Sunday, July 31, 2011

Economic Collapse And Martial Law in North America Represents The Total Destruction of Freedom

THE EXCAVATOR
July 31, 2011
http://disquietreservations.blogspot.com/

The train left the station a long time ago. And the cunning conductors are not going to lose their nerve as their train of evil approaches the final destination: mass detention of activists, violent government crackdowns on protests, and slavery for the people.

Corporate fascism, government oppression and private banking tyranny didn’t suddenly creep up on America and other Western countries. The crisis of freedom in America and Western civilization was foreseen years ago both by people within government (John F. Kennedy) and by people outside of government. What blind and arrogant people don’t want to admit is that “conspiracy theorists” like Alex Jones, Ron Paul, Jesse Ventura and countless other truth-tellers are the Paul Reveres of this generation.

While the people were sleeping, the same old treacherous banking tyrants that the American founding fathers and colonists defeated in the War of Independence were back to their old tricks and busy re-enslaving the people of the New World. II. The Show Won’t Go On Because The Myth Cannot Hide The Reality Forever The charade that is taking place in Washington makes for good television drama, but you won’t learn anything about what’s in store for America and the global economy by paying attention to those clowns. The sad fact is that the American people have already been robbed of their future, their savings, and their country.

Trillions of dollars have been mismanaged, stolen, and treacherously misused to help pay for unnecessary wars in the Middle East and the bailout of Wall Street banks that committed fraud and cheated the public. And the U.S. military will take over American streets, standing alongside riot cops to crush pro-freedom protests, once the American people fully realize that the funds in Social Security and Medicare have been robbed by treacherous bankers and politicians. On July 20, Catherine Austin Fitts, the former Assistant Secretary of Housing, said on Financial Survival Radio that the fiscal crisis is being used to cover up a much more profound political crisis, saying:

We have four trillion dollars missing from the federal accounts. Depending on who you talk to, we have 12 to 17 trillion dollars extended or given to the banks as a gift. This is not a fiscal crisis, this is a political crisis because we’re having a financial coup d’etat. In other words, if you can steal money every year and then say “our problem is we do not have no money,” – No, our problem is not that we do not have no money and we’re not living financially responsible, the problem is you’re stealing.

What Fitts is describing is the greatest crime in all of human history. Never before has this amount of money been stolen from any country. And Fitts is not the only one who is raising the alarm. On March 10, Paul Craig Roberts, who served as the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, wrote in an article called,“Stealing from Social Security to Pay for Wars and Bailouts”:

Republicans regard Social Security as an “unfunded liability,” that is, a giveaway that is interfering with our war-making ability. Alas, Social Security is an unfunded liability, because all the money working people put into it was stolen by Republicans and Democrats in order to pay for wars and bailouts for mega-rich bankers like Goldman Sachs.

On July 17, Washington’s Blog raised the question, “Were America’s assets looted years ago?” The answer seems to be yes. Also, Washington’s Blog stated on November 11, 2010, “It’s Not the “Great Depression.” It’s the Great BANK ROBBERY.” Here is an excerpt from the article:

In case it’s not crystal clear, this isn’t the “Great Recession”. It’s really the Great Bank Robbery. First, there was the threat of martial law if the $700 Billion Tarp bailout wasn’t passed. Specifically, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson warned Congress that there would be martial law unless the Tarp bailouts were approved.

The truth is that America’s political, media and financial elite have used up America like toilet paper. The decade of 2001-2011 is the decade of fraud, treason, deception and waste. III. Rise of The RoboCops, When Good Men Lose Their Minds and Terminate Their Hearts Ever since the unsolved murder of President John F. Kennedy by the criminal oligarchy that runs the CIA and the Federal Reserve Bank there has been a systematic denial of the American people’s voice and rights by their hijacked government. And the denial of the popular will and civil liberties will only intensify once the American economy completely falls apart and martial is declared. William Irwin Thompson, an American philosopher, said in his 1976 book, “Evil and World Order”:

“President Nixon thought that in moving to create an all-volunteer army he was moving to demilitarize the country; actually he was completing the transformation of America into a banana republic. Professional soldiers have little difficulty in firing on civilian crowds,” (Thompson, Evil and World Order: Harper & Row Publishers: New York. Pg. 18.

Since the time when Thompson wrote those words America has been completely militarized. The fraudulent War on Drugs and War on Terror have allowed the government to take away civil liberties and place unaccountable power in the hands of government goons to do the will of the traitorous international banking establishment that has illegally controlled America since 1913. In the last decade a lot of good military officers and cops have been brainwashed and trained to suppress protests against the banks and political elite. In the event of a civil emergency, they will be instructed to take away the guns of the American people and round up American citizens for the good of “national security,” and “social order.” The mental brainwashing of the police and military will not be countered easily. The government lies and myths will grip their minds like cancer through the crisis of authority that is upon us. Even in the face of contrary evidence they will refuse to believe that they are carrying out the will of tyrants and financial parasites. And once they start killing armed and/or unarmed citizens they will instinctively justify their acts as good and necessary. They will constantly tell the biggest lies to themselves and avoid the truth that they have been betrayed and misled by traitorous political leaders in Washington. And the American people will suffer because of their stupidity and gullibility. Anti-government patriots will be arrested and locked up without a trial in secret detention centers that have been hid from the public. Of course, most patriots will be killed on the spot by government goons because they will resist tyranny and defend their values to their death like William Cooper did. IV. The Declaration of Martial Law, When America Morphs Into the Jungles of Vietnam and the Deserts of Iraq Back on February 15, 2010, Gary D. Barnett said in an article called,“Martial Law in America: No Longer Just a Possibility!”:

If any of you out there think of this as some sort of conspiracy theory, you may be exactly right. The government does seem to be conspiring to gain the power to control by military force the citizenry of this country. It seems very clear to me, and there is a voluminous amount of evidence to support the conclusion that a government conspiracy is in fact already in place. Every move we make is monitored. Every call we make can be traced. Every email we send can be captured. Every financial transaction we do is data-based. We can’t travel even in our own country without being strip-searched and abused by the cretins at TSA. And if the government decides for no reason at all to label us as “enemy combatants,” they can throw us in prison and torture or kill us without even the benefit of trial. So why would anyone think that this government could not and would not take the next step in its progression of control? That next step is Martial Law, and once implemented might turn out to be the final step in ending our history of freedom!

When martial law officially comes to America, it will also come to Canada. The United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM) which has announced that it is ready to impose martial law is a tool of a larger political project to bring America, Canada and Mexico under a dictatorial political, financial, legal and military union that will compete with the fascistic European Union. The website “Law is Cool,” published a post on February 21, 2008 called“Martial Law in North America?” that questioned the legality and legitimacy of NORTHCOM. The website stated:

Canadians may also have cause for concern, as the goals of “Binational Integration” of the American and Canadian militaries has been suggested by some to amount to effectual annexation of Canada, as NORTHCOM would control all of North America.

On April 4, 2008, Jim Kouri wrote an important article called, “North American Military Agreement Signed by the U.S. and Canada,” that examined the secret agreement made between the American and Canadian governments to use each other’s military forces in a state of emergency. Kouri wrote:

The military Civil Assistance Plan is seen by critics as a further incremental step toward creating a North American armed forces available to be deployed in domestic North American emergency situations. According to the NORTHCOM press release, the plan “allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.” The agreement was signed at US Army North headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, by US Air Force General Gene Renuart, commander of NORAD and US Northern Command, or USNORTHCOM, and by Canadian Air Force Lt. General Marc Dumais, commander of Canada Command. “This document is a unique, bilateral military plan to align our respective national military plans to respond quickly to the other nation’s requests for military support of civil authorities,” Renuart said in a statement published on the USNORTHCOM website.

Michel Chossudovsky, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, has also written numerous articles about the transformation of the free societies of America and Canada into a North American police state. On March 13, 2008, Chossudovsky wrote in an article called, “The Deployment of US Troops inside Canada”:

In December 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks, the Canadian government reached an agreement with the Head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, entitled the “Canada-US Smart Border Declaration.” Shrouded in secrecy, this agreement essentially hands over to the Homeland Security Department, confidential information on Canadian citizens and residents. It also provides US authorities with access to the tax records of Canadians. What these developments suggest is that the process of “binational integration” is not only occurring in the military command structures but also in the areas of immigration, police and intelligence. The question is what will be left over within Canada’s jurisdiction as a sovereign nation, once this ongoing process of binational integration, including the sharing and/or merger of data banks, is completed?

The fears of martial law in North America are not fears at all – they are observations. It is cowardly to stick your head down and ignore the reality that we are being manipulated and deceived by traitors who control our governments. V. The Fuse of Force The fuse of absolute power and brute force always burns away. But when it is burning it destroys many innocent lives. The fuse that was lit by Hitler in Nazi Germany was short and highly explosive. The fuse that was lit by the Communist tyrants in the Soviet Union was a long one and it took seven decades before it was finally put out. But neither of these fuses of power match the fuse that has been lit in the dark halls of power by the traitorous banking overlords who control America and the West. This secret fuse has been used to melt the freedoms of the American people, and the people of other Western countries. A vibrant and open culture of freedom is transformed into a plastic culture of tyranny and death when the fuse of power is lit. Once the fuse begins burning in a country, the sovereignty of the minds of the people is destroyed. Then their wealth and property is stolen. And finally they lose their lives, their dignity and their future. The presence of military goons and thuggish mercenaries on the streets in a state of martial law merely confirms the obvious fact to the people that they have been betrayed by cunning and evil traitors in power.

VIDEO: Bob Chapman's Friday Economic Report 7/29/11





VIDEO: Alex Jones - On Why Crony Capitalism Is Bad For America. We've Been Conquered By The Banksters



Corruption, War Crimes And Genocide Incorporated. Welcome To The New Freedom! Welcome To The New World Order!

As explained by a globalist.

Tony Cartalucci
Prisonplanet.com
July 31, 2011
http://www.prisonplanet.com/globalist-imperial-network.html

Bangkok, Thailand July 30, 2011 - The mechanics of world empire, in particular the current corporate-financier oligarchy has been examined in great detail. The US State Department, supporting NGOs funded directly by both US taxpayers’ money as well as funds from the Fortune 500 corporations they serve, alone constitute a global spanning, incessantly meddling homogeneous network working to undermine both personal and national sovereignty while replacing national governments around the world.


Photo: Globalist warmongering degenerate Anne-Marie Slaughter makes her rounds at the Fortune 500-funded Chatham House. She is the author of the book “A New World Order” and believes foreign policy should be shifted into the unelected, unaccountable hands of corporations, foundations, and NGOs.
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This is far from a conspiracy theory – it is stated fact admitted to by the US State Department itself who regularly announces its funding of subversive activities around the globe from training, equipping, and funding hordes of youth activists years before the “Arab Spring” unfolded, to helping dupes in China circumvent national cyber defenses, to forming brigades of youth fodder to take to the streets in Belarus and Malaysia, to propping up pro-globalist propaganda outlets like Prachatai in Thailand.

Perhaps sensing that the secrecy and public ignorance the global elite have been operating behind for decades is now fading, globalist footstool and degenerate warmongerAnne-Marie Slaughter has written a sweeping essay openly admitting “foreign policy” is moving beyond governments and being put into the hands of unelected organizations, corporations, NGOs, and “social movements.” By social movements, Slaughter cites and apparently is referring to the “Arab Spring” which is on record the result of US meddling and organizing, and nothing close to resembling true grassroots activism. It is merely the latest trick out of the social engineering, human exploitation, propagandist playbook.

Slaughter’s admissions should send shivers down the spines of anyone who believes in a constitutional representative government, personal and national sovereignty, and freedom in general – for the world Slaughter proposes is one run by unaccountable, self-appointed arbiters, the likes of which have been covered ad nauseum within these pages. Self-serving hypocrisy has already rendered contrived institutions like the International Criminal Court illegitimate, as it turns its head at documented war crimes committed by Libyan rebels while pursuing in earnest cases against Libya’s Qaddafi based on evidence not even collected within the nation itself.

As we peel back the layers of Slaughter’s vision of the “new foreign policy frontier,” we see nearly every institution, organization, NGO, or consortium mentioned lined with Fortune 500 corporate sponsors and representatives pursing an agenda of global economic and military hegemony. No one would suggest that manipulating people on a massive scale, leveraging legitimate ideals such as democracy, human rights, or freedom to further a corporate-financier oligarchy’s agenda constitutes anything progressive, nonetheless, Slaughter seems to believe this is not only the future of foreign policy, but an appropriate future at that.


Image: The cover of globalist, degenerate warmonger Anne-Marie Slaughter’s book “A New World Order.” Slaughter believes the future belongs to “global networks” which upon closer examination are all chaired, funded, and directed by the Fortune 500.
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It should be noted that Slaughter has sat upon the boards of Fortune 500 corporationsMcDonald’s and Citigroup as well as a Council on Foreign Relations board member. She is the author of a book literally titled, “A New World Order” whose catch line is “Global governance is here.” In it she argues that such governance is done through “a complex global web of government networks.” Upon examination it is obvious to anyone who looks into these “networks” that they represent the Fortune 500, answer to no one, and apply the rule of law as an arbitrary reflection of their self-serving interests subject to change upon a political whim. Despite Slaughter’s enthusiasm for a “New World Order,” in reality it is the recipe for a corporate fascist planetary regime and constitutes the greatest threat to humanity.

The New Foreign Policy Frontier

Slaughter begins a recent Atlantic article titled “The New Foreign Policy Frontier” by citing “corporations, foundations, NGOs, universities, think tanks, churches, civic groups, political activists, Facebook groups, and others” as the new frontier of foreign policy. She then goes on to state that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “insists that 21st century diplomacy must not only be government to government, but also government to society and society to society, in a process facilitated and legitimated by government.” Slaughter continues by saying, “that much broader concept opens the door to a do-it-yourself foreign policy, in which individuals and groups can invent and execute an idea — for good or ill — that can affect their own and other countries in ways that once only governments could.”

And it is through this door Slaughter describes that “groups,” or more specifically corporations, along with their myriad of contrived, disingenuous NGOs, foundations, “charities,” and media outfits go about circumventing both domestic and foreign national laws as well as the will of people across the planet to execute their agenda, including free trade and wars of aggression.

Slaughter mentions a myriad of these corporate-funded entities including the Council on Foreign Relations, Google Ideas, US State Department’s Movements.org, and thecorporate-funded Personal Democracy Forum. She also mentions Jared Cohen, utterly unfazed by the monumental conflict of interest represented by his revolving in and out of the US State Department, Fortune 500 corporations like Google, and fringe organizations like Movements.org that criminally combine corporate agendas with US taxpayers’ money to meddle in the sovereign affairs of foreign nations. While Slaughter maintains that these unelected corporate funded organizations are more efficient than governments, she fails to highlight that they are unelected and unaccountable. She also fails to mention what motivates corporations to expend resources on circumventing elected governments to pursue “society to society” efforts.

Slaughter goes on to use the “Arab Spring” as proof positive the new foreign policy paradigm is effective. She mentions her two days spent at the corporate-funded Personal Democracy Forum, which included bloggers and organizers from the contrived “Arab Spring.” She notes that other participants included “government officials, corporate executives, and the civic sector.” She claims the six months of unrest in the streets as a result of this “new foreign policy” has accomplished more than 30 years of traditional “foreign policy.”

Why do corporations like Google, Pepsi, British Petroleum, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Exxon, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs care about “democracy” in the Middle East? Slaughter never seems to get around to answering this question. A thorough examination of the “Arab Spring,” its sponsorship, and the resulting mayhem and wall-to-wall exploitation being attempted clears up any doubt as to the summation of Slaughter’s acclaimed “New World Order.” It is a parasitic modern day empire spreading its influence, consolidating its power, and deposing all competition to its existence. It is the logical progression of the British Empire and American “Manifest Destiny” combined in a modern day transatlantic, corporate-financier oligarchy.

Arab Spring: New Foreign Policy/Neo-Imperialism in Action

Slaughter’s legitimacy stumbles not only because she is a degenerate warmongering corporate fascist who has spent a lifetime in the service of a global corporate-financier oligarchy, it stumbles also because of her poor choice of examples used to sell her concept of “global governance.” She believes that “Build Local, Go Global and Change the World” represents the new 21st century activist mantra – however when foreign money representing nefarious corporate agendas are doing the building locally, using their vast media empire to spread it globally and “change the world” it would be difficult to label it as an “activist mantra.” It more clearly resembles an imperialist mantra of using duped activists.

Take for example the Egyptian April 6 Movement. It was in New York City as early as 2008receiving training and an opportunity to “network” at the US State Department sponsored Alliance for Youth Movements (AYM) summit. In 2009, the April 6 Movement then attended training at the US-created CANVAS organization in Serbia before returning to Egypt to partake in the year-long run up to the revolution led by International Crisis Group trustee Mohamed ElBaradei and his “National Front for Change.” In fact, April 6 Movement members attempted to welcome ElBaradei when he first returned to Egypt back in February, 2010, almost a full year before the “Arab Spring” would even begin.


Image: Alliance for Youth Movements boasts major corporate support, as well as a partnership with the US State Department. The organization was contrived solely to foment unrest throughout target nations.

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The US State Department backed by Fortune 500 corporations literally held the Egyptian opposition’s hand for years walking them through their “revolution.” With an overt US stooge, Mohamed ElBaradei leading them and still to this day attempting to worm his way into Egypt’s presidency, the victory is neither the “Egyptian people’s” nor “democracy’s,” but rather the victory of corporations and their interests within the strategically located, 80 million strong nation. Nothing could be more damning of the Egyptian revolution and its final results than the victory lap John McCain, chairman of the International Republican Institute cited by the New York Times as being instrumental in executing the “Arab Spring,” conducted with Fortune 500 industry magnates at his side. The June 2010 trip served as an opportunity for these corporate interests, the chief sponsors behind the training and organizing of ElBaradei’s army of dupes, to size up assets they soon hope to roll into their financial empires as well as to promote “private sector growth.”

This is surely not what the Egyptian youth had in mind – surely it is not in their best interest to be exposed to the parasitic corporate fascists currently bankrupting every nation from North America to Europe. However their ignorance, short-sightedness, and immense naivety allowed this nefarious global network to manipulate and mislead them, their nation, their entire future into the shackles of modern day imperialism.

Conclusion

This nefarious global network is precisely what Slaughter is promoting in her writings, constituting what she admittedly calls a “New World Order” for enabling global governance. For those that take the time to examine who is behind the “NGOs, universities, think tanks, churches, civic groups, political activists, Facebook groups” Slaughter refers to, they will find corporations like Exxon, Dyncorp, Goldman Sachs, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Rothschild, Halliburton, Bechtel, BP, and many others.

Could anyone seriously accept corporations that are responsible for the worst chapters in modern human history as the architects of a system of global governance and ultimately our future? With the power and wealth they wield, how would they be held accountable? They have the ability to literally buy politicians on both sides of every election from one side of the planet to the other with bottom-lines that eclipse many national GDPs – they do so in a process that is streamlined with the creation of supranational entities like the European Union, North American Union, ASEAN and others. Already the EU is proclaiming dictates each member state is beholden to, with supranational law superseding national and local laws.

It is a bleak future indeed, one where true freedom is replaced with the mere illusion of it. Pragmatism and self-reliance is replaced with trips to the ballot box to pick from a variety of bought-off, ineffectual, self-serving crooks serving a degenerate global oligarchy.

Policy is already being produced not by the people but by corporate-funded think-tanksthat then market it to the public through their control of the mainstream media. Their system is refined down to a science – their system is now merely being replicated, nation to nation. The solution to this problem is obvious. If the power truly lies with these corporations, the very foundation upon which Slaughter’s “New World Order” rests, undermining these corporations through full-spectrum boycotts and the systematic replacement of their goods and services on a local level shifts that power back into the people’s hands – pragmatically, not politically. It is a solution as elegant as it is simple and one that is impossible to commandeer as the globalists have done with so many attempted political solutions in the past.

There is no doubt now, with daily affirmations coming from the global elite themselves that their “New World Order” is coming. There is no doubt, as exemplified in Libya, that they are willing to murder on vast scales to eliminate any obstruction to their designs. There is no doubt, after the corporate-financiers have just helped themselves to trillions of taxpayers’s dollars to cover their collapsing pyramid schemes that they are far from the progressive “international order” they claim to represent. There is no doubt that now is the time to act. There is absolutely no justification for buying another Pepsi, Coke, Big Mac, or Starbucks and further empowering this modern day empire. What we have been taught are the features of a civilized society are in fact the padded, gilded shackles of our enslavement. There is absolutely nothing the global corporatocracy can do that people can’t do better locally. The only barrier is ambition, education, and a shift in our collective paradigm to see ourselves, not some elected savior, as the ultimate solution to our problems.

The fulfillment of Slaughter’s depraved vision of the future rests entirely in our hands. It will be determined day by day, depending on how we choose to spend our resources, time, attention, and energy. The simple decision to buy or produce locally rather than patronize Walmart, Starbucks, or any number of other globalist consumer feeding troughs as an individual may seem futile, but a shift in our collective actions and paradigm will undoubtedly derail this ignoble future that awaits us.

For more on the illegitimate parasites that constitute the “international community” and how to remove them, please read the follow:

Globalists’ Australian Nexus
Big Oil’s Tree Huggers: Harvard’s Belfer Center
Naming Names: Your Real Government
Wisdom from the Orient: Self-Sufficiency
Self-Sufficiency: A Universal Solution to the Globalist Problem

Tony Cartalucci is the writer and editor at Land Destroyer Report

Obama’s Final Loophole: Martial Law And The “Catastrophic Emergency” Clause?

Zero Hedge
July 31, 2011
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/obamas-final-loohole-catastrophic-emergency-clause

Politico’s Ben White has pointed out something interesting, namely that while the 14th Amendment may or may not be practical under the current situation (especially not without a full blown constitutional crisis), one potential loophole that Obama may have comes from none other than former president Bush, in the form of the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-20, one which deals with such trivia as “Catastrophic Emergency”, “Continuity of Government”, “Continuity of Operations”, and lastly, and perhaps somewhat ironically, “Enduring Constitutional Government.” Considering the amount of doom and gloom spun by the government is bigger than anything seen even under Hank Paulson, could this “crisis” be interpreted by the constitutional scholar as one that merits the invocation of Homeland Security privileges? Is America’s maxing out its credit card comparable to a nuclear or terrorist attack on the continent? We may find out in less than 48 hours.

So, for your reading pleasure, here is National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive51/20

NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD 51

HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD-20

Subject: National Continuity Policy

Purpose

(1) This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes “National Essential Functions,” prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency.

Definitions

(2) In this directive:

(a) “Category” refers to the categories of executive departments and agencies listed in Annex A to this directive;

(b) “Catastrophic Emergency” means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;

(c) “Continuity of Government,” or “COG,” means a coordinated effort within the Federal Government’s executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency;

(d) “Continuity of Operations,” or “COOP,” means an effort within individual executive departments and agencies to ensure that Primary Mission-Essential Functions continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies;

(e) “Enduring Constitutional Government,” or “ECG,” means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency;

(f) “Executive Departments and Agencies” means the executive departments enumerated in 5 U.S.C. 101, independent establishments as defined by 5 U.S.C. 104(1), Government corporations as defined by 5 U.S.C. 103(1), and the United States Postal Service;

(g) “Government Functions” means the collective functions of the heads of executive departments and agencies as defined by statute, regulation, presidential direction, or other legal authority, and the functions of the legislative and judicial branches;

(h) “National Essential Functions,” or “NEFs,” means that subset of Government Functions that are necessary to lead and sustain the Nation during a catastrophic emergency and that, therefore, must be supported through COOP and COG capabilities; and

(i) “Primary Mission Essential Functions,” or “PMEFs,” means those Government Functions that must be performed in order to support or implement the performance of NEFs before, during, and in the aftermath of an emergency.

Policy

(3) It is the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability composed of Continuity of Operations and Continuity of Government programs in order to ensure the preservation of our form of government under the Constitution and the continuing performance of National Essential Functions under all conditions.

Implementation Actions

(4) Continuity requirements shall be incorporated into daily operations of all executive departments and agencies. As a result of the asymmetric threat environment, adequate warning of potential emergencies that could pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be available, and therefore all continuity planning shall be based on the assumption that no such warning will be received. Emphasis will be placed upon geographic dispersion of leadership, staff, and infrastructure in order to increase survivability and maintain uninterrupted Government Functions. Risk management principles shall be applied to ensure that appropriate operational readiness decisions are based on the probability of an attack or other incident and its consequences.

(5) The following NEFs are the foundation for all continuity programs and capabilities and represent the overarching responsibilities of the Federal Government to lead and sustain the Nation during a crisis, and therefore sustaining the following NEFs shall be the primary focus of the Federal Government leadership during and in the aftermath of an emergency that adversely affects the performance of Government Functions:

(a) Ensuring the continued functioning of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government;

(b) Providing leadership visible to the Nation and the world and maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people;

(c) Defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and preventing or interdicting attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests;

(d) Maintaining and fostering effective relationships with foreign nations;

(e) Protecting against threats to the homeland and bringing to justice perpetrators of crimes or attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests;

(f) Providing rapid and effective response to and recovery from the domestic consequences of an attack or other incident;

(g) Protecting and stabilizing the Nation’s economy and ensuring public confidence in its financial systems; and

(h) Providing for critical Federal Government services that address the national health, safety, and welfare needs of the United States.

(6) The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination.

(7) For continuity purposes, each executive department and agency is assigned to a category in accordance with the nature and characteristics of its national security roles and responsibilities in support of the Federal Government’s ability to sustain the NEFs. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall serve as the President’s lead agent for coordinating overall continuity operations and activities of executive departments and agencies, and in such role shall perform the responsibilities set forth for the Secretary in sections 10 and 16 of this directive.

(8) The National Continuity Coordinator, in consultation with the heads of appropriate executive departments and agencies, will lead the development of a National Continuity Implementation Plan (Plan), which shall include prioritized goals and objectives, a concept of operations, performance metrics by which to measure continuity readiness, procedures for continuity and incident management activities, and clear direction to executive department and agency continuity coordinators, as well as guidance to promote interoperability of Federal Government continuity programs and procedures with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate. The Plan shall be submitted to the President for approval not later than 90 days after the date of this directive.

(9) Recognizing that each branch of the Federal Government is responsible for its own continuity programs, an official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President shall ensure that the executive branch’s COOP and COG policies in support of ECG efforts are appropriately coordinated with those of the legislative and judicial branches in order to ensure interoperability and allocate national assets efficiently to maintain a functioning Federal Government.

(10) Federal Government COOP, COG, and ECG plans and operations shall be appropriately integrated with the emergency plans and capabilities of State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to promote interoperability and to prevent redundancies and conflicting lines of authority. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate the integration of Federal continuity plans and operations with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.

(11) Continuity requirements for the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and executive departments and agencies shall include the following:

(a) The continuation of the performance of PMEFs during any emergency must be for a period up to 30 days or until normal operations can be resumed, and the capability to be fully operational at alternate sites as soon as possible after the occurrence of an emergency, but not later than 12 hours after COOP activation;

(b) Succession orders and pre-planned devolution of authorities that ensure the emergency delegation of authority must be planned and documented in advance in accordance with applicable law;

(c) Vital resources, facilities, and records must be safeguarded, and official access to them must be provided;

(d) Provision must be made for the acquisition of the resources necessary for continuity operations on an emergency basis;

(e) Provision must be made for the availability and redundancy of critical communications capabilities at alternate sites in order to support connectivity between and among key government leadership, internal elements, other executive departments and agencies, critical partners, and the public;

(f) Provision must be made for reconstitution capabilities that allow for recovery from a catastrophic emergency and resumption of normal operations; and

(g) Provision must be made for the identification, training, and preparedness of personnel capable of relocating to alternate facilities to support the continuation of the performance of PMEFs.

(12) In order to provide a coordinated response to escalating threat levels or actual emergencies, the Continuity of Government Readiness Conditions (COGCON) system establishes executive branch continuity program readiness levels, focusing on possible threats to the National Capital Region. The President will determine and issue the COGCON Level. Executive departments and agencies shall comply with the requirements and assigned responsibilities under the COGCON program. During COOP activation, executive departments and agencies shall report their readiness status to the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Secretary’s designee.

(13) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall:

(a) Conduct an annual assessment of executive department and agency continuity funding requests and performance data that are submitted by executive departments and agencies as part of the annual budget request process, in order to monitor progress in the implementation of the Plan and the execution of continuity budgets;

(b) In coordination with the National Continuity Coordinator, issue annual continuity planning guidance for the development of continuity budget requests; and

(c) Ensure that heads of executive departments and agencies prioritize budget resources for continuity capabilities, consistent with this directive.

(14) The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall:

(a) Define and issue minimum requirements for continuity communications for executive departments and agencies, in consultation with the APHS/CT, the APNSA, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Chief of Staff to the President;

(b) Establish requirements for, and monitor the development, implementation, and maintenance of, a comprehensive communications architecture to integrate continuity components, in consultation with the APHS/CT, the APNSA, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Chief of Staff to the President; and

(c) Review quarterly and annual assessments of continuity communications capabilities, as prepared pursuant to section 16(d) of this directive or otherwise, and report the results and recommended remedial actions to the National Continuity Coordinator.

(15) An official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President shall:

(a) Advise the President, the Chief of Staff to the President, the APHS/CT, and the APNSA on COGCON operational execution options; and

(b) Consult with the Secretary of Homeland Security in order to ensure synchronization and integration of continuity activities among the four categories of executive departments and agencies.

(16) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall:

(a) Coordinate the implementation, execution, and assessment of continuity operations and activities;

(b) Develop and promulgate Federal Continuity Directives in order to establish continuity planning requirements for executive departments and agencies;

(c) Conduct biennial assessments of individual department and agency continuity capabilities as prescribed by the Plan and report the results to the President through the APHS/CT;

(d) Conduct quarterly and annual assessments of continuity communications capabilities in consultation with an official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President;

(e) Develop, lead, and conduct a Federal continuity training and exercise program, which shall be incorporated into the National Exercise Program developed pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-8 of December 17, 2003 (“National Preparedness”), in consultation with an official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President;

(f) Develop and promulgate continuity planning guidance to State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators;

(g) Make available continuity planning and exercise funding, in the form of grants as provided by law, to State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators; and

(h) As Executive Agent of the National Communications System, develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive continuity communications architecture.

(17) The Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall produce a biennial assessment of the foreign and domestic threats to the Nation’s continuity of government.

(18) The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall provide secure, integrated, Continuity of Government communications to the President, the Vice President, and, at a minimum, Category I executive departments and agencies.

(19) Heads of executive departments and agencies shall execute their respective department or agency COOP plans in response to a localized emergency and shall:

(a) Appoint a senior accountable official, at the Assistant Secretary level, as the Continuity Coordinator for the department or agency;

(b) Identify and submit to the National Continuity Coordinator the list of PMEFs for the department or agency and develop continuity plans in support of the NEFs and the continuation of essential functions under all conditions;

(c) Plan, program, and budget for continuity capabilities consistent with this directive;

(d) Plan, conduct, and support annual tests and training, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, in order to evaluate program readiness and ensure adequacy and viability of continuity plans and communications systems; and

(e) Support other continuity requirements, as assigned by category, in accordance with the nature and characteristics of its national security roles and responsibilities.

General Provisions

(20) This directive shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions.

(21) This directive:

(a) Shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and the authorities of agencies, or heads of agencies, vested by law, and subject to the availability of appropriations;

(b) Shall not be construed to impair or otherwise affect (i) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, and legislative proposals, or (ii) the authority of the Secretary of Defense over the Department of Defense, including the chain of command for military forces from the President, to the Secretary of Defense, to the commander of military forces, or military command and control procedures; and

(c) Is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(22) Revocation. Presidential Decision Directive 67 of October 21, 1998 (“Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government Operations”), including all Annexes thereto, is hereby revoked.

(23) Annex A and the classified Continuity Annexes, attached hereto, are hereby incorporated into and made a part of this directive.

(24) Security. This directive and the information contained herein shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure, provided that, except for Annex A, the Annexes attached to this directive are classified and shall be accorded appropriate handling, consistent with applicable Executive Orders.

GEORGE W. BUSH

The US Is Facing A Day Of Reckoning Over The Defecit


Bob Chapman
International Forecaster
July 31, 2011
http://theinternationalforecaster.com/International_Forecaster_Weekly/The_US_Is_Facing_A_Day_Of_Reckoning_Over_The_Defecit

As we write on Wednesday, 7/27/11, there is still no debt limit for the US Treasury and the protagonists are still playing politics. That leaves a week to find a solution by August 2nd.

The first House passed a $16.7 trillion cut, cap and balance bill calls for a cut in the fiscal September 1st budget for 2012 and a balanced budget amendment that goes into effect in five years. Why five years, so they can amend it in a couple of years? This is truly political theater. This has little to do with the budget and everything to do with political powers. Worse yet, unless it meets the President’s approval, he will veto the bill.

Rating agencies such as Moody’s have warned of downgrading US sovereign debt, or at best being put on a negative watch list. We believe this is just another part of the play, or part of Wall Street and banking efforts to get extending legislation passed.

The media is solidly behind the Democrats for an increase in the debt limit and little or no cuts in spending. Mainstream media has even taken sides blaming the problem on the Republicans. Usually such positions are more subtle, but not this time.

We see little attempt by Congress to really cut spending. All they are really interested in is spending more money. Congress knows if proper cuts are made it will be very negative for the economy. From their viewpoint and from the viewpoint of their handlers there has to be little or no cuts and an increase to $16.7 trillion to take the economy past the next election in a year from November. A Republican plan to cut $9 trillion over ten years has been rejected out of hand. The consideration now is for $2.4 trillion. Obviously government cannot function unless we continue as we have been building more debt and Americans will just have to be patient until the whole debt edifice collapses. This kind of forced prosperity always has ended badly. Just look at history, it is all there for you to see. The same mistakes over and over again. America’s Keynesianism is certainly the antithesis of sound money. That is what the basis to the problem is. The corporatist fascist model. The model that has been foisted upon us since 1935.

If the public, and Congress for that matter, understand the concept of sound money we wouldn’t be in the dilemma we are in today. Today money saved for the future is ravaged, so there is little saving and hyper-extended consumption. The problem created is inflation bordering on hyperinflation. Thus, the seed money needed to grow the economy is spent and lost to investment. If we look at what inflation is doing we know money is not worth saving.

The dollar has lost some 98% of its value and from our viewpoint Americans are no longer capable of paying off their debt, which goes higher daily. Thus far they have been able to service that debt. There will come a time when they will not be able too, and then what happens? You need rising GDP and prosperity to service debt and that is not happening. $4.3 trillion in debt has been created over the past 2-1/2 years to create an average growth of 3%. That has turned government and the Fed into money machines. Something they cannot do indefinitely. The flipside is we are already into double-digit inflation.

We have seen as a result of having no backing on the US dollar it has been a fiat currency for 40 years, and the result has been the dollar has fallen precipitously in value. Gold backing stability is non-existent and government and the Fed have been free to create money and credit as they please.

Those in financial power know this game cannot go on indefinitely and that is why they create wars as a diversion or as a cover, for a failing financial and economic system. Besides, war is very profitable for the Illuminists, especially when you are financing both sides.

The Fed’s answer to the problems they deliberately created has been to supply endless supplies of money and credit. Thus, between 2008 and July 2010, they injected $16.1 trillion into world banking sectors. $7.75 trillion went to just four US banks, who happen to own the Fed. The remainder went to foreign financial institutions. The US big hitters were Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. The result is that these banks are still broke and allowed among others to carry two sets of books. The other recipients were Barclays UK $868 billion; Bear Stearns $853 billion; Goldman Sachs $814 billion; Royal Bank of Scotland $541 and $181 billion, or a total of $722 billion; Credit Suisse of Switzerland $262 billion; Lehman Bros. $183 billion and BNP Paribas of France $175 billion. This was all done in secret and the Fed was forced to reveal these transactions under the Dodd-Frank bank legislation. After these revelations it is not surprising that current real inflation is 10.6%. We expect it to be 14% by the end of the year. Next year QE2 and stimulus 2 will provide us with 25% to 30% inflation.

Here we have a government and Federal Reserve with no contingency plans if there were to be a default. They are using a method of keeping the economy going, that has proven to be a failure over and over again. Worse yet, they know what they are doing will fail. Just read the 1988 Bernanke-Boskin white paper on the subject. If Asia, particularly China and Japan continue to buy no, or only a little US debt, the bottom is sure to fallout of the US debt market. The Fed is currently buying about 80% of Treasury and Agency debt; does one really think they can monetize Asia’s $3 trillion Treasury holdings? This also means that Asia doesn’t know what to do with their dollar foreign exchange. They have no contingency plans either. One of the dirty little secrets is that many other nations cannot hold sovereign bonds rated less than AAA. If the US has its credit rating lowered their holdings will have to be sold. We ask, to whom? Could it be the Fed? If it is that will quickly bring on hyperinflation.

We see that the escapades of the Treasury and the Fed have brought ire from the Chinese, who are telling them stop your foolishness with the debt limit immediately. In the Chinese Dagong the credit rating of the US has already been lowered to A+ from AA eight months ago. Light pressure will continue from China until the US gets its act together.

The US rating agencies have been under great pressure by the White House to keep their mouths shut and stop their warnings regarding US government credit worthiness. That was accompanied by a plea to them to not say anything about credit. The administration is scared, especially after government credit was put on negative watch.

A game of chicken is being run in Washington by two groups of politicians run and owned by the same group of people behind the scenes. They all want enabling debt extension with a small touch of austerity. They want a deal that has the legs to keep the economy going until after the next election. The most important thing they want is a reduction in Social Security and Medicare, so those funds can be used to reduce debt and fund the military industrial complex. They also want starvation and the inability to buy drugs by the elderly to hasten their demise. That means less Social Security and Medicare spending. In two years we will also have the Obamacare death panels, where massive elimination will be put into motion. There is nothing the Illuminists despise worse than useless eaters. There is ample evidence that these elitists, by their own words, want to reduce world population by 60% to 90%, dependent on which of these persons you listen too. Last week Ted Turner opted for 90% on CNN. That is what the fight regarding debt extension is all about. The only forthright and honest person in Congress to call it the way it is, is Ron Paul. He says the bill sanctions the status quo and that it is impossible to balance the budget without cutting military, Medicare and Social Security spending and that is impossible. The debt limit will be raised, but we fervently hope without Social Security and Medicare cuts. You have to understand your adversaries. These people in Congress are almost all paid whores and the people who control them with money are insane. If you can grasp that you can understand what really this is all about. Watch carefully which members won’t allow military cuts and which want to cut SS and Medicare and then you will have identified the enemy.

One more view from Europe. We are probably near the end of the first wave of European problems. Still hanging in the balance is the 2nd bailout program for Greece. The EU approval is yet to come and the Germans are furious with the deal, Merkel and the CDU, Christian Democratic Union. If approved this will be Greece’s last bailout. Next comes bankruptcy. Greece is a tiny part of the EU, but it could be the catalyst that brings down the euro. It would be precedent setting and deeply affect the future of the other five nations in financial trouble. The outcome for Greece unless they have perpetual bailouts, is default. It could be months away, but could be 1-1/2 years away, but default is sure to come. Can you imagine the idiots in the ruling party of Greece took licenses away from taxi drivers and have had 10,000 of them striking for more than a week and each day they demonstrate brings more chaos to the country.

As a result of what is going on bond losses by the banks as a result of default could take some of them into insolvency. If all six nations defaulted the loss would be $2.5 trillion. Then there are the derivatives as well. Of that Greek debt is about $500 billion. Such an occurrence could take down the European banking system, which would lead to the default of England and the US.

The Great Recession destroyed all kinds of jobs, but the not-so-great recovery has so far replaced the lowest-paying jobs at a much faster pace than higher-paying ones, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data.

Workers navigating the current labor market are facing a “significant good jobs deficit,” said the National Employment Law Project, the worker advocacy group that crunched the Census numbers.

Low-wage occupations saw job growth of 3.2 percent from the beginning of 2010 to the beginning of 2011, while mid-wage jobs only grew by 1.2 percent, according to NELP. During the same time period, higher-wage jobs fell by 1.2 percent. In other words, there are more new jobs for retail salespeople, office clerks, cashiers and food prep workers than for machinists, managers, nurses and accountants.

To make matters worse, low-paying jobs pay even less than they used to, according to the report.

The skewed job growth comes after unbalanced job losses during the Great Recession.

“Of the net employment losses between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2010,” NELP said in its report, “fully 60 percent were in mid-wage occupations, 21.3 percent were in lower-wage occupations and 18.7 percent were in higher-wage occupations.”

The analysis confirms of one of the “new rules” workers have faced since the onset of the recession: Don’t expect to make more money at your next job.

Bottom of Form

Pittsburgh’s Bob Poropatich has been working 44 hours a week at a coffee shop and a grocery store since he lost his job as a manager for a major clothing retailer in 2008.

“Together both jobs pay me not even close to a third of what I made when I had just one job,” Poropatich told HuffPost. “My salary used to be close to $70,000 and with an annual bonus. It’s not a fortune, but it’s a nice middle class salary. And now I don’t know if I even make $15,000 a year.”

Poropatich keeps a sense of humor even though he’s found his experience frustrating, particularly when his former boss came to the coffee shop for a latte. “I live in the city of bridges so I’d have my choice of about 20 or 30,” he said. “But I couldn’t jump — I can’t swim!”

Although NELP’s report stresses that it’s too early to tell how the recovery will shake out, it also warned that the good jobs deficit is a legacy of longstanding inadequate mid-wage job growth that started before the recession began. NELP also said that the economy is still short 11 million jobs since the start of the Great Recession.

The new data update a similar report NELP did in February analyzing job losses and gains across industries. NELP did its new breakdown by putting data for 366 occupations into three groups ranked according to wages, tracking changes from 2008. Workers in the lowest-earning occupations earn between $7.51 and $13.52 per hour, while workers in the highest-ranking jobs earn between $20.67 and $53.32 per hour.

“Growing wage inequality in the United States is a phenomenon that’s three decades in the making, and which the recession only exacerbated,” said Annette Bernhardt, the report’s author. “We need to pay attention to these striking patterns of slow and unbalanced growth as we seek ways to restore America’s economy and create the good jobs America’s workers need and deserve.”

Orders for U.S. durable goods unexpectedly dropped in June, raising the risk that a slowdown in business investment will weigh on the world’s largest economy in the second half of the year.

Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years fell 2.1 percent after a 1.9 percent gain the prior month that was smaller than last reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Demand for business equipment, including machinery and computers, also dropped.

Manufacturers face a slowdown in consumer spending just as they are poised to rebound from the parts shortages caused by Japan’s earthquake, indicating production may keep cooling. Companies are also cutting back on hiring, which may further temper household demand.

“The momentum in capital spending has slowed,” said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York. “Unless we get a pickup in consumer demand, the overall rebound in growth is going to be pretty moderate.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 5.0 percent in the week ended July 22.

The MBA’s seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications lost 5.5 percent after a 23.1 percent jump the previous week. The gauge of loan requests for home purchases was down 3.8 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity dipped to 69.6 percent of total applications from 70.1 percent the week before.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.57 percent, rising from 4.54 percent.

The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose for a second month in June. But the gain was not enough to signal a rebound in the weak housing market.

The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 2.4 percent in June to a reading of 90.9. A reading of 100 is considered healthy by economists. The last time the index reached that level was in April 2010, the final month when buyers could qualify for a federal tax credit.

Contract signings are typically a reliable indicator of where the housing market is headed. That’s because there’s usually a one- to two-month lag between a sales contract and a completed deal.

But the Realtors group says a growing number of buyers have cancelled contracts ahead of closings after appraisals showed the homes were worth less than they bid. A sale isn’t final until a mortgage is closed.

Plunging rates for chartering container vessels that carry sneakers, furniture and flat-screen TVs may signal a U.S. consumer slowdown and losses for shipping lines in what is traditionally their busiest time of the year.

Fees for hiring vessels have fallen 9.3 percent since the end of April, according to the Howe Robinson Container Index, which tracks charter rates for a range of vessels. Last year, the index surged 56 percent in the period, as lines added ships on demand from U.S. and European retailers restocking for the back-to-school and holiday shopping periods.

“The troubling part is that charter rates are falling in the peak season,” said Johnson Leung, head of regional transport at Jefferies Group Inc. in Hong Kong. “Sentiment among consumers and retailers isn’t very strong.”

Voters are more convinced than ever that most congressmen are crooks.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters now view most members of Congress as corrupt. That’s up seven points from Juneand the highest finding yet recorded. Just 29% think most members are not corrupt, and another 25% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Similarly, a whopping 85% of voters think most members of Congress are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping other people. That’s a record high for surveys stretching back to early November 2006. Only seven percent (7%) believe most of the legislators are more interested in helping others.

These findings come at a time when voter approval of the job Congress is doing has fallen to a new low. Just six percent (6%) of voters now rate Congress’ performance as good or excellent. Sixty-one percent (61%) think the national legislators are doing a poor job.

Rasmussen Reports has asked these questions monthly since June 2008 and sporadically before that.

While some believe that people hate Congress in general but love their own representative, just 31% believe their own representative is the best person for the job. Most think it’s at least somewhat likely that their own representative trades votes for cash.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 24-25, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. Seemethodology.

Most voters don’t care much for the way either party is performing in the federal debt ceiling debate. The majority of voters are worried the final deal will raise taxes too much and won’t cut spending enough. Just 23% of Adults are at least somewhat confident that U.S. policymakers know what they’re doing when it comes to addressing the nation’s current economic problems.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to handling the issue of government ethics and corruption. But nearly as many (35%) trust Democrats more. Voters trust the GOP more on nine of 10 issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports including the economy, taxes, health care and national security.

Republicans lead Democrats again this week on the Generic Congressional Ballot as they have every week since June 2009.

Voters under 50 believe much more strongly than their elders that most members of Congress are corrupt. Union members share that view more than those who are not unionized.

Investors are less likely to believe most congressmen are corrupt that non-investors are.

For now, most voters would opt for a congressional candidate who balances spending cuts with tax hikes to lower the federal debt over one who’s totally opposed to any tax increases.

Just before last November’s elections, 52% of voters said most members of Congress get reelected not because they do a good job representing the folks at home but becauseelection rules are rigged to their benefit. Only 17% felt incumbents get reelected because they do a good job representing their constituents, while 31% were undecided. These findings were consistent with previous surveys.



In the palavering over the Greece bailout, an obstacle was the European Central Bank’s insistence that nothing be done that might allow the ratings agencies to declare that Greece had defaulted on its debts or at least not until the bank received taxpayer guarantees for its own holdings of Greek debt. This caused some not unreasonably to ask: Why can’t the rating agencies get on the team? Who do they think they are? Where do these disreputable companies (remember their role in the subprime debacle) get off endangering the whole euro project?

One answer is that the rating agencies have a commitment to buyers and sellers of credit default swaps, designed to compensate bondholders when, say, a Greece defaults. The raters have a job to do and would be morally and legally culpable if they didn’t do it. That job is to downgrade Greek debt to default status if and when Europe goes ahead with its latest bailout plan to impose losses on Greece’s bondholders.

There is a parallel obligation in case the U.S. defaults on Treasury debt, but the U.S. is not going to default. Now that the prospect of a debt-ceiling stalemate is in view, it behooves us to differentiate between a government shutdown and a default.

Members of the House Financial Services Committee following a closed-door meeting with economists from Standard & Poors, July 21

Even without the Treasury empoweredto borrow, plenty of cash will still be coming in, plenty of assets exist that can be liquidated. John Silvia of Wells Fargo told Bloomberg TV that a partial government shutdown (which still isn’t a default) might not be needed for at least two weeks beyond the artificial Aug. 2 deadline set by the Obama administration in the wholly artificial debt-ceiling crisis.

But now we have a new problem. The rating agencies, especially Standard & Poor’s, have decided to join the politicians in turning an artificial crisis into a real one. S&P says it plans a U.S. debt downgrade, regardless of any debt-ceiling outcome, unless it sees a “credible” plan to reduce future deficits by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.

This has become the real worry for Wall Street, but why? America’s spending debate does not remotely make it any more of a default threat than it was a week or month or year ago. America’s IOUs are still completely acceptable to the markets.

Even in the long term, the threat is not to bondholders. The threat is to Americans under 50 who think they can rely on Social Security and Medicare. The threat is to countries that hope the U.S. will fight their wars for them. The threat is to K Street bandits trying to live off federal handouts.

But the debt to bondholders will be the last to be dishonored—not least because, unlike a lot of claimants, bondholders can be satisfied with inflation-ravaged dollars.

For the unwarranted power granted to rating agencies, which after all merely issue opinions, blame U.S. law and regulation. These require bankers, pension funds and other regulated investment funds not just to consult ratings, but to act on them.

When the cart is properly positioned in relation to the horse, notice what happens. Ratings opinions are treated as opinions. S&P recently downgraded the debt of Japan. The price of Japanese debt actually went up because the market made its own judgment. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs last week promoted a package of Triple-A commercial mortgages to investors. Investors vetoed the deal because they didn’t agree with the ratings.

This is not to say that America doesn’t have bitter political wrangles ahead. But S&P and others offer nothing of value in rating the messiness of our political debates.

On the contrary, they step out of line in presuming they must be satisfied with our current spending priorities in order to be satisfied with the long-term payability of America’s formal debt.

There’s a reason the monumental unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are not counted as part of the federal debt they don’t have to be paid. Any Congress we elect a new one every two years can vote these obligations out of existence. Indeed, an industrious band of academics associated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has shown that the Western world’s “risk-free” pay-as-you-go retirement systems are anything but “risk-free” to beneficiaries benefits can be and have been reduced in line with the resources available to pay them.

Such battles lie ahead. They will not be enjoyable to Americans. We may experience slow growth and stagnant living standards. We may also find a few low-hanging fruits, such as tax simplification and bringing price competition to health care. If anything, today’s debate should be a net plus for U.S. debt because it has moved the question of fiscal sustainability to the center of American politics.

In any case, how successive electorates decide to spend their tax dollars, aside from meeting their obligations to bondholders, is the electorate’s business. It is foppish in the extreme of S&P to imagine its opinion is needed or valued, and one more reason to expedite a rare useful provision of Dodd-Frank its requirement that federal law be purged of language requiring investors to act on the opinions of rating agencies.



Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is taking government regulators to task for not letting more big financial houses fail back during the credit crisis.

Every rich-country government must choose between setting aside wealth to contain catastrophes or use that wealth for its own prosperity.

Since the 2008 crisis began, the U.S. government has erred heavily on the side of caution to the detriment of its own growth, Greenspan writes in an Op-Ed in the Financial Times.

“American policymakers, in recent years, faced with the choice to assist a major company or risk negative economic fallout, have regrettably almost always chosen to intervene,” Greenspan writes.

U.S. banks are holding on to $1.6 trillion in reserves as buffer capital courtesy of the Federal Reserve. This is the result, Greenspan contends, of the U.S. decision to bail out Bear Stearns rather than letting it crash.

If the investment bank had been allow to collapse, he writes, banks such as AIG and Lehman might have put more money aside to protect themselves from the same fate. They clearly did not, and the government was forced into the market to save them.
Since banks now can sit on their Federal Reserve money and earn interest at no risk they have less incentive to lend it and the U.S. economy is stagnating,Greenspan writes.

“This bias leads to an excess of buffers at the expense of our standards of living,” he maintains.

Meanwhile, investors nervously eye the latest potential calamity a presumptive default by the U.S. government within days and it’s unclear whose head is on the chopping block, if anybody’s.

“If there is a financial meltdown and panic, you don’t know where investors will go,” Gifford Combs, a portfolio manager at Dalton Investments, told The Associated Press.



Seventy-three percent of Americans in Gallup Daily tracking over the weekend said the U.S. economy is getting worse. This is up 11 percentage points from the three days ending July 6, and the worst level for this measure since March 2009 [the bottom of the crisis]. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index fell to -46 — down 16 points since early July. www.gallup.com

LBJ greatly expanded the US welfare state with his “Great Society” program in 1965. The intent of the “Great Society” program was to eradicate poverty in the US. The poverty rate at the time was 14%.

After spending tens of trillions of dollars, the US poverty rate is now14.3%; US living standards peaked in 1973 and the middle class has been steadily eviscerated. Plus the US is now near bankruptcy.

The U.S. is “not a triple-A credit” and is running a “fiscal doomsday machine,” David Stockman, former federal budget director under President Reagan, told CNBC Thursday.

“The system is totally broken. There is a complete stalemate,” Stockman said. “They [credit agencies] aught to get it over with, cut the rating and begin to create some reality both in terms of the financial markets and the American public.

“The problem is not the ceiling, but the debt,” he added. “It’s the $6 billion a day that we’re borrowing day in day out.”

Stockman believes that Washington will come to some type of an agreement at the 11th hour, but it will only be a short-term fix.

“We are going to be facing a day of reckoning here, and I don’t know whether it’s six months from now or a year from now,” Stockman concluded.

“Economic Armageddon”: Washington’s Response to a Failed Ecomomy: More War


Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Prisonplanet.com
July 31, 2011
http://www.prisonplanet.com/economic-armageddon-washington%E2%80%99s-response-to-a-failed-ecomomy-more-war.html

As the second decade of the 21st century began, the US economy had not recovered from the Great Recession that began in December 2007.

The economy’s failure to recover was despite the largest fiscal and monetary stimulus in the country’s history. There was a $700 billion bank bailout, a $700 billion stimulus program, a couple of trillion in “quantitative easing,” that is, in debt monetization or the printing of money to finance the government’s expenditures. In addition the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet had expanded by trillions of dollars as the Fed purchased troubled mortgage bonds and derivatives in its effort to keep the financial system solvent and functioning. According to the Government Accountability Office’s audit of the Federal Reserve released by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Federal Reserve provided secret loans to US and foreign banks totaling $16.1 trillion, a sum larger than US Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Despite the enormous fiscal and monetary stimulus, the economy remained dead in the water.

In 2011 the deficit in the federal government’s annual expenditures was 43 percent of the budget. In other words, the US government had to borrow, or the Fed had to monetize, 43 percent of federal expenditures during fiscal year 2011. Despite this unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, the economy did not recover.

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the economy’s decline was temporarily halted by federal subsidies for car and home purchases. The $8,000 housing subsidy helped newlyweds purchase starter homes as the subsidy was a big chunk of the down payment in a depressed housing market. The car purchase subsidy moved future demand into the present. When these subsidies expired, the economy’s life support was turned off.

Problems with the statistical reporting of unemployment, inflation, and GDP disguised the worsening economy. Seasonal adjustments used to smooth the data over the course of the year were not designed for prolonged recession. Neither was the “birth-death” model used by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to estimate non-reported jobs from new start-up companies and losses from companies that have gone out of business. The birth-death model was designed for a growing economy and during downturns overestimates the number of new jobs created.

The “substitution effect” used in the consumer price index (CPI) underestimates inflation by assuming that consumers substitute cheaper foods for those that rise in price. For example, if the price of New York strip steak rises, this does not show up in the CPI, because of the assumption that people shift their purchases to a less expensive cut such as round steak.

COOKING THE BOOKS

The widely used “core inflation” measure does not include food or energy. Core inflation is a useful measure for those who want to put an optimistic spin on the outlook.

By underestimating inflation, the government can overestimate real GDP growth, thus creating a fictional rosy outlook. Similarly, by using the employment measure known as U.3, the government underestimates unemployment.

The “headline” unemployment rate, the one emphasized by the media and the financial press, stood at 9.2 percent in June, 2011. But this rate does not include any discouraged workers. A discouraged worker is a person who has ceased looking for a job, because there are no jobs to be found. A discouraged worker is not considered to be in the work force and is not counted among the U.3 unemployed.

The federal government knows that this is phony and has a U.6 measure of unemployment that counts the short- term discouraged. This measure, seldom reported by the media, stood at 16.2 percent in June, 2011.

Statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) continues to count also the long-term discouraged workers according to the way it was officially done in 1980. In June, 2011, this full measure of the US unemployment rate was 22.7 percent.

In other words, by 2011 between one-fifth and one-fourth of the US work force were without jobs.

As 2011 progressed, the United States faced three simultaneous economic crises. One crisis arose from the loss of US jobs, GDP, consumer income, and tax base caused by corporations offshoring their production for the US market. Instead of making their products at home with American labor and providing Americans with jobs and states and localities with tax revenues, US corporations provided countries such as China, India, and Indonesia with GDP, jobs, consumer income and a tax base. This practice meant that economic stimulus was unable to revive the US economy as Americans cannot be called back to work jobs that have been moved abroad.

Another crisis was the financial crisis resulting from deregulation, fraud, and greed. Securitization of mortgages meant that issuers of mortgages no longer had any incentive to ascertain the credit worthiness of the borrower, because the issuers sold the mortgages to third parties who combined the mortgages with others and sold them to investors.

As mortgages were issued for fees, the more mortgages issued, the higher the income from fees. In order to collect fee income, some issuers faked credit reports for borrowers. With the housing market booming, many people took mortgages in order to make money on the resale of the properties. With housing prices rising rapidly, down payments and credit worthiness became concerns of the past. The financial crisis was made worse by the ability of investment banks to get around capital requirements and, thereby, leverage their equity by incurring enormous debt. When all the bubbles burst, the house of cards collapsed.

ECONOMIC ARMAGEDDON


The third crisis was the $1.5+ trillion annual federal budget deficits, which were too large to be financed without the Federal Reserve buying the Treasury’s new debt issues. Known as monetizing debt, the Federal Reserve purchased the Treasury’s bills, notes, and bonds by creating a checking account, which the Treasury would then draw upon to pay the government’s bills. The outpouring of Treasury debt raised concerns about the dollar’s exchange value and role as reserve currency, and it raised fears of inflation. Gold and silver prices rose as the dollar declined in foreign exchange markets.

Any one of these crises was serious. All together, they implied economic armageddon.

There was no obvious way out, but even if one could be found, the government was focused elsewhere — on wars.

In addition to ongoing military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the US and NATO began military operations against Libya on March 19, 2011. As with the existing wars, the real purpose of the aggression against Libya was not acknowledged, but it became clear that the war’s purpose was to evict China from its oil investments in eastern Libya. Unlike the previous Arab protests, the Libyan rebellion was an armed uprising in which some saw the CIA’s hand.

The Libyan war upped the risk, because although hiding behind the veil of Arab protest, the US was actually confronting China. Similarly, in the US-supported armed rebellion in Syria, Washington’s target was the Russian naval base at Tartus. Overthrowing the Assad government in Syria and installing a US friendly regime would put paid to Russia’s naval presence in the Mediterranean.

By hiding its purposes behind Arab protests in Libya and Syria that it might have initiated, Washington avoided face-to-face conflicts with China and Russia, but nevertheless the two powers understood that Washington was striking at their interests. This elevated the recklessness of Washington’s aggressive policies by initiating confrontation with two nuclear powers, one of which held financial power over the US as America’s largest foreign creditor.

China’s oil investments in Angola and Nigeria were another target. To counter China’s economic penetration of Africa, the US created the American African Command in the closing years of the first decade of the 21st century. Disturbed by China’s rise, the US undertook to prevent China from having independent sources of energy. The great game that in the past has always led to war is being played out once again.

September 11, 2001, provided Washington with a new “threat” to replace the Soviet threat, which had expired in 1991. Despite the absence of the Soviet threat, the military/ security budget had been kept alive for a decade. September 11, 2001, injected rapid growth into the military/security bud- get. A decade later the budget stood at approximately $1.1 trillion annually, or approximately 70 percent of the federal deficit which was crippling the dollar and threatening the US Treasury’s credit rating.

Focused on Middle Eastern wars, Washington was losing the war for the US economy.

As the expectation of economic recovery evaporated over the course of 2011, the need for war became more imperative. (See Antiwar.com, “Sen. Graham ‘Very Close’ to War.”)

Former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts served on personal and committee staffs in the House and Senate, and served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy during the Reagan Administration. He has held academic appointments in six universities. He was awarded the US Treasury Silver Medal and the Legion of Honor by the President of France.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Giant Banks Lobby to Raise the Debt Ceiling and Slash Public Benefits

… So They Can Keep Sucking at the Public Teat

Washington’s Blog
July 29, 2011

Economist Dean Banker notes:

Wall Street will suffer more than anyone from a default and it will not let it happen. The public should know this, certainly Wall Street does.

No wonder the fatcats running the giant banks which received tens of trillions in bailouts, loans and guarantees from the American public are screaming loudly that the debt ceiling must be raised.

Robert Reich points out:

Why has Standard & Poor’s decided now’s the time to crack down on the federal budget — when it gave free passes to Wall Street’s risky securities and George W. Bush’s giant tax cuts for the wealthy, thereby contributing to the very crisis its now demanding be addressed?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that the Street pays Standard & Poor’s bills?

Continue reading here: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/07/giant-banks-lobby-to-raise-debt-ceiling.html

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The American Fuhrer Principal. Wearing Our Ignorance And Stupidly As A Badge Of Honor.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Prisonplanet.com
July 29, 2011
http://www.prisonplanet.com/is-america-caught-in-the-closed-mind-trap.html

A reader responded to my recent column about how the US president was becoming a Caesar with a question: “Wouldn’t a Caesar be preferable to a democracy in which the people are too ignorant, disinterested, and stupid to engage in self-government?”

Before I became a widely read columnist with many reader responses, I would have disagreed with the reader’s characterization of the American people. Today, I cannot answer the reader’s question with a “no” as confidently as I would like.

I receive appreciative words from many readers who are well aware of what is going on.
I also hear from many who are so partisan and have such strong emotional responses that they are unable to follow an argument. I don’t know what percentage these groups comprise in the population, but there seem to be a number of Americans, both on the left and the right, who are prepared to censor and even to kill in order to defend their illusions and delusions.

I remain a suspect bogyman for some on the left, because of my association with the Kemp-Roth bill and Reaganomics. As I, and others, have explained so many times, Supply-Side economics reversed the monetary/fiscal policy mix in order to cure stagflation. But some leftists persist in their insistence that it was all a trick to cut taxes for the rich–the rich being those with more money than they. A stressed-out $100,000 a year guy with a family in a high-cost city is thrown into the rich class with the hedge fund manager who paid himself one billion dollars.

To give the leftists their due, at least they know that I was a member of the Reagan administration. However, the right-wing zealots think that I am a pinko-liberal-commie.
Recently I wrote an article pointing out that the Republicans had picked a bad time, when the world was already concerned about US financial credibility, to make an issue over the routine increase of the debt ceiling, thus creating an impasse that threatens default. The Republicans see in the debt ceiling issue an opportunity to cut social spending as the price of allowing an increase in the national debt.

One can’t blame the Republicans for trying to do something about the growth of the public debt. However, there is a risk in the Republican’s intransigency, and that risk is that, thanks to presidential directives put on the books by President Bush, President Obama has the authority to declare the prospect of default a national emergency. Obama can simply set aside the debt ceiling limit and seize the power of the purse from Congress. The transformation of the president into Caesar would take another large step forward.

I wrote that I regarded this risk to be greater than the risk of additional public debt.

Several Republicans never reached the point of the article. I had taken for granted that everyone knew, especially Republicans, of the Republicans’ concern with entitlements and unfunded liabilities. I assumed that Republicans were aware of their party’s long history of reacting against the debts that are being piled upon our grandchildren, that they knew of the Grace Commission during the Reagan years, that they knew of Republican Pete Peterson’s many dramatic warnings and proposals, that they knew of David Walker’s accounting of the unfunded liabilities and the Republican Party’s determination to do something about the heavily-hyped cost of Social Security and Medicare. .

I assumed that Republicans knew that during the Reagan years David Stockman and Alan Greenspan had accelerated the payroll tax increases that President Carter had put in place to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security and had spent the money for current operating expenses, leaving unfunded IOUs in the Social Security “trust fund.” I Assumed that Republicans knew that Republican Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Michael Boskin, and his Boskin Commission had reconfigured the Consumer Price Index in order to understate inflation and, thereby, reduce the cost-of-living-adjustments in Social Security checks.

I assumed that Republicans somewhere along the way had read at least one paper by a Republican policy analyst or think-tank member about the Social Security “Ponzi scheme” and the unaffordability of Medicare.

But, no, the Republican partisans who denounced me as an anti-Republican liberal propagandist for saying what is widely reported in the media–that the Republicans want large cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as the price of their agreement to an increase in the debt limit–know nothing whatsoever of their party’s position on social spending. Apparently, they don’t even watch Fox News.

These same partisans apparently have not noticed that the $1.2 trillion military/security expenditures are “off the table” when it comes to controlling spending. The Republicans and also the Democrats regard war as more important than old age pensions and medical care for the poor and the elderly. My Republican critics have also failed to noticed that House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor has made certain that tax increases on mega-high incomes are also “off the table.” According to mega-billionaire Warren Buffet, in America today we have the situation in which Buffet’s secretary pays a larger share of her income in taxes than does Buffet.

When I wrote that the Republicans’ fixation with slashing the social safety net–a throw away line that is in every news report on the debt ceiling imbroglio–could turn out to be a threat to the separation of powers, several Republican partisans took extraordinary offense. Only a no-good liberal propagandist would claim that Republicans wanted to slash the safety net. My statement of an obvious fact reflected in the Republicans own proposals was all that it took for my critics to conclude that a notorious Reaganite was a Republican-hating liberal.

It is annoying that people who have no idea what they are talking about are so ready to pop off. But it is discouraging to a writer that people are so emotional that they cannot follow an argument. Discouraged, in part by block-headed readers and from censorship of my writings by various Internet sites, I quit my column a while back and signed off.

I was beset by thousands of emails pleading and demanding that I continue to write.

I relented, and the emails from thoughtful readers keep me going.

It is rewarding to hear from intelligent and open-minded people. But as the weeks and months go by, I find it ever more tiresome to tolerate closed minds spewing hate and ignorance. I have become convinced that there are enough frustrated and ignorant people out there to constitute a movement for a Fuhrer.

Washington, which has produced a long list of disastrous policy decisions since the collapse of the Soviet Empire two decades ago, will no doubt continue making incredible mistakes about everything, and we will end up with a Caesar or a Fuhrer.

Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House.