Good TUESDAY morning, fellow outragers. Again I must apologize for getting behind on the website but I am going through a minor health crisis plus trying to juggle a rush job in between, so between those two things I’m kinda strapped for time. The outrages continue, as they always have, and I will attempt to post as much as I can over the next week or two but I’m going to tell you it may be spotty. I’ll know more later today.
I had a banking theme going for last week, having watched a film interview of a gentleman who was an economic hit man for the World Bank. I’m picking 1/9/13 Outrage: World Bank Exploitation of 3rd World as the worst outrage because monetary policy has gotten so many people killed.
In the US, banking policy and the Fed are turning us into slaves. But we still have the option to participate in the consumer/debt economy. In the 3rd World, where the World Bank and IMF maneuver, the common people in these countries do not have any choices. The choices are thrust upon them, condemning the 98% to abject poverty and death while the West looks at the marvelous gleaming cities of the rich and claims “Democracy is WORKING!” It’s more than a tragedy, more than a travesty, it’s an OUTRAGE.
See you soon.
I’m having to take another day off due to medical stuff all day.
I’ll be back tomorrow, though. BTW, I’m one of the lucky ones who has excellent medical care. Believe me, I’ve paid my dues, being self-insured for 2 years was killer. But I just think of those who couldn’t come up with the $1000/month premiums and think how lucky I am, and how the oligarchy that controls this nation would rather let 40 million people get sick and die than adopt a single payer health care system.
This is an ongoing outrage.
The World Bank along with the International Monetary Fund were founded on a mission to help developing countries with projects that would create jobs and progress.
In reality, what’s happening is that the loans that are being made frequently have one or both of these problems. First one: the loans are made to a dictatorship that steals it, sticking the people of the nation with the repayment problem. Since the nation’s only valuable resources are raw materials, the people sell off their minerals and land for cash to pay off the debt. The second problem is the predatory interest rates. The interest rates are so high that the loans are designed so they can never be paid back, especially in a world economy where the big players dictate the price of commodities.
The effect of this is that the mission of the world banking system has morphed into one of helping the filthy rich exploit and plunder the natural resources of the world, taking each country and leaving it in ruins like yesterday’s newspapers when they are done with it.
For a perfect example of this process in progress, check out what is happening with the deforestation of Brazil. Follow the money.
It’s an outrage, and one that will push the planet ever closer to the edge of its ability to support human life.
In November 1986, it was discovered that senior officials in the Reagan Administration were selling arms to Iran (despite an arms embargo) and funneling the money from the sales into the Contras, a rebel group in Nicaragua that was friendly to the US (supposedly). The arms deal was also hoped to help secure the release of 7 more American hostages that an Iranian group had taken.
As you may remember, Ronald Reagan came into Washington as the tough guy who ended the Iranian hostage crisis that had plagued the Presidency of Jimmy Carter for 400 days. Yet other Americans were being held that none of us heard about.
To ice the cake, the arms were shipped through Israel, the nation that Iran has sworn to wipe off the map.
This is an outrage, and it is made more outrageous by the fact that persons involved in the illegal sales and money delivery to the Contras were given a slap on the wrist. Ronald Reagan never took personal responsibility for it, and I remember seeing the news conference where he denied any knowledge of this activity in in his administration. He looked as daft as a stump.
To add outrage to illegal activity, at least one the players went on to become a media personality. Oliver North, who helped cover up the operation by shredding boxes upon boxes of documents with his secretary Fawn Hall, was a regular on Fox News for a period of time.
Our monetary system governed by the system of privately-owned “Federal” Reserve banks is FUCKED.
This is a huge subject and one that deserves a better treatment than I can give it this morning, so please just try to grasp the basic idea (which is all I’m going to be able to explain to you, anyway).
Due to banking regulations, your corner bank is only required to have a fraction of the money it loans available in its vault. This amount comes from a complicated formula, but if you will forgive a Wikipedia citation it goes like this:
A depository institution’s reserve requirements vary by the dollar amount of net transaction accounts held at that institution. Effective December 29, 2011, institutions with net transactions accounts:
- Of less than $12.4 million have no minimum reserve requirement;
- Between $12.4 million and $79.5 million must have a liquidity ratio of 3%;
- Exceeding $79.5 million must have a liquidity ratio of 10%.
The numerical amounts stated above are recalculated annually according to a statutory formula.
So if your bank has less than $12.4 million out in loans (according to this 2011 information) it is required to have NO CASH ON HAND.
So what does this mean, exactly? Let’s say you walk into that bank for a loan. You ask for $25,000 for a car loan. The banker checks your credit, decides that you’re good for it, and hands you a check for $25K.
$25,000 just got created by putting a few bytes of data into a computer system.
You deposit the check, go down to your local car dealership, and buy that set of wheels, writing out a check for $25,000 to pay for the car. You just got tangible goods by giving the car dealer non-existent money.
Does anyone see a problem with this system? What is the car really worth? $25,000 or nothing? Who owns the car, the bank? How can the bank own the car, since it gave you nothing when you took out the loan? When the car dealer deposits your check, and paying off their creditors and employees, what are they really paying them with?
It’s a Ponzi scheme, a house of cards, predicated on continuous consumption and inflation. It is highly vulnerable to upsets, and we are living one of those right now.
There are a lot more things wrong with the Fed. If Ron Paul ever got one thing right it was his demand to audit the Fed.
It’s an outrage, and I hope that if the house of cards collapses in your lifetime you don’t end up living off the dirt like so many did after the 1929 crash. A monetary system crash would be an order of magnitude worse.
The Fed was crammed down our throats. America didn’t have an all-powerful central banking system until a 1907 crisis created the opportunity to create one in 1913. The Fed slowly grew in strength, and finally became the monster it is today in 1951, when it was granted independence from the Executive Branch of the US government.
This is an outrage. We claim the right to private property but in reality, the banking system controls the very currency by which we measure the value of that property. Again, a small group of hyper-wealthy individuals meets in secret with no oversight to decide the monetary policy of the wealthiest nation on earth.
Good morrrrrrning, fellow Outragers! Happy Monday to you, may the slings and arrows you suffer in your workplace slavery to the corporation today be gentle and not too condescending.
A bit of correction is in order. I have continued to date all the outrages of the New Year as 2012! Holy cow! How can you trust a guy who gets THAT wrong?
The obvious answer is that you shouldn’t. I’m an internet commentator, and you should cross-check every post here with other sources, hopefully including books. But even books are biased, or maybe especially books are biased, so please check a lot of sources and weigh them carefully. I don’t take a lot of time for research on each one of these posts; I am posting much of the information from memory and I look up a few facts such as dates and some of the obscure names I may have forgotten. Even when doing that I find discrepancies among various sources, so be careful what you believe!
On to the Worst Outrage for Week of 12/31/12…
Again there are some choice ones. Executive Branch overreach, massacres, trashing our educational system to create good little slaves, Presidential bald-faced lying over provocation of war… it’s a tough call. But I believe I will go with the last, 1/4/12 Outrage: LBJ Fabricates Gulf of Tonkin “incident” for Excuse to Escalate US into Viet Nam conflict. My reasoning here is that this lie by LBJ created more death and human suffering than any of the others, not to mention tearing our nation apart at the seams.
Many people don’t understand how the US got entangled in Viet Nam. It’s a part of our history that needs to be understood, or we will continue to relive it. We HAVE already relived it in Iraq and continue to relive it in Afghanistan. There are many who want to relive it in Iran.
Let’s get analytical about this and demand better thinking from those who claim power to lead us. Lead us not into another senseless war which will create the waste byproducts of death, destruction, and more wars.
Update 1/8/12…. I just got an email from TomDispatch announcing the release of a new book by Nick Turse called Kill Anything That Moves. The book provides documented evidence that My Lai was NOT an isolated incident, rather, that it closer to the norm. You may purchase the book at Amazon.com.
From the History Channel website (sorry, I’m busy today)
In one of the most horrific incidents of violence against civilians during the Vietnam War, a company of American soldiers brutally killed the majority of the population of the South Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai in March 1968. Though exact numbers remain unconfirmed, it is believed that as many as 500 people including women, children and the elderly were killed in the My Lai Massacre. Higher-ranking U.S. Army officers managed to cover up the events of that day for a year before revelations by a soldier who had heard of the massacre sparked a wave of international outrage and led to a special investigation into the matter.
The attack on the villagers was especially heinous as it included the rape and mutilation of women.
This brutal and unthinkable act of violence is an outrage on many levels. The soldiers were outraged and feeling helpless in trying to fight an asymmetric war against guerrillas which they felt that their commanders did not understand. The war itself was an attempt to prop up a corrupt government which was unpopular with the people. Further, as pointed out earlier this week, US involvement in Viet Nam was predicated on a lie, and was really an attempt to fight a proxy war except that 58,000 of our own citizens died in it.
The final outrage is that the incident remained hidden for a year. When it was brought to light, 26 soldiers were charged with murder of civilians, but only one of them was convicted, Lt. William Calley. He was convicted of 22 murders, and given a life sentence, of which he served 3-1/2 years of house arrest.
Three and one half years sentence for presiding over the murder of hundreds? Outrageous, and yet another example of American exceptionalism at work. We value our lives more than the lives of the citizens of other countries, even if we are committing war crimes against them. Any questions?
For some time now, at least since the 9/11 attacks and before, our US Presidents have claimed the authority to do practically anything that crosses their minds including starting illegal wars, unchecked domestic spying, torturing prisoners, holding prisoners indefinitely without evidence or charges, and creating “kill lists” of so-called enemies of the state including US citizens. When asked by reporters by what authority they commit these acts, the last two Presidents, Bush and Obama, have made statements to the effect of “My first job is to keep the American people safe.”
OK, hold the fucking phone. That is NOT the President’s job, in fact, it never has been even remotely considered to be part of their job description. The President’s job, according to the US Constitution, is this from Article II section 1 of the US Constitution:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Nowhere in the US Constitution or in US Code does it mention that the job of the President is to protect the safety of the American People. The assertion by our last two Presidents, including our sitting President, that “Safety is Job 1″ is simplistic, inaccurate, insulting, and an outrage. So many misdeeds have been done under the cover of this bullshit answer that it’s time for Americans to wake the fuck up and stop accepting this nonsense as an answer to to question for which the answer is actually “I don’t have any authority to do these things, I’m just another despot pretending to preside over the Best Damn Country in the World.”
The US is suffering from a horrible case of Executive Branch Overreach and at the same time Legislative Branch dereliction of duty. The American public has been horns-waggled into believing that the US government actually IS the President. Congress is OK with this, because while the President is grabbing up all their power, they are not held responsible for it any more but they can still get all the lobbyist money they ever wanted. It’s a lose-lose proposition.
And it’s an outrage.
1/4/12 Outrage: LBJ Fabricates Gulf of Tonkin “incident” for Excuse to Escalate US into Viet Nam conflict
On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox was patrolling in the Gulf of Tonkin in what North Vietnam declared as territorial waters (the standard 12 mile limit recognized by most of the world). The Maddox was ordered to stay at least 8 miles off the coast; this was an extremely provocative move and for a feeling of what that might be like imagine yourself swimming in Miami with North Korean gunboats on the horizon.
The North Vietnamese engaged the Maddox with 3 torpedo boats. A battle ensued, during which 4 US Navy jets were also called in to strafe the Vietnamese torpedo boats. The Maddox sustained minor damage and no casualties. The North Vietnamese sustained 6 casualties, but by whose reporting we’ll never know.
Then on August 6th, the Maddox was on a similar patrol inside Viet Nam’s territorial boundaries and the radar crew picked up what it thought was another impending attack by torpedo boats speeding in their direction. But there were no torpedo boats or anything else. Some reports say that the Maddox fired its guns at non-existent targets. However, there were never any enemy vessels involved.
But since when does the US need Reality on its side to make a life-or-death decision that would cost millions of lives including 58,000 American lives? Hell, those gooks had to die, right? So LBJ seized the opportunity of a phantom, non-existent attack to write up the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which began the escalation and eventual humiliation of the US into the Viet Nam war.
What? Outrage? Why should we be outraged? It’s obvious, isn’t it? From Pearl Harbor to the attack on the Maine, to 9/11, to the sinking of the Lusitania, the US has come up with excuses to exercise its military muscle all over the world. Frequently with disastrous results, I should add. And that is, indeed, an outrage.
As further evidence of limitations of certain rights specifically mentioned in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, we consider Free Speech Zones.
Free Speech Zones were invented by the Bush Administration under the guise of security (of course) convenience for the Secret Service. There had been a few scattered examples of Free Speech Zones during the Viet Nam war protest era, but the use of them truly blossomed under the Bush Administration. Bush went crazy with Free Speech zones during the 2004 Presidential campaign against John Kerry.
The idea was to keep Iraq war protestors in literal cages of chain link fence with barbed wire on the top (in some notable applications) and out of sight and out of earshot of Presidential events. This would keep the protestors out of the media, too. It was just another attempt to hide the growing opposition to the illegal, immoral, and unnecessary invasion, overthrow, and occupation of Iraq.
In some cases where cages couldn’t be constructed (or where they weren’t expected to be needed) the Secret Service and their helpers arrested war protestors for simply approaching the site of a Bush campaign speech. This happened in our city and it was a major scandal for about one day in the news. (Our local news stations are all corporate media whores).
So, although the US government draws no line as to where they can read your email, monitor your internet usage, and evesdrop on your phone calls, they sure as hell draw a line as to where you can exercise free speech. This is an outrage, it’s anti-American, and it’s illegal.