Friday, December 18, 2015

A Few More Lies and/or Propaganda From Public and Private Institutions


1.  NBC News recently stated that the Fed interest rate hike (.25%) "...is a sign that the economy is improving.".  Nothing could be further from the truth.  That action is a sign that:  the Fed Reserve is recognizing it is increasingly losing credibility... and it is desperate.  For decades, Fed central planners have been facilitating a massive transfer of wealth from the common people to the Upper Crust.  As a result, the economic situation has been improving overwhelmingly only for the Rich and Powerful.  At the same time, Fed interference in the Money Market has caused the rest of us to struggle mightily simply to keep our heads above water.  The outright falsehoods put out by the Fed Gov't (at the highest levels) and regurgitated by the Corporate Media---regarding the unemployment rate, the price inflation rate, the jobs numbers, etc.---cannot belie the fact that we still are in a deep Recession, and heading for a Depression.  [I've detailed why that's true in several previous posts.]

2.  President Obama claims his ISIS Strategy is working, and that we will eventually "defeat ISIS".  About 9,000 U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria (never mind the airstrikes by other members of the "coalition") seem to have had little effect on ISIS, but plenty of negative effects on others--- the killing of innocent civilians, the creation of both refugees and more terrorists, and the destruction of civilian buildings.  Chaos prevails.  As to attacking ISIS sources of funding, good luck with that.  ISIS is funded primarily by Arab billionaires... billionaires.  If ISIS ever faces imminent "defeat", all they have to do is fade back into the woodwork... and live to fight another day.  Military actions are not the solution to the problem, but they are a great distraction from our imploding economy at home.  That has been done by governments for centuries.  Manipulating a population in this way is nothing new.

3.  A high Gov't official (can't recall who) recently stated that ISIS "has declared war on us".  That may be true, but we should keep this fact in mind:  "we" (i.e., our Gov't) attacked ISIS first, well before they did anything to anyone in the West...and that includes the brutal beheadings of Westerners.  I'm not defending ISIS in any way...but facts are facts.  Our Gov't once again stuck its nose into what basically is a civil war; "we" attacked ISIS in Iraq because they were getting close to some U.S. oil company operations there in the northern part of that country.

4.  Our Gov't is not providing an SS COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for next year because "according to the Consumer Price Index [CPI], there was no price inflation this year"...so say SSA Officials.  I guess those same officials did no grocery shopping or renting of housing this year...never mind the increase in the cost of OTC meds and various other commodities.  It's true we're in a deflationary period now (e.g., crude oil, most metals, & some other commodities have gone down in price), but that doesn't apply across the board.
A side note regarding Social Security---
Since retirement from wage slavery in 2004, my primary source of income has been SS Retirement.  Unlike some Americans (hopefully not a majority), I don't consider SS to be any type of "welfare".  That money was taken out of every one of my paychecks for over 40 years for the express purpose of helping to provide for my retirement; I want it all back...every penny, and I don't want it stolen from me via inflation of the money supply (which results in commodity price inflation).
Some politicians claim there is no SS Trust Fund.  Not true, there is one...since LBJ first did it, every Administration since then has raided that Fund & used the money for other purposes.  Consequently, the SS Trust Fund is full of U.S. Gov't IOUs.  That's why SS supposedly is in financial difficulty... no other reason.
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Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Redux--- The Shadow Government: A Bit of History


This is from Professor Carroll Quigley--- the late and renowned macro-historian who was Bill Clinton's mentor at Georgetown University---and was written about 45 years ago  [Now, 53 years ago; I first wrote this in 2007].  Following are excerpts from his book, Tragedy and Hope (1966)---
[All emphasis added...below.]

"There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Group has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so... 

"I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960's, to examine its papers and secret [private] records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments...

"[A] front organization, called the Royal Institute of International Affairs, had as its nucleus in each area the existing submerged Round Table Group. In New York it was known as the Council on Foreign Relations and was a front for J.P. Morgan and Company in association with the very small American Round Table Group...

"On this basis, which was originally financial and goes back to George Peabody, there grew up in the twentieth century a power structure between London and New York which penetrated deeply into university life, the press, and the practice of foreign policy...

"In England the center was the Round Table Group, while in the United States it was J.P. Morgan and Company or its local branches in Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland...

"The American branch of this 'English Establishment' exerted much of its influence through five American newspapers (The New York TimesNew York Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, and the lamented Boston Evening Transcript )...

" They were gracious and cultured gentlemen of somewhat limited social experience who were much concerned with the freedom of expression of minorities and the rule of law for all, who constantly thought in terms of Anglo-American solidarity, of political partition and federation, and who were convinced that they could gracefully civilize the Boers of South Africa, the Irish, the Arabs, and the Hindus, and who are largely responsible for the partitions of Ireland, Palestine, and India, as well as the federations of South Africa, Central Africa, and the West Indies...

"It was this group of people, whose wealth and influence so exceeded their experience and understanding, who provided much of the frame-work of influence which the Communist sympathizers and fellow travelers took over in the United States in the 1930's...

"It must be recognized that the power that these energetic Left-wingers exercised was never their own power or Communist power but was ultimately the power of the international financial coterie, and, once the anger and suspicions of the American people were aroused, as they were by 1950, it was a fairly simple matter to get rid of the Red sympathizers...

"Before this could be done, however, a congressional committee, following backward to their source the threads which led from admitted Communists like Whittaker Chambers, through Alger Hiss, and the Carnegie Endowment to Thomas Lamont and the Morgan Bank, fell into the whole complicated network of the interlocking tax-exempt foundations...

The Eighty-third Congress in July 1953 set up a Special Committee to investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations with Representative B. Carroll Reece of Tennessee, as chairman. It soon became clear that people of immense wealth would be unhappy if the investigation went too far and that the 'most respected' newspapers in the country, closely allied with these men of wealth, would not get excited enough about any revelations to make the publicity worth while, in terms of votes or campaign contributions..."

[My point here is to illustrate that those who founded the "Shadow Government" were beyond political party affiliations, right v. left, and all that Propaganda. I believe that is still true today...and today, the Shadow Government is greatly expanded and includes many multi-national corporations, not just those in banking, oil, and newspapers.]

Quigley's book, Tragedy and Hope, quickly was suppressed.  I doubt you can find a copy today.  Finally, keep in mind that the good Professor was not a deranged nutcake; instead, he was well respected and very credible.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  Some years ago, Bill Moyers also did an excellent piece on "The Shadow Government".

Monday, December 7, 2015

Notice How the Corporate Media Take a Terrorism Story...


and beat it to death...over and over...day after day.  I'm not saying these fanatical, philosophically ignorant, "true believers" are not dangerous (whether it's "jihadists" or some nut attacking Planned Parenthood), but the fact remains, you have more chance of being killed by lightning than by a terrorist.  Plus, while the stories of terror attacks are "in-depth", there's hardly a peep from the Corporate Media about how the U.S. Govt's military misadventures (especially drone attacks) are generating terrorism, not preventing it.

Here's what we all really should be afraid of---
1.  Neoliberal politicians---such as McConnell, McCain, Obama, Schumer, etc. ad nauseam---who are backing policies and laws that are destroying this great Land economically.
2.  The fact that we are in a deep Recession with an imploding economy.
3.  The fact that the world economy is in deep trouble...mostly because the Powers-That-Be still are shifting wealth from the Lower & Middle Classes to the Upper Crust...at an astounding pace.
4.  The Fed Reserve engenders Boom-Bust economic cycles; it doesn't prevent them.
5.  The true unemployment rate in America is somewhere between 20% and 40%.
6.  The fact that Edward Bernays style Propaganda continues to mold minds to the benefit of the Rich and Powerful, and to the detriment of the rest of us.

I vote for some in-depth reporting on those fearsome items.  I realize that the true economic situation may not be "flashy" news, but it's much more valuable than the fact that the latest nutcake criminal pledged her allegiance to ISIS...which I've heard on the Corporate Media now for about four straight days.  Who gives a damn about to whom she pledged anything?  Yes, Terrorism poses a danger of sorts; but Neoliberalism is a much greater danger.  Bizarre financial derivatives and Financialization are much greater dangers.  Wall Street still running amok is a much greater danger.  Economic/Financial Bubbles bursting are a much greater danger...especially now.  A Police State is a much greater danger.  Outright lies by politicians and bureaucrats such as Clapper and Brennan and Obama and Trump are a much greater danger.  Blatant Propaganda is a much greater danger.  Criminal Mega Banks (whose CEOs think they are Masters of the Universe) are a much greater danger.

The Corporate Media are complicit with other Powers-That-Be (both public & private) in distracting, dividing, and in general, conquering Lower & Middle Class Americans, thus completely destroying the "American Dream".  They all do it not just for money, but for power and control as well.  Finally, once again, it's not any kind of grand "conspiracy".

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Redux: Our Jury Rights are Being Trampled Upon


I'm re-posting this piece because it's extremely important to the concept of Freedom... especially now, given the plethora of unconstitutional "Laws" currently in force in this great Land.  [The previous title was "The Last Bastion".]

The last sane bastion against an errant government (not counting armed revolt, which nowadays is insane) is jury nullification. Very early in our country's history, the role of jury nullification as a defense against oppression by the State was unquestioned. It remained so until the 1850s, a time during which many juries began not convicting in prosecutions under the Fugitive Slave Act. Judges, seeing a mighty demonstration of the power of juries, began to change the rules of the Court. The primary and most devastating change was that juries would no longer be permitted (by judges) to judge the law; they would be confined to judging only the facts of the case.

The new rules were (and still are) a blatant infringement on the rights of juries. That's not just my view...

"The jury has a right to judge both the law and the facts in controversy."
~ John Jay, First 
Chief JusticeU.S. Supreme Court, 1789
"The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts."
~ Samuel Chase, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1796
"The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided."
~ Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1941

Juries routinely are told by judges that jury members cannot judge the law, only the facts of the case. Not true. Numerous case decisions have upheld the right of any juror to nullify a "bad" law and vote to acquit. Example: "The jury has an unreviewable and unreversible power...to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge." 
U.S. v.Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1113, 1139 (1972). Example: "...it is presumed that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision. You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine law as well as the fact in controversy." [Emphasis added.] State of Georgia v. Brailsfordet.al. 3 U.S. 1 Dall. (1794).

So, why do jurors not know these things? The reason is simple: in
Sparf v. United States (1895), the Court decided that courts need not inform jurors of their de facto right of jury nullification even though the jurors' inherent right to judge the law remains unchallenged. All judges are aware of this. Rather than inform juries of all their rights, judges tend to intimidate jurors by telling them that they cannot judge the law.

All of this is crucial to individual sovereignty and freedom because governments practice Legislative Absolutism (a term coined by Justice Harlan in 1901), passing laws without any regard for constitutions (Federal and State). Other than bringing suit in a court of law, the aggrieved citizen has no legal and peaceful recourse except to rely on jury nullification. Bringing suit usually is very expensive and time-consuming. Unfortunately, relying on jury nullification depends upon having a fully informed citizenry, and jurors with courage and integrity...therefore, spread the word! We need fully informed juries.

Not just my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Most Dangerous Idea in the History of Central Planning


This subject is so huge that all I can do here is give you a very scant idea of it.  Most importantly:  don't think for a moment that it's impossible...or hundreds of years off in the future.  It's maybe only one to three decades away.  Michio Kaku, a somewhat well-known String Field Theory physicist, is one of its primary proponents.  [His book, HyperSpace, was fantastic; I haven't read his Future of the Mind.]

We're talking about the worldwide movement known as Transhumanism.  The advocates of this philosophy, most all of whom seem to be rational human beings, are bent on developing a Posthuman (or Post-Human).  The roots of this go all the way back to Julian Huxley (the biologist and philosopher) in the 1950's.  Back then, the whole thing essentially was science fiction.  It's not entirely that anymore.  Advances in genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology have brought the idea to within a hair's breadth of scientific reality.

As with most central planning ideas, the intentions of Transhumanists appear to be good.  They propose to mitigate or even eliminate physical and mental disabilities.  Some even think we can eliminate many or most social problems, poverty, war, etc. by creating Posthumans.  [From what I can gather, Posthumans first will be Cyborgs---part human & part machine---and then super-intelligent robots.]  Those may be a long way off, but steps prior to them are fairly close at hand...as follows.

One of the plans is to use the techniques & data from the mapping of every neural connection in the human brain; see the Human Connectome Project, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  [I'm not suggesting that NIH personnel are Transhumanists.]  The mapping of rodent brains, similar to those of humans but simpler, has been underway for years.  The idea of the Transhumanists is to figure out how to modify human behavior.

Some proponents of the Posthuman predict that by 2045, you will be able to upload your mind to a computer (in a robot, perhaps?)...supposedly then becoming "digitally immortal".

Some of them propose connecting (remotely, I presume) our brains to a central supercomputer so that we may all be part of a "hive mind"...which supposedly will make us all more cooperative and peaceful.  These people are serious about this...it's one of their projects.

Most Transhumanists appear to believe that both the Mind and the Body must be "enhanced" (one of their favorite words) and transformed... for the "good" of Humanity.  They tout it as the next step in human evolution.

The statement has been made that the rights of those who wish to remain "Humanish" should be respected.  [Well, Human Rights often are not respected even now.]
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Francis Fukuyama, a fierce critic of Transhumanism, has called it "the most dangerous idea of the century".  I couldn't possibly agree more.  Despite any good intentions, central planning ideas such as this practically always result in much more harm than good.  The harm in this one should be self-evident.  [I'm reminded of Surrogates, the fictional movie with Bruce Willis.]

Keep in mind that the advocates of the Posthuman strongly believe in the concept, are working hard to implement it, and are very smooth salesmen.  Michio Kaku, for example, is all over YouTube & elsewhere...and he makes it all sound so wonderful...with extraordinary benefits to Humankind.  Beware.  Finally, again, this is not way off in the future; it is relatively close at hand.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well...and be human.  :)


Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Astounding PROPAGANDA from the State-Corporate Complex


Below is a copy of an email I sent out tonight.  The title was "A Perfect Example".

The brilliant Glenn Greenwald explains EXACTLY how the State-Corporate complex dupes people via shameless Propaganda.  This instance is in regard to terrorism, Snowden, Gov't officials, the recent Paris attacks, etc.  Too bad more people will not see this.  It shows how many, especially those on the so-called Right (but also those on the so-called Left), are being subjected to misleading info & outright lies, led down the path to more war, led into Islamophobia, and being flim-flammed into accepting the destruction of the Fourth Amendment...as well as other parts of the Constitution.  All of these efforts by the Powers-That-Be are not only un-American, but also anti-American.  The whole thing is disgusting.
The segment after this one also is illuminating relative to the submissive Corporate Media in the USA.
If we continue to accept the rubbish put out by the Gov't & Corporatist Media outlets, our grandkids will be living in Orwell's Animal Farm.  Guaranteed.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Several Insanities in the Western World, Especially the USA


Remember reading about the Age of Enlightenment, often cited as running from the late 1600's to about 1800, and sometimes called the Age of Reason?  It would appear that we humans are in need of a Second Age of Enlightenment.  Following are some of the things supporting such an assertion.  Let's begin with a somewhat trivial (compared to the others) example.

1.  Trump recently stated that "wages [in the USA] are too high".  What planet is The Don on?  Wages here essentially have stagnated for the last thirty years.  The cost of living has not.

2.  Our Fed Gov't and those of Russia & France are bombing ISIS in Syria...but, mostly thanks to the US,  they're not all cooperating with each other.  Is that a good plan?

3.  The Fed Gov't here denigrates Russia for sticking it's nose into Syria (a Russian ally) and for trying to increase its influence in the Middle East.  Are you kidding me?...talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  The US Gov't's primary foreign policy component is to stick its nose into just about every civil war in the world...especially in the Middle East and/or southern Central Asia.  Good grief!

4.  The US Gov't continues to kowtow to Saudi Arabia...not entirely, but significantly.  That's a troublesome issue because of the following.  Wahhabism, the Saudi State-sponsored extremist Sunni Sect, spreads its poison all around the world.  Radical, extremist terrorists are greatly encouraged by the Wahhabis; the roots of ISIS are in Wahhabism.  The DC Powers-That-Be know that...and yet they continue to support the House of Saud.

5.  The situation in Syria and Iraq is a complete mess.  [Over 7,000 airstrikes by the US Gov't haven't helped much at all...but they have pissed off a whole bunch of terrorists.]  In addition to the points above, the Gov't of Turkey is fighting ISIS...and fighting the Kurds, too...who happen to be fighting ISIS.  Certain leaders in the world seem to have lost their minds.

6.  The Taliban in Afghanistan now control more territory than they ever have since the US invasion.  So much for interfering in a civil war...and so much for "nation-building".

7.  Iraq now essentially is a failed State.  Ditto the last sentence above.

8.  The General in charge of the US program to train "moderates" to fight ISIS in Syria either has been or is going to be promoted.  The program was a complete failure.  About 5,000 were to be trained and equipped.  Five or so were put into battle; in short order they all were killed or captured...along with their weapons.

9.  Obama and most Republicans continue to push for approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  Most Americans appear to be either oblivious to the Agreement/Treaty or against it.  The smallest bit of research should reveal to anyone that the TPP is bad news for average people.  It benefits only the Rich and Powerful.  For any politician to claim that it will make us more competitive and increase the number of jobs here is utter nonsense at best, and a bald-faced lie at worst.

10.  The War on Cash is well underway.  Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws here, any significant amount of cash on you now can be seized by Law Enforcement...without you being charged with anything.  The reason?  It's "suspicious".  In addition, the Powers-That-Be are pushing for a move to a cashless society.  One of the reasons is to prevent bank runs in the case of an economic/financial collapse.  Another reason:  those same Powers then will know, because of the National Surveillance State, every single purchase you make...or at least, they will have access to those records.  Consumer privacy will be gone.  I foresee a day when, if you use any cash at all, you'll most likely be deemed a "financial terrorist" or a run-of-the-mill criminal.

11.  The Police State in the USA continues.  Examples:  the Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws cited above; FBI Agents now writing their own Search Warrants (euphemistically titled "National Security Letters")...our Constitution is clear---a Judge must sign a Search Warrant; monitoring of people not even under investigation (the National Surveillance State); the militarization of local Police [a problem because the Police then act as though all citizens are their enemy...they have to, it's policy, it's "safe" procedure]; the almost unrestrained use of TASERs...which have killed people; shooting people in the back...for minor infractions [e.g., a homeless guy in New Mexico was camping outside of town...he turned to walk away from the cops & they killed him]; and many other examples.

12.  The Mega Banks, Mega Hedge Funds, and Mega Insurance Corporations have created, bought, and sold "Swaps" (Credit Default Swaps) to the tune of $550 trillion.  [The entire world's annual GDP is about $75 trillion.]  These Swaps do not make up all of the bizarre financial derivatives out in the Market (that total is about $1.25 quadrillion), but they are the ones that supposedly act as "insurance" against defaults on various contracts.  Should that Swap Bubble burst, as many reputable economists all across the political spectrum say it will, the whole world will be plunged into a Great Depression.  Who benefitted from the sale of these Swaps?  Oligarchs did...in the billions and billions...and billions.

13.  About 95% of world commerce is conducted either in dollars, the Pound, the Euro, or the Yen.  Every one of those currencies purposely is being debased (devalued).  That causes inflation in countries that don't have those as their currency...the emerging Markets, such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, etc.  Because of that, China is engaged in a Currency War with us...and because of that (and other reasons), the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency most likely will not last much longer.  Our Gov't tends to denigrate and blame China for all this.  The fact is, China is only protecting itself and its economy.  The U.S. is doing what many countries historically have done when they have way too much debt:  our Gov't, in a de facto way, is purposely debasing the dollar in order to cope with a massive debt...a debt that never will be repaid in full.  All gov'ts know that's what's happening.  My point here is this:  inflation is a currency event, not a price event.  In 1961, I bought a pair of Levi jeans for $3.95; the price of jeans now is anywhere from about $25 to $40.  In 1961, cigarettes were 25 cents a pack; now they're anywhere from $4 to $8 a pack.  That's because the U.S. dollar is worth less; it has been debased for decades via creating "money" out of thin air.  The chickens are finally coming home to roost, and the Fed Reserve is out of ammunition.

14.  Whether Democrats or Republicans are in power in the United States, Edward Bernays style Propaganda reigns supreme regarding war, the economy, and the "value" of the Rich and Powerful.  Again, please heed the words of Warren Buffett:  "We are in a Class War in this country, and unfortunately, my Class is winning.".  A big Amen to that, Warren.
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Yes, I would say Humankind is in dire need of a Second Age of Enlightenment.
Not only my opinion.  Be Well


Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Powers-That-Be are Lying


The Oligarchs don't lie about everything, but there are several crucial subjects about which they do lie often.  Following are some of those.

1.  Price inflation is stagnant.  The State-Corporate Complex can say this with a straight face because when they figure how much prices have increased, here's what's not included:  the costs of food, housing, and energy.  Those items are not part of what's called "core inflation".  To give credit where it's due, the Powers-That-Be are correct regarding energy costs...even though those are not counted.  Oil has tanked, no pun intended; that's good, but a guy like me drives only about 20 miles per week.  "Low" gas prices don't make up for the constant increases in food and sundry grocery store items.  Manufacturers of those goods either are raising prices outwardly or doing it surreptitiously by shrinking the size of product packages.  Plus, rent for housing in the USA (with a few exceptions) is skyrocketing.  An old dog like me cannot believe how high rental costs are nowadays.

2.  Unemployment in the USA is now 5.X%.  This lie is so egregious as to make one physically sick.  Reputable, credible economists and former Fed Gov't officials all across the political spectrum estimate that the true unemployment rate is somewhere between 20% and 43%.

3.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement will be good for everyday Americans.  The details of that abomination now are finally public; some were released earlier by WikiLeaks, but now we have the entire disaster available for scrutiny.  The critics (such as Lori Wallach of TradeWatch) are saying, "It's worse than we expected.", and they were harsh critics before the full text was released.  I've written about this before, so I won't repeat myself.  The details of this miserable Treaty can be found in lots of places, not the least of which is Citizen.org/TPP.  Promotion of the TPP by many in Gov't, the Corporate Media, and various other Mega Corporations is proof positive that Oligarchs don't give a damn about us.

4.  We are not at War...it's "counter-terrorism"; therefore, Geneva Conventions, Due Process, the Constitution in general, Ethics, and even Morality do not limit us when dealing with "enemy combatants".  That lie is so outrageous and defies Logic so much that I'm beginning to think that George Orwell was the greatest political prophet in all of History...bar none.  The Powers-That-Be are trying to sell us on the concept that the people we're fighting are neither soldiers nor criminals.  Sorry, Oligarchs, they have to be one or the other.  The term, "enemy combatant" is a fiction.  Due Process applies to everyone, even soldiers or criminals.  If it doesn't, we no longer are civilized, ethical beings.

5.  It is necessary to monitor everyone in the National Surveillance State.  Good grief, that is pure, unadulterated Propaganda...it's bullshit to the Nth Degree.  Why people are buying into that is beyond my comprehension.  Have mercy.

6.  We are in an Economic Recovery.  That statement is so blatantly ridiculous it defies not only Logic, but the imagination as well.  All one has to do to see it's not true is take a little time to do a serious, critical study of our economic condition...utilizing a wide variety of credible sources while ignoring Propaganda from the State-Corporate Complex.  The USA, and most of the world, is in a deep Recession and heading for a Depression that very well may be worse than the one in the 1930's.
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It's important to keep in mind that when it's "crunch time", when Institutions are in a bind, any Institution will protect itself rather than individuals or Individual Rights.  Natural Rights, possessed by all people, will be sacrificed by any Oligarchy upon the altar of expediency.  It is Institutions that constantly must be monitored...by us.  Remember the words of an Eastern philosopher:  we be many; they be few.  That is precisely why we are inundated totally with Propaganda from the State-Corporate Complex.  It's important to us and future generations that we think critically, speak out, deny unwarranted power to Institutions run amok, boycott those entities that trash Natural Rights, and do it all peacefully.  Violent actions beget more violence and complete suppression of the individual.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Politicizing and Militarization of the CIA


Melvin A. Goodman, a former CIA analyst and current Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy, points out how the CIA has declined and fallen due to both being beholden to political interests and becoming militarized.  Goodman was a senior analyst and division chief at the CIA (total CIA service: 1966-1986), a Professor of International Security at the National War College (1986-2004), and currently is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University.  He is regarded as an expert in the fields of Intelligence and National Security.  His latest book is National Insecurity:  the Cost of American Militarism.  Google the man; his views are informed, somewhat prickly, and I think, right on the mark.  Here are a few of those views, as follows.

1.  Failure to anticipate the fall of Soviet Russia, failure regarding the terrorist attacks of 9-11, and failure to anticipate the disastrous consequences of the 2003 Iraq invasion all demonstrate the CIA's decline.

2.  The Pentagon and the CIA essentially are merging into one entity.  Military Intelligence and the Intelligence of our civilian Agency should remain separate; they should counterbalance each other.

3.  Having former military Generals as Heads of the CIA is a really bad idea.  The CIA has become too much of a para-military force.  [In my opinion, that aspect of the CIA (especially regarding the Drone Wars) even could be considered Death Squads.]

4.  The CIA has become a political tool.

5.  Military domination of the Intelligence field now interferes with the CIA's function of providing a check on the Military's influence on foreign policy and the use of force.

6.  Militarism in the USA truly has contributed greatly to national insecurity.
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Militarism is a part of Fascism, which makes use of Crony Capitalism, which dominates the Fed Gov't today...no matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in power.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, October 16, 2015

"The Drone Papers", and Obama the Assassin


For a great overview of this subject and interviews with the investigative journalists involved, see today's newscast at Democracy Now (Friday, October 16, 2015).  I doubt you'll see anything like it on the Corporate Media outlets...which seem to be obsessed with the weather.

A whistleblower has supplied The Intercept.com with official secret documents regarding Obama's Drone Wars in Yemen, Somalia, & Afghanistan.  At their website (The Intercept), there's a series of articles based upon those documents:  "The Assassination Complex", "A Virtual Glossary", "The Kill Chain", "Find, Fix, Finish", "Manhunting in the Hindu Kush", "Firing Blind", "The Life and Death of Objective Peckham", and "Target Africa".  In a classified Pentagon study, officials found significant flaws in the Drone Program, including faulty Signals Intelligence (cell phone calls, texting, emails, etc.) and serious limitations in the drone technology itself.

Other of the Papers revealed that sometimes nine out of ten people killed are not the intended target.  [Anyone killed in a drone attack automatically is classified as an EKIA (Enemy Killed in Action)... even if that person is the target's grandmother.]  Also, reliance upon foreign intelligence is heavy, and in some cases, it's entirely possible that political opponents (especially in Yemen), not terrorists, were killed.  The Papers also revealed that in a few Afghan provinces, the residents opposed/resisted the Taliban...until Americans invaded their land.  There's much, much more, but I don't have the time or energy to cover it.  See the newscast at Democracy Now.

Obama is unconstitutionally targeting people for death.  A clause in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution makes it clear that only Congress, not the Executive Branch,can issue "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" (assassination orders).  Perhaps some people think, so what, he's killing terrorists who are a threat to us.  Too bad that's not always true...too bad that many more innocent people are being slaughtered than what we've been told by the Executive Branch, and too bad that we're not even at war with Somalia, Yemen, or Pakistan... all sovereign nations.  Pakistan, in particular, repeatedly has told our Gov't to stop bombing in their country.  Too bad that the Taliban now control more of Afghanistan than they ever did in the last fourteen years.  Too bad that Afghanistan is known (for very good reasons) as "The Graveyard of Empires".  The old Soviets had 500,000 Russian troops there...they lost that war.

Obama just recently stated (paraphrased):  "You know I'm not in favor of Endless War.".  All I know, Mr. President, is that's what you keep saying.  I see little to no evidence of the truth of that.  You claim these Drone Wars are not "war".  If that's true, then here's a thought for you:  you have no legal authority to order the murder of people around the world.  Who died & thus made you King?  Some of the people you're having killed probably were toddlers on 9-11-01.  Have they attacked us?  The fact is, even more than Bush-Cheney, you've maneuvered us into a present & future of perpetual war.  There's no end in sight.  There's no reasonable plan in sight.  Drone wars, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and who knows what's next--- you're a warmonger, all in the name of national security.  Wow, what an original justification.  Here's another fact:  your military actions are making new terrorists and stirring up the old ones.  A final fact:  IT IS LAW ENFORCEMENT and everyday citizens who are keeping us safe from Terrorism...not your terrorist-creating, military maneuvers.  You've succeeded in making our Gov't's actions the number one generator of terrorists in the entire world.  You've beaten out Bush-Cheney in that regard.  I didn't think that was possible.

I (& many reputable analysts) think your military misadventures are because the economy here is in bad shape, our fiscal & monetary conditions are appalling, the dollar's world reserve currency status is being seriously threatened, and your implementation of the Big Stick around the world supposedly will hold it all together.  All you're doing is making enemies around the Globe, while at the same time, destroying our economy.  You people in the DC Ivory Tower need to wake up and pay attention.  You're not the Master, you're the Servant.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Clinton is Either Ignorant or Lying...O'Malley Too


That's what Norman Solomon, documentary producer & long-time political activist, said on Democracy Now today.  I agree.  He was talking about her response regarding a question on Edward Snowden during the Democratic Debate Tuesday night.  Hillary essentially said that Snowden "could have been" a whistleblower "if" he had gone through the proper channels and gotten the "protections" provided to whistleblowers.

That statement by Clinton is either a lie, ignorance on her part, or a really bad joke.  Tom Drake, Jeffrey Stirling, and several others spent months going through the proper, internal channels with their whistleblowing.  All that did was target them for persecution, and then selective prosecution.  "Selective" because guys like David Petraeus only get a slap on the wrist.  Guys like Brennan, Panetta, & Clapper get NOTHING.

As Solomon stated (paraphrased), Obama's war against whistleblowers and journalists is unprecedented in our history.  Indeed.  Barack Obama is perhaps the most Fascist President we've ever had in the Oval Office.  Propaganda calling him "socialist" is just that---propaganda.  As I've pointed out many times, both FDR and Mussolini defined Fascism as:  the marriage of the Power of the State to the Power of Big Business.  That fits Obama to a tee.  Those who wept with joy at his election in 2008 must be the most disappointed voters in our political history.  They elected a Corporatist posing as some sort of Populist and/or Leftist.

Then, too, we had O'Malley of Maryland in the Debate stating that "whistleblowers don't run to Russia".  Again, ignorance, or a lie, or a bad joke.  Snowden was on his way from Hong Kong to Ecuador.  At the stop in Russia (or maybe in-flight from H.K.), the U.S. Gov't revoked his passport.  He then wasn't allowed to board the plane to continue his journey.  It always amazes me how politicians twist stories to suit their particular agendas.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Truth is Being Sidestepped, Omitted by Politicians & the Corporate Media


Those at the highest levels in politics, along with the Corporate Media, are avoiding talking about the Economic Crisis in this great Land.  For most people here, the American Dream has turned into the Nightmare of the Working Poor.

Fifty percent of working households in the USA now are economically insecure.  They are just getting by... barely.  Many of them have two part-time jobs because they can't find a decent-paying, full-time gig.  Many companies nowadays prefer part-time workers...fewer employee benefits to cut into corporate profits.  Ask the Great Wall of Mart...the largest private employer in the world.  Because these workers are only scraping by, they can't save for emergencies...or anything else.

Many college graduates now are working as bartenders, or waiting tables in restaurants, or working as CSRs in "call centers", or as security guards (the minimum wage type), or as part-time cashiers in retail stores.  Not only have wages across the board stagnated for the last thirty years, but adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage in this country is the same as it was in the 1960's.  Meanwhile, those few in the Upper Crust here have seen their incomes go up by 700% in the same time period.

Ever since NAFTA and other "Free Trade" Agreements were approved, millions of jobs have evaporated from our economic landscape.  Since the year 2000, about 60,000 factories have closed or been moved out of the country.  The TPP will exacerbate the problem.  The jobs replacing those generally good-paying manufacturing positions are mostly, to be blunt, shite...crap...bullshit.  For the most part, they are low-paying, often part-time, and sometimes temporary.  They rarely match the jobs lost in terms of pay & benefits.

The 2008 Crisis resulted in the loss of eight million jobs.  It's clear by now that the cause of that Crisis was not only "greed".  Massive fraud was involved...by Mega Banks, by stock-rating agencies, by real estate brokers, by due diligence companies, etc.  On top of all that, the highest levels of the Fed Gov't were not paying attention to the developing Crisis.  Worse yet, at the beginning of the meltdown and in between the times when TARP was voted down by the Congress and when it finally was passed, the Fed Reserve made between $12 trillion and $13 trillion (estimates vary) available to several Mega Banks in loans at point two-five percent (.25%) interest.  That amount of money is equal to all Fed Gov't expenditures from the Revolutionary War to the beginning of 2008.  Think about that.  It turns out that the overwhelming bulk of those loans was not converted into loans for businesses or consumers.  The Mega Banks either hung onto it or used it for more stock market casino gambling.  Neither action created any jobs.  The Fed saved the Mega Banks instead of the economy of our Land.

What should have happened is QE for the People instead of the Mega Banks.  All those trillions of dollars did not "trickle down" to the economy of We the People; those dollars stayed in the Big Banks.  QE for the People would have saved the economy.  About 70% of our economy is driven by consumer spending.  It isn't driven by Mega Banks or the Stock Market...and especially, not by the Casino Gambling done by Wall Street ever since the invention of bizarre financial derivatives.  Those derivatives now infect almost all commodities and stock transactions to the tune of $1.25 quadrillion (best estimate by experts).

Estimates of the real unemployment rate are at about 20%.  Some people have given up looking.  I remember looking in 1997 for what turned out to be my last wage-slave job...the last before I retired in 2004.  I sent out 88 inquiries & resumes, had 16 different interviews, and finally secured a job after about five months of effort.  I was getting fairly discouraged just prior to being hired.  Some people today have been looking for two years; imagine how they feel.

Despite what the highest levels of the Gov't and the Corporate Media tell us, there is no Recovery going on in the U.S.  Any honest evaluation of our economic condition shows that.  In addition, the world economy and financial situation appear to be imploding.  The whole scenario, according to many reputable analysts, is so fragile that we are a hair's breadth away from another Great Depression.  Unfortunately, too many people in Power seem to have their heads in the sand.  Either that, or they don't want to risk putting us into a panic.  Or, worst case, they are keeping us in the dark until they and their Big Business Cronies can suck as much wealth as possible out of the economy before the Crash.  [The last choice probably is unlikely...but I would never say that it's impossible.]

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Political-Financial Complex


Ike was right when he warned us about the danger of acquisition of power by the Military-Industrial Complex.  Steve Keen, an Australian Economics Professor, is right when he warns us about the Political-Financial Complex...a term coined by him.

A perfect example of the Political-Financial Complex is as follows.  Not too long ago, a lobbyist for CitiBank essentially authored a Rider to a Legislative Bill in the U.S. Congress.  This was not just any old Bill the Rider was attached to---it was the Omnibus Spending Bill for the U.S. Gov't...if I recall correctly, it was a $1.1 trillion Bill.  The CitiBank Rider basically rolled back some protections that were in the Dodd-Frank law.  Dodd-Frank was nothing to write home about, but it did give some protection from out-of-control elements in the Financial Sector.

Mega Banks are major contributors to both Dems & Repubs in the U.S...at the same time; in other words, the Banks contribute to both Party candidates in the same election.  The reason for that could be innocent, but somehow I doubt it.  Then, too, we have estimates from a few different sources stating that in the 2016 national election cycle here, about $10 billion dollars will be spent by all major candidates.  That's not only a reflection of how debased the dollar has become; it's also an abomination.  It would be interesting to know how much of that total is/will be coming from Mega Banks.  At the end of 2014, five of the largest banks here had total assets of about seven trillion dollars.  Those banks are:  J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup (CitiBank), & U.S. Bancorp (U.S. Bank).  They could easily fund a very significant percentage of 2016 election expenditures.  [There are probably a dozen ways around rules limiting political contributions...if any of those rules still exist.]  I think it's very naive to believe that politicians are not influenced by major campaign contributions.  As someone (can't recall who) once stated,  "The Big Banks don't influence elections... they own them.".  Perhaps that's an exaggeration, but not by much.

According to CNBC, the banks listed above account for 45% of the banking industry.  Think: Sherman AntiTrust Act, Clayton AntiTrust Act, and Federal Trade Commission Acts.  Think: monopoly.  Think: common sense.  Since 2008, the "Too-Big-to-Fail" Mega Banks have grown by 37%.  So much for the politicians "protecting" us.  Those banks need to be broken up...ASAP.  Either that, or make banks public utilities. North Dakota has just such a public bank; it outperforms Wall Street while being heavily regulated.

All of this is not only a U.S. problem...it's a worldwide problem.  Those at the seats of public and private Power collude to convert publicly owned infrastructure into privately owned assets controlled by Mega Corporations.  "Austerity" is imposed on countries in order to save not their economies, but instead, to save the out-of-control Financial Sectors in those countries.  Banks weren't meant to be financial parasites engaged in speculating on bizarre, highly risky derivatives and other no-job-creating ventures.  They once served a legitimate, almost modest function:  servicing home, auto, and business loans.  The Mega Banks have become giant casinos... to the detriment of the Lower and Middle Classes around the world. Unfortunately, politicians everywhere aid and abet them.

Boycott Mega Banks.  They create almost zero new jobs.
Lobby to have them broken up.
Following the successful example in N. Dakota, lobby to have banks converted to public utilities. 

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Thanks for the Great Response...


to my offer in the post titled, "How to Prepare for the Coming Financial and Economic Crash", dated Monday, September 28, 2015.  Thanks, too, to those of you who later had kind remarks relative to the Guide.  That makes the effort of constructing it worthwhile.
Happy Trails
p.s.  As you probably know by now, I'm fairly certain that the Crash already has started.  It may take a few months or even a year to reach critical mass.  Good luck to us all if my best guess is correct.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This is Not Free Market Capitalism


This will be short.  For decades, I've been an informal student of economic systems, and in particular, Free Market Capitalism.  From all I've read and seen, there is no such thing in the world today.  Perhaps in the days of Adam Smith (the 1700's) it existed, but no longer.  Even in the mid-to-late 1800's, during and shortly after the Industrial Revolution began, Free Market Capitalism was gone.  That can be shown quite easily.

1.  The great railroad barons, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jay Gould, essentially were given large tracts of land on both sides of the rail tracks by the Gov't.  That's not Free Market Capitalism (FMC)...it's Crony Capitalism.
2.  The tycoon banker, J.P. Morgan, sometimes would lend vast sums of money to the Fed Gov't.  That's not FMC either.  That's also Crony Capitalism.
3.  The great steel entrepreneur, Andrew Carnegie, was known by his critics as the "Crony Capitalist".

Today in the USA, and all countries with an intrusive central bank, Free Market Capitalism does not exist.  The proof of that is simple.  When interest rates essentially are set by central planning bureaucrats in, for example, the Fed Reserve--- instead of by the Market--- that's not Free Market Capitalism.  The fact is, we have a Mixed Economy in the USA.  So do almost all "democracies" in existence, including the social democracies (or democratically socialist countries) in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.  I'm not saying that's good or bad; it's simply a fact.

My point here is this:  I believe Capitalism is a great economic system, but Free Market Capitalism is no more.  I'm really tired of the so-called "Right" claiming they practice FMC (as opposed to "Socialism"), and the so-called "Left" claiming that most of our ills are due to "Capitalism".  Neither one is correct.  Some of what Big Business practices is Capitalism, some is Crony Capitalism (aka, Fascism), and some is Socialism.  The same is true of our Gov't.  As to the Left's claims, many or most of our ills are due to Crony Capitalism and super-huge companies that may as well be monopolies.  That means the Gov't (Republicans AND Democrats) is partially responsible.

We definitely live in a Mixed Economy.  For example, we do have some Capitalism (mostly in the SMALL Business sector), but we also have not only the Fed Reserve interfering with the Money Market, but we have the V.A. Health Care System (a good thing), as well...which is pure socialized medicine.  The patients go to Gov't clinics/hospitals where they are treated by Gov't employees who use Gov't equipment and Gov't-purchased medicines.  Except for a small co-pay, it's all paid for by the Gov't.

Capitalism is here to stay, but it's not Free Market Capitalism.  It's a mixture of this and that.  Even China is embracing Capitalism to some degree.  Russia is now Crony Capitalism gone wild.  So to those on the Right, I would suggest this:  stop complaining about Socialism; we've had some degree of that in this Land for a long, long time.  To those on the Left, I would suggest:  stop complaining about Capitalism; it works, we've had some degree of it for a long, long time, and the problem is Crony Capitalism.  If you know what that means, then you know that the Gov't is a big part of the problem.

Not only my opinion.  Be well

 

Monday, September 28, 2015

How to Prepare for the Coming Financial and Economic Crash


I've written a concise Guide (15 pages, large type) with the title above.  [The Table of Contents is found below.]  Sometimes I copy things I've written elsewhere and post them here.  Unfortunately every time I do that, the copied piece does not paste correctly onto this venue.  To get it readable requires a lot of editing.  Due to time constraints, I can't do that amount of editing for 15 pages; therefore, I'm offering the following alternative.

If you're interested in having a copy, email me and I'll reply with the file attached.  There's no cost to you whatsoever.  This blog doesn't have thousands of readers at any one time, so I should be able to handle any requests.  [In 8.5 years (or so), there have been only about 44,500 pageviews.  I suspect that's because most of my posts irritate both the "Right" and the "Left". :)  UPDATE---as of August, 2016, this blog is at 58,000 pageviews...better, but still puny.]
For a copy, email:  AbstractCowboy@gmail.com .  Title your email:  My Order.


                              Table of Contents

Subject                                             Page


Part I---  Causes

          Brief History of Underlying Factors....1

          Summary of 2007-2008……………..2

          Beyond 2008………………………...3

Part II--- Steps to Prepare

          The Problem with Mega Banks………5

          Will Any Bank be Open?…………….6

Will Paper Money be Any Good?.........7

          Commodities, Tangible Assets………8

          Home Security………………………10

          Barter………………………………..11

          Psychology…………………………..12

          Time…………………………………12

Part III--- Going Forward

The Powers-That-Be…………………14
We the People………………………..14



The subtitle of the Guide is:

A Bit on the Causes,
And
A Lot on How to Weather the Storm


A Very Concise Guide

I'm still of the opinion that a severe Crash may or may not happen, but it seems logical to me (given current conditions) to prepare for one.  Even if it doesn't happen, 99% of the commodities I suggest that you stock up can be used by you & your family in the future.  If the Crash does occur, then you'll be better prepared to handle it than a lot of other people.  Preparing is a win-win situation.  By the way, the Guide is much expanded from my last post...and includes a lot of that post in a small section of the text.  Finally, sometimes emailing a document messes it up for some reason.  I've emailed the Guide twice so far, and both times some of the page numbers (found at the top of each page, not the bottom) were somehow out-of-place; nevertheless, the text was completely readable & the Table of Contents still worked.

Be Well

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Has the Crash Already Started?


Let me state up front, I'm not an economist or monetary theorist, or anything of that sort.  I rely upon a wide variety of those people (their writings & interviews) for information; that variety stretches all across the political spectrum.  This is not a "Right-Left" issue.  Also, any conclusion from anyone regarding an economic crash really is nothing more than an educated guess; no one knows for certain (despite what they might say) until after the fact.  Nevertheless, things are not looking good, as follows.

1.  China already has started dumping the dollar.
2.  Japan (one of our staunchest allies) is setting up a currency swap agreement with Russia...totally by-passing the dollar.  Trade between those countries will be in rubles and yen.
3.  Several other Asian countries are setting up currency swap agreements amongst themselves...totally by-passing the dollar.
4.  The BRICS countries have launched their own development bank.
5.  China and Australia have set up a currency swap agreement...by-passing the dollar.
6.  India and Japan have done the same.
7.  China has set up currency swap agreements with several countries.
It seems clear that many countries are sick & tired of the U.S. Govt's Financial & NeoImperalist Hegemony.  This could very well mean the end of world reserve currency status for the dollar.

In addition---

1.  All the analysts I've read or heard agree that stocks & bonds here are highly overvalued; to a slightly lesser degree, so is real estate.  These same analysts say that the Fed Reserve has been propping up the financial & real estate assets for years with QE and essentially ZERO % interest rates, but now the Fed basically is out of tricks.  If they raise rates to where they should be, the Recession will slide into a full-blown Depression; if they don't, the Asset Bubble will burst...as all bubbles eventually do.
2.  The Fed Reserve is monetizing our debt.  Since the Crash of 2008, it's the Fed who has been buying the majority of U.S. Treasury Bonds.  Foreign gov'ts no longer are as interested in financing our debt as they once were.  Monetizing our debt is not sustainable.
3.  As stated in a previous post, the prices of gold and silver (to a lesser degree) are being manipulated by Mega Banks and Mega Hedge Funds in order to give the dollar the appearance of being strong.  Some evidence suggests that Gov'ts also are involved in this price manipulation.  Keeping the prices low via manipulation of the Futures Market is a priority for the Oligarchs.
4.  The real unemployment rate in the USA is estimated to be somewhere around 20%, not the 5.X% reported by the Gov't & the Corporate Media.
5.  Most of the money pumped to banks via QE is either still sitting in the banks OR it was invested in no-job-producing ventures, such as foreign currencies, bizarre financial derivatives, physical gold, and physical silver...as well as the Futures Market.  Put simply, the Fed saved the Mega Banks rather than the economy.
6.  The Global Debt Bubble now is about $200 trillion...and ready to burst.
7.  It's estimated that the Financial Derivatives Bubble is about $1.25 quadrillion... a bomb that may or may not eventually explode.

None of the above is good news.  The global economy appears to be imploding.

Even if the dollar's world reserve currency status ends, though it would collapse our economy, it wouldn't be the end of the world (so to speak); however, the road to recovery would be long and extremely difficult.  A few analysts are predicting that we will be bartering in commerce for a time; I think that could happen, but it's not for certain.  Nevertheless, just to be safe, I see a few things that people would be wise to do.
1.  Get out of any MEGA Bank, ASAP.  As pointed out in a previous post, in the event of a crisis they will be BAILED-IN.  Your money will be confiscated..."legally".  That's according to the latest G-20 Agreement signed by President Obama...late last year.
2.  Keep some amount of ready cash stored at home...or somewhere nearby & always accessible.
3.  As much as you can, accumulate some amount of commodities*** (including food) that might be used for trade.  That's not to say you need to go to the extremes of some of the "Preppers" out there, but it seems prudent to position yourself so that you could survive for at least a few months.  IF there is a huge Crash, it might take that long (or longer) to get some sort of monetary system up & running...some consumer liquidity in place.
***Commodities for barter would include:  OTC medicines, water filters, food seeds, long shelf-life foods, firewood, toiletries, gasoline & oil, silver, common calibers of ammunition, various tools (hoe, shovel, etc.), warm clothing, solar energy components (if possible), fresh produce (if possible), blankets, alcoholic beverages, & yes, even tobacco, food animals if possible (chickens, goats, etc.), & others.  Pick & choose.  Some, such as seeds, toiletries & water filters, take up little space.  [I suspect that I've missed some of the best items for bartering...do some research on your own.]

I realize all this sounds rather pessimistic.  I see it as being realistic.  Many economists, monetary theorists, money/portfolio managers, financial analysts, etc. agree that we are facing the distinct possibility of a major financial/economic Crash much worse than 2008 sometime relatively soon.  Some of them predict no later than the end of 2016.  These people span the entire political spectrum, so I don't believe this is political, partisan propaganda.  Most of the works I've studied are not by people selling gold or silver...or anything else, not even a book.  That suggests we should pay attention to what they're saying.  Again, though, remember that it's all an educated, best guess.  No matter what they say, none of this is guaranteed to happen.  Nevertheless, it very well could happen.  As the Boy Scouts say, "Be Prepared".

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Craziest 9-11 Conspiracy Theory...The One We Accepted


9-11 will be here shortly; perhaps we briefly should reflect upon it.  I'm talking about the one that happened in the USA, not in Chile in 1973 (that one essentially was engineered by Henry Kissinger).  I'm no expert in these matters, but I do have a Science background (both academic & practical) and am thoroughly familiar with the Scientific Method of Inquiry.  The paragraph immediately below summarizes the craziest 9-11 conspiracy theory I've seen thus far...

Nineteen losers armed with box-cutters conspired to outwit & outmaneuver the entire U.S. Gov't Defense, Intelligence, & Security apparatus...and were successful.  Now that's a doozie of a theory.  Every poll I've seen indicates that slightly more than half of American adults no longer believe it.

I'm not going to re-hash all the contradictions in that theory.  We've all seen them in documentaries and/or read about them in articles and books...ad infinitum.  Much of the information was from reputable individuals or teams, both in the fields of Science and the Military.  Most likely, none of us ever will know the full story of what happened (and why, and how) on our 9-11...but I'm relatively sure about one thing--- the Govt's version of the story really stinks.

Some people appear to believe there are only two choices relative to an explanation of what happened.  According to them, either it's the way the Gov't described it OR our Gov't did it.  Either one of those could be true, but those certainly are not the only choices.  Please, think.  There are probably at least a dozen other logical possibilities (not necessarily probabilities).  Here's just one, as follows.

A few people, some high-ranking military or ex-military and police, claim that the Israeli Mossad somehow was involved.  There is a little evidence supporting that hypothesis, but it is far from being conclusive.  Before you completely poo-poo the idea, however, consider this.  In the 1940's, the Brits essentially were driven out of British Palestine due to the terrorism perpetrated by the Jewish Irgun (founded in 1931 by a group of Haganah commanders).  The well respected Menachem Begin was Commander of the Irgun (which split from the Haganah) and ordered armed resistance to the Brits...including the bombing of the King David Hotel.  Brit Military Headquarters were there.  [One country's "Terrorist" is another country's "Freedom Fighter".]  To this very day, two things generally are recognized about the State of Israel & its leaders:  they are masters of Black Ops; and they will do anything to protect their State.  I'm not necessarily denigrating them for that, rather just stating what many consider absolute facts.  Though not proof of anything, it's also true that Israel has benefitted greatly post-9-11.

I don't know exactly who was responsible for our 9-11, but it should be obvious that the investigation (though appearing otherwise) was badly flawed---from start to finish.  IF the Fed Gov't (at the highest levels) did pull the wool over our eyes regarding 9-11, that's tragic; but what's also tragic is that they do it regarding mega bankers, the economy, employment, health care, war, monetary policy, fiscal policy, elections, and on & on.  It's known as "molding the public mind" via Edward Bernays style Propaganda.  Both public & private Oligarchs consider it an absolute necessity in a "democracy".

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

BOYCOTT Mega Banks


Shortly after WW II, the Financial Sector made up about 3% of the U.S. economy.  Today it's just under 10%, but accounts for more than 30% of all corporate profits in this country.  In the past, we had Finance Capitalism in this Land (relative to the Financial Sector).  Banks, especially large ones, served a useful function by financing businesses and their expansions...thus creating new jobs.  Now we have Casino Capitalism.  Large banks put their (and your) money into bizarre financial derivatives and bets in the Futures markets.  Estimates vary, but approximately $1.25 quadrillion in derivatives now are out in the marketplace.  That amount is many times more than the GDP of the entire world.  That's insanity, and puts us all at risk.  Worst of all, that activity does not finance new businesses, expand old ones, or create any jobs.

On top of that, at the G-20 Meeting late last year, new rules were promulgated allowing 30 mega, international banks to be "Bailed-In" in the case of a financial crisis.  That means those banks can appropriate the funds in YOUR accounts if they get into trouble.  They simply seize your money.  Supposedly then, FDIC Insurance bails you out...covers your losses, or more accurately, the theft of your money by the bank.  Unfortunately, the FDIC "kitty" is only about $46 billion, while the deposits covered are in the trillions.  The Fed Reserve could conjure-up the difference, but might not because that would make the dollar even weaker during an ongoing Crisis.  [By the way, G-20 Rules are not a Treaty.  The only approval necessary is that of the Executive Branch.]  The new rules don't specify "depositors" or "bank customers", but rather the bank's "creditors".  The largest bunch of creditors a bank has is made up of its depositors (customers).  Whether you know it or not, every time you deposit money in a bank you are loaning that money to the bank.  Your checkbook or savings book is the bank's I.O.U.  So in those transactions, you are one of the bank's creditors.  According to the G-20, your funds now can be appropriated by the bank if that bank is in crisis.

You might ask, how can this be?  The G-20 was formed after the last Crisis and created a Financial Stability Board...a "financial regulator".  They make the rules, and the G-20 leaders (of countries) usually go along automatically.  Whether they fully understand the rules or not, leaders such as our President sign on the dotted line...with no approval of Congress.  Needless to say, the process is in no way democratic.

Coupled with all of the above, in the last few years several mega banks (the corporations, not individual executives) have admitted to criminal manipulation of foreign currency exchanges, civil sub-prime mortgage fraud, other frauds, and of course, there was the Barclay's Bank LIBOR interest rate scandal.  Some analysts have described these new moguls of Finance as thinking of themselves as Financial Gods and Masters of the Universe.  Their hubris is incredible.  They all need to be taken down about 100 notches.

You might ask, so what, what effect can I have on these conceited "investment" bankers?  I would say, plenty.  We could have a great effect if all or most (or even many) of us would boycott mega banks... ASAP.  With the elimination of Glass-Steagall by Bill Clinton, Repubs, & Dems, the conceited mega bankers can & do gamble with your money.  If their bets go radically wrong, they now can (with the blessing of the G-20) simply seize any money you have in their bank.  Get out of all mega banks, NOW.  Patronize your local bank; they'll be more than happy to have you as a customer.  If at all possible, cut up your credit cards issued by mega banks.  They borrow money for as low as POINT 25 percent (.25%) interest.  What do they charge you?  Credit cards are a racket.

The so-called "investment" banks are not that for the most part...not anymore.  These mega banks are gambling in the stock market on Futures and Derivatives.  Their (& your) money goes into foreign currencies, foreign capital investments, derivatives, and other no-job-creating ventures.  They are gambling not only with individual depositor funds, but also with pension funds, and those of cities and counties.  They sometimes bet against their own customers.  They don't even especially care about the bank for which they work...it's all about getting rich quick, or richer.  Financial analysts, meaning those who study the Financial Sector, mostly all agree that (in general) mega banks are parasites on our economy.  We really have two separate economies in this country:  the one representing & serving most of us; and the one representing & serving the mega banking Oligarchy.  They are vastly different.  When the highest levels of our Gov't report that things are improving in our economy, they aren't talking about the economy in which most of us find ourselves.

Mega banks should be broken up.  They are parasites on the rest of us.
BOYCOTT them.  Start now...for the sake of future generations, start now.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Oligarchs Are Trembling on Several Fronts


Open to anyone who knows how to do "library" research, public sources are revealing at a rapid rate how/why the Oligarchs (public & private) are getting extremely worried.  I don't have the time or energy to delineate all their areas of concern, but here are a few.

1.  Guatemala---
There is a peaceful, popular uprising going on there right now.  For the time being, its focus is on corruption in the Gov't, a gov't backed by the highest levels of the USA Gov't.  The worry is that if the Guatemalan Gov't topples, focus then may shift to the dark deeds of the current President back when he was a CIA operative, a Colonel & later a General in the Guatemalan Army & Intelligence Service, and led Death Squads which slaughtered Mayan people in Guatemala.  The pretense for the slaughter was that the Mayans were the Boogie-Men of Choice back then, communists.  This was all fully backed by the U.S. Gov't. & Reagan.

The Fed Gov't here has had Guatemala as a pet project ever since the early 1950's, when Edward Bernays was hired to develop & implement his unique style of propaganda falsely showing that the democratically elected President of Guatemala was a Communist.  The guy wasn't a Communist, but he was overthrown.  The old United Fruit Company then essentially ran Guatemala for years & years.  Now we have the corrupt President of Guatemala, the Oligarch Molina (the former Death Squad Colonel), being propped up by the Obama Administration.  Public and private Oligarchs always are concerned when it looks as though some Populist movement may be successful in installing a genuinely democratic government.  I say "genuinely" because simply having elections doesn't guarantee a democracy.

2.  Black Monday---
 Monday, August 24, 2015 the Wall Street Market opened and lost 1,000 points in short order.  It recovered about half of that by day's end, but Wall Streeters and the Fed Gov't were shaken to the core.  The President's Working Group on Markets (or some similar title, can't remember), the so-called "Plunge Protection Team", made valiant efforts to help...largely to no avail.  The Fed Reserve, part of the Team, did what it could but with little effect.  The Corporate Media presently are claiming that the situation is now essentially back to normal...but that the Market remains "volatile".

Volatile, indeed.  According to several reputable analysts (e.g., Paul Craig Roberts and James Rickards), the Stock Market has been enjoying an "Asset Bubble" that is propped up by the Fed Reserve...and the Ponzi Party is almost over.  What the Oligarchs are worried about is as follows:  1. the elephant in the room--- the Bubble of the $1.25 quadrillion worth of bizarre financial derivatives floating around out in the marketplace,  2. the gargantuan amounts of currency being pumped into the world monetary system, and 3. loss of confidence in the dollar.  The number one priority of any U.S. Administration is to preserve the perception that the dollar is strong.

3.  The Exposure of Gold Price Manipulation---
Revelations of this manipulation have become more numerous recently.  Not only are central banks, mega commercial banks, and mega Hedge Funds manipulating the price of gold (keeping it from rising), but now (according to James Rickards & others) the evidence strongly suggests that the highest levels of governments---including the USA---also are involved.  [This is not news to those intimately involved in the gold market.]  The demand for physical gold is through the roof, so much so that the available supply is almost completely dry.  That means the price should be through the roof as well, but (given today's inflated dollar), it's not.  Hmmm.  Oligarchs need to keep the price of gold relatively low because a high price indicates that the dollar is weak.  That's the very last perception the Oligarchy wants out in the world.

Along with the idea above, the Oligarchs are worried that their "Recovery" Propaganda is failing.  It's becoming more obvious every day that we still are in a recession...and that a depression may be close at hand.  Some analysts claim that the coming economic collapse will make the 1930's look like a picnic.  I don't believe that any prognosticator can say such a thing with any degree of certainty; nevertheless, even I can see that things are not looking good.  Despite what our Gov't reports, unemployment is relatively high, quality jobs are evaporating while inferior jobs proliferate, the prices of goods & services steadily are creeping up, Wall Street remains a giant casino, wages essentially continue their 30-year stagnation, the 700% rise in income (over 30 yrs) for the upper crust continues, "Free Trade" Agreements on steroids (which offshore manufacturing & jobs) are being pursued by Repubs & Dems, and many of the WORKING poor still qualify for public assistance programs.  The Corporate Media say that the "Recovery" still is "fragile".  It should be obvious that there is no Recovery.  We're still in a recession...and sliding rapidly into a depression.  Of course, that only applies to the Poor and Middle Classes.  The Oligarchs (the top 1%, or some say, the top one-tenth of 1%) are doing just fine.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well