Friday, March 13, 2009

How the U.S. went from 'World's Number One Exporter of Terrorism' to Bankrupt

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The US is the world's number one exporter of world terrorism and, at the same time, sustains, by far, the world's largest NEGATIVE current account balance of $ -568,800,000,000. [See: CIA: The World Factbook] In every area but 'terrorism', the US trails the world. It has not helped America's case that monies 'earned' exporting death and destruction have not helped the US current account balance which remains negative. It is, however, clear that the US makes its living, 'killing'. Fat lotta good that has done the people of the US.

US Army documents detail the extent to which the US has become addicted to the export of death and destruction. According to that document, the US leads the world in the manufacture, sale and distribution of WMD, the use of 'terrorist' tactics and PSYOPS, and overt acts of aggression that when done by smaller nations are called 'terrorism'.

US military spending is greater than that spent by the rest of the world’s nations combined. As the US claims to 'defend' Democracy, it subverts it. How is the US truly concerned about terrorists acquiring WMD when it is the US that leads the world in the manufacture, sale and distribution of WMD? WMD are a big chunk of our GDP. Military spending, generally, is by far the biggest slice of the pie. The US is in the death business.

Anything said by the GOP about 'terrorism' or the failing US economy is either a bald-faced lie or said disingenuously, in bad faith. Anything said by the GOP about the economy must be weighed against the GOP agenda du jour: figure out a way to pin the rap on Obama! GOP focus groups have been tasked with coming up with up with plausible cover stories that can be 'sold' to the public.

Earlier, Bushie Reaganheads tried to blame Clinton for the consequences of twelve long years in which Reagan and Bush --by way of Reagan's tax cut of 1982 --looted the nation, transferred wealth upward from working folk to lazy, unproductive 'elites', offshore to tax havens and overseas to potential enemies and the MIC. As a result, the US will have no shortage of enemies and real 'terrorists' many of whom are financed with US monies and US government blessings.

There has been a very high price paid for years of GOP-Oh-nomics, an era defined by the preferential treatment shown the privileged class, an era in which 'real income' and purchasing power declined.
The merchandise trade deficit reached a record $847 billion in 2007, but declined to $810 billion in 2008, as a depreciating exchange rate for the dollar against most major currencies discouraged US imports and made US exports more competitive abroad. The global economic downturn, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, investment bank failures, falling home prices, and tight credit pushed the United States into a recession by mid-2008. To help stabilize financial markets, the US Congress established a $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in October 2008. The government used some of these funds to purchase equity in US banks and other industrial corporations. In January 2009 the US Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed a bill providing an additional $787 billion fiscal stimulus - two-thirds on additional spending and one-third on tax cuts - to create jobs and to help the economy recover.

--CIA, World Factbook
If the US trails the world in exports, it is fair to ask how the US stays afloat. The answer is ugly. As the US ceased to export significant amounts of product during the Reagan years, China found, in our decline, an opportunity. They would buy bucks, so that the US could afford to buy the products of Chinese industry. Under the missrules of Herrs Reagan and Bush, the US became a vassal state of China.

The US benefited from the world addiction to oil. Demand for the dollar was supported by the fact that oil was traded in dollars on world markets, prominently, the Iranian Oil Bourse. If, for example, a nation's currency was francs, it had first to trade those francs for bucks in order to buy oil.

In the meantime, the US found another product that it could export: world terrorism! While the US is said to be 'defending' Democracy, it is, in fact, subverting it. As US exports declined, US 'militarism' increased. The US justifies imperial aggression with the pretext that terrorists may acquire WMD. That position is undermined by two facts: 1) the US leads the world in the manufacture, sale and distribution of it last remaining export: WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION! If the US were genuinely concerned about the proliferation of WMD, it would stop encouraging it and profiting from it; 2) The source for WMD among 'alleged' terrorists is the United States. Chances are good that so-called 'terrorists' will have obtained its weaponry with monies raised selling cocaine to one of the largest drug dealers on the planet Earth: the CIA!

Because of criminal, right-wing politics, US policy guaranteed an endless supply of enemies and real 'terrorists' many of whom were and continue to be financed with US monies originating inside the US, specifically, the CIA, the US Military, Military Contractors and professional 'dirty tricksters' who freelance for the CIA.

One of the 'smoking guns' indicting US policy and criminality is a 'manual' intended to be released only to 'students from foreign countries on a case-by-case basis'.The manual outlines a program of 'irregular warfare', in other words, US state sponsored terrorism, insurgency, and PSYOPS.
1-21. Waging protracted IW depends on building global capability and capacity. IW will not be won by the United States alone but rather through combined efforts with multinational partners. Combined IW will require the joint force to establish a long-term sustained presence in numerous countries to build partner capability and capacity. This capability and capacity extends U.S. operational reach, multiplies forces available, and provides increased options for defeating adversaries. The constituent activities of IW are:
  • Insurgency.
  • COIN.
  • UW.
  • Terrorism
  • CT.
  • FID.
  • Stability, security, transition, and reconstruction (SSTR) operations.
  • Strategic communication (SC).
  • PSYOP.
  • Civil-military operations (CMO).
  • Information operations (IO).
  • Intelligence and counterintelligence (CI) activities.
  • Transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms dealing, and illegal financial transactions that support or sustain IW.
  • Law enforcement activities focused on countering irregular adversaries.
1-22. The above list of operations and activities can be conducted within IW;

--Headquarters, Department of the Army, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare, September 2008
Ignoring 1) the mountainous body of evidence that US policy and the CIA, specifically, is the root-cause of the vast majority of the what is commonly called 'world terrorism'; and 2) the equally impressive body of hard evidence that 911 was an inside job, the Army cites 911 as the pretext by which the US should embark upon the policy as outlined above.
1-18. The 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States highlighted the increased danger of warfare conducted by other-than-state enemies. Recognizing that such irregular threats by nonstate actors would be a likely and even dominant pattern throughout the 21st century, national policy makers dictated that planners must analyze and prepare for such irregular threats. It was clear that previous assumptions about the terms “conventional,” “traditional,” or “regular” warfare, and reliance solely on a “regular” or “conventional warfare” doctrine were inadequate. IW was a significant theme in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report. In April 2006, the Pentagon drafted the execution roadmap for IW as a means of combating this growing threat from actions beyond conventional state-to-state military conflict.

--Headquarters, Department of the Army, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare, September 2008
Elsewhere, the document cites the threat posed to the US by "WMD—such as nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. But I have yet to find a single word, phrase, sentence or paragraph in which the manual mentions the threat posed to the rest of the world by some forty years or more of US meddling, threats, covert operations, US sponsored assassinations, overt threats, bombing and/or war and invasion. Instead, we get platitudes that are made absolutely meaningless by the remainder of the Army document.
A-64. Democracy and the protection of fundamental liberties were the basis for the creation of the United States more than 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been to promote respect for democracy and human rights throughout the world. The DOS— .. Promotes democracy as a way to achieve security, stability, and prosperity for the entire world. .. Helps establish and assist newly formed democracies.

op cit
The US Army document is an arrogant, imperialistic and ill-considered response to a growing 'threat' --but a threat that is posed only to US monopolists and death merchants, i.e., the Military/Industrial Complex, a fancy name for Murder, Inc. The US has squandered the limitless goodwill that had been extended our nation at the end of World War II.

This blog predicted the impending financial collapse several times during Bush's illegal occupancy of the Oval Office. Here is one of them.
It's been over seven years since the US had real or competent leadership and now a neo-ape man may precipitate our return to the cave! Iran threatens Bush's simplistic view of the world as well as the coffers of "big oil". Iran, isolated by mysteriously cut internet cables, will this month begin trading oil in currencies other than the dollar. Bush's cave man solution: nuke Iran! Kill, kill!
On September 16 1985, when the Commerce Department announced that the United States had become a debtor nation, the American Empire was as dead, theoretically, as its predecessor, the British. Our empire was seventy-one years old and had been in ill financial health since 1968. Like most modern empires, ours rested not so much on military prowess as on economic primacy.

--Gore Vidal, Chapter Three of Imperial America (Nation Books, 2005)

Bush's response to Iran's "Oil Bourse", as you may recall, was, typically, pre-stone age. At the time I posted the article excerpted above, I predicted that the US empire would collapse and with it, the dollar. We will continue to pay and suffer the consequences for having let Bush get away with stealing the White House and occupying it illegally.

Addendum

I hate to say I told you so --but:
Sixteen years ago, two economists published a research paper with a delightfully simple title: “Looting.”

The economists were George Akerlof, who would later win a Nobel Prize, and Paul Romer, the renowned expert on economic growth. In the paper, they argued that several financial crises in the 1980s, like the Texas real estate bust, had been the result of private investors taking advantage of the government. The investors had borrowed huge amounts of money, made big profits when times were good and then left the government holding the bag for their eventual (and predictable) losses.

In a word, the investors looted. Someone trying to make an honest profit, Professors Akerlof and Romer said, would have operated in a completely different manner. The investors displayed a “total disregard for even the most basic principles of lending,” failing to verify standard information about their borrowers or, in some cases, even to ask for that information.

The investors “acted as if future losses were somebody else’s problem,” the economists wrote. “They were right.”

On Tuesday morning in Washington, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, gave a speech that read like a sad coda to the “Looting” paper. Because the government is unwilling to let big, interconnected financial firms fail — and because people at those firms knew it — they engaged in what Mr. Bernanke called “excessive risk-taking.” To prevent such problems in the future, he called for tougher regulation.

...

Above all, as Mr. Romer says, the federal government needs the power and the will to take over a firm as soon as its potential losses exceed its assets. Anything short of that is an invitation to loot.

Mr. Bernanke actually took a step in this direction on Tuesday. He said the government “needs improved tools to allow the orderly resolution of a systemically important nonbank financial firm.” In layman’s terms, he was asking for a clearer legal path to nationalization.

At a time like this, when trust in financial markets is so scant, it may be hard to imagine that looting will ever be a problem again. But it will be. If we don’t get rid of the incentive to loot, the only question is what form the next round of looting will take.

--NYT: The Looting of America’s Coffers

It all started when Cramer got perturbed by a segment TDS did on CNBC's financial network (Jon Stewart Eviscerates CNBC and Rick Santelli ).

He was so mad that he showed up on a bunch of NBC shows crying about the way he was portrayed. Stewart really just said what all of America wanted to say to Wall Street: F*&K You!

Tonight we had the big face-off, the heavyweight bout, the Super Bowl square-off between CNBC's Jim Cramer and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. Cramer was especially upset about being included in a segment TDS produced on the horrible and almost criminal reporting CNBC has been airing as THE go-to business network after CNBC's Rick Santelli attacked average working-class people who got caught up in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Santelli dubbed them as "losers." Well, the only loser tonight was Cramer and CNBC.

Jim basically sat there, starry-eyed like a lost puppy, and was virtually silent throughout the three-segment show featuring him. He basically waved the white flag and said, "You got me."

--Crooks and Liars, Jon Stewart creams Jim Cramer on the Daily Show!

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