Archive for July, 2011

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Posted: July 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not count the cost;
to fight and not heed the wounds;
to toil and not seek for rest;
to labor and not ask for reward, except to know
that I am doing your will.

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Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
July 4, 2011

Greece

The cost of a decision last week to allow globalist vultures to metaphorically hog-tie Greece while the EU and IMF commences a good old fashioned economic pillaging of her state assets is a total evisceration of the country’s sovereignty, according to Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

“The sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited,” Juncker told Germany’s Focus magazine, adding that “experts” are now descending on the country to oversee a huge fire sale of state assets to private companies, likening the situation to post-collapse East Germany when 14,000 East German firms were sold off between 1990 and 1994.

Under the terms of the EU/IMF bailout, Greece has been forced to set up a privatization agency that will hand over real physical assets in return for little more than fresh air, in the form of a $17.43 billion bailout installment that amounts to nothing other than numbers typed into a computer screen.

As Gerald Celente likes to say, the money Greece will receive from the IMF is not worth the paper it’s not printed on, but the globalist vultures will get their hands on thousands of genuine assets that have real value. Like a heroin junkie, the country will be dependent on continual bailouts simply to keep functioning, and the cycle will just keep on repeating.

Of course, what Greece should have done, were it not for cowardly politicians who have proved adept at selling out their own country, is to give the globalists the middle finger, announce bankruptcy, ditch the Euro and go back to a devalued Drachma. This would have brought the tourists flocking back, saved Greece’s state assets from globalist seizure, avoided crippling interest payments on a debt that could never have been paid off, and provided the nation with a workable opportunity to shake off the shackles of economic bondage.

But the European Union and the IMF will fight tooth and nail to prevent that from ever taking place because, as top Bilderberger and Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff made clear in a recent Financial Times piece, the future plan for a globalized currency system is wholly dependent on the survival of the Euro, which would almost certainly be destroyed if the Greeks were to default and ditch the single currency.

“The euro experiment has also brought us to a crossroads in the whole international monetary system,” wrote Rogoff. “Will our grandchildren inherit a world with a huge number of national currencies, or a very small number of multi-country currencies?”

That’s what’s at stake should Greek contagion erupt and infect the likes of Portugal, Italy and Ireland, which is why globalists are so desperate to keep the virus contained – it could kill off the entire European project and the wider move for global government that the Bilderberg Group and other affiliated power elites have worked so hard to craft for well over half a century.

With state governments already being forced to shut down in the U.S., everything we see unfolding in Greece is merely a portend of what the globalists have in store for America, with the IMF feverishly licking its lips at the prospect of unleashing its brand of financial terrorism as a final act of coup d’état against America.

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Senator Mike Gravel
July 1, 2011

Former Senator Gravel is the Founder and Chair of 9-11cc.org.

As each anniversary of 9/11 rolls by, the importance of this tragedy looms ever larger in our history. Especially looming like storm clouds on the horizon of American politics are the unanswered questions about these events. And as new evidence and new whistleblowers come forward seemingly every week, the import of the 9/11 truth movement multiplies in historic significance. All of this points to the urgent need for a new, independent investigation with subpoena and other grand jury powers — a citizen’s commission that is truly free of partisan political interference.

photoPhoto: Jim Watson.

As we approach 9/11’s tenth anniversary, we are reminded — each time we pick up a newspaper — that the government’s “official 9/11 story” resulted in three interminable wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, and the War on Terror. The official line also conveniently set the stage for the Patriot Act that abridged so many of our liberties and civil rights, plus a long list of other abuses such as egregious torture of “terror suspects” in the name of national security. Our dilemma ten years later reminds me of a prescient statement made by James Madison: “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

The U.S. government’s investigations that culminated in the 911 Commission Report purported to set the record straight about the perpetrators of terrorism on our soil and the mistakes made by those whose sacred task is to defend our shores. But this 2004 report has since been called into question by a very long list of credible voices, not only within the United States, but throughout the world. Even the co-chair of the Commission, Governor Thomas Kean, admitted failure: “We think the Commission, in many ways, was set up to fail. Because we had not enough money, we didn’t have enough time, and we [were] appointed by the most partisan people in Washington.”

Thousands of civic volunteers calling themselves the 9/11 truth movement have gone on to parse the events of that fateful day, offering scientific and rational arguments for why the government’s official account is inaccurate, incomplete, implausible, and in fact constitutes a flimsy conspiracy theory. This body of new evidence and argumentation, combined with the refusal of our political leaders to even countenance a new investigation — along with the systematic marginalization of 9/11 truthers by mainstream media — adds to our suspicions that something profound is amiss.

Direct Democracy: The Way Forward

Presently, our heroic 9/11 truth activists can continue to educate Americans and the world’s people with the hope of pressing the government to act; however, it is evident to me that the federal government simply won’t act to change the 9/11 equation — and the American people simply can’t act, other than to continue to educate and agitate. That’s because of one obvious reality: the way to meaningful change is blocked by the elites now in control of the mainstream media and of Washington (regardless of party), and by the fact that citizens lack any other recourse. We lack access to the legislative procedures needed to implement the central power of government — lawmaking — at the federal level. Indeed, this is true as well in most governmental jurisdictions of the United States. But fortunately there are 24 states that have some form of initiative lawmaking process.

A new activist organization I founded, the citizen’s 9/11 Commission Campaign, has been exploring the feasibility of utilizing the state initiative process by filing state ballot propositions that would create an independent 9/11 commission funded by the citizens themselves. This effort launches on July 4 because of its extreme patriotic import.
As my team and I begin this work, we are heartened by one unassailable fact: the 9/11 truth movement has grown and prospered for nearly a decade, gaining millions of supporters through outreach and education in one of the most remarkable grassroots movements in American history. Our effort builds upon the movement’s innumerable breakthroughs and hard-won lessons. We believe these lessons point to a new approach to our common goals based on citizen power.

Of this I am certain: the 9/11 truth movement is grassroots; that sovereign power lies with the people; and that our fellow citizens are now awakened to 9/11 truth in vast numbers. It is time for a winning approach to change: the method of direct democracy — the state ballot initiative.

Direct Democracy for 9/11 Truth

The cause of direct democracy has been my principal passion since my two terms in the Senate (1969–1981). I founded and served as president of the Democracy Foundation, Philadelphia II, and Direct Democracy, nonprofit corporations dedicated to the establishment of direct democracy in the United States through the enactment of the National Initiative for Democracy, that would, in essence, empower the American people themselves to be lawmakers. We have not achieved this goal yet, but the process of direct democracy still thrives at the state level. And that’s why, at a gathering of 9/11 truth advocates in New York City in September 2010, I suggested a new path to 9/11 truth and justice: that of using the initiative process in several states as a vehicle to enact a law creating a new 9/11 citizen’s commission that would investigate the intelligence failures prior to 9/11, the events of that day, and the aftermath that resulted in wars and the disfigurement of America’s cultural values. My suggestion was well received at the meeting in New York and subsequently in talks with 9/11 truth activists across California, the state most known for its initiatives. My idea was not original in that it followed upon a campaign for an initiative under New York City law propounded by truth advocates, one that had garnered more than 80,000 petition signatures, only to be thrown out by the New York State Supreme Court.

Building on the New York experience, I approached the California Legislative Counsel in October 2010 for assistance in drafting a prospective law that would create a new investigative commission — independent of federal and state governments — but with the necessary powers to get to the facts (i.e., subpoena and oath taking). The vision of the commission would be to pursue an investigation wherever the evidence leads. No person would be immune from criminal implication, regardless of political station in or out of government (domestic or foreign).

I am convinced that the independence of the new commission can only be guaranteed if the appointment of its members is controlled by a 9/11 truth vision, rather than the customary commission-appointment process typically conducted by governors and legislators. The California initiative text includes the use of a Joint Powers Agreement whereby other government jurisdictions can endorse and participate by adding their powers to the powers of the California commission — when and if it is approved by voters on November 2, 2012.

Key Considerations Point to Oregon, Massachusetts, and Alaska

California is, of course, a very large and complicated state. Additional legal investigations we are now pursuing have led us to consider other states with simpler initiative laws that may present fewer challenges than California. With respect to these states, we are especially interested in their statutes and constitutional provisions that govern the following key issues:

• their commission-appointment process

• rules concerning a “Joint Powers Agreement”

• the number of signatures needed to get on their ballots

We have since concluded that the initiative process in California is overly expensive and otherwise not ideal for a number of reasons, and that we should prioritize our work in three states: Oregon, Massachusetts, and Alaska. You will learn more about these considerations at our website, 9-11cc.org.

A primary objective is to build a nationwide grassroots movement in support of a new commission, especially once a new 9/11 commission has been authorized in the first state to pass one of our initiatives. We are especially focused on how to harmonize the powers granted to the new commission with the governmental powers of other political jurisdictions across the U.S. Through this harmonization process, other states and local governments would be able to geographically enlarge the jurisdiction of the new commission by passing Participation Initiatives or Resolutions of Support. Such votes would extend the commission’s authorized legal and financial powers to their jurisdiction — including subpoena power.

The Challenge Ahead: Building an Effective Citizen’s Campaign

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The issues surrounding 9/11 are national and global in character. We can capitalize on that awareness by injecting the creation of a new commission as a wedge issue in the presidential contest in 2012 and all the key political races. This opportunity will not present itself again until 2016. Success or failure will be determined by the resources that can be brought to bear on our organizational efforts, the additional research, and the petition campaigns to qualify the initiatives, all culminating in the political drive to secure their enactment — but, of course, it takes money to fund this huge effort.

If we are able to raise the necessary funds for this undertaking, I believe there is no possibility of failure even if no initiative is enacted into law. A much bigger national debate on 9/11 advances our present goal — alerting more Americans to the problem, and more importantly, pointing to a solution. Again, our plan will encompass an exploratory effort in several initiative states, examining the legal possibilities of interrelating state (and local) jurisdictions to establish and fund the new commission for a citizens’ 9/11 investigation.

Fundraising will not be confined to the U.S. alone. This task will be pursued globally. Awareness of the need for a new investigation of 9/11 is guaranteed regardless of whether any initiative is enacted into law or not. We are adding an actionable goal to the existing mission of the 9/11 truth movement that may actually bring about the best tool for truth and justice: a new citizens’ investigation commission independent of federal and state governments.

  (June 6, 2011)
http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjune11/manufacturing-finance6-11.html

The Status Quo heavily rewards financialized profiteering and resource extraction while penalizing productive capital investments in manufacturing.

There is so much ideological, quasi-religious fanaticism around “free trade” (there is no such thing as “free trade,” there are only various permutations of managed trade) and “industrial policy” (every nation has one, explicit or implicit) that it is difficult to make any sense of the many intertwined issues.

Ideological purity is not a substitute for knowledge, any more than a superficial admiration of machines equals actually knowing how to assemble, maintain and repair them.

As a background context, we might start by noting that Marx outlined how finance capital comes to dominate industrial capital, as industry comes to depend on the credit extended by the banks/finance capital.

The key takeaway: if you don’t control the banks, then they will end up dominating industrial capital. In the U.S., we have the worst of both worlds: a dominant financial Elite and various cartels (military-industrial, sickcare, agribusiness, etc.) that have captured what little of the Central State that isn’t already beholden to financial capital.

Moving production around the world to exploit cheap labor–also knowns as “wage arbitrage”– is not free trade: it is merely the consequence of free capital flows, and an extension of capital’s dominance of labor. If capital can reap higher returns by flowing elsewhere and abandoning domestic labor, then it will do so, and “lowering the cost to consumers” is the marketing propaganda issued to placate the captive home markets.

Consumers, after all, are not free to travel the globe seeking “higher returns,” i.e. lower prices–that privilege is reserved for capital.

When China sold silk to the Roman Empire in 100 C.E., the cost of capital to produce the silk and the cost of labor was set in China. Traders took the risks of transport and reaped the gigantic profits. The same was true when China sold porcelain made for export to America in the 1800s.

That is “free trade.” Moving capital to China to exploit cheap labor there, then closing the factory and moving production to Vietnam, and so on, is simply free-flowing capital exploiting labor on a global scale.

As further context, we should note the dominance of short-term profiteering as the motivator of management in Corporate America. “Beating quarterly estimates” is basically the only metric of “success” in America, because a corporate management that fails to “beat estimates” won’t last long enough to pursue any long-term capital investments.

The financialization of compensation is also a critical factor: if compensation is mostly stock options, then that creates a huge incentive to boost the stock price and then exercise the options–“pump and dump” on a vast, systemic scale.

This obsessive addiction to boosting short-term profits also leads management to view labor as the “enemy” which is sucking off profits, rather than the partner in the company’s long-term success. Thus relentless cost-cutting and downsizing is heavily incentivized as the one sure way to boost short-term profits, even as the company is being hollowed out.

Management isn’t being rewarded to think about the long-term, any more than a member of the House of Representatives is rewarded for thinking ahead more than two years. Some problems cannot be solved, or even addressed, in short-term thinking. This is one reason why the nation is heading to heck in a handbasket–nothing can be discussed that can’t be “resolved” in 18 months (the election cycle starts six months before every congressional election). Management might only last 18 months, so there is every reason to stripmine the company of assets and know-how, boost the stock price, cash in the millions of dollars in options and hightail it on to the next “opportunity.”

An emphasis on housing as a bedrock of wealth and lending has completely distorted the U.S. economy. The incentives in real estate are massive, and massively perverse: the unlimited mortgage deduction for interest incentivizes borrowing vast sums and “moving up” to ever-larger, ever more wasteful homes, to name just two, and policies aimed at expanding suburbs effectively gutted central cities while heaping subsidies on sprawl and distant exurbs.

The U.S. has a distinct industrial policy: benign neglect, ignorance, favoritism towards real estate development and financialization, and a fanatic devotion to short-term profits and cost-cutting.

What makes any discussion of “free trade” so impossible is the vast ignorance of free trade proponents about our industrial competitors and the history of trade. If you know essentially nothing about industry and industrial policy in China, Japan and Germany, and nothing about the long history of trade in a capitalist framework, then exactly what are you bringing to the discussion other than religious fanaticism to a concept that begs for deep knowledge of other nations and nuanced understanding?

I have studied Japan and China for almost 40 years, both formally in university studies and via visits, research and discussions with my many Japanese and Chinese friends. I have toured many Chinese factories and discussed trade with entrepreneurs and marketing reps, and received inside information from local government sources.

Japan, Germany and China have trade policies which support and encourage specific industrial and export models. For context, please read these two related articles: Outsourcing manufacturing hurts U.S. and a factory that costs $11 million in California costs $5 million in Germany, after tax credits.

If you watched any Japanese television (NHK) after the tsunami and earthquake, and you are a careful observer, you had a rare chance to see industrial Japan from the inside. Japan, Inc, is not just a Toyota factory filled with industrial robots: it’s thousands of small factories producing parts for the global corporations.

For example, one factory affected by the tsunami manufactured special components for satellites. The workers were shown hand-polishing the complex castings by hand.

Let me repeat that, for those who mistakenly think everything can be made by robots or in some Chinese factory by low-skilled workers: by hand, by highly skilled workers.

Industrial robots are costly to buy and maintain; they make no sense on small production runs, or highly skilled, complex tasks. No robot could duplicate the delicate hand-eye coordination required to hand-polish these complex parts.

This is not some outlier, this is standard in Japan, Inc., and also in Germany, Inc. There is a critical need within any broad-based industrial supply chain for skilled labor.

As for automation: yes, it works in producing mass-produced goods, but skilled labor is required to reprogram the robots, maintain them, assemble them, etc. Though the factory floor may have few people present, there is a long supply chain behind the automation that supports multiple levels of value-added labor and manufacturing.

It’s not just moving the assembly offshore, it’s moving the entire value-added chain that feeds it.

As my friend G.F.B. recently noted, the initial invention that is the obsession of America and supposedly its great advantage in the global marketplace leaves off the real value-added proposition, which is the development of the later models and iterations.

Place the production elsewhere and keep the design staff in the home nation is an excellent way to lose the design of the actual parts and workflow–the real value added. Apple has been able to keep ahead of competitors by integrating software that is difficult to copy into hardware, but it not the typical case, it is the outlier, hence its outsized value.

As I repeatedly point out, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter together have relatively few domestic employees. As production is overseas, then that’s where the design jobs go, too, eventually.

You have to understand the entire value chain, not just the assembly costs.

The U.S. culture denigrates skilled labor and glorifies the C.E.O. and innovator as god-like heroes. Other nations, notably Germany, maintain a value and education system which recognizes and nurtures technical skills. In the U.S., we fawn over social media companies that generate billions in new wealth for Wall Street and a handful of founders and venture capitalists, and drill into every student’s head the value not of tradecraft skills but of a four-year business degree.

For those not suited for an MBA–sorry, there are few other choices of learning.

In America, we are addicted to the drama of startling, big “innovations,” and we are enamoured with the romance of “instant wealth” from the “hot investment” of the moment.

Extraction is not the same as value-added production. There is temporary value in the equipment set up, but once the resource has been depleted, the wealth is gone and the “gold rush town” dries up and blows away.

The problem with financialization is that it is the gold rush dynamic on steroids. To reap the big gains from financializing, you need ever-greater amounts of credit, leverage, risk and churn–all the elements we saw in the housing bubble and in every stock bubble.

Once the financialization bubble bursts, there is nothing left to extract or leverage. Since productive investments were disincentivized at every turn, then the implosion of the unproductive investments leaves a hollowed-out shell of an economy with a very wealthy layer of managers and financial “winners” and the 90% below them with few prospects in what amounts to a corporate-colonial economy ruled by financial oligarchies and their minions in the Central State.