Archive for March, 2013

How Brazil, Russia, India and China Are Standing Up to the American Empire

March 31, 2013
  WORLD

Western corporate media is flooded with stories about the weakening of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but these are defensive measures.
March 26, 2013  |

Reports on the premature death of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been greatly exaggerated. Western corporate media is flooded with such nonsense, perpetrated in this particular case by the head of Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

Reality spells otherwise. The BRICS meet in Durban, South Africa, this Tuesday to, among other steps, create their own credit rating agency, sidelining the dictatorship – or at least “biased agendas”, in New Delhi’s diplomatic take – of the Moody’s/Standard & Poor’s variety. They will also further advancethe idea of the BRICS Development Bank, with a seed capital of US$50 billion (only structural details need to be finalized), helping infrastructure and sustainable development projects.

Crucially, the US and the European Union won’t have stakes in this Bank of the South – a concrete alternative, pushed especially by India and Brazil, to the Western-dominated World Bank and the Bretton Woods system.

As former Indian finance minister Jaswant Singh has observed, such a development bank could, for instance, channel Beijing’s know-how to help finance India’s massive infrastructure needs.

The huge political and economic differences among BRICS members are self-evident. But as they evolve as a group, the point is not whether they should be protecting the global economy from the now non-stop crisis of advanced casinocapitalism.

The point is that, beyond measures to facilitate mutual trade, their actions are indeed becoming increasingly political – as the BRICS not only deploy their economic clout but also takeconcrete steps leading towards a multipolar world. Brazil is particularly active in this regard.

Inevitably, the usual Atlanticist, Washington consensus fanatics – myopically – can see nothing else besides the BRICS “demanding more recognition from Western powers”.

Of course there are problems. Brazil, China and India’s growth slowed down. As China, for instance, became Brazil’s top trading partner – ahead of the US – whole sectors of Brazilian industry have suffered from the competition of cheap Chinese manufacturing.

But some long-term prospects are inevitable. BRICS will eventually become more forceful at the International Monetary Fund. Crucially, BRICS will be trading in their own currencies, including a globally convertible yuan, further away from the US dollar and the petrodollar.

That Chinese slowdown
It was Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill who coined the term BRIC (no South Africa then) in 2001. It’s enlightening to check what hethinks about it now.

O’Neill points out that China, even growing by a “mere” 7.7% in 2012, “created the equivalent of another Greek economy every 11-and-a-half weeks”. China’s slowdown was “structural and cyclical” – a “planned downturn” to control overheating and inflation.

The BRICS push is part of an irresistible global trend. Most of it is decoded here, in a new United Nations Development Programme report. The bottom line; the North is being overtaken in the economic race by the global South at a dizzying speed.

According to the report, “for the first time in 150 years, the combined output of the developing world’s three leading economies – Brazil, China and India – is about equal to the combined GDP of the long-standing industrial powers of the North”.

The obvious conclusion is that, “the rise of the South is radically reshaping the world of the 21st century, with developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty, and propelling billions more into a new global middle class.”

And bang in the middle of this process, we find an Eurasian epic; the development of the Russia-China strategic relationship.

It’s always about Pipelineistan
Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking no prisoners; he wants to steer the BRICS towards “a full-scale strategic cooperation mechanism that will allow us to look for solutions to key issues of global politics together”.

This will imply a common BRICS foreign policy – and not only selective coordination on some themes. It will take time. It will be hard. Putin is very much aware of it.

What makes it even more fascinating is that Putin advanced his ideas during last week’s three-day visit to Moscow by new Chinese President Xi Jinping. He went out of his way to stress Russian-Chinese relations now are “the best in their centuries-long history”.

That’s not exactly what hegemonic Atlanticists want to hear – still eager to frame the relationship in Cold War terms.

Xi retributed in style; “We did not come to see you for nothing” – as is partially detailed here. And wait till China’s creative drive starts yielding dividends.

Inevitably, Pipelineistan is at the heart of the ultimate BRICS complementary relationship.

China’s need of Russia’s oil and gas is a matter of national security. Russia wants to sell more and more of it, diversifying away from the West; moreover, Russia would more than welcome Chinese investment in its Far East – the immense Trans-Baikal region.

And by the way, the “yellow peril” is not taking over Siberia – as the West would have it. There are only 300,000 Chinese living in Russia.

A direct consequence of the Putin-Xi summit is that from now on Beijing will pay in advance for Russian oil – in exchange for a share in a number of projects, for instance as in CNPC and Rosneft jointly exploring offshore blocks in the Barents Sea and other blocks onshore Russia.

Gazprom, for its part, clinched a long awaited gas deal with CNPC; 38 billion cubic meters a year delivered by the ESPO pipeline from Siberia starting in 2018. And by the end of 2013, a new Chinese contract with Gazprom will be finalized, involving gas supply for the next 30 years.

The geopolitical ramifications are immense; importing more gas from Russia helps Beijing to gradually escape its Malacca and Hormuz dilemma – not to mention industrialize the immense, highly populated and heavily dependent on agriculture interior provinces left behind in the economic boom.

That’s how Russian gas fits into the Chinese Communist Party’s master plan; configuring the internal provinces as a supply base for the increasingly wealthy, urban, based in the east coast, 400 million-strong Chinese middle class.

When Putin stressed that he does not see the BRICS as a “geopolitical competitor” to the West, it was the clincher; the official denial that confirms it’s true. Durban may be solidifying just the beginning of such a competition. It goes without saying that Western elites – even mired in stagnation and bankruptcy – won’t let any of their privileges go without a fierce fight.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is named Obama Does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
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The Declaration of Zeronomics of Nuclear Plants

March 31, 2013

The following is the whole text of “the Declaration of Zeronomics of Nuclear Plants.

You are welcome to quote or post, but never fail to note the source.

The Declaration of Zeronomics of Nuclear Plants

Year 2012

Japan, based on its reflection on the unprecedented accident of the Fukushima No. 1

nuclear plant, showed the pathway to Zero Nuclear Plants.

It was the expressed wishes of the overwhelming majority of citizens for no nuclear

plants that moved the politics.

That pathway is wavering under the shadow of “Abenomics,” the economic policy

after the political power shift.

The voices of the people of Fukushima, whose inhabited land was deprived, living

their daily lives filled with the unbearable anxieties, and of many who aspire for

no nuclear plants. Is it good for us to recede backward to the dependence on nuclear

plants?

Many countries and companies in the world, after the disaster, have decided to retreat

from the nuclear power. Because it became clear that nuclear power does not pay off

and can never become economically plus, they are shifting from nuclear power and

fossil fuel to the natural energy, now becoming inexpensive due to their innovations in

drastic speed.

Originally and  first of all, even without the disaster, Japan should have taken up this

path as its task .

The energy policy paying  24 trillion Yen to import uranium and fossil fuel presupposing

mass production and mass consumption has become inappropriate for Japan with the

decreasing energy pacing with the decreasing population.

“The zeronomics of nuclear plants” reconsiders the old economic system depending on

nuclear power and imported energy, and is considering the shift to the locally distributive

network-economy system, making the natural energy in its core.

The keywords are “saving energy,” “creating energy,” and “IT networking.” It is to create

variegated related industries and employments by retaining the outgoing money for the

use of nuclear power and fossil fuel inside our own local areas. It is the proposal of

economic system for the rebirth of the whole Japanese economy as well as stopping global

warming, by envigorating the local economy.

The principal players are not countries or big businesses. Let us make each of us as a player

who inhavbits, lives, and aspires for no nuclear plants, and create our own economies!

We welcome your own declaration of the zeronomics of nuclear plants.

(Translated by O. Yoshida from http://zeronomics.wordpress.com/)

Paul Craig Roberts Transcript; Part 1– The Biggest Economic Disaster in History, Globalism, the Undoings of the West

March 30, 2013
March 30, 2013

 

By Rob Kall

I wanted to start off citing a little bit from your new book. You say in it, “The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the rise of the high speed internet have proved to be the economic and political undoing of the West.” That’s a big deal! I’d like you to dissect each of those a little bit. I thought that collapse of the Soviet Union was a pretty good thing. Why are you saying it’s so bad for the US?

::::::::

Rob Kall Bottom Up RadioI interviewed Paul Craig Roberts on March 27th.  This is part one of a two part interview.

Here’s the link to the audio recording Podcast.

Thanks to Don Caldarazzo   for doing the transcript.

Rob Kall:   And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM, reaching metro Philly and South New Jersey, out of Washington Township, New Jersey, sponsored by Opednews.com .  Just Google the words “Liberal news,” and Opednews.com shows up at the top of your Google search, or one or two [1 or 2] on your Bing.com search.  But we’re left of Liberal, really.  And we’re certainly not a Democratic or a Republican site at Opednews.com .
by PCR

My guest tonight is Paul Craig Roberts.  He’s a former editor at the Wall Street  Journal, he was policy director at the Treasury, and in recent years he has been just kicking butt talking about the truth about the economy, about the Constitution, about the rights in America, and the future of America.  He’s got a new book out: The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West.  Welcome to the show, Paul.

Paul Craig Roberts:   Hey, glad to be with you, Rob.

Rob Kall:   I think this is the fourth of fifth time I’ve had you on the show, which may make you one of the most, or the most, frequently revisited guests.  Your website is Paulcraigroberts.org .  I wanted to start off citing a little bit from your new book.  It just came out the beginning of the year.  You say in it, “The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the rise of the high speed internet have proved to be the economic and political undoing of the West.”

That’s a big deal!  I’d like you to dissect each of those a little bit.  I thought that  collapse of the Soviet Union was a pretty good thing.  Why are you saying it’s so bad for the US?

Paul Craig Roberts:   Well, you know, Rob, it led to that Neoconservative nonsense about the end of History, which of course unleashed the notion of American hegemony over the world, and the ideology behind all of the wars and the aggression that the United States has been conducting since the George W. Bush administration.  But I’m speaking in the book economically; and what happened economically because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the high speed internet is that it made it possible for Western corporations (corporations in the United States, Europe) to arbitrage labor across national borders.

In other words, when the Soviets collapsed, it had a big impact on thinking in Communist China and Socialist India.  Their response to the failure of the Soviet Union was to open their vast, underutilized labor to Western capital.  So the corporations found out that they could produce for their home market offshore in India or China, dramatically drop the labor cost, and thereby dramatically increase the profits flowing in capital gains to shareholders and in performance bonuses to executives.

So the collapse of the Soviet Union began the arbitrage of of labor, and it ended up separating Americans from the production of the goods and services that they consume.  The economy has been dead in the water ever since, and the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan tried to substitute – for the missing growth in consumer income in employment – consumer indebtedness.  So we had the rise in consumer indebtedness, the real estate bubble, the various financial frauds, and the ongoing financial crisis.

Rob Kall:   You also said about this being caused by the high speed internet.  How’s that tie in?

Paul Craig Roberts:   Right.  That’s what I’m getting to now.

Rob Kall:   OK.

Paul Craig Roberts:   The manufacturing goods were produced offshore and sent in.  Now.  What the high speed internet allowed the corporations to do was to offshore the production of professional services, such as software engineering, information technology; and now, of course, research, design.  They could hire people in India to do this work, and they could send it in on the high speed internet, and so we have seen the employment for Americans in rapidly growing fields such as software engineering and information technology simply dry up.  The work is now done offshore and sent in on the internet.  So the consequence of Soviet collapse was to destroy American manufacturing jobs, and to destroy professional service jobs that had always been the ladder of upward mobility for American university graduates.

Rob Kall:   Now I’ve got to say, when I talk to kids going to college, I say “Don’t look for a job that can be outsourced by the internet.”  Even radiologists are being outsourced.; so if you get an x-ray, they send the results to India to have a radiologist in India do it instead of an American doctor doing it. It’s so scary.

Paul Craig Roberts:   Yep.

Rob Kall:   You wrote in your article When Truth Is Suppressed, Countries Die – the first half of the article is mostly about this topic, about how theorists were saying that we would be transitioning to an information economy, and did the creative approaches and what have you, and what you argued was that you’ve got to have production; you have to have manufacturing, or if you lose that, you’re in big trouble.  I wanted your comment, and I just think that it also ties into the space program, which both parties are just throwing away and selling off and getting rid of now, and letting India and China and every other country pick up on.

It seems to me like — I’ve been saying it for a while now: the US is being strip-mined, and they’re basically just going through us, and we’re going to be left a third world country, which you’ve written a lot about.  Talk a little bit about that and globalization too, because this is all tied in to corporate globalization.  I’ve just thrown a lot at you; pick whatever you want to talk about from it.

Paul Craig Roberts:   OK Rob.  It’s certainly the case that innovation follows manufacturing.  If you’re not manufacturing things, you’re out of touch, and you don’t know what to innovate, or how to innovate.  So the kind of arguments that we got from the shills for global corporations (like Michael Porter at Harvard, all of these people paid to come up with phony studies to reassure Americans that they weren’t really losing anything by closing down the manufacturing sector), the argument they made was: “OK, look.  These are ‘dirty fingernail’ jobs, and we don’t need them.  We are now going to all be white collar workers doings intellectual work innovating!  We’ll be doing all the innovations, and the Chinese will have the dirty fingernail jobs of producing the products that we innovate.

This was the Line, this was the “New Economy” that they talked about.  Of course it was all just baloney! Because, as I said (to repeat myself), if you’re not making things, you don’t know what to innovate.  You get out of touch with technologies.  You become a Third World Country.  We now see from all the surveys that increasingly, American corporations innovate outside the country where their offshore plants are.  And we recently had a report from twenty [20] MIT professors who were aided by the graduate students, so we had twenty professors at MIT who have issued a report that we’ve lost the ability to innovate, or we’re, in the process, about lost, because things that are made aren’t made here, and so we’ve lost the ability to innovate.  So I see that as vindication.  I’ve been warning about this for years, and this study, it was recently reported out in the last month or two, I think.

The other point I’ve been making for a decade about offshore production is not free trade, it’s labor arbitrage; and that all tradable goods and services can be moved offshore.  So that you can very easily have a permanent unemployment rate of 25% or 35% percent or even higher, because the only jobs that can’t be offshored require hands-on performance: like going to the dentist, or getting your hair cut, or being served in a restaurant by a waitress, or in a bar by a bartender.  Those kinds of jobs are the only ones that can’t be offshored, and so –

Rob Kall:   Paul, can you just describe what you mean by arbitrage?  I think it’s usually a word used to talk about the stock market.  What does it mean, and how does it apply in terms of jobs?

Paul Craig Roberts:   It means the same things as in the stock market if there is a difference in price.  In the case of labor arbitrage, the price is labor.  So if the American manufacturing worker costs $22 an hour (with all the benefits, and so forth), and the Chinese at the time this started cost 25c an hour (laughs), you have an amazing labor cost difference.  And so they look at this and they say: “Well, wow!  We could really drop our cost of production by producing with this Chinese labor, because instead of twenty-five bucks an hour, it’s twenty five cents.”  That’s what we mean by labor arbitrage.  They just say, “OK, we’re not hiring these Americans, we’re going to hire the Chinese.”  That’s labor arbitrage, and it has nothing whatsoever to do, nothing is being traded.

There’s no free trade, there’s no any kind of trade, it’s just labor arbitrage.  It’s just like if somebody in the stock market sees a difference in pricing somewhere, they move quickly to take advantage of it.  Now they use these extremely high speed computers to try to get in front of trades, and they trade on nano-pennies in nanoseconds.  So that’s what the labor arbitrage means.  Now let me finish this story.  As I warned for a decade, the job offshoring was undermining employment opportunities in the United States, and certainly had stopped the rise in consumer income.

Well, two years ago, the Nobel Economist Michael Spence did the same studies that I’ve done, and came to the same conclusion.  It was published (I think) as a Council For Foreign Relations paper.  He said the same things that I’ve said, that the United States faces a hell of an employment challenge, because so much has been moved off, and so much more can be.  The main function of globalism is to de-industrialize high-wage countries that are developed.

The other main result of globalism is to turn lesser developed countries that had viable agriculture and were self-sustaining, to turn them into monocultures; supplying like one crop for global markets, and then that makes them — first of all, that destroys the economic-social systems there, and people now are dependent on food imports.  The big farms, of course, haven’t room for much of the population that used to be on sustainable farms.  So globalism is a wrecking force of amazing power to wreck.  It doesn’t do anything good except for shareholders of big corporations and their managers, or chief executives.

Rob Kall:   Now, in your new book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, you write, “Globalism and financial concentration have destroyed the justifications of market capitalism.  Corporations that have become too big to fail are sustained by public subsidies, thus destroying Capitalism’s claim to be an efficient allocator of resources.”  When you talk about globalism, I think you’re talking about corporate globalism, which is basically the only globalism we have.  Am I right on that?

Paul Craig Roberts:   Yeah, sure.  What they mean by globalism is the total free movement across national borders of capital and production, so that –

Rob Kall:   In a sense, by creating this corporate Globalism system that we have now, we have a system where corporatism transcends the power and the Democracy of nations!  Isn’t that true?

Paul Craig Roberts:   Yeah, right.  Well we’ve seen that, haven’t we; in Greece, Italy, and now Cyprus.  Remember when the Greek bailout was up, and the Greek Prime Minister or President said, “OK, I’m going to put it to vote”?  And the EU said, “No you aren’t!  The people don’t get to decide.  You resign right now.”  And then they appointed from outside, they appointed the government of Greece.  And they did the same thing to Italy!  The Italian Prime Minister or President or whatever they call him wasn’t elected, he was appointed by the EU bankers.

So now what we see in Cyprus with this new development where they have redefined bank depositors as investors whose capital is at risk, they won’t let this go to a vote.  The Parliament voted down the first bailout plan, and so the second plan that the bankers came up with and took to the Cyprus President -they said: “There’s no vote.  You can’t vote.  Either you sign this, and thereby commit the country, or we’re cutting you off from money, and you’re going down the tubes.”  So the assault on Democracy is widespread.  It’s the same thing here.  You may remember when Paulson wanted the bailout for the banks, he wanted the $750 billion, he went to Congress and said, “Quick, give us some money or there’s Martial Law.”

So there’s no longer – governments don’t represent the people anymore.  In Europe, they represent the very powerful private banks, and they’re going to be sure they don’t lose any money; so that shareholders in the banks are being made whole by, in the case of Cyprus, seizing some share of the bank deposits of depositors.  And what they did in Greece, they cut wages and salaries, they cut pensions, they cut social services, they sold off public assets like water companies to private companies, who then doubled the price, and then that way the suppressed the living standards of the Greek people in order to pay off bankers, so that the shareholders of the banks didn’t lose any money.  Now we have the Dutch Minister saying, “OK, the Cyprus solution of stealing bank deposits, that’s the template for all future bailouts.”  It’s going to come here, too.  Not only that, Rob –

Rob Kall:   You’ve got a great article that you wrote saying, “It has happened here,” based on the Sinclair Lewis book It can’t Happen Here.  I want to go to another article, you wrote.  You wrote an article called While Left and Right Fight, Power Wins.  I’m going to get back to it as soon as I do a station ID.

This is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC out of Washington Township, reaching metro Philly and South Jersey, sponsored by Opednews.com . Where you’re going to get news that you won’t see in the mainstream media, where you get the kind of news that the mainstream media blocks from the people that the mainstream media won’t cover.

Now, Paul, back to this article, While Left and Right Fight, Power Wins – I want to start it off and then you can talk about it.  What you wrote was, “My experience with the American Left and Right leads to the conclusion that the Left sees private power as the source of oppression, and government as the countervailing and rectifying power, while the Right sees government as the source of oppression, and a free and unregulated private sector as a countervailing and rectifying power.”  A beautiful, clear way of saying that!  “Both are concerned with restraining the power to oppress, but they take opposite positions on the source of the oppressive power and remedy.”

And you say, “The Right is correct that government power is the problem, and the Left is correct that private power is the problem.  Therefore, whether power is located within the government or private sectors cannot reduce, constrain, or minimize power. ”  And you talked about how the Founding Fathers had a solution, that it didn’t work, and now we’ve got accumulation of new dictatorial powers in the Executive Branch in the name of protecting us from terrorists, and with deregulation’s creation of powerful corporations to big to fail.  Can you talk a bit more about this?

Paul Craig Roberts:   (laughs)  Well Rob, you covered it about as clearly as –

Rob Kall:   Well, OK, yeah, you said it beautifully and clearly — so, what’s the answer?  The Left and Right are up against each other, do you see a way that the Left and Right can find some common ground?

Paul Craig Roberts:   I don’t know.  They don’t seem to be able to.  They’re locked — you know, generals fight the last war, and so does the Left and Right.  Now, there have been different times in our history when there was too much private power, not enough government power as a countervailing force.  the roaring twenties, and then we had Roosevelt and the New Deal, and they put in financial regulation to put some sort of social control over the private power, so things got in better balance.  Then beginning with the Clinton [administration], massive deregulations.  We had with Thatcher and in France the massive privatizations of State companies.  With Clinton, this moved so far that they repealed the Glass-Steagall act, which had separated commercial from investment banking.  Once that happened, we got the financial crisis.

In other words, from Roosevelt giving us some kind of a balance, what really happened was the entrenched bureaucracy then got more and more arrogant and abusive, and became gratuitously interfering in people’s lives and in business.  I can remember, for example, in the 80s OSHA would go around — there are a lot of small businesses, there’s only one door in, one door out; OSHA would go around and fine people because they didn’t have an exit sign over the only door (laughs).  This is an abuse.

There were other cases.  In Florida, for example, there was a father and son, and they had a State permit to build a house, and they built the house, and the Federal Government declared that they had built on a wetland and put them in prison for building a house where they had a permit to build!  This is going too far.  And other environmental regulations went too far: they gave farmers and ranchers lots of trouble for cleaning out the drainage ditches for re-fencing property.  They claimed The Navigable Waters Act of the United States, and they claimed that cleaning out a drainage ditch could lead to pollution of navigable waters, even though there’s no navigable water in sight!

So the things got so abusive that it caused a reaction to the regulation, and then the reaction has gone to far.  They’ve completely deregulated the financial system, they’ve taken all the constraints off of debt leverage, they have taken the position limits off of speculators.   So, it’s now gone back to where it was before Roosevelt (laughs).  So this sort of thing happens because it gets out of balance.  When one side runs with it too far it becomes abusive, it becomes too much regulation, and then it becomes too little regulation.  So keeping the balance requires sensibility, intelligence, and not ideologies.  If the people are committed to ideologies and are operating ideologically, then it always gets out of balance.

Rob Kall:   It seems, though, that currently we have two parties that are both on the same side, the corporate side – more than anything else   What do you think about that statement?

Paul Craig Roberts:   Well, that’s true, the two political parties.  But they’re not necessarily identified with Right Wing and Left Wing.  What happened to the Democrats was the offshoring of the manufacturing jobs destroyed the power of the labor unions and the ability to finance the Democratic party.  See, the Democrats were financed by labor, the Republicans were financed by business, and so there was countervailing power.  They could contain one another.  Neither side could go too far away from some sort of balance.  But when the unions lost all these manufacturing jobs, and former cities which were powerhouses in manufacturing just dried up and disappeared, the Democrats then had to go to the same sources of financing as the Republicans.  So now, both parties are dependent on the same financing, and this then has made it easy for the corporations to control both parties!

Rob Kall:   So you take it back again to globalization.  Again, globalization has contributed to the loss of us having two really different political parties.  So what do we do about globalization?  Could we just shut it down?  When Bush was president, he just said “We’re not going to participate in the Kyoto treaty.”  Is it possible that a leader could come along and say, “We’re just not going to participate with the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, and NAFTA and CAFTA.  We need to re-write all of them!”  Is that something that could change things?  Could that make a difference?

Paul Craig Roberts:   I don’t think it could happen because it serves corporations in the short run.  You know, American corporations, not Japanese or even German, not Chinese, but American corporations are very short term.  The chief executive is there only four of five years.  That’s the time he has to make his fortune, and the way they’re making their fortune is by offshoring.  So they’re not going to want — and the WTO, NAFTA, all these things were set up for corporate interest.  So since they have the power now, political as well as economic, particularly the banks, then they’re not going to say, “OK let’s get rid of our get rich quick scheme that’s serving us so well.”  They’re not going to do that.

What’s happening though is that it’s failing.  It doesn’t work for the industrial countries, it works for China (laughs), who gets all the offshored production, and so American GDP becomes Chinese GDP, and American jobs become Chinese jobs, and American consumer income becomes Chinese consumer income.    What’s happening is the balance of power in the world is shifting completely away from the West.  It’s washed up.

Rob Kall:   So what you’re saying is, the more trade agreements that Obama and any President signs, they’re basically accelerating the transition of power to China.

Paul Craig Roberts:   Exactly.  Yeah.  And India, other former third World countries, but they’re the rising countries now.

Rob Kall:   The BriC countries.

Paul Craig Roberts:   Look, the Chinese manufacturing force, you know how large it is?  112 million!  You know how large the American is?  Eleven million.  Eleven!

Rob Kall:   But let me get back: is it possible if we could find and elect a leader who said “My first step as the new President is to cancel these global trade agreements.”  Would that be possible, if they were able to stand up to all these different people.

Paul Craig Roberts:   How would he get financed to get elected?

Rob Kall:   That’s another issue, but could it be done?  Could we just step away from them and “These aren’t working.  We’re going to start over again and write new, real global trade agreements that reflect on our need to protect our industries and not let them just be totally destroyed.

Paul Craig Roberts:   It can’t happen for the reason I said, that right now it serves the interest for the power, so they’re not going to overturn it.  Now, when it becomes apparent that we’ve destroyed ourselves, you can’t get the power back.  You think the Chinese are going let you all of a sudden let you overcome this?  No.  They’ll hold the upper hand.  They’re not going to say “OK, let’s now destroy ourselves the way the Americans destroyed themselves.”  I think it’s all over with for the West.  I don’t think they can come back, and so what we’re going to be in is a period of transition in which the West becomes no longer the ruler of the universe.  It will be slowly declining.  In fact, the collapse could be sudden.  We don’t know what –

Rob Kall:   Now you’ve written about that.  You’ve written about how at some point the dollar is going to burst, and you’ve talked in some interviews and your writing about how, in these different bubbles — are we in the middle of a dollar bubble right now, a money bubble?

Paul Craig Roberts:   Yes.  The dollar is one of the biggest bubbles in history.  The Federal Reserve is creating over a trillion new dollars annually, but the demand for dollars is not rising by a trillion annually.  And so, sooner or later, this has to affect the price of the dollar, that is, the exchange value.  And we already see the important nations moving to decouple from the dollar.

We have the BriCs: this is China, Russia, Brazil, India, South Africa.  Altogether now, that’s probably about half the world’s population.  And it’s probably half of the traded goods (laughs).  And so they’re setting up a system in which they settle their trade with one another in their own currencies.  The dollar is no longer used as a reserve currency.  They’re setting up their own version of an IMF.  They’re just going to bypass all the Western institutions.  We see in China and Asia the rise of an Asian currency bloc, which is being organized around the Chinese currency.  We see deals with Japan and China to settle their trade with one another in their own currencies.

So the demand and use for the dollar is about to rapidly constrict.  We’ll have a situation where the Feds are not only creating a trillion new dollars more than the demand is growing, but the demand will be shrinking!  And so the thing will blow up.  And when the dollar bubble pops, so does the bond market bubble, the stock market bubble.  We will have the biggest economic catastrophe in the history of the world, and there is no solution.  The United States will go from being a so-called superpower to a nothing!

It could happen at any time.  It’s a perfect storm that the idiot policy makers have created because they don’t serve the public interest, they serve a few rich bankers.  The whole thing has been keyed toward protecting the banks that our deregulation policy allowed to get to big to fail.  Not only that, but the public officials, the Secretary of the Treasury, the FED, the financial regulatory agency heads, they’re all the former bankers themselves, all their proteges.  You have a situation where the class that caused the crisis is running the solution, and the solution is to keep the banks from having any pain; what it does to the rest of us is not their concern.

Rob Kall:   I’ve been calling, along with a number of others, for an end to billionaires, a “No Billionaires” program.  That the billionaires have just too much power, these oligarchs are buying and running our politics, our nations.  What do you think about the idea of a no billionaires policy?

Paul Craig Roberts:   I don’t mind it, but I don’t think that addresses the real issue.  Because the people running the policy are not individual rich people: they are the very large financial institutions.  They may finance billionaires in some scheme a billionaire has, but the power is Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America.  It’s these financial institutions, they have financialized the economy.  The economist Michael Hudson has made it clear that what’s happened is Industrial Capitalism is over and done with.  We have Financial Capitalism, and what they do is, they organize a whole economy so that all the surplus is drawn off in interest paid to banks.

The banks any longer finance plant equipment and industries.  It’s “Debt Peonage,” that’s what Michael Hudson calls it, Debt Peonage, where increasing shares of national income are drawn off into the banks in interest and fees, all that sort of thing.  And so there’s no — even if consumers had growing incomes with an increasing share drawn off into interest payments, that leaves very little for increased demand for goods and services.  You kill it, you kill the economy by financializing it.  And that’s what’s really happened.

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Listen to over 150 of Rob’s Podcast interviews here.

Mediate ranks Rob Kall among the top 180 print/online columnists, often ahead of NY Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post columnists.

With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 100 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero’s journey and Positive Psychology. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. Watch me speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit,here.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here.

To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out

A Voice For Truth – ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article.

And Rob’s quotes are here.

To watch me on youtube, having a lively conversation with John Conyers, former Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click here Now, wouldn’t you like to see me on the political news shows, representing progressives. If so, tell your favorite shows to bring me on and refer them to this youtube video.

Rob’s radio show, The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, runs 9-10 PM EST Wednesday evenings, on AM 1360, WNJC and is archived at www.opednews.com/podcasts Or listen to it streaming, live atwww.wnjc1360.com

Rob also hosted a health/mind/body/heart/spirit radio show– the Rob Kall Futurehealth radio show. Check out podcasts from it at futurehealth.org/podcasts

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Recent press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party’s Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

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Monsanto Protection Act Ignites Massive Activism

March 30, 2013

US President Barack Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act. (photo: Brendan Smialowsky/AFP)
US President Barack Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act. (photo: Brendan Smialowsky/AFP)

go to original article

By Anthony Gucciardi, Natural Society

30 March 13

 

hile Monsanto executives may be rejoicing behind the closed doors of their corporate offices, they have also just stabbed themselves in the heart with the blatant and cocky decision to go through with the Monsanto Protection Act. Obama’s social media profiles are being blown up with thousands of enraged activists and concerned citizens who are demanding answers.

Thanks to the alternative news covering every angle of the Protection Act and the absurd fact that Monsanto actually wrote the rider itself, people have now come to fully understand just how deep the corruption goes when it comes to Monsanto’s Big Food monopoly. And it doesn’t exempt the President.

It’s a well known fact that the Obama family actually eats from the White House organic garden which was planted in 2009 and has full time staffers who maintain and harvest organic produce that comes from the garden. Many high level politicians actually refuse to eat anything but organic, as they are fully aware of what’s in ‘conventional’, GMO-loaded items. Yet, despite this knowledge, they are quite eager to push Monsanto’s GMOs and ruthless business model on the citizens of the United States.

And the people are fully aware of the betrayal.

Scanning just a few comments amid the thousands calling out Obama for his signature on the spending bill that contained the Monsanto Protection Act, we find seriously frustrated activists and voters who can’t believe what they are seeing. Even many Obama campaigners who came to the realization that Obama didn’t represent what they thought he did. One specifically mentions how Obama promised to label GMOs in 2007 upon taking the seat of the President. A promise that never came to fruition. In fact, no real attempts were made at all.

Here are a few comments among the thousands that I found interesting on Obama’s wall:

Darlene Taylor: Barack Obama – 2007: “We’ll let folks know if their food is genetically modified because Americans should know.” 2013: He signed the Monsanto Protection Act making GMO giants immune to the law.

Erica Ecker: Apparently part of protecting our children no longer includes what goes in them. Thanks for signing the Monsanto Protection Act.

Keri Kline: I am an activist for President Obama, and I am outraged he has failed to listen to the ‘American people he represents’… President Obama knowingly signed the Monsanto Protection Act over the insistence of more than 250,000 Americans who signed an urgent letter asking that he use his executive authority to veto H.R. 933 and send it back to Congress to remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the bill. Regretfully, President Obama failed to live up to his oath to protect the American people and our constitution.

Overall, the decision to go with such a major act of corruption has jump started a massive movement to hold politicians and corporations accountable for their betrayal of the US public. It’s a move that has blown up in the face of those who thought they could slip it through into law.

 

‘Waste Heat’ May Economize CO2 Capture

March 30, 2013

Mar. 28, 2013 — In some of the first results from a federally funded initiative to find new ways of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants, Rice University scientists have found that CO2 can be removed more economically using “waste” heat — low-grade steam that cannot be used to produce electricity. The find is significant because capturing CO2 with conventional technology is an energy-intensive process that can consume as much as one-quarter of the high-pressure steam that plants use to produce electricity.

“This is just the first step in our effort to better engineer a process for capturing CO2from flue gas at power plants,” said George Hirasaki, the lead researcher of Rice’s CO2-capture research team. The researchers hope to reduce the costs of CO2 capture by creating an integrated reaction column that uses waste heat, engineered materials and optimized components. Hirasaki’s team was one of 16 chosen by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2011 to develop innovative techniques for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The team’s first findings appear in two new studies that are available online this month in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Power plants fired by coal and natural gas account for about half of the CO2 that humans add to the atmosphere each year; these power plants are prime candidates for new technology that captures CO2 before it goes up in smoke. Each of these plants makes electricity by boiling water to create steam to run electric turbines. But not all steam is equal. Some steam has insufficient energy to run a turbine. This is often referred to as “waste” heat, although the term is something of misnomer because low-grade steam is often put to various uses around a plant. Rice’s new study found that in cases where waste is available, it may be used to capture CO2.

Hirasaki, Rice’s A.J. Hartsook Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, said employing waste heat is just one example of a number of ways that Rice’s team is looking to improve upon a tried-and-true technology for CO2capture. That technology — a two-phase chemical process — has been used for decades to remove naturally occurring CO2 from natural gas.

In the first phase of the process, gas is piped upward through a vertical column while an ammonia-like liquid called amine flows down through the column. The liquid amine captures CO2 and drains away while the purified natural gas bubbles out the top of the column. In the second phase of the process, the CO2-laden amine is recycled with heat, which drives off the CO2.

“The CO2 that comes out of the ground with natural gas is under high pressure, while the CO2at power plants is not,” Hirasaki said. “There’s also a greater volume of CO2 per unit mass at a power plant than at a natural gas well. For these reasons and others, the amine process must be re-engineered if it is to be cost-effective for CO2capture at power plants.”

A major challenge in adapting two-phase amineprocessing for power plants is the amount of heat required to recycle the amine in the second phase of the process. Using existing amine processing technology at power plants is impractical, because amine recycling would require as much as one-quarter of the high-pressure steam that could otherwise be used to drive turbines and make electricity, Hirasaki said. This phenomenon is known as “parasitic” power loss, and it will drive up the cost of electricity by lowering the amount of electricity a plant can produce for sale.

“It has been estimated that the use of current technology for CO2 capture would drive up the cost of electricity by 70 to 100 percent,” said Ricegraduate student Sumedh Warudkar, a co-investigator on the Rice University team. “In our study, we examined whether it would be possible to improve on that by using lower-value steam to run the amine recyclers.”

To test this idea, Warudkar used a software package that’s commonly used to model industrial chemical processes. One variable he tested was tailoring the chemical formulation of the liquid amine solution. Other variables included the type of steam used, and the size and pressure of the reactor — the chamber where the flue gas flows past the amine solution.

“There’s a great deal of optimization that needs to take place,” Warudkar said. “The question is, What is the optimal amine formula and the optimal reactor design and pressure for removing CO2with low-value steam? There isn’t one correct answer. For example, we have developed a process in which the gas absorption and solvent heating occurs in a single vessel instead of two separate ones, as is currently practiced. We think combining the processes might bring us some savings. But there are always trade-offs. The Department of Energy wants us to investigate how our process compares with what’s already on the market, and these first two studies are the first step because they will help us identify an optimal set of operating conditions for our process.”

The results are encouraging. The research suggests that two elements of Rice’s design — optimized amine formulation and the use of waste heat — can reduce parasitic power loss from about 35 percent to around 25 percent.

Additional research is under way to develop and test novel materials and a single integrated column that the team hopes can further economize CO2capture by increasing efficiency and reducing parasitic power loss.

Study co-authors include Michael Wong, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry, and Ken Cox, professor in the practice of chemical and biomolecular engineering. The research is supported by the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

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The above story is reprinted from materialsprovided by Rice University. The original article was written by Jade Boyd.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal References:

  1. Sumedh S. Warudkar, Kenneth R. Cox, Michael S. Wong, George J. Hirasaki.Influence of stripper operating parameters on the performance of amine absorption systems for post-combustion carbon capture: Part I. High pressure strippers.International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2013; DOI:10.1016/j.ijggc.2013.01.050
  2. Sumedh S. Warudkar, Kenneth R. Cox, Michael S. Wong, George J. Hirasaki.Influence of stripper operating parameters on the performance of amine absorption systems for post-combustion carbon capture: Part II. Vacuum strippers.International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2013; DOI:10.1016/j.ijggc.2013.01.049
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Tohoku Electric Power scraps plan for new nuke plant

March 30, 2013

NATIONAL MAR. 29, 2013 – 10:39AM JST ( 5 )

TOKYO —

A Japanese utility has scrapped plans to build a nuclear plant near the site of a nuclear disaster two years ago.

Tohoku Electric Power Co said Thursday that strong protests from local communities as well as radiation leaks at the proposed site of the new power station make the project unworkable. The company wanted to build a plant north of the Fukushima Daiichi plant that was destroyed by a tsunami that struck after a huge earthquake on March 11, 2011.

But the utility said land acquisition and environmental surveys could not be completed due to contamination.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe supports resumption of reactors deemed safe. The company still plans to build a new reactor at an existing plant. Japan has 50 workable reactors and 12 in the pipeline.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

George W. Bush’s Lie-bury

March 30, 2013
March 28, 2013

 

By Coleen Rowley

As minor African despots are dragged before the International Criminal Court, ex-President George W. Bush remains free, despite having committed major war crimes like torture and aggressive war. With the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands, he will now celebrate his presidential library.

::::::::

Source: Consortium News


George W. Bush’s nude self-portrait in the shower

A recent news report asking “Where is Dubya?” found the former president totally unengaged, spending his time painting strange portraits of himself in the bath. In what seems to be a weird personal attempt to emulate Winston Churchill (but more reminiscent of Marie Antoinette playing shepherdess in her last days), the former president calmly ignores the sickening truth that slowly but surely emerges about his administration’s crimes as well as recent UN demands that U.S. leaders be charged with war crimes.

Ben Emmerson, the lead special investigator, recently described to gathered UN dignitaries a setting of self-approved legal immunity among U.S. and UK national leaders. He called the two governments’ standing policy, “A policy of de facto immunity for public officials who engaged in acts of torture, rendition and secret detention, and their superiors and political masters who authorized these acts.”

So the hard task will clearly fall to George W. Bush’s soon-to-open Presidential Center to re-fashion history and create the legacy of the great “Decider” who, with neo-con help, so longed to be a “war president” that he decided to illegally and recklessly launch a “war of choice” (otherwise known as the illegal and catastrophic war of aggression upon Iraq based on false premises).

The new Bush Library will undoubtedly also credit its namesake with the idea of initiating the “global war on a tactic (GWOT)” that, despite a recent bipartisan congressional bill to end it, teeters on the verge of being made permanent. Bush’s successor having cleverly re-named it, then stretched and expanded GWOT to so many new countries that it now has come full circle under rhetoric of “keeping us safe” from foreign enemies that it now targets U.S. citizens for what could possibly be indefinite detention and assassination and includes the U.S. as part of its ever-widening global battlefield.

(Though to be fair, Bush already had established those principles with his military detention of alleged terrorist and U.S. citizen Jose Padilla, arrested and imprisoned on U.S. soil as an “enemy combatant.”)

Whoever said we can’t look back must not have reckoned with the fact and force of such a Presidential Lie-Bury! Luckily some Dallas residents have sprung to the task of putting forward an honest “People’s Response” to the deceptive refashioning of this unethical and illegal history. Here’s an excerpt from their press release:

“When the George W. Bush Library and Policy Institute is dedicated on April 25, 2013, at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, protestors will be there to demand the ex-president be held accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of U.S. and international law. President Barack Obama, former U.S.presidents and many heads of state are expected to attend the dedication ceremony.”

A coalition of local, state and national peace and justice groups organizing the protest is inviting people from across the country to participate in an event called “The People’s Response.” According to Leslie Harris of CODEPINK Greater Dallas, “The illegal invasion of a sovereign nation was declared a ‘supreme crime’ at the Nuremberg trials. That Bush and his advisers walk free today is unconscionable; there must be accountability so history won’t repeat itself.”

Reverend Bill McElvaney, professor emeritus, Perkins School of Theology at SMU, an early opponent of locating the George W. Bush Institute on campus, said, “The invasion of Iraq, and the approval of torture are violations of the United Methodist Social Principles, thus placing Southern Methodist University in contradiction to its own heritage as an institution of The United Methodist Church.”

I plan to participate for a lot of reasons but most fundamentally, from having spent 24 years as an FBI agent working in the criminal justice system always and inherently focused on looking backward to solve the worst crimes, I understand the true purpose of Obama’s ridiculous “only look forward” cover-up was to continue, make worse and even expand upon Bush’s illegal wars, war crimes and war profiteering.

It’s hard to put this into words better than author and researcher, “War Is A Crime” and “Let’s Try Democracy” activist David Swanson as he explains in Why I’m Attending the Dedication of the Bush Lie Bury

“On April 25th the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and General Rehabilitation Project will be dedicated in Dallas, Texas. It takes up 23 acres at Southern Methodist University, 23 acres that neither humanity nor any other species may ever reclaim for anything decent or good. I’ll be there, joining in the people’s response (http://ThePeoplesResponse.org) with those who fear that this library will amount to a Lie Bury.”‘The Bush Center’s surrounding native Texas landscape,’ the center’s PR office says, ‘including trees from the Bush family’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas, continues President and Mrs. Bush’s longstanding commitment to land and water conservation and energy efficiency.’ Does it, now? Is that what you recall? Bush the environmentalist?

“Well, maybe you and I remember things differently, but do we have a major educational institution that will effectively repeat our corrections of the Lie Bury’s claims for decades to come? According to the Lie Bury, Bush was and is an education leader, saving our schools by turning them into test-taking factories and getting unqualified military officers to run them. This is something to be proud of, we’re told.

“The Lie Bury’s annual report shows Bush with the Dalai Lama. No blood is anywhere to be seen. The Lie Bury’s website has a photo of a smiling George W. golfing for war. ‘The Warrior Open,’ it explains, ‘is a competitive 36-hole golf tournament that takes place over two days every fall in the Dallas area. The event honors U.S. service members wounded in the global war on terror.’

“Now, I actually know of some soldiers wounded in what they call by that name who don’t feel honored by Bush’s golfing, just as millions of Iraqis living as refugees within or outside of the nation he destroyed find Bush’s liberty to walk outdoors, much less golf for the glory of war, offensive. But none of them has a quarter-billion dollar ‘center’ from which to spread the gospel of history as it actually happened — as it happened to its losers, to those water-boarded, shot in the face, or otherwise liberated by Bush and his subordinates.

“When Bush lied about excuses to start a war on Iraq — as with everything else he did — he did so incompetently. As a result, a majority of Americans in the most recent polls, still say he lied to start the war. But few grasp the lesson as it should be applied to wars launched by more competent liars. And memory of Bush’s lies is fading, buried under forgetfulness, avoidance, misdirection, revisionism, a mythical ‘surge’ success, and a radically inaccurate understanding of what our government did to Iraq.

“I won’t be attending the Lie Bury ceremony for vengeance, but in hopes of ridding our culture of the vengeance promoted by Bush. He based a foreign policy and a domestic stripping away of rights on the thirst for vengeance — even if misdirected vengeance. We have a responsibility to establish that we will not support that approach going forward.

“Bush himself is relevant only as his treatment can deter future crimes and abuses. No one should wish Bush or any other human being ill. In fact, we should strive to understand him, as it will help us understand others who behave as he has. Bush, of course, knew what he was doing when he tried to launch a war while pretending a war would be his last resort, suggesting harebrained schemes to get the war going to Tony Blair. Bush knew the basic facts. He knew he was killing a lot of people for no good reason. He was not so much factually clueless as morally clueless.

“For Bush, as for many other people, killing human beings in wars exists outside the realm of morality. Morality is the area of abortions, gay marriage, shoplifting, fornicating, or discriminating. Remember when Bush said that a singer’s suggestion that he didn’t care about black people was the worst moment in his presidency? Racism may be understood by Bush as a question of morality. Mass murder not so much. Bush’s mother remarked that war deaths were not worthy of troubling her beautiful mind. Asked why he’d lied about Iraqi weapons, George W. Bush asked what difference it made. Well, 1.4 million dead bodies, but who’s counting?

“I won’t be attending the Lie Bury because Bush’s successor is an improvement. On the contrary, our failure to hold Bush accountable has predictably led to his successor being significantly worse in matters of abusing presidential power. And not just predictably, but predicted. When we used to demand Bush’s impeachment, people would accuse us of disliking him or his political party. No, we’d say, if he isn’t held accountable, future presidents will be worse, and it won’t matter from which party they come.

“I helped draft about 70 articles of impeachment against Bush, from which Congressman Dennis Kucinich selected 35 and introduced them. I later looked through those 35 and found 27 that applied to President Barack Obama, even though his own innovations in abusive behavior weren’t on the list. Bush’s lying Congress into war (not that Congress wasn’t eager to play along) is actually a standard to aspire to now. When Obama went to war in Libya, against the will of Congress, he avoided even bothering to involve the first branch of our government.

“When Bush locked people up or tortured them to death, he kept it as secret as he could. Obama — despite radically expanding secrecy powers and persecuting whistleblowers — does most of his wrongdoing wide out in the open. Warrantless spying is openly acknowledged policy. Imprisonment without trial is ‘law.’ Torture is a policy choice, and the choice these days is to outsource it. Murder is, however, the new torture. The CIA calls it ‘cleaner.’ I picture Bush’s recent paintings of himself washing off whatever filth his mind is aware he carries.

“Obama runs through a list of men, women, and children to murder on Tuesdays, picks some, and has them murdered. We don’t know this because of a whistleblower or a journalist. We know this because the White House wanted us to know it, and to know it before the election. Think about that. We moved from the pre-insanity state we were in circa 1999 to an age in which presidents want us to know they murder people.

“That was primarily the work of George W. Bush, and every single person who yawned, who looked away, who cheered, who was too busy, who said ‘it’s more important to elect a new president than to keep presidential powers in check,’ or who said ‘impeachment would be traumatic’ — as if this isn’t.

“In Guatemala a prosecutor has charged a former dictator with genocide, remarking, ‘It’s sending the most important message of the rule of law — that nobody is above the law.’ It’s not so many years ago that the United States had the decency at least to hypocritically propose that standard to the world. Now, we advance the standard of lawlessness, of ‘looking forward, not backward.’

“That’s why the people need to respond to the Lie Bury. Ann Wright is going to be there. And Diane Wilson. Robert Jensen and Ray McGovern are coming. So are Lon Burnam and Bill McElvaney and Debra Sweet. Hadi Jawad and Leah Bolger and Marjorie Cohn and Kathy Kelly are coming. As are Coleen Rowley and Bill Moyer and Jacob David George and Medea Benjamin and Chas Jacquier and Drums Not Guns.

“Also coming will be many familiar faces from the days when we used to protest in Crawford. When we’d go into that one restaurant at the intersection in Crawford, there’d be a cardboard cut-out Dubya standing there. We picked him up and stood him in the corner, facing the corner. We said he needed to stay there until he understood what he’d done wrong. In reality, of course, he was cardboard. The lesson was for everyone else in the restaurant. It’s a lesson that still needs to be taught.”

Please join us in Dallas!

Submitters Website: www.coleenrowley.com

Submitters Bio:

Retired FBI Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel.

Reaping the Seeds of Nuke Test

March 30, 2013
March 28, 2013

s

By Sheila Samples

 

The warnings about fallout from nuclear tests six decades ago often noted that cancers from the radiation would probably not begin appearing in large numbers for many years. But that time is now — and medical experts are wondering whether the surge in some cancers is a result.

Submitters Website: http://sheilastuff.blogspot.com

Submitters Bio:

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.

How George Bush won the war in Iraq – really! If you thought it was “Blood for Oil”–you’re wrong. It was far, far worse.

March 30, 2013
By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine
Friday, 29. March 2013

Because it was marked “confidential” on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn’t believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq. Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.

I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I’d just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be stoked.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan to trick my mark, my next calls were to the State Department and Pentagon. Now that I had the specs on the scheme for Iraq’s oil – that State and Defense Department swore, in writing, did not exist – I told them I’d appreciate their handing over a copy (no expurgations, please) or there would be a very embarrassing story on BBC Newsnight.

Within days, our chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, delivered to my shack in the 
woods outside New York a 323-page, three-volume programme for Iraq’s oil crafted by George Bush’s State Department and petroleum insiders meeting secretly in Houston, Texas.

I cracked open the pile of paper – and I was blown away.

Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli: Blood for oil.

But the truth in the confidential Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than “Blood for Oil”. Much, much worse.

The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis:
“…A single state-owned company …enhances a government’s relationship with OPEC.”

Let me explain why these words rocked my casbah.

I’d already had in my hands a 101-page document, another State Department secret scheme, first uncovered by Wall Street Journal reporter Neil King, that called for the privatisation, the complete sell-off of every single government-owned asset and industry. And in case anyone missed the point, the sales would include every derrick, pipe and barrel of oil, or, as the document put it, “especially the oil”.

That plan was created by a gaggle of corporate lobbyists and neo-cons working for the Heritage Foundation. In 2004, the plan’s authenticity was confirmed by Washington power player Grover Norquist. (It’s hard to erase the ill memory of Grover excitedly waving around his soft little hands as he boasted about turning Iraq into a free-market Disneyland, recreating Chile in Mesopotamia, complete with the Pinochet-style dictatorship necessary to lock up the assets – while behind Norquist, Richard Nixon snarled at me from a gargantuan portrait.)

The neo-con idea was to break up and sell off Iraq’s oil fields, ramp up production, flood the world oil market – and thereby smash OPEC and with it, the political dominance of Saudi Arabia.

General Jay Garner also confirmed the plan to grab the oil. Indeed, Garner told me that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld fired him, when the General, who had lived in Iraq, complained the neo-con grab would set off a civil war. It did. Nevertheless, Rumsfeld replaced Garner with a new American viceroy, Paul Bremer, a partner in Henry Kissinger’s firm, to complete the corporate takeover of Iraq’s assets – “especially the oil”.

But that was not to be. While Bremer oversaw the wall-to-wall transfer of Iraqi industries to foreign corporations, he was stopped cold at the edge of the oil fields.
How? I knew there was only one man who could swat away the entire neo-con army: James Baker, former Secretary of State, Bush family consiglieri and most important, counsel to Exxon-Mobil Corporation and the House of Saud.

(One unwitting source was industry oil-trading maven Edward Morse of Lehman/Credit Suisse, who threatened to sue Harper’s Magazine for my quoting him. Morse denied I ever spoke with him. But when I played the tape from my hidden recorder, his memory cleared and he scampered away.)

Weirdly, I was uncovering that the US oil industry was using its full political mojo to prevent their being handed ownership of Iraq’s oil fields.  That’s right: The oil companies did NOT want to own the oil fields – and they sure as hell did not want the oil. Just the opposite. They wanted to make sure there would be a limit on the amount of oil that would come out of Iraq.

There was no way in hell that Baker’s clients, from Exxon to Abdullah, were going to let a gaggle of neo-con freaks smash up Iraq’s oil industry, break OPEC production quotas, flood the market with six million barrels of Iraqi oil a day and thereby knock its price back down to $13 a barrel where it was in 1998.

Big Oil simply could not allow Iraq’s oil fields to be privatised and taken from state control. That would make it impossible to keep Iraq within OPEC (an avowed goal of the neo-cons) as the state could no longer limit production in accordance with the cartel’s quota system..

The problem with Saddam was not the threat that he’d stop the flow of oil – he was trying to sell more. The price of oil had been boosted 300 percent by sanctions and an embargo cutting Iraq’s sales to two million barrels a day from four. With Saddam gone, the only way to keep the damn oil in the ground was to leave it locked up inside the busted state oil company which would remain under OPEC (i.e. Saudi) quotas.

The James Baker Institute quickly and secretly started in on drafting the 323-page plan for the State Department. In May 2003, with authority granted from the top (i.e. Dick Cheney), ex-Shell Oil USA CEO Phil Carroll was rushed to Baghdad to take charge of Iraq’s oil. He told Bremer, “There will be no privatisation of oil – END OF STATEMENT.” Carroll then passed off control of Iraq’s oil to Bob McKee of Halliburton, Cheney’s old oil-services company, who implemented the Baker “enhance OPEC” option anchored in state ownership.

Some oil could be released, mainly to China, through limited, but lucrative, “production sharing agreements”.

And that’s how George Bush won the war in Iraq. The invasion was not about “blood for oil”, but something far more sinister: blood for no oil. War to keep supply tight and send prices skyward.

Oil men, whether James Baker or George Bush or Dick Cheney, are not in the business of producing oil. They are in the business of producing profits.

And they’ve succeeded. Iraq, capable of producing six to 12 million barrels of oil a day, still exports well under its old OPEC quota of three million barrels.
The result: As we mark the tenth anniversary of the invasion this month, we also mark the fifth year of crude at $100 a barrel.

As George Bush could proudly say to James Baker: Mission Accomplished!

Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.

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The MSNBC Documentary of the Bush War on Iraq: Filling in Some Gaps

March 30, 2013
March 28, 2013

 

By Steven Jonas

This excellent documentary is still running on MSNBC. It is well worth taking a look at. In approximately 50 minutes of air time, one can hardly expect that all of the details of the Grand Deception and Big Lie can be covered. It is very possible that many of those details that I retell are to be found in the book on which the documentary is based (which I have not read). At any rate, here are some additional thoughts.

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One must consider the currently running MSNBC documentary, ” How the Bush administration sold the Iraq war” (1), based on a book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, to be a rather remarkable document, given that it comes to us from an element of the mainstream media (NBC), as relatively liberal as that element may be. Most (if not all) of the readers of this column-series and the journal(s) in which it appears know that the whole premise upon which the invasion was based was totally false. Neither were there Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” nor was there any connection between the Saddam Hussein regime and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. In approximately 50 minutes of air time, one can hardly expect that all of the details of the Grand Deception and Big Lie can be covered. It is very possible that many of those details that I retell below are to be found in the book. Nevertheless, here a few additional facts and observations.

First, the documentary very justifiably notes the later proved-to-be-false “Tonkin Gulf Incident” that President Lyndon Johnson used to vastly expand the War on Vietnam. That war actually found its origins years before in work done by the Dulles Brothers, John Foster (State) and Allen (CIA), to undermine the Geneva Accords of 1954 which had brought the French-Indochinese War to its conclusion. Nationwide elections were to have been held by 1956. “Everyone knew” that the Communist leader, Ho Chi Minh, would win in an overwhelming landslide. The Dulles Brothers, very concerned about that happenstance, in collusion with the reactionary forces in Viet Nam, made sure that the elections were never held. We all know what happened subsequently.

What is not generally acknowledged is that, in terms of the US objective of making sure that there would not be a peaceful, electoral, victory for Communism in southeast Asia, with its implications for the rest of the region (yes, the Domino Theory was real and of real concern), the US did not lose the Viet Nam War. Rather, given what has happened and not happened to Viet Nam and the rest of Southeast Asia since then, in the context of the Dulles’ original goals, the US won it. In contrast, we do not yet know whether the US achieved the primary objective of the Cheney/Bush regime, which was the creation of a state of Permanent War (2).

As for Iraq, as to the supposed “weapons of mass destruction,” not mentioned in the program (and again, this important detail may very well be in the book) is the fact that during the whole run-up to the War the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, was on the ground, with a large team (3). Under considerable pressure from the UN and Mr. Blix, Hussein had given the latter access to just about any site that he wanted to inspect. He repeatedly found nothing and made that fact public on a repeated basis. With the CIA claiming that they had evidence of Iraqi WMD, Blix said that he would be happy to see it, and then go inspect. Until the time he and his team pulled out of Iraq in the face of the obvious US/UK invasion preparations for the March 20, 2003 attack, Blix never heard from the CIA.

Much has been made of the supposed “meeting in Prague” between representatives of Hussein and bin Laden and whether or not it actually occurred. At the time it supposedly did occur, war hawks like the former Nixon propagandist and later New York Times columnist William Safire were trumpeting it as evidence of collusion between Hussein and bin Laden/al-Qaeda, and so linking Hussein to 9/11. At the time, many on the Left spent time trying to prove that the meeting did not/could not have taken place. The documentary spent some time on the subject. My suspicion was at the time (and still is) that the meeting did take place, and that in it Hussein’s representative told bin Laden’s man that the last thing that he (Hussein) wanted to do was to give the US another reason for attacking Iraq. Furthermore, it was in any case well-known that Hussein (a secular Muslim) and bin Laden (highly religious) cordially hated each other.

As for the supposed “drive by the US and the UK” to get a UN Security Council resolution supporting an invasion, and the supposed UN resistance to doing so, in the end that resistance was mainly limited to the proposal by the French (right-wing) President Jacques Chirac to give Hans Blix more time. (As I recall the date proposed was April 30, 2003.) Then if WMD were discovered, an invasion, under UN sanction, would be authorized. Of course that was the rub for Cheney/Bush/Blair and their already planned invasion. The last thing they wanted was to have it be under UN auspices in any way. So, rather than trying hard to get a UN invasion resolution and failing, US/UK policy, which was already clear at the time, was to set their demands upon the UN so high that there would NOT be a forthcoming UN resolution at any time.

Finally, as to the whole question of Iraqi WMD, Blix faulted Cheney/Bush for a “lack of critical thinking” (3). Given the capabilities of the CIA and US military intelligence, it is very difficult to believe the Cheney/Bush did not know that there were no WMD. Furthermore, the “neocons” at Defense, etc., had been clamoring for such an invasion since the mid-90s. Recall that at the first briefing for the new Administration, Jan. 21, 2001, the then outgoing national security advisor Richard Clark had told Bush himself on that day that they should be very concerned with al-Qaeda, to which Bush constantly responded “Iraq, Iraq, Iraq.” The Bushites were just looking for an excuse to attack Iraq. And they made them up as they went along, from the “Niger yellowcake” story which they had to know was a falsehood based on an easily detectable forgery (plus the French had all of that ore fully under control and committed well in advance through five-year contracts, hardly a secret) to the “aluminum tubes” which, they had been told by a US scientist two years before, were for missile weaponry, not uranium centrifuges.

Finally, there were just too many later-to-be-proven falsehoods. Bush/Cheney and their whole team must have known what the truth was. They didn’t just “make a mistake” or lack in “critical thinking.” And that is the most monstrous conclusion that one is forced to draw from the whole horror, of the War on Iraq, which is still hardly over for the people of Iraq (4).

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References :

1. Isikoff, M., “How the Bush Administration Sold the Iraq War,” http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/02/ 16/how-the-bush- administration-sold-the-iraq- war/

2. Jonas, S., “Dr. J’s Commentary: The CheneyBush War Policy: Connecting the Dots for Permanent War,” BuzzFlash, Feb. 27, 2007.

3. “U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix faults Bush administration for lack of “critical thinking” in Iraq,” http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/03/18_blix.shtml

4. Sweet, D., “The American War Isn’t Over for the Iraqi People,” The World Can’t Wait, http://debra.worldcantwait.net/2013/03/the-american-war-isnt-over-for-the-iraqi-peop le/

Submitters Website: www.tpjmagazine.us

Submitters Bio:

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In addition to being a Trusted Author for OpEdNews, Dr. Jonas is a columnist for BuzzFlash.com/Truthout.org, Managing Editor and a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine; a Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post; a Contributor to The Planetary Movement; a Contributor to Dandelion Salad (http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com), and a Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter. He is also a triathlete (30 seasons, 220-plus multi-sport races) and a skier (as well as a PSIA-Level Certified Instructor [retired]).

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