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The PFUTS plan.

Okay.  After a couple of centuries of working on it, we pretty much have a perfect plan now.  It’s called PFUTS.  Preemptively Fuck Up Their Shit.  It simply means going after The Enemy before they have done anything to us.  Just in case.  Because we want their stuff, or because we want them to have enough sense to choose a different form of government than what they have, or because we need to justify the gross amount of cash we spend on Weapons and Warriors.  Or because we are having an election and aside from taking away birth control, the minimum wage, or social security, the only thing our politicians know how to talk about is war – so they have to create one to talk about.  Or just because we feel like fucking someone up.

The “Their” can be filled in with whomever we choose as the enemy of the day.  Today it’s Iran, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, and Syria.  Yesterday, Libya.  The day before, Iraq and Afghanistan.  In Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, we are currently following up the PFUTS operations with the sub-plan, CFUTS, or Continue to Fuck Up Their Shit.  The only reason to follow PFUTS with CFUTS is because we can.  We want to.  We like doing it.  There can be no other explanation.  As we can see in Iraq, for example, we totally decimated the country.  Somewhere around one million of their people were killed, four to six million were displaced and had to flee their own country, their water and soil is poisoned with our depleted uranium, electricity is still not available many hours of the day, schools and hospitals remain closed, and tens of thousands of Iraqi women have turned to prostitution in an effort to feed their children because there are no jobs.  Yet we haven’t quite left yet; our State Department remains with thousands of mercenaries and drones, while we demand war reparations from the country.  We invaded them for no reason, but they have to pay us back for the expenses we incurred on ourselves in the invasion and war.  In Libya, we have sent around 6000 US troops to guard the oil fields while the government we foisted upon them, the NTC, grabs black Africans and former Ghaddafi supporters off the streets, imprisoning and torturing them.  There again, we are demanding that Libya pay for their “liberation” by forfeiting the funds we illegally seized right before we started bombing the crap out of their cities.  In Afghanistan, we have US troops guarding gold mines for JPMorgan, while we continue to drop bombs and engage in “warcraft” with the Taliban.  For some reason (and it is probably just as simple as wanting to give Raytheon and Lockheed a chance to make a few more bucks while we figure out how to get that damn pipeline built) we seem to be arming the Taliban at the same time we are trying to kill them.

Some countries never escape our CFUTS sub-plan.  See, for example, Haiti.  The Philippines.  Japan.  (See, for that matter, Native Americans.)  Although our CFUTS is a little more subtle in those instances than in Libya or Iraq.  It’s a work in progress, only now nearing perfection; and now that the American public seems to really be on board with the whole PFUTS thing, really behind it, the guys in charge of fucking up people’s shit can be a little more obvious.  Obama openly talks about projecting power and the right of the US to exert dominance wherever we feel it is necessary in order to secure our advantage economically.  [See my previous article: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/02/the-2012-defense-strategic-guidance/ ]

They are so obvious about it that we now have a sitting US president bragging about assassinating foreigners (living in countries with which we are not at war), and US citizens at his whim.  Without any charges brought against them, without any legal evidence of their alleged wrong-doing, without trial or sentence.  Our top diplomat can now boldly state that the leader of a sovereign nation should do as we direct and step down because “his days are numbered”. [http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/18/us-syria-usa-clinton-idUSTRE7AH2LQ20111118]

This is different than what NATO did in Libya, Clinton is quick to point out, and she is technically correct.  In Libya, we posted a 2 million dollar on Ghaddafi’s head, directed the “rebels” on where to find him, and then laughed as he was tortured and assassinated.  Assad does not yet have a bounty on his head.

Our PFUTS plan for Iran involves accusing them of doing things they are not doing, sending in the CIA to mess with their people, assassinating their scientists and then imposing sanctions on them, which is an act of aggressive, preemptive economic war.  We have also invaded their air space, sending drones over, one of which crashed onto Iranian soil.  (Somehow that prompted a threat of what we would do if they didn’t return it.)  Now we have them surrounded by land and sea and wonder why in the hell those Persians are not meekly submitting to our “power projections”.  How dare they deny that they are not doing what they are not doing?  How dare they patrol the waters along their own shores, with clever little patrol boats, no less – that is right where we have our warships, damnit.  As you read these passages, notice the discrepancy between our military hardware and that of the Iranian forces.

Nerves were strained as an Iranian patrol boat approached the USS Abraham Lincoln at speed.

A helicopter escort hovered above the vessel in a warning not to get any closer, and the grey boat, tiny compared to the massive U.S. aircraft carrier, eventually turned around.

The encounter involving U.S. and Iranian boats, common in recent weeks, underscores rising tensions in the Gulf region between rival powers since Tehran threatened to close the Hormuz Strait, the world’s most important oil shipping waterway, over Western moves to ban Iranian crude exports….

The fleet, known as “Carrier Strike Group Nine” has been making forays through Hormuz despite the Iranian threats….

With four helicopters circling overhead and two destroyers leading, the carrier entered Hormuz while up in the watch tower, some seven Navy commanding officers, intelligence chiefs and legal experts were gathered in a small but busy control room…

The head of the fleet, Rear Admiral Troy Shoemaker, spotted two small boats, thought to be of smugglers, being battered by the high waves.

“It is going very well, relatively quiet. We have had a couple of surveillance aircraft, a helicopter and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) but nothing in the way of surface activity,” Shoemaker said, referring to activity from Iranian side…

The Iranians make their presence felt every time U.S. forces cross the strait, by almost escorting the fleet either by air or using patrol boats. The U.S. in return reassesses the threat from Iran on regular basis by studying Iranian activity…

Military experts say the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet patrolling the Gulf – which always has at least one giant super carrier accompanied by scores of jets and a fleet of frigates and destroyers – is overwhelmingly more powerful than Iran’s navy.

But it is the small boats that worry the U.S. Navy most. Vice Admiral Fox said last week that Iran had built up its naval forces in the Gulf and prepared boats that could be used in suicide attacks…
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/17/usa-iran-hormuz-idUSL5E8DH38U20120217

In the same article, we see that some of our “warriors” get at least the gist of PFUTS, if not the entire picture.

For many of the sailors, Iran’s threats were not always something they paid attention to. They often saw their mission in simpler terms.

We want that oil to go where it needs to go in this world. We want people in this region to be able to get the products they can buy from Europe, from America, other regions of the world,” said Naval Aviator Matt Driskill, 33, who recently flew fighter planes over Libya and over Iraq in 2004. [from same Reuters article cited above.]

Now see, I really like this young man.  He has thoroughly accepted and internalized the indoctrination that the US has the right to all the oil in Iran and that we are there for the Good of the Whole Entire Earth.  I see stars and shiny things dangling from his lapels in his future.  He hasn’t seemed to grasp that the oil isn’t flowing from Iran because, well, uh, we sanctioned and embargoed them, thus preventing them from trading their oil.  However, he is sanguine in his belief that this is their fault, too, and so he watches for suicide patrol boats and stands prepared to loose the dogs of war.  He is a good soldier.

We all are, now.  We obediently line up to be scanned at the airports, we laugh at videos of people who are tasered unto death by the local police and make jokes about it.  At least 500 people have been killed by tasers to date. [ http://rt.com/usa/news/500-taser-law-enforcement-503/ ]

We listen blandly as our leaders suggest that we should use more weapons, more secret forces, more drones dropping bombs in more countries, drones over our own skies, as they boast of militarized local police forces, and plan the use of the military in our cities and towns.  [See for instance:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/us/admiral-pushes-for-freer-hand-in-special-forces.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1 and this: http://wsws.org/articles/2012/feb2012/pers-f14.shtml ]

We have accepted the indoctrination; the words no longer sound strange to us.  “Homeland”, “warriors”, “warrior class”, “special ops”, “black site”, “targeted assassination”, “rendition”, “Patriot Act”, “see something, say something”….

I just saw an ad for a movie, coming soon to a theater near you.  It is entitled, “Act of Valor” and stars real-io, trul-io, live-io Navy SEALs, who, I assume, must remain anonymous in their starring roles.

An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs in a film like no other in Hollywood’s history. A fictionalized account of real life Navy SEAL operations, Act of Valor features a gripping story that takes audiences on an adrenaline-fueled, edge-of-their-seat journey. When a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA operative unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat, an elite team of highly trained Navy SEALs must immediately embark on a heart-stopping secret operation, the outcome of which will determine the fate of us all. Act of Valor combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the-minute battlefield technology, and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure film-showcasing the skills, training and tenacity of the greatest action heroes of them all: real Navy SEALs. — movie synopsis.

Now, this is open propaganda and indoctrination.  The definition of “valor” is: “exceptional or heroic courage when facing danger (especially in battle)”.  This movie is based on an actual event, the killing of Osama bin Laden.  We sneaked into a sovereign nation after a man who was alleged to be the mastermind of 9/11, although the evidence was so nonexistent that we never even brought charges against him and the tapes purportedly made by him after 9/11 have been proven to be fakes.  It is likely he actually died a decade ago.  But once there in Pakistan, we shot his unarmed wife, shot and killed him as he stood, also unarmed, and dumped his body in the ocean.  There was no battle.  Whomever they shot was some old guy without a weapon of any sort.  What is valorous about that?

Maybe we are just stupid, but we have not seemed to glom onto the fact that the psychopaths running things are also targeting us.  And let me assure you that these people are seriously deranged.  How can anyone not see this?  They are using their PFUOS (Preemptively Fuck Up Our Shit) plan right here at home.  Perhaps we can’t grasp it because our brains have been permanently damaged by the fluoride they put in the water.  [http://www.infowars.com/story-on-mystery-substance-distracts-from-fact-fluoride-is-a-deadly-killer/ ]  Or because our food has lost most of its nutritional value and our brains are starved of vitamins and minerals.  [http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss]

Whatever it is, we fail to recognize that the oligarchy is ruining our lives right along with all those foreigners we think we need to hate.  They keep coming up with plans that should ring alarms – yet no-one notices.  The mortgage settlement that Obama announced the other day will cost the taxpayers roughly 20 bb out of the 25 bb.  And, by the way, not one single home will be returned to anyone who was foreclosed on fraudulently.
[See: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/09-5 ]

They are giving all of Greece to the big banks, and I have to ask frankly, has it occurred to anyone that we are paying a boat-load of interest on the national debt to the same banks that we just gave 14.7 trillion in bail-outs to?  They want all of the US, too, see, but nowadays, they have you pretty well convinced that the whole economic downturn thing was the fault of poor people trying to own houses.  All it took was a few politicians and newspapers saying or writing complete blathering nonsense for a year or so, and you have totally forgotten how we got into this mess.

If Obama and Congress suggested that the way out of our troubles was to sacrifice virgins to the great god Moloch, I suspect the only argument we would be having would be over which serves the purpose better: “pure” American virgins or the children of immigrants, as a way to solve the “illegal alien problem”.  (Hate to tell you, but Obama is disallowing the LIFO – Last In, First Out – method of accounting in his new budget.)  Anyone who objected to throwing children off the dome of the Capitol on moral grounds would be jeered at as pansy, socialist, bleeding hearts by most of the population.

They got the EPA to approve a pesticide which is probably the cause of the bee colony collapse using fraudulent research; but we mustn’t interfere with Monsanto’s part in the PFUOS.  [  http://grist.org/politics/food-2010-12-10-leaked-documents-show-epa-allowed-bee-toxic-pesticide/ ]  And now, they’ve come up with a plan to sequester carbon – by turning it into liquid and burying it in giant pits a mile underground.  This should sound utterly insane, but we are talking about the same people who poison our water with fracking, tell us Gulf seafood is safe to eat, allow new nuclear facilities to be built with outdated standards, allow new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, overfish the oceans until we are are nearing complete collapse of the fish stock, use massive amounts of antibiotics on feed animals; and we don’t seem to have sense enough to wonder about those either. [http://www.alternet.org/environment/154106]

Go watch “Act of Valor”.  Have some popcorn.  Might as well have some good old-fashioned fun watching guys shoot and maim other guys while the people in charge fuck up your shit.

Bonus thought.  From wikipedia;  “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, called the ‘Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John the Evangelist’ at 6:1-8. The chapter tells of a ‘ ‘book’/’scroll’ in God’s right hand that is sealed with seven seals’. The Lamb of God/Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ) opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons forth four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. Although some interpretations differ, the four riders are commonly seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine and Death, respectively. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment.”

People in other countries, being closer to the state of sanity than we are, might tremble at the sight of the four horses.  The American response, however, would be, “Oooo-ooo, I’ll take the red horse for 200, Alex!”

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EU places embargo on Iranian oil.

Updated below.  Update 2 below: Wed., 25 Jan.

I do not like referencing my own work; however, in this case it is the easiest way to direct you to links from outside sources which I have used in previous articles.

The European Union has just announced that it will embargo Iranian oil as a means of getting Iran to stop doing what it is not doing. [see:  http://teri.nicedriving.org/2011/11/on-iran-and-a-small-video-of-sirte-libya/  and a link from another previous article:  http://goo.gl/mJG2E  ]  The embargo goes into effect immediately on new oil contracts with Iran; already existing contracts will have to be phased out by 1 July.  Other targets for sanctions may include a number of Iranian companies, individuals and financial institutions.  The US has already sanctioned Iran’s Central Bank (to take effect within 60 days), as part of the NDAA recently signed by Obama.  [see:  http://teri.nicedriving.org/2011/12/diplomacy-and-other-strong-arm-tactics/  ]

Greece, driven into debt and suffering under drastic austerity measures (“So long, and thanks for all the fish” – Goldman, Sachs to Greece) reportedly asked for a 12-month stay. It turns out that within the EU, there are three countries most likely to suffer from any increased oil prices and economic fallout from the sanctions: Italy, Spain and Greece, which account for up to 68 per cent of Iranian oil consumed in Europe.  Greece and Italy recently had new leaders foisted on them – unwillingly and without elections – in both cases, the new prime ministers are bankers.  [see:  http://teri.nicedriving.org/2011/11/replacements/  ]  I think it is safe to assume that the EU is not particularly concerned with the effects of the embargo on Italy, Spain and Greece.

The EU embargo, combined with the US sanctions, will remove roughly 2 million barrels of oil from the markets each day.  China is the biggest buyer of Iranian oil and has not agreed to any sanctions; China may decide to take up the oil now banned by the west, which would obviously help alleviate the financial pressure felt by Iran.  The other Asian countries are under pressure from the US and the EU to join in the embargo, but so far are also refusing.

Oil prices are already rising because of these actions.  This is due to the speculators in the markets.   Commodities speculators used to be heavily regulated to prevent them from unfairly affecting prices on necessary goods, such as oil.  They have been deregulated.  (‘High oil prices are driven by speculators in the markets.  We need to do something about them.’ – Barack Obama, campaign remark, 2008.  ‘Oh, I don’t think we can say that speculators have any impact on oil prices’ – Barack Obama, upon entering the White House.)  The impact from the US sanctions was immediate.  [see:  http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/01/lets-get-the-story-straight/  ]  Increased fuel costs will adversely affect the western economies which are under pressure and in decline from bad financial decisions ongoing since 2008.  But never let it be said that we passed on a perfectly good opportunity to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Bonus video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_JOGmXpe5I

Update:  According to the Israeli-based news website, DEBKAfile, India and possibly China are making arrangements to trade in gold for Iran’s oil.  Every article I have read concerning this so far refers back to the Debka exclusive.  [See: http://www.debka.com/article/21673/ ]

This story is most likely accurate; as I have mentioned several times, Iran set up trading on the Tehran bourse earlier last year with the explicit purpose of trading off the dollar.  This will obviously depress the value of the dollar and enhance the price of gold.

Turkey, Russia, India, and China have not agreed to any sanctions or embargos against Iran.  Japan and South Korea are discussing the matter with the US, but are reluctant to join in the embargo as they depend rather heavily on Iranian oil.

In articles I was reading yesterday, I kept seeing remarks quoted from “US officials” about Iran needing to engage in talk.  We say that as Iran keeps saying that they want diplomatic talks.  This is reminiscent of the situation in Libya – we kept insisting Ghaddafi talk and negotiate while at the same time, we refused each of his attempts to negotiate.  Yet, we are the ones whose first approach to Iran over the issue of possible nuclear enrichment has been to sanction them.  Our second approach has been to threaten them by surrounding them by land and sea.  Our third approach has been to get the EU to embargo Iranian oil.  We are not doing any “talking”, as near as I can see.  We cut off diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980 and have never re-engaged.  Sanctions and embargos (economic warfare) are our idea of diplomacy.

I think now is a good time to mention again the Shanghai Cooperative Organisation (the SCO).  This is a group of countries which have formed a union (somewhat like NATO in the west) to cooperate on security, military, and economic matters.  The member countries are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.  Observer states are India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan. (The US applied for observer status in ’06 and was denied.) Dialogue partners are Belarus and Sri Lanka.  Guest Attendances are Turmenistan, the ASEAN (Assoc. of SE Asian Nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam), and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States: former Soviet Republics).

“Its six full members account for 60% of the land mass of Eurasia and its population is a quarter of the world’s. With observer states included, its affiliates account for half of the human race.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisation

If the neocons (and the neoliberals like Obama) desire World War 3, they are setting up a situation where it may mean half the globe’s population against the other half.  This is all due to seeking domination of the world’s resources.  It is unnecessary.  It is insane.  Yet it has been the intention of people like Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Pentagon for decades.  Obama is simply going with their blueprint.

We are being led into oblivion by the mad.  Why we are following is a whole other question.

Update 2:  Wed, 25 Jan.

Looks like someone thought about how the sanctions might bring some hardship to the EU as well as Iran.  To prevent some European countries from having to depend on Russia to make up the energy deficiency caused by the sanctions, the UK wants BP’s natural gas operations to be exempted from the sanctions.  To this end, the UK, the EU, and BP sent lobbyists to Washington to influence lawmakers here.  According to the Wall Street Journal:

“British and European Union officials have convinced some U.S. lawmakers to ensure that any new sanctions against Iran exempt a BP PLC-led natural-gas project, as Western governments try to isolate Tehran without harming their own energy security.

“The $20 billion project in the Caspian Sea off Azerbaijan is seen as key to alleviating Europe’s dependence on Russia as its largest supplier of natural gas.

” ‘There is broad-based consensus in the House and Senate that our sanctions policy should impose maximum economic pain on the Iranians without allowing Russia to hold Eastern Europe hostage for energy supplies,’ said a congressional aide familiar with the European lobbying effort….

“The Shah Deniz II project could have been hit by a bill by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) that would ban any company doing business with Iran’s oil and gas sector from operating in the U.S. But the current version of the legislation includes language that says it won’t affect efforts ‘to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe and Turkey,’ or to achieve ‘energy security and independence from Russia.’

“The Ros-Lehtinen bill is now with the Senate’s committee on foreign affairs….

“A BP spokesman said recent discussions on Shah Deniz II were part of the U.K.-based company’s ‘routine engagement’ with U.S. lawmakers…. ”

http://engforum.pravda.ru/index.php?/topic/245394-iran-sanction-bill-exempts-bp-project/

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), is the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  The bill in question, which would exempt BP, is HR 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act.  This was introduced on 5/13/2011 (they have been thinking about the Iranian sanctions a long time – the sanctions did not spontaneously pop up in the NDAA).  The bill was approved [in Dec.] by the House by a vote of 410-11.   Per the House press summary: “It strengthens, updates and replaces previous Iran sanctions laws to ensure that current law vigorously addresses the multiple threats posed by Iran. The bill closes loopholes in energy and financial sanctions, including by targeting the Central Bank of Iran. The bill also targets the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and senior Iranian regime officials.”  The bill is now in the hands of the Senate foreign relations committee, being readied for introduction to the Senate.

“Ros-Lehtinen is also the author of H.R. 2105, the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act, which was approved by the House by a vote of 418-2. The bill expands sanctions on those assisting Iran, North Korea, and Syria in the development of their weapons programs, including their nuclear programs.” – House press summary.  See, they are working on that pesky Syria problem, too.

I did not know anything about Ros-Lehtinen.  Turns out she is a Cuban-American.  Interesting that she is so aggressive about threatening, sanctioning, embargo-ing, and otherwise disrupting and punishing countries that have not directly threatened the US.  Perhaps she does not know anything about her own cultural heritage.  She is, however, very aggressive and very angry at various foreign countries and would like to see certain of them “taken out”.  (Or perhaps she does know her cultural heritage; it’s just that she sees Cuba’s economic woes as being entirely the fault of Castro rather than having anything at all to do with over 50 years of embargos and sanctions against Cuba by the US.  According to her wiki entry: she “supports continued sanctions against Cuba. She also supported the de facto government in Honduras, headed by Roberto Micheletti, that emerged after the military coup against President Manuel Zelaya. She has said of the decision to invade Iraq: “Whether or not there is a direct link to the World Trade Center does not mean that Iraq is not meritorious of shedding blood. The common link is that they hate America.”)

One might hope (in vain) that the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee would be even-tempered and just a little, well, diplomatic.  But considering that our Top Diplomat is the now completely deranged Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died Clinton, it should not be surprising to see that Ros-Lehtinen issued this public statement to Obama on 19 January.   Our “diplomats” and other officials in charge of handling foreign affairs are insane.  Clinical psychopaths.  As I said, we are being led into oblivion by the mad.  Why we are following is a whole other question.  (Bear in mind please, while you read her statement, that she is talking here about Iran; a country that has not started any war in hundreds of years, a country that is not developing nuclear weapons, and that has allowed nuclear inspectors to do their jobs with more frequency than any other country.  A country that has been the target of internally disruptive, covert CIA operations for decades, has had its scientific computers taken down by the US and Israel, its scientists assassinated, and which is the current target of economic warfare waged on it by the US and the EU –  all to make them stop doing what they are not doing.)

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on reports that the President proposed new direct negotiations with Iran in a letter to Iran’s “Supreme Leader.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“I hope that reports the Administration is seeking new ‘engagement’ with the Iranian regime are false. Now is the time to clamp down on the regime through sanctions that close every loophole and deny Tehran any breathing room. The Administration must not fall into the regime’s trap and again pursue the failed policy of dialogue and engagement.

“The Iranian regime is only capable of negotiating in bad-faith, which it is happy to do in order to buy even more time for its nuclear efforts. We can’t afford to fall into this obvious trap yet again.

“The clock is running out to stop Iran from achieving a breakout nuclear capability. Sanctions are having an impact. Negotiations will undermine the prospects for stopping Iran, as the only result will be more time for Iran’s centrifuges to spin. The Administration needs to step up the pressure by imposing all the sanctions in U.S. law without further delay if we hope to stop Iran’s nuclear pursuits from moving forward.”

http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/press_display.asp?id=2167

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in austerity, fossil fuels, Greece, Iran, MIC, SCO, Wall St and banks

 

Flying Monkeys

“It’s all fun and games until the flying monkeys show up.”

This is written on a t-shirt I gave one of my kids a few years ago.  Funny, eh?  Every year when I was a kid, we would watch “The Wizard of Oz” together.  It was one of those family tradition things that I continued with my own children later.  One part of the movie that bothered me – even when I was very young – was the scene where Dorothy kills the Wicked Witch.  After Dorothy melts her with water, one of the winged monkeys claps happily over the remains of the witch and the Captain of the Guard exclaims, “Hail Dorothy!  The Wicked Witch is dead!”  Now, wait a minute, I’d say.  If they all really hated the witch, why did they obey her?  Why did they pick on the kid and the nice guys the whole movie?  Why didn’t they figure out how to kill her?  Now I know.  They were mindlessly following orders to earn their pay.  They were mercenaries.

You have to wonder if Dorothy should have trusted them afterward.  How many amongst the monkey troops and armed guards were True Believers?  How many would simply look for another Wicked Witch to obey?  Well, it’s just a childrens’ story and I won’t carry on about the symbolism further, but bear it in mind.

Here in the US, as al Qaeda dwindles as a threat overseas (there are now supposedly two al Qaeda leaders left in Afghanistan), we are being warned about the threat of homegrown terrorists more often.  Congress thinks about it a lot.  They don’t worry so much about jobs or the economy, but they spend quite a large percentage of their time fretting over threats to the Homeland, looking for threats, making laws about threats and laws about potential threats.  They positively stew over it.  The CIA and FBI help Congress by stirring up fanatics in various places and enabling or creating terrorist threats all on their own; then “foiling” the plots and saving the day.  There is even some credible evidence that al Qaeda was an invention of the CIA.

We civilians, in the meantime, are being coached in how to watch each other.  We are taught by our leaders to blame each other for our problems.  Instead of allowing the banks that caused our economic downturn to fail, our “leaders” want us to blame each other.  It was poor people trying to buy houses, poor people wanting too much in the way of assistance, women seeking abortions, drug-users; it is all the fault of someone – not you – someone a little different than you.  Poorer, blacker, of a different religion, wearing a different sort of clothing, a dirty protester stirring up trouble, those lazy unemployed people.  Certainly not the banks or the people “in charge”.

At the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008, the derivatives market (toxic assets, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations) was roughly 200 trillion dollars.  Now, this is an impossible number, being that this value was based on less than 20 tt worth of real estate in the US.  Clearly, this is funny money – value based on nothing but bags of hot air.  Clearly, when the banks wanted Congress to bail them out (i.e., replace their bags of hot air with actual money), the answer should have been: hell, no.  Write your toxic assets down to their real value and if that means you go bankrupt, that is your problem.  You made all this shit up out of nothing, you bankers.  Instead the banks were given bailouts.  It turns out the Fed has given them over 16 tt bucks of our money.  The results of the Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders audit of the Fed shows that “more than $16 trillion [was given to banks]. The four largest recipients, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, received more than a trillion dollars each.”

That is what we did instead of allowing those banks to fail.  Now these banks want more – and are spreading out over the globe to collect all the assets and cash in the world.  Austerity for everyone.  Land, property, money for the banks.  Goldman, Sachs has its men now running Italy and Greece, placed into office without benefit of election, and imposing harsher austerity measures by the day.  With the help of NATO, Libya was turned over to an oilman.  In the US, governors and state legislators are cutting off funding for vital programs, slashing jobs, and selling infrastructure to private corporations while refusing to tax the wealthy or stop the fraudulent foreclosure of homes.  The derivatives market today is notionally valued at over 700 tt.  Now, just four banks hold 95.9% of U.S. derivatives, according to a recent report from the Office of the Currency Comptroller.  The four banks in question are JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs.  (As a comparison, the world’s gross domestic product [GDP] is only about $65 trillion.)

The banks want this hot air replaced with taxpayer cash and assets.  They are getting their way in every country.  They are getting away with the greatest heist in human history.  And we are being told that the problem is…us.

Monsanto is grabbing the rights to food production in every country.  Halliburton, Exxon, and other big oil/natural gas companies are strip-mining the entire world, poisoning our fresh water and our air, tearing up our land and rendering it useless and bereft of life.  They are spilling toxins in the oceans; amazingly, they are given even more drilling rights as a reward.  The Big Oil companies earned over $1 trillion in profits over the last decade.  Last quarter, ExxonMobil was the most profitable company in the history of money.  Bechtel and assorted corporations are buying up water rights all around the globe so that eventually most humans will have to buy their water from private concerns.  But we are being told the problem is…us.

Here is how we (the “us” we are supposed to blame and be alert for) are doing in America right now.  The median income for American workers in 2010 was $26,364.

“A new measurement of poverty by the Census Bureau, which takes regional cost of living, medical payments and other expenses that do not intrude on the official poverty count, found a third of Americans are either in poverty or desperately close to it.”  – Gary Younge [http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/09-2]

Headstart has to compete with private schools for funds. [http://wsws.org/articles/2011/nov2011/head-n11.shtml]

Public school teachers are being laid off.  Class sizes are increasing.  One city after another is bringing in “city managers” who end public education, replacing it with charter or voucher systems.

WIC and heating assistance programs are being starved of funds.  Congress may let the unemployment insurance benefits lapse at the end of this month.  45 million Americans need food stamps to feed themselves – and the food stamp program keeps having its benefits reduced by Congress.  Almost 50 million people have no health insurance.  The unemployment rate is officially 8.9 – this will vary depending on the day of the week and the methods used to count the unemployed – but the actual rate of under- and unemployed is hovering at 20%.  There are 5 applicants for every job.

Both parties have plans in the works to end Social Security and Medicare.

What is Congress doing about all this?  They know this will end badly, that austerity measures will hit in ever harder punches in the coming year as they prop up the banks (their never-ending source of bribe revenue) and continue refusing to re-regulate them.  They know this will lead to more and more civil unrest.  So they are focusing like lasers on “terrorism in the Homeland and abroad” and getting us to despise each other.  They spend time calling Iran a “money-laundering scheme” and writing up sanctions.  (This serves multiple purposes: it gives us someone to focus our hatred on aside from the real criminals, creates a threat, makes legislation about the threat, and guarantees a continuing threat.  Awesome stuff.)  They write legislation to detain indefinitely “suspect” Americans.   If you think Obama will veto the latest legislation on the National Defense Authorization Act, you would be wrong.  Short clip from CSPAN explaining this (h/t Terry5135):

They allow the Pentagon to arm our local police forces with surplus military machinery, doing an end run around the Posse Comitatus Act. The 2011 Dept. of Defense (Pentagon) gave over 500 mm worth of surplus military machinery to local police departments.  Joint Terrorism Task Forces have been set up to mingle the FBI, the CIA, the military, and local police departments.  Local police officers have been sent to Israel to train in anti-terrorism tactics.  Here is Max Blumenthal of the Nation Institute laying it out in an 8 minute RT interview:

They spend time trying to figure out how to take more property from us and give it to the military or to private companies.  See my earlier post, http://teri.nicedriving.org/2011/12/eminent-domain-2/

And the Obama White House is very worried about all the potential threats out there, too.  The administration just released its Strategic Implementation Plan.

WASHINGTON — The White House on Thursday laid out a plan to implement a government strategy to combat homegrown domestic terrorism and any attempts by Al-Qaeda to seek to radicalize American Muslims…
“Protecting our nation’s communities from violent extremist recruitment and radicalization is a top national security priority,” said the document, known as the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP)…
The strategy was released a day after US officials warned that the US military was under threat as homegrown Islamic extremists, including “radicalized troops,” pose a risk to military installations…
The plan is a spin-off of a new National Counterterrorism Strategy released in June which warned the government must be vigilant for new efforts by Al-Qaeda to infiltrate US communities and inspire homegrown terrorism…
The document also calls for new efforts to analyze the impact of the Internet and social networks on radicalizing Americans from outside the country…
“Because of the importance of the digital environment, we will develop a separate, more comprehensive strategy for countering and preventing violent extremist online radicalization.”
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/08/white-house-targets-domestic-extremism/

 

…Initial reaction came from the co-chairs of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Independent Democrat Joseph Lieberman and Republican Susan Collins.
In a statement, they said the plan takes positive steps, but that “much more needs to be done and at a far faster pace, given the threat.”
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/White-House-Outlines-Plan-Against-Homegrown-Extremist-Threats-135294113.html

The Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) is available here in html form:
http://tinyurl.com/7pwrbhp

I read the full 20-page report.  (You are welcome.)  One of the opening lines reads, “The Obama Administration continues to prioritize and stress the critical importance of CVE [CVE = Countering Violent Extremism] in the Homeland.”  May I once again say how creepy I find the use of the word “Homeland”?

Does the Obama Administration really think we are likely to see a return to economic good times?  Well, no.  The SIP mentions that “While preventing violent extremism is an issue of national importance, it is one of many safety and security challenges facing our Nation. As we enter an era of increased fiscal constraints, we must ensure our approach is tailored to take advantage of current programs and leverages existing resources.”

The SIP reveals an inordinate, in my opinion, fear of the internet and repeatedly includes reminders to itself to work within the framework of the right to free speech amendments.  A secondary report specifically detailing what to do about the dreaded internet will be forthcoming at some future date.  By that time, Congress will no doubt have done away with the pesky free speech issues.  It also shows an extreme level of concentration on potential terrorists in the prison system.  That’s not surprising, given the likely increase in prison populations once any American citizen can be detained indefinitely without charges.

From the SIP, departments within the government involved in the Plan:

“The following departments and agencies were involved in the deliberations and approval process: the Departments of State (State), the Treasury, Defense (DOD), Justice (DOJ), Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education (EDU), Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security (DHS), as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).”

Now that is a lot of agencies.  I wonder what the Treasury, Health and Human Services, Labor, Education, and Commerce departments have to do with terrorism.

Page 4 outlines a “whole government” approach (bolding mine):

1. Whole-of-Government Coordination
Leveraging the wide range of tools, capabilities, and resources of the United States Government in a coordinated manner is essential for success. Traditional national security or law enforcement agencies such as DHS, DOJ, and the FBI will execute many of the programs and activities outlined in the SIP. However, as the National Strategy for Empowering Local Partners states, we must also use a broader set of good governance programs, “including those that promote immigrant integration and civic engagement, protect civil rights, and provide social services, which may also help prevent radicalization that leads to violence.”To this end, agencies such as EDU and HHS, which have substantial expertise in engaging communities and delivering services, also play a role. This does not mean the missions and priorities of these partners will change or that their efforts will become narrowly focused on national security. Their inclusion stems from our recognition that radicalization to violence depends on a variety of factors, which in some instances may be most effectively addressed by departments and agencies that historically have not been responsible for national security or law enforcement. These non-security partners, including specific components within DOJ and DHS, have an array of tools that can contribute to this effort by providing indirect but meaningful impact on CVE, including after school programs, networks of community-based organizations that provide assistance to new immigrants, and violence prevention programs. We will coordinate activities, where appropriate, to support the CVE effort while ensuring we do not change the core missions and functions of these departments and agencies.

So our department of education, responsible for the teaching of our children, and the department of human services, which works on welfare, housing and social needs, will now spend some of their time and resources looking for terrorists and teaching our communities how to spot and report on the same.  Get the kiddies scared shitless while they are young.  And watch out for those food stamp people.

While we are all busy looking for terrorists amongst our numbers, we are ignoring the flying monkeys swooping down and carrying some of us off.  The problem is not us.  The problem is the wicked witch and the armies of mindless flying monkeys who service her.  Focus, people – look up.  It’s all fun and games until the flying monkeys show up.  And they are here now.

 

Bankers

Bankers have hit their stride, taking out one country after another.  (“So long, and thanks for all the fish!” – Goldman, Sachs.)

Max Keiser on Greece:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr24d2aB3PM&feature=player_embedded

Max Keiser on the theft of Libya’s billions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErsbN8dvcvw&feature=player_embedded

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in austerity, corporatocracy, Greece, Wall St and banks

 

Replacements: off with their heads, bring in the new heads.

Three new leaders in three countries in a few days.  This is the quickening, the acceleration.  These guys are making their move.  Look who these new appointed leaders are: there is more here than just new names.

Libya.  The NTC named a new Libyan Prime Minister earlier this week. The new PM is el-Keib, who has lived in the US for over 30 years.  He graduated from USC in ’76, went on to get a doctorate here and ended up teaching at U of Alabama for more than twenty years.  He has actually lived here in the US for over 30 years. He is also a faculty member of the Petroleum Institute, a think-tank funded by BP and other British, French and US oil firms; his time spent outside the US involves work in the UAE for the Institute.  You may reference my earlier article about his “election” for more information.

Greece.  Greece has named a new Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos.

ATHENS: Former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos will head Greece’s new crisis coalition, the president’s office said on Thursday, ending suspense over who will try to save the country from default, bankruptcy and an exit from the euro zone.

The coalition will be sworn in at 1200 GMT on Friday, a presidential official said after Papademos struck a deal on the national unity government with outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou and the opposition leader. “The Greek economy is facing huge problems despite the efforts undertaken,” Papademos said as he emerged from the talks brokered by President Karolos Papoulias.

“The choices we make will be decisive for the Greek people. The path will not be easy but I am convinced the problems will be resolved faster and at a smaller cost if there is unity, understanding and prudence.”

Papademos, a respected figure in European capitals and on financial markets, said the coalition had the specific task of implementing a 130-billion-euro ($177 billion) bailout deal with the euro zone before calling an early election. ..

These [stipulations] included a demand that both Papandreou’s socialist PASOK and the New Democracy party of Antonis Samaras give a written undertaking to support the euro zone bailout package, which stipulates austerity measures which are likely to be highly unpopular with Greek voters…EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, exasperated by broken Greek promises, has already insisted the leaders sign up before receiving even an 8 billion euro instalment from Greece’s original bailout deal pulled together last year.

Unless Greece gets that money, it will default next month when big debt repayments come due. However, Germany and France have made clear they will not compromise the euro zone’s stability for the sake of Greece, and told the nation that it must decide whether it wants to stay in the bloc or not.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Lucas-Papademos-is-Greeces-new-prime-minister/articleshow/10682433.cms

 

Papademos served as the senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in the 1980’s after studying at several American universities.  He was the vice president at the European Central Bank until last year.  He is a member of the Trilateral Commission (David Rockefeller’s neoliberal think tank).

Italy.  The favored proposed leader to take over Italy’s government is Mario Monti:

Reuters: Former European Commissioner Mario Monti emerged on Thursday as favorite to replace Silvio Berlusconi at the head of an emergency government as Italy’s politicians rushed to ward off a crisis that is endangering the entire euro zone.

Dithering politicians seemed finally to have got the message overnight after Italy’s borrowing costs soared way above sustainable levels, and Monti was expected to be appointed within days to try to restore Rome’s credibility…

Political sources said the timetable imposed by an alarmed President Giorgio Napolitano could see a broad-based Monti government as early as Sunday night or Monday.

Monti, a highly respected international figure, has been pushed by markets for weeks as the most suitable figure to lead a national unity government that will urgently push through painful austerity measures

Both houses of parliament are expected to pass a financial stability law incorporating economic reforms promised to the European Union by Saturday or Sunday. This is the trigger for Berlusconi’s resignation as agreed with Napolitano on Tuesday.

Before the new sense of urgency this process was expected to take at least a week. Napolitano could then hold formal consultations with political parties in a few hours instead of the usual days or weeks and appoint Monti by Sunday or Monday, the sources said…

Napolitano appointed Monti a senator for life on Wednesday, in a move widely seen as a sign he would ask the academic to try to form a government…

IMF head Christine Lagarde added her voice to calls for an end to the impasse, saying that lack of political clarity in Italy was fuelling uncertainty in the markets…

He gave assurances that Berlusconi would honor his pledge to step down after parliament approved reforms geared to placate markets and he would waste no time in either appointing a new government or calling new elections…

Commentators said, however, that he might still face difficulty getting support for unpopular measures.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/10/us-italy-idUSTRE7A72NG20111110

 

Mario Monti is not just a European Commissioner and a current international adviser to Goldman,Sachs, he is also the following: the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission (David Rockefeller’s neoliberal think tank) and a member of the Bilderberg Group.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in austerity, Greece, Libya, Wall St and banks