Friday, April 25, 2014

Cheering on the new Cold War

Shilling for Wall Street
By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

Paul Craig Roberts is a former senior member of the Reagan administration and former editor of the Wall Street Journal who fearlessly exposes the continuing corruption of the government in Washington. He coined a phrase to describe the U.S. corporate dominated media: “presstitute media.”

A recent New York Times column by Thomas Friedman and a CNN news report just days ago provide good examples of what Roberts is talking about.

In his column, Friedman explained the crisis in the Ukraine as the failure of the “West” to confront “Putanisn” – meaning those Russian “bullies” who Washington says decided to invade and annex parts of the Ukraine when the former and thoroughly corrupt Ukrainian president was, as Friedman put it, “overthrown.”
The implication is that the Ukrainian people were making progress to freedom and democracy which Russia wanted to prevent.
That is a total distortion.  Respected journalists such as Robert Parry and Thierry Meyssan, writing in the Canadian Journal, Global Research, as well as Roberts  and others have documented what FriEdman ignores, not the least of which is, there was no invasion.
The former Ukrainian president was no more corrupt that his opposition. He had been bought by Washington to sign up with the European Union, backed out of the deal,  and because of that, our “freedom loving” government in Washington organized and financed the coup that overthrew him.
It’s all on tape. Turns out the U.S.  isn’t the only government that spies, and European spies published the conversation of the U.S. “diplomats” who were helping to organize the coup. You can even hear it on You Tube !
Why did the corrupt Ukrainian president back out of his deal with the U.S. and the E.U.? Because a lot of Ukrainians did the math:  Washington equals Wall Street, equals austerity, equals pension grabs and fire sale asset sell-offs,  equals Iceland, Ireland, the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Italy and most famously Greece, equals government of by and for Wall Street and the one percent.
So while the U.S. was busy organizing a coup that put another corrupt president in power in the Ukraine, who immediately signed off on a Western “aide” package – meaning expensive loans to be paid back in austerity – those Ukrainians with ties to Russia ran back to Mother Russia, or in this case, daddy – that nasty Putin.
And what Friedman also ignores is that Putin didn’t even have to ask. Ukrainian politicians organized a referendum in that part of the Ukraine that had always been Russian, got the vote they expected and turned up on Putin’s door step with a done deal.
This made Wall Street very unhappy. Mind you, looting the Ukrainians is not going to produce the really big bucks looted from Americans and Western Europeans. But a billion here and a billion there – it adds up.
So Washington immediately turned up the heat, moving fighter jets from Italy to Poland (yesterday it was paratroopers) and taking other aggressive moves, all the while complaining of Russian aggression that never happened.
It was the same on CNN. The anchor was talking with two ex U.S. military talking heads who kept referencing the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine. The anchor never asked, for example, on what date the invasion began, and which units and how many troops of the Russian military crossed the border.
To which there would have been an interesting response, because it never happened.
Meanwhile, back in the Ukraine, the guy Washington put in power turns out to be not only as corrupt as his predecessor, but fronting Nazi thugs who French media report were trained (and photographed) in Poland, in how to incite civil violence.
But, hey, you work with the freedom lovers you have, and Ukraine’s central bank dutifully raised interest rates almost fifty percent. Why? Economic reform? Oh, please.
This gave Wall Street another place to invest, as opposed to the low interest American market, which the Fed keeps at low interest to protect Wall Street’s income from municipal swaps. Now Wall Street has another puppet state to loot by lending some part of the almost interest free trillions it got from the Fed.

Here’s the math. Washington equals Wall Street and the Western banking cartel, equals the looting of any nation they can get their hands on, any way they can. Freedom and democracy do not enter into the equation.

Nomi Prins and Paul Craig Roberts

Sleepwalking to Armageddon?

By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

In a just published book that too few Americans will read, All the Presidents’ Bankers, Nomi Prins lifts the cover from a century long cooperation and coordination between Wall Street and the White House, stretching back to Teddy Roosevelt in the years just before creation of the Federal Reserve.

As Wall Street veteran Pam Martens explains in a review of the book on her web site, Wall Street on Parade, “Wall Street can collapse, get bailed out by the taxpayers, cause a Great Recession and still call the shots in Washington.”

Every American can now see that on account of Wall Street and with the collaboration of successive administrations, the prosperity of millions of Americans has been shattered, perhaps never to be recovered.

Massive unemployment is lied away by not counting the millions who have given up looking for work. Foreclosures roll on. Home sales are plummeting. A generation of young Americans now graduates college with massive debt and no jobs. Or they take the jobs at Wal-Mart that used to be filled by the less educated.

Who go where? Onto welfare, food stamps and unemployment, which many in Congress want to cut. Where does this lead? For the answer, look no further than Wal-Mart’s most recent annual report.

It notes: “Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control … These factors include … changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement[al] Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans …”

Wal-Mart’s major market is low-income shoppers. The company is acknowledging that public assistance programs are a significant factor in its revenue and profits. Increasingly, Wal-Mart’s customers are too poor to shop at Wal-Mart.

The message in Prins’ book is that the economic trends, Wall Street practices and federal government collusion of today are in so many ways and so very frighteningly like the years before the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.

Are we sleepwalking into an economic Armageddon?

It is not the only looming catastrophe. The other is a confrontation with Russia.

Forget the story line from Washington parroted by the national media. The crisis over Ukraine has nothing to do with democracy and freedom. It is about an almost messianic assertion of American “exceptionalism,” used as cover by Wall Street for more looting, in this case Ukraine.

Paul Craig Roberts is a former, high security clearance assistant secretary of the Treasury to Ronald Reagan, former editor of the Wall Street Journal and an acknowledged expert on Eastern European and Russian affairs. He is also not widely enough read. But you want to read his most recent blog.

“The drive to war is blatantly obvious. The lies are obvious, and the entire West is participating, both media and governments… Everywhere in the West the message is the same. ‘Putin invaded and annexed Crimea, Putin is determined to rebuild the Soviet Empire, Putin must be stopped’… The extraordinary transparent lie that Russia sent an army into Ukraine and annexed Crimea is now accepted as fact everywhere in the West…”

What actually happened is that the elected government of Ukraine backed out of a U.S. deal to join the EU, when many of its citizens understood that was a set-up for “austerity” and the looting of their pensions and assets by Wall Street.

The U.S. organized a coup and now calls the government it installed freedom loving heroes. Nuts. They are Washington puppets — and Nazi thugs into the bargain — and they are Wall Street patsies. That government immediately signed off on the Wall Street “aide” package: high interest loans to be paid for by the extraction of the wealth and prosperity of every Ukrainian.

Well, not every. Those parts of Ukraine that were historically a part of Russia went running right back to Russia, in a thoroughly democratic referendum, the kind of self-determination Washington says it supports — except where Wall Street profits are concerned.

To get Wall Street its way Washington is playing a juvenile game of “Chicken” with Russia, an energy rich, nuclear power, ratcheting up the threat of military action.

Roberts concludes that this entire chain of events looks like the manipulation, cupidity and stupidity that led Europe and the U.S. into World War I and warns of the horrific consequences of another war in Europe — a nuclear war.

For your own security and safety and that of your family and neighbors, give Fox, CNN and all the rest a rest. Read Prins, Roberts and Martens. Decide for yourself if the nation is sleepwalking to Armageddon.

Wall Street and Washington

Collision course: Juveniles in charge

By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

I suppose it still goes on. Adolescent school boys stealing furtive glances in the locker room to see who has the bigger package. Most boys grow out of that sort of thing. Some never do. In the U.S. it seems they go on to Wall Street and Washington to act out their narcissistic fantasies in American banking and foreign policy.

At a truly fantastic cost, Americans have learned the danger of permitting these utterly self-absorbed, swollen vanities to be in charge of our economic well being. Now, in Ukraine, we are getting a lesson in the danger of allowing them to run our foreign policy.

They have the nation on a collision course with Russia. Russia is not Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, the European allies we dominate or the Third World nations we bully. Russia is an oil rich, nuclear power.

To understand the danger, let’s start with who “they” are.

They are the so-called “neo-cons” who have dominated American foreign policy since at least the Clinton administration. They believe the United States is so exceptional and favored of fate (if not God, for whom they have slight regard) that it is our right, duty and destiny to dominate the economies, governments and peoples of the world.

They believe that the U.S. may make the rules and admit to no authority that places limits on their actions. They have kept America at war for more than a decade and visited chaos and horrendous loss of life on entire nations. They flout law and morality.

Back to the Ukraine.

Forget the news. It is all propaganda. The administration is not going eyeball to eyeball with Russia to defend freedom and democracy. This confrontation is the orchestrated outcome of the neo-cons’ obsession with power.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, proof positive to the neo-cons of America’s deserved global supremacy, they were spoiling for any opportunity to display their mastery of the world.

Enter Wall Street. While the neo-cons were busy populating 150 nations with by last count almost 1,000 U.S. military bases, Wall Street moved in to preach the joys of modern capitalism.

From the deregulation of the Reagan administration to the all out surrender of Clinton, Wall Street has been on the rise. Fraud became a business model and narcissism a virtue, and the looting of America was underway.

Along with that of the U.K., Ireland, Iceland, Spain, most notably Greece and any place our military could get a choke hold.

The newly independent nations of the former Soviet Union were too good an opportunity to pass up, and leaders were lobbied and bribed to join the U.S. military and banking fronts, NATO and the European Union.

Hungary bought in and its people are now enduring unprecedented hardship. This did not go unnoticed in Ukraine, and when its government tried to offer up the nation to the Wall Street and Washington hustle, the deal was resisted. So the U.S. organized a coup, and now calls its paid agents in that nation the legitimate government.

And the new, “democratic” Ukrainian government immediately cut a deal with the global banksters for an “aide” package.

It’s a loan, an expensive loan, and the terms are the same as they always are with freedom loving Wall Street: austerity, cuts in pensions, drastic reductions in any spending that helps people and a sell-off of public assets at fire sale prices.

Russia has taken sides with that part of the Ukraine that wants no part of the deal and with which it has historic and important ties, flexing some modest (by American standards) military muscle. And the U.S. Secretary of State lectures Russia about not achieving its aims at the end of a gun.

Mr. Secretary, “Can you say Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, torture, secret prisons or execution by drones?”

This is not only embarrassing, it is dangerous.

Congress will not discipline the destructive and self absorbed juveniles on Wall Street and in Washington. The American people had better.