The National Security Agency hacked the email of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, according to a report from Der Spiegel.
The report, which stems from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, alleges that a division of the NSA “successfully exploited a key mail server in the Mexican Presidencia domain within the Mexican Presidential network to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon’s public email account.” Der Speigel also reports that the spying, which began in May 2010, also targeted other top officials in the Mexican government.
The report claims that some of the information retrieved in the surveillance programprovided economic benefits to the U.S.
For more on the bombshell allegations, head over to Der Spiegel.
The report comes weeks after news that the NSA had access to current Mexican President Pena Nieto’s emails, as well as Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s.
Rousseff blasted the U.S.’s controversial surveillance program at the U.N. last month.
“Meddling in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,” she said.
- The NSA Hacked Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s Email While He Was In Office (jeremiahtillman.wordpress.com)
- NSA Hacked Email Account of Mexican President (aconservativeedge.wordpress.com)
- The NSA Hacked Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s Email While He Was In Office (retrometrotech.wordpress.com)
The word that sticks in the craw of many who cogitate over economics is growth. The condition that the word refers to has proven disturbingly problematic in recent years, especially as world’s population continues to expand exponentially and the global ecology suffers in response. In fact, Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881) called economics “the dismal science” in direct reference to the work of the Rev. Thomas Malthus, because the Malthusian conclusions were so unappetizing — that sooner or later rising human populations would outstrip the world’s capacity to provide for them.
Now it happened that the Reverend Malthus’s notorious Essay on the Principle of Population was first published in 1798, which was about exactly the take-off moment for the industrial revolution. That extravagant melodrama was about marshaling mechanical invention with fossil fuel. The first act ran on coal and allowed populations to expand because it extended the extractive reach for resources by colonialist nations. The second act featured exploitation of oil, which was more powerful and versatile than coal. It also lent itself much more directly than coal to being converted into food for people. The use of oil powered farming machines, oil and gas (an oil byproduct) based herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers, and oil based long distance food transport, has allowed us to convert oil into food pretty directly. This has led to the “hockey-stick” swerve of population growth that took human numbers worldwide from under 2 billion in the year 1900 to more than 7 billion today.
We are in the third act of the industrial melodrama now where the dire sub-plot of peak oil has taken stage. Despite the wishful thinking and happy-talk propaganda lighting up the media-space, we have arrived at the problematic point of the story: the end of cheap oil. This is poorly understood by the public and, apparently, by leaders in business, politics, and the media, too. They misunderstand because they insist on thinking that peak oil was simply about running out of oil. It’s not. It’s about running out of the ability to extract it from the earth in a way that makes economic sense — that is, at a price we can afford in terms of available capital and energy invested (and also ecological destruction). That dynamic is now exerting a powerful influence on modern civilizations. We ignore it — even at the highest levels of intellectual endeavor — because we have made no alternate plans for running the complex operations of everyday life, and because the early manifestations of the dynamic present themselves in the realm of finance, which is dominated by academic viziers and money-grubbing opportunists who benefit from obfuscating reality.
The sad, stark fact is that oil is now too expensive to permit further expansion of economies and populations. Expensive oil upsets the cost structure of virtually every system we need to run modern life: transportation, commerce, food production, governance, to name a few. In particular expensive oil destroys the cost structures of banking and finance because not enough new wealth can be generated to repay previously accumulated debt, and new credit cannot be extended without a reasonable expectation that more new wealth will be generated to repay it. Through the industrial age, our money has become an increasingly abstract and complex product of debt creation. As Chris Martenson has put it so succinctly in The Crash Course, money is loaned into existence. Thus, the growth of debt (allowing the growth of money) has played a crucial role at the heart of our banking operations, and the very word “growth” has become shorthand for this process in the lingo of current economic discourse.
It is quite clear that the banking system has been thrown into great disarray as the price of oil levitated from $11-a-barrel in 1999 to the great spike of $140 in 2008, and then settled into a range between $75 and $110 since 2010. Most of this disarray is a result of attempts to offset the failure to create new real wealth with fake wealth generated by accounting fraud, “innovative” swindling, insider chicanery, high frequency front-running, naked shorting of securities, and the construction of a vast untested network of derivative counterparty wagers that give every sign of being booby-trapped. All this private monkey business has been abetted by public mischief in central bank interventions and market manipulations, fiscal irresponsibility, political payoffs for favorable legislation, statistical misreporting, and the failure to apply the rule of law in cases of blatant misconduct (e.g., the MF Global confiscation of segregated client accounts; the Goldman Sachs “Timberwolf” CDO scam… the list is very long).
In short, a society with deeply impaired capital formation has turned to crime, corruption, fakery, and subterfuge in order to pretend that “growth” — i.e. expansion of capital — is still happening. The consequences are many and profound. The chief one is that the manufacture of fake wealth is such an alluring activity that some of the smartest people in society have devoted their waking hours to making a profit off it. It absorbs all their energies and they are simply not available for other work, such as figuring out a sane and practical way to run civilization in the absence of cheap energy. Added to this is the administrative effort and the work-arounds needed to support all this corruption and dishonesty, which occupy the hours of another class of smart people who work in government, academia, public relations, and the media. The sustenance of these parasitical cohorts more and more continues at the expense of everybody else in society, who cannot find work, or cannot make enough money to pay their living expenses, and who have become deeply discouraged, disappointed, demoralized, and disengaged in their losing struggle to thrive. Hence there is little public vigor to even mount a discussion of these vexing problems and the final result is the greater wholesale failure to construct a coherent consensus about what is happening to us and what we might do about it.
Another consequence to these disorders of capital is the massive malinvestment directed into things with no future in themselves or, much worse, things that actively undermine the future of everything needed to support any civilized future. For instance, the “innovation” in securitizing and repackaging mortgages — which continues to be a boon for the giant banks in concert with the thoroughly dishonest and technically bankrupt “government sponsored enterprises” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — expresses itself in the activity we call “housing starts.” Economists overwhelmingly agree that a higher number of housing starts is a good thing for the economy and hence for society. But what do housing starts actually represent? These days they mostly take the form of new suburban housing subdivisions, which are inevitably joined by the kit of the strip mall, the big box store, and all the other furnishings of the highway strip. In short, all that glorious “innovation” by the banks produces more suburban sprawl and destruction of rural land, which is about the last thing this society needs when faced with the realities of peak cheap oil, since it is absolutely certain to make these things obsolete, and very soon. It is not any better, either, if the nominal capital — nominal because it is sure to someday represent a loss for some bond-holder or stockholder — gets invested in a 30-story high rise apartment because, contrary to a lot of current delusional thinking, skyscrapers also have no practical future for reasons I have explained in other essays here.
Similarly, the public investments going into “shovel-ready” highway projects, although the fiscal outlays are more transparently based on money that doesn’t really exist. The public, as well as leaders all across society, serenely believe that the Happy Motoring matrix will find a way to go on forever, and that therefore we must make provision for it, not to mention the beneficial side of effect of “job creation” for all the additional workers. Yet the dynamic at work must be obvious: oil will never be cheap again; it will impair future capital formation; there will be far fewer car loans; there will dwindling public funds to maintain the roads; and there is no practical substitute for gasoline that scales to the existing system, nor any prospect of one within a time frame that makes sense — not to mention the gigantic background problem of pouring evermore carbon into the sky.
If these things I mention — highways, tract houses, condo towers, strip malls — represent our current idea of “growth,” and if they are self-evidently bad investments, then we can infer that our current concept of “growth” no longer applies to a reality-based model of our economic prospects. We ought to junk the term and what it implies about the daily business of mankind, and come up with a new way of understanding the place we’re at.
- The Automobile Ruined Everything (boiseplanning.wordpress.com)
- Review, The End of the Suburbs (jennifernicholsongraham.wordpress.com)
- James Howard Kunstler – Fed up (redgreenandblue.org)
Egyptian security forces have fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of students protesting against military rule at Cairo’s al-Azhar university and, according to the Interior Ministry, arrested 55 students.
Clashes between protesters and security forces erupted when the students tried to move their protest out of campus on Sunday. Protesters were seen throwing rocks at security forces and a number of students were arrested.
The group organising the march was responding to a call by the Anti-Coup Alliance for a national uprising against the military-backed leadership that took power after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted on July 3.
Follow our ongoing coverage of the political crisis in Egypt
Protesters were also demanding the release of political detainees.
Similar demonstrations were held at Cairo University and in the district of Abu Hamad in el-Sharqiyah province.
A witness told Reuters news agency that police fired bird shot and tear gas to prevent protesters from marching to the site of a protest camp that was destroyed two months ago.
Al-Azhar is in the same Cairo suburb as the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the scene of a former pro-Morsi sit-in where hundreds of protesters were killed as security forces broke up the sit-in.
“Rabaa Square is completely off-limits,” a security source said. “Protesters are not allowed to move inside it.”
Al-Azhar university has long been regarded as the foremost institution in the Islamic world for religious studies, and many students there are supporters of Morsi.
The Interior Ministry told Al Jazeera that 55 students were arrested
Ahead of the new term starting on Saturday, the university warned students not to engage in political activity or they would risk classes being suspended indefinitely.
Since the start of the academic year in September Egyptian university campuses have witnessed a number of protests, mostly by supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
Protests for and against military rule have been held almost daily in various Egyptian cities since Morsi was overthrown and detained.
Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes as security forces have cracked down on Islamist-dominated sit-ins and scores of Brotherhood members have been detained.
Morsi will stand trial on November 4 with 14 other defendants over the killings of protesters outside his presidential palace in December 2012, when demonstrators took to the streets against a decree the president issued to shield his decisions from judicial oversight and a highly disputed draft constitution.
- Islamists clash with riot police (independent.ie)
- Egypt Police, Protesters Clash in Cairo (ivoter.com)
Former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich explained, saying:
“Of all developed nations, the United States has the most unequal distribution of income, and we’re surging towards every greater inequality.”
America’s 400 richest elites have more wealth than half the population. Jacob Kornbluth’s new documentary film “Inequality for All” examines disturbing truths.
US inequality is at historic highs. Since 1970, America’s economy doubled. The top 1% benefitted hugely. They earn more than 20% of national income. It’s triple their 1970 percentage.
The gap between rich and all others keeps widening. Inequality hurts everyone, says Reich. Since economic recovery began in 2009, America’s top 1% got 95% of the gains.
Adjusted for inflation, median household income keeps declining. Where will most people “get the money they need to keep the economy going,” asked Reich?
“We’re the richest economy in the history of the world. For the majority of Americans not to get the benefits of this extraordinarily prosperous economy, you know, there’s something fundamentally wrong.”
America has less upward mobility than any other developed country. If you’re poor, you’ll stay that way.
If you’re lower middle class, “the cards are going to be stacked against you. You will probably never get anywhere,” says Reich.
“Who is actually looking out for the American worker? The answer is nobody.”
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The nation is headed toward becoming a “100 percent plutocracy.” Inequality this extreme fuels public anger. It hurts economic growth. Force-fed austerity assures worse ahead.
Reich teaches a popular Wealth and Poverty course at UC Berkeley. His book “Beyond Outrage” explains what’s wrong with America’s economy.
It doesn’t work. It benefits the privileged few. It harms most others. Doing so undermines America. Expect worse ahead unless people react, he says.
He’s never been more concerned about things than now. He cites “the corrupting effects of big money in politics,” regressive hard right policies, and unprecedented “wealth and power at the very top.”
Things are “perilously close” to falling apart altogether. People are right to be outraged. It’s a “prerequisite for social change.” It’s vital to “move beyond outrage and take action.”
The stakes are too high to be ignored. Nothing good happens in Washington unless people mobilize, organize and demand it.
“Nothing worth changing in America will actually change unless you and others like you are committed to achieving that change,” he stresses.
So-called US economic recovery is fake. Main Street poverty, unemployment, underemployment, hunger and homelessness are at Depression era levels.
Half of all US households are impoverished or bordering it. Recovery benefitted only America’s most well off. Most others endure deepening deprivation.
According to economist Emmanuel Saez:
“For the first time in nearly 100 years, the percentage of income taken by the top 10 percent of Americans topped 50 percent.”
From 2009 to 2012, “(t)op 1% incomes grew by 31.4% while bottom 99% incomes grew by only 0.4%.” Adjusted for inflation, they declined considerably.
From 2007 – 2009, average real family income declined 17.4%. It’s more than any period since the Great Depression. Wealthy Americans recovered and then some. Conditions for most others went from bad to worse.
According to Saez:
“We need to decide as a society whether this increase in income inequality is efficient and acceptable and, if not, what mix of institutional and tax reforms should be developed to counter it.”
Russell Sage Foundation president Sheldon Danziger said:
“The continued high rate of poverty is no surprise, given ongoing high unemployment, stagnant wages and government spending cuts.”
“Poverty is higher today than it was in 2000, and household incomes are lower. The ‘lost decade’ is likely to turn into ‘two lost decades.’ ”
According to Marx:
“Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, and mental degradation at the opposite pole.”
America’s wealth distribution is extreme. It keeps shifting disproportionately upward. Most people are more than ever on their own.
Financial elites run America. Whatever they want they get. Popular needs go begging. Things go from bad to worse.
In 1962, Michael Harrington’s “The Other America: Poverty in the United States” exposed the nation’s dark side, saying:
“In morality and in justice, every citizen should be committed to abolishing the other America, for it is intolerable that the richest nation in human history should allow such needless suffering.”
“But more than that, if we solve the problem of the other America we will have learned how to solve the problems of all of America.”
Jack Kennedy addressed the issue. In his January 8, 1964 State of the Union address, Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty.
He barely scratched it. Inequality was severe. Today, it’s unprecedented and growing. It bears repeating. Census data show around half of US households impoverished or bordering it.
Government data most often over-estimate good news and understate what’s bad. Unprecedented numbers of US households are impoverished under protracted Main Street Depression conditions.
Bipartisan harshness assures greater pain and suffering. Over 20% of US households haven’t enough money for food and other essentials.
On November 1, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit cuts are coming. One-person households will get $11 per month less.
For 2 people, it’s $20. For three it’s $29. For four it’s $36. Expect more cuts ahead. Food costs are rising. Family incomes are falling. More help is needed. Congress and Obama intend less.
America’s most needy will be harmed most. So will tens of millions of children. They may end up without enough to eat.
America’s great divide is greater than ever. In 2009, around half of US households had no assets. Today it’s more than half.
Most Americans don’t earn enough to live on. Things go from bad to worse. Hardwired inequality is deepening. Casino capitalism takes precedence.
America’s criminal class alone benefits. Ordinary people are swindled. Venal politicians serve wealth, power and privilege. Democrats and Republicans are in lockstep. Few benefit at the expense of most others.
On July 28, AP headlined “Exclusive: Signs of Declining Economic Security,” saying:
“Four out of 5 US adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives.”
It’s a disturbing “sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.”
“Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized US economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.”
Hardship for white Americans is rising. AP-GfK poll numbers show “63 percent of whites called the economy ‘poor.’ ”
Fifty-two-year-old Irene Salyers perhaps spoke for others, saying:
“I think it’s going to get worse. If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work.”
Economic insecurity is much worse than government data show. It affects over three-fourths of white Americans.
It’s defined as experiencing unemployment some time during working years or needing government aid to survive.
According to Professor William Julius Wilson:
“It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position.”
Government data fall short of explaining things. Conditions are much worse than official reports. Most Americans struggle to get by. Impoverishment or close to it affect them.
It’s harder than ever for millions of disadvantaged households to survive. Their numbers keep growing exponentially. Vital social protections are eroding. It’s happening when they’re most needed.
“By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent.”
“But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.”
“By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the US will experience bouts of economic insecurity.”
According to Professor Mark Rank:
“Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them.’ It’s an issue of ‘us.’ Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need.”
Data Professors Tom Hirschl and John Iceland compiled provide more context. They show:
• for the first time in nearly three decades, impoverished single-mother households surpassed or equaled black ones; they exceeded numbers of Hispanic single mother families; and
• numbers of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods increased.
According to a University of Chicago General Social Survey, whites are more pessimistic about their futures than since the depths of the early 1980s.
“Just 45 percent say their family will have a good chance of improving their economic position based on the way things are in America,” said AP.
Polls show over 80% of Americans mostly don’t trust government. Congress’ approval rating is 11%.
It’s barely above its all-time February and August 2012 10% low. Given the margin of error, they’re’s virtually no difference between then and now.
Americans are suffering. Things go from bad to worse. Republicans and Democrats are in lockstep. They’re cutting social protections when they’re most needed.
Expect greater harshness ahead. Most people are fed up. Poll numbers show it. Conditions are far too deplorable to ignore. It remains to be seen what’s next.
A previous article said people power alone can save us. They’re’s no other way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
- Why Robert Reich cares so passionately about economic inequality (pbs.org)
- ‘Inequality is bad for everyone’: Robert Reich fights against economic imbalance (pbs.org)
- Must-See Movie, “Inequality for All” with Robert Reich, Opens Sept. 27 (huffingtonpost.com)
- More Inequality Updates (madeinamericathebook.wordpress.com)
- Project Censored’s Top 25 Most Censored News Stories from 2012-2013 (consciouslifenews.com)
Kyle Bass, Larry Edelson, Charles Nenner, James Dines, Nouriel Roubini, Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, Jim Rickards and Martin Armstrong Warn or War
We’re already at war in numerous countries all over the world.
But top economic advisers warn that economic factors could lead to a new world war.
Kyle Bass writes:
Trillions of dollars of debts will be restructured and millions of financially prudent savers will lose large percentages of their real purchasing power at exactly the wrong time in their lives. Again, the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched and in some cases torn. Sadly, looking back through economic history, all too often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusion. We believe that war is an inevitable consequence of the current global economic situation.
Larry Edelson wrote an email to subscribers entitled “What the “Cycles of War” are saying for 2013″, which states:
Since the 1980s, I’ve been studying the so-called “cycles of war” — the natural rhythms that predispose societies to descend into chaos, into hatred, into civil and even international war.
I’m certainly not the first person to examine these very distinctive patterns in history. There have been many before me, notably, Raymond Wheeler, who published the most authoritative chronicle of war ever, covering a period of 2,600 years of data.
However, there are very few people who are willing to even discuss the issue right now. And based on what I’m seeing, the implications could be absolutely huge in 2013.
Former Goldman Sachs technical analyst Charles Nenner – who has made some big accurate calls, and counts major hedge funds, banks, brokerage houses, and high net worth individuals as clients – saysthere will be “a major war starting at the end of 2012 to 2013”, which will drive the Dow to 5,000.
Veteran investor adviser James Dines forecast a war is epochal as World Wars I and II, starting in the Middle East.
Nouriel Roubini has warned of war with Iran. And when Roubini was asked:
Where does this all lead us? The risk in your view is of another Great Depression. But even respectable European politicians are talking not just an economic depression but possibly even worse consequences over the next decade or so. Bearing European history in mind, where does this take us?
In the 1930s, because we made a major policy mistake, we went through financial instability, defaults, currency devaluations, printing money, capital controls, trade wars, populism, a bunch of radical, populist, aggressive regimes coming to power from Germany to Italy to Spain to Japan, and then we ended up with World War II.
Now I’m not predicting World War III but seriously, if there was a global financial crisis after the first one, then we go into depression: the political and social instability in Europe and other advanced economies is going to become extremely severe. And that’s something we have to worry about.
Billionaire investor Jim Rogers notes:
A continuation of bailouts in Europe could ultimately spark another world war, says international investor Jim Rogers.
“Add debt, the situation gets worse, and eventually it just collapses. Then everybody is looking for scapegoats. Politicians blame foreigners, and we’re in World War II or World War whatever.”
Marc Faber says that the American government will start new wars in response to the economic crisis:
- “The next thing the government will do to distract the attention of the people on bad economic conditions is they’ll start a war somewhere.”
We’re in the middle of a global currency war – i.e. a situation where nations all compete to devalue their currencies the most in order to boost exports. And Brazilian president-elect Rousseff said in 2010:
The last time there was a series of competitive devaluations … it ended in world war two.
Jim Rickards agrees:
Currency wars lead to trade wars, which often lead to hot wars. In 2009, Rickards participated in the Pentagon’s first-ever “financial” war games. While expressing confidence in America’s ability to defeat any other nation-state in battle, Rickards says the U.S. could get dragged into “asymmetric warfare,” if currency wars lead to rising inflation and global economic uncertainty.
As does Jim Rogers:
Trade wars always lead to wars.
Martin Armstrong wrote in August:
Our greatest problem is the bureaucracy wants a war. This will distract everyone from the NSA and justify what they have been doing. They need a distraction for the economic decline that is coming.
Armstrong argued last month that war plans against Syria are really about debt and spending:
The Syrian mess seems to have people lining up on Capital Hill when sources there say the phone calls coming in are overwhelmingly against any action. The politicians are ignoring the people entirely. This suggests there is indeed a secret agenda to achieve a goal outside the discussion box. That is most like the debt problem and a war is necessary to relief the pressure to curtail spending.
Moreover, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said that the Iraq war was really about oil, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. And seethis and this. If that war was for petroleum, other oil-rich countries might be invaded as well.
And the American policy of using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence – and of considering economic rivalry to be a basis for war – are creating a tinderbox.
Finally, multi-billionaire investor Hugo Salinas Price says:
What happened to [Libya’s] Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a golddinar.
Indeed, senior CNBC editor John Carney noted:
Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.
This suggests we have a bit more than a ragtag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” Wenzel writes.
Many Warn of Unrest
Numerous economic organizations and economists also warn of crash-induced unrest, including:
- The head of the World Trade Organization
- The head of the International Monetary Fund
- The head of the World Bank
- Leading economic historian Niall Ferguson
- Leading economist John Williams
- Jim Rogers ~ The Biggest Debt Nation In The World – USA Crisis 2013 (financearmageddon.blogspot.com)
- American Second Revolution ~ The Collapse of The Dollar ~ Civil Unrest, Martial Law , Police State (financearmageddon.blogspot.com)
- Dollar Collapse In America – Troops To Fire On American Citizens During Civil Unrest (financearmageddon.blogspot.com)
- FINANCIAL COLLAPSE ~ Global crisis Evidence Of Economic Collapse Martial Law Preparations (financearmageddon.blogspot.com)
Public corruption, based on all the evidence, appears rampant. And the ranks of those convicted in office have swelled to absolutely unacceptable levels. State Senators as well as State Assemblymen; elected officials as well as party leaders; city council members as well as town mayors; Democrats as well as Republicans.
– Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (the district that has failed to rein in the serial crimes by Wall Street’s biggest firms)
It’s no surprise to me that New York is exceedingly corrupt. It’s a huge city, with a ton of wealth and massive income inequality. That’s basically the primary breeding ground for wide-scale corruption. However, it also comes as no surprise to me that the situation has gotten a lot worse in recent years. After all, NYC is the headquarters of some of the largest financial institutions in the world. As such, some of the worst actors in the recent financial collapse call the city home. The whole world watched as these criminals and shysters not only evaded criminal charges, but were also rewarded trillions of dollars of public support for their efforts.
The example was set. Crime pays, and now the entire city seems to be following their lead.
Pam Martens has written and excellent article about corruption within New York’s legal system. Some excerpts from Counter Punch are below:
The insidious greed and public looting that Wall Street has nurtured to an art form in New York City is metastasizing like a virulent tumor strain throughout the state, fraying the social fabric and crushing people caught in its grip like bugs.
On Tuesday evening, September 17, 2013, Seema Kalia was scheduled to give testimony before the first public hearing of the New York State Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. But according to Michelle Duffy, a spokesperson for the Commission, when Kalia’s name was called that evening, there was no response.
Kalia could not respond because she was abruptly arrested in the foyer of a courtroom on the very morning she was set to give testimony, ostensibly for contacting her ex husband, a portfolio manager on Wall Street, seeking back support payments. Kalia is being charged with violating a court order barring her from contact with her husband because she is alleged to have thrown one of his own men’s shoes at him in 2012 – a device characterized by the District Attorney’s office as a “weapon.” Typically, a misdemeanor charge of this nature would not result in jail time.
In Kalia’s case, however, she has been jailed at Rikers Island since September 17 and when she went before a Judge on October 4, she was sent back to jail for another 33 days after she declined to plead guilty to attempting to do bodily harm with a “weapon.” Her bond was doubled from $7,500 to $15,000. The earliest she might be released is November 7, her next court date.
When it came time for the general public to testify about public corruption, it wasn’t legislative leaders the witnesses railed against, it was corrupt judges. Multiple witnesses testified to having real estate property stolen through corrupt court proceedings. One witness, Dale Javino, said he was cheated out of his life savings in bankruptcy court and what happened to him “is like what happens in Nazi Germany…”
Janice Schacter, a retired attorney, said that the Thomas Street location of the New York State Supreme Court “is pay to play; orders are not enforced, laws are not applied, domestic violence is treated with derision and conflicts of interest are ignored. Deference and preferential treatment are given to wealthy spouses and lawyers of prestigious firms.” Schacter also testified that the judge involved in her case attempted to censor her contact with the press by threatening to send her to jail at Rikers Island for 20 days. She said she was still having nightmares about it.
The one thing that sets the two apart is that Seema Kalia is behind bars in Rikers Island over a misdemeanor charge which is incorrectly listed as a Class D Felony at the New York City Department of Correction inmate lookup web site. I provided the correct information to the Department of Correction, showing that the shoe-throwing incident had previously been reduced to a misdemeanor by the District Attorney’s office, and asking if someone might have provided phony documents to incarcerate Ms. Kalia. A response was promised by my deadline. None was forthcoming.
In 2007, New York State Supreme Court Judge Gerald P. Garson was convicted of accepting bribes from divorce attorney Paul Siminovsky.During an eight-month investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, a video camera secretly placed in Garson’s chambers captured Siminovsky plying Garson with expensive cigars and cash. In court proceedings, Siminovsky testified that he entertained the judge with drinks and meals in exchange for favorable courtroom treatment. Siminovsky pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year in jail.
After years of appeals, Garson, who had heard over 1,100 divorce cases, served only 2 ½ years in prison before being paroled on December 23, 2009. His maximum term could have been as much as 15 years at the time of sentencing but he received a sentence of 3 to 10 years. His early release set off protests with signs saying “Crime Pays In New York City” and “Justice for Sale.”
If one needs the ultimate proof that New York cannot heal itself, consider the amount of the bail bond that was set prior to sentencing after Judge Garson was convicted of accepting bribes while seated as a New York State Supreme Court Judge. His bond was set at $15,000. That’s the amount set in Seema Kalia’s case for a misdemeanor charge stemming from throwing a man’s shoe.
A $15,000 bond for a woman throwing a shoe at her Wall Street ex-husband, and a $15,000 bond for a state Supreme Court judge for accepting bribes. That pretty much sums it up.
Good thing Mayor Bloomberg is focused on arresting Banksy when the city’s legal system has become one giant cesspool of fraud and corruption.
Full article here.
- New York State Is Facing a Contagion of Corruption (wallstreetonparade.com)
What was to be the final day of hearings in Toronto on the controversial Line 9 pipeline was cancelled Saturday, as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets to oppose energy company Enbridge’s plan to reverse the oil pipe and increase its capacity to carry crude.
“They try to make it seem like we’re not going to have a spill. And it’s very likely that a spill will happen somewhere along this line,” said protester Nigel Barriffe, who lives near Line 9 in northwest Toronto.
Enbridge was to make its closing submissions to the National Energy Board on its plan to reverse the line, so it would flow from Southern Ontario to Montreal, and increase its capacity to move crude oil.
But the National Energy Boardannounced late Friday that Saturday’s hearings were off, saying the way the previous day’s hearings ended raised concerns about the security of participants. Protesters were out in force for Friday’s panel hearing, but there was no violence during that demonstration or Saturday’s rally.
- Line 9 pipeline hearing postponed after protests
- Pipeline plan threatens First Nations communities, NEB hears
On Friday, protesters, many gathered under the banner of the Idle No More movement, first milled outside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to rally against the Line 9 pipeline and to show solidarity with demonstrations at New Brunswick’s Elsipogtog First Nation against a shale-gas project. They were eventually allowed in slowly, after the NEB determined that there were enough seats.
After an anti-Line 9 deputant completed her official submissions to the NEB panelists, the demonstrators began chanting and moving up to the front of the room toward the panel.
There was a brief scuffle with security. Then the NEB panel members were escorted by security and police out of the room, as was an Enbridge representative.
The NEB didn’t provide a date for when Enbridge will present the closing arguments that had been slated for Saturday.
Protest organizer Amanda Lickers said the NEB should have found a way to let Enbridge make its case in support of the reversal.
“I think that if they were really concerned about security, they could have still done it over the web…. There could have been ways to make the presentation happen.”
Critics cite environmental risks
The panel heard this week from interveners stating the reversal would put First Nations communities at risk, threaten water supplies and could endanger vulnerable species in ecologically sensitive areas.
Jan Morrissey of a Toronto residents’ group showed up early Saturday morning for the hearing, only to learn it was cancelled.
Morrissey said she’s disappointed she won’t get to hear Enbridge’s final reply to arguments made to the board by critics of the reversal.
“It’s sort of like reading a book and not getting to see the last chapter,” she said.
The pipeline reversal would increase the line’s capacity to 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day, up from the current 240,000 barrels.
Enbridge has also asked for permission to move different types of oil, including a heavier form of crude from the Alberta oilsands.
Opponents say the crude Enbridge wants to transport is more corrosive and will stress the aging infrastructure and increase the chance of a leak.
But Enbridge has said what will flow through the line will not be a raw oilsands product — although there will be a mix of light crude and processed bitumen.
Line 9 originally shuttled oil from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal but was reversed in the late 1990s in response to market conditions to pump imported crude westward.
Enbridge is now proposing to flow oil back eastward to service refineries in Ontario and Quebec.
The company has experienced several devastating spills on its pipelines, including one in Michigan that leaked 3.3 million litres of oil into the Kalamazoo River and has already cost the company more than $1 billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes there is at least 684,000 litres of bitumen still in the river.
- Final day of Enbridge Line 9 pipeline hearings cancelled over security concerns (globalnews.ca)
- Line 9 hearings by National Energy Board overtaken by protest (cbc.ca)
- Enbridge pipeline: Toronto criticizes emergency plans (metronews.ca)
- Thousands march against GMOs, Monsanto across Canada (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- CBC: N.B. shale gas solidarity protests spread to other regions (sacredfirenb.wordpress.com)
- Anti-fracking protesters torch cop cars in New Brunswick (washingtontimes.com)
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd said on Thursday it has cut production at its 115,000 barrel per day Horizon oil sands project and its Woodenhouse heavy oil operations after natural gas supplies were cut following a rupture on TransCanada Corp’s Nova regional natural-gas pipeline network.
Canadian Natural said in an email that production has been reduced following the incident on TransCanada’s 1.6 billion cubic foot per day North Central Corridor pipeline, which delivers gas to the Athabasca oil sands region.
- TransCanada says gas pipeline in northern Alberta may have ruptured (business.financialpost.com)
- TransCanada Pipeline Leak Being Investigated (olduvaiblog.wordpress.com)
- TransCanada says two customers still lack gas after pipeline rupture in northern Alberta (business.financialpost.com)
- TransCanada pipeline rupture forces oil firms to scale back production (theglobeandmail.com)
- Some Injured and Many Dead in Delta Gas Pipeline Explosion (etcetera9ja.wordpress.com)
Excuse the Chinese government for not caring who in the U.S. is responsible for the debt-ceiling impasse. Democrats and Republicans have their reasons for doing what they do, but from Beijing or Shanghai’s perspective, the potential results are the same: a default on about$1.28 trillion of Chinese-owned debt and a global recession to boot. The U.S. promised to make good on the debt when it bought it, and that promise seems dangerously close to being broken. For China, that’s a huge economic risk — and a tremendous public-relations opportunity.
In recent days, it’s become clear that China’s state-owned newspaper editorialists — all of whom take their cue, at some level, from the Communist Party — view the American crisis as a teaching moment. It’s traditional for Chinese news media to play this role. Senior Communist Party officials rarely make statements on contemporary events (especially crises), and the debt-ceiling impasse is no exception.
High-ranking government officials, perhaps wary of spooking already rattled markets at home and abroad, have said little or spoken in generalities. Last week, Premier Li Keqiang voiced concern about the debt-ceiling issue in a conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, according to the state-owned Xinhua News Agency. The highest-ranking Chinese official to comment publicly on the Washington stalemate in recent days was probably Zhu Guangyao, the country’s vice minister of finance, and his finely crafted words are nearly void of content. On Tuesday in Beijing, he offered mereplatitudes: “In the long run, the United States must address the fiscal stalemate, must raise the cap of the debt limit soon as to keep the promise of no default of its Treasury bonds and keep the sound momentum of the U.S. economy and avoid dragging down the world economy.”
China’s leaders are certainly interested in commenting on the situation in Washington; they just prefer to do it through state-owned media outlets. Two editorials published in recent days by two of China’s most powerful (and distinct) news organizations exemplify a quiet cop/loud cop approach.
Xinhua was first, with a Sunday editorial in the English-language edition of the hard-line Global Times. The message of the editorial — which carried the headline “US fiscal failure warrants a de-Americanized world” — is that the debt stalemate should rally the global community to build a post-Pax Americana world order. The piece reads like the primal scream of a fed-up hegemonist-to-be: “Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated, and a new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing.”
Among these interests, the editorial lists respect for national sovereignty (a particularly sensitive issue in China, in light of its relationship with Taiwan) and a commitment not to interfere in others’ domestic affairs. The editorial also suggests that the world financial system needs to be reformed. A new international currency may need to replace the dollar, “so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States.”
These are provocative words of the sort that China’s cautious leadership would never dare utter. Indeed, Xinhua’s editorial appears to have been issued in English only, its call for a “de-Americanized” world absent from Chinese news or social media, where the editorial hasn’t generated any noticeable discussion (perhaps because it’s in English).
Why this move? For starters, an English-language editorial allows Xinhua to distance the Chinese leadership — whether or not it helped conceive of the piece — from the written sentiments while maintaining the imprimatur of an “official” editorial. Whose piece is it? As with almost any unsigned editorial in the state-run Chinese media, the lack of a straightforward answer gives everyone — Party leadership, Xinhua, whoever wrote the editorial — plausible deniability in the event someone suggests they believe the piece’s message. This is exactly what the New York Times did when it claimed, based on the editorial, that “Chinese leaders” were calling for the consideration of a de-Americanized world. Objectively viewed, the leadership did no such thing (though the article subsequently attributes quotes from the editorial to Xinhua). Perhaps fighting back against such broad characterizations, on Wednesday the English-language China Daily ran the editorial bearing the byline of Liu Chang.
An English-only editorial also highlights the fact that Xinhua wanted its message heard by a foreign audience (all the while neglecting a Chinese audience that hasn’t, so far, seemed very engaged with the issue, at least on Chinese microblogs). And judging from the outpouring of references to a “de-Americanized world” since Sunday, Xinhua succeeded spectacularly.
What was the message, then, for the Chinese-speaking world? On Monday, the People’s Daily newspaper, the self-proclaimed mouthpiece of the Communist Party (and the most reliable indicator of party leadership’s opinion), offered a low-key editorial with a simple message: “It’s obvious that the U.S. political system has a problem.” The nature of that problem, as analyzed by the paper, is that the U.S. system has stagnated in the face of a polarized society and is unable to adapt to new realities. “Advocates for the U.S. political system argue that its checks and balances give it the ability to self-correct and helps to stem large political errors,” the paper explained. “However, when such a system exacerbates social rifts, party opposition, and even disrupts the normal life of the country, rational reflection is necessary.”
This Chinese-language editorial’s call for reflection isn’t directed at just Americans. The piece is also a not-so-subtle call for Chinese to reflect on whether they want such a troubled system adapted to their country. The answer, from the editorial’s perspective, is left to the reader.
Even before the People’s Daily editorial, there was plenty of evidence on Chinese microblogs that readers didn’t buy the argument. In fact, some netizens are actually suggesting that the impasse demonstrates the strength of the U.S. political system. That’s an interesting contention — perhaps even a powerful one, so long as those in Washington find a last-minute way for the U.S. to meet its debt obligations. But as the U.S. creeps closer to defaulting, the arguments about the relative merits of the American political system start to tilt in favor of China’s unfriendly critiques.
(Adam Minter, the Shanghai correspondent for the World View blog, is the author of “Junkyard Planet,” a book on the global recycling industry that will be published in November.)
- Xinhua calling to end the US dollar as the international reserve currency (adrianrowles.com)
- China Calls for World to Be ‘De-Americanised’ (forum.prisonplanet.com)
- These statements from China confirm what many suspect, they have over 5,000 tonnes of Gold and can afford to talk like this. (maxkeiser.com)
- China, the US Government Shutdown and the “End of the Pax-Americana” (peterslarson.com)
- Chinese rating agency downgraded United States debt (chasvoice.blogspot.com)
- Debt Ceiling: China Calls for World to Be ‘De-Americanised’ (philosophers-stone.co.uk)
Assassination pushes Libya towards civil war two years after Gaddafi death | World news | The Observer
Libya marks the second anniversary of the death of Muammar Gaddafi with the country on the brink of a new civil war and fighting raging in the eastern city of Benghazi, birthplace of its Arab spring revolution.
Violence between radical militias and regular forces broke out on Friday night and continued yesterday, while the capital Tripoli is braced for fallout from the kidnapping earlier this month of prime minister Ali Zaidan. Federalists in Cyrenaica, home to most of Libya’s oil, open their own independent parliament in Benghazi this week, in a step that may herald the breakup of the country.
For months, radical militias and regular forces in Benghazi have fought a tit-for-tat war. Last week two soldiers had their throats slit as they slept in an army base. But Friday’s killing of Libya’s military police commander, Ahmed al-Barghathi, shot as he left a mosque, has became the trigger for wider violence. Hours after an assassination branded a “heinous act” by US ambassador Deborah Jones, armed units stormed the Benghazi home of a prominent militia commander, Wissam Ben Hamid, with guns and rockets.
Fighting continued into the night, with army units heading for the home of a second militia commander, Ahmed Abu Khattala, indicted by the US for the killing of US ambassador Chris Stevens last year. There, they were turned back by powerful militia units.
“There’s fighting everywhere, checkpoints everywhere, I’ve moved my wife and children to somewhere safe,” said one Benghazi businessman, Mohammed, who declined to give his second name.
Ben Hamid went on live television to insist he had no role in the killing of al-Barghathi, and vowed reprisals against those who destroyed his home.
Libya’s militias are in the spotlight as never before, in a country racked by violence and economic stagnation. Zaidan has blamed the Revolutionaries Control Room, headquarters for the biggest militia – Libya Shield – for his kidnapping 10 days ago, promising harsh measures once the Eid religious holiday week ends.
Shield forces deployed in the capital denied staging the abduction, but their units were this weekend fortifying their positions in fear of attack.
The trigger for this spiralling violence was the arrest two weeks ago by Delta Force commandos of al-Qaida suspect, Anas al Liby, from his Tripoli home. That arrest has polarised opinion between supporters and opponents of Zeidan, and Nato, which bombed the rebels to victory in the 2011 Arab spring, has found itself in the hot seat over plans to train a new government army. Britain is to join the US and Italy in training Libyan army cadres at a base in Cambridgeshire.
- Obama’s Libya Working Out About as Well as We Expected (theuniversalspectator.wordpress.com)
- Assassination pushes Libya towards civil war two years after Gaddafi death (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Libya On The Brink Of Civil War (warnewsupdates.blogspot.com)
- Gunman assassinate Libya commander (bbc.co.uk)
- News From Occupied Libya 16-20/10/2013 (libyaagainstsuperpowermedia.com)