Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The carefree times I grew up with in the United States are now lost to young Americans growing up in the U.S. of today. Here John W. Whitehead explains the decent of today's young people into a world where "…the powers-that-be want us to feel powerless to protect ourselves and reliant on and grateful for the dubious protection provided by the American police state." To this he adds: "The tree of liberty is dying."


Commentary


There Will Be No Second American Revolution: The Futility of an Armed Revolt




By John W. Whitehead
July 18, 2016


“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison
America is a ticking time bomb.

All that remains to be seen is who—or what—will set fire to the fuse.

We are poised at what seems to be the pinnacle of a manufactured breakdown, with police shooting unarmed citizens, snipers shooting police, global and domestic violence rising, and a political showdown between two presidential candidates equally matched in unpopularity.

The preparations for the Republican and Democratic national conventions taking place in Cleveland and Philadelphia—augmented by a $50 million federal security grant for each city—provide a foretaste of how the government plans to deal with any individual or group that steps out of line: they will be censored, silenced, spied on, caged, intimidated, interrogated, investigated, recorded, tracked, labeled, held at gunpoint, detained, restrained, arrested, tried and found guilty.

For instance, anticipating civil unrest and mass demonstrations in connection with the Republican Party convention, Cleveland officials set up makeshift prisons, extra courtrooms to handle protesters, and shut down a local university in order to house 1,700 riot police and their weapons. The city’s courts are preparing to process up to 1,000 people a day. Additionally, the FBI has also been conducting “interviews” with activists in advance of the conventions to discourage them from engaging in protests.

Make no mistake, the government is ready for a civil uprising.

Indeed, the government has been preparing for this moment for years.

A 2008 Army War College report revealed that “widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.” The 44-page report goes on to warn that potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.”

Subsequent reports by the Department of Homeland Security to identify, monitor and label right-wing and left-wing activists and military veterans as extremists (a.k.a. terrorists) have manifested into full-fledged pre-crime surveillance programs. Almost a decade later, after locking down the nation and spending billions to fight terrorism, the DHS has concluded that the greater threat is not ISIS but domestic right-wing extremism.

Meanwhile, the government has been amassing an arsenal of military weapons for use domestically and equipping and training their “troops” for war. Even government agencies with largely administrative functions such as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Smithsonian have been acquiring body armor, riot helmets and shields, cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition. In fact, there are now at least 120,000 armed federal agents carrying such weapons who possess the power to arrest.

Rounding out this profit-driven campaign to turn American citizens into enemy combatants (and America into a battlefield) is a technology sector that is colluding with the government to create a Big Brother that is all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable. It’s not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about. You’re also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.

All of this has taken place right under our noses, funded with our taxpayer dollars and carried out in broad daylight without so much as a general outcry from the citizenry.

It’s astounding how convenient we’ve made it for the government to lock down the nation.

We’ve even allowed ourselves to be acclimated to the occasional lockdown of government buildings, Jade Helm military drills in small towns so that special operations forces can get “realistic military training” in “hostile” territory, and  Live Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried out at schools, in shopping malls, and on public transit, which can and do fool law enforcement officials, students, teachers and bystanders into thinking it’s a real crisis.

The events of recent years—the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have all conjoined to create an environment in which “we the people” are more distrustful and fearful of each other and more reliant on the government to keep us safe.

Of course, that’s the point.

The powers-that-be want us to feel vulnerable.

They want us to fear each other and trust the government’s hired gunmen to keep us safe from terrorists, extremists, jihadists, psychopaths, etc.

Most of all, the powers-that-be want us to feel powerless to protect ourselves and reliant on and grateful for the dubious protection provided by the American police state.

Their strategy is working.

The tree of liberty is dying.

There will be no second American Revolution.

There is no place in our nation for the kind of armed revolution our forefathers mounted against a tyrannical Great Britain. Such an act would be futile and tragic. We are no longer dealing with a distant, imperial king but with a tyrant of our own making: a militarized, technologized, heavily-financed bureaucratic machine that operates beyond the reach of the law.

The message being sent to the citizenry is clear: there will be no revolution, armed or otherwise.

Anyone who believes that they can wage—and win—an armed revolt against the American police state has not been paying attention. Those who wage violence against the government and their fellow citizens are playing right into the government’s hands. Violence cannot and will not be the answer to what ails America.

Whether instigated by the government or the citizenry, violence will only lead to more violence. It does not matter how much firepower you have. The government has more firepower.

It does not matter how long you think you can hold out by relying on survivalist skills, guerilla tactics and sheer grit. The government has the resources to outwait, out-starve, outman, outgun and generally overpower you.

This government of wolves will not be overtaken by force.

Unfortunately, we waited too long to wake up to the government’s schemes.

We did not anticipate that “we the people” would become the enemy. For years, the government has been warning against the dangers of domestic terrorism, erecting surveillance systems to monitor its own citizens, creating classification systems to label any viewpoints that challenge the status quo as extremist, and training law enforcement agencies to equate anyone possessing anti-government views as a domestic terrorist.

What the government failed to explain was that the domestic terrorists would be of the government’s own making, whether intentional or not.

By waging endless wars abroad, by bringing the instruments of war home, by transforming police into extensions of the military, by turning a free society into a suspect society, by treating American citizens like enemy combatants, by discouraging and criminalizing a free exchange of ideas, by making violence its calling card through SWAT team raids and militarized police, by fomenting division and strife among the citizenry, by acclimating the citizenry to the sights and sounds of war, and by generally making peaceful revolution all but impossible, the government has engineered an environment in which domestic violence has become inevitable.

What we are now experiencing is a civil war, devised and instigated in part by the U.S. government.

The outcome for this particular conflict is already foregone: the police state wins.

The objective: compliance and control.

The strategy: destabilize the economy through endless wars, escalate racial tensions, polarize the populace, heighten tensions through a show of force, intensify the use of violence, and then, when all hell breaks loose, clamp down on the nation for the good of the people and the security of the nation.

So where does that leave us?

Despite the fact that communities across the country are, for all intents and purposes, being held hostage by a government that is armed to the teeth and more than willing to use force in order to “maintain order,” most Americans seem relatively unconcerned. Worse, we have become so fragmented as a nation, so hostile to those with whom we might disagree, so distrustful of those who are different from us, that we are easily divided and conquered.

We have been desensitized to violence, acclimated to a military presence in our communities and persuaded that there is nothing we can do to alter the seemingly hopeless trajectory of the nation. In this way, the floundering economy, the blowback arising from military occupations abroad, police shootings, the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure and all of the other mounting concerns have become non-issues to a populace that is easily entertained, distracted, manipulated and controlled.

The sight of police clad in body armor and gas masks, wielding semiautomatic rifles and escorting an armored vehicle through a crowded street, a scene likened to “a military patrol through a hostile city,” no longer causes alarm among the general populace.

We are fast becoming an anemic, weak, pathetically diluted offspring of our revolutionary forebears incapable of mounting a national uprising against a tyrannical regime.

If there is to be any hope of reclaiming our government and restoring our freedoms, it will require a different kind of coup: nonviolent, strategic and grassroots, starting locally and trickling upwards. Such revolutions are slow and painstaking. They are political, in part, but not through any established parties or politicians.

Most of all, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, for any chance of success, such a revolution will require more than a change of politics: it will require a change of heart among the American people, a reawakening of the American spirit, and a citizenry that cares more about their freedoms than their fantasy games.

WC: 1677

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

This is my latest and most important re-post of a Paul-Craig-Roberts treatise on how the American people are being bamboozled by their government with the help of our “mainstream media” who repeat all government lies as if the God’s truth (thus dubbed “presstitutes” by PCR). In his second paragraph he states accurately that : “Since the Clinton regime NATO has been an alliance for waging offensive war, a war crime under the Nuremberg rules established by the United States. Under the NATO banner a number of countries have been bombed, invaded, and had their governments overthrown by Washington acting under the cover of NATO.” Most of the rest of this article proves factually that the frequently used presstitute term “Russian aggression” actually covers up very real US and NATO aggression. And the worst part is that the US and its European vassals are inviting a nuclear war with Russia -- which if it ever happens would kill all us all because Russia has superior nuclear missiles that can travel faster than inferior US anti-ballistic missiles. Although a full-force of nuclear exchange could destroy the whole human race. Fortunately, Vladimir Putin is not a “monster”; he is a peace maker, but if attacked he surely would counterattack. But don’t despair. If enough Americans read PCR’s work, maybe a movement could arise countering the Washington neocons. And failing that, it is certain that the western world will face economic collapse in the near future, very likely disintegrating NATO without a shot fired. Let us hope...


Paul Craig Roberts — Vladimir Putin Is The Only Leader The West Has

June 11, 2016 | Original Here |     If you wish to receive his newsletter via email go to Original and sign up at bottom.

Vladimir Putin Is The Only Leader The West Has

Paul Craig Roberts

A Reuters news report under the names of presstitutes Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold shows how devoid the West is of honest, intelligent and responsible journalists and government officials. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-nato-summit-idUKKCN0ZN2NN
First we will examine the dishonesty or incompetence of the reporters and then that of Western government officials.


Emmott and Siebold describe NATO as a “Western defense alliance.” Since the Clinton regime NATO has been an alliance for waging offensive war, a war crime under the Nuremberg rules established by the United States. Under the NATO banner a number of countries have been bombed, invaded, and had their governments overthrown by Washington acting under the cover of NATO.

These destroyed countries posed no threat whatsoever to the countries of the NATO alliance and undertook no aggressive actions against NATO members. How is it possible that Reuters’ reporters and editors are not aware of this? Why do they call an instrument of Washington’s aggression a “defense alliance”?

Emmott and Siebold report that “Russian aggression” is the reason NATO is deploying 3,000 to 4,000 troops in the Baltic states and Poland. In other words, something that does not exist–Russian aggression toward the Baltics and Poland–is assumed to be a fact that must be countered with military deployments.

The reporters do not question whether this insignificant number of NATO troops constitutes a defense or a provocation. The number of troops would have to be 100 times greater before the force even begins to approach a defensive force. What then is the purpose of the 3,000 or 4,000 NATO troops?

Every informed person knows that there is no need of a defense force against Russia in the Baltics and Poland. Aside from this fact, only an absolute idiot could think that three or four thousand troops constitutes a defense against the Russian Army. In June 1941 Operation Barbarossa hit Russia with an invasion of four million troops, the majority German component of which were probably the most highly trained and disciplined troops in military history, excepting only the Spartans. By the time that the Americans and British got around to the Normandy invasion, the Russian Army had chewed up the Wehrmacht. There were only a few divisions at 40% strength to resist the Normandy invasion. By the time the Russian Army got to Berlin, the German resistance consisted of armed children.

The Reuters reporters raise no question about President Obama’s statement that 1,000 of this insignificant force will be Americans in order “to enhance our forward presence in central and eastern Europe.” Why does the United States need a “forward presence” in central and eastern Europe? What does a US “forward presence” in central and eastern Europe represent except an insane recklessness? One thousand US troops are good for nothing except a provocation.

Emmott and Siebold report with a straight face without laughter or question unverifiable accusations of Russian aggression by White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, President Obama, and head of NATO’s military committee, Czech General Petr Pavel.

Gen. Pavel “said Russia was attempting to restore its status as a world power, an effort that included using its military.”

Obama said it is necessary to “keep sanctions on Moscow in place until it fully complies with the ceasefire agreement in Ukraine.”

Waszczykowski said: “We have to reject any type of wishful thinking with regard to pragmatic cooperation with Russia as long as Russia keeps on invading its neighbors.”

Rhodes threatened Russia with a NATO response to Russia’s “continued aggression.”

These statements are propagandistic. If those who made the statements actually believe them, they are too imbecilic to be trusted with public offices.

Is it possible that the Czech general does not know that Russia has used its military only to repel a Washington-inspired Georgian invasion of South Ossetia and against ISIS in Syria, which the US, UK, and France also claim to be doing? After repelling the Georgian invasion, Russia withdrew its forces. After dealing ISIS a setback in Syria, Russia withdrew and was forced to return by Washington’s resupply of ISIS.

Can the Polish Foreign Minister identify the countries that “Russia keeps on invading”?

Does the President of the United States really not know that Russia is not a party to the ceasefire agreement in Ukraine? This is an agreement between the breakaway republics and the government in Kiev. Washington has done everything possible to discourage Kiev from keeping the agreement Kiev signed.

Can National Security Adviser Rhodes tell us where “continued aggression by Russia” is occurring? What countries are being invaded and overrun?

How can there be so much Russian aggression and no evidence of it?

Recently, President Putin dressed down to their faces the Western media whores who are fanning the flames of World War III by repeating without question Washington’s propagandistic lies. These lies are reckless. They endanger all life on planet Earth.

During my lifetime, American presidents worked to reduce tensions between the two major nuclear powers. JFK worked with Khrushchev to defuse the dangerous situation arising from the placement of US missiles in Turkey and, in response, the placement of Russian missiles in Cuba.

President Nixon brought forth SALT I, the strategic arms limitation treaty, and the ABM Treaty.

President Carter crafted SALT II.

President Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev the end of the Cold War, the most promising achievement of the 20th century.

The Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes have done everything possible to raise the tensions between nuclear powers to heights beyond those of the most dangerous days of the Cold War.

The evil Clinton regime broke the word of the government of the United States, thereby destroying the honor of the US government, by taking NATO to Russia’s borders.

The evil George W. Bush regime pulled the US out of the ABM Treaty and rewrote US war doctrine in order to elevate nuclear weapons from a retaliatory weapon to a first strike weapon. This insane act put the Russians on notice.

The evil Obama regime intends to place nuclear missiles on Russia’s borders in Poland and Romania and engineered a coup in Ukraine with the intent of depriving Russia of its Black Sea naval base in Crimea, Russia’s only warm water port.

Faced with a Russophobic Washington-installed government in Ukraine, the Russian population in Crimea, a Russian province since the 1700s, voted practically unanimously to rejoin Russia, where Crimea had resided until Khrushchev reassigned the Russian province to Ukraine in the mid 20th century. The Russian government’s acceptance of the wishes of its own people were propagandistically misrepresented by Washington and the presstitutes as “Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea.” This lie is where the myth of “Russian invasion” came from. Russian military forces were already present in Crimea, because when Russia granted independence to Ukraine, Russia retained a long-term lease on the Russian naval base in Crimea. As all international observers testified, the vote was independent of the Russian military presence.

The White House Fool said that the vote in Crimea was meaningless because all of Ukraine did not get to vote. The Fool was too ignorant to know that by this laughable charge he discredited the American Revolution because the British people didn’t get to vote. For the precise same reason that The Fool wants Crimea returned to Kiev, the US must be returned to Britain. I doubt that the British would have us. Who wants a war criminal nation drowning in its own hubris?

The world is now faced with the prospect that insouciant Americans will elect a crazed and incompetent criminal or semi-criminal as their president, a person who has declared the President of Russia to be “the new Hitler.” The stupid bitch’s statement is a declaration of nuclear war, and this dangerous, reckless, incompetent, careless person has been selected by the Democratic Party as the next POTUS !!!

The ignorance and stupidity of the American people will destroy the world.

Little wonder that Vladimir Putin, the only responsible world leader other than the president of China, is desperate that the Western media understand that their irresponsible negligence to the truth is helping Washington drive the world to nuclear war.

Putin does not want war. He is doing everything in his power to avoid it. But Putin is not going to surrender Russia to Washington. The trip-point of World War III will be the installation of Washington’s missiles in Poland and Romania. As Putin recently made clear to the imbecilic Western journalists, these missiles can easily and secretly be changed from anti-ballistic missiles to nuclear attack missiles that can strike their Russian targets within 5 or fewer minutes of launch, thus depriving Russia of its retaliatory deterrent. Once these missiles are in place, Washington can issue orders to Russia.

Whatever the evil men and women in Washington who are gambling with the life of the planet think, Russia is not going to accept these missiles.

Where does world leadership reside? In Washington, the war criminal capital of the world that is driving the world to nuclear war, or in Russia whose leadership accepts countless affronts and provocations in an effort to avoid war?


Friday, July 08, 2016

The article below is dated today, Friday, July 8, 2016. You Americans who get your news from the lying “mainstream media” are missing the most important things you urgently need to understand, most importantly nuclear war that could kill us all. Lie #1: Russia attacked Ukraine. Wrong! She did not. Fact #1: The legitimate president of Ukraine was overthrown by a mob organized by Victoria Nuland (who may become Hillary’s vice president). Lie #2: Russia did NOT “seize” the Crimea. Rather, over 90% of its inhabitants agreed to RE-JOIN Russia after learning of Nuland’s neoNazi stormtroopers burning to death dozens of Russian-speakers who had been peacefully demonstrating in the town of Odessa …not far from Crimea. [N.B. Many Russian's ancestors lived in Crimea from 1783 to 1954, when it was transferred to Ukraine by the Soviet government.] For a quick rehash ca. Feb 2015, go here:

http://impactglassman.blogspot.mx/2015/02/this-post-is-most-important-of-any-ive.html

Are You Planning Your Retirement? Forget About It. You Won’t Survive To Experience It.


July 8, 2016 | Original Here                                              Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Are You Planning Your Retirement? Forget About It. You Won’t Survive To Experience It.


Paul Craig Roberts


The Israeli agents who comprise the Neoconservatives, a collection of war criminals that control US foreign policy, have already handed you your death certificate. The neoconservatives have far more power than they have intelligence or humanity.


At the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Conference, President Putin excoriated Western Journalists for endlessly repeating Washington’s lies that are driving the world to nuclear war. He asked Washington’s bought-and-paid-for-whores, the scum who comprise the Western news media: “How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction toward nuclear war?”


Yes, indeed, how is it possible for the Western media to be totally blind? The answer to this question is that Americans live in the system of lies that comprise The Matrix, and media are paid to support the system of lies. The determining questions are: Can Americans escape their captivity in time to save life on earth? Do Americans have what it takes, or are Americans already a proven failed people who cower in ignorance under the threat of implausible “foreign threats”?


How much confidence can we place on the intelligence and judgment of the American people? That remains to be seen. Life on Earth depends on the American people’s ability to perceive their government as the greatest threat to their existence.


To make the crisis clear for my readers and for all peoples, Washington is surrounding Russia with nuclear missile sites that can be silently converted from ABMs to first strike nuclear missiles that can reach Russian targets in a mere few minutes. Washington attempted to disguise this first strike capability with the explanation that the missiles were there to protect against an Iranian ICBM attack on Europe. This explanation was given by the US government despite the fact that everyone knows that Iran has neither ICBMs nor nuclear weapons.


As Putin asked the Western presstitutes, we know and you don’t?


It is dangerous for any writer to assume that intelligence any longer exists among Western peoples. But assuming that somewhere in the West, under a rock perhaps or on Tatooine with Obi-Wan Kanobi, a bit of intelligence and a speck of humanity still exists, the important question is: Do you believe the Russians will sit there awaiting a nuclear strike, or will they pre-empt it with a strike of their own?


The fact that the entirely of the US government lacks the intelligence to have asked this question tells us why we are doomed.


As I have previously written, the government in Washington is the concentration of the entire evil of the universe. No greater danger to life has ever existed than the government of the United States.

After squandering many of Russia’s opportunities in hopes of diplomacy, Vladimir Putin now sees the West for what it is: An immoral, power-crazed entity that will destroy the planet before it gives up its goal of hegemony over the entirety of the Earth. Why should the “indispensable, exceptional people” settle for anything less than hegemony over the world?

The crazed American government drowning in its own hubris has set us on a course to nuclear war. Can America produce a leader who can reverse course?




Dear reader, I am 77 years old and still in decent health, so if I were to be on my death bed tomorrow I would still be able to reflect on having had a full and rewarding life. However, the situation that Paul Craig Roberts and I are concerned with could cut short the lives of our children and grandchildren. The very real possibility of this breaks my heart. PCR spelled out in the preceding post the very real danger facing us and our loved ones …all due to our government supporting the plans of a horde of insane neocons planning to dominate the earth or kill us all in nuclear holocaust. In case you don’t believe us, take a look at today’s REUTERS’ account which I re-post here.










World | Fri Jul 8, 2016 7:22am EDT                                                           Related: World, Russia

Kremlin says NATO talk of Russian threat absurd, short-sighted


The Kremlin said on Friday it regarded NATO's suggestion that Russia posed a threat as absurd, saying it hoped that common sense would prevail at the military alliance's summit in Warsaw. 

The Kremlin spoke out after U.S. President Barack Obama urged NATO leaders to stand firm against a resurgent Russia over its 2014 seizure of Ukraine's Crimea.

Friday's summit is expected to formally agree to deploy four battalions in the Baltic states and eastern Poland, a move the alliance says is meant to deter possible Russian aggression.

"It is absurd to talk about any threat coming from Russia at a time when dozens of people are dying in the center of Europe and when hundreds of people are dying in the Middle East daily," Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told reporters.

"You have to be an absolutely short-sighted organization to twist things in that way," said Peskov, saying Russia hoped common sense and an understanding of the need to avoid confrontation would prevail.

Russia was open for talks and cooperation with NATO, Peskov added, and did not want to cast the alliance as an enemy. But he complained of NATO soldiers and planes operating close to Russia's borders.

"We aren't the ones getting closer to NATO's borders," he said.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Given the unsavory choices for the next President of the United States, plus rampant election rigging, I was not going to vote in U.S. elections ever again. But then I discovered the Senatorial candidate below, for whom I can vote given that for U.S. voting purposes I continue to cast my ballot as as though I were still living in Arizona. Are you an Arizonan? If so, enough of warmongerer McCain! Vote Ward for Senate!








Video: John McCain is “Directly Responsible” for ISIS

Dr. Kelli Ward                                                                                                         Region: Global Research, July 06, 2016                                                    Theme: 9-11& 'War on Terrorism'
Ward for Senate                                                      In-depth Report:




Published on Jun 22, 2016

DONATE: https://causes.anedot.com/ward-for-se...

YouTube: https://youtu.be/dzV9bjMg2ZU 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I suppose that many of you who visit my blog get most of your news from the US "mainstream media," which constantly reports military and propaganda provocations against Russia. Here, Paul Craig Roberts asks the question: “What if the Russians believe us? What if we convince Russia that we are going to attack her?” Well, from extensive reading of non-mainstream media, I have learned that Vladimir Putin is not a monster, and that he plans to attack no one but ISIS in Syria. That is, until NATO completes its anti-nuclear-missile installations in Eastern European countries surrounding Russia …which would put Russia in true danger. So, like the Minute Men at Bunker Hill, Putin won't shoot until he sees the whites of the eyes of those who plan to attack Mother Russia. However, whereas the Minute Men fully expected the arrival of the Red Coats, the US continues to pretend that their illegal planting of anti-nuclear-weapons in Russia's front yard is only defensive. While Putin is still hoping for peace, he is neither dumb nor indecisive. He has made it clear that as soon as the first of NATO's anti-nuclear-missile instalations surrounding Russia becomes operational, Russia will destroy it. And another thing you might not know is that Russian weapons are decades ahead of those of the US. So, if the neocons in charge in Washington decide to start a nuclear war with Russia, not just Bunker Hill, but all of the US will be flattened. In the words of Pogo, a comic strip character if my youth: "We have met the enemy, and they are us." Wake up, America, before it’s too late!



Where Do Matters Stand? — Paul Craig Roberts

April 23, 2016 | Original Here | If you wish to receive his newsletter via email go to Original and sign up at bottom.

Dear Readers: Support Your Site. Your Site Needs Your Financial Support and Your Moral Support.


Where Do Matters Stand?


Paul Craig Roberts


On the eve of World War II the United States was still mired in the Great Depression and found itself facing war on two fronts with Japan and Germany. However bleak the outlook, it was nothing compared to the outlook today.


Has anyone in Washington, the presstitute Western media, the EU, or NATO ever considered the consequences of constant military and propaganda provocations against Russia? Is there anyone in any responsible position anywhere in the Western world who has enough sense to ask: “What if the Russians believe us? What if we convince Russia that we are going to attack her?”


The same can be asked about China.


The recklessness of the White House Fool and the media whores has gone far beyond mere danger. What do the Russians think when they see that the Democratic Party intends to elect Hillary Clinton president of the US? Hillary is a person so crazed that she declared the president of Russia to be “the new Hitler” and organized through her underling, neocon monster Victoria Nuland, the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine. Nuland installed Washington’s puppet government in a former Russian province that until about 20 years ago was part of Russia for centuries.


I would bet that this tells even the naive pro-western part of the Russian government and population that the United States intends war with Russia.


Ever since Russia stood up to Obama over Syria, the Russians have been experiencing hostile propaganda and military operations on their borders. These provocations are justified by Washington and its NATO vassals as a response to “Russian aggression.” Russian aggression consists of nothing but obviously false assertions that Russia is about to invade the Baltics, Poland, and Romania and recreate the Soviet Empire, the Eastern European part of which, together with the former Russian provinces of Georgia and Ukraine, now belong to the American Empire.


The Russians know that the propaganda about “Russian aggression” is a lie. What is the purpose of the lie other than to prepare the Western peoples for war with Russia?


There is no other explanation.


Even morons such as Obama, Merkel, Hollande, and Cameron should be capable of understanding that it is extremely dangerous to convince a major military power that you are going to attack. To simultaneously also convince China doubles the danger.


Clearly, the West is incapable of producing leadership capable of preserving life on earth.


What can be done when the entire West demonstrates a death wish for Planet Earth?


Until the criminal regimes of Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, American presidents from John F. Kennedy forward worked to reduce tensions with the Soviets. Kennedy worked with Khrushchev to reduce tensions caused by US missiles in Turkey and Soviet missiles in Cuba. President Nixon negotiated SALT I (the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. President Carter negotiated SALT II, which was never ratified by the US Senate but was observed by the executive branch. President Reagan negotiated with Soviet leader Gorbachev the end of the Cold War. President George H.W. Bush in exchange for Gorbachev’s agreement to the reunification of Germany promised that NATO would not move one inch to the East.


All of these achievements were thrown away by the neoconized Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes, each a criminal regime on par with Nazi Germany.


Today life on Planet Earth is far less secure than during the darkest days of the Cold War. Whatever threat global warming poses, it is miniscule compared to the threat of nuclear winter. If the evil that is concentrated in Washington and its vassals perpetrates nuclear war, cockroaches will inherit the earth.


I have been warning about the growing danger of a nuclear war resulting from the arrogance, hubris, ignorance, and evil personified by Washington. Recently, four knowledgable Russian-Americans spelled out the likely consequences of trying to drive Russia to submission with war threats: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/06/03/41522/


See also: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/05/28/as-our-past-wars-are-glorified-this-memorial-day-weekend-give-some-thought-to-our-prospects-against-the-russians-and-chinese-in-world-war-iii/


Don’t expect the brainwashed American population to have the moral conscience and fortitude to prevent nuclear war or even the intelligence to prevent their own vaporization. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal Scott Sagan and Benjamin Valentino report that 59% of the US population support attacking Iran with nuclear weapons in the event that Iran sank one US Navy ship: http://www.wsj.com/articles/would-the-u-s-drop-the-bomb-again-1463682867


Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to approve attacking Iran with nuclear weapons with 81% of Republicans approving nuclear war compared to 47% of Democrats. Yet, the Democrats are behind Hillary who would be the first to use nuclear weapons. After all, a feminized woman has to prove how tough she is, just as Margaret Thatcher was “the Iron Lady.”


Before it it too late for Americans and all of humanity, arrogant Americans need to recall that “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.”


The economic picture is equally dismal and unpromising. The latest payroll jobs report was even more awful than reported. Hardly any new jobs were created, but what largely escaped reporting is the fact that the economy actually lost 59,000 full-time jobs.


Increasingly the US economy consists of part-time jobs that cannot support an independent existence. Thus, more Americans age 19-34 live at home with parents than independently with spouses or partners. Fully half of 25-year old Americans live in their childhood rooms in their parents’ homes.


This is the “New Economy” that the filthy lying neoliberal economists promised would be reward for the American work force giving up their manufacturing and professional skill jobs to foreigners. What a monstrous lie the neoliberal economists told so that corporate executives and shareholders could put into their own pockets the living wage of the American work force. These neoliberal economists, and, alas, libertarian “free market” ones, have not been held accountable for their impoverishment of the American work force deeply buried in debt with no future prospects.


Those few Americans who have any awareness are beginning to realize that the One Percent and the western governments that serve them are re-establishing feudalism. The brilliant and learned economist, Michael Hudson, has labeled our era the era of neo-feudalism.


He is correct. The majority of young Americans come out of university heavily indebted, primed for debtor prison. When half of 25-year olds cannot marry and form households, how can anyone believe that housing sales and prices are rising except as a result of speculative investors banking on rental income from a population that cannot even pay its student loans.


The United States is the sickest place on earth. There is no public or political discussion of any important issue or of the multiple crises that confront America or the crises that America brings to the world.


The American people are so stupid and unaware that they are capable of electing a criminal and a warmonger like Hillary president of the United States and be proud of it.


These “tough” Americans are so frightened of hoax dangers, such as “Muslim terrorists” and “Russian aggression” that they willingly sacrificed their depleted pocketbooks, the Constitution of the United States—an act of treason on the part of the American people who utterly failed their responsibility to protect the Constitution—and their own liberty to a universal police state that has all power over them.


It is extraordinary that once-proud, once-great European peoples look for leadership from a country of moronic non-entities who have pissed away the liberty, security, and prosperity that their Founding Fathers gave to them.


Fellow Americans, if you care to avoid vaporization and, assuming we do avoid it, live a life other than serfdom, you must wake up and realize that your most deadly enemy is Washington, not the hoax of “Russian aggression,” not the hoax of “Muslim terrorism,” not the hoax of “domestic extremism,” not the hoax of welfare bankrupting America, not the hoax of democracy voting away your wealth, which Wall Street and the corporations have already stolen and stuck in their pockets.


If you cannot wake up and escape The Matrix, your doom will bring the doom of the planet. 



 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

From two lines in this article: "[I]t was Mrs. Clinton who hectored her husband into bowing to a chorus of neoconservative and liberal interventionist voices and finally giving the order to bomb the former Yugoslavia." Continuing… "...Serbs in the northern part of the country were demanding some form of local autonomy to stave off violent attacks by Kosovar ultra-nationalists." Long story short, Kosovo and Serbia were abutting provinces in the former Yugoslavia, and the former was attacking the latter ...supported by Hillary. Flash back to early 2001. The blogger (Dave Griscom) was an Invited Professor of Research at Universtiés de Paris 6 & 7 and, most improbably, a Serbian professor was also invited at the same time doing the exactly the same kind of research! Thus we had to take turns using the main instrument called an ESR spectrometer (see the photo of us in front of this instrument below). We immediately became great friends and corresponded for some time. Then all of a sudden Pavle stopped answering my emails. What could have caused this? I had continued being friendly, and I think that there was no way that I could have offended him personally. So now I finally suppose that he had realized what terrible damage had been done to Serbia by the United States (see Hillary Clinton's key role in this in the article below) that he could no longer be a friend to ANY American. This certainly makes me sad.


























Kosovo: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy of Terror
The “liberation” of Kosovo unleashed radical Islamism in Europe

by , May 25, 2016
Kosovo is Clinton Country: a 10-foot-high statue of Bill overlooks “Bill Clinton Boulevard” in the capital city of Pristina. Hillary is also memorialized in what has become the crime capital of Europe: right off the street named for her husband is a store named “Hillary,” featuring women’s clothing modeled after the putative Democratic party nominee for President. Pantsuits figure prominently. As Vice puts it: “While former President Bill Clinton has had a boulevard named after him, it’s without a doubt that his wife’s the real star out here.” Why is that?

As Gail Sheehy pointed out in her biography of Hillary, it was Mrs. Clinton who hectored her husband into bowing to a chorus of neoconservative and liberal interventionist voices and finally giving the order to bomb the former Yugoslavia. Traveling to Kosovo when Serbs in the northern part of the country were demanding some form of local autonomy to stave off violent attacks by Kosovar ultra-nationalists, Mrs. Clinton reassured her hosts that the US would stand behind Pristina: “For me, my family and my fellow Americans this is more than a foreign policy issue, it is personal.” She then physically embraced Kosovo President and Mafia chieftain Hacim Thaci – who has since been credibly accused by the Council of Europe of stealing human organs from Serb victims and selling them on the black market.

Hillary owns Kosovo – she is not only personally responsible for its evolution from a province of the former Yugoslavia into a Mafia state, she is also the mother of the policy that made its very existence possible and which she carried into her years as Secretary of State under Barack Obama.

As the “Arab Spring” threatened to topple regimes throughout the Middle East, Mrs. Clinton decided to get on board the revolutionary choo-choo train and hitch her wagon to “moderate” Islamists who seemed like the wave of the future. She dumped Egyptian despot Hosni Mubarak, whom she had previously described as a friend of the family, and supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s bid for power. In Libya, she sided with Islamist rebels out to overthrow Moammar Ghaddafi, celebrating his gruesome death by declaring “We came, we saw, he died.” And in Syria, she plotted with Gen. David Petraeus to get around President Obama’s reluctance to step into the Syrian quagmire by arming Syrian rebels allied with al-Qaeda and other terrorist gangs.

The Clintonian legacy of enabling Islamist terrorists extends to present day Kosovo, where the New York Times has revealed an extensive network of ISIS-affiliated madrassas – indoctrination centers – funded by the Saudis, the Qataris, and the Kuwaitis. The Times reports:

“Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.”

“The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism” in the 17 years since the war ended with Kosovo’s independence, says the Times.
“Since then – much of that time under the watch of American officials – Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.”

Kosovo is jihadi heaven. The Times informs us that “Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars – including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children – who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.”

The Wahabist ideology carried by radical imams is directly financed by the Saudis, the Qataris, the Kuwaitis, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. All of these countries, by the way, are major donors to the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary Clinton’s Islamist-friendly foreign policy created a terrorist base in Kosovo, and her friends the Saudis are instrumental in setting up the conditions whereby ISIS has gained a foothold in the heart of Europe. At sprawling Camp Bondesteel, where US troops have been stationed since the “liberation,” radical imams recruited three Kosovar employees, including Lavdrim Muhaxheri, who is today a commander of the Islamic State: his claim to fame is that he was videotaped executing a Syrian by blowing him to bits with a rocket-propelled grenade. (“I did not do anything less or more than what KLA soldiers did during the war,” he declared in an interview with an Albanian newspaper.)

After ignoring the problem for years, the authorities are making a show of rounding up terrorist suspects: five were recently arrested and given long sentences, but there are hundreds more where that came from.

Kosovo today is a fulcrum of terrorism, violence, crime, and virulent nationalism. The Parliament is in chaos as Albanian ultra-nationalists demanding union with Albania shut down sessions with smoke bombs and mob action. This is the legacy of the Clintons in the Balkans: a terrorist state run by Mafia chieftains that has become the epicenter of radical Islamism in the midst of Europe.

This is “blowback” with a vengeance, and Hillary Clinton and husband Bill have their fingerprints all over this outrage: but of course the “mainstream” media isn’t holding them to account. The Times story on the rise of ISIS in Kosovo never mentions the dubious duo, and is vague when it reports on the three employees of Camp Bondesteel who wound up in Syria’s terrorist camps. Who are the other two besides Muhaxheri? Did  they receive any military training? This Reuters report confirms that NATO brought Muhaxheri to Iraq, where he worked for two years at a military base.

And there’s more where he came from. As Reuters informs us:

“Thousands of Kosovars have moved on from Bondsteel to work with U.S. contractors on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, earning the kind of money they can only dream of in Kosovo.”

The terrorist pipeline runs from Kosovo, to Iraq and Afghanistan, and then on to Syria – where they fill the ranks of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Could there be a more perfect illustration of how the principle of “blowback” works, and how we’re creating an army of Frankenstein monsters?

All this brings back memories  of Antiwar.com’s first days: this site was born as a protest against US intervention in the former Yugoslavia. Back then we warned again and again (and again!) about the specter of Islamist extremism as the energizing ideology of the Albanian separatists, both in Kosovo and Bosnia.

We were right on target.

That’s the great advantage of being a regular reader of Antiwar.com – we bring you the news before it happens. That’s years before it happens.

But we can’t continue to do it without your support – your financial assistance is critical to our continued existence.

Unlike the War Party, we here at Antiwar.com don’t get seven-figure donations from big foundations, foreign countries, or anybody else for that matter. We depend on you – our readers and supporters – for the funds we need to do our work.

And we need your help today. Our fundraising campaign has entered a crucial phase: a group of generous donors has contributed $29,000 – but we can’t get those funds until and unless we match that money in smaller donations.

That’s where you come in.

We’ve been holding down the fort for over 20 years – yes, that’s right. It seems like only yesterday when we first burst on the scene, but in reality a lot of time has passed – enough to demonstrate that we’ve been right so many times that we might as well be officially designated an authentic oracle.
It takes a lot of effort – and, yes, some money – to keep this site going. We’ve done our part, day in and day  out, for two decades – and now it’s time for you to do your part. We aren’t asking for a lot: what we spend annually is a drop in the bucket compared to what the War Party spends. And yet it’s enough to get by – and that’s all we ask.

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NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

Read more by Justin Raimondo


Friday, May 20, 2016

Do you ever wonder why Paul Craig Roberts refers to Hillary Clinton as "Killary"? Well read this. This artical was composed by Michael Collins, a friend of mine who writes factual articals on places and people that most U.S. readers would not learn about from the so-called "mainstream media".



What about violence from the Clinton campaign?

By Michael Collins
(Creative Commons 4.0)


Some rough housing at a Democratic Party convention in Nevada over the weekend shocked party leaders and the mainstream media. The official custodians of propriety demand that Sanders control his followers and denounce their actions. The double standard on this issue is simply appalling since the Clinton campaign represents failed policies that got 350,000 killed and future plans (the “no fly zone” for Syria) that will cost even more lives.

To be specific, Hillary Clinton’s policies, as secretary of state, helped launch the Libyan regime change operation. To date, 100,000 Libyans are dead due to that foreign policy fiasco. Clinton was the tip of the spear for the “Assad must go” movement resulting in major support for extremist jihadist fighters attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Why? Because Assad didn’t just amble off when then Secretary of State Clinton commanded him to he leave his office and nation. The death toll in Syria is 250,000.

In sum, Hillary Clinton’s past policies and efforts resulted in 350,000 dead people. She is the only remaining presidential candidate with a major death toll.

Clinton supporters need to accept the simple truth that their candidate vigorously supports violent policies that caused suffering, death, and the destruction of two nations. The essence of Clinton’s time in the Senate and as Secretary of State revolves around violence – supporting the Iraq war and the attacks on Libya and Syria.
 
Having said that, lets look at the smear campaign against Sanders due to the actions of some outraged supporters at a Nevada convention last weekend.

From Bernie Sanders can’t afford to stay silent any longer, McClatchy DC, May 19:
“Over the weekend, dozens of Sanders devotees lost their minds after the Nevada Democratic Party, meeting for its convention in Las Vegas, awarded a majority of delegates to front-runner Hillary Clinton.
“Convinced that the establishment had rigged the rules and that Sanders delegates had been excluded for unfair reasons, they booed and traded barbs with people on stage, including Clinton surrogate and keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.”
What’s wrong with that? The Democratic Party has systematically discriminated against the Sanders campaign through any number of documented actions. DNC Chairperson, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D, FL), accused the Sanders campaign of intentionally hacking a DNC voter database and cut the campaign off from access.

Rank and file Democrats have every right to be outraged. They’re finding out what Republican voters are discovering, that primary elections are just widow dressing for the ultimate will of the party leaders.

Democrats have a special anti-democracy feature that is so outrageous even Republicans shy away from it: super delegates. The party selects 719 superdelegates who can vote as they choose, without any regard to the outcome of presidential primaries in their respective states. What’s that about? Isn’t that a reason to be outraged?

The McClatchyDC editorial goes on to make some points that are too pathetic to even repeat with the exception of their insistence that Sanders stand up to the mob.

OK, let me get this straight. Some pissed off Sanders delegates act out at a state meeting where they think they’re getting screwed and all of a sudden they’re a mob. Here’s the translation of standing up to the mob: smacking down rank and file citizens who have the unmitigated gall to think they have a right to be heard, to have their votes counted and to receive the respect due every single citizen in this country participating in the election process.

Hillary Clinton must apologize for the violence she perpetrated in Libya and Syria.

Hillary Clinton must retract her plans for support of more violence in Syria, particularly the insane “no fly zone” propose, and Hillary Clinton must swear that she will no longer support extremist jihadists disguised as moderates.

Hillary Clinton’s supporters need a reality check about the policies of violence they endorse by supporting this candidate. They can either reject the violence their candidate or embrace it and stop whining about a little shoving and shouting in Nevada.
Creative Commons 4.0

Friday, May 13, 2016

Michael Hudson has long believed to me and others as the top economist looking after the rights of the people of the US and Europe. However, my attention to this particular Hudson column was thanks to ace economist Paul Craig Roberts, who summerized it in this way: "In his May 9, 2016, speech to European medical professionals, Michael Hudson points out that the result of TTIP for Europe will be the privatization of health care systems with the associated much higher costs. Hudson’s accurate description of TTIP shows that politically powerful corporations have gained the power in Western “democracies” to sacrifice the welfare of all populations to corporate greed for profit regardless of the cost to peoples, countries, and societies."




The Dangers of Free Trade Agreements: TTIP's Threat to Europe's Elderly



The most obvious approach to look at how European care for the elderly will evolve is to project technological trends and the costs of people living longer as diagnostic equipment, drug treatments and other medical science continues to improve. This kind of projection shows a rising cost to society of pensions and health care, because a rising proportion of the aging population is retiring. How will economies pay for it?

I want to point to some special problems that are looming on the political front. I assume that the reason you have invited me from America is that my country has been doing just about everything wrong in its health care. Its experience may provide an object lesson for what Europe should avoid (and indeed, has avoided up to this point).

For starters, privatization is much more expensive than European-style Single Payer public health care. Monopoly prices also are higher. And of course, fraud is a problem.

America’s Obamacare and health insurance laws have been written by political lobbyists for special interests. So has the TTIP: Transatlantische Handelsabwollen. Since George W. Bush, the U.S. Government has been prohibited from bargaining for low bulk prices from the pharmaceutical companies. Most Americans think that Health Management Organizations (HMOs) are rife with corruption and billing fraud. The insurance sector has made a killing by spending a great deal of money on bureaucratic techniques to reject patients who seem likely to require expensive health care. Doctors need to hire specialists working full time just to fill out the paperwork. Error is constant, and any visit to the doctor, even for a simple annual checkup, requires many hours by most patients on the phone with their insurance company to correct over-billing.

The dream of U.S. “free market” lobbyists to shift the costs of health care onto its users instead of as a public program. According to current plans backed both by the Republicans and by much of the Democratic Party leadership, these user costs ideally would be paid by pre-saving in special “health savings” accounts, to be managed by Wall Street banks as a kind of mutual fund (with all the financial risks this entails – the same kind of risks that are troubling most U.S. pension funds today).

The reason why the U.S. discussion of health care for the elderly is so relevant for Europeans is that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that President Barack Obama pushed on German Chancellor Angela Merkel two weeks ago. It poses a far-reaching threat to European policies.

The agreement has been drawn up in secret, and has only been available to Congressmen in a special room as a read-only copy. Not even Congressional staff have been permitted to see the details. The reason is that the terms of the TTIP are so awful that it could never be approved by voters. That is why the lobbyists for banks, insurance companies, drug companies, oil and gas companies and other special interests that wrote the law are trying to bypass democratic government and going directly to Brussels – and in the United States to the Executive Branch of government.

The aim of the TTIP is to replace the application of national laws with special courts of referees nominated by the special interests. This includes the organization of health care. Last week Britain’s main labor union, Unite, warned that the TTIP would mean that the National Health Service would have to be wound down and privatized.[1] Although “Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy do have explicit reservations in the TTIP text to protect existing rules relating to healthcare,” the privatization lobbyist strategy is to have the treaty “provisionally applied” to force matters, by backing compliant politicians. Objections will be sidestepped as the “provisional’ law becomes a fait accompli.

I think that the best perspective that I can give you is to discuss how the various interest groups are working to shape political decisions regarding the public and private role of health care. This is an area I have been involved with for forty years. In 1976, I contributed the economic section for two reports by The Futures Group in Glastonbury, Connecticut for the National Science Foundation analyzing the economic and financial consequences of life‑extending technology: When We Live Longer: Prospects for America (with Herb Gurjuoy et al., 1977) and A Technology Assessment of Life-Extending Technologies (Vol. 5: Demography, Economics and Aging, 1977). I believe these were the first reports to pinpoint the implications for the Social Security system of an aging population and its inter-generational financial tensions.

American politicians and economic futurists were concerned with the effect on public health budgets of a rising proportion of the population able to live out the maximum present human lifespan of 125 years (called “squaring” the life expectancy curve). What is the best public response to what should be a dream being realized? More to the point, how should governments cope with special interests seeking merely to profiteer from such breakthroughs – and use their promise in an extortionate manner?

Every interest group has its own perspective. Most politicians in the United States are lawyers, and they worried that the Social Security, pension and health care contracts were a legal right that could not be broken or modified. President Eisenhower had called Social Security the “third rail” of American politics – meaning that any politician or party that sought to downgrade its promises would quickly be voted out of office.

It was obvious that a population living longer would receive more Social Security and pension payments, and that a rising proportion of national income would be spent on their health care. Some of the politicians I talked to were so pessimistic about the costs involved that one said that he was sorry that kidney dialysis procedures had been invented, because with so many people having kidney problems, it would cost a fortune to provide this service to everyone who medically needed it.

Some politicians sought ways to not to fund expensive medical technologies – on the ground that if these were developed, the government might have an obligation to supply the most expensive technologies (especially dialysis and organ transplants) to the population at large. The costs of doing this would absorb nearly all the economic growth.

One set of futures envisioned that the more costly medical treatments might become available only on islands – in the Caribbean, for instance. After all, did not Hippocrates practice on the island of Cos?

As forecast decades ago, health care is the most sharply rising cost in the United States. What none of us were cynical enough to forecast was the corrupt role played by special interests in maximizing the costs by treating each element of health care as a profit center – indeed, as an opportunity to extract monopoly rent.

Privatization of health insurance under Obamacare has been a bonanza for the financial sector and the insurance industry. Initially a Republican “free market” proposal, it required the Democratic Party in power to disable popular pressure for “Medicare for all” in the form of single payer public health care. No discussion within Congress was even permitted to favor public health care. (I was economic advisor to Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, whom the Democratic Party leadership blocked from even discussing a public option in the Congressional debate.)

The enormous power of lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry bought the loyalty of politicians who blocked anti-trust laws from being applied against the drug companies. As I noted earlier, these lobbyists even succeeded in blocking the government from negotiating directly with the drug companies over prices.

I mention these points because the U.S. solution should serve as an object lesson for what European and other countries should avoid in managing their care for the elderly. This is especially important to Europe, because its neoliberal policies favoring the financial sector imply a slow economic crash squeezing household and employer budgets. Five concerns are paramount.

Triage: restricting the most expensive health care only to the wealthy

Lower incomes lead to shorter lifespans as a result of worse health, and also suicides. Marriage and birth rates also are lower as economies polarize and growth slows. Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and other post-Soviet states show this – and it may be a forecast of European experience. This raises the ratio of elderly to working-age populations. A slowly growing labor force must support more and more retirees.

Studies in almost every country have shown that health standards and lifespans are polarizing between wealthy and poor. A recent U.S. study notes: “The life-expectancy gap between rich and poor in the United States is actually accelerating. Since 2001, American men among the nation’s most affluent 5 percent have seen their lifespans increase by more than two years. American women in that bracket have registered an almost three-year extension to their life expectancy. Meanwhile, the poorest five percent of Americans have seen essentially no gains at all.”[2]

This has important implications regarding recent proposals to raise the retirement age at which people can qualify for Social Security. Only the well to do are living longer, not blue-collar labor. Raising the retirement age would deprive the latter of the retirement years that better-paid individuals enjoy as a result of their healthier lives.

I mentioned above one scenario drawn by futurists: that the best medical care might only be available in “medical islands” or their equivalent in the United States, called “Cadillac health insurance plans.”

Blaming the victims for their unhealthy environment as if the problem were their “personal responsibility.”

George W. Bush recommended that the poor simply should go to hospital emergency wards when they get sick. This obviously is the most expensive approach. Prevention is by far more economical. But public moves along this line are being fought tooth and nail by the tobacco and soft-drink industries, and other purveyors of bad health.

Better health and longer lifespans are achieved not only by advanced medical technology, but by better public health standards, and personal diets and exercise. The most serious behaviors impairing health and longevity are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and eating junk foods to the point of obesity. In the United States, childhood diabetes is rising sharply, especially among racial and ethnic minorities, and the poor in general.

An obvious way to keep down health expenditures is to lead a more healthy life. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg sought to ban the sale of large sugar-drink servings. Lawyers for the junk-food industry, supported by fast food restaurants and movie theaters, blocked his initiative. And an even more powerful legal tool to block public health warnings is contained in the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement and its European counterpart, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. These proposed treaties follow the earlier North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in levying enormous fines on government who warn populations of the dangers of smoking or other unhealthy behavior that is highly profitable to cigarette companies, soft drink “sugar water” makers, and fast food restaurants selling food-like substances that give little nourishment. Under the proposed neoliberal agreement being put in the hands of Brussels politicians by American lobbyists, government warnings of the health hazards of smoking will require these governments to pay the tobacco companies what they would have earned if cigarette sales had not declined as a result of these warnings! Fines already have been levied against Australia for seeking to improve public health by requiring such warnings on cigarette packages. A recent Australian report concludes:

Tobacco policies implemented in the past have been effective at decreasing overall rates of smoking, but new and innovative interventions will be needed in the future to affect change in all populations.

Six chapters were identified with potential to limit governments’ ability to implement tobacco control policies. The key chapters are: investment, particularly the ISDS mechanism; rules related to trademarks in intellectual property, regulatory coherence, cross-border services and technical barriers to trade. … Multiple chapters may also interact with the potential for amplified effects on tobacco control. Various provisions in these parts of the TPP may provide the tobacco industry with greater influence over policymaking and more avenues to contest tobacco control measures, as well as preventing governments from introducing new policies.[3]

Last week the European Court of Justice upheld the 2014 Tobacco Products Directive against challenges from British-American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris. Like similar laws in other countries, the European law called for public warnings on cigarette packs telling smokers that nicotine kills. But the tobacco companies vowed to fight back, and the TTIP is now their major hope.

Dangers of privatization of health law under the TTIP

A recent British article lays out the problem:
A salient goal of TTIP is to shadow the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system (ISDS), an instrument of public international law granting firms the right to raise an action in a tribunal on the basis that a state’s policies have harmed their commercial interests. … The economist Max Otte has called ISDS ‘a complete disempowerment of politics’. The tribunals are confidential, as is usual in arbitration. Negotiations over ISDS within TTIP are also secret, the aim being to get the ink dry on the agreement before it can provoke opposition by being made public. …
As the Economist put it, ‘if you wanted to convince the public that international trade agreements are a way to let multinational companies get rich at the expense of ordinary people, this is what you would do.’[4]

Dangers of financialization

The most efficient way to finance care for the elderly – and pensions – remains pay-as-you-go planning. This is becoming difficult in a neoliberal political environment with shrinking economic growth and consequent demographic shrinkage. The horror story today is a Ukraine-like situation where the labor force has fled, leaving the elderly to be supported without much of a social budget. That is becoming the post-Soviet model, from East Germany to the Baltics.

The American situation is worse, because Social Security, Medicare and pensions are front-loaded by being financialized – paid for in advance. For decades, savings have been set aside in the form of stock and bond purchases. The problem is that when more workers retire than are contributing to the pension plan or similar plans, their prices will decline. This will leave the retirement plan under-funded.

As interest rates have been reduced to nearly zero since 2008 by Quantitative Easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve and now European Central Bank, pension funds and insurance companies have become desperate to meet their statistically required targets. They have turned to gambling on complex financial derivatives – and have lost heavily, because their managers are no match for Wall Street sharpies.

It may be appropriate here to note the monetary madness of the eurozone not having a central bank to monetize budget deficits to spend into the economy to help it grow. That is the proper function of a real central bank, from the Bank of England to the U.S. Federal Reserve System. European voters are being frightened by junk economics claiming that only commercial banks should create money and credit, not central banks. The reality is that central banks can create the money to fund health programs without inflating the economy. What would inflate health care costs, especially proper care for the elderly, would be privatization and a relinquishing of health policy to the large corporations best in a position to profiteer.

Danger of trade agreements raising the cost of drugs and medical technology

The technological medical revolution involves high rent-extracting opportunities, especially in treating the elderly. The Australian study cited above notes the dangers posed by the TPP (and hence also by its European version) to public health expenditure, especially health costs for the elderly. Designed largely to protect “intellectual property rights,” the proposed treaty aims to increase monopolyrent extraction by the pharmaceutical sector.

Provisions proposed for the TPP that have the potential to limit implementation of new food labelling requirements in Australia include the ISDS mechanism; the regulatory coherence chapter and technical barriers to trade chapter. Provisions in these parts of the TPP have the potential to restrict policymakers to regulate using the most effective public health nutrition instruments. For example, the food industry could argue that introduction of mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling would be a technical barrier to trade. Without strong compensatory intervention to improve consumer awareness of the relative healthfulness of foods, it is likely that there will be no change to current high rates of obesity, metabolic syndrome and non-communicable diseases. This would have a negative impact on health, particularly for vulnerable populations.

For starters, the trade agreement limits the ability of public or community pharmacies to bargain for lower drug prices. Also, any attempt at anti-monopoly legislation would require governments to pay the foreign producers or investors as much money as they would have earned if no “interference with markets” (that is, regulation of monopoly prices) had existed. This would sharply increase the cost of healthcare, and “many TPP provisions proposed during the negotiations are likely to be harmful to health.”

There is sufficient evidence which show that increases in the cost of medicines lead to greater patient copayments through the PBS, and that increases in patient copayments lead to lower rates of prescription use. Changes to prescription costs impact particularly on vulnerable populations who have less capacity to accommodate increased out-of-pocket expenses such as women, elderly adults, cultural and linguistic minorities, and low-income populations; people with chronic disease; geographically remote communities; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Many provisions proposed for the TPP had the potential to increase the cost of medicines. These were identified in leaked drafts of the intellectual property chapter; the healthcare transparency annex; and the investment chapter, which includes an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. These provisions, if adopted, could be expected to lead to an increase in the costs of managing the PBS by delaying the availability of generic medicines, and constraining the ability of the PBS to contain costs. An increase in the cost of the PBS to government would be likely to lead to higher copayments for patients.

Summary

European sponsors of U.S.-style neoliberalism pose a threat of transforming European politics, and with it the structure of economies and society. Enormous sums of money are being spent on public relations, and to support politicians willing to shepherd corporate monopoly power against that of democratic government and voters. The most serious threat to European health care and care for the aging population in general is pressure from U.S. firms and diplomats to ram through the TTIP.

It is much more than a free trade agreement. Its “investor dispute” mechanism threatens to disenfranchise governments. The intent is to block them from protecting Europe’s economy, population and basic social philosophy that has developed over the past century of social democracy.

That is why so many of us in the United States also are fighting against this agreement. It has been a major issue in this year’s presidential campaign. Republican nominee Donald Trump has affirmed that the public option is by far the most economic. And Democratic contender Bernie Sanders has opposed Hillary Clinton’s support for her patrons on Wall Street and in the pharmaceutical monopolies. I hope that a similar fight will be waged in Europe.

This is the text of Michael Hudson’s speech to SANICADEMIA, May 9, 2016 in Villach, Austria for the 5th International Congress on Geriatrics and Gerontology = 59th Austrian Convention for Hospital Management, “We’re Living Longer: The healthcare challenges for today and tomorrow.”

Notes.

[1] Hazel Sheffield, “TTIP could cause an NHS sell-off and UK Parliament would be powerless to stop it, says leading union,” The Independent, April 29 2016. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/ttip-could-cause-an-nhs-sell-off-and-parliament-would-be-powerless-to-stop-it-says-leading-union-a7006471.html

[2] Sam Pizzigati, “Inequality Kills: Top 1% Lives 15 Years Longer Than the Poorest,” Naked Capitalism, May 3, 2016, originally published at Other Words. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/05/inequality-kills-top-1-lives-15-years-longer-than-the-poorest.html

[3] Katherine Hirono, Fiona Haigh, Deborah Gleeson, Patrick Harris, Anne Marie Thow and Sharon Frie, “Is health impact assessment useful in the context of trade negotiations? A case study of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement,” April 4, 2016. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/4/e010339.full. The report notes: “The final agreement also included an optional tobacco carve-out from ISDS, allowing TPP countries to prevent the use of ISDS to challenge tobacco control measures. Yet even these apparent ‘wins’ have some limitations. Unlike tobacco, the health system, food and alcohol were not carved out from ISDS, leaving these policy areas vulnerable to claims by foreign investors. While various safeguards have been included to try and protect public health, experts have raised doubts about whether they will be sufficient.”

[4] Glen Newey, “Investors v. States,” London Review of Books blog, April 29, 2016. http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2016/04/29/glen-newey/investors-v-states/