Friday, January 30, 2009

The Role of American Fundamentalism in the Decline of the West

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

As fundamentalism grows stronger, education declines and vice versa. The gulag 'state' of Texas, last among all states in high school graduations, is a prime example. The deterioration of public education in 'fundamentalist' dominated states is no coincidence. As they were in the middle ages, education, enlightenment, science and logic are considered to be enemies of 'the Church'. Fundie allies inside the GOP consider them to be enemies of the state as well.

The back to back idiocies of George W. Bush and that of the 'hair club for men' representative, Rick Perry, sabotaged one's chances of getting a passable education in the gulag state of Texas. Texas recently beat out Mississippi for dead last in those graduating high school. Even Mississippi ranks higher! Think about it and tremble -- for our futures!

Nevertheless, for many throughout the ranks of the Christian right notable failure is: 1) cause for celebration that a 'secular' system has failed; 2) evidence that either 'faith-based' programs or the financing of Church schools with public monies is a better alternative. The Lone Star State's educational failure is, for them, motivation to peddle 'faith-based' initiatives. Never fans of the Constitution and the First Amendment, it does not matter to them that their proposals violate the separation of church and state.

In any case, I will never believe that the deterioration of public education in 'fundamentalist' dominated states is a coincidence. Education, enlightenment, science, logic have always been branded enemies of 'the Church' by the church at least since Catholics burned Giordano Bruno and persecuted Galileo. In England, Protestants were persecuted by Catholics under Mary; vice versa under Elizabeth.

The life of William Shakespeare is a guide, one of the lessons of history. Bill's was a time of great divisions throughout English society. Because he would not renounce his 'old faith', Shakespeare's own cousin was drawn and quartered at Tyburn --now called 'Marble Arch'. He was a 'terrorist' because he opposed Elizabeth. Earlier, however, it was protestants who were burned by Mary who considered them to be 'terrorists'. A thoughtful, intelligent young writer might have been inspired to write: "A plague o' both your houses' as two feuding families became the allegory for religious warfare.

If people understood the ramifications of their attempts to bring down what Jefferson called the 'wall of separation', they would be outraged. Most will chose to ignore it but may pay the price when they become the targets of hot dog cops with tasers, when they become the targets of latter day Torquemadas with water boards, racks, and widow makers.

The recent elections could not possibly have changed deep seated, long ingrained attitudes. The GOP has leaned toward theocracy, perhaps since its founding. Learned folk are alarmed and should be. It is no accident or quirk of fate that, in the US, the level of education in science is well below that of other countries, India most notably. What passes for 'entertainment' often dumbs-down the populace by making 'heroes' of idiots, and 'enemies' or 'nerds' of intelligent people.

That many American 'heroes' are dumbasses is cause to suspect American values. The great series of Speilberg films are a notable exception. Indiana Jones was much more than a mere 'action hero'. He was as smart as the whip he wielded to great effect in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. I was sure the film would fail. How many folk would sit through a film about an archaeologist in search of an artifact that less than 10 percent of the American people had ever heard of? [that's excluding the Jewish community, of course]

Mass media has deteriorated dramatically in my life time. I recall watching --on a grainy black and white TV set --folk like Eric Severeid and Ed Murrow discussing real issues intelligently. Neither man was afraid to use the 'right' word, that is, a big or obscure but precise word, a word no longer taught to graduating seniors and perhaps unknown even to their inadequately paid instructors. Much later, I met and talked with Richard C. Hottelet, a famous CBS correspondent. An original member of 'Murrow's boys', Hottelet is still remembered for his arrest by Germans when he was suspected of being a spy and released in 1941 during a U.S.-German prisoner exchange.

A series called "You Are There" re-enacted historical events with CBS news folk covering them. I will never forget a CBS News Correspondent doing a 'stand up' at the burning of Jeanne d'Arc. On Sunday afternoons, I was tutored in music theory by Leonard Bernstein who played the Golliwogg's Cakewalk on the Piano. [Here's a link to Tommy Emmanuels' version; and here is a link to the piano version by Rachmaninoff] On the same episode, Bernstein conducted Debussy's 'La Mer' [Tenan Conducts Debussy]. He brought to his lectures on Jazz and Gershwin, the same intellect and talent that he brought to his discussions of Hindemith and John Cage. Incredible stuff!

It was on the hit series 'Route 66' that I first heard the word 'Existentialism' discussed against a very hip jazz background. Everyone's favorite --Star Trek --never equaled 'Twilight Zone' in terms of its enlightened treatment of issues like 'race' and 'equality' but may have prepared the American public for its first steps into space, the final frontier. Several generations owe a lot to Rod Serling and Gene" Roddenberry. I would trade ten million George W. Bushs for one of them. Even the Beverly Hillbillies turned out to be a brilliant satire not of the 'hillbillies' but the pretense that surrounded them in Beverly Hills.

I grew up at a time when new technologies --like TV, micro-electronics, space exploration, and computer technology --held out the promise of a new Renaissance. Thanks to bigotry, hate and ignorance, we are, instead, perched upon a cliff edge, the brink of a new dark age.

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Bush's Last Heist: the Meltdown and Bailout Frauds

by Damien
Long time 'existentialist' Damien files the following report confirming that the 'finanicial meltdowns' and subsequent bailouts are deliberate frauds, scams on a global scale. Damien picks up the story...
From the SeattlePI.Com via Market Ticker:
The FBI was aware for years of "pervasive and growing" fraud in the mortgage industry that eventually contributed to America's financial meltdown, but did not take definitive action to stop it.

"It is clear that we had good intelligence on the mortgage-fraud schemes, the corrupt attorneys, the corrupt appraisers, the insider schemes," said a recently retired, high FBI official. Another retired top FBI official confirmed that such intelligence went back to 2002.

The problem, according to the two FBI retirees and several other current and former bureau colleagues, is that the bureau was stretched so thin that no one noticed when those lenders began packaging bad mortgages into bad securities.

Both retired FBI officials asserted that the Bush administration was thoroughly briefed on the mortgage fraud crisis and its potential to cascade out of control with devastating financial consequences, but made the decision not to give back to the FBI the agents it needed to address the problem.
After the terrorist attacks of 2001, about 2,400 agents were reassigned to counter terrorism duties.

In Oct 2008 Mr Lynn Turner, former chief accountant of the SEC, gave evidence to the US House Oversight Committee investigating the collapse of insurance giant AIG. He testified that the SEC Office of Risk Management, which had oversight responsibility of all US securities, including swaps, had been progressively cut by the Bush administration from 146 personnel.

By Feb 2008 only one person was left for assessing corporate financial risk management for the entire US securities market!

Here's Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) questioning Lynn Turner:
Welch: "You said that the SEC office of risk management was reduced to a staff. Did you say, of one?"

Turner: "Yeah, when that gentleman would go home at night he could turn the lights out in February of this year. We had just gotten down to one person at the SEC responsible for identifying the risks at all the institutions".

Welch: "So that included the $62 trillion dollar credit default swap?"

Turner: "That's correct."
The Bush regime is a crime syndicate! It's that simple.

It's a wonderful life

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    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    On the brink of a great depression, the GOP is still lying its ass off

    There are two kinds of Republicans:
    • the rank and file stupid who don't know any better;
    • the evil bastards up top who know better and don't give a crap!
    Senate goppers oppose what may be a last chance to save the US from the Bush/Reagan legacy of idiocy. GOP opposition to Obama's stimulus bill has lambasted a 'debt' that they say will be inherited by future generations.

    Pinch me!

    I did not hear those arguments when Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt and doubled the Federal Bureaucracy. I did not hear those arguments when Reagan's tax cut was followed quickly by a depression of some two years --the worst, longest and deepest since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression of 1929.

    I did not hear a peep of protest from gops when, more recently, George W. Bush cut taxes for his increasingly tiny elite of support even as he ran up the deficits like a binge drinker, leaving even Ronald Reagan in the shade. Oh...I get it! It's bone headed if Democrats do it! But it is 'sound fiscal policy' if the GOP does it.


    Here's the difference. GOP deficits result from tax cuts from which only the rich benefit. Tax cuts do not work for the GOP because GOP tax cuts for the rich do not 'trickle down'. 'Trickle down' tax cuts did not work for Reagan. They did not work for Bush. The record is with Obama. Every Democratic President since WWII (or even much longer) has outperformed EVERY GOP President on every issue having to do with the economy. Here's why: the GOP believes that welfare for the rich will 'trickle down' but, in fact, it never does and never has. GOP tax cuts wind up offshore, in numbered accounts, tax havens and/or tax dodges. GOP tax cuts are --in practice --payoffs if not outright bribes for support of GOP candidates. The GOP is worse than the mob. The mob never had at its disposal nukes, ICBMs or cruise missiles.

    The GOP fails --as a party --because GOP policies never put money into the hands of those who would actually spend it and, thus, create jobs. That wealth trickles up --never, ever down --is a demonstrable fact. A working person's tax cut will find its way back into the economy with purchases. Purchases added up equals 'demand'. It is 'demand' that drives the economy --not the idiotic 'stimuli' given to robber barons and offshore investors.

    The GOP would rape a nation that is now poised to slide off into an economic black hole, in fact, a world wide depression that has the potential of making Hoover's GOP debacle look like a walk in the park. What Americans call the 'Great Depression' is often called the 'Great Contraction' because economies, in these times, literally 'contracts'. The US economy is currently 'contracting' at a rate of six percent per year, alarming and catastrophic if it is not restrained and soon.

    Congressional goppers, however, propose to accelerate the decline with another impotent 'stimulus' benefiting only those who created the crisis in the first place --supply-siders, and slick talking get-rich-quick artists. It was this 'right wing' that must bear most of the blame for the Great Depression of 1929. Wealth did not trickle down then. It will not trickle down now. When there is no demand there is no economic growth. There is no demand when those who might have purchased are broke, unemployed or, worse, desperate. But facts mean nothing to goppers and there is little to be gained and much time to be lost by 'negotiating' with them.
    What President Obama will soon discover (and I suspect is already well aware) is that negotiating with Republicans in Congress is a pointless endeavor unless you absolutely need their votes. This is particularly true of Republicans in the House of Representatives who, as I've written several times before, are a whole different breed of crazy. The last two election cycles have purged the House GOP of virtually all members who represent anything but the safest, reddest districts in the country. Those who remain are either unpersuadable ideologues or shameless partisans who can be counted on to act in bad faith at all times.

    They may string you along for a while, but at the end of the day, these folks are not going to support any Democratic initiatives in significant numbers. I suspect that Obama (and Rahm Emmanuel especially) know this and are just trying to go through the motions now so they can later claim that they made a good faith effort at bipartisanship. Many are suggesting that is yet another example of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last second. That may be true, but I suspect that the Obama team is knowingly playing that role. After all, everyone likes Charlie Brown and no one likes Lucy. And in this case, Charlie has his own holder as backup.

    --Anonymous Liberal, Negotiating With Republicans
    Democrats must be prepared to go to mat. They must challenge the GOP to put up or shut up! They must be challenged to dare oppose a stimulus that will never benefit working folk or create jobs. The GOP must be made to pay the price of lies and idiocy! Go ahead! Watch the economy collapse. Prove Karl Marx to have been right! Die of your own idiocy and good riddance to your sorry ass! I would say that were I not concerned about the fate of millions, eventually billions who will be ruined by GOP idiocy and systemic criminality.

    Deja Vu All Over Again

    The causes of the 'Great Depression' are many and in almost every instance analogies may be made to the current crisis. For example, the costs and debts incurred by World War I most certainly had catastrophic effects not unlike the huge debt the US has run up fighting an aggressive war in Iraq.

    A world wide conspiracy of bankers was blamed for the Great Depression, often called the 'Great Contraction'. Certainly, the big banks and especially the FED in the US, control the currencies. The FED, for example, simply creates money, a 'loan' to the US sufficient to cover whatever level of spending that the government is inclined to indulge. No new currency is run off the press. No new stores of gold are mined or discovered.

    At present, the US economy is contracting at an alarming rate of some six percent (projected) per year. This occurs at a time when the distribution of wealth is worse than that of the Great Depression when, in 1929, the richest 1 percent owned 40 percent of the nation's wealth. Today, as a result of GOP 'trickle down' economics, the richest 1 percent own more than 90 percent of the rest of us combined.

    The worst is yet to come. Foreclosures are rising for a number reasons. Because of widespread job losses, millions cannot make their mortgage payments. It is heard to see how an utter collapse can be avoided unless some real purchasing power can be put into the hands of those who will spend it.

    The lack of spending is a root cause of depressions. By robbing the spending classes, i.e, the middle and lower incomes of spending power, the GOP elites create recessions and, stupidly, cut off their own noses. The era leading up to the crash is remembered for the celebration and practice of unbridled 'laissez faire' or worse --what is now called 'supply side economics'. Laissez-faire is simplistically defined as 'economic freedom' but in practice it amounts to 'license' for the upper classes. 'Freedom' and 'license' must never be confused. 'License' is another set of rules for the rich. But if you are poor, 'freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose'! Apologies to Bobby Magee.

    Supply-side economics is not a 'hands off' policy at all. It is, in fact, an active, deliberate distribution of wealth upward to an increasingly tiny elite. It is pseudo-economics touted to justify big tax breaks for the upper ten percent of the nation's income recipients and wealth-holders. Reagan's own budget director, David Stockman, called 'supply-side economics', a trojan horse.

    If the US should slide off into another great depression, it will be because consumers of all classes and primarily the middle and lower classes do not have money to spend. Another great depression will result for two basic reasons:
    • the investor class has put their tax cut windfalls offshore causing net declines --not increases --in jobs;
    • The productive (working) class is taxed disproportionately effectively robbing them of the purchasing power which alone drives the economy.
    It is easy to understand, then, why economies contract.
    • GOP supply-siders have a stake in promoting the simplistic 'thoery' that the great 'Stock Market Crash of 1929' was the primary cause of the Great Depression. As class warfare propaganda, this myth is matched only by 'supply side (trickle down) economics. Indeed, many believe that the crash of Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 is one and the same with the Great Depression. In fact, there were many cases for the Great Depression and the contraction of the money supply among those who were most likely to spend is at the very top, perhaps the root cause. Nevertheless, the crash is significant. Stockholders lost more than $40 billion dollars within two months of the crash. The market had regained some of its losses by the end of 1930, but it was not enough to prevent the nation from entering what is called the Great Depression.
    • Bank Failures

    • More significant, is the fact that millions lost their 'savings'. People save to spend and it is spending that might have kept a viable economy afloat. Over 9,000 banks failed at a time when bank deposits were uninsured. Surviving banks stopped making new loans, reducing total amount of money in circulation. It was, indeed, a 'great contraction'! As a result of the crash, fears, and bad news, millions of all classes just stopped buyng, leading to sharp reductions in production and thus jobs. As unemployment increased, people fell behind in their installment payments; homes and items were repossessed. Inventories increased, sat idle, and could not be sold. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose above 25%. The jobless are, of course, unable at pre-depression levels if at all.

    • American Economic Policy with Europe
    • As businesses failed, it was hoped that the Hawley-Smoot Tariff of 1930 would protect American companies. The act charged a high tax for imports causing a reduction in US-foreign trade.

    • Drought Conditions.
    • While not a direct cause of the Great Depression, the drought that occurred in the Mississippi Valley in 1930 was of such proportions that many could not even pay their taxes or other debts and had to sell their farms for no profit to themselves. This was the topic of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath
    GOP policies are clearly responsible for the income and wealth disparities that are at the root of every GOP recession/depression since 1900. Ronald Reagan's GOP tax cut of 1982 is the easiest target. Several points should be made about this improvident move. One --if 'tax cuts', the GOP panacea for every evil, were in any way effective against depression, then why did a depression of two years follow the Reagan tax cut?

    The Reagan depression --at the time --was the deepest and longest since the Great Depression. I propose that GOP tax cuts neither prevent nor cure 'depressions' because, contrary to what you are told, GOP tax cuts effectively contract the economy. As have seen most recently, George W. Bush's 'bailouts' did not increase the supply of spendable money. The elites and the banking establishment simply squirreled the wind fall away in offshore accounts, tax havens, and other dodges about which they are expert. They did not increase the amount of money in circulation. They did not stimulate the economy with either purchases or new, 'job creating' investments. They did not increase purchases and thus the economy. They did not inspire the purchase of new homes. They did not increase the level of consumer spending. Rather --the economy, as a whole, is contracting at a rate of six percent per year.

    The current crisis spotlights many weakness in a 'GOP economy' created by the GOP domination of US policies since 1980, most prominently, the 'balance of trade deficit'. Also called the 'current account', it measures the value of US imports vis a vis its exports. This ratio reflects the financial health of a nation. We've been 'sick' and vulnerable for quite a while.

    According to the CIA, the US 'current account' balance puts the US at the very bottom of a list of nations with a NEGATIVE balance of $-731,200,000,000. That's NEGATIVE 731 BILLION dollars. China tops the list in the black with $ 372 billion. The US position mirrors that of China but more so! The steady decline of the value of the 'dollar' is evidence that China et al have been 'dumping' dollars perhaps over the last eight years. [See: Rank Order - Current Account Balance.]

    This is not the first time the US has turned up at the bottom of the CIAs list of 'net debtor nations'. The difference now is the exponential rate at which the national debt is increasing. The current crisis is evidence that --because of GOP policies specifically --the US has crossed the event horizon into an economic black hole from which there is now no pulling back.
    Yet this "indebtedness" actually results from a massive vote of confidence in the American economy by foreign investors. Strangely, when a business is actively pursued by willingly investors, it is taken as a sign of strength. When foreigners put their money in American industry, however, there is concern that the U.S. has become a "debtor nation."

    --Heritage Foundation
    Typical Heritage newspeak of the sort I never encountered in University level 'economics'!! Being a net 'debtor nation' is not a good thing when bad things follow from it, like, say the utter collapse of the dollar. Since Heritage issued its predictable apologia on behalf of Ronald Reagan, the nation has enjoyed but one fiscally responsible administration sandwiched between two incompetent Bushes. Things have changed precipitously.
    If the U.S. net investment position continues to turn more negative, prospects increase that the positive U.S. net income receipts will turn negative as U.S. income payments overwhelm U.S. income receipts. In such a case, the U.S. economy will experience a net economic drain as income that could be used to finance new U.S. businesses and investments will be sent abroad to satisfy foreign creditors. Such a drain likely will be small at first relative to the overall size of the CRS-14 10 Weisman, Steven R., A Fear of Foreign Investments. The New York Times, August 21, 2007. economy, but it could grow rapidly if the economy continues to import large amounts of foreign capital.

    --CRS Report for Congress, The United States as a Net Debtor Nation: Overview of the International Investment Position [PDF]
    GOP strategy is simple and simple-minded: blame everyone but themselves and especially Democrats. The GOP blames Democrats not because the Democratic party is wrong but because they are right and have been demonstrably more successful since WWII. The GOP is critical of the Democratic party because the Democratic party succeeds and because it succeeds, the GOP looks like the incompetent failures and liars that they are!

    For example, the GOP demonized Jimmy Carter in a planned effort to deflect attention from the new Augustus --Ronald Reagan. Reagan-heads still claim that Carter was responsible for "horrible inflation" and 20% interest rates. So what? Interest rates would be expected to decline under Ronald Reagan's depression of some two years as interest rates, in fact, decline in every depression. Carter, by contrast, presided over one of the most productive economies since WWII. Two years under Unca Ronnie changed all that and the US has not been the same since.

    During Reagan's depression, the GDP declined at a rate of 2.2 percent, the biggest such decline since the Great Depression. Their was a brief respite under Bill Clinto but with the ascension of Geoerge 'Would-be-Caesar' Bush, the pernicious trend would resume as a matter of GOP policy. A failed policy! A policy that has --in fact --NEVER succeeded! Millions lost jobs and homes and with another 'great depression' just around the corner, the GOP will, typically, try to blame the new administration for the failures of George W. Bush --the very worst 'President' in US history.

    In any case, it was the Federal Reserve Board that slashed interest rates and expanded the money supply, thus reducing prices. Ronald Reagan had nothing whatsoever to do with it! It was the Fed -- not Reagan, not GOP give-aways to the MIC --who was responsible for the following but short-lived recovery.

    Under Carter, people were at work and productive, buying homes and buying cars. They were not leaving their homes under the threat of imminent foreclosure as was the case with Herr Ronald Reagan and, more recently, Herr George W. Bush.

    It was no accident that as Reagan waged war on the trade unions, exported jobs and technology, the nation was plunged into his depression of two years --the very worst since Hoover!

    Before Reagan, America had a steel industry. After Reagan, it didn't. Before Reagan, America had a viable automotive industry. After Reagan, the US bought its cars from Japan. Before Reagan, small retailers thrived. After Reagan, Wal-Mart began began to put small stores out business. Main street America was at one time very picturesque inspiring artists from Andrew Wyeth to Norman Rockwell. Now --main street is boarded up, abandoned, and photographed for its historical interest.

    Let's take a look at the history before it gets re-written:
    • Any Democratic President has presided over greater economic growth and job creation than any Republican President since World War II.
    • When Bush Jr took office, job creation was worst under a Republican, Bush Sr, at 0.6% per year and best under a Democrat, Johnson, at 3.8% per year.
    • Economic growth under President Carter was far greater than under Reagan or Bush Sr. In fact, economic growth in general was greater under Johnson, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton than under Reagan or Bush. Democrats always outperform a failed party: the GOP!
    • The job creation rate under Clinton was 2.4% significantly higher than Ronald Reagan's 2.1% per year.
    • The "top performing Presidents" by this standard, in order from best down, were Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Kennedy. The "worst" (in descending order) were Nixon, Reagan, Bush.
    • Half of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector --some 2 million jobs added to the Federal Bureaucracy. Hadn't he promised to reduce that bureaucracy?
    • Reagan, though promising to reduce government and spending, tripled the national debt and left huge deficits to his successor. Bush Jr's record will be even worse.
    • By contrast, most of the jobs created on Clinton's watch were in the private sector.
    • Put another way: any Democratic President beats any Republican President since World War II.
    Everything posted above is based upon official, government stats from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CBO, and BEA among others. They are 'official' and irrefutable unless someone wants to make the outlandish case that the Federal Bureaucracy, the numerous agencies which keep these stats, is somehow biased. That argument is absurd in light of the fact that of those 20 years from the election of Ronald Reagan to the stolen election of 2000, Democrats had the Presidency in only eight of them.

    Now --let us consign to the dust bin of history the stupid idea that the GOP 'tax cuts' will end recessions, prevent recessions, or cure recessions. They are, rather, the root cause of absurd, obscene banana republic inequalities and disparities. They are the cause --not the cure for recession/depression. Every dollar that is funneled into offshore tax havens is money taken out of circulation, taken out of the economy. The economy is already contracting. A GOP 'stimulus' for the upper class will only increase the contraction and hasten the end.

    Ironically, it was the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 that created the Federal Reserve system, in which the 'Fed' would become a lender of 'last resort' thus providing the economy with a one-two punch: stability and liquidity. It doesn't seem to have worked out that way. If the 'Fed' had been functioning as it was intended, then why, in 1930, were large banks permitted to collapse throughout the South and the Midwest. Why were the 'runs on banks' permitted to spread? Why was the 'Fed' out to lunch?
    By December, the bank of the United States in New York closed due [to the ] inability to meet depositors' demand for cash. The bank was sound, as evidenced by its ability to pay off depositors 92.5 cents on the dollar when it was liquidated during the worst of the depression. If the Federal Reserve had done its job, the bank would have remained open. The bank's size and official-sounding name frightened depositors all over the country and led to a general run on the banks. By the time it was over, hundreds of banks had failed reducing the money supply by the amount of their deposits.

    --The Great Contraction
    Hoover’s fiscal policy accelerated the decline. In December 1929, as a means of demonstrating the administration’s faith in the economy, Hoover had reduced all 1929 income tax rates by 1 percent because of the continuing budget surpluses. By 1930 the surplus had turned into a deficit that grew rapidly as the economy contracted. By the end of 1931 Hoover had decided to recommend a large tax increase in an attempt to balance the budget; Congress approved the tax increase in 1932. Personal exemptions were reduced sharply to increase the number of taxpayers, and rates were sharply increased. The lowest marginal rate rose from 1.125 percent to 4.0 percent, and the top marginal rate rose from 25 percent on taxable income in excess of $100,000 to 63 percent on taxable income in excess of $1 million as the rates were made much more progressive. We now understand that such a huge tax increase does not promote recovery during a contraction. By reducing households’ disposable income, it led to a reduction in household spending and a further contraction in economic activity.

    --Great Depression, The Concise Dictionary of Economics
    • Herbert Hoover becomes President. Hoover is a staunch individualist
      but not as committed to laissez-faire ideology as Coolidge.
    • More than half of all Americans are living below a minimum subsistence
    • Annual per-capita income is $750; for farm people, it is only $273.
    • Backlog of business inventories grows three times larger than the year before. Public consumption markedly down.
    • Freight carloads and manufacturing fall.
    • Automobile sales decline by a third in the nine months before the crash.
    • Construction down $2 billion since 1926.
    • Recession begins in August, two months before the stock market crash. During this two month period, production will decline at an annual rate of 20 percent, wholesale prices at 7.5 percent, and personal income at 5 percent.
    • Stock market crash begins October 24. Investors call October 29 "Black Tuesday." Losses for the month will total $16 billion, an astronomical sum in those days.
    • Congress passes Agricultural Marketing Act to support farmers until they can get back on their feet.
    • --Timeline of the Great Depression
    Clearly --the FED, the financial community, the big banks, the so-called 'elites' seem to have gotten off the hook. In fact, it is the combination of greed and incompetence that has brought the world to the brink of another great depression.
    Let's imagine, for a moment, how different the public debate would be today if it had been unions that had caused the current economic turmoil.

    In other words, try to imagine a scenario in which union leaders – not financial managers – were the ones whose reckless behaviour had driven a number of Wall Street firms into bankruptcy and in the process triggered a worldwide recession.

    Needless to say, it's heard to imagine a labour leader being appointed to oversee a bailout of unions the way former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson was put in charge of supervising the $700 billion bailout of his former Wall Street colleagues.

    My point is simply to note how odd it is that the financial community has emerged so unscathed, despite its central role in the collapse that has broughtt havoc to the world economy.

    Of course, not all members of the financial communityy were involved in Wall Street's wildly irresponsible practices of bundling mortgages into securities and trading credit default swaps. But the financial communityy as a whole, on both sides of the border, certainly pushed heard to put in place an agenda of small government, in which financial markets largely regulated themselves and citizens (particularly high-income investors) would be spared the burden of paying much tax.

    --Financial elite have no shame
    It has been said that the 'Great Depression' changed the way we thought about economics, the nature of money, banking itself.


    Admittedly, the Keynesian view dominated until the rise of Reaganomics. Richard Nixon famously said: "We all all Keynesians now" though Keynesian economics have not helped any Republican to the degree to which it helped Democratic regimes which are historically stronger than any GOP regime since the Great Depression. Even Nixon ranks among the 'worst performing Presidents' in terms GDP and job growth.

    Now we are poised upon the brink of another Great Depression not because we followed Keynes but because we abandoned him for 'Reaganomics'. Stupidly, the GOP has learned nothing.

    Those who will not learn are either evil or stupid.

    The GOP is both.

    It may be bad form and impolite but the fact is --I told you so. If the GOP thinks me impolite, fuck 'em! The following excerpt is from The Existentialist Cowboy, January 18, 2008:
    We were warned. In 2005, Treasury Secretary John Snow acknowledged economic growth was limited to a small percentage of Americans. Bush's base? Some things never change. Only a tiny elite experienced what they alone have dubbed the Reagan prosperity. A "prosperity" so limited is not prosperity; it is merely a redistribution of dwindling wealth. If poorer folk lost ground, to whom did wealth trickle? The GOP knows that what it says about economics is wrong. They will say whatever they think they can get you to believe.

    A statutory debt limit of $8.184 trillion was reached in mid-February of 2005. The total collapse of the US economy was averted but only because no other country wished to be sucked into the US black hole. The dollar actually retained some value amid fears of a worldwide economic catastrophe.

    China had been propping up the dollar so that US consumers could continue buying cheap Chinese crap, primarily via WalMart and other monstrous legacies of Globalization. At the time, US debt was some $8.162 trillion dollars and has only gotten bigger. US credit abroad is strained to breaking or broke. The US credit crisis trickles down to bond markets world wide. No country is too small to remain unaffected. Investors in New Zealand, for example, have this month complained that their interest payments have been suspended, the result of fall-out from the US credit crisis. It would appear that there is no where to run, no where to hide.

    --The Existentialist Cowboy, January 18, 2008

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Main Core, PROMIS and the Shadow Government (Pt.2)

    by Ed Encho

    "In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can't spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can't look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won't be there. We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line."

    -Earling Carothers ‘Jim’ Garrison

    II: The Shadow Government

    To say that the 'terrorist' attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were an incredible boon to the shadow government and its long running agenda would be quite the understatement. Never before in American history has this particular element been so visible and brazen than in the aftermath of 9/11 which has since become the ultimate trump card to be played against the forces of reason, judiciousness and the rule of law. The frenzied spree to dismantle the republic and reinterpret the Constitution to implement the fascist police state that would suppress the domestic populace while the business of expanding the empire abroad has gone on unabated for over seven years now. The ascendance of the shadow government into the open began on that morning and the events have been instrumental in allowing for every outrageous violation of civil liberties, international law and the very bedrock principle upon which civilized societies are built being habeas corpus. America is now known worldwide as a torture state, a pariah and a rogue nation to be hated and feared and is ruled by an imperial presidency or as it is formerly known a Unitary Executive (translation: dictator). The current state of affairs are primarily due to the policies of the cabal of one Richard B. Cheney, the most powerful Vice President in history as well as a longtime shadow government figure who activated Continuity of Government on the morning of 9/11.

    Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who have been collaborators in a war against the basic tenets of American Constitutional democracy since their days together in the Ford administration were active participants in Continuity of Government throughout the Reagan years and afterwards. With C.O.G. being highly secretive it is not widely known due to a lack of official media coverage of the programs so few questions have been asked, no oversight exists and it has been a useful place for a renegade cabal with an acute distaste for democratic principles. One of the most often referenced pieces on this was James Mann's 2004 piece for the Atlantic Magazine entitled The Armageddon Plan. Another shadow government figure who would later become instrumental in the transformation of America into the fascistic Homeland is one David Addington, Cheney's crackerjack legal mind and longtime hatchetman who has along with others such as John Yoo (a man who once said that the president had the legal authority to crush a child's testicles were it deemed necessary) have toiled to change the law of the nation into something dark and foreign. In Addington's world there is legitimacy to engage in illegal (at least until now) domestic spying, abduction and detention without trial, torture both physical and mental (a horrifying example is that of Jose Padilla (an American citizen who would be the precedent for future actions against other Americans) who was imprisoned and psychologically destroyed through the application of mind control techniques straight out of the infamous CIA program MKULTRA to the point where his mental capacities were that of "a piece of furniture". Padilla was not only a precedent setter but also a warning of what the government could do to a person deemed to be a 'terrorist' or 'terrorist sympathizer', the definitions of which are intentionally vague for a very terrifying reason.

    David Addington, more than once referred to as Cheney's Cheney was a key player in the implementation of the shadow government infrastructure now that it has come out from under the cover of darkness in the post-9/11 era. Jane Meyer of the New Yorker speaks of their relationship in the following interview from which I excerpt a piece from here:
    How did David Addington get to know Vice-President Cheney, and how long have they worked together?

    They met on Capitol Hill in the mid-eighties, when Cheney was a Republican congressman from Wyoming and Addington was a young staff lawyer working for the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees. So they have worked together for about two decades. Their partnership was cemented when they worked together on the Minority Report on the Iran-Contra affair. Both Addington and Cheney took the idiosyncratic position that it was Congress, not President Reagan, that was in the wrong. This view reflected the opinion, held by both men, that the executive branch should run foreign policy, to a great extent unimpeded by Congress. It’s a recurring theme—pushing the limits of executive power and sidestepping Congress—in their partnership. One example is their position that the President, as Commander-in-Chief in times of war, had the inherent authority to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in an effort to make sure that Presidents don’t violate citizens’ right to privacy by spying on them without warrants.

    After meeting and working together in Congress, Cheney and Addington continued their partnership at the Pentagon, where, during the Presidency of George H. W. Bush, Cheney was Secretary of Defense and Addington was his special assistant and, later, general counsel. There, Addington was known as a powerhouse, a stickler who controlled access to Cheney and marked up others’ memos in red felt-tipped pen, returning the memos for rewrites that would make them sharper—and more protective of executive power.

    At the Pentagon, the two exhibited a similar pessimism about world affairs, in particular about the possibility that Mikhail Gorbachev represented true change, and also an unusually deep interest in “continuity of government” planning—how the government survives in the event of a doomsday attack. Addington kept the constitutional provisions for Presidential succession in his pocket at all times, a colleague told me.
    Addington is still largely a mystery man but his connections to Continuity of Government during the Reagan era are documented as well as his ties to Cheney. Another common denominator is the Iran-Contra affair, Addington was a big player in it as well as most of the current crop of neocons who returned to power under Bush II. Addington also is connected to spook master and former CIA head William 'Bill' Casey (a man whose history and past associations is a veritable almanac of American fascism dating from WWII through the Reagan years and who played a key role in the theft of the PROMIS software) through The Lawless Group (named for CIA operative Richard Lawless, a close associate of Casey). Sidney Blumenthal's article for Salon entitled The Sad decline of Michael Mukasey provides some additional background on Mr. Addington:
    Addington's dominion over the law -- controlling the writing of the president's executive orders and the memos from OLC, the office of the White House counsel and the carefully placed network of general counsels throughout the federal government's departments and agencies -- is a well-established and central aspect of Cheney's power. Addington has been indispensable to the vice president since he served as his counsel on the joint congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, when Cheney was the ranking minority member. In that capacity, Addington wrote, under Cheney's signature, the notorious minority report that was an early clarion call for the imperial presidency.

    Addington and Cheney's report decried Congress for its "hysteria" over the Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the selling of missiles to Iran to finance arms for the Nicaraguan Contras against explicit congressional legislation. The Constitution, they argued, "leaves little, if any doubt that the president was expected to have the primary role of conducting the foreign policy of the United States." They added: "Congressional actions to limit the president in this area therefore should be reviewed with a considerable degree of skepticism. If they interfere with the core presidential foreign policy functions, they should be struck down."

    The Cheney minority report was the doctrinal basis for the Bush presidency: the unitary executive, the commander in chief ruling in wartime by fiat and, ultimately, torture being defined as whatever the president, not the Geneva Conventions, said it was. Addington's authorship of the Cheney Iran-Contra report was largely overlooked until fairly recently, but his deeper connection to that scandal and its resonance have received little attention.

    In the 1980s, Addington, then in his 20s, served as deputy counsel to CIA director William Casey, the moving force behind the Iran-Contra affair and the most powerful figure in the Reagan administration after the president. Along with other hotshots in the counsel's office, Addington was part of what became known within the agency as the "Lawless Group," named after Richard Lawless, a CIA operative who was a close assistant to Casey, according to a former senior CIA official. After Casey's death, Rep. Dick Cheney co-opted the "Lawless Group," putting its members in key positions when he was secretary of defense during the first Bush administration and vice president in the second. (Lawless, for example, after working as Jeb Bush's business partner, served as deputy undersecretary of defense, retiring this past April.)

    "A lot of the decisions on Iran-Contra were signed off by the counsel's office," a longtime senior CIA official told me. "It was not a renegade operation. It had lawyers, just like now. Everything they were doing was run by the general counsel's office and Addington was deputy. You may draw your own conclusions, as the Russians say." In fact, the role of the counsel's office surfaced in the trial of Alan Fiers, the CIA agent in charge of the Central American Task Force, who pleaded guilty to misleading Congress. But that role was never investigated or ever really reported.

    "These guys don't like the mainstream CIA. In fact, they hate it," the CIA official explained. "They don't like information unless it fits what they want to hear. They hate the CIA because the CIA tells them what they don't want to hear. They want assessments that prove ideological points. They are looking for simplistic answers to complicated issues. They inhabit a make-believe world of moving up into perceived areas of expertise. It's the same guys; they all resurface when Republicans are back in power. It's the same group. It's a system. The similarities are amazing in all these wars we've been dragged into."
    That 9/11 enabled Cheney, Addington and the rest of the neocons to brutally enforce their long planned agenda and has served as the basis for all that has changed since that day there remains a truly legitimate question as to what their role or knowledge of those attacks may have been. It has been a matter of intense debate in the alternative media as to what level of involvement that this cabal may have had in ensuring that the attacks took place (stay away from the Bush Did It canard which is only a straw man), they did after all write in a document for the Project For A New American Century (PNAC) entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses of the need for a "New Pearl Harbor" in order for the public to accept their radical doctrine and there never has been a legitimate investigation of 9/11 free of conflicts of interest and with full subpoena power so as to ask the serious questions in a public forum about the event that hit the reset button on over two and a quarter centuries of American history and the subsequent implementation of a fascist infrastructure.

    In a fairly recent article that I wrote entitled 9/11: Cover for a Coup d'Etat?, I mused as to whether the 'terrorist' attacks merely provided cover for an Edward Luttwak style coup d'etat to be piggybacked on top of the incidents using the Continuity of Government infrastructure. The massive USAPATRIOT Act was already awaiting a rollout and there is the still lingering question of who was really behind the Anthrax attacks that were directed at those who were in positions to stop its implementation. 9/11 would be consistent with historical black operations and false flag attacks and the festering disregard for American democracy by those who assumed control in the aftermath is widely known but I am not going to revisit that in this particular writing other than to ask the obvious question of Cui Bono? Whether 9/11 was indeed a coup by an alliance between the shadow government along with rogue elements of foreign intelligence services is of less importance than the consistent pattern of below the surface influence and interactions of non-elected government officials and foreign and domestic criminal elements. Author and researcher Professor Peter Dale Scott refers to a "Deep State" and I would refer readers of this article to one of his entitled 9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics in which Professor Scott provides an in depth look into not only the deep state but asks serious questions about whether Continuity of Government was implemented in the aftermath of 9/11. I excerpt the following from this piece:
    In my book The Road to 9/11, I have argued that there has existed, at least since World War Two if not earlier, an analogous American deep state, also combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld. I also pointed to recent decades of collaboration between the U.S. deep state and al-Qaeda, a terrorist underworld whose drug-trafficking activities have been played down in the 9/11 Commission Report and the mainstream U.S. media.
    The book referenced by Professor Scott is The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America and it is an essential read for those seeking to understand America as it exists today.

    Pictures of the Homeland

    That the United States of America has nearly completed the tragic transition to a fascist form of government becomes more apparent with each passing day and each additional outrage and the cancer has so thoroughly metastasized there is little hope that a new regime in Washington is going to be able to bring it to a hald. Whether it be the hijacking of the financial system by the Wall Street banking cartel that is abetted by yet another capitulation by a quisling Congress, more evidence of the desecration of privacy rights by a surveillance industrial complex run amok, the alarming and ongoing militarizing of the nation’s police, the assignment of combat hardened troops to domestic duty (with a mandate to quell civil unrest despite the now for all intents and purposes rendered irrelevant Posse Comitatus Act) or the constantly morphing and open ended definition of what exactly constitutes being a ‘terrorist’ to name only a few of the more alarming changes to the republic, those who are able to recognize such things as what they truly are should be increasingly aware that the dreaded and ubiquitous pejorative of conspiracy theorist is (as it always has been) one gigantic sick joke. The pushback against President Obama for announcing the planned closure of the Gitmo torture gulag by the neocon embeds in the media has been significant.

    As the saying goes, if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water it will react by jumping out immediately, but if you put that same frog into a pot of lukewarm water and then very slowly increase the temperature of the burner on the stove upon which it sits, that frog will stay in the pot until it becomes soup. My fellow Americans, that frog is us and the parallel reality that is so essential for the transformation of a state from one of benevolent democracy to one of totalitarianism as set forth by Hannah Arendt is in the final stages of being swapped out. The apple pie authoritarianism becomes more entrenched, political discourse has been reduced to nothing more than demagoguery, lies (either outright or more commonly, through omission) clever and highly sophisticated propaganda, race-baiting, fear-mongering and all delivered through a corrupted and complicit corporate media machine and the celebrity shills that it employs as barkers in the carnival of immorality and perversion that is the shell of American now known as the Homeland.

    In the runup to the election, millions of little plastic pieces of vile filth (that hew to the established storylines formerly established as an example in one Julius Streicher’s publication Der Sturmer) in the form of a DVD version of a deceitful and meticulously designed and professionally produced (in order to evoke a proper emotional response from certain credulous or otherwise mentally unstable fringe elements) propaganda film Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West and sponsored by a well-funded, shadowy front group were mass distributed (28 million) in many of the nation's newspapers and specifically in swing states in advance of the coming election. The obvious intent was to generate fear and hatred and to manufacture consent as well as swing the election to McCain. It worked to perfection as Muslim children were gassed in the nursery of a Dayton, Ohio mosque just after the Obsession DVD was distributed locally. Of course in the land of Orwellian newspeak it wasn't ruled an act of domestic terrorism. For that matter, neither was Kristallnacht in a certain European closing society that eerily parallels what has been going on in the post 9/11 'Homeland' although it is far more subtle for the original prototype was far too ostentatious to endure for very long.

    The Republican presidential campaign of John McCain (once again reverting to true form in his opposition to the stimulus) and the shrill, strident kewpie doll Sarah Palin used political rallies to whip up fear and loathing among the worst fringe elements of society, inciting largely angry and easily duped supporters into shouting “terrorist”, “off with his head” and even “kill him” in reference to Obama who has been the victim of a long-running, highly coordinated, well financed campaign to paint him as a Manchurian Candidate, a secret Muslim, a terrorist collaborator and a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This sort of sentiment continues to be encouraged by extremist fifth columnists and will only fester more as the economy deteriorates and scapegoats are manufactured. Multi-millionaire fascist demagogue Rush Limbaugh (a modern day Father Charles Coughlin) has become a defacto spokesman for the GOP and will continue to foment hatred amidst those most susceptible. The more paranoid elements are already being whipped into a frenzy over Obama's second swearing in (the first was botched by Federalist Society stooge Chief Justice John Roberts) in that he didn't place his hand on a bible, and of course the dirty little rumors that Obama was not born in the U.S. continue to be circulated.

    Such vitriolic rallies became veritable lynch mobs and have merely gone underground now that the people have spoken. In a time of an unprecedented domestic economic crisis that already has Americans on the edge are extremely dangerous and will inevitably lead to violence – of course this may be the intent as it is consistent with more traditional versions of fascism. In his study The Authoritarians, Bob Altemeyer identified a certain demographic segment of any society that are hard-wired for serving authoritarians, susceptible to demagogy and subservient to perceived authority figures. This particular part of a population is essential to supporting totalitarian figures who rise to power during troubled times and offer simple answers to complex problems, they are essential components of any fascist regime and their near psychotic fervor can be channeled to the point where they are nothing more than automatons or tools to the dangerous leaders of mass movements. Such behavior was on full display at many Sarah Palin rallies and it wouldn’t take much to turn such gatherings into staging grounds for organized pogroms that could then be unleashed when the time is right.

    It certainly brings to mind George Orwell’s 1984, but then these are truly the times which Orwell so brilliantly prophesied, Oceania has always been at war and always will be at war, for that is what we are and all that we shall ever be in the land of the shadow government. No fascist system can for long exist without a certain die-hard percentage of the population who can be mobilized as shock troops, don't ask questions and are full of resentment and hatred, only seeking a strong leader on a white horse with simple answers to complex problems and who will point them in the direction of those who can be easily scapegoated. History always repeats but it never repeats exactly. Yesteryear's Juden are todays liberals.
    "The preparations for Hate Week were in full swing, and the staffs of all the Ministries were working overtime. Processions, meetings, military parades, lectures, waxworks, displays, film shows, telescreen programmes all had to be organized; stands had to be erected, effigies built, slogans coined, songs written, rumours circulated, photographs faked..”.

    -George Orwell
    The ramming through of the Wall Street bailout (TARP), the financial equivalent of the USA Patriot Act in that it placed unaccountable power in a Treasury Department that has become an occupied colony of Goldman Sachs despite a huge public outcry is another indication of just how much power has been transferred into the executive branch. The usual rubber-stamping by a corrupt and (very likely threatened and blackmailed) Congress was a foregone conclusion in the land of sham elections and an increasingly tyrannical government. The passage of this monstrosity was allegedly aided by a threat of martial law, this according to Representative Brad Sherman of California. Former President George W. Bush took to the television airwaves to once again sow fear over an economic Armageddon and also what could be perceived as an implied threat of martial law in the language “America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold.” One could speculate that the “distressing scenario” which Bush mentioned could activate conditions as set forth in NSPD-51 in order to deal with domestic unrest due to bank holidays, food shortages and any sort of uprising as a result of the financial collapse. Main Core would be utilized to produce the lists of those among the millions already deemed to be suspect and prone to ‘subversive’ behavior, the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team already in place stateside would be required to ‘maintain the necessary order’ (augmented by Blackwater and other private mercenaries of course) and the roundups and internments would begin. It was an eerie déjà vu moment in which America was transported back to 2002 and 2003 with the apocalyptic conjecture of smoking guns as mushroom clouds, phantom weapons of mass destruction, sleeper cells, biological weapon spewing gliders that could transverse the ocean and an evil dictator who was a “new Hitler”.

    Some Historical Context

    The United States has had a history of influential groups and individuals that have a serious fascist bent. Some of the most powerful bankers and industrialists of the Great Depression era did plot a coup d’etat (The Business Plot) in order to topple the hated Franklin D. Roosevelt, but were thwarted when the man who they attempted to recruit to lead it, former Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler instead exposed them to Congress. So shocking was this that the media of that era closed ranks to protect the traitors and erase the ugly blight from our sanitized version of history. It was no secret that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (once featured in a fawning puff piece in Fortune Magazine) and even Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had ardent American admirers and influential supporters who were enthralled with their highly efficient, corporate friendly authoritarian states and their ability to propagandize the masses and crush labor unions.

    A trusted servant of robber barons and financial oligarchs named Prescott Bush, a man whose lineage would include two future U.S. Presidents actually engaged in doing business with the Nazis until the Union Banking Corporation was shut down by FDR under the Trading With the Enemy Act. The OSS and later the CIA actively recruited Nazis and assimilated Hitler’s Eastern European intelligence arm, The Gehlen Organization ostensibly to fight communism. Many top Nazi scientists and intelligence operatives including many who were full blown war criminals were allowed entry into the U.S. under Operation Paperclip after the WW II had ended, they were then assimilated into what would become the military industrial complex as rocket scientists, psychiatrists and medical ‘experts’ (whose labs were the Nazi concentration camps where gruesome medical experiments were performed on human prisoners, I note that similar amnesty was given to Japanese war criminals who participated in the infamous Unit 731) whose wartime experience with mind control and torture techniques would be of use to the CIA. Some former Nazis were allowed to migrate to Central and South America where they established expatriate communities and joined forces with U.S. sponsored fascists to crush leftist democratic movements in the most brutal of manner all under the cover of defeating communism. Former Nazis played key roles in the carrying out of the wet work of the American empire in Latin America, notably Argentina and their influence would set the precedent for the unimaginable cruelty and repression that would later be used in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Pinochet's Chile as well as much later in Iraq.

    Klaus Barbie aka the Butcher of Lyons was one of the more notable names and is a perfect example of an asset being used to further American interests in the southern cone, Barbie was a key part of the 'Cocaine Coup'. The corrupting influence that was asserted on intelligence, the military and deep state movers and shakers by such a close affiliation with Nazi war criminals and the inevitable damage done in terms of moral authority is as difficult to fathom as it is extremely disturbing but that is a story for another time. So as not to overly dwell on the Nazi connection (the amount of material on it is voluminous) I do want to comment that it shows the depths to which the National Security State will go in order to ensure its own perpetuation and ability to lay down with wolves so that the real power structure in this country is allowed to function with ruthless, Machiavellian precision in the darkness that exists just below the façade of legitimate public and private institutions in the United States.

    The Cold War gave the intelligence apparatus and the military industrial complex the cover that was needed in order to build the infrastructure of an extra-Constitutional government. Almost from the very inception of the CIA the United States became involved in the assassinations and overthrow of legitimate democratically supported governments all untertaken for big business and to crush resistance to western capitalism. The obvious Nazi influence manifested itself in the extreme cruelty of the methods used to expand the empire and death squads were sanctioned, torture was widespread to the extent that it was even taught at the far-right School of the Americas and the agency participated in sadistic and immoral mind control experimentation programs such as the notorious MKULTRA. It is of the utmost importance to understand the root of evil that is the Central Intelligence Agency that was put together by the American capitalist elite in the aftermath of World War II to act as a Gestapo for Wall Street and business interests not confined to the spheres of legality. I would like to make reference to a that summarizes this much better than I could ever hope to do in a well documented story How the CIA Created a Ruling, Corporate Overclass in America that is a must read for everyone who really is serious about going at the existing order.

    The cover of darkness allows for the breeding of mutations and the CIA itself eventually was able to reconfigure into compartmentalized factions, some of the more militant joined forces with organized crime, extreme right-wing groups, elements of the military and foreign intelligence services to carry out clandestine and black ops domestically. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy for all of the research, investigations and time elapsed has never truly been solved and it is highly likely that a Secret Team (to use the term of L.Fletcher Prouty) may have been involved in the assassination, a moment in our history after which everything changed. Kennedy dared to challange the power structure when he spoke of:
    "...a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations."
    Many presume that this was directed at communism, the era was the height of the Cold War but the speech was in the aftermath of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, a botched overthrow of Fidel Castro for which the more extreme elements of the military, the fascist right, the CIA, organized crime and big business interests that were thrown out of Cuba after the revolution blamed Kennedy for undermining. Kennedy had made very dangerous and mortal enemies and further inflamed matters when he threatened to "splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds" and ousted director Allen Dulles, a man who was a major factor in the post WW II alliance with the Nazis and Operation Paperclip as well as a member of Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, a representative of anti New Deal American fascists as well as an alleged broker of business deals with the Nazi regime. Ironically (or maybe not) Allen Dulles would later become a member of the Warren Commission that gave legitimacy to the Lee Harvey Oswald as lone nut conspiracy theory while ignoring the larger picture. I reference the Kennedy assassination not to go into it at any great length but that it, like the later assassinations of Robert Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr were all coordinated actions of the shadow government to remove opponents of the rising American fascist state.

    There have throughout the years been millions upon millions of pages written by those who have investigated (and provided cover to the official conspiracy story of) the Kennedy assassination and yet there is still no real answer to what exactly happened but the reason why is the real key. I would like to note that some attention should be paid to the out of print book by Carl Oglesby, The Yankee and Cowboy War which looks into warring factions and examines at length the JFK assassination, the implausibility of Oswald and the story of Jack Ruby who never was able to tell his story cryptically implored Chief Justice Warren that unless he was able to be taken out of Dallas and to Washington to personally speak to President Lyndon B. Johnson that:

    "….Consequently, a whole new form of government is going to take over our country, and I know I won’t live to see you another time."

    Peter Dale Scott who has himself done an immense amount of research on the JFK assassination puts it like this in his aforementioned essay 9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics has this to say about America and the failure to come to terms with the murder of John F. Kennedy:
    Recent history has seen a number of such events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that are so inexplicable by the public notions of American politics that most Americans tend not even to think of them. Instead most accept the official surface explanations for them, even if they suspect these are not true. Or if others say they believe that "Oswald acted alone," they may do so in the same comforting but irrational state of mind that believes God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.
    Kennedy's death paved the way for the military industrial complex (that President Eisenhower ominously warned of in his farewell speech) to escalate the Vietnam War and declare war on the American public who dissented with the immorality of that damned war and took to the streets in protest. Their efforts would shake the very foundations of this nation's corrupted institutions, terrify the ruling elite classes and create a climate where any means necessary to control domestic unrest would be utilized lest the existing order be toppled.

    The Reagan Years

    As I wrote in part one of this ongoing series, the recent articles Christopher Ketcham entitled The Last Roundup and Tim Shorrock’s Exposing Bush's Historic Abuse of Power are both about the massive database Main Core and how it relates to Continuity of Government programs. It is encouraging to see that there is now more being written about this subject by more well known and influential figures than this humble blogger. Author James Bamford's new book on the NSA entitled The Shadow Factory is drawing a good deal of attention already on just how much that Americans have been spied on by our own government, the rogue neocon occupying faction as well as Israeli elements working alone and in conjunction with domestic interests (but much more on that in part four of this series). Arch-conservative John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute (instrumental in funding Paula Jones' lawsuit against President Clinton) wrote two articles on the shadow government which shows that the immense danger of this transcends the trivialities of partisan politics. The Whitehead pieces can be found at the Huffington post and are entitled America's Shadow Government: Part One and America's Shadow Government: Part Two. I excerpt a small piece from Mr. Whitehead below:
    What is the bottom line here? We are, for all intents and purposes, one terrorist attack away from having a full-fledged authoritarian state emerge from the shadows, at which time democratic government will be dissolved and the country will be ruled by an unelected bureaucracy. And because so much of this shadow government remains under wraps, there is much we don't know about it. Yet that does not diminish the threat it poses to democratic government.

    In his 1961 Farewell Address to the Nation, Dwight D. Eisenhower tried to warn us that a nefarious military-industrial complex had emerged in America. "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist," he said. Eisenhower realized that after World War II, America had become a national security state that operated largely in secret and answered to practically no one.
    It is heartening to see this most critical of subjects being examined at last for if the relentless drive towards an American fascist government is not at the very minimum slowed, then nothing else is really going to matter is it?

    But I digress....

    As I previously stated, this particular administration of an ubiquitous, personable, uninquisitive, (and eventually doddering) longtime pitchman for the American brand of hard right fascism was a veritable devil’s playground for those who more than dabbled in concocting dangerous plans in the darkness that could be put into use against all perceived enemies of America, both foreign and domestic, and during which a lot of cash could be made on the side. Reagan was backed by longtime spook, fixer and former CIA chief George Herbert Walker Bush who used the office of the Vice President as a fertile launching ground to lay the groundwork for what his son would so effectively preside over as the “unitary executive” with the necessary muscle provided by Dick Cheney and the neocons who found a friendly incubator for their decidedly radical anti-American ideas during the Reagan administration. Reagan’s White House was a front for cowboys Lt. Oliver Colonel North, Richard Secord, John Poindexter, William Casey and John Negroponte; neocon connivers Elliot Abrams, Michael Ledeen, Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Continuity Of Government leaders Dick Cheney, Edwin Meese, Donald Rumsfeld and David Addington among others. Most of theveteran shadow government operators went on to become influential players in the Bush-Cheney administration where they have worked to ensure that their plans would reach fruition.

    It was during the Reagan administration that Earl Brian, a crony of Ed Meese assisted in the theft and distribution of the enhanced version of INSLAW's PROMIS software and it was put to good use by among others Colonel Oliver North who used it in conjunction with his REX 84 program to track and monitor potential dissidents or opponents who could be rounded up when and if the time was deemed necessary. Similary such operations were already on the books in Operation Cable Splicer and Operation Garden Plot. PROMIS was also distributed and used by foreign intelligence services such as the Mossad according to the Gordon Thomas book Gideon's Spies. Israel has always proved a useful cutout for shadow government black ops such as Iran Contra and the Bamford book looks at the role of Israel in the ongoing illegal spying of the Bush regime. Both Shorrock's and Ketcham's pieces link Main Core to PROMIS which provides the link through C.O.G. to the shadow government itself which was at it's most visible during the Reagan years. North ran the REX 84 program out of FEMA to plan for the mass roundup and detention of American citizens, allegedly targeting about 400,000 'illegal aliens' (brown skinned people always seem to make for good scapegoats and cover for secretive government operations), with Cable Splicer and Garden Plot as prototypes the current administration has launched a similar program called Operation Falcon, a potential test run to fill up those detention facilities that Haliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root were awarded a $385 million contract for? If so you can rest assured that Main Core will be able to generate the pickup lists for such an operation. The camps were justified in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as being necessary for illegal immigrant roundups, temporary housing facilities for displaced victims of natural disasters and for other unspecified "new programs". Maureen Farrell wrote the definitive piece on this for Buzzflash in 2006 entitled Detention Camp Jitters. I only wish that I was making this stuff up but it is far more advanced than we know.

    I reference breaking news by Ellen Brown on the mysterious Wackenhut prison buses that were sighted in the Arizona desert, I will address this in more detail in the next installment.


    Our cities have turned into jungles
    And corruption is stranglin' the land
    The police force is watching the people
    And the people just can't understand
    We don't know how to mind our own business
    'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
    Now we are fighting a war over there
    No matter who's the winner
    We can't pay the cost
    'Cause there's a monster on the loose
    It's got our heads into a noose
    And it just sits there watching

    -Monster (Steppenwolf)

    America post-9/11 has been a period of triumph for the shadow government. The ascendance has now been nearly completed, the transformation for all intents and purposes is likely now irreversible. The surveillance grids have been locked into place, the Constitution altered forever, the opposition cowed and nullified, the media matrix impenetrable, the Congress rendered irrelevant, the public brainwashed and the military on alert to move against the citizenry domestically (when the order is given. As they say in the financial world, the gains have been locked in.

    Despite the banishment of Bush-Cheney there will likely be no real restoration of what has been lost nor will there be any serious type of accountability, fascism and militarism are now as American as apple pie. Certainly there will be cosmetic changes, President Obama has already announced Guantanamo Bay will be closed, it’s just become too much of a symbol of all that has gone wrong. Torture has also been denounced by Obama and the CIA black prisons have been ordered to be shut down but with a deeply entrenched renegade shadow government it is likely that the ghost planes will continue their rendition routes to black sites abroad (albeit covertly) and that private surveillance and intelligence outfits will continue to receive government funding and mercenary armies like those of the infamous Blackwater will continue to grow stronger.

    While Tim Shorrock in his Salon piece “Exposing Bush’s Historic Abuse of Power” writes of rumors of a potential series of Congressional investigations:
    The proposal for a Church Committee-style investigation emerged from talks between civil liberties advocates and aides to Democratic leaders in Congress, according to sources involved. (Pelosi's and Conyers' offices both declined to comment.) Looking forward to 2009, when both Congress and the White House may well be controlled by Democrats, the idea is to have Congress appoint an investigative body to discover the full extent of what the Bush White House did in the war on terror to undermine the Constitution and U.S. and international laws. The goal would be to implement government reforms aimed at preventing future abuses -- and perhaps to bring accountability for wrongdoing by Bush officials.

    "If we know this much about torture, rendition, secret prisons and warrantless wiretapping despite the administration's attempts to stonewall, then imagine what we don't know," says a senior Democratic congressional aide who is familiar with the proposal and has been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations.

    "You have to go back to the McCarthy era to find this level of abuse," says Barry Steinhardt, the director of the Program on Technology and Liberty for the American Civil Liberties Union. "Because the Bush administration has been so opaque, we don't know [the extent of] what laws have been violated."

    The parameters for an investigation were outlined in a seven-page memo, written after the former member of the Church Committee met for discussions with the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Common Cause and other watchdog groups. Key issues to investigate, those involved say, would include the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance activities; the Central Intelligence Agency's use of extraordinary rendition and torture against terrorist suspects; and the U.S. government's extensive use of military assets -- including satellites, Pentagon intelligence agencies and U2 surveillance planes -- for a vast spying apparatus that could be used against the American people.

    Specifically, the ACLU and other groups want to know how the NSA's use of databases and data mining may have meshed with other domestic intelligence activities, such as the U.S. government's extensive use of no-fly lists and the Treasury Department's list of "specially designated global terrorists" to identify potential suspects. As of mid-July, says Steinhardt, the no-fly list includes more than 1 million records corresponding to more than 400,000 names. If those people really represent terrorist threats, he says, "our cities would be ablaze." A deeper investigation into intelligence abuses should focus on how these lists feed on each other, Steinhardt says, as well as the government's "inexorable trend towards treating everyone as a suspect."

    "It's not just the 'Terrorist Surveillance Program,'" agrees Gregory T. Nojeim from the Center for Democracy and Technology, referring to the Bush administration's misleading name for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. "We need a broad investigation on the way all the moving parts fit together. It seems like we're always looking at little chunks and missing the big picture."

    A prime area of inquiry for a sweeping new investigation would be the Bush administration's alleged use of a top-secret database to guide its domestic surveillance. Dating back to the 1980s and known to government insiders as "Main Core," the database reportedly collects and stores -- without warrants or court orders -- the names and detailed data of Americans considered to be threats to national security.


    Getting a full picture on Bush's intelligence programs, however, will almost certainly require any sweeping new investigation to have a scope that would inoculate it against charges of partisanship. During one recent discussion on Capitol Hill, according to a participant, a senior aide to Speaker Pelosi was asked for Pelosi's views on a proposal to expand the investigation to past administrations, including those of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. "The question was, how far back in time would we have to go to make this credible?" the participant in the meeting recalled.
    However given the inability of the Congress to do anything to provide a check on the monstrous abuses of the Bush-Cheney regime (and those shadow government activities that preceded it) it is highly unlikely that any legitimate, official review along the lines of the Church Committee will ever occur. If there is any sort of an investigation I would think that it would be a dog and pony show whitewash along the lines of the Warren Commission or the Kean-Hamilton 9/11 Commission, both of which served to do nothing other than provide the façade of an investigation while protecting those implicated from having their criminality exposed in the interests of national security and to continue to provide cover for the existing established order. In their true feckless manner the Democrats are already deferring to their more openly fascist cohorts in the first days of the new administration which does not bode well for the future.

    Too much damage has already been done and too many stand to face not only criminal charges but also charges of outright treason if the sort of sweeping investigation that is required to get into the real systemic rot is undertaken.

    Part three will be forthcoming next week.