Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How K Street Pimps America

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

K street --DC's lobby district --like a 'red light district', pimps America but it is the American people who get screwed! The US government is increasingly answerable to foreign governments rather than to the American electorate. A previous EC article charged that Rupert Murdoch and his crooked Fox network 'shilled' Bush's war crime against Iraq and profited from it. However important its support of Bush, Fox is small potatoes compared to the growing influence exerted by foreign governments upon the government of the United States.

There are historical analogies. It was Didius Julianus who bought the Roman empire from the same praetorians who had assassinated Pertinax, his imperial predecessor. The Praetorian Guard 'pimped' an empire.

The US is, likewise, whored to big spenders. Acts of 'state' prostitution are ongoing and institutionalized. Like Rome, the US economy now depends upon conquest. Iraq had oil. The US needed it. The question is: did the US go to war because it was beholden to foreign entities or foreign governments? Did the US go to war because of the growing power of the Israeli lobby?

The Military/Industrial complex may be compared to a clearing house, broker, pimp! To this end, the US is regularly sold to the highest bidders. By the time the Roman Empire was sold at auction to one Didius Julianus, Rome's currency had already collapsed, as the dollar is likewise endangered. The smart money had already dumped sestercius for Greek Drachmas and the sale of the empire was concluded in Greek currency --not Roman.

The most powerful lobbies are not American citizens or even US corporations but foreign governments or foreign corporations. Today, the 'auctioning off of America' takes place on and around K Street in DC. Because K street pimps the government to foreign interests not subject to the US Constitution, US citizens have little or no influence on Congress, less upon the 'Presidency', and none upon the un-elected army of lobbyists and bribe brokers.

Foreign governments have traditionally worked through diplomatic channels, primarily embassies. About 100 countries do precisely that. Lately, however, the work of diplomats and embassies is increasingly replaced by PR firms and well-financed lobbies. Like war, diplomacy has been 'privatized'; diplomacy 'corporatized'

The strongest foreign lobbies have domestic constituencies in ethnic populations --Israel, China, Armenia, Ireland, Greece, India, Taiwan and Ukraine. Even Australia, Japan, and Norway maintain both lobbies and embassies.

Lobbyists are not constrained by traditional diplomatic protocols. A lobbyist can identify with a domestic ethnic bloc politically, in ways that diplomats cannot. Lobbyists, better financed than diplomats, may exert influences at odds with US national interests.

A palpable sense of despair throughout the "land of the free" is due in no small part to the growing awareness among citizens that they no long count for much in the halls of government. They are correct. The small businessman on 'main street', the 'wage slave', the American 'everyman' is most certainly outspent by Israeli or Chinese lobbies. People don't count in the age of demographics.

As the US espouses peace, prosperity and Democracy, it breaks the peace, confiscates oil and imposes imperial rule not on behalf of US citizens but, increasingly at the behest of foreign lobbies, huge multi-national corporations, and institutionalized liars like Fox. Bush said: "The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper!" For the small army of foreign power brokers in DC, he was absolutely correct. There is no allegiance to the US Constitution among foreign lobbyists. This is a major source of the gaping disconnect between the needs of the people and the actions of the US government.
In wars, there is always a difference between the motives of the soldiers and the motives of the political leaders who send them into battle. My motive, like that of so many, was innocent of imperial ambition. It was to help defeat fascism and create a more decent world, free of aggression, militarism, and racism.

The motive of the US establishment, understood by the aerial gunner I knew, was of a different nature. It was described early in 1941 by Henry Luce, multi-millionaire owner of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines, as the coming of "The American Century." The time had arrived, he said, for the United States "to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit, and by such means as we see fit."

--Howard Zinn, Empire or Humanity? What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me About the American Empire
If the needs and/or motives of the 'people' were still relevant, the US might never go to war. Because US wars are, of late, fought on behalf of foreign constituencies, American citizens have suffered --NOT benefited. Wars are almost always disastrous. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research makes a convincing case that military spending has the effect of depressing the economy.
  • After an initial demand stimulus, the effect of increased military spending turns negative around the sixth year. After 10 years of higher defense spending, there would be 464,000 fewer jobs than in the baseline scenario with lower defense spending.

  • Inflation and interest rates are considerably higher. After 5 years, the interest rate on 10-Year Treasury notes is projected to be 0.7 percentage points higher than in the baseline scenario. After 10 years, the gap would rise to 0.9 percentage points.

  • Higher interest rates lead to reduced demand in the interest-sensitive sectors of the economy. After 5 years, annual car and truck sales are projected to go down by 192,200 in the high military spending scenario. After 10 years, the drop is projected to be 323,300 and after 20 years annual sales are projected to be down 731,400.

  • Construction and manufacturing are the sectors that are projected to experience the largest shares of the job loss.

  • --Center for Economic and Policy Research: The Economic Impact of the Iraq War and Higher Military Spending
One is tempted to make an analogy with pre-depression America, dominated by GOP presidents Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, all of whom are identified with laissez-faire capitalism. During the Roaring Twenties, Americans danced the Charleston and the Black Bottom (don't ask!) and played the stock market. Someone wrote a paper about how easy it was to get rich but when it all came crashing down, a famous pop tune summed it all up: "Brother, Can you Spare a Dime?"

GOP regimes slashed taxes and regulations; monopolies were winked at if not encouraged. It was an era characterized, as was Reagan's administration, by great inequalities in income and wealth. The US was on the Gold Standard and the Fed maintained a tight money policy. The Great Depression is still a great source of GOP embarrassment but apparently insufficient to inspire a change of policy. Sure enough, Reagan's tax cut of 1982 benefited only the very rich.

With respect to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan specifically, CEPR commissioned Global Insight, economic forecasting company, to create a macro-economic model that would simulate the impact that an increase in annual US military spending might have on the economy. With an increase of 1 percent of GDP, the simulation demonstrates higher interest rates, reduced net exports, depressed housing construction and car sales, and a slower job creation rate. In other words --an economic slowdown. If not stopped --recession, depression.

Much may be learned form the Roman experience. Roman legions had not always been the professional hard core types we see in spectacular movies like The Fall of the Roman Empire in the '60s or the more recent Gladiator. Legions of the Republic were most often laborers, shopkeepers or farmers. I doubt that any of them benefited or profited in any way from Rome's increased militarism.

Often --whenever the war du jour was over --a returning legionnaire would find that his farm had been confiscated by an aristocrat who had seized it for back taxes (presumably) and had converted into a villa or a vineyard or both. Eventually, ordinary jobs were out-sourced to slaves from the far flung reaches of empire and it is not hard to imagine unemployment rising as the Republic became Empire and as the empire became a military dictatorship. It easy enough to imagine Rome's poor, out of work, hungry, in need of weapons of mass distraction i.e, bread and circuses.

GOP politicians are known to favor military bases and local folk often think it a plus when a base locates near them. Merchants have visions of easy sales. But what hope is there for a small town having the misfortune to be the location of a nearby base as well as a nearby Wal-Mart? I would think it time to "up sticks" and move on.

Jobs are said to be created wherever military bases are established. Indeed, base towns often spring up around a base but disappear when bases are closed. Many have been closed over the last twenty years or so. Many not closed were scaled down. There was a time when local merchants jacked up prices upon word of increases in military pay. But, on the whole, the creation of bases leaves much to be desired as a way of stimulating or even creating an economy. Better to have a smaller town with a healthy local economy than a "tent" city following or dependent upon bases.

War was then as it is now --a racket, a lose-lose deal for everyone but the very, very rich, the military/industrial complex which is increasingly loyal to foreign interests --not those of the American people. This either borders on high treason or it is already high treason!

As this blog has repeatedly pointed out: terrorism is always worse during GOP regimes. That, I believe, is because the US Government, acting on behalf of a constituency of foreign lobbyists, has forgotten its source of sovereignty. By acting contrary to its sovereign, the US government becomes increasingly illegitimate.

According to the US State Department, the US intervened militarily 103 times in foreign countries between 1798 and 1895. Author Howard Zinn also connects "internal" imperialism with the "external" variety in Iraq and Afghanistan. It simply must be asked: for which foreign lobby were the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan fought? The Carevellian quick response is easy: the Israeli lobby!

A militarized society is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Much is made of the fact that the military provides opportunities for high school dropouts, the disadvantaged who might not otherwise get an education or a job. The military, it is said, takes these poor folk off the streets. Indeed, it takes them off the street and puts them in the line of fire in wars of naked aggression where suicide rates speak to the issue of our immoral position in Iraq.

Moreover, had not the military, by soaking up the lions share of all federal spending, more monies might have been budgeted for truly productive programs like education and training. What is to be said about a society that finds it necessary to send young people off to die in immoral wars in order to get them off the streets?
The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.

Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.

Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

Described as China's "nuclear option" in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.

It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds.

China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The Reagan/Bush Formula was simplistic and simple-minded: increase defense spending while cutting taxes for the rich. Reagan did not pioneer the formula. It had already been used to disastrous effect by the GOP cabal preceding the Great Depression. It did not work for Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover and it did not work for Ronald Reagan. Nor, more recently, did it work for Bush. The GOP has a learning problem. In some 100 years, they still don't get it! We would call a doctor an idiot if he told you just keep on doing whatever it is that's making you sick!

The best explanation is that the GOP is not merely stupid and/or crooked! The GOP --long ago --ceased to be loyal to the principles of our founding, the Constitution, the sovereignty of the people. Rather, the GOP and just enough turncoats inside the Democratic party are loyal --not to the US or the American people. Crooked politicians are bought and paid for --not by local crooks --but by foreign lobbies and foreign interests like Israel. For them, war is a racket and the business of government is reduced to dividing the booty up among well-heeled constituents. That system will remain in place until a revolution wipes the slate clean. Don't hold your breath!



Income Inquality: The Result of Irresponsible US Govt Policy

Addendum
The Praetorian Guard was formed by the emperor Augustus to help prevent assassins from reaching the emperor and murdering him as Brutus and his companions had murdered Julius Caesar. It was called by that name in imitation of the Praetorian Cohorts, or select troop, which attended the person of the praetor or general of the Roman army. This cohort is said to have been first formed by Scipio Africa nus out of the bravest troops, whom he exempted from all their duties except guarding his person.

Emperor Augustus made the praetorians a standing force after the battle of Atrium in 31 ABC. He divided them into nine cohorts (groups) of 500 soldiers each, just as with the regular legions. Augustus, in accordance with his general policy of avoiding the appearance of despotism, stationed only three of these cohorts in the capital, and dispersed the remainder in the adjacent towns of Italy. Before 2 ABC each individual cohort was lead by a tribune of equestrian rank. Afterwards, Augustus created two posts for overall command of the guard, the Praetorian Prefects.

The primary role of the Praetorians was to act as a bodyguard to the emperor and serve as a police force in the city. However, they did take to the battlefield when the need arose. Members of the guard received much higher pay than other soldiers. The scorpion appears as a symbol on much of the Praetorian equipment, possibly due to the fact that the birth sign of emperor Tiberius was scorpio. In the city, they wore no armor and carried no shield. They wore a plain tunic and carried a sword. On the battlefield they were outfitted with the same equipment as the normal legions.

...

The Praetorian Guard's number was increased by Vitalism to sixteen cohorts, or 16,000 men. Vitalism transferred many experienced soldiers into the Guard in 69 but they were generally recruited from among the young sons of the landed Italian gentry. By the reign of Omitting the praetorian guard had been increased to ten cohorts, each structured like the primary cohort of a legion (i.e containing five double-strength centuries).

In AD 193 the Praetorians assassinated the emperor Pertinax, who had ruled for eighty-seven days after the assasination of Com modus. Thus ensued a most disgraceful business and one unworthy of Rome. For, just as if it had been in some market or auction-room, both the city and its entire empire were auctioned off to Didius Julianus, a wealthy member of the Senate. Didius Julianus ruled only sixty-six days, and upon his assasination he was replaced by Septillions Sever us (AD 193-211).

Septillions Sever us disbanded the Praetorian Guard as unreliable and seditious, on account of the part they had taken in the death of Pertinax, and banished from the city. The emperors, however, could not dispense with guards, and accordingly the Praetorians were restored on a new model by Sever us, and increased to four times their ancient number.

--Praetorian Guard, Global Security

Why I Enabled Comment Moderation:
  • This blog is periodically targeted for seemingly endless, continuing waves of odious spam: a) commercial ads of several hundred words in which every other word is linked to hard core porn, shabby merchandise or other scams; b) obvious shills parroting 'talking points', party platforms, sophmoric name calling, ad hominem attacks, insults, verbal abuse, and, in some cases deliberate stupidity. Either 'stupidity' or 'ignorance' may be forgiven but not when married to militancy, arrogance, party lines and official scripts.
  • simple but completely irrelevant and off topic crap! Again --paid script pushers will be spotted, filtered and their sorry asses deleted!
  • This is not a free speech issue. It's about good manners and intelligent debate.

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