Oct 31, 2010


#1 The real rulers

Three of Five “Super Jews” in US Congress Are Also Members of Israeli Group By steamedfrog

Representative Gary Ackerman (D-NY), recently stated* that he and four other chairmen of important House committees were a “first-class team” of Jewish pro-Israel Democrats (“Berman at Foreign Affairs, Barney Frank at Financial Services, Henry Waxman at the Energy and Commerce committee, Sander Levin at Ways and Means, and Ackerman himself in his role as head of the Middle East subcommittee.”). He also claimed that they have “major, major, major” (Catch-22, anyone?) pull in the Executive Branch.

Oddly enough, three of the five of these chairmen are also members of the steering committee of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP), a group fostered by the State of Israel to allow a closer cooperation between Jewish politicians worldwide. Members of the steering committee met with other members of Congress, senators and representatives alike:

“In early February, meetings were held in Washington, DC, with U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Norm Coleman, Dianne Feinstein, Frank Lautenberg, Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin, and with Members of Congress Gary Ackerman, Howard Berman, Susan Davis, Eliot Engel, Barney Frank, Tom Lantos, Nita Lowey, Jerrold Nadler, Jan Schakowsky, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Allyson Schwartz, and Henry Waxman.” http://www.icjp.net

I suppose it’s rather redundant at this point to keep stating the obvious:

“The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” – Disraeli

Update: A 2008 letter from Rep. Gary Ackerman to other members of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians is below. In it, he states that “Government of Israel, the Knesset” provide material support to the ICJP.

The United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 9 states:

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

Gary Ackerman is President of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, an organ of a foreign state. As such, he is in clear violation of the law he claims to represent and uphold.


Dear Friend,

I am delighted to inform you that the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) will be meeting in Jerusalem on December 14-16th, 2008—and we hope that we will be honored by your presence at this important gathering. This event will coincide with the celebration of the 60th anniversary year of the establishment of the State of Israel.

The 2008 ICJP conference will deal with issues including: actual and potential threats to our Jewish communities worldwide; the looming menace of the Iranian nuclear program; the means of combating anti-Semitism and ways to build relationships between our Jewish communities around the world.

As in the past, our goal is to bring together Jewish legislators and parliamentarians from around the world. Once again, we are enormously grateful for the organizational support the conference will receive from Ruthi Kaplan and the material support from the Government of Israel, the Knesset and the World Jewish Congress.

As we continue our work preparing the conference’s schedule and arrangements, we would be glad to receive any ideas, proposals or comments you may have on the program for our next meeting.

Do RSVP to Hana Kimchi (Hana@wjc.co.il) as soon as possible. If you need financial assistance to underwrite the cost of the flight ticket or hotel, please let us know and we will endeavor to help you within the limitations of available funds.

I look forward to welcoming you to our conference in Jerusalem in December.

Gary L. Ackerman
President, International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians

*”If you need the president, you need us as chairs of the committees,” Ackerman said as he listed what he called the “first-class team” of Jewish pro-Israel Democrats who chair key House committees: Berman at Foreign Affairs, Barney Frank at Financial Services, Henry Waxman at the Energy and Commerce committee, Sander Levin at Ways and Means, and Ackerman himself in his role as head of the Middle East subcommittee. “We are all pro-Israel and we all have major, major, major influence in the executive branch.” http://forward.com/articles/132608/

#2 Freeman on the land


Who are Canada's 'freemen'?

Police seized Mike Rasila's van, arrested him and charged him with six traffic offences, but the incident signaled that the anti-government Freemen on the Land, of which he is a prominent member, had taken root in Canada.

Freeman on the Land Stewart Bell, National Post · Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

HAMILTON, ONT. • When Mika Rasila got pulled over by Niagara police in January for driving his white Pontiac Montana without licence plates, he was ready with a defence: he doesn’t need plates because he’s a Freeman on the Land.

A Freeman on the Land, he explained in a letter he tried to hand the patrol officer through the window, is someone who has revoked his consent to be governed. He has opted out of Canada so the laws don’t apply to him.

It didn’t work.

Police seized his van, arrested him and charged him with six traffic offences, but the incident signaled that the anti-government Freemen on the Land, of which Mr. Rasila is a prominent member, had taken root in Canada.

Across the country, police and officials have been having similar run-ins with “freemen,” also known as “sovereign citizens,” members of a radical movement that does not recognize government authority and consequently refuses to licence their cars, carry government ID or obey police.

“We have thousands of members now,” said Mr. Rasila, who writes on the Freemen of Canada Facebook page, which has over 2,000 members. “We have meetings, we’re fairly organized. They’re very casual, usually just in someone’s living room or we’ll rent a hall.”

Canada’s freemen are a loose collection of true believers, ranging from tax protesters to 9/11 conspiracists to fathers whose children have been apprehended by child welfare agencies. What unites them is their dislike of government.

Self-declared defenders of individual freedom, they are anti-government extremists in the sense that, rather than opposing specific policies, they deny government has any legitimacy at all and want to be left alone to live according to their own rules.

Police aren’t sure what to make of the freemen. Are they harmless fanatics or an emerging domestic extremist group? Although police in Ontario say it’s too soon to tell, they are concerned about the potential for violence and have begun sharing information and circulating intelligence reports on the subject.

“It’s something that we know about, it’s something that we need to know about and it’s something we need to monitor to a degree,” said Sergeant Brian Ritchie of the Hamilton Police Service hate crimes unit.

A freeman is scheduled to appear in court in Toronto in March, but most incidents have been in smaller southern Ontario cities like London and Guelph, as well as in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

“Basically what we’re doing is we’re teaching,” Mr. Rasila said. “We’re not here to recruit people, we’re just educating.” That teaching takes place at small seminars and on the Internet. It promotes an ideology that sounds a lot like conspiracy theory.

Over the past century, the freemen claim, Canada went bankrupt and was taken over by a corporation. Ever since, the government has had no authority to make laws — but it doesn’t want you to know that. “Canada’s been co-opted by criminals,” said Mr. Rasila.

The freemen are not openly racist, although their ideology rests partly on the claim, pervasive in the racist right, that Jews secretly control the world through banking and media ownership.

“You’ve got something that’s a little bit more subtle,” said Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in California. “Even though a lot of these groups may be associated with hate groups, they’re very careful.”

Freemen claim Canadians are enslaved by government encroachment but that they know the remedy: anyone can simply opt-out of Canada by severing their “contract” with the government and living instead according to a “common law” enforced by other freemen.

“We have our own police force, we have our own insurance company,” Mr. Rasila said. “But what we don’t have is the compliance of the government, so what they’re doing is they’re sending out their mercenary thugs and their criminal judges.”

Mr. Rasila described his activities as “peaceful non-compliance.” On the Internet, however, he doesn’t always sound so peaceful. A letter he posted on-line warned that “there is in fact a war coming and we the people have had enough.”

A YouTube video shows him throwing knives at a painted gunman while captions advise to “be prepared” because the government has been “co-opted by criminals.” Another post encourages unlicensed gun ownership.

He also claims affiliations with U.S. militias and right wing groups like the Oath Keepers. “It is basically us against the government now,” he said. “If we don’t rein them in then they are just going to take over every possible freedom that we have … I mean if it comes down to defence, we are willing to defend ourselves.”

Asked if he was peaceful, he responded, “I am, yes. But I will defend myself if I have to. I mean, what are we going to do, allow these people to just throw us around? It’s crazy. So we all have to be prepared. We’re not slaves. We are not subject to these laws. We are subject to the laws of nature and the laws of our creator and that’s it.”

How far would he go?

“As far as I’d have to go. Would you allow yourself to be thrown into a cell and be tazed six times when you know this is what happens? Would you?

“I wouldn’t.”

Canada’s new radical right is appearing as groups with an almost identical platform are exploding south of the border. American sovereign citizens groups emerged in the 1970s as an outgrowth of the tax protest movement.

Some turned violent. The 1995 Oklahoma City bomber, Terry Nichols, was a member of the “sovereign citizen” movement. In 1996, an armed standoff between the Freemen of Montana and federal authorities lasted 81 days.

Experts said the movement is booming again, fueled by the economic crash, demographic changes symbolized by the election of President Barack Obama and incitement by political and media figures.

“It’s a kind of perfect storm of factors that are driving the continued growth of radical right wing groups, and the freemen or sovereign citizens are very much a part of that,” said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama.

For his part, Mr. Rasila, a 44-year-old self-employed contractor originally from Windsor, said he was first exposed to these ideas on the Internet. Three to four years ago, he said, he decided to live as a Freeman on the Land.

He stopped registering his van, voided his government ID and cut himself off from benefits such as welfare and health insurance. By doing so, he believes he has withdrawn his consent to be governed.

“Nobody can tell you what to do as an adult without your express consent or permission,” he said. “This is why you need to void all your identification, void all your contracts and just live your life with decency.”

The freemen should concern Canadians, Mr. Potok said. “The thing to realize is that the conspiracy theories that animate many of these people seem absurd to most thinking people and it is hard to imagine them motivating people to violence.

“But the fact is, we have seen time and time again that a certain percentage of the people that start to subscribe to these theories will end up acting out in criminal violence, sometimes as extreme as murdering police officers.”

On May 20, two West Memphis, Ark., police officers were gunned down with an AK-47 after they pulled over a pair of hardcore “sovereign citizens,” Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son Joe, for what was supposed to have been a routine traffic stop.

There has been no major freemen violence in Canada but police are taking the threat seriously and have been educating frontline officers about the issue. Sgt. Ritchie said while at the moment freemen are mainly an officer safety issue, there could also be long-term law enforcement challenges.

For example, should freemen follow through with their vow to set up their own police and courts, to make arrests and impose sentences, they could be considered a criminal organization. Likewise, those that claim in seminars that Canadians don’t need to pay taxes or debts might be guilty of counseling fraud.

He said nobody should be fooled by freemen beliefs. “Sometimes you wonder if we’re walking on the same planet, have they gone off the edge,” he said. “The Criminal Code is for all Canadians, and the emphasis is on all. They can’t step outside the law, because the law applies to them. If the law is broken, then that will be dealt with under the law.”

So far, the freemen are mostly a nuisance to traffic police and courts. They will put phony plates on their cars that read FREEMAN and argue endlessly with police when they get pulled over.

One of their tactics is to modify their names. Mr. Rasila now calls himself Mika of the family Rasila. Freemen do that to distinguish themselves from their “strawman” — the version of themselves recorded in government records.

If they get arrested, they engage in what has been termed “paper terrorism” — clogging the courts with seemingly incoherent documents that use the quasi-legal jargon recommended by the movement’s leaders.

“It’s growing almost exponentially,” said Derek Hill, a Freeman on the Land from Windsor, “because people are beginning the realize how badly they’ve been conned, quote-unquote, by the government and by the courts.

“They don’t like it. They’re fed up with the government lying to them. They’re fed up with increasing taxes, police brutality, police state, economic downturn, various reasons, which is very similar to what the U.S.A. is experiencing right now.”

Mr. Hill, 23, said he was saddled with $800 a month student debt payments when he went searching on the Internet for a solution and found the lectures of Freeman on the Land guru Robert-Arthur:Menard (note the added colon).

A former Toronto street comic, Mr. Menard wants to build a Freeman Society of Canada with its own justice system and police force but Mr. Hill dismissed comparisons to U.S. militias.

“Some people have guns because they fear for their lives, because when you’re doing these things and you lawfully win, that doesn’t sit easy with cops,” he said.

“And I’ve heard stories that cops actually go in and physically assault them. So some people had to buy guns in order to secure their personal safety. But I personally don’t believe in guns.”

A week before, he was to appear in court in St. Catharines, Ont., on Oct. 19 to face charges stemming from his arrest in January, Mr. Rasila wrote a letter and posted it on his Facebook page.

It called the officer who pulled him over a “mercenary employee of the corporation of Canada” and said Mr. Rasila had cancelled his “contract” with Canada.

“As is with all Freemen in the freemen society of Canada we simply want to be left alone without interference from the state,” it read. “We will not consent to be governed by you.”

Mr. Rasila never showed up in court but the case went ahead without him. He was convicted on three counts — driving without valid plates, driving with a suspended licence and driving while using an electronic device (the video camera he used to record his arrest).

He was fined $1,250 but he says he won’t pay it.

“Never, absolutely not,” he said. “Would you pay a ransom demand if you didn’t have to?” He called it extortion, since the police are still holding his van and the carpentry tools inside.

He said he was moving west.

“I’m just going to continue living my life peacefully,” he said, “and I’m going to continue to educate people.”

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Canada+freemen/3748349/story.html#ixzz13w1t3cBp
How long will it take the "central bank" to classify sovereign citizens as enemy combatants/terrorist?

Oct 27, 2010


The leaves did not stir on the trees, grasshoppers chirruped, and the monotonous hollow sound of the sea rising up from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it must have sounded when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it sounds now, and it will sound as indifferently and monotonously when we are all no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies hid, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing movement of life upon earth, of unceasing progress towards perfection. Sitting beside a young woman who in the dawn seemed so lovely, soothed and spellbound in these magical surroundings - the sea, mountains, clouds, the open sky -Gurov thought how in reality everything is beautiful in this world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence. Chekov, The Lady with the Toy Dog

The flame in your soul, at the centre of your being,
Is larger and stronger than any government or king. Dean_Saor

The lamb, brought for the sacrifice,
ate the green leaf of the decorations,
wanting only to fill its stomach.
But, tell me, did the killers survive,
oh lord of the meeting rivers?

Basavanna, Speaking of Shiva, Penguin Books

Oct 1, 2010


The article below might be regarded as rather heavy going – “balance-of-payments accounting and international trade theory are arcane topics” but it is well worth the effort of exercising those little grey cells you keep behind your eyes.

By the end of it, the author’s promise (“by the time you finish this article, you will understand more than 99 per cent”) has been kept.

You might like to warm up by taking a quick look at the first page of “Finance for the stout hearted – the invisible elephant in the room” at http://wahyusamputra.blogspot.com/2008/02/finance-for-stout-hearted-invisible.html for February 2008. That was done in very broad brush strokes, to explain what the economist had in mind when he declared that the dollar as a petrocurrency was “like having a mint in your backyard,” allowing virtually unlimited printing of dollars that oil buying (or selling) nations had to absorb.

Since that time the whole scene has ballooned into gigantic dimensions. The last “supplemental” (off budget) bill for war costs that president Obama signed in September, 2010 brought his total expenditure to over a trillion dollars: for slaughtering, by remote control, foreigners who’d never done the US any harm, while millions of Americans lived on food stamps.

Those trillion dollars have to come from somewhere. The current “extend and pretend” strategy, of claiming that rich idiots will be found to lend the US enough money to pay back all it owes, is wearing very thin.

Give it a try. Maybe you’re cleverer than you think.



A Short Tour of Junk Economics America's China Bashing By MICHAEL HUDSON

It is traditional for politicians to blame foreigners for problems that their own policies have caused. And in today’s zero-sum economies, it seems that if America is losing leadership position, other nations must be the beneficiaries. Inasmuch as China has avoided the financial overhead that has painted other economies into a corner, U.S. politicians and journalists are blaming it for America’s declining economic power. I realize that balance-of-payments accounting and international trade theory are arcane topics, but I promise that by the time you finish this article, you will understand more than 99 per cent of U.S. economists and diplomats striking this self-righteous pose.

The dollar’s double standard gives America an international free ride

For over a century, central banks have managed exchange rates by raising or lowering the interest rate. Countries running trade and payments deficits raise rate to attract foreign funds. The IMF also directs them to impose domestic austerity programs that reduce asset prices for their real estate, stocks and bonds, making them prone to foreign buyouts. Vulture investors and speculators usually have a field day, as they did in the Asian crisis of 1997.

Conversely, low interest rates lead bankers and speculators to seek higher returns abroad, borrowing domestic currency to buy foreign securities or make foreign loans. This capital outflow lowers the exchange rate.

There is a major exception, of course: the United States. Despite running the world’s largest balance-of-payments deficit and also the largest domestic government budget deficit, it has the world’s lowest interest rates and easiest credit. The Federal Reserve has depressed the dollar’s exchange rate by providing nearly free credit to banks at only 0.25 per cent interest. This “quantitative easing” (making it easier to borrow more) aims at preventing U.S. real estate, stocks and bonds from falling further in price. The idea is to save banks from more defaults as the economy slips deeper into negative equity territory. A byproduct of this easy credit is to lower the dollar’s exchange rate – presumably helping U.S. exporters while forcing foreign producers either to raise the dollar price of their goods they sell here or absorb a currency loss.

This policy makes the dollar a managed currency. Low U.S. interest rates and easy credit spur investors to lend abroad or buy foreign assets yielding more than 1 per cent. This dollar outflow forces other countries to protect their currencies from being forced up. So their central banks do not throw the excess dollars they receive onto the “free market,” but keep them in dollar form by buying U.S. Government bonds. So the “Chinese savings,” “yen savings” and “Euro savings” that are spent on U.S. Treasury securities (and earlier, on Fannie Mae bonds to earn a bit more) are not really what Chinese people save in their local yuan, or what Japanese or Europeans save. The money used to buy U.S. Government securities consists of the excess dollars that the American military, American investors and American consumers spend abroad in excess of U.S. earning power. To pretend that these savings are “saved up” by foreigners (who save in their own currency, after all) is Junk Economics Error #1.

By lowering U.S. interest rates to near zero, the U.S. Federal Reserve is doing what the Bank of Japan did after its financial bubble burst in 1990, when it helped Japanese banks “earn their way out of negative equity” by providing cheap credit to obtain a markup by lending to speculators and arbitrageurs to buy foreign bonds paying higher rates. This came to be known as the “carry trade.” Arbitrageurs borrowed yen cheaply and converted them into Euros, dollars, Icelandic kroner or other currencies paying a higher rate, pocketing the difference. This threw yen onto foreign-exchange market, weakening the exchange rate and hence helping Japanese automotive and electronics exporters.

This is the easy credit policy that the Fed is following today. U.S. banks borrow from the Federal Reserve at 0.25 per cent, and lend to speculators at a markup of one or two percentage points. These speculators then look for companies, government bonds, corporate stocks and bonds and any other asset in a foreign currency that they believe may yield more than about 2 per cent (or that are denominated in currencies that may rise in price against the dollar by more than 2 per cent annually), hoping to pocket the difference.

Accusations that Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are “making their currencies cheaper” by recycling their dollar inflows into U.S. Treasury securities simply means that they are trying to maintain their currencies at a stable level. Even so, the yen’s exchange rate has risen as international borrowers pay off their carry-trade debts by re-converting the Euros, dollars and other currencies they borrowed in yen to play the arbitrage game. Paying back these foreign currency loans raises the yen’s price. To prevent this from pricing Japanese exporters out of world markets, Japan’s central bank is trying to stabilize the yen/dollar exchange rate by recycling these payments into the purchase of U.S. Treasury securities – exactly what U.S. officials accuse China of doing. It is how most central banks throughout the world are responding to the global dollar glut. They are increasing their international reserves by the amount of "surplus free credit" dollars that the U.S. payments deficit is pumping out. To pretend that China is “manipulating its currency” by doing what central banks have done for over a century is Junk Economics Error #2. Back in the early 1970s, U.S. officials told OPEC governments that if they did not do this, it would be deemed an act of war. And Congress has refused to let China buy U.S. companies – so China can only recycle its dollar inflows by buying Treasury securities, thereby financing the U.S. federal budget deficit.

Every currency is managed by recycling dollars to avoid distorted exchange rates

To pretend that exchange rates are determined mainly by international trade is Junk Economics Error #3. International currency speculation and investment is much larger than the volume of commodity trade. The typical currency bet lasts less than a minute, often being computer-driven by arbitrage swap models. This financial fibrillation has dislodged exchange rates from purchasing-power parity or prices for export and imports.

The largest payments imbalances have little to do with “market forces” for imports and exports. They are what economists call price-inelastic – money spent without regard for price. This is true above all for military spending and maintenance of America’s vast network of foreign bases and political maneuverings to control foreign countries. During the 1960s and ‘70s U.S. military spending accounted for the entire balance-of-payments deficit, as private sector trade and investment remained in balance. Escalation of America’s oil war in the Near East and Pipelinistan, and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to prop up America-friendly regimes, end up in central banks – whose main option, as noted above, is to send them back to the United States in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bills – to finance further federal deficit spending!

None of this can be blamed on China. But any nation that succeeds economically is assumed to be doing so at America’s expense if they do not let U.S. investors siphon off the entire surplus. This attitude that other countries should sacrifice themselves is sweeping Congress, whose China bashing is reminiscent of the Japan-phobia of the late 1980s. The United States convinced the Bank of Japan to raise the yen’s exchange rate in the 1985 Plaza Accord, and then to turn Japan into a bubble economy by flooding it with credit under the 1987 Louvre Accord. Tokyo was humorously referred to as “the 13th Federal Reserve district” for recycling its export earnings in U.S. Treasury bills, becoming the mainstay of the Reagan-Bush budget deficits that financed U.S. global military spending while quadrupling the public debt.

U.S. strategists would not mind seeing China’s economy similarly untracked by letting global speculators bid up the renminbi’s exchange rate – by enough to let Wall Street speculators make hundreds of billions of dollars betting on the run-up. “Free capital markets” and “open financial markets” are euphemisms for setting the renminbi’s exchange rate by U.S. and European currency arbitrage and capital flight. The U.S. balance-of-payments outflow would increase rather than shrink, thanks to the ability of American banks to create nearly “free” credit on their keyboards to convert into Chinese or other currencies, gold or other speculative vehicles that look to rise against the dollar.

“In a world awash with excess savings, we don’t need China’s money,” writes Prof. Krugman. After all, “the Federal Reserve could and should buy up any bonds the Chinese sell.” It’s all just electronic credit. From reading such diatribes, or President Obama’s exchange with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at the United Nations on September 23, one would not realize that Chinese savers have not sent a single yuan of their own money to the United States.

But that is the point! Krugman should have reminded his readers that the balance of payments consists of much more than just the trade balance in today’s world swamped by financial speculation and military spending. What China “invests” in the United States are the dollars thrown off by the U.S. payments deficit. China would take a loss on the yuan-value of these dollars if it revalues its currency – as it has lost on the dollars it has turned over to Blackrock in the hope of making more than the minimal 1 per cent available on U.S. Treasury securities.

Describing China as “deliberately keeping its currency artificially weak. … feeding a huge trade surplus,” Krugman adds that “in a depressed world economy, any country running an artificial trade surplus is depriving other nations of much-needed sales and jobs.” In his reading the problem is not that America has let easy bank credit bid up housing prices for its workers and loaded down their budgets with debt service that, by itself, exceeds the wage levels of most Asian workers. This financialization is largely responsible for the U.S. trade balance moving into deficit (apart from food and arms exports). Homeowners typically pay up to 40 per cent of their income for mortgage debt service and other carrying charges, 15 per cent for other debt (credit card interest and fees, auto loans, student loans, etc.), 11 per cent for FICA wage withholding for Social Security and Medicare, and about 10 to 15 per cent in other taxes (income and excise taxes). To cap matters, the financial burden of debt-leveraged real estate and consumption is aggravated by forced saving pension set-asides turned over to money managers for financial investment in these debt-leveraged financial instruments, and “financialized” wage withholding for Social Security. All these deductions are made before any money is left to buy food, clothing or other basic goods and services.

Chinese currency appreciation would make its exports cost more. But would this spur America rebuild its factories and re-employ the workforce that has been downsized and outsourced? To imagine that long-term investment responds to immediately is Junk Economics Error #4.

The same is true of international commodity trade. “An undervalued currency always promotes trade surpluses,” Krugman explains. But this is only true if trade is “price-elastic,” with other countries able to produce similar goods of their own at only marginally different prices. This is less and less the case as the United States and Europe de-industrialize and as their capital investment shrinks as a result of their expanding financial overhead ending in a wave of negative equity. To assume that higher exchange rates automatically reduce rather than increase a nation’s trade surplus is Junk Economics Error #5. It is a tenet of the free market fundamentalism that Krugman usually criticizes, except where China is concerned.

Krugman urges the United States to do what it “normally does” when other countries subsidize their exports: impose a tariff to offset the supposed subsidy. Congress is increasing the drumbeat of accusations that China is violating international trade rules by protecting itself from financialization. “Democrats in Congress are threatening to … slap huge tariffs on Chinese goods to undermine the advantages Beijing has enjoyed from a currency, the renminbi, that experts say is artificially weakened by 20 to 25 percent.” The aim is to make China “lift the strict controls on its currency, which keep Chinese exports competitive and more factory workers employed.” But such legislation is illegal under world trade rules. This has not stopped the United States in the past, but the belief that it might succeed internationally is Junk Economics Error #6.

This kind of propaganda does not see the United States as guilty of “managing the dollar” by its quantitative easing that depresses the exchange rate below what would be normal for any other economy suffering so gigantic and chronic s payments deficit. What makes this situation inherently unfair is that while the Washington Consensus directs other countries to impose austerity plans, raise their taxes on consumers and cut vital spending, the Bush-Obama administration blames China, not the U.S. financial system or post-Cold War military expansionism.

The cover story is that foreign exchange controls and purchase of U.S. securities keep the renminbi’s exchange rate low, artificially spurring its exports. The reality is that these controls protect China from U.S. banks creating free “keyboard credit” to buy out its companies or load down its economy with loans to be paid off in renminbi whose value will rise against the deficit-prone dollar.

The House Ways and Means Committee is demanding that China raise its exchange rate by 20 per cent. This would enable speculators to put down 1 per cent equity – say, $1 million to borrow $99 million and buy Chinese renminbi forward. The revaluation being demanded would produce a 20,000 per cent profit, turning the $100 million bet (and just $1 million “serious money”) into making $2 billion. It also would bankrupt Chinese exporters who had signed dollarized contracts with U.S. retailers. So it’s the arbitrage opportunity of the century that lobbyists are pressing for, not the welfare of workers.

The Internal Revenue Service treats such trading gains as “capital gains” and taxes them at only 15 per cent, much less than the tax rate on earned income that wage-earners must pay. The Brazilian real has risen by about 25 per cent against the dollar since January 2009. Last week, Brazil’s state oil company, Petrobras, issued $67 billion in shares to exploit the nation’s new oil discoveries. Foreigners have been swamping Brazil’s central bank with a reported $1 billion per day for the past two weeks – about 10 times its daily average in recent months – but this was largely to absorb money entering the country to take part in last week’s issue by the national oil company.

The U.S. and foreign economies alike are suffering from the idea that the way to get rich is by debt leveraging, and that the wealth of nations is whatever banks will lend – the “capitalization rate” of the available surplus. The banker’s dream is to lend against every source of revenue until it ends up being pledged to pay interest. Corporate raiders use business cash flow to pay bankers for the high-interest loans and junk bonds that provide them with takeover credit. Real estate investors use their rental income to service their mortgages, while consumers pay their disposable income as interest (and late fees) to the banks for credit cards, student loans and other debts.

But Paul Krugman and Robin Wells blame China for Wall Street’s junk mortgage binge. Instead of pointing to criminal behavior by the banks, brokerage companies, bond rating agencies and deceptive underwriters, they take the financial sector off the hook: “Just as global imbalances – the savings glut created by surpluses in China and other countries – played an important part in creating the great real estate bubble, they have an important role in blocking recovery now that the bubble has burst.”

This sounds more like what one would hear from a Wall Street lobbyist than from a liberal Democrat. It is as if the real estate bubble didn’t stem from financial fraud, junk mortgages, NINJA loans or the Federal Reserve flooding the U.S. economy with credit to inflate the real estate bubbles and sending electronic dollars abroad to glut the global economy. It’s China’s fault for running large trade surpluses “at the rest of the world’s expense.” The authors do not explain how it helps China or other economies to let foreign investors buy their companies at a 20 per cent return and pay in dollars that must be recycled to the U.S. Treasury earning just 1 per cent. And Congress won’t let the Chinese buy U.S. companies. It blocks such inflows, managing the economy ostensibly on national security grounds – in practice a structural payments deficit.

Wall Street’s idea of “equilibrium” is for foreign countries to financialize themselves along the lines that the United States is doing, then global equilibrium could be restored. But the most successful economies have kept their FIRE-sector (FIRE - Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) costs of living and doing business within reasonable bounds, and are not remotely as debt-leveraged as the United States. German workers pay only about 20 per cent of their income for housing – about half the rate of their U.S. counterparts. German practice is not to make 100 per cent mortgage loans, but to require down payments in the range of 30 per cent such as characterized the United States as recently as the 1980s.

The FIRE sector’s business plan has priced U.S. labor out of world markets. There seems little likelihood of making Chinese and German workers pay rents or mortgage interest as high as the United States. How can American economic strategists force them to raise the price of their college and university tuition so that they must take on the enormous student loans of the magnitude that Americans have to assume? How can they be persuaded to follow the high-cost U.S. practice of adding FICA-type wage withholding to the cost of living to save up pensions, Social Security and medical insurance in advance, instead of the pay-as-you-go basis that Germany quite rightly follows?

Such suggestions are a cover story for America’s own financial mismanagement. The U.S. idea for global equilibrium is to demand that that the rest of the world follow suit in adopting the short-term time frame typical of banks and hedge funds whose business plan is to make money purely from financial maneuvering, not long-term capital investment. Debt creation and the shift of economic planning to Wall Street and similar global financial centers is confused with “wealth creation,” as if it were what Adam Smith was talking about.

A Proposal

China is trying to help by voluntarily cutting back its rare earth exports. It has almost a monopoly, accounting for 97 per cent of global trade in these 17 metallic elements. These exports are “price inelastic.” There is little known replacement cost once existing deposits are depleted. Yet China charges only for the cost of digging these rare metals out of the ground and refining them. They are used in military and other high-technology applications, from guided missile steering systems and computer hard drives to hybrid electric automobile batteries. This has prompted China to recently cut back its exports to save its land from environmental pollution and, incidentally, to build up its own stockpile for future use.

So I have a modest suggestion. If and when China starts re-exporting these metals, raise their price from a few dollars a pound to a few hundred dollars. According to a theory put forth by Paul Krugman and the U.S. Congress, this price increase should slow demand for Chinese exports. It also would help promote world peace and demilitarization, because these rare metals are key elements in missile guidance systems. China should build up its national security stockpile of these key minerals for the future – say, the next prospective five years of production. Let this be a test of the junk paradigms at work.

Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) and Trade, Development and Foreign Debt: A History of Theories of Polarization v. Convergence in the World Economy. He can be reached via his website, mh@michael-hudson.com