Dec 27, 2011


Lao Tzu (6th century B.C.): “The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished...The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be...”

“The Sage says: ‘I take no action, yet the people transform themselves, I favor quiescence and the people right themselves, I take no action and the people enrich themselves...’”

Chuang Tzu (369-286 B.C.): “I would rather roam and idle about in a muddy ditch, at my own amusement, than to be put under the restraints that the ruler would impose. I would never take any official service, and thereby I will [be free] to satisfy my own purposes.”

“There has been such thing as letting mankind alone; there has never been such a thing as governing mankind [with success].” The world “does simply not need governing; in fact, it should not be governed.”

Pao Ching-yen (4th century A.D.): “Where knights and hosts could not be assembled, there was no warfare afield...Ideas of using power for advantage had not yet burgeoned. Disaster and disorder did not occur...People munched their food and disported themselves; they were carefree and contented.”

Ssu-ma Ch’ien (145-90 B.C.): “Each man has only to be left to utilize his own abilities and exert his strength to obtain what he wishes...When each person works away at his own occupation and delights in his own business, then like water flowing downward, goods will naturally flow ceaseless day and night without being summoned, and the people will produce commodities without having been asked.”

Dec 19, 2011

Dec 12, 2011


President Obama’s revelation that he has asked Iran nicely to hand back the super secret US drone is an embarrassing climb down, but we are not dealing with sane people. The attack on the sleeping Pakistani soldiers was meant to soften up the Pakistanis, and it had predictably the opposite effect. The civilian government is holding the hand of the military, who have ordered all aircraft penetrating their borders to be shot down. The chances that Pakistan would renege on China, its main support, with whom it has a border, to switch allegiance to the crumbling US were always zero. But we are not dealing with sane people here.

That the drone program had a self replicating worm affecting it is fairly old news, (See comment posted at Hallowe’en) and that’s without counting the fifty or so countries working on their own drone programs, by theft, gift, or imitation; Pakistan is merely the first to install a drone station on one of its naval vessels. That the worm is, as feared, capable of allowing the drone itself to be controlled by others than those sending it is the new news that has now been illustrated beyond argument.

It does blow a large and visible hole in the attempts to box in Iran, however. Any day now the news will leak out to the US press that the Pathans (Pashtuns) are the largest tribal group on earth, artificially obstructed from any presence in the military, half of whom live in Pakistan, and half in Afghanistan. The border between them, the Durand line, drawn by a nineteenth century British administrator, which runs through the infamous Khyber Pass and some of the toughest terrain on the planet, has never been of the slightest interest to them; they have always ignored it.

Dec 4, 2011


A very neat formula:

There are world wide around three billion adults ready and willing to work, but, owing for example to mechanization of agriculture, only about 1.2 billion jobs that really need to be done.

What do we do about the missing 1.8 billion we don't really have work for?

Resources available, food, housing and such are adequate to provide for the entire world population. Are those who work willing to let those who don't, live for free?

No. Not on my dime! There's the real problem, at least the first half of the real problem.

In theory of course, if you're content with what you do, why insist on being able to control others? If you're not, get out and do something else.

(Voltaire put it rather neatly "The comfort of the rich demands an ample supply of the poor.")

The second half of the problem is commercial and financial. Who is going to buy the mountains of goods and services the corporations hold in their inventories?

(Debt is a form of currency, and the 1.8 billion can be, and often are, forced into selling their children, their bodies, and their internal organs, but this only buys time, pushing the problem into the future, while the rich enjoy the comforts Voltaire describes. Militarized oppression can hold them down, but the debt slaves still have no money to buy the inventories.)

Just saying.

Nov 27, 2011


You have limited time; I'll keep it short:

Have you noticed you're now not the only one (mostly) living in a single person household, not in your social life, but without significant other?

The single person household has been the fastest increasing type over the last few decades. In many countries (Japan, Germany, Russia) they are not even reaching replacement level, with enough new births to keep the population stable. (These are by far the leaders in the world, not the followers.) China achieves the same result, of the single child family and the generation of the 'little emperors,' by decree.

Two can live as cheaply as one was always a dubious proposition, especially when likely to become three.

Does that mean the disappearance of the nuclear family? Not at all, but the strains on them are more severe; they can not control the demands made on them, which will increase over time. In cases where the resources remain stagnant, where the offspring fail to provide new resources, they may collapse.

A mystical shift to less reproduction? I think so. (Why mystical? We know all about the mechanics of reproduction, and we know nothing else.)

More mobile, in better fighting trim, richer, better equipped, well networked.

Increasingly clearly those able to give help, not those in need of help.

Just a thought.

Nov 14, 2011


Three quarters of the way thru the Chinese Year of the Hare, that began on February 14, 2011. Amazed yet at how fast the world has changed in a mere nine months? A powerful kick in those hind legs, too.

“What rough beast, its hour come at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” said W.B. Yeats

“…the centre cannot hold.
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”

Oct 25, 2011


On Thursday, October 17, 2011, Colonel Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi, leader of the largest tribe in Libya, was found by the Benghazi rebels in his home town of Sirte.

The colonel climbed out of his car and waved to the rebels, saying “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot.” The rebels, however, shot the colonel, first in the legs to disable him, and then sodomized the dead or dying man with a large stick before killing him together with his son Mutassim. The colonel’s last words are reported to have been, “What did I ever do to you? Don’t you know what you’re doing is wrong? Don’t you know the difference between right and wrong?”

These events took place after an eight month assault on the desert nation of some five million people by the combined military forces of the USA, the UK, France, and Italy.

Colonel Qadhafi had ruled Libya for over forty years. He had given its entire population a standard of living rated the best in Africa by the UN, and which neither the USA, in its two hundred and thirty five year history, nor any other developed western nation, had ever been able to equal.

The colonel’s corpse was publicly exhibited in a freezer in a supermarket until Monday, October 24, 2011 before being buried in a secret desert location at dawn on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 to avoid its becoming a shrine, a likely eventuality if the location is ever discovered.

Saif Al-Islam Qadhafi, the colonel’s son, is said to be approaching the borders of Niger, with Touaregs to guide him through and look after him.

Howdy Doody and his cronies can be left to worry about twenty thousand missile launchers, each capable of taking down an airliner, and no back yard without its own tank.

Oct 20, 2011


The above cartoon was published in 1912, to predict the effect of creating the FDIC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, created in 1913, a corporation created by the major banks and staffed by their representatives and appointees.

The cartoon appeared many years before the establishment of the unitary presidency; AUMF, the authorization for the use of military force; the creation of the state of Israel; liquid war; drone warfare, or the surveillance state, but its predicted results are readily visible. “Not only do they run the banks, they run the institutions that regulate the banks.”

Oct 19, 2011


Here’s a short (2 minute 30 second) effort to rebut the seven biggest whoppers now being told by those who want to take America backwards. The major points:

1. Tax cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else. Baloney. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both sliced taxes on the rich and what happened? Most Americans’ wages (measured by the real median wage) began flattening under Reagan and have dropped since George W. Bush. Trickle-down economics is a cruel joke.

2. Higher taxes on the rich would hurt the economy and slow job growth. False. From the end of World War II until 1981, the richest Americans faced a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent or above. Under Dwight Eisenhower it was 91 percent. Even after all deductions and credits, the top taxes on the very rich were far higher than they’ve been since. Yet the economy grew faster during those years than it has since. (Don’t believe small businesses would be hurt by a higher marginal tax; fewer than 2 percent of small business owners are in the highest tax bracket.)

3. Shrinking government generates more jobs. Wrong again. It means fewer government workers – everyone from teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and social workers at the state and local levels to safety inspectors and military personnel at the federal. And fewer government contractors, who would employ fewer private-sector workers. According to Moody’s economist Mark Zandi (a campaign advisor to John McCain), the $61 billion in spending cuts proposed by the House GOP will cost the economy 700,000 jobs this year and next.

4. Cutting the budget deficit now is more important than boosting the economy. Untrue. With so many Americans out of work, budget cuts now will shrink the economy. They’ll increase unemployment and reduce tax revenues. That will worsen the ratio of the debt to the total economy. The first priority must be getting jobs and growth back by boosting the economy. Only then, when jobs and growth are returning vigorously, should we turn to cutting the deficit.

5. Medicare and Medicaid are the major drivers of budget deficits. Wrong. Medicare and Medicaid spending is rising quickly, to be sure. But that’s because the nation’s health-care costs are rising so fast. One of the best ways of slowing these costs is to use Medicare and Medicaid’s bargaining power over drug companies and hospitals to reduce costs, and to move from a fee-for-service system to a fee-for-healthy outcomes system. And since Medicare has far lower administrative costs than private health insurers, we should make Medicare available to everyone.

6. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Don’t believe it. Social Security is solvent for the next 26 years. It could be solvent for the next century if we raised the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. That ceiling is now $106,800.

7. It’s unfair that lower-income Americans don’t pay income tax. Wrong. There’s nothing unfair about it. Lower-income Americans pay out a larger share of their paychecks in payroll taxes, sales taxes, user fees, and tolls than everyone else.

Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton.

Oct 12, 2011


New map of the world

Both from Revolution not on TV

Oct 7, 2011


It’s raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town. He enters the only hotel, lays a 1000 Euro note on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to choose one.

The hotel proprietor takes the 1000 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the 1000 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower. The pig grower takes the 1000 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel. The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 1000 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the town's prostitute that in these hard times, gave her "services" on credit. The hooker runs to the hotel, and pays off her debt with the 1000 Euro note to the same hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.

The hotel proprietor then lays the 1000 Euro note back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything.

At that moment, the tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, and takes his 1000 Euro note, after saying that he did not like any of the rooms, and leaves town.

No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States is doing business today !!

Sep 30, 2011


The decorum was striking. Where Iraqis stripped the villas of Saddam’s family bare of their last teaspoons, Libyans respectfully filed past the dining room table laid with crockery for twelve, as if visiting a preserved historic manor on a Sunday afternoon. A packet of corn flakes stood open and untouched on the kitchen counter. Twenty minutes before the Ramadan breakfast, local volunteers declared it was closing time, and ushered the public out one room at a time. A grandmother furtively scooped a pair of pink baby booties from the nursery into the folds of her dress when she spied the wardens turning their backs.

The victorious militiamen lording over ‘Aisha’s father’s lair in Bab al-‘Aziziyya, by contrast, presided over mayhem and rampant looting. Its walls have been gutted, torched and covered with jubilant graffiti. Cars drove home laden with medical equipment pillaged from the compound’s hospital. Gunners pumped their anti-aircraft and machine guns, the latter held with one hand over their heads. A militia’s ambulance wailed rebel paeans.


For now, the tide seems to be with Tripoli’s people. In an effort to dislodge the militiamen, they have backed efforts to stand up the interim government slowly transferring its seat of power to Tripoli. They have welcomed its message of national reconciliation and preservation of all but the thin upper crust of the Qaddafi regime as the fastest route to resume normality and civilian rule, and forestall the militarization and protection rackets that filled Benghazi’s vacuum when the Qaddafi regime vanished there. The continued leadership of ‘Abd al-Jalil, who until the February uprising was Qaddafi’s justice minister, and Jibril, who headed Qaddafi’s state-run economic think tank in Tripoli, has calmed fears among the city’s bureaucrats and merchants of a root-and-branch upheaval that would sweep them aside. At the NTC’s invitation, they thronged to celebrations and morning prayers on the first day of ‘Id al-Fitr to replace the militiamen in Martyrs Square. Souq al-Jum‘a’s elders, who had allowed 4,000 Misrata militiamen to pitch camp in such sites as the new branch of LTT, the internet company owned by the eldest of Qaddafi’s sons, Muhammad, signaled that their hospitality had its limits and asked them to leave.


There is much to be hopeful about. Tripolitania lacks an entrenched martial tradition. The cult of ‘Umar al-Mukhtar, the warrior-priest who led the rebellion against Italian imperialism, flourishes across eastern Libya, but never really seeped west. Nor did the colonel’s caprice entirely smother the capital’s cosmopolitan spirit. For all his brutality, his propagandists celebrated his “civilian” accomplishments -- the Green Book and the Great Manmade River -- not his few military intrigues, which largely failed. His disastrous 1980s invasion of Chad was erased from the official narrative, and the army sidelined as a potential, and sometimes actual, fifth column.

Moreover, as the social space least contaminated by the colonel, the capital’s mosques have played a key role in rapid restoration of order. From the first nights of victory, preachers broadcast calls for militiamen to stop firing in the air and register looted weapons with the local NTC office. In many districts, the local mosque has become the local seat of government, as well as the source of water and, thanks to plentiful alms collection, welfare.


And the risk remains that Libya’s militarization will rub off on civilian life, leading Libyans to pursue their various goals by force of arms. Post-Qaddafi, weapons are everywhere. Berber peasants stash tanks in their farmyards. Beneath an overpass in al-Zawiya, high-school children rotate the turrets of the tanks they have commandeered. No sooner had the colonel fled than Tripoli’s population scavenged the arms depots for self-defense. More hardware and missiles lie for the taking across the coastal plains. On the grounds of Bab al-‘Aziziyya, Tripolitanian fathers excitedly photograph their young daughters carrying rebel guns. Six months ago, the Misratan fighters terrorizing Tripolitanians were themselves mere civilians -- engineers, tradesmen, students and jobless youths -- until conflict turned them into battle-hardened fighters. The danger is that, having resorted to violence, the revolution might continue as it started.


Already Misrata’s command has refused to submit to Belhadj’s writ. And after five months of de facto independence, Berbers in the Nafusa Mountains are standing up their own force and cultural symbols. Unlike the Misratans, most of the Berber irregulars who swept into Tripoli quickly went home, but only after replenishing their arsenals with loot from the arms depots. “If we don’t keep some men and guns for ourselves, we wouldn’t be able to fend off a counterattack,” explained Nadir Muqadama, the town’s military spokesman.]

Sep 7, 2011


It was reported that the trigger found by the US teams several weeks/months after the explosion was of the type favoured in Libyan- not Palestinian-made bombs, thereby ruling out the Abu Nidal/Iranian scenario.

But apparently an honest Swiss arms factory worker, plagued by his conscience, a couple of years back finally lodged a sworn statement that just after the accident he had been approached by the CIA who requested a sample timer (of the Libyan type) to help with their investigations, which he duly supplied. It was this very timer, recognisable to him in the court photos, that was then 'discovered' on the accident scene.

Had the Scottish judiciary re-opened the case, this testimony was the 'smoking gun' that would have reversed the conviction - and into the bargain humiliated the Scottish justice system for their ineptitude and possible complicity in the original trial. Hence the essential pre-condition for letting fall-guy Megrahi out was that he dropped his appeal - an act misconstrued by the media as further proof of his 'guilt'. Allegedly.

Sep 1, 2011


The person invariably referred to as the Lockerbie bomber in all reports of the tightly controlled US media is certainly entirely innocent of that particular attack.

What happened is as follows:

An American warship, the USS Vincennes, brought down an Iranian civil airliner killing all of the hundreds of passengers aboard. Far from any criticism, the crew were awarded US Congressional medals of honor for their efforts.

The Persians have never been noted for their forgiving nature, and usually take the view that a bloody nose for an attacker discourages repetition, and put out a contract for a tit for tat. The contract was taken up by Abu Nidal, one of many shadowy Palestinian groups, and successfully carried out.

When the US airliner came down over Lockerbie in Scotland, US teams flew in immediately and isolated the entire area. They came up with a small electronic part, said to be the trigger of the explosion that brought down the plane, but the shady past of leaders of the effort forces some skepticism.

In the court case that followed the only witness against Megrahi, a Maltese shopkeeper, was unable to identify Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi, who was sitting in the court, as the man who bought stuff from him in his shop in Malta.

The Maltese shopkeeper, the only evidence against Megrahi, was paid many millions of US dollars for his testimony.

If the proposed re-examination of the case against Megrahi had gone ahead, there seems no doubt that the case against him would have fallen apart.

Megrahi’s exact physical state, whether he is at death’s door or in good health, is irrelevant.

Aug 18, 2011


Any other business?

1. Money

A clear stream of sparkling nourishing revenue can be generated by the stroke of a pen. With a bloated Wall Street nervously sitting on mountains of cash, awaiting outcomes, the time is perfect for a say 1% (one per cent) tax on all financial transactions. Gordon Brown’s Tobin Tax would make a good start.

2. Jobs

America’s creaking decrepit infrastructure of roads, bridges, tunnels, sewers, piping needs to be replaced and very soon.

The workforce is waiting in large numbers and is currently very cheaply available, as are construction materials.

Rescuing and patching America’s neglected infrastructure will provide very large numbers of jobs for those sections of the population that most need it.

3. Debt

Among the most valuable gifts of God are intelligent women.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and president of the Public Banking Institute, Her websites are and

Her article on the national debt, shows how the national debt can be treated as a public utility, reversing the thrust of the debt, and producing a simple straightforward solution to the entire debt crisis and the kabuki (Symbolic Japanese drama) of the debt ceiling battle. Make it a public utility!

Any other business?

Any questions?

There being none….

Aug 13, 2011


August 14, 2011 is halfway thru the Year of the Hare, which started on February 14, 2011, St. Valentine’s Day, you may remember, three days before the Benghazi rebellion kicked off on February 17, 2011, and the US downgrade from AAA to AA+ by S&P, the ratings agency, took place on August 5, 2011. Can’t say the old Hare isn’t moving the shanks around, and we’re only halfway through!
Below are some of the various views currently offered, the scenes to be seen:

The Iranian clergy have issued a fatwa (religious ruling) against nuclear weapons, calling them "offensive to God".

The European Union's Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2010 states that in 2009 there were "294 failed, foiled, or successfully executed attacks" in six European countries….
…Islamists? They were behind a grand total of one attack. Yes, one. Out of 294 attacks. In a population of half a billion people.

However, I was pleased to learn that side-stream smoke [passive smoking] has 4000 chemicals, 60 of which are known to cause cancer. I am told that most organically grown vegetables contain only 3925 chemicals, of which only 53 are known to cause cancer.

At some point in the future, for example, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the US navy’s billion dollar battleships sunk off the coast of Vietnam by cheap Chinese missiles.
Read more: The Great Correction...5 years On, Part III

Heorte sceal the cenre... the ure maegen lytlath
Heart shall be keener... as our strength lessens - Anglo Saxon

We owe God a death - Prince Hal, Henry V

“It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes” Stalin

“Representation is a denial of democracy.” The Green Book, Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi
“The poor people line up to throw their votes into the ballot box, like pieces of rubbish into the trash can.” Mu’ammar Qadhafi, The Green Book

Today's a good day to die - Cherokee saying

Are you gonna believe me, or your lying eyes? – Groucho Marx

And get rid of your politicians, for God’s sake, like Senator Kerry of Massachusetts, the war profiteer as government, the richest man in the senate, probably, with most of his wealth invested in military support companies, - highly profitable – stoking troubles from his perch on the Foreign Relations board, showing up regularly at Karzai’s shoulder, no mayhem is useless if it makes an extra buck for Kerry! The guy does not belong in decent company.

They are calling thee from the high pillars of the throne of God. I know not what hath befallen thee in this dungheap. - Hafiz

“Whatever can be imagined can be achieved.” Angela Palmer, the Oxford Ghost Forest lady.

A More Reputable Career: Thomas Heathfield was a well-paid banking consultant with a promising career in Maidenhead, England, but gave it up this year to move to South Africa and endure rigorous training as a "sangoma" ("witch doctor"). After five months of studying siSwati language, sleeping in the bush, hunting for animal parts, vomiting up goats' blood and learning native dances, Heathfield, 32, was given a new name, Gogo Mndawe, and is now qualified to read bones and prescribe herbal cures (among the skills expected of sangomas by the roughly 50 percent of South Africa's population that reveres them). He admitted concern about his acceptance as a white man calling out African spirits, "but when (the people) see (me) dance, perhaps those questions go away." [Daily Telegraph (London), 7-2-2011]

What goes around comes around, it’s only money, easy come, easy go, and worse things happen at sea. Investors lose a trillion dollars in one day By Steve Hargreaves August 8, 2011: 5:39 PM ET

Of the fifty countries developing drones, by the way, the Pakistanis have scored a first by installing an operational drone launcher on one of their navy ships.


#40 Hsien, Deliverance, of the I Ching or Book of Changes.



Here the movement goes out of the sphere of danger. The obstacle has been removed; the difficulties are being resolved. Deliverance is not yet achieved; it is just in its beginning, and the hexagram represents its various stages.

DELIVERANCE The southwest furthers.
If there is no longer anything where one has to go,
Return brings good fortune.
If there is still something where one has to go,
Hastening brings good fortune.

This refers to a time in which tensions and complications begin to be eased. At such times we ought to make our way back to ordinary conditions as soon as possible; this is the meaning of “the southwest.” These periods of sudden change have great importance. Just as rain relieves atmospheric tension, making all the buds burst open, so a time of deliverance from burdensome pressure has a liberating and stimulating effect on life. One thing is important, however: in such times we must not overdo our triumph. The point is not to push on farther than is necessary. Returning to the regular order of life as soon as deliverance is achieved brings good fortune. If there are any residual matters that ought to be attended to, it should be done as quickly as possible, so that a clean sweep is made and no retardations occur.

Thunder and rain set in:
The image of DELIVERANCE.
Thus the superior man pardons mistakes
And forgives misdeeds.

A thunderstorm has the effect of clearing the air; the superior man produces a similar effect when dealing with mistakes and sins of men that induce a condition of tension. Through clarity he brings deliverance. However, when failings come to light, he does not dwell on them; he simply passes over mistakes, the unintentional transgressions, just as thunder dies away. He forgives misdeeds, the intentional transgressions, just as water washes everything clean.

Jul 17, 2011

Weekend Edition July 15 - 17, 2011


After three and a half months of bombing and arms supply to various rebel factions, NATO's failure in its efforts to promote "regime change" in Libya is now glaring.

Obviously NATO's commanders are still hoping that a lucky bomb may kill Gaddafi, but to date the staying power has been with the Libyan leader, whereas it is the relevant NATO powers who are fighting among themselves.

The reports from Istanbul of the deliberations of NATO’s Contact Group have a surreal quality, as Secretary of State Clinton and British foreign minister Hague gravely re-emphasize their commitment to regime change and the strengthening of ties to the Transitional Council in Benghazi, while the humiliation of the entire NATO expedition is entering the history books as an advertisement of the dangers of political fantasy in the service of “humanitarian interventionism”, appalling intelligence work, illusions about bombing and air power, and some of the worst press coverage in living memory.

Take British prime minister David Cameron. He can thank Rupert Murdoch, even the wretched Andy Coulson for one ironic blessing. His appalling misjudgment and obstinacy in hiring former News of the world editor Coulson has so dominated British headlines these past days that an equally staggering misjudgment in the international theater is escaping well-merited ridicule and rebuke.

When Cameron vied with French president Sarkozy in early March in heading the charge against Qaddafi, no murmur of caution seems to have disturbed the blithe mood of confidence in Downing St. It was as though Blair’s blunders and miscalculations in Iraq, endlessly disinterred in subsequent years, had never been.

Cameron, like Sarkozy, Clinton and Obama presumably had intelligence assessments of the situation in Libya Did any of them say that Gaddafi might be a tougher nut to crack than the presidents of Tunisia or Egypt, might even command some popular support in Tripoli and western Libya, historically at odds with Benghazi and the eastern region? If they did, did they pay any attention?

The Western press, along with al-Jazeera, was no help. The early charges of Gaddafi committing “genocide” against his own people or ordering mass rapes were based on unverified rumor or propaganda bulletins from Benghazi and have now been decisively discredited by reputable organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Any pretensions the International Criminal Court might have had to judicial impartiality has been undermined by the ICC’s role as NATO’s creature, rushing out indictments of Gaddafi and his closest associates whenever NATO’s propaganda agenda has demanded it.

The journalists in Benghazi became cheerleaders for what was from the start plainly a disorganized rabble of disparate factions. The journalists in Tripoli were reluctant to file copy which might be deemed by their editors as “soft” on Gaddafi, a devil figure in the West for most of his four decades in power. America’s pwogwessives exulted that at last they had on their hands a “just war” and could cheer on NATO’s bombardiers with a clear conscience and entertain fantasies about the revolutionary purity of the rebels.

All history shows that the dropping of thousands of bombs and missiles, with whatever supposed standards of “pin point accuracy”, never elicits the enthusiastic support of civilians on the receiving end, even if a certificate of humanitarian assistance and merciful intent is stamped on every projectile. Recent pro-government rallies in Tripoli have been vast. Libya has a population of about six million, with four million in Tripoli. Gaddafi barrels around the city in an open jeep. Large amounts of AK-47s have been distributed to civilian defense committees. Were they all compelled to demonstrate by Gaddafi’s enforcers? It seems unlikely.

This last week the western press excitedly relayed the news that a handful of prisoners were denouncing Gaddafi. Well, if you were a prisoner with rebel guns pointed at your head, would you proclaim your fidelity to the prime target of their fury, or murmur that you had been dragooned into unwilling service? Isn’t this an item from Journalism 101. Are they “black mercenaries” or Libyans from the south who happen to be black and members of Gaddafi’s militias?

Another pointer to NATO’s misjudgments has been the heavy-handed dismissal of charges from African, Russian and even leaders of NATO countries such as Germany that the mandates of two UN security council resolutions passed in February and then March 17 – protection of civilian populations – were being brazenly distorted in favor of efforts to kill Gaddafi and install the ramshackle “provisional government” in Benghazi – a shady bunch from the getgo.

In early March, Sarkozy, languishing in the polls, believed the counsel of “new philosopher” Bernard-Henri Lévy, after the latter’s March 6 excursion to Benghazi, that Libya and its oil were up for grabs. On March 11 Sarkozy took the precipitate step of recognizing the Benghazi gang as the legitimate government of Libya and awaited Gaddafi’s collapse with a confident heart.

In a hilarious inside account of the NATO debacle, Vincent Jauvert of Le Nouvel Observateur has recently disclosed that French intelligence services assured Sarkozy and foreign minister Juppe “from the first [air] strike, thousands of soldiers would defect from Gaddafi.” They also predicted that the rebels would move quickly to Sirte, the hometown of the Qaddafi and force him to flee the country. This was triumphantly and erroneously trumpeted by the NATO powers which even proclaimed that he had flown to Venezuela. By all means opt for the Big Lie as a propaganda ploy, but not if it is inevitably going to be discredited 24 hours later.

“We underestimated al-Gaddafi ,” one French officer told Jauvert. “He was preparing for forty-one years for an invasion. We did not imagine he would adapt as quickly. No one expects, for example, to transport its troops and missile batteries, Gaddafi will go out and buy hundreds of Toyota pick-ups in Niger and Mali. It is a stroke of genius: the trucks are identical to those used by the rebels. NATO is paralyzed. It delays its strikes. Before bombing the vehicles, drivers need to be sure they are whose forces are Gaddafi’s. ‘We asked the rebels to a particular signal on the roof of their pickup truck, said a soldier, but we were never sure. They are so disorganized...’"

When collapse did not arrive on schedule the French government breezily confirmed earlier this month it was shipping and air-dropping arms supplies to Libyan rebel groups. We can safely assume Britain has its own clandestine operations in train, though the capture of the SAS/MI6 unit by Libyan farmers was not an inspiring augury.

The NATO coalition is now falling apart, though disclosure of this development has been muted to non-existent in the US press. French defense minister Gerard Longuet gave an interview at the end of last week to a French tv station saying that military action against Libya has failed, and it is time for diplomacy: “We must now sit around a table. We will stop bombing as soon as the Libyans start talking to one another and the military on both sides go back to their bases.’ Longuet suggested that Gaddafi might be able to remain in Libya, ‘in another room of the palace, with another title’.”

If Longuet’s startling remarks were for local consumption on the eve of an Assembly vote, it clearly came as a shock to Cameron and Secretary of State Clinton. To heighten the impression of a civil war in NATO Cameron and Clinton rushed out statements asserting the ongoing goal of regime change, and that Gaddafi’s departure was a sine qua non, as demanded by the Benghazi gang.

But Berlusconi, his country the objective of tens of thousands of refugees from the fighting and from economic dislocation in Libya is now saying he was against the whole NATO adventure from the start. He may decline to renew in the fall current basing agreements in Italy for the NATO intervening powers. Germany has always been unenthusiastic. Initially, France and Britain nourished hopes of close military liaison but that soon collapsed for all the usual reasons -- inertia, suspicion, and simple incompetence.

Sarkozy’s suspicions of Germany and Turkey were apparently so intense, according to Le Nouvel Observateur, that he called for the sidelining of the Turkish and German officers present in the command structure of NATO, on the grounds that they could undermine the war given Berlin and Ankara’s distaste for the whole exercise. Normal guidelines dictate that when the supreme commander of NATO, an American general and his No. 2, a Briton, are on leave, the No. 3, is to be a German. Sarkozy had this sequence nixed.

Obama has been playing a double game, reflective of domestic pressures and political priorities. At the start, the rush to the UN Security Council was very much Secretary of State Clinton’s initiative. In political stature early to mid-February Obama was at his nadir. There was growing talk of a one-term presidency. Clinton rushed into what she perceived as a tempting vacuum, perhaps even began to entertain some hopes of accelerating Obama’s decline and proffering herself as a potential contender in 2012. Obama, still fighting the “wimp” label, swiftly endorsed the NATO mission and defied challenges as to its constitutional propriety. Clinton soon thereafter announced she was not particularly interested in staying in national politics after 2012.

In terms of equipment the US has been crucial. According to one French general cited by Le Nouvel Observateur, “33 of 41 tanker aircraft used in the operation are American, most of the AWACS as well, all the drones as well, as 100 per cent of anti-radar missile and laser guidance kits for bombs. And that's not all. The main means of command and control of NATO as the huge bandwidth for transmitting all the data is American.” The Director of Military Intelligence, General Didier Bolelli, revealed that over 80 per cent of the targets assigned to the French pilots in Libya was designated by U.S.! "They give us just enough so that we do not figure we were breaking," says one diplomat.

Those whose memories stretch back to the Suez debacle of 1956 might recall that Eisenhower simply ordered the British, French and Israeli forces to abandon the effort to overthrow Nasser. We could well be seeing a less overt rerun of that conclusive demonstration of post World War II US dominance, with the Obama administration making the point that any effort at asserting European primacy in the Mediterranean region is doomed to failure.

Before his retirement Defense Secretary Gates took the opportunity to twist the knife in a speech in Brussels: “The mightiest military alliance in history, is …into an operation against a poorly-armed regime in a sparsely populated country — yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference.” He said ominously, “future U.S. political leaders … may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.”

Even if Obama is in fact wholeheartedly for regime change in Libya the political temperature here does not favor the sort of escalation – hugely costly and much against the public mood - required in the wake of the failure of the bombing campaign.

There’s no evidence that Labor’s leader, Ed Miliband, lion-like in his eagerness to seize the reins of the anti-Murdoch bandwagon, has the political agility to toast Cameron for the Libyan farce. By disposition he’s probably keener on “humanitarian interventions” than Cameron and can only reproach him for not trying hard enough.

In sum, we on the left should rejoice that a simple colonial smash and grab is currently in a shambles, with serious long-term consequences for NATO’s credibility and pretenses to respect for international law. The kangaroo cage known as the International Criminal Court has been even further discredited, another cause for joy.

What next? The air is thick with speculations about a brokered settlement, salted with hopeful bleats from the Americans and British that Gaddafi is on the verge of collapse, that he is running out of fuel, that the rebels are tightening the noose around Tripoli, that the Russians re brokering some sort of a face-saving deal. It seems a better bet to recognize that after four and a half months, NATO and the interventionists are being humiliated. Throw in the humiliation of Rupert Murdoch and we can legitimately raise our champagne glasses even higher.

“Secrecy is for losers,” as the late Senator and United Nations Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say. If this is indeed the case, it would be hard to find a bigger loser than the U.S. government.
Update on Libya:
"George Bush, Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Guardian etc etc the usual hacks in this matter, make freedom sound like a threat and democracy sound like a punishment.

"Also I don't see any reports of the following:

"1 -- That on Sunday 7/10/11 France calling on NATO to immediately stop its counterproductive and counterintuitive bombing, as more countries witness public demonstrations against NATO’s actions in Libya. French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said in Paris that it was time for Qaddafi loyalists, which France acknowledges have been rapidly increasing in number, and Libyan rebels “to sit around a table to reach a political compromise” because, he said, “there was no solution with force."

"2- On 9 July 2011, NATO claimed its aircraft carried out another “precision strike on a pro-Qaddafi missile firing position near Tawurgha, south of Misrata. According to its media office, “NATO intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance were conducted over a period of time to ascertain the military use of the site. It was confirmed as being used to launch indiscriminate attacks on Libyan civilians in the area and a staging area by pro-Qaddafi villagers, including planning attacks on rebel forces near the port and city of Misrata.” The next morning, 7/10/11, local inhabitants denied that the farm had any military activity on the property and an examination of the farm buildings failed to discover any.

"or 3
On May 13, 2011, a peace delegation of Muslim religious leaders having arrived in Brega to seek dialogue with fellow Sheikhs from the east of Libya, was bombed at 1 a.m. in their guesthouse by two US MK 82 bombs. Eleven of the Sheikhs were killed instantly and 14 were seriously injured. NATO claimed the building housed a “Command and Control Center.” All witnesses and the hotel owner have vehemently denied this claim.

"or 4
On June 6, 2011, at 2:30 a.m. the central administrative complex of the Higher Committee for Children in central Tripoli, two blocks from this observer’s hotel, was bombed with a total of 12 bombs/rockets. The complex housed the National Downs Syndrome center including its records and vital statistics office, the Crippled Women’s Foundation, the Crippled Children Center, and the National Diabetic Research Center.

5. On June 16, 2011 at 5 a.m. NATO bombed a private hotel in central Tripoli, killing three people and destroying a restaurant and Shisha smoking bar.

May 20, 2011


Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi – the Q indicates a velar K, a guttural far back in the throat, as the dh indicates a velar d, not the ordinary friendly d, but one far back in the throat; they’re helpful indications how his name is pronounced. – with a band of fellow army officers seized power in Libya.

The US had a large airforce base, Wheelus, in the country, whose armaments could have dealt with any small country, but they did nothing at all during the coup. After the usual round of wild claims that they must have been behind it had subsided, it has been generally recognized that the US had no part in the coup, either for or against. See note 1.

Mu’ammar’s first act on attaining power was typical and in a sense defined him. Tripoli was surrounded at the time by the ring of favellas or shanty towns that many cities in the world have; Qadhafi built a whole series of modern furnished apartments, moved the shanty town dwellers into them, and then destroyed the shanty towns. It is unlikely to be forgotten.

Mu’ammar’s own instinct was against it, but his friend Gemal Abdel Nasser of Egypt persuaded him, probably correctly, that it was necessary to create a cult of personality, simply for personal protection. His personal life remained stubbornly individualistic however, with his army tent in his army camp.

Arabic is a very big language, and the term for the minaret of the mosque, Jami’, the gatherer, the crowd creator, was extended by Qadhafi not merely to Joumhouria, a republic, but to Jamahiriya, the technically correct category for the state of Libya, meaning the masses, or “mass-dom” as one official named it.

Qadhafi may be, and often is, regarded as an amiable nut, but he is at least quite consistent. The masses are exactly who he regards as important and worthy of service, which is merely what all governments are supposed to believe, of course, but very few of them have provided their masses with free state of the art healthcare, free state of the art education, and a $50,000 (fifty thousand US dollar) state loan if they get married. Indeed, none of them, to be brutally frank about it, with the exception of Libya, which is why Libya is ranked #1 in Africa for standard of living by the UN.

Ellen Brown’s detailed and very factual description of Libya can be found at

Also at

Note I. - Some very individualistic events took place around the coup, however, all rather revealing. The coup had been planned for earlier, for example, but as the day drew nigh, news swept Tripoli that Umm Kulthum was coming to hold a concert there. (To try to explain to those not literate in the Arab world that this maternal full figured lady, all of whose songs lasted for several hours and who had all her earnings paid directly to the Egyptian army was a source of crowd hysteria that made Beatlemania look rustic would take too long.) Qadhafi found himself surrounded by fellow conspirators who had become babbling idiots, capable only of repeating endlessly “Didn’t you hear? Umm Kulthum is coming to Tripoli!” “But the coup – it’s tomorrow,” one imagines Qadhafi hissing between clenched teeth, only to be met with another dollop of the great news. Qadhafi gave up, and let the current carry him, and by something not far short of a miracle, none of the preparations were discovered. The coup was successfully carried out, at a slightly later date, and the story may serve as a useful example of the SNAFU (Situation normal, all f***ed up) as against the CONSPIRACY school of thought.

Note 2.Everyone will have their own favorites, from closing barber shops – hair cutting should be done at home – to my own favorite, announcing the replacement of all Libyan ambassadors world wide by committees formed of all Libyans in the country. (Can you imagine the chaos?)

May 18, 2011


New Zealand plate stack: New Zealand's Southern Alps run along almost the entire length of the country's South Island. In the bottom right of this picture you can see the peak of one of these 3,000m (9,800ft) mountains. When the wind coming from the Pacific in the west hits them, it bounces off, causing clouds to become altocumulus lenticularis, a pile of plates shaped like the lens of an eye.

The Pacific Ocean, “that vast eyeball of water, and what it watches is not our wars.” Robinson Jeffers, Shine Perishing Republic.

May 8, 2011


How the McEconomy Bombed the American Worker The Hollowing Out of the Middle Class By Andy Kroll

Think of it as a parable for these grim economic times. On April 19th, McDonald's launched its first-ever national hiring day, signing up 62,000 new workers at stores throughout the country. For some context, that's more jobs created by one company in a single day than the net job creation of the entire U.S. economy in 2009. And if that boggles the mind, consider how many workers applied to local McDonald's franchises that day and left empty-handed: 938,000 of them. With a 6.2% acceptance rate in its spring hiring blitz, McDonald’s was more selective than the Princeton, Stanford, or Yale University admission offices.

It shouldn’t be surprising that a million souls flocked to McDonald's hoping for a steady paycheck, when nearly 14 million Americans are out of work and nearly a million more are too discouraged even to look for a job. At this point, it apparently made no difference to them that the fast-food industry pays some of the lowest wages around: on average, $8.89 an hour, or barely half the $15.95 hourly average across all American industries.

On an annual basis, the average fast-food worker takes home $20,800, less than half the national average of $43,400. McDonald's appears to pay even worse, at least with its newest hires. In the press release for its national hiring day, the multi-billion-dollar company said it would spend $518 million on the newest round of hires, or $8,354 a head. Hence the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of "McJob" as "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement."

Of course, if you read only the headlines, you might think that the jobs picture was improving. The economy added 1.3 million private-sector jobs between February 2010 and January 2011, and the headline unemployment rate edged downward, from 9.8% to 8.8%, between November of last year and March. It inched upward in April, to 9%, but tempering that increase was the news that the economy added 244,000 jobs last month (not including those 62,000 McJobs), beating economists' expectations.

Under this somewhat sunnier news, however, runs a far darker undercurrent. Yes, jobs are being created, but what kinds of jobs paying what kinds of wages? Can those jobs sustain a modest lifestyle and pay the bills? Or are we living through a McJobs recovery?

The Rise of the McWorker

The evidence points to the latter. According to a recent analysis by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the biggest growth in private-sector job creation in the past year occurred in positions in the low-wage retail, administrative, and food service sectors of the economy. While 23% of the jobs lost in the Great Recession that followed the economic meltdown of 2008 were “low-wage” (those paying $9-$13 an hour), 49% of new jobs added in the sluggish “recovery” are in those same low-wage industries. On the other end of the spectrum, 40% of the jobs lost paid high wages ($19-$31 an hour), while a mere 14% of new jobs pay similarly high wages.

As a point of comparison, that's much worse than in the recession of 2001 after the high-tech bubble burst. Then, higher wage jobs made up almost a third of all new jobs in the first year after the crisis.

The hardest hit industries in terms of employment now are finance, manufacturing, and especially construction, which was decimated when the housing bubble burst in 2007 and has yet to recover. Meanwhile, NELP found that hiring for temporary administrative and waste-management jobs, health-care jobs, and of course those fast-food restaurants has surged.

Indeed in 2010, one in four jobs added by private employers was a temporary job, which usually provides workers with few benefits and even less job security. It's not surprising that employers would first rely on temporary hires as they regained their footing after a colossal financial crisis. But this time around, companies have taken on temp workers in far greater numbers than after previous downturns. Where 26% of hires in 2010 were temporary, the figure was 11% after the early-1990s recession and only 7% after the downturn of 2001.

As many labor economists have begun to point out, we're witnessing an increasing polarization of the U.S. economy over the past three decades. More and more, we're seeing labor growth largely at opposite ends of the skills-and-wages spectrum -- among, that is, the best and the worst kinds of jobs.

At one end of job growth, you have increasing numbers of people flipping burgers, answering telephones, engaged in child care, mopping hallways, and in other low-wage lines of work. At the other end, you have increasing numbers of engineers, doctors, lawyers, and people in high-wage "creative" careers. What's disappearing is the middle, the decent-paying jobs that helped expand the American middle class in the mid-twentieth century and that, if the present lopsided recovery is any indication, are now going the way of typewriters and landline telephones.

Because the shape of the workforce increasingly looks fat on both ends and thin in the middle, economists have begun to speak of "the barbell effect," which for those clinging to a middle-class existence in bad times means a nightmare life. For one thing, the shape of the workforce now hinders America’s once vaunted upward mobility. It’s the downhill slope that’s largely available these days.

The barbell effect has also created staggering levels of income inequality of a sort not known since the decades before the Great Depression. From 1979 to 2007, for the middle class, average household income (after taxes) nudged upward from $44,100 to $55,300; by contrast, for the top 1%, average household income soared from $346,600 in 1979 to nearly $1.3 million in 2007. That is, super-rich families saw their earnings increase 11 times faster than middle-class families.

What's causing this polarization? An obvious culprit is technology. As MIT economist David Autor notes, the tasks of "organizing, storing, retrieving, and manipulating information" that humans once performed are now computerized. And when computers can't handle more basic clerical work, employers ship those jobs overseas where labor is cheaper and benefits nonexistent.

Another factor is education. In today's barbell economy, degrees and diplomas have never mattered more, which means that those with just a high school education increasingly find themselves locked into the low-wage end of the labor market with little hope for better. Worse yet, the pay gap between the well-educated and not-so-educated continues to widen: in 1979, the hourly wage of a typical college graduate was 1.5 times higher than that of a typical high-school graduate; by 2009, it was almost two times higher.

Considering, then, that the percentage of men ages 25 to 34 who have gone to college is actually decreasing, it's not surprising that wage inequality has gotten worse in the U.S. As Autor writes, advanced economies like ours "depend on their best-educated workers to develop and commercialize the innovative ideas that drive economic growth."

The distorting effects of the barbell economy aren't lost on ordinary Americans. In a recent Gallup poll, a majority of people agreed that the country was still in either a depression (29%) or a recession (26%). When sorted out by income, however, those making $75,000 or more a year are, not surprisingly, most likely to believe the economy is in neither a recession nor a depression, but growing. After all, they’re the ones most likely to have benefited from a soaring stock market and the return to profitability of both corporate America and Wall Street. In Gallup's middle-income group, by contrast, 55% of respondents claim the economy is in trouble. They're still waiting for their recovery to arrive.

The Slow Fade of Big Labor

The big-picture economic changes described by Autor and others, however, don't tell the entire story. There's a significant political component to the hollowing out of the American labor force and the impoverishment of the middle class: the slow fade of organized labor. Since the 1950s, the clout of unions in the public and private sectors has waned, their membership has dwindled, and their political influence has weakened considerably. Long gone are the days when powerful union bosses -- the AFL-CIO's George Meany or the UAW's Walter Reuther -- had the ear of just about any president.

As Mother Jones' Kevin Drum has written, in the 1960s and 1970s a rift developed between big labor and the Democratic Party. Unions recoiled in disgust at what they perceived to be the "motley collection of shaggy kids, newly assertive women, and goo-goo academics" who had begun to supplant organized labor in the Party. In 1972, the influential AFL-CIO symbolically distanced itself from the Democrats by refusing to endorse their nominee for president, George McGovern.

All the while, big business was mobilizing, banding together to form massive advocacy groups such as the Business Roundtable and shaping the staid U.S. Chamber of Commerce into a ferocious lobbying machine. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Democratic Party drifted rightward and toward an increasingly powerful and financially focused business community, creating the Democratic Leadership Council, an olive branch of sorts to corporate America. "It's not that the working class [had] abandoned Democrats," Drum wrote. "It's just the opposite: The Democratic Party [had] largely abandoned the working class."

The GOP, of course, has a long history of battling organized labor, and nowhere has that been clearer than in the party's recent assault on workers' rights. Swept in by a tide of Republican support in 2010, new GOP majorities in state legislatures from Wisconsin to Tennessee to New Hampshire have introduced bills meant to roll back decades' worth of collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions, the last bastion of organized labor still standing (somewhat) strong.

The political calculus behind the war on public-sector unions is obvious: kneecap them and you knock out a major pillar of support for the Democratic Party. In the 2010 midterm elections, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) spent nearly $90 million on TV ads, phone banking, mailings, and other support for Democratic candidates. The anti-union legislation being pushed by Republicans would inflict serious damage on AFSCME and other public-sector unions by making it harder for them to retain members and weakening their clout at the bargaining table.

And as shown by the latest state to join the anti-union fray, it's not just Republicans chipping away at workers' rights anymore. In Massachusetts, a staunchly liberal state, the Democratic-led State Assembly recently voted to curb collective bargaining rights on heath-care benefits for teachers, firefighters, and a host of other public-sector employees.

Bargaining-table clout is crucial for unions, since it directly affects the wages their members take home every month. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union workers pocket on average $200 more per week than their non-union counterparts, a 28% percent difference. The benefits of union representation are even greater for women and people of color: women in unions make 34% more than their non-unionized counterparts, and Latino workers nearly 51% more.

In other words, at precisely the moment when middle-class workers need strong bargaining rights so they can fight to preserve a living wage in a barbell economy, unions around the country face the grim prospect of losing those rights.

All of which raises the questions: Is there any way to revive the American middle class and reshape income distribution in our barbell nation? Or will this warped recovery of ours pave the way for an even more warped McEconomy, with the have-nots at one end, the have-it-alls at the other end, and increasingly less of us in between?

Andy Kroll is a reporter in the D.C. bureau of Mother Jones magazine and an associate editor at TomDispatch. The son of two teachers, he grew up in a firmly -- and happily -- middle-class household. His email is andykroll (at) motherjones (dot) com.

Copyright 2011 Andy Kroll

Note: “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” Voltaire

May 5, 2011


Well, three months down and nine to go. How are you enjoying the Year of the Hare so far? Hope that the sheer speed of changes since the beginning of the year on February 3, 2011 is raising your hair a bit. Sort of exhilarating those flying roller coaster rides on the crest of the wave. Learn to ride. It’s gonna get rougher.

Mutability, or changes, comes not by presidential decree nor by secret bank deals – it’s a built in condition of the whole game – you can’t even step into the same river twice.

Purchasing a large estate in a South American country that has no extradition treaty with the USA might surely be regarded as the height of prudence. It ignores mutability, however. One day it may become a subject of negotiation between the US and the country of the large estate, on the subject of precisely entering into an extradition treaty.

Aagh, some things never change, I hear you say.

Well, you have to wait till the rock is ready to move, as a Varashaiva saint was heard to say. Grab the moment. Carpe diem. If you see a chance, take it.

Here is what we have to change, the war on humanity of Vishnu Braphat:

Where Have All the Graveyards Gone?

The War That Didn’t End War and Its Unending Successors By Adam Hochschild

What if, from the beginning, everyone killed in the Iraq and Afghan wars had been buried in a single large cemetery easily accessible to the American public? Would it bring the fighting to a halt more quickly if we could see hundreds of thousands of tombstones, military and civilian, spreading hill after hill, field after field, across our landscape?

I found myself thinking about this recently while visiting the narrow strip of northern France and Belgium that has the densest concentration of young men’s graves in the world. This is the old Western Front of the First World War. Today, it is the final resting place for several million soldiers. Nearly half their bodies, blown into unrecognizable fragments by some 700 million artillery and mortar shells fired here between 1914 and 1918, lie in unmarked graves; the remainder are in hundreds upon hundreds of military cemeteries, still carefully groomed and weeded, the orderly rows of headstones or crosses covering hillsides and meadows.

Stand on a hilltop in one of the sites of greatest slaughter -- Ypres, the Somme, Verdun -- and you can see up to half-a-dozen cemeteries, large and small, surrounding you. In just one, Tyn Cot in Belgium, there are nearly 12,000 British, Canadian, South African, Australian, New Zealander, and West Indian graves.

Every year, millions of people visit the Western Front’s cemeteries and memorials, leaving behind flowers and photographs of long-dead relatives. The plaques and monuments are often subdued and remarkably unmartial. At least two of those memorials celebrate soldiers from both sides who emerged from the trenches and, without the permission of their top commanders, took part in the famous informal Christmas Truce of 1914, marked by soccer games in no-man’s-land.

In a curious way, the death toll of that war almost a century gone, in which more than 100,000 Americans died, has become so much more visible than the deaths in our wars today. Is that why the First World War is almost always seen, unlike our present wars, not just as tragic, but as a murderous folly that swept away part of a generation and in every way remade the world for the worse?

To Paris -- or Baghdad

For the last half-dozen years, I’ve been mentally living in that 1914-1918 world, writing a book about the war that killed some 20 million people, military and civilian, and left large parts of Europe in smoldering ruins. I’ve haunted battlefields and graveyards, asked a Belgian farmer if I could step inside a wartime concrete bunker that now houses his goats, and walked through reconstructed trenches and an underground tunnel which protected Canadian troops moving their ammunition to the front line.

In government archives, I’ve looked at excuse to put their plans into action -- even though the killer was an Austro-Hungarian citizen and there was no evidence Serbia’s cabinet knew of his plot. Although the war quickly drew in many other countries, its first shots were fired by Austro-Hungarian gunboats on the Danube shelling Serbia.

The more I learned about the war’s opening, the more I thought about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. President George W. Bush and his key advisors had long hungered to dislodge Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power. Like the archduke’s assassination, the attacks of September 11, 2001, gave them the excuse they had been waiting for -- even though there was no connection whatsoever between the hijackers, mainly Saudis, and Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Other parallels between World War I and today’s wars abound. You can see photographs from 1914 of German soldiers climbing into railway cars with “To Paris” jauntily chalked on their sides, and French soldiers boarding similar cars labeled “To Berlin.”

“You will be home,” Kaiser Wilhelm II confidently told his troops that August, “before the leaves have fallen from the trees.” Doesn’t that bring to mind Bush landing on an aircraft carrier in 2003 to declare, in front of a White House-produced banner reading “Mission Accomplished,” that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended"? A trillion dollars and tens of thousands of lives later, whatever mission there may have been remains anything but accomplished. Similarly, in Afghanistan, where Washington expected (and thought it had achieved) the most rapid and decisive of victories, the U.S. military remains mired in one of the longest wars in American history.

The Flowery Words of War

As the First World War made painfully clear, when politicians and generals lead nations into war, they almost invariably assume swift victory, and have a remarkably enduring tendency not to foresee problems that, in hindsight, seem obvious. In 1914, for instance, no country planned for the other side’s machine guns, a weapon which Europe’s colonial powers had used for decades mainly as a tool for suppressing uppity natives.

Both sides sent huge forces of cavalry to the Western Front -- the Germans eight divisions with 40,000 horses. But the machine gun and barbed wire were destined to end the days of glorious cavalry charges forever. As for plans like the famous German one to defeat the French in exactly 42 days, they were full of holes. Internal combustion engines were in their infancy, and in the opening weeks of the war, 60% of the invading German army’s trucks broke down. This meant supplies had to be pulled by horse and wagon. For those horses, not to mention all the useless cavalry chargers, t1 million wounded, many of them missing hands, arms, legs, eyes, genitals.

Was it worth it? Of course not. Germany’s near-starvation during the war, its humiliating defeat, and the misbegotten Treaty of Versailles virtually ensured the rise of the Nazis, along with a second, even more destructive world war, and a still more ruthless German occupation of France.

The same question has to be asked about our current war in Afghanistan. Certainly, at the start, there was an understandable motive for the war: after all, the Afghan government, unlike the one in Iraq, had sheltered the planners of the 9/11 attacks. But nearly ten years later, dozens of times more Afghan civilians are dead than were killed in the United States on that day -- and more than 2,400 American, British, Canadian, German, and other allied troops as well. As for unplanned consequences, it’s now a commonplace even for figures high in our country’s establishment to point out that the Afghan and Iraq wars have created a new generation of jihadists.

If you need a final resemblance between the First World War and ours of the present moment, consider the soaring rhetoric. The cataclysm of 1914-1918 is sometimes called the first modern war which, among other things, meant that gone forever was the era when “manifest destiny” or “the white man’s burden” would be satisfactory justificatioprotectorates and colonies. In Africa, for instance, Germany dreamed of establishing Mittelafrika, a grand, unbroken belt of territory stretching across the continent. And the British cabinet set up the Territorial Desiderata Committee, charged with choosing the most lucrative of the other side’s possessions to acquire in the postwar division of spoils. Near the top of the list of desiderata: the oil-rich provinces of Ottoman Turkey that, after the war, would be fatefully cobbled together into the British protectorate of Iraq.

When it comes to that territory, does anyone think that Washington would have gotten quite so righteously worked up in 2003 if, instead of massive amounts of oil, its principal export was turnips?

Someday, I have no doubt, the dead from today’s wars will be seen with a similar sense of sorrow at needless loss and folly as those millions of men who lie in the cemeteries of France and Belgium -- and tens of millions of Americans will feel a similar revulsion for the politicians and generals who were so spendthrift with others’ lives. But here’s the question that haunts me: What will it take to bring us to that point?

Adam Hochschild is the San Francisco-based author of seven books, including King Leopold’s Ghost. His new book To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), has just been published.

Copyright 2011 Adam Hochschild

During World War 2, members of the European resistance, the underground, working against the Axis (Germany, Italy, Japan) powers, were expected to hold out for 24 hours, to give their companions time to dismantle all leads, addresses, plans, that that member knew about. Many, including the heroic British agent, Ms. Churchill, did indeed hold out against the worst that the Gestapo in a hurry could produce.

Mr. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a leading member of Al-Qaeda captured by the Americans, was waterboarded 183 times in a single month. He did confess to being Jack the Ripper, and to destroying, disguised as an iceberg, the Titanic, and no doubt the police forces of the UK will be happy to close those files at long last. He also knew, however, at the time of the waterboarding, of the compound in Abbottobad where Osama bin Laden was found and killed, and the courier who took round messages from and to there, and said nothing about it. (Asked why, some wit said, “They never asked about it.”)

A very strong movement is developing in a large number of states to have all unions gutted, all collective bargaining rights abolished, under a number of extreme right wing governors in these United States. Combined with the economic crisis, - no money, no jobs, all prices rising, - it is seen as the perfect time to create a crushingly plutocratic state. The military will be crucial, and when Blackwater troops are repatriated from anywhere in the event (haha) of a military withdrawal from anywhere, things will get rougher inside the USA too.

That’s not to mention the hyperinflation relentlessly rushing down on all western countries, but particularly the USA, from huge volumes of money printing. In Germany in the great Weimar hyperinflation, farmers had a bumper harvest that year, but couldn’t see the point of selling the solid assets in their granaries and storehouses for the government’s funny money that halved in value every day, and so thousands of Germans starved to death in the cities. We have something similar to look forward to, and so do you.

The plans of the powers that be are made plain in the proposal by Mr. Chertoff, head of Homeland Security and a dual nationality Israeli/American citizen to install the infamous full body scanners at bus stops and shopping mall entrances. Mr. Chertoff has a very large financial interest in Rapiscan, the company making the scanners, and although the report that it “strips your DNA” has never been explained, I’d really prefer to leave my DNA as it is, acid influence an’ all. Evacs or whatever they call the fully operated from inside a mountain in Nevada drones, armed with hell fire missiles and able to be manufactured now in ridiculously small sizes, have just been given official permission to fly not only over Libya, where they attempt to assassinate Ghaddafi, but also in the skies of the USA, mixing with commercial traffic, under an executive order signed last week. Oh, goodie!

Here is an infallible test to decide terrorism in any case where large numbers of people (Humans – genus homo sapiens hahaha) are destroyed:

If the humans are destroyed by missile strikes, smart bombs, or any automatic machinery, it is the people killed who are the terrorists, and those operating the machinery are innocent victims. This is especially true if the killing machinery is entirely human-free, such as robot drones firing hell fire missiles.

If the humans are destroyed, on the other hand, by other humans, who may also destroy themselves in the process as in the case of suicide bombers, then it is the humans destroyed who are the innocent victims, and those doing the destroying who are the terrorists.

Cousin strands of genus homo, such as apes, gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans (orang hutan = “people of the trees”) need not be considered because although they have the necessary two legs, two arms, and head configuration, none have any known experience of manufacturing explosives.

That’s also not to mention said he mentioning it the coming fifty year increase in natural disasters as climate change heats up. The lead time of fifty years means anything we do now may make a difference to the earth’s climate in fifty years time, but not before that. The sins of the past hundred years have to come home to roost first. We’ll mostly be up to our butts in raw sewage in various floods to worry over much about political philosophy: Aquarius, ruler of the waters, will see to that. Also, possibly, hungry. “Food is heaven,” as the ancient Chinese proverb puts it.

Any hope? Oh yeah. The flood of new DNA-altering stuff that arrived with acid and got pumped into our DNA, opened more doors and passages that take time to become apparent. The most recent update on bee colony destruction contains bee techniques I notice I’m independently using for my own rubbish disposal.

Important note: Forget not the wise words of young Daniel Cohn-Bendit, of the 1968 troubles in France, as he stepped off a plane to have reporters with microphones thrust at him for his opinion on blah, blah, blah. “You might just as well ask the next guy in the line behind me,” said Danny, “We don’t have leaders like that any more.” That happens to be the exact meaning of Jamahirya, the masses, the “poor people,” who “line up to throw their votes into the ballot box like pieces of waste paper into the trash can.” [Mu'ammar Qadhafi, The Green Book.] See how dangerous this guy is? That’s without even counting his 142 tons of gold, and the African gold dinar proposed, and largely accepted, by many African countries. (And for G_d’s sake don’t let any mention of the $50,000 state loan for every getting married couple out; it’ll only have everyone comparing their own situation. Concentrate on protecting the civilian population by blasting them with a hundred plus missiles.)

Soldier on. The best is yet to come, etcetera, worse things happen at sea. Masha’allah. Plant some potatoes. Good luck.

May 3, 2011


Spend It Like You Stole It By Bill Bonner 04/29/11 Baltimore, Maryland –

QE2 is ending in June. But globally, QE3 has already begun. As usual, Japan is the pacesetter. As temperatures rose at its Fukushima reactor so did Japan’s monetary base – at the rate of 100% per week! What happens to all this new, hot money? No one knows, exactly. But today, at The Daily Reckoning, we have advice for everyone – central planners, politicians, and householders, too: if you have money, pretend you robbed a bank.

From the point of view of a modern economist, nothing stimulates better than a bank robbery. The money leaves the cold embrace of a bank vault; soon every pimp and bartender has his pockets full. Hot money gets around.

An article in Rolling Stone Magazine provides an illustration. It explains how one Wall Street wife, and one Wall Street widow, formed a company specifically to take advantage of the US government’s spending spree known as TALF. You’d think the feds had already done enough for the Mack family. John Mack runs Morgan Stanley. Had it not been for the generous support of the US government and the Federal Reserve, he might be parking cars. Instead, the feds bailed out the entire financial sector. First, it bought up Wall Street’s bad bets at inflated prices and then lent banks money at artificially low interest rates; they were invited to lend the money back to the federal government for a sure profit.

Business was so good at Morgan Stanley that the distaff side of the Mack household apparently couldn’t resist. In June, 2009, with her friend Susan, Christy Mack set up an investment company and put in $15 million. Then, they borrowed $220 million from the government. A brave move on their part? If you think so, you are as naïve as a turnip. The fix was in; the two used the money to buy non-recourse loans at deep discount. If the loans increased in value, they would make a profit. If they fell, the government would take the losses. Much safer and more profitable than robbing banks. Two months later, Mr. Mack, perhaps with a little assistance from his blond helpmate, bought a limestone carriage house in Manhattan, with a 12-space garage for the getaway cars.

If you don’t have your own little stimulus scam going, you may want to listen up. Your dollars, pounds, euros and pesos are going to lose value. Don’t trust the government’s inflation figures. An honest measure of the “inflation rate” is available thanks to a pair of professors at MIT. Their “Billion Prices Project” (BPP) doesn’t pussyfoot around. It trolls the Internet, records prices and reveals the most accurate measure of inflation ever. This new index shows the rate of consumer price increases for the last 12 months at 3.2%. This is more than half again as much as the Labor Department’s own tally – 2.1%.

Something is dreadfully wrong. Either a billion prices are in error. Or, people who buy US treasury bonds are. They accept a real yield (based on the BPP numbers) of barely 1.2% on a 30-year dollar-denominated, inflation-sensitive Treasury bond, while the dollar sinks and its custodians actively try to drown it. And, over the last six months, according to BPP, prices have been rising nearly twice as fast – at a 6.1% annualized rate. If these figures hold, bond investors already have a built-in negative yield. The inflation figure for the last 3 months is even higher, 7.4%, about 300 basis points more than the yield on the long bond.

Treasury prices have trended higher for nearly 30 years. Could they be ready to fall now? Maybe. Inflation is not like holding up a liquor store; it’s more like a major bank heist, the product of long planning by trained professionals. Whenever the nominal amount of available money increases faster than the real goods and services that money buys, you can expect rising prices.

In America, real private-sector output reached a plateau at the end of the 20th century. In the last 10 years, it has scarcely increased at all. Total private sector GDP was $9.31 trillion in 2001. Now it is $9.72 trillion. But while real output has been flat, the output of hot “money” has not. When they are not stealing it from the taxpayers, or borrowing it with no intention to pay it back, the feds are counterfeiting it. The Fed will have “printed up” about $1.8 trillion from the end of 2008 to the end of June, 2011 – partly to finance staggering federal government deficits of nearly $4.5 trillion over the three years. This led to an increase in the GDP, almost entirely from government spending, with 79% of household income growth from government transfer payments.

Meanwhile, the US monetary base has tripled in the last 3 years. These increases are not all immediately available to households as “money;” they are mostly still in bank vaults, waiting to be liberated. Then, watch out. Dollars will be too hot to hold.

Regards, Bill Bonner for The Daily Reckoning

Read more: Spend It Like You Stole It

Apr 29, 2011


Cheney got something right By Ellen Brown

"Deficit terrorists" are gutting governments and forcing the privatization of public assets, all in the name of "deficit reduction". But deficits aren't actually a bad thing. In today's monetary scheme, in which most money comes from debt, debt and deficits are actually necessary to have a stable money supply. The public debt is the people's money.

Former vice president Dick Cheney famously said, "Deficits don't matter." A staunch Republican, he was arguing against raising taxes on the rich; but today Republicans seem to have forgotten this maxim. They are bent on stripping social programs, privatizing public assets, and gutting unions, all in the name of "deficit reduction".

Worse, Standard & Poor's has now taken up the hatchet. Some bloggers are calling it blackmail. This private, for-profit rating agency, with a dubious track record of its own, is dictating government policy, threatening to downgrade the government's long-held triple AAA credit rating if congress fails to deal with its deficit in sufficiently draconian fashion. The threat is a real one, as we've seen with the devastating effects of downgrades in Greece, Ireland and other struggling countries. Lowered credit ratings force up interest rates and cripple national budgets.

The biggest threat to the dollar's credit rating, however, may be the game of chicken being played with the federal debt ceiling. Nearly 70% of Americans are said to be in favor of a freeze on May 16, when the ceiling is due to be raised; and Tea Party-oriented politicians could go along with this scheme to please their constituents.

If they get what they wish for, the party could be over for the whole economy. The Chinese are dumping US Treasuries, and the Fed is backing off from its "quantitative easing" program, in which it has been buying federal securities with money simply created on its books.

When the Fed buys Treasuries, the government gets the money nearly interest-free, since the Fed rebates its profits to the government after deducting its costs. When the Chinese and the Fed quit buying Treasuries, interest rates are liable to shoot up; and with a frozen debt ceiling, the government would have to default, since any interest increase on a US$14 trillion debt would be a major expenditure.

Today the Treasury is paying a very low 0.25% on securities of nine months or less, and interest on the whole debt is about 3% (a total of $414 billion on a debt of $14 trillion in 2010). Greece is paying 4.5% on its debt, and Venezuela is paying 18% - six times the 3% we're paying on ours. Interest at 18% would add $2 trillion to our tax bill. That would mean paying three times what we're paying now in personal income taxes (projected to be a total of $956 billion in 2011), just to cover the interest.

There are other alternatives. Congress could cut the military budget - but it probably won't, since this option is never even discussed. It could raise taxes on the rich, but that probably won't happen either. A third option is to slash government services. But which services? How about social security? Do you really want to see Grandma panhandling? Congress can't agree on a budget for good reason: there is no good place to cut.

Fortunately, there is a more satisfactory solution. We can sit back, relax, and concede that Cheney was right. Deficits aren't necessarily a bad thing! They don't matter, so long as they are at very low interest rates; and they can be kept at these very low rates either by maintaining our triple A credit rating or by borrowing from the Fed essentially interest-free.

The yin and yang of money

Under our current monetary scheme, debt and deficits not only don't matter but are actually necessary in order to maintain a stable money supply. The reason was explained by Marriner Eccles, governor of the Federal Reserve Board, in hearings before the House Committee on Banking and Currency in 1941. Wright Patman asked Eccles how the Federal Reserve got the money to buy government bonds.
"We created it," Eccles replied.
"Out of what?"
"Out of the right to issue credit money."
"And there is nothing behind it, is there, except our government's credit?"
"That is what our money system is," Eccles replied. "If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn't be any money."

That could explain why the US debt hasn't been paid off since 1835. It has just continued to grow, and the economy has grown and flourished along with it. A debt that is never paid off isn't really a debt. Financial planner Mark Pash calls it a National Monetization Account. Government bonds (or debt) are "monetized" (or turned into money). Government bonds and dollar bills are the yin and yang of the money supply, the negative and positive sides of the national balance sheet. To have a plus-1 on one side of the balance sheet, a minus-1 needs to be created on the other.

Except for coins, all of the money in the US money supply now gets into circulation as a debt to a bank (including the Federal Reserve, the central bank). But private loans zero out when they are repaid. In order to keep the money supply fairly constant, some major player has to incur debt that never gets paid back; and this role is played by the federal government.

That explains the need for a federal debt, but what about the "deficit" (the amount the debt has to increase to meet the federal budget)? Under the current monetary scheme, deficits are also necessary to avoid recessions.

Here is why. Private banks always lend at interest, so more money is always owed back than was created in the first place. In fact investors of all sorts expect more money back than they paid. That means the debt needs to be not only maintained but expanded to keep the economy functioning. When the Fed "takes away the punch bowl" by tightening credit, there is insufficient money to pay off debts; people and businesses go into default; and the economy spins into a recession or depression.

Maintaining a deficit is particularly important when the private lending market collapses, as it did in 2008 and 2009. Then debt drops off and so does the money supply. Too little money is available to buy the goods on the market, so businesses shut down and workers get laid off, further reducing demand, precipitating a recession. To reverse this deflationary cycle, the government needs to step in with additional public debt to fill the breach.

Debt and productivity

The US federal debt that is setting off alarm bells today is about 60% of gross domestic product (GDP), but it has been much higher than that. It was 120% of GDP during World War II, which turned out to be our most productive period ever. The US built the machinery and infrastructure that set the nation up to lead the world in productivity for the next half century. We, the children and grandchildren of that era, were not saddled with a crippling debt but lived quite well for the next half century. The debt-to-GDP ratio got much lower after the war, not because people sacrificed to pay back the debt, but because the country got so productive that GDP rose to meet it.

That could explain the anomaly of Japan, the global leader today in deficit spending. In a CIA Factbook list of debt to GDP ratios of 132 countries in 2010, Japan topped the list at 226%. So how has it managed to retain its status as the world's third largest economy? Its debt has not crippled its economy because:
(a) the debt is at very low interest rates; (b) it is owed to the people themselves, not to the International Monetary Fund or other foreign creditors; and
(c) the money created by the debt has been used to produce goods and services, allowing supply and demand to increase together and prices to remain stable.

The Japanese economy has been called "stagnant", but according to a review by Robert Locke, this is because the Japanese aren't aiming for growth. They are aiming for sustainability and a high standard of living. They have replaced quantity of goods with quality of life. Locke wrote in 2004:
Contrary to popular belief, Japan has been doing very well lately, despite the interests that wish to depict her as an economic mess. The illusion of her failure is used by globalists and other neo-liberals to discourage Westerners, particularly Americans, from even caring about Japan's economic policies, let alone learning from them. [And] it has been encouraged by the Japanese government as a way to get foreigners to stop pressing for changes in its neo-mercantilist trade policies.
The Japanese economy was doing very well until 1988, when the Bank for International Settlements raised bank capital requirements. The Japanese banks then tightened credit and lent only to the most creditworthy borrowers. Private debt fell off and so did the money supply, collapsing the stock market and the housing bubble. The Japanese government then started spending, and it got the money by borrowing; but it borrowed mainly from its own government-owned banks.

The largest holder of its federal debt is Japan Post Bank, a 100% government-owned commercial bank that is now the largest depository bank in the world. The Bank of Japan, the nation's government-owned central bank, also funds the government's debt. Interest rates have been lowered to nearly zero, so the debt costs the government almost nothing and can be rolled over indefinitely.

Japan's economy remains viable although its debt-to-GDP ratio is nearly four times that of the United States because the money does not leave the country to pay off foreign creditors. Rather, it is recycled into the Japanese economy. As economist Hazel Henderson points out, Japan's debt is twice its GDP only because of an anomaly in how GDP is calculated: it omits government-provided services. If they were included, Japan's GDP would be much higher and its debt to GDP ratio would be more in line with that of other countries.

Investments in education, healthcare, and social security may not count as "sales", but they improve both the standard of living of the people and national productivity. Businesses that don't have to pay for healthcare can be more profitable and competitive internationally. Families that don't have to save hundreds of thousands of dollars to put their children through college can spend on better housing, more vacations, and other consumer items.

Turning the national debt into a public utility

Locke calls the Japanese model "a capitalist economy with socialized capital markets". The national debt has been "monetized" - turned into the national money supply. The credit of the nation has been turned into a public utility.

Thomas Hoenig, president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, maintains that the largest US banks should be put in that category as well. At the National Association of Attorneys General conference on April 12, he said that the 2008 bank bailouts and other implicit guarantees effectively make the too-big-to-fail banks government-guaranteed enterprises, like mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He said they should be restricted to commercial banking and barred from investment banking.

"You're a public utility, for crying out loud," he said.

The direct way for the government to fund its budget would have been to simply print the money debt-free. Wright Patman, chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee in the 1960s, wrote:
When our Federal Government, that has the exclusive power to create money, creates that money and then goes into the open market and borrows it and pays interest for the use of its own money, it occurs to me that that is going too far. ... [I]t is absolutely wrong for the Government to issue interest-bearing obligations. ... It is absolutely unnecessary.

But that is the system that we have. Deficits don't matter in this scheme, but the interest does. If we want to keep the interest tab very low, we need to follow the Japanese and borrow the money from ourselves through our own government-owned banks, essentially interest-free. "The full faith and credit of the United States" needs to be recognized and dispensed as a public utility.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and president of the Public Banking Institute, In Web of Debt, her latest of 11 books, she shows how a private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her websites are