Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Twilight and breaking dawn of civilizations

Torture is in the news. How can anyone justify the use of torture in the 21st century? Hasn't our modern civilization evolved beyond that?

In a thought provoking essay titled "Twilight of the Psychopaths", Dr. Kevin Barrett, best known for his views on 9/11, has this to say about our modern civilization which I found very revealing.
Civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been based on slavery and "warfare." Incidentally, the latter term is a euphemism for mass murder.
Psychopaths have played a disproportionate role in the development of civilization, because they are hard-wired to lie, kill, injure, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse. The inventor of civilization - the first tribal chieftain who successfully brainwashed an army of controlled mass murderers - was almost certainly a genetic psychopath. Since that momentous discovery, psychopaths have enjoyed a significant advantage over non-psychopaths in the struggle for power in civilizational hierarchies - especially military hierarchies. 
The Bush administration perfectly illustrates what Dr. Barrett is talking about. Yet even now that Bush and Cheney are out of office, very little seems to change in our political system. Why is that?
Behind the apparent insanity of contemporary history, is the actual insanity of psychopaths fighting to preserve their disproportionate power. And as that power grows ever-more-threatened, the psychopaths grow ever-more-desperate.
Oh but surely Obama is not a psychopath like Bush and Cheney.
Psychopaths go through life knowing that they are completely different from other people. They quickly learn to hide their lack of empathy, while carefully studying others’ emotions so as to mimic normalcy while cold-bloodedly manipulating the normals.
Does that sound a little like a description of a typical politician - cold-blooded, calculating, without feelings of remorse. Lacking a conscience. But how do the politicians maintain control over the rest of us?
One way they do this, is by manipulating shame and denial — emotions foreign to psychopaths but common and easily-induced among normals.
Think of the torture being committed in the name of American citizens as part of the "war on terror". Think of the shame you felt as an American when you realized this was happening. You didn't want to believe it was true. You wanted to deny it.
All of this psychopathic behaviour at the top of the social hierarchy is simply too shameful for ordinary people to see, so they avert their gaze, just as wives of husbands who are sexually abusing their children sometimes refuse to see what is happening in plain view.
Isn't this the advice that conservative commentator Peggy Noonan offered to America with regards to the revelations of torture?
“It’s hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, ‘Oh, much good will come of that.’ Sometimes in life you want to keep walking… Some of life has to be mysterious."
When I heard those words, I was stunned. How could she say that? But perhaps these were not just some impromptu thoughts. Perhaps this was a well rehearsed performance, an exercise in psychological warfare. Perhaps this was a calculated move to manipulate the shame and guilt of the American people. Her message, "this is too shameful, so look away, and keep walking". But how is her message any different from the official message from the White House offered by Rahm Emanuel ?
This is not a time for retribution. It's a time for reflection. It is not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back, and in a sense of anger and retribution.
While this sounds like a perfectly rational statement, it is really a twisted manipulation of the truth as only a psychopathic government could do. It is just another attempt at psychologically manipulating the masses through shame and guilt. Taken together with the statement by the conservative Peggy Noonan, can't you see how there is a unified message being distributed by leaders of both political parties? Shame on you for feeling "angry". Shame on you for wanting "retribution". Instead "keep walking" and "don't look back". In fact deny to yourself that it ever happened.

No wonder it seems that America suffers multiple personality disorders. Our government is run by psychopaths that systematically psychologically abuse us from the time we are children. Most of us can't confront the truth. We can't see what is happening before our very eyes.

But ultimately as Christ said, "the Truth will set you Free". Here is what Jesus had to say to the psychopaths of his time.
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
So according to Christ the psychopaths feed on murder and lies. Not much has changed according to Dr. Barret except that war has gotten more sophisticated. In order to maintain control, the psychopaths must be able to sell their lies to the rest of us. But the internet may be changing that equation.
Why does the pathocracy fear it is losing control? Because it is threatened by the spread of knowledge.
The true peer to peer uncensored global communication that the internet allows is a first in history.
Today, thanks to new information technologies, we are on the brink of unmasking the psychopaths and building a civilization of, by and for the normal human being — a civilization without war, a civilization based on truth, a civilization in which the saintly few rather than the diabolical few would gravitate to positions of power. 
So, my children, there is hope. And if this is truly the "twilight of the psychopaths" then we may yet have to go through a period of darkness before we see the breaking dawn of a new age. But even then, it will be up to all of us to be continually vigilant in order to not fall under the spell of the psychopaths again.

Related posts
P.S. I want to thank MH who left a comment on my article "Martial Law coming to a country near you" which alerted me to the "Twilight of the Psychopaths" article by Kevin Barrett.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Maria Aman

The video below needs no translation once you're familiar with the story of Maria Aman. Here is her story as recounted by Haaretz reporter Gideon Levy in a touching piece written in 2007 about the Palestinian children who have been victims of the Israeli occupation.
Soon afterward we went back to Jerusalem to visit Maria Aman, the amazing little girl from Gaza, who lost nearly everyone in her life to a missile strike gone awry that wiped out her innocent family, including her mother, while riding in their car. Her devoted father Hamdi remains by her side. For a year and a half, she has been cared for at the wonderful Alyn Hospital, where she has learned to feed a parrot with her mouth and to operate her wheelchair using her chin. All the rest of her limbs are paralyzed. She is connected day and night to a respirator. Still, she is a cheerful and neatly groomed child whose father fears the day they might be sent back to Gaza.

For now, they remain in Israel. Many Israelis have devoted themselves to Maria and come to visit her regularly. A few weeks ago, broadcast journalist Leah Lior took her in her car to see the sea in Tel Aviv. It was a Saturday night, and the area was crowded with people out for a good time, but the girl in the wheelchair attracted attention. Some people recognized her and stopped to say hello and wish her well. Who knows? Maybe the pilot who fired the missile at her car happened to be passing by, too.
This story reminds us of the beauty and innocence of youth, and the love and devotion of a father. It also reminds us of the humanity of many Israelis who do not support their government's treatment of the Palestinians.

Maria aman petite victime de dommages collatéraux

But sadly, this is not the end of the story. While I wish that somehow this story could stand out as a symbol of the hope for peace, there is another side of this story that you must know. Surely this story is tragic enough.  But somehow the Israeli govenment has decided that Maria is a threat and cannot be allowed to stay in Jerusalem. [This article is from January 2009.]
Nearly two weeks ago, the Israeli High Court of Justice denied a petition to grant residency to a Palestinian child paralyzed from the neck down when the Israeli Army shelled her father's vehicle in 2006, killing her mother, her brother and her grandmother.

Maria Aman, age eight, became quadriplegic after a shell fired by the Israeli Army struck her dad's vehicle in the Gaza Strip, while the whole family was in it. She is receiving treatment at an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem, and is accompanied by her father and her youngest brother.

The Israeli high court is refusing to allow her and her family to remain in Jerusalem. Human rights Groups filed an appeal to grant her permanent residency in Jerusalem as she needs to remain close to the hospital due to the severity of her condition.

The Israeli Defense ministry carried out repeated attempts to expel the child and her family from Jerusalem, and suggested that they should move to Abu Rayya rehabilitation Center in Ramallah, but the center lacks the equipment needed for her treatment.
So now you can understand the anguished pleas of Maria's father at the end of this video, and his sense of outrage. Who wouldn't be outraged? Even the support of a member of the Knesset was not enough to convince the Israeli courts that the child should continue to be cared for in Jerusalem.
Arab member of the Knesset, Mohammad Barakeh, General Secretary, of the Hadash Movement, and his office, adopted the case of Maria.

After the court issued its ruling, Barakeh said that “this decision is unbelievable”, and added that this child “is a victim of a massacre carried out by the Israeli Army, and now three years later, we find Israel trying to avoid taking responsibility for it actions”.

“It seems that this crime was not enough to convince the government that “a mother, her child, a grandmother and an uncle were killed in this crime”, Barakeh stated. “Maria was only five when she became disabled, paralyzed from neck down, yet the Israeli government is harassing the child and what is left of her family”.
Just in case you think this might be an isolated case or some sort of mistake or odd travesty of Israeli justice, here is the apparent justification for the courts insistence on Maria's expulsion.
The father of the child said that Israel is trying to avoid setting a precedent which would encourage Palestinians seriously hurt by Israel to seek medical treatment in Israel.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Ministry stated that the Israeli law does not require the army to compensate or provide treatment to Palestinians hurt during Israeli attacks against Palestinian fighters either in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip.
This statement by the Israeli Defense Ministry that "Israeli law does not require the army to compensate or provide treatment to Palestinians hurt during Israeli attacks" is perhaps the ultimate expression of racist hatred. Think about that during this UN conference on racism.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Bruce Lee vs. Jackie Chan death match

Ya' know, I've never liked Jackie Chan. I've have always been and will always be a fan of Bruce Lee. I never liked Chan's clownish acting and stunts. Lee in contrast was the real thing. He was all about the little guy fighting against the corrupt system.

I guess I can just smell a phoney. And now J. Chan has revealed to the world just how much of a phoney and a groveler he really is. At a meeting of Chinese government officials and business leaders Chan had this to say.
"I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," Chan said at the Boao Forum. "If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic."

Chan added, "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."
OK, I would bet my life that if Bruce Lee were alive today he would challenge Jackie Chan to a death match over such a derogatory statement towards the Chinese people. Bruce worked hard to make it possible for martial artists like Chan to be respected in America, and this is how he shows his appreciation?

Not surprisingly "Chan's comments drew applause from his audience of mainly business leaders in Hainan" according to the article. This just confirms what I have been repeatedly saying in my series of articles on China - that China is a neo-fascist dictatorship. And I repeat that this is exactly the model that the new Wall St. oligarchs have in mind for the US as well.

I'm sure that  Jackie C. must be surprised and bewildered by the overwhelming response to his comments. Isn't his statement just an extension of the post-9/11 mentality. Hasn't America said that we need to give up our freedoms and rights in exchange for more government control in order to ensure our security? Isn't this the whole purpose of the "Patriot" Act and the Department of "Homeland Security".

Yes, we Americans "need to be controlled". We need more control points in our airports and on our highways. We need more surveillance. We need less freedom. Otherwise "we'll just do what we want", like carry a bottle of water through an airport security checkpoint. Well we can't have that!

So if all of us are really as outraged by Mr. Chan's remarks as we pretend to be, then how about getting on Congress' butt to change the ridiculous security measures at airports for starters. And as long as Obama is trying to cut wasteful spending from the Federal Budget, he can start by getting rid of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

If we really want to have security in America, then we need to start by going after the economic terrorists on Wall St. that are threatening our jobs and our homes. I mean really, who did more damage to the US? The terrorists that crashed the planes into the World Trade Center, or the Wall St. banks that crashed the US economy?

Bruce Lee was a great American. He as much represented the American Dream as the early Pilgrims. He understood what Justice and Freedom truly meant, and why they were worth fighting for. He taught us to never compromise our principles, and to fight to the death if it was necessary for the things we believe in. Bruce Lee understood that to get to the root of corruption you must take on "The Big Boss".

Today this means taking on the Wall St. banks which have turned the US into their own private fiefdom, and which are the greatest threat to the very Freedom which we cherish.

Related Posts

Friday, April 17, 2009

China wins Gold and Silver and Bronze

This is I hope a short post, but lately once I start writing a blog entry it takes on a life of its own. The topic for today is a followup to my previous postings on China's role in the current world wide economic crisis. Of course if you've read my previous posts you know that I believe that China is not acting alone, but is actually being backed and advised by the same financial oligarchs that have led the US to ruin. As a result I can only come to the conclusion that the current financial crisis is part of a plan to shift power from the US to China. And of course the big losers in all this are the American people. While of course the big winners are the International Bankers.

OK, enough introduction let me get to my topic for today.

I have two articles that I would like to bring to your attention.
[Thanks to Max Keiser at maxkeiser.com for highlighting these two articles. This is a great site for getting the latest behind the scenes news on financial issues.]

While the two articles in some ways seem to be contradictory, I believe that taken together they give us a better view of how China hopes to increase its economic power at the expense of the US. China's economic strategies in the past few decades have been executed flawlessly, and I can't help but thinking that they have been getting extensive expert advice into the workings of the capitalist system from International Bankers like Goldman Sachs.

But again, I've slipped into a long introduction so let's begin looking at some excerpts from the articles.

China wins Gold

First up is China's push for the IMF to sell all of its gold reserves.
India and China may press for the sale of the entire gold reserves of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to raise money for the least developed countries.

The IMF holds 103.4 million ounces (3,217 tonnes) of gold that, if sold, can fetch about $100 billion.
The G20 heads of state meeting in London earlier this month agreed to sell a part of the IMF gold to raise $6 billion for poor countries during 2009-11. This was a component of a $1.1 trillion package worked out by G20.
How the sale will affect the bullion market, with attendant problems for currencies, has not been assessed. A large part of the gold may find its way into central banks and private players. Since most of its will be out of reach for retail markets, gold prices may not get hammered.
What follows is my interpretation of this article. And I warn you that even though this article talks about India and China, I'm going to completely ignore India in this discussion and just talk about China because I think that India is a relatively minor player in this game.

The background is that the IMF wants China to contribute more money. China recently agreed to contribute $40 billion. But it appears that China is placing extra conditions on any further contributions to the IMF and one of these is that the IMF sell all its gold. Once that gold goes on the market, China will use some of its forex reserves (mostly dollars) to buy up the gold. It's important to notice that the article states that the IMF has already agreed to sell some of its gold, but what is unique about this proposal is that it demands that the IMF sell all its gold.

This is important because China's gold reserves are paltry compared to the US. The US has over 8,000 tons of gold while China has about 600 tons. And since the central banks of the world have an agreement to control the sale of gold, China has no way of making up the difference despite its huge forex reserves. But the IMF with more than 3,000 tons of gold is the world's third largest holder of gold, behind only the US and Germany. If China could get its hand on most of this gold, then it could use that gold to as a form of collateral to backup the yuan and turn its currency into a world reserve currency like the US dollar. And the price for this is a relatively cheap $100 billion dollars.

Remember that today's fiat currencies such as the dollar are no longer backed up by gold as they used to be under the old Bretton Woods agreement. So China can't just walk up to the US Treasury and demand that its dollars be converted to gold. And what happens to China's dollar holdings when the Fed starts printing more dollars? Well it becomes devalued and there is nothing that China can do about it. Unless it can find a way to convert those dollars into hard assets. Which segues nicely into our second article.

But first I want to make one more comment about this article. The article is also interesting because it answers the question I had posed in an earlier article about how the IMF got to be one of the top holders of gold in the first place.
The IMF has built its gold reserves over 40 years. The historical value of the gold, as declared in its balance sheet, is $9.3 billion. Four major sources helped build the reserves. One, member- countries paid in gold their 25 per cent initial quota subscriptions. Two, interest charges on credit given by it were collected in gold from many countries. Three, member-countries can sell gold to it to fight a temporary liquidity crisis. And four, they can make loan repayments in gold
Uh, on closer reading, even though the article says there are four sources of gold for the IMF, I think it can really be simplified to just two.
  • Initial payments from IMF member countries. This seems to be something like an initiation fee paid in gold - kind of like an initiation fee you pay to join a health club. Except this club is very exclusive and is by invitation only
  • Payments from debtor countries. Rather than take their payments in a fiat currency the IMF cleverly demanded payment in gold. That's not Visa Gold, no that's gold bullion. This is kind of like the mystery of what happened to all the gold that Spain acquired through its South American colonies. Answer:  The International Bankers got it as payment for debts. That should be a lesson to the US. 
China also wins Silver and Bronze [and Copper and Aluminium, Zinc, Nickel...] 

Our second article written by the superb journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard begins with this summary, "Hard money enthusiasts have long watched for signs that China is switching its foreign reserves from US Treasury bonds into gold bullion. They may have been eyeing the wrong metal.".

OK, so now you see why I say that these two articles seem to be contradictory. The premise of this article is that China is not attempting to accumulate gold but is accumulating other metals instead. I think this premise is a bit misleading if you take into account the story about China pressuring the IMF to sell all its gold, but nevertheless this article does reveal a parallel strategy on the part of the Chinese government to buy up other metals.

And again, I have a strong feeling about where the Chinese central bank is getting its advice from. Remember that Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the China's central bank, is also a member of the Group of Thirty. And Wall St. firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley also have a strong presence in China. I wonder to what extent these firms have themselves invested in commodities futures while advising China to buy commodities. You see there's more than one way to manipulate the markets, and what better way than to use other people's money?  In this case the "People's Republic" money. And if Goldman Sachs can make use of insider information to make a handsome profit, don't you think that they are going to do it? Technically I suppose something like this would be illegal under "insider trading" regulations, but then who's going to call them on it? The SEC? P-lease!

Time for an excerpt.
China's State Reserves Bureau (SRB) has instead been buying copper and other industrial metals over recent months on a scale that appears to go beyond the usual rebuilding of stocks for commercial reasons.

Nobu Su, head of Taiwan's TMT group, which ships commodities to China, said Beijing is trying to extricate itself from dollar dependency as fast as it can.

"China has woken up. The West is a black hole with all this money being printed. The Chinese are buying raw materials because it is a much better way to use their $1.9 trillion of reserves. They get ten times the impact, and can cover their infrastructure for 50 years."
The SRB has also been accumulating aluminium, zinc, nickel, and rarer metals such as titanium, indium (thin-film technology), rhodium (catalytic converters) and praseodymium (glass).

While it makes sense for China to take advantage of last year's commodity crash to restock cheaply, there is clearly more behind the move. "They are definitely buying metals to diversify out of US Treasuries and dollar holdings," said Jim Lennon, head of commodities at Macquarie Bank.
So according to the article there appears to be no question as to what China is doing and why it is doing it. They are converting their cash into physical commodities while that cash is still worth something and commodity prices are relatively low. And there appears to be no doubt that their purchases go far beyond their industrial needs for these commodities.

But is there perhaps even more to this story? Read on.
Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank governor, piqued the interest of metal buffs last month by calling for a world currency modelled on the "Bancor", floated by John Maynard Keynes at Bretton Woods in 1944.

The Bancor was to be anchored on 30 commodities - a broader base than the Gold Standard, which had caused so much grief in the 1930s. Mr Zhou said such a currency would prevent the sort of "credit-based" excess that has brought the global finance to its knees.

If his thoughts reflect Communist Party thinking, it would explain the bizarre moves in commodity markets over recent weeks. Copper prices have surged 49pc this year to $4,925 a tonne despite estimates by the CRU copper group that world demand will fall 15pc to 20pc this year as construction wilts.
We keep hearing about deflation and lowered worldwide demand for commodities and yet in a "bizarre move" copper is up 49%. And how much of that copper was bought on US exchanges I wonder? And how much through Wall St. brokerages I wonder? Did any Wall St. brokerages take a long position in copper just as it was getting ready to make that sharp and "bizarre" move upward? Just wondering.

And what is this about the "Bancor". We've been hearing a lot about an IMF SDRs proposal from Zhou Xiaochuan lately, but this is the first I've heard of the Bancor. Could the SDR proposal have been a diversionary move in this game of global chess while the real Chinese goal is to adopt the Bancor as the new world currency to replace the de facto US dollar?

According to the article the Chinese have truly mastered this game of worldwide economic chess.
The beauty of recycling China's surplus into metals instead of US bonds is that it kills so many birds with one stone: it stops the yuan rising, without provoking complaints of currency manipulation by Washington; metals are easily stored in warehouses, unlike oil; the holdings are likely to rise in value over time since the earth's crust is gradually depleting its accessible ores. Above all, such a policy safeguards China's industrial revolution, while the West may one day face a supply crisis. 
I don't doubt the intelligence of Chinese officials, but even with a winning hand this economic game is not an easy won to win - just ask the Japanese. I suspect that the Chinese are getting some very sophisticated advice from some US advisers that appear to be putting their own interests and the interests of China above the interests of the United States. If the US government does not do something soon, we will find ourselves in a very compromised position.

Oh well, the post turned out a little longer than I had first imagined. But not too long I don't think. I hope you've enjoyed reading it and that it has given you some food for thought.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Max Keiser: Goldman Sachs, AIG and dark matter

[Update - April 16, 2009: My sincerest apology to Max Keiser for misspelling his last name. It's Keiser - not Geiser. At least I was consistent, because I even misspelled it in the title. That's been corrected now. I must have been subliminally thinking of "geyser" because Max can certainly erupt at times. Oh well, thanks Max for being a good sport about it, and also thanks for your comment. And thanks to Stacy for tweeting about this article.]
I know I can get rather dark and heavy with my posts sometimes (well, alright, most of the time) so I thought I'd throw something in to lighten it up - if dark humor can be considered light.

Here's a clip from my favorite economic guru, Max Keiser. He has a very entertaining way of presenting the latest economic news. This clip is from March 6, 2009 titled "Goldman Sachs, AIG and dark matter". It's a segment from his TV show "The Oracle". He tries to predict upcoming trends in the world. What does that remind you of? Hint: The initials are FNT.

This particular clip covers pretty much the same material I covered in my post titled "Welcome to the Wall St. jungle", except in a much more amusing way.

Max is accompanied on the show by his sometimes girlfriend, the lovely Stacy Herbert. Some say Stacy is the best thing about the show. Who could argue with that? But seriously she does keep Max grounded which is not an easy thing to do. There is also the comedian Andy Zaltzman who I'm sure if your British is very funny, but I just find his humor to be very odd. But then I've never been a big fan of dry British humor. I don't like Monty Python either - I know, I'm such a stiff.

The guest on this segment is Max Fraad Wolff who I found to be very amusing. If you had grown up with a name like that you would have developed a pretty keen sense of humor too, just to get back at all the other kids making fun of you. Here are a few great one liners from Max Wolff.
  • AIG is the artist fromerly known as American International Group.
  • ...a company [AIG] that doesn't have enough money, except for a few government handouts, to insure a dog house
  •  They [AIG] thought they were selling flood insurance in the desert... all of the sudden they were selling flood insurance in a desert under 10 ft. of water.
  •  [after a hilariously mad tirade by Max Keiser] Perhaps not everyone has the congent, calm, considered response that you do.
  • The reason the banks got so powerful is because American jobs haven't paid enough for people to live middle class lives in 30 years and they've borrowed the difference. 
That last quote I think is tremendously insightful. If you watch Hollywood movies and look at how the American middle class is supposed to ideally live and compare that with the lifestyle that the median American family income actually affords, there is certainly a sizeable gap there. And of course were talking about a mythical nuclear family where both the husband and wife are out in the job market working for a living. Back in the 50's and 60's the average American household was able to make ends meet with just one source of income. And never mind the fact that a large percentage of households today are run by single parents.

Oh but this was supposed to be a lighthearted blog entry. Well just watch the clip and have a good chuckle at Max Keiser's antics.

Oh and Max and Stacy, no hard feelings that you didn't respond to my comments on your website. Maybe one of these days the two of you will stumble upon my site. And if you were to leave a comment, I'd be sure to respond - because I'm just that kind of guy. (Not like some people I know, grumble, grumble...)

P.S. If you're looking for "The Oracle" TV show, you're out of luck unless you receive the BBC. However, you can watch clips on the Max Keiser YouTube channel. I've provided a link below.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Goldmansachs666: What the devil is Goldman Sachs up to?

Hats off to Mike Morgan! In case you haven't heard he is the one who created the site www.goldmansachs666.com. He has achieved mini internet fame because Goldman Sachs has threatened to shut down his website. The GS plan backfired because Mike apparently contacted the media and the result was a story which appeared in the Telegraph titled "Goldman Sachs hires law firm to shut blogger's site".
Goldman Sachs is attempting to shut down a dissident blogger who is extremely critical of the investment bank, its board members and its practices.
The story got posted to digg and reddit and has since gone viral. Mike vows to keep the pressure on Goldman Sachs and turn this into a fight. He's looking for volunteers to help him run the site. If you've got the time and the energy then by all means you should help him out.

As anyone who has been a regular reader of Future News Today (FNT) knows I have my own obsession with Goldman Sachs. I thought about volunteering over at Mike's website, but I have enough to do writing articles for FNT. As you all know by now, I am at times a sporadic poster. What Mike has in mind is an industrial strength attack on GS. Personally I just don't have the comittment for something like that. It would be too much like a job and would take the fun out of it for me to have to post articles every day. But I do wish him great success and I hope that he will allow me to post some of my articles from time to time.

I've already had a taste of the amount of traffic his site is receiving. I placed some comments on his website with links to some of my previous Goldman Sachs articles and immediately began to receive a substantial amount of traffic.

Here's a list of relevant Goldman Sachs articles that I've posted on FNT.

Will the Pope visit Gaza?

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit the Holy Land May 8-13. According to the published itinerary there is no plan for him to visit Gaza. Then why is Deal W. Hudson, a leading conservative Catholic who has been a political ally of George Bush, asking the question "Should Benedict XVI Include Gaza in his Holy Land Visit?" in an article for Catholic Online.
“The Holy Father should not be coming to the Holy Land without visiting Gaza.” The bitterness in his voice was obvious, as Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a professor at Bethlehem University, talked to me about the trip scheduled next month by Benedict XVI. His attitude is the rule, rather than the exception, among Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land.

In interviews conducted with over twenty Palestinian Christian leaders last week, I was surprised to discover no enthusiasm whatsoever for the upcoming papal visit. “The Pope’s visit here will only legitimize the recent Israeli operation in Gaza and the intentions of the right-wing government elected in February,” explained Dr. Qumsiyeh.
As far as I can tell Mr. Hudson has been a staunch Christian Zionist in the past. And yet in a series of recent articles he is expressing views that one would expect to hear from the followers of Hamas. Can it be that the Christian right is finally awakening to the idea that Zionism is not just an anti-Muslim ideology, but an anti-Christian one as well? Hudson points out in his article that the Israeli government does not discriminate between Muslim and Christian Palestinians.
Palestinian Christians have virtually no access to the holy sites in East Jerusalem, Galilee, and Nazareth. Abu Zuluf, a native of Bethlehem, has not been able to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem since 1993, even though it is a few miles away. His situation is typical for a Christian in Bethlehem and the adjacent, largely Christian towns, of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour.
With the election of Benjamin Netanyahu, Christians in Bethlehem expressed fear that their city could become another Gaza. “We already live surrounded by walls and check points. Why shouldn’t we think that what happened in Gaza could happen to us?
Hudson concludes his article with a foreboding quote from an unnamed Christian woman from Bethlehem.
“Tell the Holy Father not to lose his dignity when he comes here.”
Please remember that Deal W. Hudson is a conservative Catholic and is the author of "Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States". With a title like that it's safe to assume that he is about as pro-abortion and pro-Israel as anyone in the Christian Right. And yet his accounts of a recent trip he made to Israel are increasingly critical of Israel's treatment of Christians in the Holy Land. His remarks seem to stem from his fear that Christians are being driven from their homes in Israel and the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories. Here is an excerpt from another article that Mr. Hudson has published in the past few days titled "Palestinian Christians Look Toward the Papal Visit".
One frustrated Christian put it to me bluntly: "The pope must do something for his Christians here in the Holy Land, or there will be none of us here in 20 years." This father of two young children, living in Bethlehem and struggling to keep his family on the West Bank, is considering the option of immigrating for the first time in his life. His attitude, I am told, is becoming widespread among educated Palestinian Christians.
In the past it seems that Mr. Hudson had been inclined to blame Muslims for the dwindling number of Christians in the Holy Land, but now it seems he has shifted the blame to Israel. In his blog Mr. Hudson published an article titled "An Ugly Story from Palm Sunday in the Holy Land". In this article he describes an email he received from Brother Jack Curran, vice-president of Bethlehem University.
The e-mail from Brother Jack begins with a description of Christian homes presently being bulldozed in East Jerusalem -- an area according to international agreements (including with the U.S.) that does not belong to Israel. [italics are from the original article]
As long as it was Muslim homes that were being bulldozed by Israel, the Christian Right never objected. They were always content with Israeli excuses that the homes belonged to "Arab terrorists". But now that it is Christian homes that are being bulldozed by the Zionists it is a different matter altogether.

First it was the liberal Jimmy Carter, an outspoken Christian and Israel supporter, that spoke out against Zionism, now it is the conservative Deal W. Hudson's turn. Perhaps Mr. Hudson can persuade some of his fellow conservative Christians to rally behind the cause of the Palestinians. He seems to be hard at work at getting none other than the Pope himself to join in the cause by visiting Gaza.


[Update - April 13, 2009: My intent was to make this a relatively short post. But after some reflection, I felt the need to lengthen it by adding the following story.]

I come back to the letter from Brother Jack Curran to Deal Hudson. He is you will recall the vice-president of Bethlehem University which is the only Catholic university in the Holy Land. BU has not been spared by the Israeli occupation. According to the history of the university posted on its website, it has suffered the same fate as the rest of the Palestinian population.
Despite being closed twelve times by Israeli military imposed orders, the longest of which was for three years from October 1987 until October 1990, classes have continually been held on- and off-campus. The curfews, travel restrictions, military checkpoint harassment, and the negative impact of the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, are factors faced by the University’s enrollment of 2,936 students, most of whom are full time, and 10,816 graduates, most of whom are serving the Palestinian society in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in various professions and leadership positions. The University’s story is one of people committed to pursuing their higher education – perseverance and courage in the face of adversity and injustice – working together in hope with an ever widening international circle of colleagues to build a better future. 
In Brother Jack's letter is contained a letter from one of the Bethlehem University faculty members -- Dr. Muna Matar -- a graduate of Bethlehem University who earned her doctorate in Computer Information Systems at the University of Ghent (Belgium) and then returned to Bethlehem to join the faculty. Brother Jack felt it was important enough to include in his letter to Deal Hudson. And Deal Hudson thought it was important enough to include in his article. And I also feel that it is important enough that I should include it here in my article.

Here is Dr. Muna Matar's own account of what happened.
After a very long and busy weekend of celebrating Palm Sunday with my family and then attending meetings with some of my academic colleagues reviewing and planning our computer course curriculum, I finally went to bed around 12 midnight - it was Palm Sunday, Sunday April 5, 2009.

Then, in the middle of the night, at about 2:00 am, my brother came into my room and woke me up. He and I were frightened. He was whispering, "Muna get up. The soldiers are surrounding the house and banging on the garage door."

What, I thought to myself as I awoke 'Israeli soldiers here in the middle of the night at my house in Beit Jala?'

Waking up very frightened I ran to the front door of the house and heard the soldiers banging on the main entrance of the house shouting in their very broken Arabic "Open the door. Open the door. Put the lights off."

My brother went into his room to put some clothes on and ran to the main entrance. Four Israel soldiers with their guns stood at the front door pointing their guns at us.

I asked, "What is happening? What do you want from us?"

One of them shouted, "Go inside and do not say anything."

"This my house. You are coming to my house. You cannot tell me to go inside."

The soldier answered, "I am not your friend. I do not come to your house. This is Israel. Do you understand?"

And he pointed his machine gun to my chest.

My sister in-law, who was standing behind me, said to him, "I have two small children in the house. Do not shout. You will frighten them."

The soldier replied, "I do not care" and continued shouting at my brother to give him his ID.

Then they took my brother out of the house. I followed them. The soldier pointed his machine gum at me again and forced me inside the house.

They kept my brother in the street -- in the middle of the night -- in the cold for about two and a half hours.

Those were probably the longest two hours of my life.

When my brother finally came back home he told us that they took him out in the fields. Apparently they were looking for somebody and they wanted some "protection," so they took my brother with them.

After searching the fields and found nothing or no one (they didn’t tell my brother who or what they were looking for), they brought my brother back to the jeep and showed him a map of the area. They had a laptop in their jeep with maps on it. They wanted my brother to then take them to a house. They forced him to walk with them "to protect" them and to show them the house. Again, they found nothing and returned to the house at about 4:30am -- just before sunrise.

In the morning, after the sun rose, we went out to check around our house and neighborhood to see what happened. We found that the soldiers broke the glass of the garage window and the shutters of one of the bedrooms of our house. That was the physical damage - there was other harm that they imposed upon us.

I am still haunted by the words of the soldier when I told him, "This is my house," and he shouted back, "I am not your friend. This is Israel. Do you understand?"


But, I don't have the luxury to dwell upon this now. I need to get to the University -- my students await me and I have classes to teach.
Deal Hudson himself had this to say about why he posted this story in a comment. He sums up my own feelings very eloquently.
Both Israelis and Palestinians have powerful, and tragic, stories to tell. More often than not, the Palestinian story is not heard to the full in the United States, or, if it is heard, it is quickly dismissed as a gracenote in the larger and louder chord of Muslim terrorism.

The point of telling these stories is to provide a fuller picture of what me normally see, to humanize a people who have been, largely, dehumanized, as they were in the recent Gaza attack.

That attack has left the region smoldering, to say the least. 
Sadly, Dr. Muna's story is by no means unique.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bill Moyers becomes a "conspiracy theorist"

[Update April 5, 2009: I did a little clean up editing to make this post more readable. I also added more links.]
[Update April 6, 2009: I embedded the video of the interview.]

Bill Moyers has become a believer in conspiracy theories - and that's a good thing. Because there really is a conspiracy by the elite to destroy this country. The current financial crisis has exposed them. Just like draining a pond can expose hidden evidence in a crime. The lower the Dow sinks the more shipwrecks are exposed. Of course the Dow is now back up so everything must be fine - except that the unemployment rate is still at peak levels.

If you haven't watched it yet, I have embedded the video below. You can also go to Bill Moyers' website and watch the interview with Bill Black here, and read the full transcript here.

Mr. Black must have got his name from his dark sense of humor. He has an ironic smile on his face throughout the whole interview. Moyers plays the straight man tossing leading questions in Bill B's direction, while Bill B proceeds to answer by hitting one home run ball after another out of the park. Either he's an avid reader of Future News Today (FNT) or we are telekinetically connected, because almost every point he makes in the interview is contained in the pages of recent FNT articles.
BILL MOYERS: In your book, you make it clear that calculated dishonesty by people in charge is at the heart of most large corporate failures and scandals, including, of course, the S&L, but is that true? Is that what you're saying here, that it was in the boardrooms and the CEO offices where this fraud began?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: How did they do it? What do you mean?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, the way that you do it is to make really bad loans, because they pay better. Then you grow extremely rapidly, in other words, you're a Ponzi-like scheme. And the third thing you do is we call it leverage. That just means borrowing a lot of money, and the combination creates a situation where you have guaranteed record profits in the early years. That makes you rich, through the bonuses that modern executive compensation has produced. It also makes it inevitable that there's going to be a disaster down the road.
Have Bill M and Bill B been reading my blog entries with apropos titles such as "Goldman Sachs: Wall St. Gangstas" and "Wall Street's gigantic Ponzi scheme"? Just asking.
BILL MOYERS: So if your assumption is correct, your evidence is sound, the bank, the lending company, created a fraud. And the ratings agency that is supposed to test the value of these assets knowingly entered into the fraud. Both parties are committing fraud by intention.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Right, and the investment banker that — we call it pooling — puts together these bad mortgages, these liars' loans, and creates the toxic waste of these derivatives. All of them do that. And then they sell it to the world and the world just thinks because it has a triple-A rating it must actually be safe. Well, instead, there are 60 and 80 percent losses on these things, because of course they, in reality, are toxic waste.

BILL MOYERS: You're describing what Bernie Madoff did to a limited number of people. But you're saying it's systemic, a systemic Ponzi scheme.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Oh, Bernie was a piker. He doesn't even get into the front ranks of a Ponzi scheme...
This is exactly what I described in my article titled "Welcome to the Wall St. jungle" where I said, "This makes Madoff's Ponzi scheme look like child's play." And described how "CDSs were the mechanism for turning junk into gold," because it was the CDS guarantee slapped on the toxic junk that convinced the ratings agencies to give them their AAA seal of approval.

But as I have also said this is much more than a financial crisis.
BILL MOYERS: Yeah, and this week in New York, at this conference, you described this as more than a financial crisis. You called it a moral crisis.

This is similar to what I said,  "not only is this a financial mess of biblical proportions, but underlying it all is a level of fraud which is unimaginable. It involves the government and the Wall St. banks. It is a level of corruption that is at first shocking and then nauseating."

And what about that government involvement which I allege - what does Bill M's guest have to say about that?
BILL MOYERS: Who's covering up?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Geithner is charging, is covering up. Just like Paulson did before him. Geithner is publicly saying that it's going to take $2 trillion — a trillion is a thousand billion — $2 trillion taxpayer dollars to deal with this problem. But they're allowing all the banks to report that they're not only solvent, but fully capitalized. Both statements can't be true. It can't be that they need $2 trillion, because they have masses losses, and that they're fine.

These are all people who have failed. Paulson failed, Geithner failed. They were all promoted because they failed, not because...

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, Geithner has, was one of our nation's top regulators, during the entire subprime scandal, that I just described. He took absolutely no effective action. He gave no warning. He did nothing in response to the FBI warning that there was an epidemic of fraud. All this pig in the poke stuff happened under him. So, in his phrase about legacy assets. Well he's a failed legacy regulator.

BILL MOYERS: To hear you say this is unusual because you supported Barack Obama, during the campaign. But you're seeming disillusioned now.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, certainly in the financial sphere, I am. I think, first, the policies are substantively bad. Second, I think they completely lack integrity. Third, they violate the rule of law. This is being done just like Secretary Paulson did it. In violation of the law. We adopted a law after the Savings and Loan crisis, called the Prompt Corrective Action Law. And it requires them to close these institutions. And they're refusing to obey the law.
By this time you've got the idea that Bill Moyers is presenting a conspiracy theory on mainstream media during prime time, and he's taking it quite seriously. His guest, Bill Black, is saying that the banks conspired to defraud the American public, and that the federal goverment was a co-conspirator. And Bill Moyers is agreeing with him.
BILL MOYERS: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.


WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. All right? They're scared to death of a collapse. They're afraid that if they admit the truth, that many of the large banks are insolvent. They think Americans are a bunch of cowards, and that we'll run screaming to the exits. And we won't rely on deposit insurance. And, by the way, you can rely on deposit insurance. And it's foolishness. All right? Now, it may be worse than that. You can impute more cynical motives. But I think they are sincerely just panicked about, "We just can't let the big banks fail." That's wrong. 
I want to pick up on that comment that Bill B threw in there where he says, "it may be worse than that. You can impute more cynical motives." Because I do think it is "worse than that" and I do think that there are "more cynical motives". And honestly I think that Black believes that there are more "cynical motives" at work, its just that he's not willing to talk about it on a TV broadcast. But I wonder what he would say about his true suspicions if you could have a private conversation with him.

And just when I thought that they would never get around to talking specifically about Goldman Sachs, the interview suddenly took a turn in that direction.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: [...] AIG was being used secretly to bail out favored banks like UBS and like Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson's firm, that he had come from being CEO. It got the largest amount of money. $12.9 billion. And they didn't want us to know that. And it was only Congressional pressure, and not Congressional pressure, by the way, on Geithner, but Congressional pressure on AIG.

Where Congress said, "We will not give you a single penny more unless we know who received the money." And, you know, when he was Treasury Secretary, Paulson created a recommendation group to tell Treasury what they ought to do with AIG. And he put Goldman Sachs on it.

BILL MOYERS: Even though Goldman Sachs had a big vested stake.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Massive stake. And even though he had just been CEO of Goldman Sachs before becoming Treasury Secretary. Now, in most stages in American history, that would be a scandal of such proportions that he wouldn't be allowed in civilized society.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, like a conflict of interest, it seems.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Massive conflict of interests.

BILL MOYERS: So, how did he get away with it?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: I don't know whether we've lost our capability of outrage. Or whether the cover up has been so successful that people just don't have the facts to react to it.

BILL MOYERS: Who's going to get the facts?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: We need some chairmen or chairwomen--

BILL MOYERS: In Congress.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: --in Congress, to hold the necessary hearings. And we can blast this out. But if you leave the failed CEOs in place, it isn't just that they're terrible business people, though they are. It isn't just that they lack integrity, though they do. Because they were engaged in these frauds. But they're not going to disclose the truth about the assets. 
Like I've said before, we need a Watergate style special prosecutor to hold a congressional investigation to "blast it out". Of course as I have reported there is the TARP Special Investigator General, Neil Barofsky, who seems to have the tools at his disposal to launch such an investigation. But so far I have not been impressed with his results. Maybe that willl change now that Rep. Cummings has lit a fire under his butt. Up until now it has been up to New York Attorney General Mario Cuomo, who has been leading the investigation.

Alas, there is a short intro to Bill Moyers Journal which is missing from the internet version. Here is my transcript from a DVR recording I made of the show.
BILL MOYERS: I'm Bill Moyers and on this edition of The Journal Bill Black, a tough cop in one financial crisis, is back on the beat for another. He thinks Wall St. big shots should be taking the perp walk - all the way to the "big house" - say Leavenworth.
"Perp", in case your not familiar with the local vernacular, is short for "the perpetrator of a crime". And the "big house" is a colloquialism for prison. And Leavenworth is a federal prison not known for its hospitable environment - in fact some of the most notorious criminals have done time there including Al Capone and Mafia bosses Vito Genovese and Sam Giancana.

Sadly, Bill Black never went as far as saying that"Wall St. big shots should be taking the perp walk" in this interview. But he did say that there needs to be an investigation and that fraud had been committed. So the next logical step is to punish those responsible with jail sentences. The only question I have is whether the criminals in this case are "too big to jail"? Would the government be able to successfully prosecute "Hank" Paulson and Tim Geithner as it has Bernie Madoff?

[A reminder that the "A New Way Forward" (ANWF) national protest for "real structural change of Wall Street" is Saturday, April 11. For more information and to sign up to participate visit their website at www.anewwayforward.org.]

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