by David DeGraw from Amped Status
Guest Post: Analysis of the Global Insurrection Against Neo-Liberal Economic Domination and the Coming American Rebellion â€“ We Are Egypt [Revolution Roundup #3]
If you think whatâ€™s happening in Egypt wonâ€™t happen within the United States, youâ€™ve been watching too much TV. The statistics speak for themselves.
In previous Revolution Roundups, before we were knocked offline, we featured mass protests by the people of Ireland, Italy, Britain, Austria, Greece, France and Portugal, as the Global Insurrection contagion spread throughout Europe. And now, as we have seen over the past month, North African and Middle Eastern nations have joined the movement as the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, Gabon, Mauritania, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan and Algeria have taken to the streets en masse.
The connection between this latest round of uprisings and the prior protests throughout Europe is one the mainstream media is not making. We are witnessing a decentralized global rebellion against Neo-Liberal economic imperialism. While each national uprising has its own internal characteristics, each one, at its core, is about the rising costs of living and lack of financial opportunity and security. Throughout the world the situation is the same: increasing levels of unemployment and poverty, as price inflation on food and basic necessities is soaring.
Whether national populations realize it or not, these uprisings are against systemic global economic policies that are strategically designed to exploit the working class, reduce living standards, increase personal debt and create severe inequalities of wealth. These global uprising, which have only just begun, are the first wave of the inevitable reaction to the implementation of a centralized worldwide Neo-Feudal economic order.
The global banking cartel, centered at the IMF, World Bank and Federal Reserve, have paid off politicians and dictators the world over â€” from Washington to Greece to Egypt. In country after country, they have looted national economies at the expense of local populations, consolidating wealth in unprecedented fashion â€“ the top economic one-tenth of one percent is currently holding over $40 trillion in investible wealth, not counting an equally significant amount of wealth hidden in offshore accounts.
IMF imperial operations designed to extract wealth and suppress populations have been ongoing for decades. As anyone researching economic imperialism will know, a centrally planned Neo-Liberal aristocracy controls the global economy.
The IMF has a well-worn strategy that they use to conquer national economies. As I warned four months ago, we have now progressed into Step 3.5: World Wide IMF Riots. Back in October, in a TV interview with Max Keiser, we discussed leaked World Bank documents that revealed the IMFâ€™s strategy. I stated the following:
â€œThey have a four-step strategy for destroying national economiesâ€¦. We are about to enter what they would call Step Three. Step Three is when youâ€™ve looted the economy and now food and basic necessities all of a sudden become more expensive, harder to get to. And then, Step 3.5 is when you get the riots. We are fastly approaching thatâ€¦.
We are headed to, as the IMF said, and as they plan, Step 3.5: IMF Riots. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s comingâ€¦â€
Fast-forward four months to today, and now we see country after country rebelling against high food prices. Since our October interview, food prices have spiked 15%. According to new World Bank data, since June 2010, â€œRising food have pushed about 44 million people into poverty in developing countries.â€
As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced another round of Quantitative Easing (QE2), those of us paying attention knew that the trigger had been pulled and Step Three had been executed. It was a declaration of economic war, an economic death sentence for tens of millions of people â€“ deliberately devaluing the dollar and sparking inflation in commodities/basic necessities. It was a vicious policy that would impact people from Boston to Cairo.
When QE2 was announced, I warned: â€œFood and Gas Prices Will Skyrocket, The Federal Reserve Just Dropped An Economic Nuclear Bomb On Us.â€ I also wrote: â€œThe Federal Reserve is deliberately devaluing the dollar to enrich a small group of a global bankers, which will cause significant harm to the people of the United States and severe ramifications throughout the worldâ€¦. The Federal Reserveâ€™s actions are already causing the price of food and gas to increase and will cause hyperinflation on most basic necessities.â€
To be clear, there are several significant factors contributing to rising food prices, such as extreme weather conditions, biofuel production and Wall Street speculation; but the Federal Reserveâ€™s policies deliberately threw gasoline all over those brush fires. QE2 was another economic napalm bomb from the global banking cartel.
In a recent McClathy news article entitled, â€œEgyptâ€™s unrest may have roots in food prices, US Fed policy,â€ Kevin Hall reports:
â€œâ€˜The truth of the matter is that when the Federal Reserve moved on the quantitative easing, it did export inflation to a lot of these emerging marketsâ€¦. Thereâ€™s no doubt that one of the side effects of the weak dollar and quantitative easing has been rising commodity prices. It helped create this bullish environment for commodities. This is a very delicate balancing act.â€™
Itâ€™s a view shared by Ed Yardeni, a veteran financial market analyst, who reached a similar conclusion in a research note to investorsâ€¦. He joked that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke should be added to a list of revolutionaries, since his quantitative easing policy, unveiled last year in Wyoming, has provoked unrest and change in the developing world.
â€˜Since he first indicated his support for such a revolutionary monetary changeâ€¦ the prices of corn, soybeans and wheat have risen 53 percent, 37 percent and 24.4 percent through Fridayâ€™s close,â€™ Yardeni noted. â€˜The price of crude oil rose 19.8 percent over this period from $75.17 to $90.09 this (Monday) morning. Soaring food and fuel prices are compounding anger attributable to widespread unemployment in the countries currently experiencing riots.â€™â€
The people throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa, on the fringe of the Neo-Liberal economic empire and most vulnerable to the Fedâ€™s inflationary policies, are the first to rebel.
Before analyzing the situation within the US, letâ€™s take a closer look at the global Neo-Liberal economic policies that led to the Egyptian and Tunisian revolts.
In the Middle East and North Africa populations are rising against their local dictators. However, these â€œdictatorsâ€ take orders from the IMF.
A report from the Center for Research on Globalization revealed some background and historical context:
â€œThe Alliance between Global Capitalism and Arab Dictators
It is paramount to understand that the Arab dictators and tyrants serve the interests of organized capital. This is their primary function. They are elements of the global system formed by organized capital.
Looking back, protests and riots started in 1977 against the regime of Mohammed Anwar Al-Sadat, Mubarakâ€™s predecessor. The causes of these protests were the neo-liberal policies that the I.M.F. had handed down to Sadat. The I.M.F. policies ended government subsidies on basic daily commodities of life. Food prices jumped and Egyptians became hard-hitâ€¦.
The Arab people grasp the fact that their ruling class and governments are not only corrupt regimes, but also comprador elites, namely the local representatives of foreign corporations, governments, and interestsâ€¦. In Egypt, Gamal Mubarak (who was being groomed by his father for the presidency) worked for Bank of America.
In Tunisia, Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali was a military officer trained in French and American military schools who, once in power, served U.S. and French economic interests. In Lebanon, Fouad Siniora was a former Citibank official before he became prime ministerâ€¦. Within the corrupt Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad worked for one of the banks forming the U.S. Federal Reserve and the World Bankâ€¦.
Moreover, almost all Arab finance ministers are affiliated to the major global banking institutions. All of them also strictly adhere to the Washington Consensus of the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.) and the World Bankâ€¦â€
Samer Shehata, professor of Arab politics at Georgetown University, summed up the situation in Egypt and Tunisia:
â€œBeginning in 2004â€¦ Egypt began implementing economic reforms called for by the IMFâ€”or really forced on them by the IMF and the World Bankâ€¦ a new government was appointed, new ministers were appointed, who believed wholeheartedly in the ideas of the IMF and the World Bank. And they quite vigorously pursued these policies. And there was at one level, at the level of macroeconomic indicators, statistics, GDP growth rates, foreign direct investment and so onâ€”Egypt seemed to be a miracle. And this, of course, was the case with the Tunisian model earlier. Youâ€™ll remember that Jacques Chirac called it the â€˜economic miracle,â€™ and it was the darling of the IMF and the World Bank, because it implemented these types of reforms earlier. Well, of course, we saw what happened in Tunisia. In Egypt, from 2004 until the present, the government and its reforms were applauded in Washington by World Bank, IMF and US officialsâ€¦. Egypt received the top reformer award from the IMF and the World Bankâ€¦â€
Former Goldman Sachs executive Nomi Prins reveals more details:
The Egyptian Uprising Is a Direct Response to Ruthless Global Capitalism
â€œThe revolution in Egypt is as much a rebellion against the painful deterioration of economic conditions as it is about opposing a dictatorâ€¦. When people are facing a dim future, in a country hijacked by a corrupt regime that destabilized its economy through what the CIA termed, â€˜aggressively pursuing economic reforms to attract foreign investmentâ€™ (in other words, the privatization and sale of its countryâ€™s financial system to international sharks), waiting doesnâ€™t cut itâ€¦.
Tunisiaâ€™s dismal economic environment was a direct result of its increasingly â€˜liberalâ€™ policy toward foreign speculators. Of the five countries covered by the World Bankâ€™s, Investment Across Sectors Indicator, Tunisia had the fewest limits on foreign investmentâ€¦. Egypt adopted a similar come-and-get-it policy, on steroidsâ€¦. But, as we learned in the U.S., what goes up with artificial helium plummets under real gravityâ€¦. Not surprisingly, those foreign speculation strategies didnâ€™t bring less poverty or more jobs either. Indeed, the insatiable hunt for great deals, whether by banks, hedge funds, or private equity funds, as it inevitably does, had the opposite effectâ€¦.
Ironically, the [Egyptian Ministry of Investment] brochure touted the large college graduate population entering the job market each year â€” 325,000. The same graduates are the core of the current revolution. They failed to find adequate jobs and are faced with an official unemployment rate of just below 10 percent (though, similar to the U.S., that figure doesnâ€™t account for underemployment, poor job quality or long-term prospects)â€¦. Meanwhile, 20 percent of Egypt lives in povertyâ€¦ For in the United States, economic statistics are no better. By certain measures, like income inequality, they are worse than in Egypt.â€
Comparable economic statistics between the US and Egypt are facts that US mainstream media propagandists are not reporting.
Inequality of Wealth
Income inequality has reached a record level within Egypt, as Pat Garofalo explained:
â€œOne of the driving factors behind the protests is theâ€¦ growing sense of inequality. â€˜Theyâ€™re all protesting about growing inequalitiesâ€¦. The top of the pyramid was getting richer and richer,â€™ said Emile Hokayem of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the Middle East.
As Yasser El-Shimy, former diplomatic attachÃ© at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote in Foreign Policy, â€˜income inequality has reached levels not before seen in Egyptâ€™s modern history.â€™â€
As the US mainstream media references the â€œoppressiveâ€ and â€œcorruptâ€ inequality of wealth throughout Egypt, the hypocrisy is shameful. The inequality of wealth in the United States is currently the most severe it has ever been. Gini coefficient ratings are a measure of a nationâ€™s inequality â€“ the higher a nation scores, the more unequal the society is. The US has a Gini coefficient rating of 45, compared to Egyptâ€™s 34.4, Yemenâ€™s 37 and Tunisiaâ€™s 40, making the US the most unequal, â€œoppressiveâ€ and â€œcorruptâ€ of the four.
As John Dewey once said, â€œThere is no such thing as the liberty or effective power of an individual, group, or class, except in relation to the liberties, the effective powers, of other individuals, groups or classes.â€
When well-paid â€œexpertsâ€ in expensive suits sitting behind desks in state of the art studios discuss the hardships of the Egyptian people, something tells me that these pundits havenâ€™t spent much time interacting with tens of millions of people living in inner city America â€“ just because the mainstream media doesnâ€™t cover them, doesnâ€™t mean they donâ€™t exist. They exist in larger numbers in the US than they do in most rebelling countries.
The rising price of food has played a pivotal role in sparking the uprisings, food prices have a larger impact in countries like Egypt and Tunisia, as they represent a more significant percentage of total income. However, the overall costs of living in the US are significantly higher. When these costs are factored in â€” medical expenses, housing, transportation, education, etc. â€“ the US poverty level of $22k per year, for a family of four, is comparable to the poverty rate measure in Egypt.
According to the CIA, the poverty rate in Egypt is 20%. With a population size of 83 million people, this would put 16.6 million Egyptians living in poverty. In the US, the current poverty rate is 16.8%, with a population of 309 million, this puts 52 million Americans living below the poverty line.
When you consider that the US has 52 million people currently living in poverty, you realize, as shocking as it may sound, that we have a larger number of desperate people in the US than rebelling populations in countries throughout the Middle East and Europe. Overall, in comparison to Egypt, the US population is obviously more geographically spread out, but if you breakdown the demographics, many large US cities have a poverty rate higher than the 20 percent rate in Egypt.
Consider that, according to low-ball government statistics, nine major US cities have a poverty rate over 25%.
The unemployment rate in Egypt mirrors the unemployment rate in the US, currently fluctuating between nine and ten percent, according to government sources. The unemployment rate among recent graduates attempting to enter the workforce also mirrors the crisis in the US. The young unemployed and underemployed demographic has played a pivotal role in leading the rebellion. Reporting for the Financial Times in an article entitled, â€œAt hand, an Arab awakening,â€ Roula Khalaf sums it up this way:
â€œIn Egypt, as in Tunisia, the young people who initiated the street campaigns were educated, internet-savvy activists with no political affiliation. [Sound familiar?] After watching the fervour unleashed in the past month, young Syrians, Bahrainis, Algerians and even the quiescent Libyans are turning to Facebook and Twitter to call for their own â€˜day of rageâ€™.
As Mr Khashoggi puts it: â€˜The 25-year-old unemployed today has become the strong man.â€™â€
A report from Business Week entitled, â€œThe Youth Unemployment Bomb,â€ provides more detail:
â€œIn Tunisia, the young people who helped bring down a dictator are called hittistesâ€”French-Arabic slang for those who lean against the wall. Their counterparts in Egyptâ€¦ are the shabab atileen, unemployed youthsâ€¦ In Britain, they are NEETs â€“ â€˜not in education, employment, or training.â€™ In Japan, they are freeters: an amalgam of the English word freelance and the German word Arbeiter, or worker. Spaniards call them mileuristas, meaning they earn no more than 1,000 euros a month. In the U.S., theyâ€™re â€˜boomerangâ€™ kids who move back home after college because they canâ€™t find work. Even fast-growing Chinaâ€¦ has its â€˜ant tribeâ€™ â€“ recent college graduates who crowd together in cheap flats on the fringes of big cities because they canâ€™t find well-paying work.
In each of these nations, an economy that canâ€™t generate enough jobs to absorb its young people has created a lost generation of the disaffected, unemployed, or underemployedâ€”including growing numbers of recent college graduates for whom the post-crash economy has little to offerâ€¦.
More common is the quiet desperation of a generation in â€˜waithood,â€™ suspended short of fully employed adulthood. At 26, Sandy Brown of Brooklyn, N.Y., is a college graduate and a mother of two who hasnâ€™t worked in seven months. â€˜I used to be a manager at a Duane Reade in Manhattan, but they laid me off. Iâ€™ve looked for work everywhere and I canâ€™t find anything,â€™ she says. â€˜Itâ€™s like I got my diploma for nothing.â€™â€
The collapsing job market, declining wages, loss of benefits and skyrocketing cost of education has created a â€œlost generationâ€ of young college graduates with little options and massive debt. When millions of American students took out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for an education which they assumed would give them the skills needed to make a good living, they never imagined that they would be either unemployed, working part-time, or making significantly less than people in their chosen profession have traditionally made. The majority of young workers in their twenties and early thirties have debt that they will spend most of their life trying to pay back. Theyâ€™ve been sentenced to a life ofâ€¦
Mike Whitney recently interviewed Alan Nasser on CounterPunch for a piece entitled, â€œThe Student Loan Swindle.â€ Hereâ€™s an excerpt:
â€œMW: Is it possible to â€˜walk awayâ€™ from a student loan and declare bankruptcy?
Alan Nasser: No, itâ€™s not possible for student debtors to escape financial devastation by declaring bankruptcy. This most fundamental of consumer protections would have been available to student debtors were it not for legislation explicitly designed to withhold a whole range of basic protections from student borrowers. Iâ€™m not talking only about bankruptcy protection, but also truth in lending requirements, statutes of limitations, refinancing rights and even state usury laws â€“ Congress has rendered all these protections inapplicable to federally guaranteed student loans. The same legislation also gave collection agencies hitherto unimaginable powers, for example to garnish wages, tax returns, Social Security benefits and â€“ believe it or not â€“ Disability income.
Twisting the knife, legislators made the suspension of state-issued professional licenses, termination of public employment and denial of security clearances legitimate measures to enable collection companies to wring financial blood from bankrupt student-loan borrowers. Student loan debt is the most punishable of all forms of debt â€“ most of those draconian measures are unavailable to credit card companiesâ€¦.
MW: Is it fair to say that the student loan industry is a scam that targets borrowers who will never be able to repay their debts? Are these students like the people who were seduced into taking out subprime loans? How much money is involved and how much of that money is either presently in default or headed for default?
Alan Nasser: Itâ€™s as fair as fair can be. First, the student loan industry is huge â€“ a large majority of students from every type of school are in debt. Debt is held by 62 percent of students enrolled at public colleges and universities, 72 percent at private non-profit schools and 96 percent at private, for-profit (â€˜proprietaryâ€™) schools. It was announced last summer that total student loan debt, at $830 billion, now exceeds total US credit card debt, which is itself bloated to the bubble level of $827 billion. And student loan debt is growing at the rate of $90 billion a year.â€
These students werenâ€™t expecting an economic crisis to occur, and, unlike the banks that lent them the money, theyâ€™re not getting a bailout. Also factor in that the overwhelming majority of new jobs, the few that are being added, are either part-time, temporary or in low paying fields without health or retirement benefits. Mix all of this together, and you have a vicious cycle with devastating consequences.
Given the size of this segment of the population, carrying this much debt, at such a young age, with limited prospects, you can feel the winds of revolution blowing.
Contrary to all the propaganda you hear from the mainstream media and politicians, the economy is still shedding jobs at a staggering pace. ZeroHedge recently featured a report entitled, â€œJust How Ugly Is The Truth Of Americaâ€™s Unemploymentâ€ by economist David Rosenberg:
â€œIt is laughable that everyone believes the labor market in the U.S.A. is improving.â€¦ The data from the Household survey are truly insane. The labor force has plunged an epic 764k in the past two months. The level of unemployment has collapsed 1.2 million, which has never happened before. People not counted in the labor force soared 753k in the past two months.
These numbers are simply off the charts and likely reflect the throngs of unemployed people starting to lose their extended benefits and no longer continuing their job search (for the two-thirds of them not finding a new job). These folks either go on welfare or they rely on their spouse or other family members or friends for supportâ€¦.
Of all the analysis we saw over the weekend, the only one that made any sense was the editorial by Bob Herbert:
â€˜The policy makers donâ€™t tell us that most of the new jobs being created in such meager numbers are, in fact, poor ones, with lousy pay and few or no benefits. What we hear is what the data zealots pump out week after week, that the market is up, retail sales are strong, Wall Street salaries and bonuses are streaking, as always, to the moon, and that businesses are sitting on mountains of cash. So all must be right with the world.
Jobs? Well, the less said the better.
Whatâ€™s really happening, of course, is the same thing thatâ€™s been happening in this country for the longest time â€” the folks at the top are doing fabulously well and they are not interested in the least in spreading the wealth around.
The people running the country â€” the ones with the real clout, whether Democrats or Republicans â€” are all part of this power elite. Ordinary people may be struggling, but both the Obama administration and the Republican Party leadership are down on their knees, slavishly kissing the rings of the financial and corporate kingpins.â€™
â€¦ the civilian population rose 1.872 million last year. At the same time, the labor force fell 167k. Those not in the labor force soared 2.094 million. Just in January, we saw 319,000 people drop out of the work force. These numbers are incredible. This is a highly dysfunctional labor market. People are falling through the cracks at an alarming rate as they come off their extended jobless benefitsâ€¦.â€
In the US, we have over six million people who have now been unemployed for over six months, the highest total we have ever had. Factoring long-term unemployed and part-time workers looking for full-time work in to the total unemployment count, we now have over 30 million Americans in need of employment.
The foreclosure crisis in the United States, which has already affected over seven million people since the crisis began, is not slowing down, itâ€™s accelerating. Economist Joseph Stiglitz recently predicated another two million foreclosures in 2011. David Walsh sums up the growing crisis:
Nearly 30 percent of US homeowners now â€˜underwaterâ€™
â€œYear over year, home values were down 5.9 percent nationally, and have fallen 27 percent since their peak in June 2006. The total value of US single-family homes fell a staggering $798 billion in 2010â€™s fourth quarter, and for the entire year, more than $2 trillionâ€¦.
The number of US homeowners â€˜underwater,â€™ i.e., owing more than their homes were worth, at the end of 2010, jumped to 27 percent, up from 23.2 percent in the third quarterâ€¦. â€˜The rate of homes selling for a loss reached a new peak in December, with more than one-third (34.1 percent) selling for a loss. The rate of homes sold for a loss has increased steadily for the past six months.â€™ Some 15.7 million homeowners had negative equity at the end of the fourth quarter, in households home to more than 40 million people.
The massive number of those underwater will â€˜surely lead to higher foreclosure rates soon,â€™ notes CNNMoneyâ€¦. Economist Joseph Stiglitz, speaking at a conference in Mauritius February 9, predicted that another 2 million foreclosures would take place in the US in 2011, adding to the 7 million already recorded since the financial meltdown of 2008.
Banks repossessed 1 million homes in 2010, and this year is expected to be bleaker. Approximately 5 million borrowers are at least two months behind in their mortgage payments.â€
Letâ€™s recap the statistics: we have 59 million people without healthcare, 52 million in poverty, 44 million on food stamps, 30 million in need of work, seven million foreclosed upon and five million homes over two months late in their mortgage payments. Meanwhile, all new political policies and proposals on the table, on the state and federal level, are committed to major cuts in social services. In a sign of whatâ€™s to come, Obamaâ€™s first disclosed spending cut targets the poor. As Salon recently reported:
New Obama strategy: Beat up poor people
â€œTo prove it is â€˜seriousâ€™ about the deficit, the White House proposes cutting a program that helps pay heating bills. The Obama administrationâ€¦ will propose big cuts to a program that provides energy assistance to poor people when it unveils its suggested 2012 budget. â€˜The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAPâ€¦ would see funding drop by about $2.5 billion from an authorized 2009 total of $5.1 billion.â€™
The news is generating a lot of outrageâ€¦ in large part because of a paragraph that suggests that the White House wants to gain political advantage from being seen as tough on the most vulnerable Americans â€” people who canâ€™t afford heating oil during cold wintersâ€¦. If the White House wants to convince Americans that it is serious about budget discipline, it should do so by â€˜going after powerful vested interests rather than those least able to defend themselves within the political arena.â€™ The White House could redouble its efforts to cut oil company subsidies or repeal tax cuts for the rich, for example.â€
As The Independent reported, â€œObama to set out painful budget plans for austerity in America. Americans are about to get a first glimpse of what tight-fisted federal government looks like with President Barack Obama releasing an austerity-tinged draft budget.â€
In a report we featured on the AmpedStatus Hot List with the headline, â€œUS Democracy Crushed By Economic Elite,â€ Bob Herbert sums it up:
â€œOne state after another is reporting that it cannot pay its bills. Public employees across the country are walking the plank by the tens of thousands. Camden, N.J., a stricken city with a serious crime problem, laid off nearly half of its police force. Medicaid, the program that provides health benefits to the poor, is under savage assault from nearly all quarters.
The poor, who are suffering from an all-out depression, are never heard from. In terms of their clout, they might as well not exist. The Obama forces reportedly want to raise a billion dollars or more for the presidentâ€™s re-election bid. Politicians in search of that kind of cash wonâ€™t be talking much about the wants and needs of the poor. Theyâ€™ll be genuflecting before the very rich.â€
Austerity measures and draconian cuts to the social safety net are occurring just after passing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to multi-millionaires and billionaires. On the state level, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report revealing, â€œThirty-one states have released their initial budget proposals for fiscal year 2012 (which begins July 1 in most states), and, for the fourth year in a row, these budgets propose deep cuts in education, health care, and other important public servicesâ€¦â€
After committing trillions of dollars to bailing out the big banks, the Federal Reserve and government officials have now made it clear that the states will not receive the same treatment. In fact, the bailed out players on Wall Street, who have taken our tax dollars and given themselves all-time record-breaking bonuses, are looking to cash in on the suffering of states across the country. As Lynn Parramore recently put it:
Crank Up the Casino! Hedge Funds to Short American States and Cities
â€œThe looming possibility of municipal defaults, which some say could total hundreds of billions of dollars, is causing grave concern. Hedge funds are also deeply concerned about Americaâ€™s municipal debt crisis. They worry about how to best profit from it.
The Wizards of Wall Street have looked over the catastrophe of cash-strapped America and found it good for business. In their corporate laboratories, they are working furiously to whip up wondrous new financial products that will allow them to reap millions from misery. You might think that after plunging the country into said Recession with their fancy financial products, these Wizards might feel a little indelicate about gearing up for a game of shorting a community near you. Clearly you donâ€™t know Wall Street. The Financial Times reports that once-boring muni bonds are suddenly sexy.â€
Speaking of reaping millions from misery, the food stamp racket pays off just as well as the war racket. The economic parasites profit off of food stamps:
Food Stamps: JPMorgan & Banking Industry Profit From Misery
â€œJPMorganâ€™s division that makes food stamp debit cards made $5.47 billion in net revenue in 2010. As the head of this division, Christopher Paton, says, â€˜This business is a very important business to JPMorgan in terms of its size and scale.â€™ According to the companyâ€™s most recent quarterly filing with the SEC, the Treasury & Securities Services segment, which is the division that includes the food stamp business, was up 2% in the last three months of last quarter and brought in $5.47 billion in net revenue for most of 2010.â€
Republicans and Democrats, along with their Wall Street masters, are so arrogant, deluded with wealth, completely lacking perspective, shortsighted and, quite frankly, ignorant.
As the economic top one-tenth of one percent has more wealth than they have ever had, the middle class is quickly disappearing and poverty is soaring. As politicians ignore the needs of the suffering masses in favor of a Kleptocratic Oligarchy, which operates above the law, it is only a matter of time before an uprising takes hold.
After analyzing societal and economic indicators within the US, in comparison to rebelling countries, it is not a matter of whether people will revolt or not, itâ€™s a matter of when.
There are two significant differences between the United States and other rebelling nations:
1) The US has a much more powerful, sophisticated and omnipresent propaganda media system to keep the populace suppressed â€“ isolated and confused.
2) The US keeps 52 million people temporarily pacified in anti-poverty programs by giving them food stamps, unemployment benefits or other forms of life-sustaining government assistance.
Both of these differences are temporary, and not in any way sustainable. The safety nets here are unraveling and cuts in vital social services will be implemented just as millions more will need them. At the same time, food stamps and other forms of limited government assistance will be worth less and less as food and gas prices continue to rise.
Rising commodity prices will push the 239 million Americans currently living paycheck to paycheck over the edge. Also factor in healthcare costs, which have been skyrocketing even faster. On a personal level, my health insurance provider just notified me that my family has to pay 45% more for coverage â€“ and we already had the worldâ€™s most expensive healthcare system. For my wife, one child and myself, we will now have to pay over $1100 per month for a basic health insurance plan.
There are currently 59 million Americans who donâ€™t even have healthcare insurance. The health system has become vintage Grapes of Wrath, as have most aspects of the centrally planned system of economic despotism that we live under.
Add all of these factors together and you have a recipe for revolution. The mainstream propaganda news outlets and â€œRealityâ€ TV soma will only keep people at bay for so long. The propaganda system collapses when people canâ€™t afford to eat. Americans may be late to the party, but once one city revolts, the dominos will fall and a wave of protest will sweep through the country like a tsunami.
The only questions are: when will it happen, and how it will begin?
Food prices have been a leading indicator for rebellion thus far. Given the Federal Reserveâ€™s commitment to driving food prices higher, as a matter of policy, and the governmentâ€™s commitment to cutting assistance programs, people lining up at Wal-Mart on the last day of the month, waiting for the clock to strike midnight so they can buy their family milk and bread on their food stamp debit card, seem to be the most likely to rebel first.
As food prices increase, food stamps are obviously going to buy you less food. On top of that, as food prices escalate, millions more will need food assistance, right at the point when the current safety net can least afford it.
Letâ€™s analyze the most recent food stamp data to see how Americaâ€™s inevitable revolution may begin.
With 43.6 million Americans currently relying on food stamps, there are 13 states with over a million people already on food stamps:
Â· Texas 3,925,119 (number of people on food stamps) â€” 15.6% (of state population)
Â· California 3,521,881 â€” 9.5%
Â· Florida 2,994,413 â€” 15.9%
Â· New York 2,934,493 â€” 15.1%
Â· Michigan 1,920,330 â€“ 19.4%
Â· Ohio 1,772,608 â€” 15.4%
Â· Georgia 1,732,865 â€” 17.9%
Â· Illinois 1,732,169 â€” 13.5%
Â· Pennsylvania 1,673,714 â€” 13.2%
Â· North Carolina 1,531,255 â€” 16.1%
Â· Tennessee 1,264,407 â€” 19.9%
Â· Arizona 1,050,181 â€” 16.4%
Â· Washington 1,019,791 â€” 15.2%
States with over 18% of the population on food stamps:
Â· Mississippi 612,889 â€” 20.7%
Â· Tennessee 1,264,407 â€” 19.9%
Â· Oregon 749,498 â€” 19.6%
Â· Michigan 1,920,330 â€” 19.4%
Â· New Mexico 399,454 â€” 19.4%
Â· Louisiana 866,905 â€” 19.1%
Â· West Virginia 345,683 â€” 18.7%
Â· Kentucky 813,041 â€” 18.7%
Â· Maine 241,117 â€” 18.2%
Â· South Carolina 839,109 â€” 18.1%
Â· Alabama 863,606 â€” 18.1%
In our nationâ€™s capital, the District of Columbia, there are 131,611 people on food stamps, which is a stunning 21.9% of the population.
As mentioned before, cities with a poverty rate over 25% â€“ Detroit 36%, Cleveland 35%, Buffalo 29%, Milwaukee 28%, St. Louis 27%, Miami 27%, Memphis 26%, Cincinnati 26% and Philadelphia 25% â€“ are also highly vulnerable to revolt.
Given all the data, due to New Yorkâ€™s geographical lay out, population size and proximity to power, it is a prime candidate for insurrection. There are currently 2.9 million people living in New York that are on food stamps, which is equivalent to the entire population of Manhattan. Just imagine three million people flooding into lower Manhattan. Imagine if three million people decided to take a 15-30 minute subway ride down to the Financial District and camped out from Wall Street to the NY Fed, spilling over to the corporate offices of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.
Perhaps the one million people on food stamps from New Jersey and Connecticut will make a short trip into lower Manhattan as well, four million strong shutting down lower Manhattan, the economic capital of the world.
How would that play out in the global media?
One million people gathering in Cairo, Egypt sent shock waves throughout the world, and rightfully so, but just wait until millions of Americans begin flooding the streets. The revolution contagion will spread throughout the world like a category five hurricane.
â€œThe civilization may still seem brilliant because it possesses an outward front,
the work of a long past, but is in reality an edifice crumbling to ruin
and destined to fall in at the first storm.â€
â€“ Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind
While bloated federal and state spending has grown to staggering levels of debt, and demands immediate attention, any cut in spending or attempts to reduce the deficit must first come at the expense of the organized criminal class that has looted the national economy. Any cuts that happen before that need to be understood as an escalation and extension of the attacks on the American people.
While continuing their attacks on American small businesses and private-sector workers, the global financial elite are now stepping up their attacks on public workers. In this context, the Wisconsin state government attacks against the state teachersâ€™ union doesnâ€™t have anything to do with the old Democrat Vs. Republican divide and conquer debates of the past. This is about people fighting back against their economic oppressors. In Egypt, Mubarak was the Neo-Liberal Aristocracyâ€™s local enforcer. In Wisconsin, Scott Walker is the Neo-Liberal Aristocracyâ€™s local enforcer.
This battle in Madison, Wisconsin, between the American people and the global financial elite, represents the opening salvo, the awakening of an American resistance movement and a sign of whatâ€™s to come.
In a report entitled, â€œWisconsin governor threatens to call National Guard on state workers,â€ Andre Damon explains the situation:
â€œScott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, announced an assault against stateâ€¦. Walkerâ€™s proposal, which he said would quickly pass in the state legislature, drastically limits collective bargaining, removing the right of unions to negotiate pensions, retirement and benefitsâ€¦.
When asked by a reporter what will happen if workers resist, Walker replied that he would call out the National Guard. He said that the National Guard is â€˜prepared â€¦ for whatever the governor, their commander-in-chief, might call for â€¦ I am fully prepared for whatever may happen.â€™
Walkerâ€™s proposal allows state authorities to arbitrarily fire workers who â€˜participate in an organized action to stop or slow work,â€™ or who â€˜are absent for three days without approval of the employer,â€™ according to the governorâ€™s press release.â€
Democracy Now pointed out:
â€œâ€¦ the governorâ€™s actions could have national ramifications: â€˜If Governor Walker pulls this offâ€¦ if he takes down one of the strongest and most effective teachersâ€™ unions, WEAC, in the country, then we really are going to see this sweep across the United States.â€™â€
As a recent Washington Post report summed it up:
Workers toppled a dictator in Egypt, but might be silenced in Wisconsin
â€œIn Egypt, workers are having a revolutionary February. In the United States, by contrast, February is shaping up as the cruelest month workers have known in decades.
The coup de grace that toppled Hosni Mubarak came after tens of thousands of Egyptian workers went on strike beginning last Tuesday. By Friday, when Egyptâ€™s military leaders apparently decided that unrest had reached the point where Mubarak had to go, the Egyptians who operate the Suez Canal and their fellow workers in steel, textile and bottling factories; in hospitals, museums and schools; and those who drive buses and trains had left their jobs to protest their conditions of employment and governance. As Jim Hoagland noted in The Post, Egypt was barreling down the path that Poland, East Germany and the Philippines had taken, the path where workers join student protesters in the streets and jointly sweep away an authoritarian regime.
But even as workers were helping topple the regime in Cairo, one state government in particular was moving to topple workersâ€™ organizations here in the United Statesâ€¦. Scott Walker, Wisconsinâ€™s new Republican governor, proposed taking away most collective bargaining rights of public employees. Under his legislationâ€¦ the unions representing teachers, sanitation workers, doctors and nurses at public hospitals, and a host of other public employees, would lose the right to bargain over health coverage, pensions and other benefits. (To make his proposal more politically palatable, the governor exempted from his hit list the unions representing firefighters and police.)â€¦.
[Those who] often profess admiration for foreign workersâ€™ bravery in protesting and undermining authoritarian regimes. Letting workers exercise their rights at home, however, threatens to undermine some of our own regimes, and shouldnâ€™t be permitted. Now that Wisconsinâ€™s governor has given the Guard its marching orders, we can discern a new pattern of global repressive solidarity emerging â€“ from the chastened pharaoh of the Middle East to the cheesehead pharaoh of the Middle West.â€
Part Two :: The Most Repressive Regime: US Police State
It is extremely hypocritical when well-paid mainstream â€œnewsâ€ people talk about how repressive and barbaric the Mubarak regime is in Egypt. Once again, I doubt theyâ€™ve been to inner city America recently.
If you want to report on Egypt participating in torture, it is vital to point out where they were getting their weapons, training and funding from. Who paid them to commit horrific crimes against humanity? Look in the mirror US taxpayers; you may not like what you see.
WikiLeaks revealed information on a US-Egyptian torture program:
WikiLeaks Docs: Torture-Linked Egyptian Police Trained in U.S.
â€œNewly released classified U.S. diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks have shed more light on the key U.S. support for human rights abuses under Mubarakâ€™s regime in Egypt. The cables show Egyptian secret police received training at the FBIâ€™s facility in Quantico, Virginia, even as U.S. diplomats in Egypt sent dispatches alleging extensive abuse under their watch.
Coincidentally, Quantico also hosts the military base where alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning is being held in solitary confinement.
A cable from October 2009 cites allegations from â€˜credibleâ€™ sources that some prisoners were tortured â€˜with electric shocks and sleep deprivation to reduce them to a â€˜zombie state.â€™ One cable from November 2007 shows then-FBI deputy director John Pistole praised the head of Egyptâ€™s secret police for â€˜excellent and strongâ€™ cooperation between the two agencies. Pistole currently heads the Transportation Security Administration in the United States.â€
America the beautifulâ€¦ The Transportation Security Administration, from electric shocks, sleep deprivation and zombie states in Egypt, to cancer causing, civil liberty-destroying Naked Scanners at an airport near you.
If you want to report on Egypt putting their citizens in prison, again, the hypocrisy is astonishing. The US, by far, has more of its citizens in prison than any other nation on earth. China, with a billion citizens, doesnâ€™t imprison as many people as the US, with only 309 million American citizens. The US per capita statistics are 700 per 100,000 citizens. In comparison, China has 110 per 100,000. In the Middle East, the repressive regime in Saudi Arabia imprisons 45 per 100,000. US per capita levels are equivalent to the darkest days of the Soviet Gulag.
The majority of prisoners are locked up for non-violent crimes, with tens of thousands in Supermax cells. In addition to the heinous torture programs that the US government has carried out in Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Gitmo, we have our own solitary confinement torture programs for Americans in Supermax Units throughout the country. As Jim Ridgeway from Solitary Watch explains:
â€œSolitary confinement has grown dramatically in the past two decades. Today, at least 25,000 prisoners are being held in long-term lockdown in the nationâ€™s â€˜supermaxâ€™ facilities; some 50,000 to 80,000 more are held in isolation in â€˜administrative segregationâ€™ or â€˜special housingâ€™ units at other facilities. In other words, on any given day, as many as 100,000 people are living in solitary confinement in Americaâ€™s prisons. This widespread practice has received scant media attention, and has yet to find a place in the public discourse or on political platforms.â€
The US prison industry is thriving and expecting major growth over the next few years. A report from the Hartford Advocate titled â€œIncarceration Nationâ€ revealed, â€œA new prison opens every week somewhere in America.â€ If you want to report on the brutal suppression of citizens, consider that somewhere in America, every week, a new prison is being built to literally â€œhouse the poor.â€
A Boston Globe article by James Carroll shined a light on our repressive regime:
â€œâ€¦ as federal corrections budgets increased by $19 billion, money for housing was cut by $17 billion, â€˜effectively making the construction of prisons the nationâ€™s main housing program for the poor.â€™ State budgets took their cues from Washington in a new but unspoken national consensus: poverty itself was criminalized. Although â€˜law and orderâ€™ was taken to be a Republican mantra, this phenomenon was fully bipartisan.â€
Again, just because you donâ€™t hear this reported on TV, doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s not happening.
In addition to the record-breaking imprisonment of the American population, since 9/11 our civil liberties have been violated in unprecedented fashion. Tom Burghardt, in an article entitled, â€œAmerican Police State: FBI Abuses Reveals Contempt for Political Rights, Civil Liberties,â€ summed up a new report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation â€œdocumenting the lawless, constitutional-free zone under construction in America for nearly a decade:â€
â€œAs mass revolt spreads across Egypt and the Middle East and citizens there demand jobs, civil liberties and an end to police state abuses from repressive, U.S.-backed torture regimes, the Obama administration and their congressional allies aim to expand one right here at home.
Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released an explosive new report documenting the lawless, constitutional-free zone under construction in America for nearly a decade. That report, â€˜Patterns of Misconduct: FBI Intelligence Violations from 2001-2008,â€™ reveals that the domestic political intelligence apparat spearheaded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, continues to systematically violate the rights of American citizens and legal residentsâ€¦.
According to EFF, more than 2,500 documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that:
* From 2001 to 2008, the FBI reported to the IOB approximately 800 violations of laws, Executive Orders, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations, although this number likely significantly under-represents the number of violations that actually occurred.
* From 2001 to 2008, the FBI investigated, at minimum, 7000 potential violations of laws, Executive Orders, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations.
* Based on the proportion of violations reported to the IOB and the FBIâ€™s own statements regarding the number of NSL [National Security Letter] violations that occurred, the actual number of violations that may have occurred from 2001 to 2008 could approach 40,000 possible violations of law, Executive Order, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations.
But FBI lawbreaking didnâ€™t stop there. Citing internal documents, EFF revealed that the Bureau also â€˜engaged in a number of flagrant legal violationsâ€™ that included, â€˜submitting false or inaccurate declarations to courts,â€™ â€˜using improper evidence to obtain federal grand jury subpoenasâ€™ and â€˜accessing password protected documents without a warrant.â€™
In other words, in order to illegally spy on Americans and haul political dissidents before Star Chamber-style grand juries, the FBI routinely committed perjury and did so with absolute impunity.
Reviewing the more than 2,500 documents EFF analysts averred that they had â€˜uncovered alarming trends in the Bureauâ€™s intelligence investigation practicesâ€™ and that the â€˜documents suggest the FBIâ€™s intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed.â€™â€
When the Egyptian regime shut down the Internet, they did so by using American made technology. Having been knocked offline here at AmpedStatus.com, we have firsthand experience in what it feels like to have your ability to communicate and First Amendment rights stripped away. We still donâ€™t know who was behind the attacks on our website, but the situation in Egypt was an interesting case study. As it turned out, Obamaâ€™s new Chief of Staff, Bill Daleyâ€™s company provided the technology used to shut down the Internet in Egypt. No, Iâ€™m not referring to JP Morgan, it was the other company Bill Daley was a board member of up until last month, Boeing.
As media reform organization Free Press revealed:
â€œThe Mubarak regime shut down Internet and cell phone communications before launching a violent crackdown against political protesters.
Free Press has discovered that an American company â€” Boeing-owned Narus of Sunnyvale, CA â€” had sold Egypt [Telecom Egypt, the state-run Internet service provider] â€˜Deep Packet Inspectionâ€™ (DPI) equipment that can be used to help the regime track, target and crush political dissent over the Internet and mobile phones. Narus is selling this spying technology to other regimes with deplorable human rights records.
The power to control the Internet and the resulting harm to democracy are so disturbing that the threshold for using DPI must be very high. Thatâ€™s why, before DPI becomes more widely used around the world and at home, the U.S. government must establish clear and legitimate criteria for preventing the use of such surveillance and control technology.â€
It is probably just be an odd coincidence, but it was soon after we published the following report that we were knocked offline:
Obama Renews Commitment to Complete Destruction of the Middle Class â€“ Meet the New Economic Death Squad
â€œâ€¦. Boeing certainly does love Wall Street. For those of you out of the loop, you may not recall that the most powerful and destructive WMD that Boeing executives ever helped develop was the CDO, thatâ€™s a Collateralized Debt (Damage) Obligation. Do you remember Edward Liddy? Liddy and Bill Daley were both Boeing board members, before Liddy temporarily moved to Goldman Sachs where he oversaw their Audit Committee. Liddy was the person who had the most knowledge of Goldmanâ€™s CDO exposure insured through, what was that companyâ€™s name?â€¦ Oh, AIG. Yeah, that was it. Then, Hank â€˜Pentagon-Watergate-Goldmanâ€™ Paulson unilaterally made Liddy the CEO of AIG, before teaming up with Tim â€˜Kissinger-Rubin-Summers-IMFâ€™ Geithner to flush $183 billion tax dollars down the â€˜too big to failâ€™ drain. And thenâ€¦ after the government was finished pumping our tax dollars to financial terrorists through the AIG SPV, Liddy scurried back to the board of Boeing where he could have cocktails with his ole pal Billy-Boy Daley. Yep, Goldman, JP Morgan, Boeing and the destruction of the US economy, birds of a featherâ€¦â€
Within an hour of publishing that report, our site was knocked offline.
Something that has become very clear to me: when you accurately criticize the most powerful people, most people will ignore you, except the people who have the most power. They notice right away, and they let you know about it.
As I said, this is all probably just a coincidence.
However, this tangled web of interests between the Pentagon, Wall Street and the White House is fully exposed, yet again, with Obamaâ€™s special envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner Jr.
Wisner has just as many conflicts of interest as Bill Daley and Edward Liddy. Some reports have mentioned that Wisner was biased toward supporting the Mubarak regime because he is a longtime friend of Mubarak, and worked for a law firm that represented the regime, Patton Boggs. But thatâ€™s only part of the story. Wisner, like Bill Daley, is a Council on Foreign Relations member. He is the son of legendary CIA propaganda expert Frank Wisner Sr., who created and ran Operation Mockingbird. For those of you who havenâ€™t heard of Frank Wisner Sr., he used to report on â€œhis â€˜mighty Wurlitzer,â€™ on which he could play any propaganda tune.â€
Frank Jr. was also a board member of Enron, up until its collapse, and like Edward Liddy, he also worked for AIG, from 1997 until 2009. Wisner oversaw two of the greatest corporate catastrophes in American history, back to back. Given his track record, Barack â€œmighty Wurlitzerâ€ Obama must have thought he was the perfect guy for a collapsing corporate puppet regime in Egypt. Wisner is a disaster capitalism expert, right up there with Edward Liddy and Chief of Staff Bill Daley. Birds of a featherâ€¦
The recent internal emails from cyber-security firm HB Gary, released by WikiLeaks, exposing online campaigns to crackdown on critical journalists, reveals some of the other common methods used by the financial elite, like the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America, to target and silence political adversaries.
As one of the targets of the revealed campaign, Brad Friedman reported:
US Chamber of Commerce Thugs Used â€˜Terror Toolsâ€™ for Disinfo Scheme Targeting Me, My Family, Other Progressive U.S. Citizens, Groups
â€œThe US Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful Rightwing lobbying group in the country, was revealed to have been working with their law firm and a number of private cyber security and intelligence firms to target progressive organizations, journalists and citizens who they felt were in opposition to their political activism, tactics and points of view.â€
Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who was a constitutional law and civil rights litigator, was also a target of these planned attacks. In a report on the campaign to smear and discredit him, he focused on how common these illegal attacks are:
The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters
â€œThe real issue highlighted by this episode is just how lawless and unrestrained the unified axis of government and corporate power is. As creepy and odious as this is, thereâ€™s nothing unusual about these kinds of smear campaigns. The only unusual aspect here is that we happened to learn about it this time because of Anonymousâ€™ hacking. That a similar scheme was quickly discovered by ThinkProgress demonstrates how common this behavior is. The very idea of trying to threaten the careers of journalists and activists to punish and deter their advocacy is self-evidently pernicious; that itâ€™s being so freely and casually proposed to groups as powerful as the Bank of America, the Chamber of Commerce, and the DOJ-recommended Hunton & Williams demonstrates how common this is. â€œ
Greenwald later added:
â€œGiven the players involved and the facts that continue to emerge â€” this story is far too significant to allow to die due to lack of attentionâ€¦. As the episodeâ€¦ demonstrates, simply relying on the voluntary statements of the corporations involved ensures that the actual facts will remain concealed if not actively distortedâ€¦. Entities of this type routinely engage in conduct like this with impunity, and the serendipity that led to their exposure in this case should be seized to impose some accountabilityâ€¦ that these firms felt so free to propose these schemes in writing and, at least from what is known, not a single person raised any objection at all â€” underscores how common this behavior is.â€
Dylan Ratigan recently interviewed Glenn Greenwald and they summed up the situation, hereâ€™s a brief excerpt:
DYLAN: Am I correct in understanding that substantial, legitimate, serious, powerful private security firms were pitching Bank of America and the Chamber of Commerce a campaign for which they would be paid money, in which they would assassinate the reputations and intimidate and threaten the well-being of targeted private individuals. Is that true?
GLENN: Yes, the journalists, activists, political groups, and the like.
DYLAN: Whoever it may be. And that the law firm that brought these private security firms in was recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice. So itâ€™s on a recommendation from the DOJ that private and substantial security firms are being brought in to pitch smear and intimidation campaigns against those who support transparency in information. Fair?
GLENN: Yes, exactlyâ€¦.
DYLAN: â€¦ they were saying, â€˜You pay me money and those who are validating the efforts of WikiLeaks or the efforts of transparency, period, in the modern information world, we will threaten their careers such that theyâ€™ll give up the cause, if you pay us.â€™
GLENN: Right. â€˜Weâ€™ll investigate them. Weâ€™ll find out dirt on them. We will destroy their reputation using all kinds of schemes and techniques.â€™
DYLAN: And this came out through another leak which is the ironic twistâ€¦
GLENN: Well, one ironic twist is that it came out through a leak and the other ironic twist is that these are internet security firms that held their expertise in providing internet security and yet their e-mail system was hacked.
Propaganda doesnâ€™t work as well when you have the Internet, a cyberspace Underground Railroad, a form of mass communication that allows citizens to interact without corporate gatekeepers effectively censoring critical thought. All of these attacks show the desperation of the ruling class, in attempting to maintain an obsolete propaganda system. Just look at how common and accepted unlawful practices have become in pursuit of their goals.
It is a strategic imperative that we protect Internet freedom from the forces of media concentration and censorship. Organizations such as WikiLeaks and Anonymous are playing a critical role in exposing information and protecting those who are critical of the most powerful and corrupt elements within society.
Part 3: Bring the Tyrants Down
Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience:
â€œAll people recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency is great and unendurable. And oppression and robbery are organized, I say; let us not have such a machine any longer. I think that it is not too soon for honest people to rebel and revolutionize.â€
As I wrote in The Economic Elite Vs. The People:
â€œWhen you take the time to research and analyze the wealth that has gone to the economic top one percent, you begin to realize just how much we have been robbed. Trillions upon trillions of dollars that could make the lives of all hard-working Americans much easier have been strategically funneled into the coffers of the Economic Elite. The denial of wealth is the key to the Economic Eliteâ€™s power. An entire generation of massive wealth creation has been strategically withheld from 99% of the US population.â€
In a new report entitled, â€œNine Pictures of the Extreme Income/Wealth Gap,â€ Dave Johnson helps make the point:
â€œMany people donâ€™t understand our countryâ€™s problem of concentration of income and wealth because they donâ€™t see it. People just donâ€™t understand how much wealth there is at the top now. The wealth at the top is so extreme that it is beyond most peopleâ€™s ability to comprehend. If people understood just how concentrated wealth has become in our country and the effect it has on our politics, our democracy and our people, they would demand our politicians do something about itâ€¦.
Top 1% owns more than 90% of us combinedâ€¦.
400 people have as much wealth as half of our population.â€
A report entitled, â€œGrapes of Wrath â€“ 2011,â€ presents a challenge to us:
â€œThe American people have a choiceâ€¦. The current path, forged by a minority of privileged wealthy elite, will lead to the destruction of this country and misery on an unprecedented scaleâ€¦. Are you prepared to incur the wrath of the vested interests and meet their lies and propaganda with the fury of your own wrath in search for the truth? These men are sure you donâ€™t have the courage, fortitude and wrath to defeat them.â€
In an article and video entitled, â€œThe Wall Street Economic Death Squad,â€ as I reported back in October, 2009:
â€œWe need to focus our strategy on the small group of men who carried out the financial coup. These 13 men played leading roles in first crashing the economy, and then stealing trillions in taxpayer funds. Some of them are now calling the shots and running the government to insure that their obscene profits keep pouring into their coffers.
Know Our Enemies, EHMs â€“ Meet The Wall Street Economic Death Squad:
Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, John Mack, Vikram Pandit, John Thain, Hank Greenberg, Ken Lewis.
These men â€˜presided over the largest transfer of wealth in history, from the working class to the flamboyant super rich.â€™ What these men have done is obscene. After crashing the economy, trillions, literally trillions of dollars have been funneled into the pockets of a select few, in secrecy, while billions of people suffer in poverty, billions suffer to survive. This small tight-knit Wall Street cadre has committed a crime against humanity.â€
Ralph J. Dolan, writing on Dissident Voice, declares, â€œBring the Tyrants Down!â€
â€œâ€¦ while weâ€™re observing these historic events in Egypt we might take a lesson in justice. We might come to our senses and freeze the assets of Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase and John Strumpf of Wells Fargo â€“ for starters. Then we could go after the other major players in orchestrating the financial meltdown â€“ Timothy Geithner, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, etc.
These guys who waltz away with billions in profits while they create misery and dislocation for many millions of struggling working people are beneath contemptâ€¦.
We seem ready to kneel at the feet and kiss the hands of those who would rob us blind.
Enough! Let us bring these tyrants down!â€
If Egyptians can seize the assets of a dictator like Mubarak, why canâ€™t we seize the assets of Jamie Dimon and Llyod Blankfein?
A new report from Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone harshly sums up Banana Republic USA:
â€œA former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer. â€˜Everythingâ€™s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,â€™ he said. â€˜Thatâ€™s your whole story right there. Hell, you donâ€™t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.â€™ I put down my notebook. â€˜Just that?â€™ â€˜Thatâ€™s right,â€™ he said. â€˜Everythingâ€™s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.â€™
Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom â€” an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities â€” has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft.â€
Once again, veteran financial journalist Paul B. Farrell hits the nail on the head. Writing for Market Watch, Farrell doesnâ€™t pull any punches in summing up what needs to be done, and it canâ€™t be said enough:
Fed Dictator Bernanke Needs To Be Toppled
â€œFed boss Ben Bernanke is the most dangerous human on earth, far more dangerous than Hosni Mubarak, Egyptâ€™s 30-year dictator, ever was. Bernanke rules a monetary dictatorshipâ€¦ But this reign of economic terror will end. Just as Mubarak was blind to the economic needs of the masses and democratic reforms, Bernanke is blind to the easy-money legacy thatâ€™s set the stage for revolution, turning the rich into super rich while the middle class stagnates and peanuts trickle down to the poor.â€
You canâ€™t sentence the overwhelming majority of the population to slow death through economic policy and expect to get away with it.
While one-tenth of one percent of the population rolls around in obscene wealth, they may want to take a look outside of their groupthink short-sighted delusional perspective and notice the outside world. You cannot ignore the suffering of the masses. They will show up at your doorstep next.
I hear footstepsâ€¦
Egypt exposed the power that the people have. One million Egyptians proved that you can shut down a powerful regime through a mass demonstration of non-violent force. Here in the US, according to public opinion polls, 75-80% of the population believes the government doesnâ€™t have the consent of the governed.
The mainstream media leaves Americans feeling isolated and powerless to create change, but in reality, average Americans have all the power that they need to end the economic suffering and injustices that they endure. The overwhelming majority of people feel powerless to create change, if they would just realize that they are the overwhelming majority, we would have the change we so desperately need.
As Iâ€™ve written in the past:
â€œTo those Americans who feel powerless to change things, I say that your feelings are only a result of your induced delusion. You have become so propagandized that you do not even understand the significant position that you are inâ€¦. We are still a mass of people who have the power to change the course of historyâ€¦. we are 99.9% of the US population, and they are only 0.1%.
If we fight, we win!â€
The people of Tunisia and Egypt has shown us the way. People are rising up throughout the world against the exact same people who looted America. The economic central planners that have launched an economic war on Americans, are also plundering the rest of the global economy with devastating consequences for 99.9 percent of the global population.
As John Pilger points out:
The Egyptian Revolt Is Coming Home
â€œThe uprising in Egypt is our theatre of the possible. It is what people across the world have struggled for and their thought controllers have fearedâ€¦. Across the world, public awareness is rising and bypassing them. In Washington and London, the regimes are fragile and barely democratic. Having long burned down societies abroad, they are now doing something similar at home, with lies and without a mandate. To their victims, the resistance in Cairoâ€™s Liberation Square must seem an inspiration.â€
We are, as fate has it, the most power group of people on the planet. The sooner a critical mass can understand this, and the urgency of the moment, the better chance we have of solving this crisis through non-violent means. When the aware but passive realize that they too will face increasingly harsh consequences, thatâ€™s when we will have a chance to fix things. Until then, the hole gets deeper by the day.
As nations continue to fall to internal revolt, the more covert and militaristic elements of power will move to the fore. In a world of collapsing economies, limited resources and extreme weather, it appears we are on a road to worldwide war. As the people of Egypt have demonstrated, the non-violent movement has to assert itself before the situation gets so dire that outbreaks of violence will be commonplace, thus insuring a further, much harsher crackdown, police state and Neo-Feudal economic order.
As Chris Hedges makes clear:
â€œThe longer we believe in the fiction that we are included in the corporate power structure, the more easily corporations pillage the country without the threat of rebellionâ€¦.
No system of total control, including corporate control, exhibits its extreme forms at the beginning. These forms expand as they fail to encounter resistanceâ€¦.
All centralized power, once restraints and regulations are abolished, once it is no longer accountable to citizens, knows no limit to internal and external plunder. The corporate state, which has emasculated our government, is creating a new form of feudalism, a world of masters and serfs.â€
If we do not stand and rebel now, devastating consequences are sure to drastically lower our living standards within the near future. If we rise, people across the globe will continue to rise.
â€œWe must conclude that a changeover is imminent and ineluctable in the co-opted cast who serve the interests of domination, and above all manage the protection of that domination. In such an affair, innovation will surely not be displayed [in the mainstream media]. It appears instead like lightening, which we only know when it strikes.â€
â€“ Guy DeBord
When revolution returns to America, the point wonâ€™t be to take down a figure head puppet politician like Mubarak or Obama, mere public relations moves will not suffice. We will take down the system behind them. We will take down the global banks, break them up, end the campaign finance racket, end closed-door lobbying, end the system of political bribery, end the two-party oligarchy, remove puppet judges who voted for unlimited spending by private economic elites, end corporate welfare and the various financial rackets which loot national wealth at the expense of the people.
â€œAll countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time,
in fact they are all artificial and temporary.â€
â€“ Strobe Talbott
We must enact common sense polices to deter organized corruption. The devil is always in the details, so rain RICO laws down upon them.
They shall reap what they sow.
Their day of reckoning is fast approaching.
Thomas Jefferson was correct when he said, â€œI believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.â€
As Jefferson rightfully declared, â€œEvery generation needs a new revolution.â€
Great readyâ€¦ here it comes.
As a wise man once said,
â€œRise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains
to earth like dew
Which in sleep
had fallen on you
Ye are many
they are fewâ€