Friday, September 28, 2007

Chavez and Ahmadinejad Pow-wow Amid Fears of US 'Economic Armageddon'

One is tempted to conclude that Chavez and Ahmadinejad are meeting to plan the death of the US dollar. Certainly, an oil bourse trading in Euros, might do the trick. Both men at the head of countries that still produce significant amounts of oil may have this power.

It is no coincidence that most recent dollar falls have occurred during the regime of George W. Bush, who walks a tight rope by keeping the dollar low but not collapsed. That, instead of building up a real economy, is how Bush floats his bubble upon the backs of US poor, US elderly and people in developing nations all over the world

Otherwise, the jobless rate would be even worse and Bush's failed regime would be seen for what it is: a house of cards. Chavez and Ahmadinejad have the power to collapse the house or break the bank. They have the power to expose the fraud Bush perpetrates at home and abroad.

Bush must surely be haunted by Iranian threats --not nuclear but monetary. I will leave it to economists to predict what might happen to the US economy if Iran should follow through with plans to establish an oil bourse trading in Euros, not dollars.

Ahmadinejad has Bush by the cajones. Unless Bush is prepared to utterly wipe out Iran, there is really very little Bush can do about it. Just this morning Ahmadinejad is in Venezuela for talks with Hugo Chavez. Both men have defied US imperialism. Both men lead oil producing countries. Both men detest Bush. Both men have a common interest --trading oil in currency other than the US dollar. If Bush were a responsible and legitimate President, the prospects might keep him awake at night.

It was about a year ago, as you may recall, that Hugo Chavez stirred the UN General Assembly and the world, calling Bush "the Devil". Bush had been there, Chavez said at the time. You could still smell the sulphur. These days its not sulphur but dollars going up in smoke as US currency continues its long slide into oblivion.
Current geopolitical tensions between the United States and Iran extend beyond the publicly stated concerns regarding Iran's nuclear intentions, and likely include a proposed Iranian "petroEuro " system for oil trade. Similar to the Iraq war, military operations against Iran relate to the macroeconomics of 'petrodollar recycling' and the un-publicized but real challenge to US dollar supremacy from the Euro as an alternative oil transaction currency.

It is now obvious the invasion of Iraq had less to do with any threat from Saddam's long-gone WMD program and certainly less to do to do with fighting International terrorism than it has to do with gaining strategic control over Iraq's hydrocarbon reserves and in doing so maintain the US dollar as the monopoly currency for the critical international oil market. Throughout 2004 information provided by former administration insiders revealed the Bush/Cheney administration entered into office with the intention of toppling Saddam.[1][2] Candidly stated, 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' was a war designed to install a pro-US government in Iraq, establish multiple US military bases before the onset of global Peak Oil, and to reconvert Iraq back to petrodollars while hoping to thwart further OPEC momentum towards the Euro as an alternative oil transaction currency

--Petrodollar Warfare & The Euro

Coppes is no crank. He's chief economicst for Morgan-Stanley and predicted a 90% chance of a US "economic armageddon".

It's been a slow but steady decline over decades. Gore Vidal puts a specific date on it, wrapping up our fiscal weakness with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947 [NSC-68]; then implemented in January 1950. The National Security Council was created by Public Law 80-253, approved July 26, 1947, as part of a general reorganization of the US. national security apparatus. The function of the NSC as outlined in the 1947 act was to advise the President on integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to national security and to facilitate interagency cooperation. At the President's direction, the NSC could also assess and appraise risks to US national security, consider policies, and then report or make recommendations to the President.

In his retirement President Truman denied any responsibility for "cloak and dagger operations" but it was during his Presidency that covert intelligence operations in support of foreign policy objectives was undertaken on an ever broadening scale. The NSC's first action (NSC 1/1) authorized covert action in the Italian elections. The formal institutionalization of covert actions was established as NSC 4 in December 1947, and NSC 10/2 of June 1948.
I was asked to speak tonight about the National Security Act of 1947, which was enacted sixty years ago to the day. On a personal and professional level, it’s extremely significant to me—it created the two organizations I currently represent: the Air Force and CIA. Today is a double anniversary, so I’ve been invited to a lot more celebrations than usual.

--CIA Director's Remarks at the INSA Dinner

It was with the passage of this act, Vidal says, that the US began a regime of strict "governmental control of our economy coupled with the gradual erosion of our liberties" and all in the interest of "national security". Truman, in Vidal's view, thus sold us out upon the urging of GOP Senator Arthur Vandenburg, GOP, who "...told Truman that if he really wanted all those weapons and all those high taxes to pay for them, he had better 'scare the hell out of the American people."

Thus began three trends that have sealed our fate --our eventual bankruptcy as a result of empire, perpetual war ala Orwell, and --the unkindest cut of all --Democratic sell outs to the GOP! The result is the "auctioning off" of the office of President of the United States, an eventuality embodied in Mussolini's term: corporatism.

Something similar occurred on March 28th, 193 AD, when the Praetorian guards, literally, sold the Roman empire to the wealthy senator Didius Julianus for the bargain price of 6250 drachmas. I haven't tried to buy drachmas (lately) but it sounds like a bargain compared to the absurdly high prices that are paid by US corporations for control of the US Presidency, indeed, the US government. Our modern day "Didius" has fared better than Julianus.
A magnificent feast was prepared by his order, and he amused himself until a very late hour, with dice, and the performances of Pylades, a celebrated dancer. Yet it was observed that after the crowd of flatterers dispersed, and left him to darkness, solitude, and terrible reflection, he passed a sleepless night; revolving most probably in his mind his own rash folly, the fate of his virtuous predecessor, and the doubtful and dangerous tenure of an empire, which had not been acquired by merit, but purchased by money.

- Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; See also: Edward Gibbon: General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West

An important point must be made here. Gibbon reports that Julianus paid for the Roman Empire in "drachmas". "Drachmas" denotes Greek currency. At that time, the basic unit of currency in Ancient Rome was a bronze coin called an as or aes. A sestertius, another bronze coin, was worth four asses. A silver coin, the denarius, was worth 16 asses. [I will not go there!]

If Gibbon is correct, it is an indication that Rome, by that time in decline, had suffered a catastrophic devaluation of its coinage. Even now "real" money is considered by some to be "gold" if anything at all has intrinsic value. That Didius Julianus would pay in Greek currency, not Roman, indicates to me that the smart money had already dumped the as, the asses, and the sestertius for drachmas. At last, bronze would seem to have little intrinsic value as "real" money unless you had enough of it to melt down for public statuary. I would wager that only very wealthy Roman aristocracy possessed denarius, which they might have held against the complete collapse of bronze coins.

Here's where everything begins to hit us where we live. Gibbon is remembered not only because he wrote a comprehensive nine volume history of the Roman Empire, he ventured a thesis: the Roman Empire, he claims, fell to barbarian invasions because of "a loss of civic virtue". The citizenry had become lazy. The empire had taken up the habit of "outsourcing" to barbarian mercenaries the more odious jobs, primarily the defense of the empire itself. By the time the Emperor Valens faced the "barbarians" at Adrianople, it is probably true that none of his some 40,000 legionaries were, properly, citizens of Rome. They were, perhaps, the 379 AD version of Blackwater, composed largely of Syrians and "barbarian" troops from Gaul. [I can't resist a trivia diversion. Gibbon, who devoted his life to his history of Rome, left London to complete his work in a less hectic environment: Lausanne on Lac Leman, otherwise known as Lake Geneva.]

As St. Thomas More said, our "business" now lies in escaping. He actually felt it his duty. But, alas, More was beheaded for his efforts. I still have hopes that we fare better but the road ahead is daunting. More understood how, in his own time, a privileged elite exploited the economic misfortunes of others.
The rich men not only by private fraud, but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the poor some part of their daily living. So whereas it seemed before unjust to recompense with unkindness their pains that have been beneficial to the public weal, now they have to this their wrong and unjust dealing given the name of justice, yea, and that by force of law. Therefore when I consider and weigh in my mind all these commonwealths, which nowadays anywhere do flourish, so God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth.

--Sir Thomas More, Utopia

Bush having screwed the world, the "world" seems conspicuously less inclined to come to America's aid.

The rest of the world may come to our aid when Bush is securely out of office but mere regime change will mean little. I see no stomach in either party for the reforms that might stay the hand of economic fate. As long as Bush is President, there is little upside for Europe, China, or Japan to continue shoring up a collapsing dollar.

France bailed out our failing "Revolution" --not because they loved us, but because the separation of American colonies from the British Empire was in their interests. The arrogance of American regimes and this one in particular does not help our case today. In revolutionary times, Benjamin Franklin charmed the French who adopted the "coonskin" hat and made of it the fashion statement du jour. Bush is no Franklin. In Europe, he is a cockroach, une blatte.

Bush misrule has taken its toll. Recently, in Europe, I watched a BBC documentary about happiness and the nature of governments in those nations whose people are most happy. The conclusion: happy people are more numerous in Democratic countries which respect privacy, civil liberties, and individual rights --freedom of speech and religion. People also tend to be happier in wealthier nations though wealth, in and of itself, does not correlate precisely with individual happiness.

The war on terrorism was lost when Bush became a terrorist. Bush has, thus, attacked the very source of our "happiness" --our nation's wealth, our privacy, our civil liberties and rights, our sense of security. It is difficult to be happy with the knowledge that one's own government has made of itself your enemy, militating openly against your interests and those of your neighbors.

Still, I urge everyone to make an existentialist choice. Choose to be happy in spite of Bush. It will drive him even nuttier than he already is. I suggest Victor Frankl's "Man Search for Meaning". Frankl knows what he writes about, having survived a Nazi death camp. The least we can do is survive George W. Bush.


Alan Greenspan's Role in Dollar Fall


The Trillion Dollar Bet

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Why Conservatives Hate America




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