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19 марта 2013, 19:07

Iraq After Ten Years

Dr. Paul Craig RobertsActivist Post Ten years ago today the Bush regime invaded Iraq. It is known that the justification for the invasion was a packet of lies orchestrated by the neoconservative Bush regime in order to deceive the United Nations and the American people. The US Secretary of State at that time, General Colin Powell, has expressed his regrets that he was used by the Bush regime to deceive the United Nations with fake intelligence that the Bush and Blair regimes knew to be fake. But the despicable presstitute media has not apologized to the American people for serving the corrupt Bush regime as its Ministry of Propaganda and Lies. It is difficult to discern which is the most despicable: the corrupt Bush regime, the presstitutes that enabled it, or the corrupt Obama regime that refuses to prosecute the Bush regime for its unambiguous war crimes, crimes against the US Constitution, crimes against US statutory law, and crimes against humanity.In his book, Cultures Of War, the distinguished historian John W. Dower observes that the concrete acts of war unleashed by the Japanese in the 20th century and the Bush imperial presidency in the 21st century “invite comparative analysis of outright war crimes like torture and other transgressions. Imperial Japan’s black deeds have left an indelible stain on the nation’s honor and good name, and it remains to be seen how lasting the damage to America’s reputation will be. In this regard, the Bush administration’s war planners are fortunate in having been able to evade formal and serious investigation remotely comparable to what the Allied powers pursued vis-a-vis Japan and Germany after World War II.” Dower quotes Arthur Schlesinger Jr.: “The president [Bush] has adopted a policy of ‘anticipatory self-defense’ that is alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy. Franklin D. Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy.” google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; Americans paid an enormous sum of money for the shame of living in infamy. Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes calculated that the Iraq war cost US taxpayers $3,000 billion dollars. This estimate might turn out to be optimistic. The latest study concludes that the war could end up costing US taxpayers twice as much. (Source) In order to pay for the profits that have flowed into the pockets of the US military-security complex and from there into political contributions, Americans are in danger of losing Social Security, Medicare, and the social cohesiveness that the social welfare system provides. The human cost to Iraq of America’s infamy is extraordinary: 4.5 million displaced Iraqis, as many as 1 million dead civilians leaving widows and orphans, a professional class that has departed the country, an infrastructure in ruins, and social cohesion destroyed by the Sunni-Shia conflict that was ignited by Washington’s destruction of the Saddam Hussein government. It is a sick joke that the United States government brought freedom and democracy to Iraq. What the Washington war criminals brought was death and the destruction of a country. The US population, for the most part, seems quite at ease with the gratuitous destruction of Iraq and all that it entails: children without parents, wives without husbands, birth defects from “depleted” uranium, unsafe water, a country without hope mired in sectarian violence.Washington’s puppet state governments in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Japan seem equally pleased with the victory–over what? What threat did the victory defeat? There was no threat. Weapons of mass destruction was a propaganda hoax. Mushroom clouds over American cities was fantasy propaganda. How ignorant do populations have to be to fall for such totally transparent propaganda? Is there no intelligence anywhere in the Western world? At a recent conference the neoconservatives responsible for the deaths and ruined lives of millions and for the trillions of dollars that their wars piled on US national debt were unrepentant and full of self-justification. While Washington looks abroad for evil to slay, evil is concentrated in Washington itself. The American war criminals walk about unmolested. They are paid large sums of money to make speeches about how Americans are bringing freedom and democracy to the world by invading, bombing and murdering people. The War Crimes Tribunal has not issued arrest warrants. The US Department of State, which is still hunting for Nazi war criminals, has not kidnapped the American ones and sent them to be tried at the Hague. The Americans who suffered are the 4,801 troops who lost their lives, the thousands of troops who lost limbs and suffer from other permanent wounds, the tens of thousands who suffer from post-traumatic stress and from the remorse of killing innocent people, the families and friends of the American troops, and the broken marriages and single-parent children from the war stress. Other Americans have suffered on the home front. Those whose moral conscience propelled them to protest the war were beaten and abused by police, investigated and harassed by the FBI, and put on no-fly lists. Some might actually be prosecuted. The United States has reached the point where any citizen who has a moral conscience is an enemy of the state. The persecution of Bradley Manning demonstrates this truth. A case could be made that the historians’ comparison of the Bush regime with Japanese war criminals doesn’t go far enough. By this October 7, Washington will have been killing people, mainly women, children, and village elders, in Afghanistan for 12 years. No one knows why America has brought such destruction to the Afghan people. First the Soviets; then the Americans. What is the difference? When Obama came into the presidency, he admitted that no one knew what the US military mission was in Afghanistan. We still don’t know. The best guess is profits for the US armaments industry, power for the Homeland Security industry, and a police state for the insouciant US population. Washington has left Libya in ruins and internal conflict. There is no government, but it is not libertarian nirvana. The incessant illegal drone attacks on Pakistani civilians is radicalizing elements of Pakistan and provoking civil war against the Pakistani government, which is owned by Washington and permits Washington’s murder of its citizens in exchange for Washington’s money payments to the political elites who have sold out their country to Washington. Washington has destabilized Syria and destroyed the peace that the Assad family had imposed on the Islamic sects. Syria seems fated to be reduced to ruins and permanent violence like Libya and Iraq. Washington is at work killing people in Yemen. As the video released to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning shows, some US troops don’t care who they kill–journalists and civilians walking peacefully along a street, a father and his children who stop to help the wounded. As long as someone is killed, it doesn’t matter who. Killing is winning. The US invaded Somalia, has its French puppets militarily involved in Mali, and perhaps has Sudan in its crosshairs for drones and missiles. Iran and Lebanon are designated as the next victims of Washington’s aggression.Washington protects Israeli aggression against the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon from UN censure and from embargoes. Washington has arrested and imprisoned people who have sent aid to the Palestinian children. Gaza, declares Washington which regards itself as the only fount of truth, is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist organization according to Washington. Thus any aid to Gaza is aid to terrorism. Aide to starving and ill Palestinian children is support of terrorism. This is the logic of an inhumane war criminal state. What is this aggression against Muslims about? The Soviet Union collapsed and Washington needed a new enemy to keep the US military/security complex in power and profits. The neoconservatives, who totally dominated the Bush regime and might yet dominate the Obama regime declared Muslims in the Middle East to be the enemy. Against this make-believe “enemy,” the US launched wars of aggression that are war crimes under the US imposed Nuremberg standard that was applied to the defeated WWII Germans. Although the British and French started World War II by declaring war on Germany, it was Germans, defeated by the Red Army, who were tried by Washington as war criminals for starting a war. A number of serious historians have reached the conclusion that America’s war crimes, with the fire-bombings of the civilian populations of Dresden and Tokyo and the gratuitous nuclear attacks on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are of the same cloth as the war crimes of Hitler and the Japanese. The difference is that the winners paint the defeated in the blackest tones and themselves in high moral tones. Honest historians know that there is not much difference between US WWII war crimes and those of the Japanese and Germans. But the US was on the winning side. google_ad_client = "ca-pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 7/28/12 */ google_ad_slot = "9833874419"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; By its gratuitous murder of Muslims in seven or eight countries, Washington has ignited a Muslim response: bitter hatred of the United States. This response is termed “terrorism” by Washington and the war against terrorism serves as a source of endless profits for the military complex and for a police state to “protect” Americans from terrorism, but not from the terrorism of their own government. The bulk of the American population is too misinformed to catch on, and the few who do understand and are attempting to warn others will be silenced. The 21st century will be one of the worst centuries in human history. All over the Western world, liberty is dying. The legacy of “the war on terror” is the death of liberty.This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts' new website Institute For Political Economy.  Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. 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19 марта 2013, 02:37

Iraq After Ten Years — Paul Craig Roberts

March 19, 2013. Ten years ago today the Bush regime invaded Iraq. It is known that the justification for the invasion was a packet of lies orchestrated by the neoconservative Bush regime in order to deceive the United Nations and the American people. The US Secretary of State at that time, General Colin Powell, has expressed his regrets that he was used by the Bush regime to deceive the United Nations with fake intelligence that the Bush and Blair regimes knew to be fake. But the despicable presstitute media has not apologized to the American people for serving the corrupt Bush regime as its Ministry of Propaganda and Lies. It is difficult to discern which is the most despicable, the corrupt Bush regime, the presstitutes that enabled it, or the corrupt Obama regime that refuses to prosecute the Bush regime for its unambiguous war crimes, crimes against the US Constitution, crimes against US statutory law, and crimes against humanity. In his book, Cultures Of War, the distinguished historian John W. Dower observes that the concrete acts of war unleashed by the Japanese in the 20th century and the Bush imperial presidency in the 21st century “invite comparative analysis of outright war crimes like torture and other transgressions. Imperial Japan’s black deeds have left an indelible stain on the nation’s honor and good name, and it remains to be seen how lasting the damage to America’s reputation will be. In this regard, the Bush administration’s war planners are fortunate in having been able to evade formal and serious investigation remotely comparable to what the Allied powers pursued vis-a-vis Japan and Germany after World War II.” Dower quotes Arthur Schlesinger Jr.: “The president [Bush] has adopted a policy of ‘anticipatory self-defense’ that is alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy. Franklin D. Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy.” Americans paid an enormous sum of money for the shame of living in infamy. Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes calculated that the Iraq war cost US taxpayers $3,000 billion dollars. This estimate might turn out to be optimistic. The latest study concludes that the war could end up costing US taxpayers twice as much. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/14/iraq-war-anniversary-idUSL1N0C5FBN20130314 In order to pay for the profits that have flowed into the pockets of the US military-security complex and from there into political contributions, Americans are in danger of losing Social Security, Medicare, and the social cohesiveness that the social welfare system provides. The human cost to Iraq of America’s infamy is extraordinary: 4.5 million displaced Iraqis, as many as 1 million dead civilians leaving widows and orphans, a professional class that has departed the country, an infrastructure in ruins, and social cohesion destroyed by the Sunni-Shia conflict that was ignited by Washington’s destruction of the Saddam Hussein government. It is a sick joke that the United States government brought freedom and democracy to Iraq. What the Washington war criminals brought was death and the destruction of a country. The US population, for the most part, seems quite at ease with the gratuitous destruction of Iraq and all that it entails: children without parents, wives without husbands, birth defects from “depleted” uranium, unsafe water, a country without hope mired in sectarian violence. Washington’s puppet state governments in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Japan seem equally pleased with the victory–over what? What threat did the victory defeat? There was no threat. Weapons of mass destruction was a propaganda hoax. Mushroom clouds over American cities was fantasy propaganda. How ignorant do populations have to be to fall for such totally transparent propaganda? Is there no intelligence anywhere in the Western world? At a recent conference the neoconservatives responsible for the deaths and ruined lives of millions and for the trillions of dollars that their wars piled on US national debt were unrepentant and full of self-justification. While Washington looks abroad for evil to slay, evil is concentrated in Washington itself. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/still-peddling-iraq-war-myths-ten-years-later-8227 The American war criminals walk about unmolested. They are paid large sums of money to make speeches about how Americans are bringing freedom and democracy to the world by invading, bombing and murdering people. The War Crimes Tribunal has not issued arrest warrants. The US Department of State, which is still hunting for Nazi war criminals, has not kidnapped the American ones and sent them to be tried at the Hague. The Americans who suffered are the 4,801 troops who lost their lives, the thousands of troops who lost limbs and suffer from other permanent wounds, the tens of thousands who suffer from post-traumatic stress and from the remorse of killing innocent people, the families and friends of the American troops, and the broken marriages and single-parent children from the war stress. Other Americans have suffered on the home front. Those whose moral conscience propelled them to protest the war were beaten and abused by police, investigated and harassed by the FBI, and put on no-fly lists. Some might actually be prosecuted. The Unites States has reached the point where any citizen who has a moral conscience is an enemy of the state. The persecution of Bradley Manning demonstrates this truth. A case could be made that the historians’ comparison of the Bush regime with Japanese war criminals doesn’t go far enough. By this October 7, Washington will have been killing people, mainly women, children, and village elders, in Afghanistan for 12 years. No one knows why America has brought such destruction to the Afghan people. First the Soviets; then the Americans. What is the difference? When Obama came into the presidency, he admitted that no one knew what the US military mission was in Afghanistan. We still don’t know. The best guess is profits for the US armaments industry, power for the Homeland Security industry, and a police state for the insouciant US population. Washington has left Libya in ruins and internal conflict. There is no government, but it is not libertarian nirvana. The incessant illegal drone attacks on Pakistani civilians is radicalizing elements of Pakistan and provoking civil war against the Pakistani government, which is owned by Washington and permits Washington’s murder of its citizens in exchange for Washington’s money payments to the political elites who have sold out their country to Washington. Washington has destabilized Syria and destroyed the peace that the Assad family had imposed on the Islamic sects. Syria seems fated to be reduced to ruins and permanent violence like Libya and Iraq. Washington is at work killing people in Yemen. As the video released to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning shows, some US troops don’t care who they kill–journalists and civilians walking peacefully along a street, a father and his children who stop to help the wounded. As long as someone is killed, it doesn’t matter who. Killing is winning. The US invaded Somalia, has its French puppets militarily involved in Mali, and perhaps has Sudan in its crosshairs for drones and missiles. Iran and Lebanon are designated as the next victims of Washington’s aggression. Washington protects Israeli aggression against the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon from UN censure and from embargoes. Washington has arrested and imprisoned people who have sent aid to the Palestinian children. Gaza, declares Washington which regards itself as the only fount of truth, is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist organization according to Washington. Thus any aid to Gaza is aid to terrorism. Aide to starving and ill Palestinian children is support of terrorism. This is the logic of an inhumane war criminal state. What is this aggression against Muslims about? The Soviet Union collapsed and Washington needed a new enemy to keep the US military/security complex in power and profits. The neoconservatives, who totally dominated the Bush regime and might yet dominate the Obama regime declared Muslims in the Middle East to be the enemy. Against this make-believe “enemy,” the US launched wars of aggression that are war crimes under the US imposed Nuremberg standard that was applied to the defeated WWII Germans. Although the British and French started World War II by declaring war on Germany, it was Germans, defeated by the Red Army, who were tried by Washington as war criminals for starting a war. A number of serious historians have reached the conclusion that America’s war crimes, with the fire-bombings of the civilian populations of Dresden and Tokyo and the gratuitous nuclear attacks on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are of the same cloth as the war crimes of Hitler and the Japanese. The difference is that the winners paint the defeated in the blackest tones and themselves in high moral tones. Honest historians know that there is not much difference between US WWII war crimes and those of the Japanese and Germans. But the US was on the winning side. By its gratuitous murder of Muslims in seven or eight countries, Washington has ignited a Muslim response: bitter hatred of the United States. This response is termed “terrorism” by Washington and the war against terrorism serves as a source of endless profits for the military complex and for a police state to “protect” Americans from terrorism, but not from the terrorism of their own government. The bulk of the American population is too misinformed to catch on, and the few who do understand and are attempting to warn others will be silenced. The 21st century will be one of the worst centuries in human history. All over the Western world, liberty is dying. The legacy of “the war on terror” is the death of liberty. The post Iraq After Ten Years — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

24 января 2013, 03:42

Guest Post: Apparitions In The Fog

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog, After digesting the opinions of the shills, shysters and scam artists, I am ready to predict that I have no clue what will happen during 2013. The weekend weather last week was a perfect analogy for attempting to forecast the future. The professional highly educated meteorologists predicted sunny warm weather, just as the PhD Wall Street paid economist mouthpieces assure the multitudes 2013 will be the year when zero interest rates and $1.2 trillion deficits will finally lead to sunny economic skies. Instead, the weekend was overcast and damp. As I was writing this article and watching the miraculous Baltimore Ravens comeback against Denver, I received a two minute warning from my wife. I had to pick up my son and his buddies at the Montgomery Mall. As I pulled the car out of the garage, I backed out into fog that was thicker than pea soup. I’ve driven the roads to the Montgomery Mall hundreds of times, but the fog was so thick I couldn’t see ten feet ahead. I drove hesitantly, wondering what might be just over the horizon or what might dart out from a side street. I see 2013 as a year of maneuvering through thick fog with startling apparitions lurking to surprise us and force a deviation in our normal course. As I proceeded cautiously through the murky mist there were few cars on the roads and the strip centers and fast food joints resembled haunted houses and grave yards. I expected to see Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and Wolfman panhandling on the corners. The fog of uncertainty is engulfing the nation, making consumers hesitant to spend and businesses reluctant to hire or invest. It was like being in a commercial real estate horror film, with SPACE AVAILABLE, NOW LEASING, and STORE CLOSING signs startling me everywhere I turned. The trip took a spooky turn as I passed branches of those zombie banks – Bank of America and Citigroup. They don’t even know they’re already dead. I finally arrived at the Mall passing thousands of empty parking spaces with a few cars huddled close to the zombie starring in Night of the Retailing Dead – Sears. In the miasma, the few visitors appeared to be automaton like consumers programmed to shuffle through the mall and buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have. To say the road ahead for this country in 2013 is foggy would be an epic understatement. Let’s hope it doesn’t have a Nightmare on Elm Street like ending. Virtually all of the mainstream media, Wall Street banks and paid shill economists are in agreement that 2013 will see improvement in employment, housing, retail spending and, of course the only thing that matters to the ruling class, the stock market. Even among the alternative media, there seems to be a consensus that we will continue to muddle through and the day of reckoning is still a few years off. Those who are predicting improvements are either ignorant of history or are being paid to predict improvement, despite the overwhelming evidence of a worsening economic climate. The mainstream media pundits, fulfilling their assigned task of purveying feel good propaganda, use the 10% stock market gain in 2012 as proof of economic recovery. The facts prove otherwise: Real GDP, using a dramatically understated inflation rate, has barely grown by 1% in 2012. Using a true measure of inflation, the GDP was -2% during 2012. Even this pitiful growth was generated by 0% interest rate deals for subprime auto loans through Ally Financial (85% owned by you the taxpayer) and 7 year 0% home furnishing financing deals through GE Capital and the other government subsidized Too Big To Control Wall Street banks. The Federal government chipped in by guaranteeing FHA subsidized 3% down payment loans on houses and handing out billions in loans to students so they can find themselves, keep the unemployment rate down, get drunk, and if they graduate – enter debt servitude for decades. The number of people who have left the workforce since last December (2.2 million) almost matched the number of newly employed (2.4 million), as the labor participation rate has collapsed to a three decade low of 63.6%. The propagandists attempt to peddle this dreadful condition as a function of Baby Boomers retiring. This is obliterated by the fact the 55 to 69 age bracket has added 4 million jobs since Obama became president, while the younger age brackets have lost 3 million jobs. The working age population has grown by 13 million since 2007 and there are 4 million less people employed. Another 1.5 million Americans were forced onto food stamps during 2012, bringing the total increase to 17 million since Obama assumed office. With 47.5 million depending on assistance to feed them, a full 20% of all households in the U.S. are dependent on this program, costing taxpayers $76 billion, versus $34 billion in 2008. Another 4.8 million have joined the ranks of the disabled since 2009, with a dramatic surge when the 99 week unemployment benefits began to run out. These trends are surely signs of recovery. Real average hourly earnings were flat in 2012, and have fallen 1.5% since Obama became president. The average middle class worker is making less than they were forty years ago. Using a true measure of inflation would reveal the true devastation wrought on the middle class. As the things we need (food, energy, shelter, education, healthcare) have grown more expensive and the things we are brainwashed to buy (iGadgets, HDTVs, luxury autos, bling) by the masters of propaganda have been made easily accessible through credit, the middle class has enslaved themselves in chains of debt. The declining average wages since 1973 have forced families to have both spouses work outside the home, with the consequence of more divorces, children raised by strangers, and the proliferation of depressed human beings. The lost real income has been replaced by credit card, auto, mortgage, and student loan debt. The reason Bernanke, Geithner, Obama, Wall Street, corporate titans, and media pundits focus their attention on the stock market is because they are looking out for their fellow 1%ers. The working middle class, once the backbone of this country, own virtually no stocks. The 88% stock market increase since March 2009 hasn’t benefitted the middle class one iota. The Federal Reserve engineered stock market recovery has benefitted moneyed bankers and wealthy corporate executives, the very people who collapsed the worldwide financial system and received the bailouts when they should have gone to jail. Those who continue to tout a non-existent economic recovery have focused on the manufactured stock market and housing recovery, extrapolating those trends without understanding how it has been achieved. A master plan implemented through the collusion of the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Executive branch, Wall Street cabal, and corporate media conglomerates has created the illusion of recovery. Make no mistake about it, those in power held clandestine meetings and had covert discussions that will never see the light of day in transcripts or recordings. They developed a strategy to save themselves, their fellow cronies, and the corporate interests that run this country. They threw the middle class, senior citizens, and young people under the bus in their sordid determination to retain their power, wealth and control. Their multi-faceted scheme has been rolled out as follows: Reduce interest rates to 0% so Wall Street banks could borrow for free and reinvest in Treasuries, therefore earning risk free profits so they could rebuild their non-existent capital. The Wall Street banks also used the free money to generate trading profits using their HFT supercomputers, with only the occasional glitch (JP Morgan London Whale $9 billion slipup, Corzine blowing up his firm and stealing $1.2 billion from ranchers & farmers). The ability to borrow at 0% has spurred these financial institutions to make 0% loans to subprime auto buyers and offer 7 year 0% interest deals on behalf of furniture, electronics, and appliance retailers. This Keynesian solution is supposed to spur demand and generate new jobs. The reality is that Bernanke’s ZIRP has transferred $400 billion of annual interest income from savers and senior citizens to the Wall Street bankers, while setting the table for more massive bad debt write-offs when the millions of subprime borrowers default. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department forced the FASB to scrap mark to market accounting, allowing the Wall Street banks to fraudulently value their worthless assets. The Federal Reserve than tripled their balance sheet from $900 billion to $2.95 trillion by purchasing almost $1 trillion of toxic mortgage debt from the Wall Street banks at full face value of the debt. The Fed purchased Treasuries to artificially lower mortgage rates and attempt to spur a housing recovery. The Wall Street banks have purposely manipulated the foreclosure process and restricted the inventory of foreclosures available to purchase. In conjunction with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, large inventories of foreclosed properties have been sold in bulk to connected Wall Street firms at above market prices and positioned as rental properties. The FHA has done their part by guaranteeing 3% down payment mortgages and putting taxpayers on the hook for the billions in losses to come. Fannie and Freddie have already lost $200 billion of taxpayer money since 2008 on behalf of the Wall Street banks. The concerted effort to restrict the supply of homes available for sale resulted in the price of homes sold rising in 2012. Those in power are attempting to resuscitate the millions of heavily indebted underwater home occupiers at the expense of the young and frugal who would buy when home prices dropped to a clearing level. The same people who created the first housing bubble are attempting to re-inflate it as a solution to our economic woes. Despite the fact that individual investors have pulled billions out of the stock market over the last three years, the stock market has managed to approach all-time highs. This has been the lynchpin of their plan. The sole purpose of every QE initiated by Bernanke has been to elevate the stock market. Academics like Bernanke and Krugman sell the “wealth effect” storyline to the masses as a way to spur consumer spending. The only wealth effect is to shift the wealth of the working middle class to the ruling class who own the stocks and control the markets. As each QE has further enriched the 1%, the inflationary impact on energy, food, and clothing has destroyed the lives of millions in the middle class who own virtually no stocks. The gap between the uber-rich ruling class and the peasants has never been wider. The master plan has succeeded in delaying the worst of the Crisis, further enriching the oligarchs, further impoverishing the middle class, fanning the flames of revolution across the globe, provoking foreign adversaries, inciting anger among the populace and darkening the mood of the country. Those predicting a return to the peaceful autumn like days of the late 90s reveal their ignorance of history. Winter is here and there are many dark days ahead before Spring is discernible. The linear thinking crowd who hang their hats on never ending progress spurred by technological innovation and a limitless supply of cheap resources are denying reality. Delusion and hope for a better tomorrow is not a strategy. We have entered the 5th year of this ongoing Crisis. Fourth Turnings do not fizzle out; they build to a societal earth shattering crescendo (American Revolution, Civil War, Great Depression/WWII). Economic, financial, social and global conditions do not progress during a twenty year Crisis period, driven by the generational configuration that arises once every 80 years. An epic struggle between good and evil, rich and poor, government and governed, young and old, nation and nation, awaits us over the next fifteen years. No matter what happens in 2013, it will be driven by the core elements of this Crisis – Debt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder. “In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe -1996 Until Debt Do Us Part The storyline of austerity and deleveraging perpetuated through the mainstream media mouthpieces is unequivocally false, as consumer debt has reached an all-time high of $2.77 trillion, driven by a surge in subprime auto loans and subprime student loans. The reason for the surge in these loans, while credit card debt lingers 15% below the 2008 peak, is because the Federal Government is doling out these loans with your tax dollars. Ally Financial (aka GMAC, aka Ditech) is under the complete control of the Federal Government and doesn’t care about future losses. The taxpayers won’t notice another $1 billion in losses. There are Cadillac Escalades, Silverados and RAM pickups to peddle to morons without money. Could there be a more subprime borrower than a 20 year old majoring in African literature or a 40 year old former construction worker enrolled at the University of Phoenix with 500,000 other schmoes? The Federal government assumed control over the student loan market in 2009 and has proceeded to blow a new bubble. They have driven tuition higher and enabled millions of barely functioning morons to enter college, where they will not only fail, but also be burdened by un-payable levels of non-dischargeable debt. Now the government solution is to pass those bad debts onto you the taxpayer while encouraging even more debt for students. Here is an assessment of the new “Pay as you Earn” program from your owners: “(BusinessWeek) We have one example of someone who might look similar to an MBA student. He starts out with a starting salary of $90,000 and by the end of 20 years is making $243,360. Under the old IBR program, he’ll have paid $409,445 by year 25 and be forgiven $23,892 of his loan balance. Under the new IBR repayment plan he’ll pay less than half of that, or $202,299, and be forgiven $208,259 by year 20. The old IBR plan was punitive if you borrowed a lot of money, made you pay more over time and trapped you, so there were serious consequences to doing that. It was a downside and a pretty big risk, which is why you didn’t see people borrowing without regard to how much it will cost. The new plan essentially eliminates any downside or risk for that type of behavior, and cuts payments in half and then some.” The enslavement of our children in student loan debt and handing them the bill for $200 trillion of unfunded entitlement liabilities will be the spark that ignites the worst part of this Crisis. Those in power realized very quickly that without continued credit growth, their entire corrupt, repugnant, fiat currency based debt system would implode and they would lose all of their fraudulently acquired wealth. That is why total credit market debt is at an all-time high of $56 trillion, and 350% of GDP. The National Debt of $16.5 trillion is now 103% of GDP, well beyond the Rogoff & Reinhart level of 90% that always leads to economic crisis and turmoil. As Wall Street bankers acted like lemmings leading up to the 2008 financial collapse the famous July 2007 quote from Charles Prince, CEO of Citigroup, summed it up nicely: “When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing,” Now central bankers across the globe are dancing an Irish Jig. Every major central banker in the world is lemmingly following Bernanke’s lead and printing money at hyper-speed. The Europeans have surpassed the Japanese in their quest to become the first casualty in the coming debt collapse. Bernanke, in his quest to not be outdone, has committed to taking his balance sheet to 25% of GDP within the next year. Japan has vowed not to be outdone. The currency debasement race is gathering steam. The devastation, anger, resentment and ultimately war caused by these bankers will engulf the world when it reaches its apocalyptic ending.    Will the grain of sand that collapses the pile be a debt ceiling crisis as postulated by Strauss & Howe? “An impasse over the federal budget reaches a stalemate. The president and Congress both refuse to back down, triggering a near-total government shutdown. The president declares emergency powers. Congress rescinds his authority. Dollar and bond prices plummet. The president threatens to stop Social Security checks. Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling. Default looms. Wall Street panics.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1996 I don’t think so. The Democrats and Republicans are playing their parts in this theater of the absurd. Neither party has any desire to cut spending, reduce our debt, or secure the future of unborn generations. In 2013, I see the following things happening related to our debt crisis: The debt ceiling will be raised as the toothless Republican Party vows to cut spending next time. The political hacks will create a 3,000 page document of triggers and create a committee to study the issue, with actual measures that slow the growth of annual spending by .000005% starting in 2017. The National Debt will increase by $1.25 trillion and debt to GDP will reach 106% by the end of the fiscal year. The Federal Reserve balance sheet will reach $4 trillion by the end of the year. Consumer debt will reach $2.9 trillion as the Feds accelerate student loans and Ally Financial, along with the other Too Big To Control Wall Street banks, keep pumping out subprime auto loans. By mid-year reported losses on student loans will soar and auto loan delinquencies will show an upturn. This will force a slowdown in consumer debt issuance, exacerbating the recession that started in 2012. The Bakken oil miracle will prove to be nothing more than Wall Street shysters selling a storyline. Daily output will stall at 750,000 barrels per day and the dreams of imminent energy independence will be annihilated by reality, again. The price of oil will average $105 per barrel, as global tensions restrict supply. The home price increases generated through inventory manipulation in 2012 will peter out as 2013 progresses. The market has been flooded by investors. There is very little real demand for new homes. Young households with heavy student loan debt and low paying jobs will continue to rent, since the oligarchs refused to let prices fall to a level that would spur real demand. Mortgage delinquencies will rise as job growth remains stagnant, leading to an increase in foreclosures. Rent prices will flatten as apartment construction and investors flood the market with supply. The disconnect between the stock market and the housing and employment markets will be rectified when the MSM can no longer deny the recession that began in 2012 and will deepen in the first part of 2013. While housing prices languish 30% below their peak levels of 2006, the stock market has prematurely ejaculated back to pre-crisis levels. Declining corporate profits, stagnant consumer spending, and increasing debt defaults will finally result in a 20% decline in the stock market, with a chance for losses greater than 30% if Japan or the EU begin to crumble. Japan is still a bug in search of a windshield. With a debt to GDP ratio of 230%, a population dying off, energy dependence escalating, trade surplus decreasing, an already failed Prime Minister vowing to increase inflation, and rising tensions with China, Japan is a primary candidate to be the first domino to fall in the game of debt chicken. A 2% increase in interest rates would destroy the Japanese economic system. The EU has temporarily delayed the endgame for their failed experiment. Economic conditions in Greece, Spain and Italy worsen by the day with unemployment reaching dangerous revolutionary levels. Pretending countries will pay each other with newly created debt will not solve a debt crisis. They don’t have a liquidity problem. They have a solvency problem. The only people who have been saved by the actions taken so far are bankers and politicians. I believe the crisis will reignite, with interest rates spiking in Spain, Italy and France. The Germans will get fed up with the rest of Europe and the EU will begin to disintegrate. Civic Decay Accelerates   “History offers no guarantees. If America plunges into an era of depression or violence which by then has not lifted, we will likely look back on the 1990s as the decade when we valued all the wrong things and made all the wrong choices.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning The liberal minded Op-Ed writers that decry the incivility of dialogue today once again show their ignorance for or contempt for American history. They call for compromise and coming together. They should see Spielberg’s Lincoln to understand the uncompromising nature of Fourth Turnings and how conflicts are resolved. They should watch documentary film of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Guadalcanal during World War II. Compromise and civility do not compute during a Fourth Turning. It is compromise that has brought us to this point. Avoiding tough decisions and delaying action occur during the Unraveling. We’ve known the entitlement issues confronting our nation for over a decade and chose to do nothing. The time for delay and inaction is long gone. The pressing issues of the day will be resolved through collapse, confrontation and bloodshed. It’s the way it has always been done and the way it shall be. The current conflict over banning guns is just a symptom of a bigger disease. Government, at the behest of the owners, has been steadily assuming more power and control over the everyday lives of citizens who just want to be left to live their lives. Government has used propaganda, fear and misinformation to convince large swaths of the populace to voluntarily sacrifice their freedom and liberty for the promise of safety and security. Warrantless surveillance, imprisonment without charges, molestation by TSA agents, military exercises in cities, drones in our skies, cameras watching our every move, overseas torture, undeclared wars, cyber-attacks on sovereign countries, and now the threat of disarmament of the people have all contributed to the darkening skies above. A harsh winter lies ahead. Civic decay is being driven by two main thrusts. Lack of jobs and destruction of middle class wealth by the oligarchs is resulting in the anger and dismay overwhelming the country. The chart below reveals the truth about our economy and the fraudulent nature of BLS reported data, skewed to paint a false picture. The 25 to 54 year old age bracket captures Americans in their peak earnings years. In 2007 this age bracket had 83% of its members in the labor force and 100.5 million of them employed. Today, according to the BLS, only 81.4% are in the labor force and there are 6.3 million less employed. The BLS has the gall to report that since 2009, even though the number of employed people in this age bracket has declined by 1 million, the number of unemployed people has dropped by 1.5 million people. To report this drivel is beyond laughable. The horrific labor market situation is confirmed by the fact that despite a 3.6 million person increase in this age demographic since 2000, there are 7.8 million more people not employed. The reduced earnings and savings of the people in this demographic is having profound and long-lasting impact on our society. Household formation, retirement savings, tax revenues, and self-worth are all negatively impacted. The mood of desperation and anger is materializing in this age bracket. The resentment of these people when they see the well-heeled Wall Street set reaping stock market gains and bonuses while they make do on food stamps, extended unemployment and the charity of friends and family is palpable. More than 100% of the employment gains since 2010 have gone to those over the age of 55, further embittering the 25 to 54 workers. There is boiling anger beneath the thin veneer of civility between Millenials, GenXers, and Boomers. The chasm between the ultra-rich and the masses widens by the day and is leading to a seething animosity. The country has lost 2.4 million construction jobs and 2 million manufacturing jobs since 2007, but we’ve added 250,000 fry cook jobs and 440,000 University of Phoenix jobs stimulated by $500 billion in student loans. The complete transformation of a producing society to a consumption society has been accomplished. When the average person sees Wall Street bankers not only walk away unscathed from the crisis they aided, abetted and created through their fraudulent inducements and documentation, but be further enriched at taxpayer expense, their hatred and disgust with high financers like Corzine, Dimon and Blankfein burns white hot. The mainstream media propaganda machine tries to convince the average Joe that stock market highs and record corporate profits are beneficial to him, even though the gains and profits have been spurred by zero interest rates, fraudulent accounting and outsourcing their jobs to third world slave labor factories. A critical thinking human being (this rules out 95% of the adult population) might question how corporate profits could surpass pre-collapse levels when the economy has remained stagnant. Shockingly, the entire profit surge was driven by Wall Street. Accounting entries relieving billions of loan loss reserves, earning hundreds of millions in risk free interest courtesy of Bernanke, and falsely valuing your loan portfolio can do wonders for profits. We’ve added 6.9 million finance jobs in the last 20 years as this industry has sucked the lifeblood out of our nation. A country that allows bankers to syphon off 35% of all the profits in the country without producing any benefits to society is destined to fail, with the dire consequences that follow. My civic decay expectations for 2013 are as follows: Progressive’s attempt to distract the masses from our worsening economic situation with their assault on the 2nd Amendment will fail. Congress will pass no new restrictions on gun ownership and 2013 will see the highest level of gun sales in history. The deepening recession, higher taxes on small businesses and middle class, along with Obamacare mandates will lead to rising unemployment and rising anger with the failed economic policies of the last four years. Protests and rallies will begin to burgeon. The number of people on food stamps will reach 50 million and the number of people on SSDI will reach 11 million. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and Jeff Immelt will compensate themselves to the tune of $100 million. CNBC will proclaim an economic recovery based on these facts. The drought will continue in 2013 resulting in higher food prices, ethanol prices, and shipping costs, as transporting goods on the Mississippi River will become further restricted. The misery index for the average American family will reach new highs. There will be assassination attempts on political and business leaders as retribution for their actions during and after the financial crisis. The revelation of more fraud in the financial sector will result in an outcry from the public for justice. Prosecutions will be pursued by State’s attorney generals, as Holder has been captured by Wall Street. The deepening pension crisis in the states will lead to more state worker layoffs and more confrontation between governors attempting to balance budgets and government worker unions. There will be more municipal bankruptcies. The gun issue will further enflame talk of state secession. The red state/blue state divide will grow ever wider. The MSM will aggravate the divisions with vitriolic propaganda. The government will accelerate their surveillance efforts and renew their attempt to monitor, control, and censor the internet. This will result in increased cyber-attacks on government and corporate computer networks in retaliation. Global Disorder Spreads “Eventually, all of America’s lesser problems will combine into one giant problem. The very survival of the society will feel at stake, as leaders lead and people follow. The emergent society may be something better, a nation that sustains its Framers’ visions with a robust new pride. Or it may be something unspeakably worse. The Fourth Turning will be a time of glory or ruin.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning The entire world resembles a powder-keg in a room full of monkeys with matches. As economic conditions worsen around the world the poor, destitute and unemployed increasingly have begun to revolt against their banker masters. Money printing, reporting fraudulent economic data and pretending to make debt payments with newly issued debt does not employ anyone or put food in the mouths of the people. With worldwide unemployment surpassing 200 million, food and energy prices surging, peasants in the Far East treated like slave laborers, politicians stealing from the people to enrich their banker owners, and young people losing hope for a better tomorrow, the likelihood of strikes, protests, armed revolution, and war is high. The world is about to find out the downside to globalization, as turmoil in Europe or Asia will swiftly impact those in the rest of the world that are interconnected through trade and financial instruments. The trillions of derivatives that link financial institutions across the world will ignite like a string of firecrackers once a spark reaches the fuse. Treaties and alliances between countries will immediately enlarge localized military conflicts into world-wide confrontations. Dwindling supplies of cheap oil and potable water, a changing climate (whether cyclical or human activity based) that is creating droughts, floods and super-storms on a more frequent basis, and religious zealotry set the stage for resource wars and religious wars around the globe and particularly in the Middle East. Fourth Turnings always intensify and ultimately lead to total war, with no compromise and clear winners and losers. The proxy wars that have been waged for the last 60 years will look like kindergarten snack time when the culmination of this Fourth Turning war results in death on a scale that would be considered incomprehensible today. And it will happen within the next fifteen years. The climactic war is still a few years off, but here is what I think will happen in 2013: With new leadership in Japan and China, neither will want to lose face, so early in their new terms. Neither side will back down in their ongoing conflict over islands in the East China Sea. China will shoot down a Japanese aircraft and trade between the countries will halt, leading to further downturns in both of their economies. Worker protests over slave labor conditions in Chinese factories will increase as food price increases hit home on peasants that spend 70% of their pay for food. The new regime will crackdown with brutal measures, but the protests will grow increasingly violent. The economic data showing growth will be discredited by what is happening on the ground. China will come in for a real hard landing. Maybe they can hide the billions of bad debt in some of their vacant cities. Violence and turmoil in Greece will spread to Spain during the early part of the year, with protests and anger spreading to Italy and France later in the year. The EU public relations campaign, built on sandcastles of debt in the sky and false promises of corrupt politicians, will falter by mid-year. Interest rates will begin to spike and the endgame will commence. Greece will depart the EU, with Spain not far behind. The unraveling of debt will plunge all of Europe into depression. Iran will grow increasingly desperate as hyperinflation caused by U.S. economic sanctions provokes the leadership to lash out at its neighbors and unleash cyber-attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and U.S. corporations. Israel will use the rising tensions as the impetus to finally attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.S. will support the attack and Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel in retaliation. The price of oil will spike above $125 per barrel, further deepening the worldwide recession. Syrian President Assad will be ousted and executed by rebels. Syria will fall under the control of Islamic rebels, who will not be friendly to the United States or Israel. Russia will stir up discontent in retaliation for the ouster of their ally. Egypt and Libya will increasingly become Islamic states and will further descend into civil war.The further depletion of the Cantarell oil field will destroy the Mexican economy as it becomes a net energy importer. The drug violence will increase and more illegal immigrants will pour into the U.S. The U.S. will station military troops along the border. Cyber-attacks by China and Iran on government and corporate computer networks will grow increasingly frequent. One or more of these attacks will threaten nuclear power plants, our electrical grid, or the Pentagon. So now I’m on the record for 2013 and I can be scorned and ridiculed for being such a pessimist when December rolls around and our Ponzi scheme economy hasn’t collapsed. There is no disputing the facts. The economic situation is deteriorating for the average American, the mood of the country is darkening, and the world is awash in debt and turmoil. Every country is attempting to print their way to renewed prosperity. No one wins a race to the bottom. The oligarchs have chosen a path of currency debasement, propping up insolvent banks, propaganda and impoverishing the masses as their preferred course. They attempt to keep the masses distracted with political theater, gun control vitriol, reality TV and iGadgets. What can be said about a society where 10% of the population follows Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga on Twitter and where 50% think the National Debt is a monument in Washington D.C. The country is controlled by evil sycophants, intellectually dishonest toadies and blood sucking leeches. Their lies and deception have held sway for the last four years, but they have only delayed the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. They will not reverse course and believe their intellectual superiority will allow them to retain their control after the collapse. “Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers — and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are mostly courtiers. Our pundits and experts, at least those with prominent public platforms, are courtiers. We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games, and the purpose behind its deception.”- Chris Hedges Every day more people are realizing the con-job being perpetuated by the owners of this country. Will the tipping point be reached in 2013? I don’t know. But the era of decisiveness and confrontation has arrived. The people will learn there are consequences to our actions and inaction. The existing social order will be swept away. Are you prepared? “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences…” – Winston Churchill

01 января 2013, 21:06

Guest Post: Japan's Patriotic War Agenda

Authored by Andrew McKillop, The Sickly GiantJapan has the the world's third-biggest economy and was only recently pushed into this third place by China - but it remains world No 1, and by far, as measured by its sovereign debt-to-GNP ratio. Its new Liberal Democratic Party-LDP government, no different from LDP governments which have almost exclusively ruled since 1955, is setting out with a proud (in fact desperate) task: to end deflation by pushing down the world value of the JPY (yen) to a theoretical point where "inflation of 2% or 3% a year" will be possible. The return of inflation, in official Japanese liberal newspeak, will make the economy less sickly even if the strategy "has risks". One of these is war with China, if only as a (Japanese) crowd pleaser, and another is selling off Japan's over-one-trillion dollar holding of US Federal debt at exactly the right psychological moment to implode the US economy, already teetering on the brink of its fiscal cliff. The sickly Japanese economy can look quite healthy on cursory first glance. Probing deeper shows it is much, much worse than most Japanese either know or non-Japanese want to know. One reason that "nobody wants to know" is because Japan is the world leader in Neoliberal economic decline, having run the gamut of New Economy fads and foibles over more than 20 years. It has blown them up one by one, and slumped ever further into permanent and probably terminal decline. To be sure, firebrand Free Marketeers will contest this picture, saying that Japan is an entitlement strangled, over-developed monoculture with indelible cultural barriers to "the open economy" that however in no way prevent the country technologically innovating at a rapid pace, and having much more than a random selection of thriving world-class multinationals. Debt And Deficit25% of Japan's annual state and local government budgets go to servicing debt. Interestingly enough, the very first stock market scams - France's Mississippi Company scam of 1719-1721 and its 'sister scam" in England, the South Sea Bubble - were driven by greedy and incompetent monarchs (the 18th century equivalent of Big Brother government) running up massive debts. Scraping around for a quick fix, the "finance sector professionals" advising the greedy monarchs soon hit on cranking up an asset scam, Facebook or Apple-style, and siphoning quick and fraudulent profits from this to the monarchs. After a short while, of course, the scam went 'Madoff the wall'. The asset mountain imploded leaving nothing but paper promises, popular rage, and more debt. Japan can in no way be criticized for being ahead of the Neoliberal pack in running up its sovereign debt to delirious extremes and, much later on, panicking about it. This is what Neoliberal Freedom is all about - called "laisser faire"! The incoming, recycled LDP stalwart Shinzo Abe – once again destined to be Japan’s prime minister by Japan's No Alternative political machine – lost no time in undertaking to flood the economy with money until inflation reaches at least 2%. The critical point is that Japan is the country where deflation has been a "permanent" fixture, a spinoff from its permanent decline and despite its incredible debt and now impressively huge trade deficits, and a list of other no-no things for the trader fraternity hunched over their playstation consoles. Apparently, Abe and his LDP Old Guard imagine that "gaijin", including the Chinese, are awed by the risks this sets for the world economy and will not react. Foreigners will not show disrespect to Japanese bonds, but will obediently hold them. They will also, in very orderly fashion, only moderately sell off the JPY, by exactly the amount needed to get the magic 2.5%-a-year inflation rate that Japan's new (in fact old) bosses pine for. Japan is by definition “too big to fail” – but unfortunately Japan's liberal and neoliberal Apprentice Sorcerors are dreaming. Nationalism RisingFor outsiders, whether we call them gaijin, Martians or Wall Street Journal editorialists, Japan seems to be struck by a strange curse. It’s population is shrinking rather fast, surviving Japanese are therefore rapidly ageing, consumer attitudes and behaviour go from bad to worse - Japanese will not consume - Japanese savings are "ridiculously" high with bank deposits bringing 0% per year interest, taxes are high, the country makes only the faintest attempt to attract talent, ideas or products and services from the rest of the world. Its agriculture is a nightmare of low productivity and high subsidies, its uncompetitive rural industries are cosseted by the government to the point of absurdity. Its reaction to the Fukushima disaster - abandoning nuclear power - appeared 'unrealistic' to some, and its theatrical bellicosity in response to China's theatrical bellicosity over the disputed South China Sea islands (Senkakus in Nippon-go, not in Chinese) seems unrealistic to most and outright dangerous to most. Gaijin criticism of Japan however faces all kinds of problems: Japan has solved the conundrum of "progress without growth", but this has made Japan "unadapted" or out of synch with the present real world and what at present is the only slowly dissolving and dispersing global economy. The Senkakus issue is of course "only symbolic" but the problem is that War and Circuses are a liberal trick dating back almost as far as the Mississippi Co. crash, if not further. For Marie Antoinette and her quack doctor Francois Quesnay (called "a founding father of liberal economics"), Bread and Circuses seemed the right way to fool the crowd at the gates of the Bastille but in her case this was a fatal error: she literally lost her head, by guillotine, not so much later on. War and Circuses can be called the hard-edged, stout-lipped ultimate and final version of liberal mindwarp, to be used only after the economy has been sucked dry by bottom feeders and imploded by liberal burger-nothings spouting idiot-friendly one-liners. Today's Japan, after too many decades of New Economy fooling around, has the government we might expect or fear. Shinzo Abe's LDP has a sure and certain ally in parliament in the shape of the far-right Japan Restoration Party (JRP), led by Japan’s 80-year-old version of Dick Cheney, Ishihara Shintaro. His plan for the disputed islands is for Tokyo's city government to purchase them from their private Japanese owner, and station “civil servants” on them, which is Japanese coded language for Japanese SDF, Self Defence Force, personnel. Even "SDF" now has special meanings, because Japan's "self-defence" navy now boasts roughly four times more major battle-class ships than Britain's Royal Navy. Placing these "civil servants" on the disputed islands can only draw one possible reaction from China, which in absolutely no way would allow this provocation to slide. Nuclear WipeoutJapan can be called the nation that even if it did not go the fastest, certainly went the furthest with nuclear power, that is so-called "civil" nuclear power. Japanese in March 2011 were able to witness the simultanous meltdown of at least 3 (possibly 4) reactors on primetime TV, along with hundreds of millions of non-Japanese. Probable cost - to the state of course, not Tepco the owner and operator of the reactors - of clean up and economic recovery operations will probably be more than $500 billion, even if this is peanuts compared with Japanese sovereign debt! Much more important and proving again, if needed, that "civil" uranium fuelled reactors are only good for making nuclear weapons and generating expensive electricity, the JRP regularly crows that Japan is a "single screwdriver turn" from nuclear weapons capability and can at any time start production at an initial rate of four Hiroshima-equivalent weapons-per-week. In total, the JRP goes on to boast, Japan can have fully functional nuclear weapons in at most two months from getting the green light - from Shinzo Abe's governing party. The US 'Foreign Policy' magazine, described as "administration friendly", suggests that the lure for Japan to go nuclear, despite Hiroshima and Nagasaki, despite Fukushima, may be too tempting for its current War and Circuses, career liberal politicians with retrograde and spurious nationalist credentials. 'Foreign Policy' goes on to imply that the White House, if not Americans at large would appreciate this – because it would tend to neutralises the Chinese nuclear threat in the region, and "reset the game" of regional geopolitics at a highly belligerent zero. Japan's endgame flirt with Neoliberal mindwarp, what we can call the "slogan based economy", has brought about a situation where War and Circuses is surely on the Japanese political agenda, along with Japan's threats to sabotage the global economy. The inventors of kamikaze suicide war now have an Old Guard of political deciders who are prepared to pilot the economy straight into the ground, while bleating about "national pride". After these have-beens have been dumped in the trashcan of History, however, the Japanese nation will really re-emerge and be proud to do it.

28 июля 2012, 03:02

Guest Post: The Absurdity Of Sandy Weill

Submitted by John Aziz of Azizonomics The Absurdity of Sandy Weill I’m suggesting the big banks be broken up so that the taxpayer will never be at risk, the depositors won’t be at risk and the leverage will be something reasonable. This from the guy who provided the impetus and the funds to end Glass-Steagall? Totally absurd — akin to Joe Stalin renouncing Marxism-Leninism and the gulag archipelago on his deathbed. Glass-Steagall’s separation between depository and speculative institutions — especially during the Bretton Woods period — was a relatively robust system; there was never a large-scale banking calamity of the nature of 2008 or 1929 under its regime. Certainly, it had its imperfections — above all else that it never prevented bankers like Weill from chipping away at it up to the point of repeal — but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Glass-Steagall presided over a period of growth and stability. While the data tends to show that the end of Bretton Woods in 1971 was the real catalyst of the financialisation, globalisation, deindustrialisation and debt buildup that ultimately flung the US into a depressionary deleveraging trap, the end of Glass-Steagall was profound. Depositors’ funds became a medium for the creation of the huge and sprawling shadow banking and derivatives webs. The blowout growth in shadow banking was presaged by the end of Glass Steagall in 1999: And the slow contractionary deleveraging of shadow banking has been a significant force in keeping the economy depressed since 2008. Any contrition on the part of Weill for his role in repealing Glass-Steagall might as well be an attempt to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. It’s like trying to uninvent the atom bomb after Hiroshima. Weill was the guy who — above anyone else — was responsible for the damage done. Coming out and claiming that reimposing Glass-Steagall would fix the problem is inadequate. If he wants to be taken seriously he should match every dollar he spent trying to get Glass-Steagall repealed with new lobbying funds to reimpose a separation between banks that accept deposits and the shadow banking and derivatives casinos. Beyond that, I think that this is very telling. The financial institutions will do anything to avoid the ultimate free market solution — the disorderly liquidation of the system they created via default cascade. If high-ranking members of the financial elite are willing to talk about reimposing Glass-Steagall, they must be seriously concerned that the system they built is getting dangerously close to self-destruction.