­cu­piers of Zuc­cotti Park, which re­quires every­one to lis­ten, re­peat, and am­plify what’s being said, has only strength­ened this sense of pres­ence. You can’t text or half-lis­ten if your task is to re­peat every­thing, so that every­one hears and un­der­stands. You be­come the keeper of your brother’s or sis­ter’s voice as you re­peat their words.

It’s a tri­umph of the here and now — and it’s every­where: the Re­gents of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia are mic-checked, politi­cians are mic-checked, the Dur­ban Cli­mate Con­fer­ence in South Africa had oc­cu­piers and mic-check mo­ments. Ac­tivism had long been in dire need of new modes of doing things, and this year it got them.

A Mouth­ful of Truth

Be­fore the Oc­cupy move­ment ar­rived on the scene, po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue and media chat­ter in this coun­try seemed to be ar­riv­ing from a warped par­al­lel uni­verse. Tiny gov­ern­ment ex­pen­di­tures were de­nounced, while the vor­tex suck­ing our econ­omy dry was rarely ad­dressed; hard-work­ing im­mi­grants were por­trayed as dead­beats; peo­ple who did noth­ing were anointed as “job cre­ators”; the trashed econ­omy and mas­sive suf­fer­ing were over­looked, while politi­cians jousted over (and pun­dits pon­tif­i­cated about) the deficit; class war was only called class war when some­one other than the rul­ing class waged it. It’s as though we were try­ing to nav­i­gate Las Vegas with a tat­tered map of me­dieval Byzan­tium — via, that is, a bro­ken lan­guage in which every­thing and every­one got lost.

Then Oc­cupy ar­rived and, as if swept by some strange pan­demic, a con­ta­gious virus of truth-telling, every­one was sud­denly obliged to call things by their real names and talk about ac­tual prob­lems. The blather about the deficit was re­placed by ac­knowl­edg­ments of grotesque eco­nomic in­equal­ity. Greed was called greed, and once it had its true name, it be­came in­tol­er­a­ble, as had racism when the Civil Rights Move­ment named it and made it ev­i­dent to those who weren’t suf­fer­ing from it di­rectly. The vast scale of suf­fer­ing around stu­dent debt and tu­ition hikes, fore­clo­sures, un­em­ploy­ment, wage stag­na­tion, med­ical costs, and the other af­flic­tions of the nor­mal Amer­i­can sud­denly moved to the top of the news, and once ex­posed to the light, these, too, be­came in­tol­er­a­ble.

If the so­lu­tions to the night­mares being named are nei­ther near nor easy, nam­ing things, de­scrib­ing re­al­ity with some ac­cu­racy, is at least a cru­cial first step.  In­form­ing our­selves as cit­i­zens is an­other.  As­pects of our not-quite-democ­racy  that were once al­most in­vis­i­ble are now on the table for dis­cus­sion — and for op­po­si­tion, no­tably cor­po­rate per­son­hood, the legal sta­tus that gives cor­po­ra­tions the rights, but not the oblig­a­tions and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, of cit­i­zens. (One oft-re­peated Oc­cu­pier sign says, “I’ll be­lieve cor­po­ra­tions are peo­ple when Texas puts one to death.”)

The Los An­ge­les City Coun­cil passed a mea­sure call­ing for an end to cor­po­rate per­son­hood, the first big city to join the Move to Amend cam­paign against cor­po­rate per­son­hood and against the 2009 Supreme Court Cit­i­zens United rul­ing that gave cor­po­ra­tions un­lim­ited abil­ity to in­sert their cash in our po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns. Oc­cupy ac­tions across the coun­try are planned for Jan­u­ary 20th, the sec­ond an­niver­sary of Cit­i­zens United. Ver­mont’s in­de­pen­dent Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders, who’s been speak­ing the truth alone for a long time, in­tro­duced a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment to re­peal Cit­i­zens United and limit cor­po­rate power in the Sen­ate, while Con­gress­man Ted Deutch (D-FL) in­tro­duced a sim­i­lar mea­sure in the House.

Only a few years ago, hardly any­one knew what cor­po­rate per­son­hood was.  Now, signs de­nounc­ing it are com­mon.  Sim­i­larly, at Oc­cupy events, peo­ple make it clear that they know about the New Deal-era fi­nan­cial re­form mea­sure known as the Glass-Stea­gall Act, which was par­tially re­pealed in 1999, re­mov­ing the wall be­tween com­mer­cial and in­vest­ment banks; that they know about the pro­posed fi­nan­cial trans­fer tax, nick­named the Robin Hood Tax, that would raise bil­lions with a tiny levy on every fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tion; that they un­der­stand many of the means by which the 1% were en­riched and the rest of us robbed.

This rep­re­sents a strik­ing learn­ing curve. A new lan­guage of truth, de­bate about what ac­tu­ally mat­ters, an in­formed cit­i­zenry: that’s no small thing. But we need more.

We Are the 99.999%

I was my­self so caught up in the Oc­cupy move­ment that I stopped pay­ing my usual at­ten­tion to the war over the cli­mate — until I was brought up short by the cat­a­strophic fail­ure of the cli­mate ne­go­ti­a­tions in Dur­ban, South Africa. There, ear­lier this month, the most pow­er­ful and car­bon-pol­lut­ing coun­tries man­aged to avoid tak­ing any timely and sub­stan­tial mea­sures to keep the cli­mate from heat­ing up and the Earth from slip­ping into un­stop­pable chaotic change.

It’s our na­ture to be more com­pelled by im­me­di­ate human suf­fer­ing than by re­mote sys­temic prob­lems. Only this prob­lem isn’t any­where near as re­mote as many Amer­i­cans imag­ine.  It’s al­ready cre­at­ing human suf­fer­ing on a large scale and will cre­ate far more. Many of the food crises of the past decade are tied to cli­mate change, and in Africa thou­sands are dying of cli­mate-re­lated chaos. The floods, fires, storms, and heat waves of the past few years are cli­mate change com­ing to call ear­lier than ex­pected in the U.S.

In the most im­me­di­ate sense, Oc­cupy may have weak­ened the cli­mate move­ment by fo­cus­ing many of us on the ur­gent suf­fer­ing of our broth­ers, our neigh­bors, our democ­racy. In the end, how­ever, it could strengthen that move­ment with its new tac­tics, al­liances, spirit, and lan­guage of truth. After all, why have we been un­able to make the major changes re­quired to limit green­house gases in the at­mos­phere? The an­swer is a word sud­denly in wide cir­cu­la­tion: greed. Re­spond­ing ad­e­quately to this cri­sis would ben­e­fit every liv­ing thing. When it comes to cli­mate change, after all, we are the 99.999%.

But the in­ter­na­tional .001% who profit im­mea­sur­ably from the car­bon econ­omy — the oil and coal ty­coons, in­dus­tri­al­ists, and politi­cians whose strings they pull — are against this change. For decades, they’ve man­aged to pro­pa­gan­dize many Amer­i­cans, in and out of gov­ern­ment, into cli­mate de­nial, spread­ing lies about the sci­ence and eco­nom­ics of cli­mate change, and un­der­min­ing any pos­si­ble leg­is­la­tion and in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions to ame­lio­rate it. And if you think the evic­tion of el­derly home­own­ers is bru­tal, think of it as a tiny fore­shad­ow­ing of the dis­place­ment and dis­ap­pear­ance of peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ties, na­tions, species, habi­tats. Cli­mate change threat­ens to fore­close on all of us.

The groups work­ing on cli­mate change now, no­tably 350.​org and Tar Sands Ac­tion, have done as­ton­ish­ing things al­ready. Most re­cently, with the help of na­tive Cana­di­ans, local ac­tivists, and al­ter­na­tive media, they very nearly man­aged to kill the sin­gle scari­est and biggest North Amer­i­can threat to the cli­mate: the tar sands pipeline that would go from Canada to Texas. It’s been a re­mark­able show of or­ga­niz­ing power and pop­u­lar will. Oc­cupy the Cli­mate may need to come next.

Maybe Oc­cupy Wall Street and its thou­sands of spin-offs have built the foun­da­tion for it. But per­haps the great­est gift that it and the other move­ments of 2011 have given us is a sharp­en­ing of our per­cep­tions — and our con­flicts. So much more is out in the open now, in­clud­ing the greed, the bru­tal­ity with which en­ti­ties from the Egypt­ian army to the Oak­land po­lice im­pose the will of rulers, and most of all the deep gen­eros­ity of spirit that is be­hind, within, and around these in­sur­gen­cies and their ac­tivists. None of these move­ments is per­fect, and in­di­vid­u­als within them are not al­ways the great­est keep­ers of their broth­ers and sis­ters.  But one thing couldn’t be clearer: com­pas­sion is our new cur­rency.

Noth­ing has been more mov­ing to me than this de­sire, re­al­ized im­per­fectly but re­peat­edly, to con­nect across dif­fer­ences, to be a com­mu­nity, to make a bet­ter world, to em­brace each other. This de­sire is what lies be­hind those messy camps, those rau­cous demon­stra­tions, those card­board signs and long con­ver­sa­tions. Young ac­tivists have spo­ken to me about the ex­tra­or­di­nary rich­ness of their ex­pe­ri­ences at Oc­cupy, and they call it love.

In the spirit of call­ing things by their true names, let me sum­mon up the de­scrip­tion that Ella Baker and Mar­tin Luther King used for the great com­mu­ni­ties of ac­tivists who stood up for civil rights half a cen­tury ago: the beloved com­mu­nity. Many who were ac­tive then never for­got the deep bonds and deep mean­ing they found in that strug­gle. We — and the word “we” en­com­passes more of us than ever be­fore — have found those things, too, and this year we have come close to some­thing un­prece­dented, a beloved com­mu­nity that cir­cles the globe.

Read Tom En­gel­hardt’s re­sponse here.

Author pic
ABOUT REBECCA SOLNIT

San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit is the author of thirteen books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. She has worked with climate change, Native American land rights, antinuclear, human rights, antiwar and other issues as an activist and journalist. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a contributing editor to Harper’s and frequent contributor to the political site Tomdispatch.com and has made her living as an independent writer since 1988.

Occupy All!

December 5, 2011
Published on Monday, December 5, 2011 by Adbusters

Occupy Love: Show Me Your Face

“Love is what emerges when we give each other our face.” —Michael Stone

The Shocking Truth About the Crack down on Occupy

November 27, 2011

OWS protester Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground after clashes with police during the eviction of Zuccotti Park. (photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
OWS protester Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground after clashes with police during the eviction of Zuccotti Park. (photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

 

The Shocking Truth About the Crack down on Occupy

By Naomi Wolf, Gurdian UK, 26 November 11

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class’s venality.

S citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in acoordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on “how to suppress” Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors’, city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually “OWS has no message”. Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online “What is it you want?” answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, “we are going after these scruffy hippies”. Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women’s wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the “scandal” of presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s having been paid $1.8m for a few hours’ “consulting” to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies’ profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists’ privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can’t suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.


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