Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is the CIA’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” Playing Geraldo Rivera?

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars
http://www.infowars.com/?p=817
March 14, 2008

It must have been a disappointment for Faux Mockingbird News. Back on March 7, it was discovered that the “bombing” of the Pentagon recruitment center in Times Square was not the handiwork of “anarchists” or antiwar activists, although the corporate media tried mightily to forge such a link. As it turned out the “letters,” described as a “manifesto,” the corporate media initially attempted to link to the “bombing” were not connected, much to the frustration of trash TV careerist Geraldo Rivera.
On Fox and Friends, Geraldo declared Times Square is a “magnet for these crazy people, for anarchists… that’s what I think this is, this bomber isn’t al-Qaeda, isn’t anything like that, he is more like — it’s a man — he’s more like those 9/11 was an inside job kind of guys, they… they protest things in a violent way, but in a violent way almost like the eco-terrorist where they don’t intend the inflict casualties.”
Geraldo has absolutely no evidence the event in question was connected to anybody associated with the 9/11 truth movement and his characterization of the movement and its members as violent, at first glance, is so at odds with the facts as to be ludicrous.
No doubt Geraldo, possessing at least a modicum of intelligence — as blithering idiots do not generally become corporate media personalities — understands well the disingenuous nature of his comments. In short, he is reading from a script and that script was prepared well in advance of the event in Times Square.
Geraldo, at least when on camera, does not have a mind of his own — he speaks directly from his handlers. Geraldo may in fact hate 9/11 truthers — as he has flipped them off at least on one occasion when the cameras were not rolling — but this is completely beside the point. It does not matter what Geraldo or any other personality at Fox News likes or dislikes. He has a job to do and in this instance that job consists of demonizing 9/11 truth activists who in fact are dangerous to the establishment but not in the way Geraldo would have the average somnolent viewer of Faux News believe.

In fact, there is more evidence the corporate media is a brainwashing mechanism than there is evidence “crazy people” from the ranks of the 9/11 truth movement planted a bomb in Times Square.
Back in 2006, we learned that the Pentagon established “a new unit to better promote its message across 24-hour rolling news outlets,” according to the BBC. Nominally we were told this special unit was designed to counter news the neocons did not agree with in regard to the Iraq occupation.
However, the Pentagon is most certainly interested in spin when it comes to other news as well. In 2002, for instance, the Pentagon toyed “with the idea of black propaganda… [as] part of George Bush’s war on terrorism,” writes Tom Carver, Washington correspondent for the BBC. “A new department has been set up inside the Pentagon with the Orwellian title of the Office of Strategic Influence. It is well funded, is being run by a general and its aim is to influence public opinion abroad.” Considering the track record of the Pentagon, it should be assumed the primary target of this propaganda is not abroad, but right here at home. Ditto the CIA.
Back in 2000, before “everything changed,” or had an excuse to change, Dutch and French newspapers revealed that several officers from the 4th PSYOPS Group had worked in the news division at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters as part of an “internship” program starting in the final days of the Kosovo War. “It’s worth noting that the 4th PSYOPS group is the same group that staffed the National Security Council’s now notorious Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD), which planted stories in the U.S. media supporting the Reagan Administration’s Central America policies during the 1980s. Described by a senior U.S. official as a ‘vast psychological warfare operation of the kind the military conducts to influence a population in enemy territory’ (Miami Herald, 7/19/87), the OPD was shut down after the Iran-Contra investigations, but not before influencing coverage in major outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post,” FAIR wrote in 2002 as word of the Office of Strategic Influence made a minor bump in the media.
It is, to say the least, stretching credulity to believe the Pentagon closed down such a valuable operation simply because a few Congress critters were upset about CIA drug running and arming of the Contra mercenary army. Intel ops are not shut down, they simply change their names and continue working. It is foolish to believe otherwise.
Naturally, all of this is simply an additional layer slapped over an older, more entrenched operation. In the late 40s, as the so-called “Cold War” was beginning to pick up momentum, the CIA launched Operation Mockingbird, a rather successful effort to control the corporate media. Its existence was made public during the Church Committee investigation in 1975.
“The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda,” a report to Congress stated. “These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”
In fact, the CIA and Pentagon intelligence had a name for this — control of the media was called the “Mighty Wurlitzer,” and as we know a Wurlitzer a device that uses a central console to synchronize the playing of music by various instruments around a room.
It would be downright foolish to believe this operation is no longer in existence, as the CIA is not in the business of chucking highly successful operations. It is fair to assume the Pentagon and the CIA are burrowed deeply inside newsrooms around the country, especially the higher echelon corporate newsrooms at Faux, CNN, MSNBC, etc.
Thus we can take it for granted Geraldo is not simply speaking his mind. His comment about the 9/ll truth movement — tucked inside a Faux segment on possible domestic terrorism — dovetails perfectly with other, earlier comments by Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Joe Scarborough who essentially passed along the same fallacy as Gerald — that the 9/11 truth movement consists of crazy people who are violent “anarchists” on the same plane as Timothy McVeigh (who was possibly a government agent). Scarborough went so far as to insist they be put in detention camps, that is after a round or two with a taser.
Such comments are designed by CIA and Pentagon scriptwriters to plant the idea in the minds of millions of people, somnolent before their televisions, that people who demand to know what happened on September 11, 2001, are dangerous and even treasonous, akin to unknown “cowards” who plant bombs in the middle of the night.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

World's Most Powerful Banks Behind Push To Introduce Global Carbon Trading Markets

Daryl Mason
Your New Reality
http://yournewreality.blogspot.com/2008/03/old-inconvenient-truth-worlds-most.html
Thursday, March 13, 2008

Contrary to popular belief, Al Gore did not invent the theory of man-made climate change. Does this sound like him?
As for the climate of the future: science has done an about-face from its once-prevailing view that the earth was gradually cooling off and would wind up icy and barren ... Now, evidence points unmistakably to a climate that's getting warming all the time. Besides glacial melting all over the earth, actual temperature rises have been recorded over the past century in cities throughout the northern hemisphere, and various warm-weather fish have been noted in recent years migrating far north of their usual habitats.
The newest theory of climatic change attributes it to man's own doing. It's because of the sizable increase in carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere these days, due to industrial activities and forest fires. Millions of tons of CO2 are being sent into the air constantly from these causes.
An increase of 50 per cent in the carbon dioxide concentration of the earth's atmosphere could happen in the next century, which could easily happen at the present rate it's being discharged, could raise the surface temperature of the globe about 2.2 degrees centigrade. Eventually this CO2 factor could make an extreme change in climate everywhere.
According to the always awesome iO9 blog, the above appeared in a popular American magazine called Pageant in February, 1955.
(Article continues below)



It should come as a surprise to absolutely no-one that many of the world's richest and most powerful banks are pushing hard for the introduction of a 'no caps' world trading market for carbon :
A group representing some of the world’s leading banks will urge the United States and other industrial nations this week to move quickly to introduce a lightly regulated system for trading carbon emissions permits.
Permit-trading systems offer banks a potentially vast new business. For it to grow, leading economies — particularly the United States — will need to set limits on the quantities of greenhouse gases that can be released and to allow companies in other parts of the world to buy emissions permits.
The banking companies, which include Citigroup, Lehman Brothers Holdings and Morgan Stanley, are giving strong signs that Wall Street wants Washington to open the way to reduced emissions using a trading system based on the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement the United States did not ratify, rather than by enacting carbon taxes.

The group also includes European institutions like BNP Paribas, Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank, as well as niche investment banks like Climate Change Capital and the law firms of Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper.
“Price caps should play a very limited role in the system,” said Gia Schneider, a vice president for carbon markets at Credit Suisse, which is a member of the lobbying group. “Such policies could lead to market distortions and stymie efforts to raise enough capital to fund new energy technologies such as windmills and solar power.”

Carbon traders say emissions permits could become the world’s largest commodities market...
The introduction of a global carbon trading market will mark the introduction of a world tax can reach into the pockets of, literally, every human on the planet.

Ron Paul On Budget Crimes

Ron Paul
Lew Rockwell.com
http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul442.html
Friday, March 14, 2008

Before the US House of Representatives, March 13, 2008

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to address the House tonight about the budget because there has been a lot of concern expressed here today on both sides of the aisle about the kind of financial trouble we're in. And there's no doubt about that. But sometimes I think we go back and forth spending more time blaming each other rather than dealing with the real problem.
One of the contentions I've had about the budget is that we look at it as an accounting problem rather than a philosophy problem because the spending occurs because of what we accept as the proper role of government. And right now, it's assumed by the country as well as the Congress that the proper role of government is to run our lives, run the economy, run the welfare state, and police the world. And all of a sudden, it puts a lot of pressure on the budget.

Today, the national debt is going up almost $600 billion. And the economy is getting weaker, there's no doubt about it. We're in a recession, it's going to get much worse, which means that the deficit is going to get a lot worse. And I'm predicting within a couple of years, it will not surprise me one bit to see the national debt, the national obligation for future generations to rise in 1 year three-quarters of $1 trillion. And that is a very possible number.
And like it has been expressed so often today, we need to do something about it. The question is, what are we going to do about it? One side says, it seems like, well, if we just raise taxes, we're going to solve the problem. The other side says, well, all we have to do is get rid of the earmarks. Well, that argument, I think, falls short, too, because you can vote to cut all the earmarks, but it doesn't cut any spending, it just delivers the authority to spend the money to the executive branch. I think the job of the Congress is to earmark the money. It's our obligation to tell people how the money is spent.
And those who think that we can solve this problem by just getting rid of earmarks, they never talk about the earmarks overseas, the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars we spend overseas. We earmark them to certain countries, into building military buildings overseas. What about the earmark for the embassy in Iraq? It has cost $1 billion. That's an earmark. But the side that said that we can solve this problem by cutting earmarks never talks about these earmarks.
Just think of the earmarks in the military budget. I mean, billions. And what do we do? We finally elect a different Congress to deal with some of these supplementals and emergency spending that we don't have the guts to put on the budget, so we elect a new Congress. And what do we do? We have the continuation, in all the budgets presented today, we're still going to finance the war as an off-budget emergency item. We're not being honest with ourselves. And we pretend that the problem is there, and that if you talk about it, it's going to go away.
The way I see it is there's only one way that we're going to attack this, and that is, decide what our government ought to be doing. And the Constitution is very clear, the government ought to preserve our liberties and give us a strong national defense. It shouldn't run our lives, it shouldn't run the economy, it shouldn't police the world. We're not supposed to be the policemen of the world. But everybody talks about it.
And both sides of the aisle have no hesitation to spend every cent the executive branch asked for to run a war that was never declared. We now spend $1 trillion a year going up, this year it's going to go over $1 trillion to run the operations overseas. That means all the foreign aid and all the military, $1 trillion to do things we shouldn't be doing.
They interviewed 3,400 military personnel just recently, military leaders, and 82 percent of them said our military is weaker today than it was 5 years ago. So, all of this money spent and all this policing in the world, and all this deficit.
And financially we're coming down. I mean, just today the dollar went down 1.2 percent in one day, after this steady erosion. It comes from the fact of deficits. And why does that hurt the dollar? Because we don't have enough money. We don't tax enough. We can't tax anymore. People are overtaxed. We can't borrow anymore because interest rates will go up. So, we print the money. And the more money you print, the further the dollar goes down, and then everything goes up in price. So it's a cycle that's coming to an end.
The value of the dollar is really telling the whole story. We've overextended ourselves because we do not challenge the whole notion of what we ought to be doing here and what our government ought to be all about because we have drifted so far from the original intent of the Constitution. There is no hesitation, there are debates that go on here endlessly. One side of the aisle says, well, we need more and more money for the military; we can't cut one single cent on overseas expenditure. And the other side says, oh, no, we can't cut the entitlements. And then there's an agreement, we raise both.
My idea is to have a strong national defense and to get this budget under control. Reject the notion that we need to run an empire; we can't afford it, it's going to come down, it always comes down. It has come down all throughout history because eventually the currency is destroyed.
We're in 130 countries. We have 700 bases. Our military now is in worse shape than it was 5 years ago, according to our military. So it's time we look at the strategic, the philosophic problems. And I will say, unless we do this, this will end badly. It's going to end with a major economic crisis. It's going to be worldwide, and we here at home will suffer, not only economically but inevitably. Under these conditions the people lose their liberty, and our liberties are being eroded every single day that we're here.
So, yes, we take an oath to obey and uphold the Constitution against foreign and domestic. But we're domestic, and we should protect our rights and our budget and the greatness of this country.

The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked

Greg Palast
http://www.gregpalast.com/elliot-spitzer-gets-nailed/#more-1979
Friday, March 14, 2008

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.
Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there’s a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush’s man Bernanke was using ours.
This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.
(Article continues below)

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.
Who are they kidding? Spitzer’s lynching and the bankers’ enriching are intimately tied.
How? Follow the money.
The press has swallowed Wall Street’s line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn’t afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That’s blaming the victim.
Here’s what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the ‘sub-prime’ mortgage and its variants including loans with teeny “introductory” interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called ‘Countrywide’ became America’s top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chunk of these ‘sub-prime.’
Here’s how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 monthly payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain’t worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the “discount” they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. The Grinnings move into their Toyota.
Now, what kind of American is ‘sub-prime.’ Guess. No peeking. Here’s a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren’t stupid – they had no choice. They were ‘steered’ as it’s called in the mortgage sharking business.
‘Steering,’ sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called ‘fraudulent conveyance’ or ‘predatory lending’ under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.
But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hardy – it was OK now to steer’m, fake’m, charge’m and take’m.
But there was this annoying party-pooper. The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.
Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush’s regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of “federal pre-emption,” Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.
Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer’s investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush’s banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.
Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory enablers in the investment banking community. Behind Countrywide was the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup’s Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this through a bit of financial legerdemain called “securitization.”
What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the Grinning’s, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into “tranches” of bonds which were stamped “AAA” - top grade - by bond rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe investments to US school district pension funds and town governments in Finland (really).
When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses. Countrywide’s top man, Angelo Mozilo, will ‘earn’ a $77 million buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million - over half a billion dollars – he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.
But there were rumblings that the party would soon be over. Angry regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide’s stock was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.
Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That’s Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.
The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the public treasure – and got to keep the Grinning’s house. There was no ‘quid’ of a foreclosure moratorium for the ‘pro quo’ of public bailout. Not one family was saved – but not one banker was left behind.
Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo’s Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their company’s stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.
And that very same day the bail-out was decided – what a coinkydink! – the man called, ‘The Sheriff of Wall Street’ was cuffed. Spitzer was silenced.
Do I believe the banks called Justice and said, “Take him down today!” Naw, that’s not how the system works. But the big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press – one was “Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer” - made clear to Bush’s enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn’t Bin Laden.
It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:
“Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.”
Bush, Spitzer said right in the headline, was the “Predator Lenders’ Partner in Crime.” The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.
Spitzer wrote, “When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably.”
But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story – of Bush and his bankers - will not be told by history at all – now that the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.
A note on “Prosecutorial Indiscretion.”
Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for airtime with 60 Minutes. I’m not allowed to tell you the prosecutor’s name, but I want to mention he was recently seen shouting, “Florida is Rudi country! Florida is Rudi country!”
Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It’s up to something called “prosecutorial discretion.”
Funny thing, this ‘discretion.’ For example, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him in diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.
Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer – rarely done in these cases - was made at the ‘discretion’ of Bush’s Justice Department.
Or maybe we should say, ‘indiscretion.’

What the Price of Gold Is Telling Us

Ron Paul
Saturday, March 15, 2008
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2008/150308Price.htm

The financial press, and even the network news shows, have begun reporting the price of gold regularly. For twenty years, between 1980 and 2000, the price of gold was rarely mentioned. There was little interest, and the price was either falling or remaining steady.
Since 2001 however, interest in gold has soared along with its price. With the price now over $1000 an ounce, a lot more people are becoming interested in gold as an investment and an economic indicator. Much can be learned by understanding what the rising dollar price of gold means.
The rise in gold prices from $250 per ounce in 2001 to over $1000 today has drawn investors and speculators into the precious metals market. Though many already have made handsome profits, buying gold per se should not be touted as a good investment. After all, gold earns no interest and its quality never changes. It’s static, and does not grow as sound investments should.

It’s more accurate to say that one might invest in a gold or silver mining company, where management, labor costs, and the nature of new discoveries all play a vital role in determining the quality of the investment and the profits made.
Buying gold and holding it is somewhat analogous to converting one’s savings into one hundred dollar bills and hiding them under the mattress – yet not exactly the same. Both gold and dollars are considered money, and holding money does not qualify as an investment. There’s a big difference between the two however, since by holding paper money one loses purchasing power. The purchasing power of commodity money, i.e. gold, however, goes up if the government devalues the circulating fiat currency.
Holding gold is protection or insurance against government’s proclivity to debase its currency. The purchasing power of gold goes up not because it’s a so-called good investment; it goes up in value only because the paper currency goes down in value. In our current situation, that means the dollar.
One of the characteristics of commodity money – one that originated naturally in the marketplace – is that it must serve as a store of value. Gold and silver meet that test – paper does not. Because of this profound difference, the incentive and wisdom of holding emergency funds in the form of gold becomes attractive when the official currency is being devalued. It’s more attractive than trying to save wealth in the form of a fiat currency, even when earning some nominal interest. The lack of earned interest on gold is not a problem once people realize the purchasing power of their currency is declining faster than the interest rates they might earn. The purchasing power of gold can rise even faster than increases in the cost of living.
The point is that most who buy gold do so to protect against a depreciating currency rather than as an investment in the classical sense. Americans understand this less than citizens of other countries; some nations have suffered from severe monetary inflation that literally led to the destruction of their national currency. Though our inflation – i.e., the depreciation of the U.S. dollar – has been insidious, average Americans are unaware of how this occurs. For instance, few Americans know nor seem concerned that the 1913 pre-Federal Reserve dollar is now worth only four cents. Officially, our central bankers and our politicians express no fear that the course on which we are set is fraught with great danger to our economy and our political system. The belief that money created out of thin air can work economic miracles, if only properly “managed,” is pervasive in D.C.
In many ways we shouldn’t be surprised about this trust in such an unsound system. For at least four generations our government-run universities have systematically preached a monetary doctrine justifying the so-called wisdom of paper money over the “foolishness” of sound money. Not only that, paper money has worked surprisingly well in the past 35 years – the years the world has accepted pure paper money as currency. Alan Greenspan bragged that central bankers in these several decades have gained the knowledge necessary to make paper money respond as if it were gold. This removes the problem of obtaining gold to back currency, and hence frees politicians from the rigid discipline a gold standard imposes.
Many central bankers in the last 15 years became so confident they had achieved this milestone that they sold off large hoards of their gold reserves. At other times they tried to prove that paper works better than gold by artificially propping up the dollar by suppressing market gold prices. This recent deception failed just as it did in the 1960s, when our government tried to hold gold artificially low at $35 an ounce. But since they could not truly repeal the economic laws regarding money, just as many central bankers sold, others bought. It’s fascinating that the European central banks sold gold while Asian central banks bought it over the last several years.
Since gold has proven to be the real money of the ages, we see once again a shift in wealth from the West to the East, just as we saw a loss of our industrial base in the same direction. Though Treasury officials deny any U.S. sales or loans of our official gold holdings, no audits are permitted so no one can be certain.
The special nature of the dollar as the reserve currency of the world has allowed this game to last longer than it would have otherwise. But the fact that gold has gone from $252 per ounce to over $1000 means there is concern about the future of the dollar. The higher the price for gold, the greater the concern for the dollar. Instead of dwelling on the dollar price of gold, we should be talking about the depreciation of the dollar. In 1934 a dollar was worth 1/20th of an ounce of gold; $20 bought an ounce of gold. Today a dollar is worth 1/1000th of an ounce of gold, meaning it takes $1000 to buy one ounce of gold.
The number of dollars created by the Federal Reserve, and through the fractional reserve banking system, is crucial in determining how the market assesses the relationship of the dollar and gold. Though there’s a strong correlation, it’s not instantaneous or perfectly predictable. There are many variables to consider, but in the long term the dollar price of gold represents past inflation of the money supply. Equally important, it represents the anticipation of how much new money will be created in the future. This introduces the factor of trust and confidence in our monetary authorities and our politicians. And these days the American people are casting a vote of “no confidence” in this regard, and for good reasons.
The incentive for central bankers to create new money out of thin air is twofold. One is to practice central economic planning through the manipulation of interest rates. The second is to monetize the escalating federal debt politicians create and thrive on.
Today no one in Washington believes for a minute that runaway deficits are going to be curtailed. In March alone, the federal government created an historic $85 billion deficit. The current supplemental bill going through Congress has grown from $92 billion to over $106 billion, and everyone knows it will not draw President Bush’s first veto. Most knowledgeable people therefore assume that inflation of the money supply is not only going to continue, but accelerate. This anticipation, plus the fact that many new dollars have been created over the past 15 years that have not yet been fully discounted, guarantees the further depreciation of the dollar in terms of gold.
There’s no single measurement that reveals what the Fed has done in the recent past or tells us exactly what it’s about to do in the future. Forget about the lip service given to transparency by new Fed Chairman Bernanke. Not only is this administration one of the most secretive across the board in our history, the current Fed firmly supports denying the most important measurement of current monetary policy to Congress, the financial community, and the American public. Because of a lack of interest and poor understanding of monetary policy, Congress has expressed essentially no concern about the significant change in reporting statistics on the money supply.
Beginning in March, though planned before Bernanke arrived at the Fed, the central bank discontinued compiling and reporting the monetary aggregate known as M3. M3 is the best description of how quickly the Fed is creating new money and credit. Common sense tells us that a government central bank creating new money out of thin air depreciates the value of each dollar in circulation. Yet this report is no longer available to us and Congress makes no demands to receive it.
Though M3 is the most helpful statistic to track Fed activity, it by no means tells us everything we need to know about trends in monetary policy. Total bank credit, still available to us, gives us indirect information reflecting the Fed’s inflationary policies. But ultimately the markets will figure out exactly what the Fed is up to, and then individuals, financial institutions, governments, and other central bankers will act accordingly. The fact that our money supply is rising significantly cannot be hidden from the markets.
The response in time will drive the dollar down, while driving interest rates and commodity prices up. Already we see this trend developing, which surely will accelerate in the not too distant future. Part of this reaction will be from those who seek a haven to protect their wealth – not invest – by treating gold and silver as universal and historic money. This means holding fewer dollars that are decreasing in value while holding gold as it increases in value.
A soaring gold price is a vote of “no confidence” in the central bank and the dollar. This certainly was the case in 1979 and 1980. Today, gold prices reflect a growing restlessness with the increasing money supply, our budgetary and trade deficits, our unfunded liabilities, and the inability of Congress and the administration to rein in runaway spending.
Denying us statistical information, manipulating interest rates, and artificially trying to keep gold prices in check won’t help in the long run. If the markets are fooled short term, it only means the adjustments will be much more dramatic later on. And in the meantime, other market imbalances develop.
The Fed tries to keep the consumer spending spree going, not through hard work and savings, but by creating artificial wealth in stock markets bubbles and housing bubbles. When these distortions run their course and are discovered, the corrections will be quite painful.
Likewise, a fiat monetary system encourages speculation and unsound borrowing. As problems develop, scapegoats are sought and frequently found in foreign nations. This prompts many to demand altering exchange rates and protectionist measures. The sentiment for this type of solution is growing each day.
Though everyone decries inflation, trade imbalances, economic downturns, and federal deficits, few attempt a closer study of our monetary system and how these events are interrelated. Even if it were recognized that a gold standard without monetary inflation would be advantageous, few in Washington would accept the political disadvantages of living with the discipline of gold – since it serves as a check on government size and power. This is a sad commentary on the politics of today. The best analogy to our affinity for government spending, borrowing, and inflating is that of a drug addict who knows if he doesn’t quit he’ll die; yet he can’t quit because of the heavy price required to overcome the dependency. The right choice is very difficult, but remaining addicted to drugs guarantees the death of the patient, while our addiction to deficit spending, debt, and inflation guarantees the collapse of our economy.
Special interest groups, who vigorously compete for federal dollars, want to perpetuate the system rather than admit to a dangerous addiction. Those who champion welfare for the poor, entitlements for the middle class, or war contracts for the military industrial corporations, all agree on the so-called benefits bestowed by the Fed’s power to counterfeit fiat money. Bankers, who benefit from our fractional reserve system, likewise never criticize the Fed, especially since it’s the lender of last resort that bails out financial institutions when crises arise. And it’s true, special interests and bankers do benefit from the Fed, and may well get bailed out – just as we saw with the Long-Term Capital Management fund crisis a few years ago. In the past, companies like Lockheed and Chrysler benefited as well. But what the Fed cannot do is guarantee the market will maintain trust in the worthiness of the dollar. Current policy guarantees that the integrity of the dollar will be undermined. Exactly when this will occur, and the extent of the resulting damage to the financial system, cannot be known for sure – but it is coming. There are plenty of indications already on the horizon.
Foreign policy plays a significant role in the economy and the value of the dollar. A foreign policy of militarism and empire building cannot be supported through direct taxation. The American people would never tolerate the taxes required to pay immediately for overseas wars, under the discipline of a gold standard. Borrowing and creating new money is much more politically palatable. It hides and delays the real costs of war, and the people are lulled into complacency – especially since the wars we fight are couched in terms of patriotism, spreading the ideas of freedom, and stamping out terrorism. Unnecessary wars and fiat currencies go hand-in-hand, while a gold standard encourages a sensible foreign policy.
The cost of war is enormously detrimental; it significantly contributes to the economic instability of the nation by boosting spending, deficits, and inflation. Funds used for war are funds that could have remained in the productive economy to raise the standard of living of Americans now unemployed, underemployed, or barely living on the margin.
Yet even these costs may be preferable to paying for war with huge tax increases. This is because although fiat dollars are theoretically worthless, value is imbued by the trust placed in them by the world’s financial community. Subjective trust in a currency can override objective knowledge about government policies, but only for a limited time.
Economic strength and military power contribute to the trust in a currency; in today’s world, trust in the U.S. dollar is not earned and therefore fragile. The history of the dollar, being as good as gold up until 1971, is helpful in maintaining an artificially higher value for the dollar than deserved.
Foreign policy contributes to the crisis when the spending to maintain our worldwide military commitments becomes prohibitive, and inflationary pressures accelerate. But the real crisis hits when the world realizes the king has no clothes, in that the dollar has no backing, and we face a military setback even greater than we already are experiencing in Iraq. Our token friends may quickly transform into vocal enemies once the attack on the dollar begins.
False trust placed in the dollar once was helpful to us, but panic and rejection of the dollar will develop into a real financial crisis. Then we will have no other option but to tighten our belts, go back to work, stop borrowing, start saving, and rebuild our industrial base, while adjusting to a lower standard of living for most Americans.
Counterfeiting the nation’s money is a serious offense. The founders were especially adamant about avoiding the chaos, inflation, and destruction associated with the Continental dollar. That’s why the Constitution is clear that only gold and silver should be legal tender in the United States. In 1792 the Coinage Act authorized the death penalty for any private citizen who counterfeited the currency. Too bad they weren’t explicit that counterfeiting by government officials is just as detrimental to the economy and the value of the dollar.
In wartime, many nations actually operated counterfeiting programs to undermine our dollar, but never to a disastrous level. The enemy knew how harmful excessive creation of new money could be to the dollar and our economy. But it seems we never learned the dangers of creating new money out of thin air. We don’t need an Arab nation or the Chinese to undermine our system with a counterfeiting operation. We do it ourselves, with all the disadvantages that would occur if others did it to us. Today we hear threats from some Arab, Muslim, and far Eastern countries about undermining the dollar system- not by dishonest counterfeiting, but by initiating an alternative monetary system based on gold. Wouldn’t that be ironic? Such an event theoretically could do great harm to us. This day may well come, not so much as a direct political attack on the dollar system but out of necessity to restore confidence in money once again.
Historically, paper money never has lasted for long periods of time, while gold has survived thousands of years of attacks by political interests and big government. In time, the world once again will restore trust in the monetary system by making some currency as good as gold.
Gold, or any acceptable market commodity money, is required to preserve liberty. Monopoly control by government of a system that creates fiat money out of thin air guarantees the loss of liberty. No matter how well-intended our militarism is portrayed, or how happily the promises of wonderful programs for the poor are promoted, inflating the money supply to pay these bills makes government bigger. Empires always fail, and expenses always exceed projections. Harmful unintended consequences are the rule, not the exception. Welfare for the poor is inefficient and wasteful. The beneficiaries are rarely the poor themselves, but instead the politicians, bureaucrats, or the wealthy. The same is true of all foreign aid – it’s nothing more than a program that steals from the poor in a rich country and gives to the rich leaders of a poor country. Whether it’s war or welfare payments, it always means higher taxes, inflation, and debt. Whether it’s the extraction of wealth from the productive economy, the distortion of the market by interest rate manipulation, or spending for war and welfare, it can’t happen without infringing upon personal liberty.
At home the war on poverty, terrorism, drugs, or foreign rulers provides an opportunity for authoritarians to rise to power, individuals who think nothing of violating the people’s rights to privacy and freedom of speech. They believe their role is to protect the secrecy of government, rather than protect the privacy of citizens. Unfortunately, that is the atmosphere under which we live today, with essentially no respect for the Bill of Rights.
Though great economic harm comes from a government monopoly fiat monetary system, the loss of liberty associated with it is equally troubling. Just as empires are self-limiting in terms of money and manpower, so too is a monetary system based on illusion and fraud. When the end comes we will be given an opportunity to choose once again between honest money and liberty on one hand; chaos, poverty, and authoritarianism on the other.
The economic harm done by a fiat monetary system is pervasive, dangerous, and unfair. Though runaway inflation is injurious to almost everyone, it is more insidious for certain groups. Once inflation is recognized as a tax, it becomes clear the tax is regressive: penalizing the poor and middle class more than the rich and politically privileged. Price inflation, a consequence of inflating the money supply by the central bank, hits poor and marginal workers first and foremost. It especially penalizes savers, retirees, those on fixed incomes, and anyone who trusts government promises. Small businesses and individual enterprises suffer more than the financial elite, who borrow large sums before the money loses value. Those who are on the receiving end of government contracts – especially in the military industrial complex during wartime – receive undeserved benefits.
It’s a mistake to blame high gasoline and oil prices on price gouging. If we impose new taxes or fix prices, while ignoring monetary inflation, corporate subsidies, and excessive regulations, shortages will result. The market is the only way to determine the best price for any commodity. The law of supply and demand cannot be repealed. The real problems arise when government planners give subsidies to energy companies and favor one form of energy over another.
Energy prices are rising for many reasons: Inflation; increased demand from China and India; decreased supply resulting from our invasion of Iraq; anticipated disruption of supply as we push regime change in Iran; regulatory restrictions on gasoline production; government interference in the free market development of alternative fuels; and subsidies to big oil such as free leases and grants for research and development.
Interestingly, the cost of oil and gas is actually much higher than we pay at the retail level. Much of the DOD budget is spent protecting “our” oil supplies, and if such spending is factored in, gasoline probably costs us more than $5 a gallon. The sad irony is that this military effort to secure cheap oil supplies inevitably backfires, and actually curtails supplies and boosts prices at the pump. The waste and fraud in issuing contracts to large corporations for work in Iraq only add to price increases.
When problems arise under conditions that exist today, it’s a serious error to blame the little bit of the free market that still functions. Last summer the market worked efficiently after Katrina – gas hit $3 a gallon, but soon supplies increased, usage went down, and the price returned to $2. In the 1980s, market forces took oil from $40 per barrel to $10 per barrel, and no one cried for the oil companies that went bankrupt. Today’s increases are for the reasons mentioned above. It’s natural for labor to seek its highest wage, and businesses to strive for the greatest profit. That’s the way the market works. When the free market is allowed to work, it’s the consumer who ultimately determines price and quality, with labor and business accommodating consumer choices. Once this process is distorted by government, prices rise excessively, labor costs and profits are negatively affected, and problems emerge. Instead of fixing the problem, politicians and demagogues respond by demanding windfall profits taxes and price controls, while never questioning how previous government interference caused the whole mess in the first place. Never let it be said that higher oil prices and profits cause inflation; inflation of the money supply causes higher prices!
Since keeping interest rates below market levels is synonymous with new money creation by the Fed, the resulting business cycle, higher cost of living, and job losses all can be laid at the doorstep of the Fed. This burden hits the poor the most, making Fed taxation by inflation the worst of all regressive taxes. Statistics about revenues generated by the income tax are grossly misleading; in reality much harm is done by our welfare/warfare system supposedly designed to help the poor and tax the rich. Only sound money can rectify the blatant injustice of this destructive system.
The Founders understood this great danger, and voted overwhelmingly to reject “emitting bills of credit,” the term they used for paper or fiat money. It’s too bad the knowledge and advice of our founders, and their mandate in the Constitution, are ignored today at our great peril. The current surge in gold prices – which reflects our dollar’s devaluation – is warning us to pay closer attention to our fiscal, monetary, entitlement, and foreign policy.
Meaning of the Gold Price – Summation
A recent headline in the financial press announced that gold prices surged over concern that confrontation with Iran will further push oil prices higher. This may well reflect the current situation, but higher gold prices mainly reflect monetary expansion by the Federal Reserve. Dwelling on current events and their effect on gold prices reflects concern for symptoms rather than an understanding of the actual cause of these price increases. Without an enormous increase in the money supply over the past 35 years and a worldwide paper monetary system, this increase in the price of gold would not have occurred.
Certainly geo-political events in the Middle East under a gold standard would not alter its price, though they could affect the supply of oil and cause oil prices to rise. Only under conditions created by excessive paper money would one expect all or most prices to rise. This is a mere reflection of the devaluation of the dollar.
Particular things to remember:
If one endorses small government and maximum liberty, one must support commodity money.
One of the strongest restraints against unnecessary war is a gold standard.
Deficit financing by government is severely restricted by sound money.
The harmful effects of the business cycle are virtually eliminated with an honest gold standard.
Saving and thrift are encouraged by a gold standard; and discouraged by paper money.
Price inflation, with generally rising price levels, is characteristic of paper money. Reports that the consumer price index and the producer price index are rising are distractions: the real cause of inflation is the Fed’s creation of new money.
Interest rate manipulation by central bank helps the rich, the banks, the government, and the politicians.
Paper money permits the regressive inflation tax to be passed off on the poor and the middle class.
Speculative financial bubbles are characteristic of paper money – not gold.
Paper money encourages economic and political chaos, which subsequently causes a search for scapegoats rather than blaming the central bank.
Dangerous protectionist measures frequently are implemented to compensate for the dislocations caused by fiat money.
Paper money, inflation, and the conditions they create contribute to the problems of illegal immigration.
The value of gold is remarkably stable.
The dollar price of gold reflects dollar depreciation.
Holding gold helps preserve and store wealth, but technically gold is not a true investment.
Since 2001 the dollar has been devalued by 60%.
In 1934 FDR devalued the dollar by 41%.
In 1971 Nixon devalued the dollar by 7.9%.
In 1973 Nixon devalued the dollar by 10%.
These were momentous monetary events, and every knowledgeable person worldwide paid close attention. Major changes were endured in 1979 and 1980 to save the dollar from disintegration. This involved a severe recession, interest rates over 21%, and general price inflation of 15%.
Today we face a 60% devaluation and counting, yet no one seems to care. It’s of greater significance than the three events mentioned above. And yet the one measurement that best reflects the degree of inflation, the Fed and our government deny us. Since March, M3 reporting has been discontinued. For starters, I’d like to see Congress demand that this report be resumed. I fully believe the American people and Congress are entitled to this information. Will we one day complain about false intelligence, as we have with the Iraq war? Will we complain about not having enough information to address monetary policy after it’s too late?
If ever there was a time to get a handle on what sound money is and what it means, that time is today.
Inflation, as exposed by high gold prices, transfers wealth from the middle class to the rich, as real wages decline while the salaries of CEOs, movie stars, and athletes skyrocket – along with the profits of the military industrial complex, the oil industry, and other special interests.
A sharply rising gold price is a vote of “no confidence” in Congress’ ability to control the budget, the Fed’s ability to control the money supply, and the administration’s ability to bring stability to the Middle East.
Ultimately, the gold price is a measurement of trust in the currency and the politicians who run the country. It’s been that way for a long time, and is not about to change.
If we care about the financial system, the tax system, and the monumental debt we’re accumulating, we must start talking about the benefits and discipline that come only with a commodity standard of money – money the government and central banks absolutely cannot create out of thin air.
Economic law dictates reform at some point. But should we wait until the dollar is 1/1,000 of an ounce of gold or 1/2,000 of an ounce of gold? The longer we wait, the more people suffer and the more difficult reforms become. Runaway inflation inevitably leads to political chaos, something numerous countries have suffered throughout the 20th century. The worst example of course was the German inflation of the 1920s that led to the rise of Hitler. Even the communist takeover of China was associated with runaway inflation brought on by Chinese Nationalists. The time for action is now, and it is up to the American people and the U.S. Congress to demand it.

Video: Ron Paul On The Alex Jones Show March.14,2008 part 1

Video: Ron Paul On The Alex Jones Show March.14,2008 part 2

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gold Futures Rise to Record $1,009 on Bear Stearns Bailout

By Pham-Duy Nguyen
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=aHiSFtscrUK0&refer=canada

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Gold surged to a record $1,009 an ounce in New York as the Bear Stearns Cos. bailout and a plunging dollar increased demand for the precious metal. Silver also gained.
Bear Stearns got emergency funding from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the New York Federal Reserve. The securities firm said its cash position had ``significantly deteriorated.'' The dollar fell to a record against the euro and a 12-year low against the yen. Gold has jumped 19 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 13 percent.
``Gold's assault on $1,000 is happening for a good reason,'' said James Turk, founder of GoldMoney.com, which had $337 million in gold and silver in storage for investors at the end of February. ``Gold is not only an inflation hedge, it's a catastrophe hedge. Gold is becoming increasingly important as the credit crunch continues to spiral out of control.''
Gold futures for April delivery rose $5.70, or 0.6 percent, to $999.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price reached the highest ever for a most-active contract at 10:45 a.m., topping yesterday's record of $1,001.50. The metal has tripled in the past five years.
Silver futures for May delivery climbed 23.5 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $20.655 an ounce. The price has gained 38 percent this year.
``Gold at $1,000 is a clear sign of a lack of confidence in the dollar and the Fed's handling of monetary affairs,'' said Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management in Annapolis, Maryland.
Housing Slump
The worst housing slump in 25 years and more than $181 billion in bank losses and writedowns have forced the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates five times in six months. The federal-funds rate is at 3 percent, down from 5.25 percent in mid-September. The dollar is down 6.3 percent against a weighted basket of six currencies this year.
``The dollar and more shoes to fall in the credit arena will keep gold in demand as an alternative asset,'' said William O'Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Shares of Bear Stearns, the second-largest underwriter of U.S. mortgage bonds, plunged as much as 53 percent in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.
The Fed earlier this week said it would lend banks $200 billion in exchange for mortgage-backed debt.
`Store of Value'
``Many investors are unwilling to sit down and wait to see if the monetary experiment, which is moving in new directions, works,'' said Shayne McGuire, director of global research at Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the eighth-largest U.S. pension fund. ``They are taking cover in assets recognized over centuries as stores of value that cannot be printed.''
The metal pared gains as the dollar reduced losses against the euro, which earlier climbed to a record $1.5688. This week, gold gained 2.6 percent, and silver climbed 2 percent.
``With the dollar making a little bit of a comeback, you're seeing some gold investors take money off the table,'' said Nick Ruggiero, a trader at Eagle Futures Inc. in New York.
Gold has rallied for seven straight years, rebounding from a 20-year low of $253.20 on July 20, 1999, as mine supply has remained low and investment demand soared.
The StreetTracks Gold Trust, the biggest exchange-traded fund backed by bullion, began trading in November 2004 and reached a record 655 metric tons on March 10.
Compared with government holdings, the ETF would rank eighth behind Japan, according to data from the producer-funded World Gold Council. The U.S. is the biggest holder with 8,133 metric tons, or 78 percent of its currency reserves, in gold.
Mine Output
World gold-mine production declined 1.4 percent last year to 2,444 metric tons, an 11-year low, according to researcher GFMS Ltd. Power disruptions in South Africa, the world's biggest precious-metals producer, may continue to support bullion prices, analysts say.
Still, high prices may discourage purchases by jewelers, the biggest buyers. Jewelry demand dropped 17 percent in the fourth quarter following a 15 percent gain in prices in the previous three months, data from the World Gold Council show. About 68 percent of gold demand last year came from jewelers.
Imports by India, the world's biggest gold buyer, plunged 81 percent to 10.2 metric tons in February from a year earlier, according to the Bombay Bullion Association Ltd.
UBS AG, Europe's largest bank by assets, said on March 4 that gold would rise to $1,025 in a month and $1,075 in three months.
To contact the reporter on this story: Pham-Duy Nguyen in Seattle at pnguyen@bloomberg.net.
Last Updated: March 14, 2008 14:32 EDT

What Gloria Steinem, Henry Kissinger Have in Common: CIA Pay

Review by Charles Trueheart
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=a1M9EAly2hog&refer=home#

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The front organization was one of the earliest and most trusted weapons in the psychological Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
These seemingly independent and high-minded anticommunist entities were often created or co-opted by the bright young spies who became the founding fathers of the Central Intelligence Agency. Together, the groups formed what one U.S. agent called a ``Mighty Wurlitzer,'' an organ for playing variations on an anticommunist fugue.
Hugh Wilford takes that phrase as the title for his superb new account of the underground combat in ideas and checkbooks that unfolded in the 1950s and early '60s. In ``The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America,'' he explains that the U.S., in bankrolling front groups, was tacitly emulating a Soviet technique for manipulating elite and popular opinion.
Aiming to thwart the appeal of communism, the CIA and its forerunners co-opted labor unions, magazines and universities. They created scores of bogus committees and phony associations -- groups of Soviet-bloc emigres, artists and intellectuals, students, blacks and women.
The galaxy of early Cold War front organizations is studded with acronyms, conferences, disputes, conspiracy, lore and still- classified information. Wilford heroically resists getting bogged down in marginalia, keeping his narrative at a relatively high altitude over the voluminous material.
Kissinger Lures Emigres
He enlivens every chapter with sketches of larger-than-life figures: Frank Wisner, for example, was the half-mad genius who coined the Wurlitzer image; he devised elaborate subterfuges to champion freedom. Henry Kissinger, for his part, lured young emigres to Harvard seminars with government funds, Wilford says.
What of the patriotic volunteers? Gloria Steinem, the future feminist, has acknowledged that she worked for a CIA front, the amusingly named Independent Service for Information, whose purpose was to undermine a Soviet-bloc youth festival in Vienna. Tom Dooley, the celebrated humanitarian doctor in 1950s Vietnam, had no issues with his CIA cash, Wilford reports.
Neither did Eugene Groves, the president of the National Student Association -- until he finally decided the organization could no longer live a lie. The outing of that program by Ramparts magazine and its crusading editor, Warren Hinkle, exposed a spectrum of suspected front organizations, embarrassed the U.S. government and blemished the CIA for a generation.
Not Ignoble?
One important insight Wilford brings to this history is that it wasn't necessarily ignoble to promote American values in the face of a menacing communist alternative in those two decades.
``The alliance between Cold War anticommunism and liberal idealism still appeared natural and right,'' writes Wilford, a British-born historian at California State University, Long Beach.
He also recounts cases where fronts were as opportunistic as their masters, taking CIA money and continuing to say and do as they pleased. Civil-rights leader James Farmer, for example, used a high-profile trip to Africa to criticize the U.S. government, even though he later voiced suspicions that the travel was funded by CIA largesse, Wilford writes.
The Committee of Correspondence, a CIA-whelped anticommunist group of letter-writing women, adopted as its slogan Jesus' promise from the book of John, ``The truth shall make you free.'' The CIA later engraved these words on a wall at headquarters.
``Considering what some of these people were doing, that phrase was really chutzpah,'' a committee veteran later remarked.
Neither the CIA nor their witting fronts had the wit to see that the arrangement corrupted the very American values of truth and freedom that they were promoting.
Collateral Damage
Hypocrisy aside, the damage wasn't just to those exposed as front organizations and to the agency responsible, as Wilford reminds us. It was to all the other organizations that are truly independent and reflected genuine engagement and opinion. To this day, NGOs, charities and media organizations struggle to maintain their credibility as neutral actors against suspicions of collusion first planted in the days of the Mighty Wurlitzer.

``The Mighty Wurlitzer'' is published by Harvard University Press (342 pages, $27.95).
(Charles Trueheart, the director of the American Library in Paris, is a critic for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
To contact the writer of this review: Charles Trueheart at charlestrueheart@yahoo.com.
Last Updated: February 22, 2008 01:53 EST

Watching the Dollar Die

Paul Craig Roberts
Prison Planet
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2008/140308_b_die.htm
Friday, March 14, 2008

I’ve been watching the dollar die all my life. I sometimes think I will outlast it.
When I was a young man, gold was $35 an ounce. Today one ounce gold bullion coins, such as the Canadian Maple Leaf, cost more than $1,000.
Our coinage was silver. Our dimes, quarters, and half dollars had purchasing power. Even the nickel could purchase a candy bar, ice cream cone or soft drink, and a penny could purchase bubble gum or hard candy. If a kid could collect 5 discarded soft drink bottles from a construction site, the 2 cents deposit on the returnable bottles was enough for the Saturday afternoon movie. Gasoline was 32 cents a gallon. A dollar’s worth was enough for a Saturday night date.

Our silver coinage was 90 per cent silver. People sometimes melted coins in order to make silver spoons, known as coin silver, which can still be found in antique shops. Except for the reduced silver (40 per cent) Kennedy half dollar which continued until 1970, 1964 was the last year of America’s silver coinage. The copper penny departed in 1982. As Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, I opposed the demise of America’s last commodity money, but I couldn’t prevent the copper penny’s death.
During World War II (1941-1945), nickel was diverted from coinage to war, and the US mint issued a wartime silver (35 per cent) nickel.
It is not easy to find items to purchase with today’s US coins, but the silver coins of the same face value still have purchasing power. The 10 cent piece of my youth contains $1.42 worth of silver at today’s silver price. The quarter is worth $3.55, and the half dollar contains $7.10 of silver. The silver dollar is worth 15.2 times its face value. These are just the silver values of coins that might be worth far more depending on condition and rarity. The silver in the wartime nickel is worth $1.10, which is 22 times the coin’s face value. Even the copper penny is worth 2.5 cents.
When I was a young man enjoying travels in Europe, the German mark or Swiss franc traded four to one US dollar. The euro, which is today’s equivalent to the mark, costs $1.55.
People who haven’t accumulated much age have little idea of the corrosive power of “acceptable” inflation. Unlike gold and silver, fiat money has no intrinsic value. When money is created faster than goods and services it drives up prices, thus driving down the value of the money. If freely traded currencies are excessively printed or if inflation, budget deficits, and trade deficits drive currencies off their fixed exchange rates, prices of imports rise as the foreign exchange value of the currency falls.
Today the US, heavily dependent on imports, is subject to double-barrel inflation from both domestic money creation and decline in the dollar’s foreign exchange value.
The US inflation rate is about twice as high as the government’s inflation measures report. In order to hold down Social Security payments, the government changed the way it measures inflation. In the old measure, inflation measured the nominal cost of a defined standard of living. If the price of steak rose, up went the inflation rate. Today if the price of steak rises, the government assumes that people switch to hamburger. Inflation doesn’t go up. Instead, the standard of living it measures goes down.
This is just one of the many ways that the government pulls the wool over our eyes.
With the dollar value of the euro rising through the roof, today a vacation in Europe is far more costly than in the past. Thanks to China, so far Americans have been sheltered from the greatest effects of the dollar’s declining value. Our greatest trade deficit is with China. The prices of the goods from China have not risen, because China keeps its currency pegged to the dollar. As the dollar goes down, China’s currency goes with it, thus holding down price rises.
The resignation of Admiral William Fallon as US military commander in the Middle East probably signals a Bush Regime attack on Iran. Fallon said that there would be no US attack on Iran on his watch. As there was no reason for Fallon to resign, it is not farfetched to conclude that Bush has removed an obstacle to war with Iran.
The US is already over stretched both militarily and economically. An attack on Iran is likely to be the straw that breaks the camel’sback.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

Leading Economist: Dollar Faces Outright Collapse

Financial experts issue dire warnings as Fed and Treasury continue to say they are "committed to a strong dollar

Steve Watson
Infowars.net
http://www.infowars.net/index.html
Friday, March 14, 2008

Another prominent economist has warned that the bottom may soon drop out of the dollar completely as the currency hits fresh lows and continues to sink worldwide.
Peter Schiff, a dollar-bear at Security Pacific Capital, told the London Telegraph that the greenback faced the danger of outright collapse as countries in Asia and the Middle East mull plans to break their dollar pegs, which are fueling inflation across the region.
"The decline could accelerate rapidly. The world is still holding a lot of dollars it doesn't need," he said.
Schiff is well respected amongst the major financial publications, primarily due to the fact that over two years ago he accurately forecast that the U.S. housing market was a bubble that would soon come to bust, and also that the crisis would extend to the credit card lending industry.
Schiff is also the economic advisor for Ron Paul's Presidential campaign.

The greenback reached a record low of $1.5651 against the euro yesterday, meaning it has lost 15 percent against the euro since September alone. It also dipped below 100 yen, its lowest level in 12 years, and fell below parity with the Swiss franc for the first time in history today.
Other analysts share Schiff's fear of a total dollar collapse. Mitul Kotecha, head of currency strategy at Credit Agricole, said: "The real risk remains that we get a dollar rout. The news from from the US is consistently negative and investors are actually not overly long euros."
The Negative dollar sentiment is now becoming global, with nations who have traditionally accepted the dollar as equal to or better than local currency now rejecting it outright. Reports suggest that the once mighty dollar is no longer good enough even for Manhattan flea market traders:
In Manhattan's Bowery district, Billy LeRoy, the owner of Billy's Antiques & Props, prefers payment in euros so he can stockpile the currency for his annual antique buying trip to Paris.
"Whip out dollars at the French flea market now, and they'll shoo you away," he said at his store near apartment buildings where Europeans are snapping up units because they've become dirt cheap. "Before it was like the second coming of Christ, but now they don't want it or if they do take dollars, they're going to take their pound of flesh."
Other nations mulling a turn away from the dollar peg are likely to be influenced by the fact that the Chinese yuan has risen to the highest level since the end of its dollar link in 2005.
As the Financial Times reports, analysts are in no doubt that the weakness of the dollar is being caused by Fed rate cuts and injections of liquidity, which it says constitute efforts to steady markets.
Executives, investors and politicians say they're becoming increasingly worried. Dollars are ``printed on toilet paper,'' Marc Faber, managing director of Marc Faber Ltd., said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
Yesterday U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson again repeated the now engrained mantra that he backs a "strong dollar'' and refused to elaborate when questioned at a press conference in Washington.
"The "strong dollar" message is so familiar, and is uttered with such unfailing regularity, that market observers often roll their eyes when they hear it, and short-term traders pay it little heed," reports Market Watch.
In the wake of the news that the G7 nations may intervene to shore up the dollar, analysts have stated that such action may now be futile considering that the Fed is seemingly unfazed by the currency's total degradation and has the ability to effectively "pull rank" over policy makers who may be genuinely worried about the decline.
Supporting the dollar may also prove futile, as its decline partly reflects the Fed's cuts and the ECB's decision not to follow, said Chris Turner at ING Financial Markets.
The Fed has cut its main rate by 2.25 percentage points since September to 3 percent, while the ECB's rate is still at a six-year high of 4 percent.
"Failed intervention is worse than no intervention,'' said Turner, ING's head of currency research in London. "Policy makers have their hands tied and will defer to the global priority of the Fed slashing interest rates.''
Meanwhile the corporate media in the US continues to echo the Bush administration's snowjob policy on the dollar crisis by ludicrously citing "experts" who claim that the unprecedented plunge of the greenback is "not necessarily a bad thing for the U.S. economy."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Republicans and "Free Market" Zealots Bring Disaster to America

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts03132008.html
Thursday, March 13, 2008

Crude oil for April delivery hit $110 per barrel. The US dollar fell to a new low against the Euro. It now takes $1.55 to purchase one Euro.

These new highs against the dollar are the ongoing story of the collapse of the US dollar as world reserve currency and corresponding collapse of American power.
Each new decision from the insane Bush regime pushes the dollar a little further along to oblivion. The same Fed announcement that boosted the stock market on March 11 sent the dollar reeling and the price of oil up. The Fed’s announcement that it and other central banks are going to deal with the derivative crisis by monetizing $200 billion of the troubled instruments signaled more dollar inflation.

Of course, something needed to be done to forestall an implosion of the financial system, but a less costly alternative was at hand. The mark-to-market rule could have been suspended in order to halt the forced sale and write down of assets and to provide time in which to sort out derivative values, which are higher than the fire sale prices.
More pressure on the dollar resulted from the decision to award the European company, Airbus, a $40 billion contract that could reach $100 billion to build US Air Force tankers. In simple terms, that means another $40 to $100 billion added to the US trade deficit, and a loss of $40 to $100 billion in US Gross Domestic Product and associated jobs.
Of course, the Bush regime had to award the contract to Europe as a payoff for Europe’s support of the Bush regime’s wars of aggression in the Middle East. Europe is not going to provide Bush with diplomatic cover for his wars and NATO troops for his war in Afghanistan without a payoff.
Here is the picture: The US economy, which has been kept alive by enormous debt expansion that has over-reached its limit, is falling into recession. The traditional way out by expanding the supply of money and credit is blocked by the impaired banking system, the levels of consumer debt, the collapsing value of the US dollar, and rising inflation.
The Bush regime is attempting to bypass the stalled credit expansion by sending Americans $600 checks, money that will mainly be used to reduce existing credit card debt and not to fund new consumption.
The US is dependent on foreigners not only for energy but also for manufactured goods and advanced technology products. The US is dependent on foreigners to finance our consumption of $800 billion annually more than the US produces. The US is dependent on foreigners to finance its red ink wars, and the US government’s budget deficit is now expanding as tax revenues decline with the declining economy.
The bottom line: US power is enfeebled. US power depends on the willingness of foreigners to finance our wars and on the willingness of foreigners to continue to accumulate depreciating dollar assets.
The US cannot close its trade deficit. Oil prices are rising, and offshore production of goods and services for US markets results in a dollar-for-dollar increase in imports, while reducing the supply of domestic goods available for export.
The US cannot close its budget deficit while it is squandering vast sums on wars that serve no US purpose, handing out $150 billion in red ink rebates, and falling into recession.
US living standards, which have been stagnant for years, will plummet once dollar decline forces China off the dollar peg. So far prices of the Chinese-made goods on Wal-Mart shelves have not risen, because the Chinese currency, pegged to the dollar, falls in value with the dollar. In a word, tottering US living standards are being supported by China’s willingness to subsidize US consumption by keeping its currency grossly undervalued.
The US is overextended economically and militarily, just as was Great Britain with the fall of France in the opening days of World War II. The British had the Americans to bail them out. After the chewing gum and bailing wire patch-ups are exhausted, who is going to bail us out?

Corporate Media Snowjobs Dollar Crisis

CNN claims ailing greenback is good for U.S. economy

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2008/031308_dollar_crisis.htm
Thursday, March 13, 2008

CNN has echoed the Bush administration's snowjob policy on the dollar crisis by ludicrously citing "experts" who claim that the unprecedented plunge of the greenback is "not necessarily a bad thing for the U.S. economy."
An article by CNN Money's David Ellis entitled, Experts: Don't fear the weak dollar, lulls Americans gently back to sleep by reassuring them that the wholesale sacking of their own currency is nothing in particular to worry about, at the same time that food costs skyrocket and prices at the pump accelerate every day, while basic commodities like wheat reach record price levels.
The "expert" that CNN referenced in claiming that inflation worries were "overblown" was the Federal Reserve's own Frederic Mishkin, who "said in a speech that the dollar's decline only poses a limited inflation threat to the United States, arguing that there is little correlation between consumer inflation and changes in the exchange rate."
As Ron Paul forced Fed chairman Ben Bernanke to all but acknowledge last month, the weakening dollar directly impacts consumers - and the real rate of inflation, from numbers tracked by private sources due to the government's insistence of keeping the data secret - is a staggering 16 per cent.

"Inflation comes from the unwise increase in the supply of money credit....to argue that we can continue to debase the currency, which is really the policy of that you're following, purposely debasing value of currency - which to me seems so destructive....it just puts more pressure on the federal reserve to create capital out of thin air in order to stimulate the economy," Paul pointed out.
With China threatening the "nuclear option" of jettisoning their dollar assets due to the greenback's increasing worthlessness, American's living standards are teetering on the brink of meltdown. As the pioneer of Reaganomics and former Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts points out today, "US living standards, which have been stagnant for years, will plummet once dollar decline forces China off the dollar peg."
Thanks to encouragement from traitors like Alan Greenspan, who last month urged Gulf states to abandon their dollar peg, foreign investors are already deserting the greenback at accelerating speeds.
Even CNN's snowjob piece is forced to admit that, "According to the most recent Treasury International Capital report, a monthly reading on foreign investment flows, net foreign purchases of long-term U.S. securities were $69.1 billion in December, down from net purchases of $70.3 billion in November and $118 billion in October."
CNN states that the dollar's fall "Won't hurt the economy unless the greenback enters a prolonged slump."
Just how far down the toilet does the dollar have to be before it can be recognized as having entered into a "prolonged slump"?
The greenback has already lost more than 60 per cent of its value against the Euro since the Euro's introduction. The dollar was down 10.2 per cent in 2006 and lost another 9.5 per cent in 2007.
Surely that would be characterized as a prolonged slump? What kind of fantasy world are CNN's financial journalists living in if they don't believe the dollar has yet to suffer a prolonged slump?

Furthermore, if the plunging greenback is good news for the economy as CNN and their "experts" claim then why are Bush administration talking heads scared to even mention its slide?
When White House press secretary Dana Perino was asked about the dollar during a press conference this week, she refused to talk about it for fear of losing her job.
While experts outside of government and establishment media desperately warn of the danger of a "dollar crash," hyperinflation and financial chaos, the press are busy aping the government's ludicrous position in claiming that the dollar's continued plunge is not something Americans should be concerned about.
In the meantime, top investors are dumping the greenback, buying gold, and hunkering down for an economic firestorm that some fear could rival the great depression of 1929.

Expert Fears Dollar Crash As Greenback Hits New Lows

Bush's bumbling "strong dollar" comments precede fresh plunge

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2008/031308_dollar_crash.htm
Thursday, March 13, 2008

Underscoring how the administration has lost all traces of credibility, President Bush's bumbling attempt to lend the ailing greenback some strong rhetorical support only backfired, preceding a new all time low against the Euro, while one expert expressed fears of a complete dollar crash.
"Those aren't good tidings, if you're for a strong dollar like I am," Bush said yesterday in a PBS interview.
"One reason I am for a strong dollar is because ... I think it helps deal with inflation," he added.
Naturally, with the government's approval numbers as far down the toilet as the greenback, even establishment media outlets like Reuters now admit that whenever Bernanke, Bush or Paulson talk about supporting a "strong dollar" they really mean a weak dollar.

"The "strong dollar" message is so familiar, and is uttered with such unfailing regularity, that market observers often roll their eyes when they hear it, and short-term traders pay it little heed," reports Market Watch.
The consequences of Bush's semi-literate dollar rant was clear to observe - within hours the greenback hit a new all time low against the Euro and sunk below the psychologically important 100-Yen benchmark, as oil continued its climb and gold shot up to less than three dollars short of $1,000 an ounce.
As expected, the Fed's move to inject $200 million worth of fresh air into the money markets on Tuesday acted only as a band aid on a gaping wound.

On the back of the latest plunge, Mitul Kotecha, head of foreign-exchange research in London at Calyon, told Bloomberg News that he fears a complete crash could be just around the corner.
"Sentiment for the dollar continues to deteriorate very, very rapidly and if we're not careful this will turn into a dollar crash," said Kotecha.
"The risk is that we see a fairly aggressive move sharply lower towards 95 yen, and that could really perk up the interest of the Bank of Japan,'" he added.

Can Global Warming Alarmists At Least Get Their Propaganda Straight?

Temperature increase blamed for both drying up of water sources and rising sea levels - go figure

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2008/031208_warming_alarmists.htm
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It seems that global warming doomsday alarmists are so desperate to out-fearmonger each other that they are now having difficulties keeping their propaganda on track. Within days, two separate reports blamed global warming for both drying up water sources and causing sea levels to rise.
"A rise in sea levels and other changes fueled by global warming threaten roads, rail lines, ports, airports and other important infrastructure in the United States, according to new U.S. government reports, and policy makers and planners should be acting now to avoid or mitigate their effects," reports the International Herald Tribune today.
Now wait a minute.
On Monday, the Washington Post told me that "Nations must wean themselves off fossil fuels by as early as mid-century in order to prevent warming that could...dry up sources of water worldwide."

Which is it to be? Dry up water sources or cause levels of water sources to rise?
Despite prominent professors, climatologists and experts going public with their opposition left, right and center, we're informed that the debate about what causes global warming is a closed book because a "consensus" has been reached.
However, it seems like Church of Environmentalism preachers and their eco-mentalist flock can't even come to an agreement on exactly what kind of hell we'll be faced with if we don't instantly hand over more tax dollars in the name of saving the planet - completely contradicting each other from one Co2-concocted breath to the next.

The response to the Washington Post article, in which the total eradication of carbon emissions, a move that would all but end humanity, was urged, was characterized by an overwhelming amount of articulate and forthright comments from readers who were outraged at the plethora of distortions and lies contained in the piece. Their reaction was a microcosm of the fact that a significant and growing body of the public are rejecting the propaganda of the climate change cult.
As a homage to the excellent way in which the Carnegie Institute's report, blithely echoed by the Post's Juliet Eilperin, was expertly debunked, the best responses are listed below.
---------------------------------
First of all Juliet Eilperin and her editors need to understand that "studies" are not computer models as erroneously reported in this ridiculous article.
Computer models are in effect equations which are basically worthless if they are not confirmed by empirical data and there is no empirical data which confirms these models.
The actual empirical data, or studies as it were, indicate that 95% of the green house gases are water vapor, 4.72% of green house gases are from natural causes and an astounding 00.28% are derived from people like you and me. 00.28% is so miniscule that it barely shows up as a line on a pie chart. If Juliet and her silly editors had to go to the beach wearing something this skimpy nobody would be able to visually discern whether they were dressed or not and they would be arrested for indecent exposure.
So it is time for you readers to ask the question, "where is the scientific evidence that a 00.28% increase contributes to alleged warming at a time when temperatures have dropped 0.64 degrees Centegrade in the past year" Because if you are incapable of asking these questions then you and your children will surely pay through the nose for nonsense like this.
---------------------
This is beyond belief.
CO2 has never been shown to be other than benign. Our life is carbon based.
The net increase in temperature of the globe, up to 2006, was .6 of a degree.
2007 has shown a total drop in temperature of .6 of a degree.
It was ridiculous to make all of this fuss over such a small increment in temperature.
Of course there were always dire predictions about what would happen in the future, based on climate models, which any scientist knows cannot tell the future. In any case they were wrong.
The temperature did not rise after 1998, and has now dropped.
There is now no net warming, and during all the production of CO2 by human emissions, the planet cooled. The assertion of AGW, so far, is baseless.
We need a few headlines about the drop in global temperature.
---------------------
I majored in Computer Science and minored in Climatology. While there is almost universal scientific acknowledgement that the earth has been in a warming trend of the past 30 years, there is huge debate as to why. Some theories are about man made conditions others are naturally occurring. Greenhouse gases have gotten a bad wrap because of a widely published but incomplete report in the late 80s. Every study that has ever been published about greenhouse gas effects has been done in a contained space at a parts per million concentration way higher than what is in our atmosphere. No one has been able to create a lab environment that accurately represents what CO2 does in our atmosphere. In the lab there is no stratosphere, no ozone layer, no trees or other plants, oceans, land masses or any of the many things that collectively have a huge affect on sunlight. They shone infrared light into a tank with tap water and then injected CO2. They found that CO2 is an insulator that traps heat.
While I do support the overall goal of producing less pollution, I firmly believe that what has happened is that some over zealous environmentalists read the greenhouse gas report and used it to start a crusade for the environment and it has snowballed since then. The earth warms and cools naturally. The earth has been a lot cooler and a lot warmer than it is now and life has gone on.
The climate and weather is a complex thing. Scientist have been studying a climate event called El nino for decade. El nino is sudden warming of the ocean on the west coast of South America that affects global weather patterns. After 40 years they still have no idea why it occurs. I caution anyone against an alarmist attitude and like I said before, if C02 is in fact the culprit it would far less expensive and far more effective if we spent our resources on trying to simulate what plants do by converting CO2 back into oxygen. If we can figure out how to split an atom, we can figure out photosynthesis.
---------------------
As a scientist I am trained to be always skeptical of any claim. While there seems to be a correlation between CO2 levels and temperature, I also see that the data is very noisy and from experience it is very difficult to draw iron clad conclusions from it. Also, correlations do not prove causality. Unfortunately I have seen bandwagons in science both come and go, and this has all the hallmarks of a bandwagon.
One concern I have is how do the account for the similar levels of CO2 and temperature that occurred 100,000 years ago? Human technology was not burning coal or oil at that time. In fact, after watching one of the proponents of the sky is falling and calling for immediate action, his charts of CO2 and Temperature seemed to indicate a cycling of approximately 100,000 years.
What is being asked is very drastic indeed. These findings need to be debated out in the open with open dialog. Sadly, science like politics also has a way of stifling debate and dismissing participants in the debate. But we cannot have only a handful of scientists, no matter how well intentioned, call the shots. If only a handful understand the models, then they had better be prepared to do a far better explanation of their models.
---------------------
If anything, the growing challenge to the 'consensus' that 'climate change is overwhelmingly caused by man' is being voiced by climate scientists whose research is funded by government sources, rather than by 'the oil companies' as is most often implied.
Half my family had left from Eastern Europe, and we feel we recognize this 'Climate Change' hysteria for what it really is- the same wealth redistribution scheme that Socialism has been attempting all along.
History does reveal similar climate changes occurring at various periods in the past. There is another side to this story- I would look forward to you exploring this in the future.
---------------------
Previous commenters have mentioned 'runaway global warming'. This is a concept that is more wish than fact. A short look at the geological history of this planet will show that CO2 levels were at 3-4000 ppmv during the Cretaceous and at around 8000 ppmv during the Ordovician, There was no runaway global warming then so there is some negative feedback mechanism to limit temperature rise. No past runaway so no future runaway. We cannot possibly get up to the high levels by using fossil fuels because 95% of historic CO2 is locked up in rocks like limestone not fuels.

PJB: To Die For NAFTA

By Patrick J. Buchanan
March 11, 2008
http://buchanan.org/blog/?p=962

“The commonest error in politics,” said Lord Salisbury, “is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”
Lord Salisbury’s rule comes to mind on reading of John McCain’s delight at the $40 billion contract awarded the French-led parent of Airbus — to build the next generation of U.S. Air Force tankers.
The contract could run to $100 billion and is a body blow to Boeing in its duel to the death with Airbus. Two-thirds of all air-to-air refueling tankers are used by the United States. The contract gives a 30-year lease on life to the expiring Airbus A330 and means early death for Boeing’s 767, the U.S. model for the tanker.
Congratulating himself for having exposed corruption in the Boeing bid, McCain purred, “I have always insisted that the Air Force buy major weapons through fair and open competition.”
If McCain thinks Airbus has prospered through “fair and open competition,” he is beyond recall. In its first 25 years, Airbus sold 770 planes but did not make a dime in profit. It was started as a socialist cartel, subsidized by the governments of Spain, France, Britain and Germany, to invade and capture a market owned by Americans who built the planes that won World War II.
Airbus drove Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas out of the business of commercial aircraft and almost took down Boeing. And like indolent buffalo munching grass as they are shot one by one, we let it happen.
Lost U.S. jobs should not be our primary concern, said McCain, “I’ve always felt the best thing to do is to create the best weapons system we can at minimum cost to taxpayers.”
But if McCain thinks cost trumps all in building weapons of war, why not outsource the building of U.S. carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates and submarines to the foreign shipyards that constuct America’s merchant ships? Why not hire and train foreign sailors as crews?
Why not outsource the scores of thousands of U.S. government jobs handling Social Security checks and tax returns to Bangladesh and India? After all, the neocons want to hire foreign mercenaries to fight America’s wars and reward them with U.S. citizenship, as the Romans did in the last days of the empire.
What does it mean to be an American anymore?
It took 20 years to wake up blockheaded Republicans to the social insanity of open borders. Only the collapse of his candidacy last summer jolted McCain into realizing that the 80 percent of Americans who reject amnesty and want a border fence are not all “bigots,” as his Tonto, Lindsay Graham, said they were.
Is it going to take 20 more years for Republicans to awaken to the economic disaster they have created and the political ruin they are inviting with this fanatic faith in “free trade,” while the rest of the world loots our country through mercantilism?
When Europe imposes a 15 percent value-added tax on U.S. imports and rebates the VAT on exports to the United States, that is not free trade. When China devalues its currency 45 percent, as it did in 1994, and bolts it down to suck jobs and factories out of the United States, that is not free trade. When Japan manipulates its currency, preaches economic nationalism to its people, and shelters its market for TVs, autos and steel, while dumping into and capturing ours, that is not free trade.
McCain admits to knowing almost nothing about economics and is now being advised by my old friend Jack Kemp. In a Wall Street Journal essay bemoaning my views, Kemp concedes, “I’m on the advisory board of Toyota North America and now drive a hybrid Lexus.”
Nor is Jack the only pol who has found happiness in a foreign employ. Ex-secretaries of state and Cabinet officers, ex-senators and congressmen, and ex-White House aides are getting rich working for foreigners who are carting off American jobs, American technology, American markets, American factories — and America’s future.
Yet retribution may be at hand for our multinational GOP. In Ohio, NAFTA is a five-letter word with a four-letter meaning, as Ohio lost a huge slice of the 3.5 million manufacturing jobs that vanished under the McCain-Kemp-Bush policy of unilateral disarmament in the trade wars being waged against America.
Look at the Bush-McCain record: $4 trillion in trade deficits, $2.5 trillion in manufactures alone. One in every six manufacturing jobs, 3 million, gone. With America borrowing $2 billion a day to pay for foreign goods, we have seen a collapse of the dollar, the price of gold quadruple to $1,000 an ounce, oil soar to $107 a barrel and gas heading toward $4 a gallon.
Where Bush has created an average of 46,000 new private-sector jobs a month, Bill Clinton did five times as well, creating 220,000 a month.
Hillary won Ohio denouncing the NAFTA deal Bill Clinton cut. The lady gets it. McCain remains a loyal NAFTA man. Good luck in Ohio and Michigan. As the Great Peer said, “The commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”