Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kicking the Ball of Knowledge Down the Road (for Our Grandchildren To Deal With) Invasion of Iraq Did = OIL - The Empire Strikes (Hard!) Again

For more than one hundred years, American business leaders (usually with the cooperation of local potentates) have funded Christian missionaries to set up universities in foreign countries with valuable resources to exploit.

This collaboration has served to create a more friendly environment for establishing a business foothold while simultaneously fulfilling the missionaries’ desire to spread the Word around the globe.

It's occurred to me on more than one occasion that if you enjoy watching the operations of con men in action (like you see in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross), then you should have really enjoyed the using of the productive American economy (for the last 30 years at least) by the best con men of our time. Today, they mainly hang out in foreign policy sinecures (if not actual public offices) and investment ventures like banks, insurance or securitization organizations (S&L's, investment houses, etc., (like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase)).

If you still can't fathom why we are (still) in Iraq and Afghanistan (with a continuing hunger to control Iran, Syria, et al.), then read no further as you won't believe what has been a very profitable and easily comprehensible truth for over 100 years. They're talking about Bush/Cheney-type "decency?" - and Bill Bennett arrives back on the scene with Lynne Cheney (but they never really left it as none of them can ever leave the honey pot alone) again. Have I mentioned before how absolutely ignorant (of almost anything requiring a real education) most of these Rethugs are? Although they are quite knowledgeable about where the money is. And if you're still even a little bit concerned about where the 2.3 trillion that Rumsfeld reported missing on the day before 9/11 went, read on. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

The Empire Strikes Again

Russ Baker and Kristina Borjesson February 15, 2011 Sex, Oil, Chaos and Corruption at the American University of Iraq Anyone who still wonders why the Bush administration invaded Iraq would do well to become familiar with an institution whose existence few Americans are aware of: the American University of Iraq-Sulaimaniya. At the time, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote about it with the sort of wide-eyed enthusiasm that had generally accompanied the invasion itself four years before.

“Imagine for a moment if one outcome of the U.S. invasion of Iraq had been the creation of an American University of Iraq…Imagine if we had created an island of decency in Iraq…Well, stop imagining.”

You don’t have to imagine, though, when history provides enough clues. For more than one hundred years, American business leaders (usually with the cooperation of local potentates) have funded Christian missionaries to set up universities in foreign countries with valuable resources to exploit. This collaboration has served to create a more friendly environment for establishing a business foothold while simultaneously fulfilling the missionaries’ desire to spread the Word around the globe. In the Middle East — where the business has primarily been oil — the Rockefellers and others generously funded such institutions as the American University of Beirut, which was established on the bedrock of conservative Christian values more than one hundred years ago. It began modestly, with one class of sixteen students in 1863. Over time, it became a venerable academic oasis, characterized by values that could be accurately described as cosmopolitan and liberal. With AUI-S in contemporary Kurdistan, however, it was back to square one, ideologically speaking.

Oil — or “The Prize” as it is often called — was once again the business at hand. This time, access to The Prize was given to George W. Bush’s good friend and contributor, the Texan Ray Hunt, whose Kurdish oil concession is potentially worth billions of dollars.

And from the beginning, the academic component of this particular foreign foothold has been plagued by problems far worse than the usual disarray that attends any new university venture. That’s because the people setting it up were missionaries of a uniquely postmodern variety. MUGGED BY REALITY-AGAIN As with the Occupation itself, the task of building and running the American University of Iraq-Sulaimaniya was given to Bush/Cheney administration loyalists. Generally, they were neoconservative ideologues with a fundamentalist Christian outlook, who brashly dismissed prior experience and scholarship so far as it concerned the culture and conditions on the ground. The failure to do even the most basic homework was quickly apparent. Right after its opening, the university was caught up in a sex scandal. Officials discovered that they had improperly vetted Owen Cargol, the man chosen to be AUI-S¹s first chancellor. Somehow, they had missed news reports that Cargol had resigned his previous post as president of Northern Arizona University only four months into his tenure after being accused of sexual harassment. A male employee at NAU had filed a suit alleging that Cargol — the married father of two — had grabbed his genitals. Cargol¹s accuser made public the contents of an email in which Cargol had written: “For sure, I am a rub-your-belly, grab-your-balls, give-you-a-hug, slap-your-back, pull-your-dick, squeeze-your-hand, cheek-your-face, and pat-your-thigh kind of guy.” Cargol was let go without any severance pay or benefits. The accuser received a settlement of more than $100,000. Cargol’s replacement in Iraq was a man named John Agresto, an old friend of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Agresto had been a senior official at the National Endowment for the Humanities in the Reagan Administration, alongside Lynne Cheney and Agresto’s personal mentor, William Bennett. His nomination to be Archivist of the United States had been blocked by concerns voiced by more than a dozen academic and professional associations that he was inappropriately partisan and lacked qualifications for the position. Through his connections, Agresto, former president of St. John’s College in New Mexico (on whose board Rumsfeld’s wife served), had originally been appointed as the education advisor for the Coalition Provisional Authority that initially ran the American occupation under Paul Bremer’s command. (He noted proudly that he hadn’t done research about Iraq’s educational system besides a Google search before landing in Baghdad in September, 2003 with two suitcases and a feather pillow. “I wanted to come here with as open a mind as I could have,” he told the Washington Post in a profile that appeared prior to his taking the university position. “I’d much rather learn firsthand than have it filtered to me by an author.” ) This was, to say the least, an unusual approach for someone who had been and would again become the head of an academic institution. But though he seemingly did not realize it, Agresto was in fact being influenced by others’ perceptions — albeit perceptions carefully orchestrated by the invading power. “Like everyone else in America, I saw images of people cheering as Saddam Hussein’s statue was pulled down,” he said. “I saw people hitting pictures of him with their shoes. Once you see that you can’t help but say, ‘Okay. This is going to work.’” At the time, Agresto assumed that Iraq “would feel like a newly liberated East European nation, keen to embrace the West and democratic change.” Once in country, Agresto was immediately confronted with the fact that Iraq wasn’t Eastern Europe but rather a frenetic Middle Eastern shooting gallery. “Visits to the universities he was trying to rebuild and the faculty he wanted to invigorate were more and more dangerous, and infrequent,” wrote Washington Post correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran. “His Iraq staff was threatened by insurgents…his plans to repair hundreds of campus buildings were scuttled by the Bush administration’s decision to shift reconstruction efforts and by the failure to raise money from other sources…”

Puffing on a pipe by a swimming pool in the Green Zone, safely away from the bullets and bombs outside, a defeated Agresto told his interviewer, “I’m a neoconservative who’s been mugged by reality.” It was a reference, of course, to the old Neocon saw about conservatives being former liberals who finally had faced the cold hard facts. But in his case, it seems to have meant forsaking notions about democracy in favor of a more colonial approach. (Agresto did not respond to an e-mail from WhoWhatWhy seeking an interview.) Agresto left Iraq after his Occupation stint, but was reinvited to the scene of his “mugging” in order to replace Cargol as AUI-S chancellor. This time, it was no more Mr. Nice Guy. Ditto with the man who followed him into the chancellorship when he became provost. This was Joshua Mitchell, a Georgetown University Professor of Political Theory. From the time Mitchell began pursuing his PhD in the late 1980s at that neoconservative temple, the University of Chicago, he’d drawn considerable funding from the right-wing Bradley and Olin foundations, half of the conservative movement quartet dubbed the “Four Sisters.” Mitchell had also gotten money from Lewis E. Lehrman, a well-known financier of rightwing political and academic projects, who endowed a chair for him at the Fund for American Studies, an ideologically conservative educational institute. . . . American University of Iraq-Sulaimaniya . . . The school received a five-year unconditional accreditation in June 2010, less than three years after opening its doors. If Agresto had become a neo-colonialist by the time he returned to Iraq, Mitchell in some ways was the classic colonial university official with the bible in his pocket. In addition to teaching political theory at Georgetown, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. Shortly before he signed on with AUI-S, he delivered a speech at a religious conference in Colorado Springs in which he observed that Americans were fundamentally Calvinists “with purity and stain, with salvation and damnation, and with the inner perspicuity that was needed to tell the difference.” Former AUI-S faculty member Mark Grueter recalls Mitchell peppering his in-class exchanges with biblical quotations, although in an interview with WhoWhatWhy, Mitchell emphatically disputed this. “I am involved in mainline discussions in political science and with respect to what I’m doing here, I do no proselytizing. It does not affect my work. I’m a little surprised you’re raising this and I would hope this is not something that becomes a central point in your story.” [Grueter, internal correspondence shows, was fired over his criticism of the university's administration - but points out that just a few weeks before his termination, he had been offered a two-year contract extension and a raise based on his teaching performance.] To be sure, the stated mission of the American University of Iraq is secular — and lofty. Its goal is to “promote the development and prosperity of Iraq through the careful study of modern commerce, economics, business and public administration, and to lead the transformation of Iraq into a free and democratic society, through an understanding of the ideals of liberty and democracy.” The devil, of course, is in the details. One student we spoke with expressed resentment at being force-fed a kind of colonialist pap via the principal textbook in his American history survey class. “This book talks about Indians not very friendly[sic], like a bad people.” Seeking to recall the title and author, he went and pulled the book off his shelf, and read aloud: The Last Best Hope, by William J. Bennett — John Agresto’s mentor and perhaps the leading theorist of the neoconservative cultural movement that seeks to defend traditional interpretations of the American adventure. Bennett himself characterized his book as an attempt to make Americans feel good about their history. The student, a bright Kurd with moderate mastery of spoken English, noted: “When William J. Bennett talks about the Indians he talks about them that they were hostile, they didn’t know anything, and all they learned how to live and how to behave was from the Europeans. This book is biased [toward] the Americans but that’s what we study.” The student says that he was so troubled by the characterizations in the book that he turned to the Internet for other material. He said that many of his classmates, less motivated, did not read the book or seek out other material, but simply took notes on what the teacher — a Bennett sympathizer — said and then repeated it back for exams. Someone seems to have considered this kind of work a high priority, for AUI-S got its academic accreditation in what is surely one of the fastest times on record. It usually takes years for a college to get up and running, and to graduate enough students to meet the criteria set by reputable accreditation institutions. For example, although the American University of Beirut has been registered and recognized by the New York State Education Department since 1863, it only received its accreditation in June 2004 — following a lengthy process and more than a century after it had been established.

Barham Salih, Prime Minister of Kurdistan, raised $55 million for the university. Salih led the Kurdish lobbying effort in Washington, pushing for the ouster of Saddam.

By comparison, according to its own website, the American University of Iraq received a five-year unconditional accreditation in June 2010, less than three years after opening its doors. Under even ideal circumstances, this would have been unusually fast. But AUI-S does not enjoy ideal circumstances. First of all, the university is still under construction. Eventually, administrators hope to enroll 5,000 students. For now, largely on account of interminable construction delays, the student population, eventually envisioned at 5,000, has hovered around 650-750. Meanwhile, the faculty, numbering around 40 in the past year, are overwhelmingly from the West; the vast majority do not speak Arabic. The students are all Iraqis, with the great majority being non-Arab Kurds, a mix of the poor and the more privileged. Generally, they arrive on campus with an English comprehension so low that few could take college level courses in English. The majority must therefore go through an English preparatory program which can last several years. This means that it takes longer for the students to pass enough required courses to earn their degrees, which is another reason why the university’s rapid accreditation seems odd. The answer to the mystery seems to bear the name of Cheney. The body that gave AUI-S its seal of approval is the American Academy for Liberal Education, co-founded by Lynne Cheney, wife of the former vice president, during her tenure as humanities czar during George W. Bush’s father’s administration. The AALE specializes in accrediting conservative and religious colleges, and has received funding from the Olin Foundation, a leading supporter of the Right Wing effort to reshape American educational and cultural institutions. That’s the same Olin Foundation that funded chancellor Joshua Mitchell’s work before he came to AUI-S. AALE’s own credibility has been questioned before, even during the Bush-Cheney presidency. According to a 2008 ruling by Margaret Spelling, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Education, AALE had been “cited consistently since 2001 for either not having clear standards with respect to measuring student outcomes or not collecting and reviewing data on how institutions it accredits measure student outcomes.” “EVIL, PURE AND SIMPLE” As with the invasion itself, a gap seems to have existed between the lofty, shining rhetoric and a far more tawdry reality. In a July 2008 article for the conservative magazine National Review, Agresto compared Americans working in Iraq to Asahel Grant, the early 19th century Christian missionary and doctor who lived and died in Iraqi Kurdistan. “Like Asahel Grant,” Agresto claimed, “none of them [people working in Iraq] is here for money or oil or politics or honor.” John Dolan, a former AUI-S professor of English Composition and Literature, begs to differ. “We went to Iraq to make money,” he says about his wife and himself, “And once we got to know our colleagues at AUI-S, we found that nearly all the faculty was there for the same reason…to make money.” Dolan describes one particularly incompetent history teacher who, after having received his first monthly paycheck, loudly announced, “Here I am walking along with $15,000 cash in my pocket!” Other professors say they took jobs there thinking they’d be teaching at a well-run institution, only to find themselves pressured to push unprepared students into undergraduate programs by administrators worried about the university’s credibility. Some faculty and students claim to be afraid to speak over the phone, even off the record. We heard of alleged attempts to prevent former staffers from leaving Iraq, and several said they feared that if they talked they would not receive their salaries for their final months of work. A website created by a self-described whistleblower and AUI-S employee inviting members of the AUI-S community to anonymously post their complaints reflects anger on all sides. “The school is being run by people with no experience running a successful school…” writes one person on the site, AUI-S Watch. “We raised awareness of discrimination of Iraqi employees,” writes another, “Yes, we have embarked on a campaign to criticize administrative staff with the aim to expose what we think are questionable management practices. Yes, we have attacked the complete lack of transparency at AUI-S and injustice it harbors.” Agresto responded to the blog in a letter to AUI-S staff in which he described the reactions to AUI-S Watch that he had received from faculty members: “One said he felt sick when he read it. Another called it ‘twisted’ and said ‘It’s evil, pure and simple.’ Another wrote to Lara, Josh, and me to repeat the simple truth – ‘the cowardly writer of the blog does not represent our views, nor does this person represent the vast majority of the faculty.’ ” The hostility between the parties was palpable. Meanwhile, former AUI-S professor Dolan has provided a more detailed picture in an Alternet piece titled. “I Was a Professor at the Horribly Corrupt American University of IraqUntil the Neocons Fired Me.” (Dolan was fired in the summer of 2009 – he says Agresto had discovered a satirical article Dolan had written years earlier, critical of neo-conservative figures in American politics, many of whom are personal friends of Agresto.) John Dolan Dolan portrays an atmosphere of venality, misogyny, anti-Semitism and incompetence, with John Agresto and Joshua Mitchell at the center. He describes Mitchell running around with wads of “taxpayer cash” to pay expenses, including $5,000 each to incoming US teachers “to help [us] settle in.” Dolan writes about the faculty in withering terms: “There was a clear, simple formula for success at AUI-S: be a Southern white male Republican with a talent for flattery, an undistinguished academic record and very little experience in university-level teaching. Some of the faculty were so dismally unqualified and shameless that even our students…saw through them.” Dolan’s charges become more serious when he describes Dean of Student Affairs Denise Natali’s response to an ESL teacher being raped. “I see women walking around here in sleeveless t-shirts! Tank tops! What do you expect?” Natali herself received a death threat after expelling several students for missing too many classes. (Attempts to interview Natali, who left AUIS around the end of 2010, were not successful). Dolan also describes a male fundamentalist Christian professor calling a female colleague a “fucking whore” and AUI-S Personnel Director, Lara Dizeyee telling new faculty members (presumably as a practical matter in a Muslim country), “If you’re Jewish — keep it to yourself.” Diziyee, who has also departed AUI-S, could not be reached for comment. Meanwhile, AUI-S’s website keeps up appearances. Press on the “In the News” prompt and one finds a Commentary magazine article written by neoconservative Abe Greenwald. In “An Extraordinary American Achievement,” Greenwald enthuses about visiting the American University of Iraq with fellow neocon and ex-Middle East CIA specialist Reuel Gerecht. “It would be nice if the ‘books not bombs’ crowd took notice of the educational miracle birthed by Americans in the heart of the Muslim world,” he writes. “Everyone should visit the university’s website and look around. What you’ll find is as well suited to the term ‘shock and awe’ as any bombing campaign, and even more determinative.” WHAT’S OIL THIS ABOUT? Certain Kurds share that zeal about the university. They’re a particularly privileged group, who pushed heavily for the invasion in the first place and have done very well for themselves in the years since. They have a stake in a long-term US presence in Kurdistan — as a protective force both against their Sunni and Shiite fellow Iraqis to the South, and against the Iranians just next door. They also need a viable oil industry and the kind of workforce a university like AUI-S can potentially provide. Kanan Makiya, a leading neocon and high-profile advocate of the 2003 invasion who sits on the AUI-S board, told WhoWhatWhy that the idea for the university began with Barham Salih, prime minister of the Kurdistan region, which is semi-autonomous from Baghdad. Salih, who is chairman of the AUI-S board of trustees, ran the Kurdish lobbying effort in Washington since shortly after the first Gulf War, and was, like Makiya, a key figure in pushing for the ouster of Saddam. The Kurds associated with AUI-S seem to have huge amounts of money at their disposal. Salih raised $55 million for the university in 2009, purportedly through private sources, who have not been named. And Salih has promised an additional $100 million, mainly to fund the construction of the new campus. Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq, another AUI-S board member, reportedly personally donated $65 million (where that money came from is uncertain.) In this part of the world, when such sums are involved, oil is almost always in the picture. The same year AUI-S was founded, the Kurdistan regional government signed a $700 million contract dubbed “Kurdistan Gas City,” with oil and gas affiliates Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum, both based in the United Arab Emirates. The oil contract the companies signed with Dr. Salih — an oil engineer who became fabulously wealthy — is, according to Crescent’s website, “the largest private-sector investment currently being undertaken in Iraq.” In 2008, Crescent Petroleum paid for American University of Iraq representatives to attend the “GetEnergy” summit in London, whose sponsors include the British firm, BP. As GetEnergy says in promotional materials:

We don’t provide education or training ourselves, but we help find the best fit between organizations that do (universities and training providers), and companies looking for education and/or training programmes in the oil and gas industry.

Afterward, former AUI-S chancellor Owen Cargol talked about how he looked forward to working closely with Crescent to use the university as a research center for the oil and gas industry. After the event, the AUI-S chancellor noted:

We are grateful for the support of Crescent Petroleum. AUI-S will use this opportunity to forge fruitful joint institutional partnerships with universities from around the world and the various energy companies to make AUI-S a regional center of excellence in all research aspects of the oil and gas industry in Iraq and beyond.

In the fall of 2009, the university launched an entity it dubbed the Twin Rivers Institute. TRI is described as an “advanced studies center for science and technology which will provide modern solutions to the problems facing industries, government agencies, and others working in the region.” With a division dedicated to Remote Sensing, a process used to detect oil, the Twin Rivers Institute embodies AUI-S’s promise to become a center of excellence in research for the petroleum industry. (The university itself offers the following degrees: a Master’s in Business Administration and Bachelor’s in International Relations; Information Systems and Technology; Business Administration; and Environmental Science and Engineering.) SETTLING IN Whether because of the turmoil, or despite it (they say the latter), both Mitchell and Agresto resigned last year and have returned to the United States. But the institution and the objectives behind it continue. Evidence that AUI-S may be part of a larger geopolitical vision comes in the form of yet another American institution of higher learning, this one the American University of Afghanistan.

In 2005, CBS News covered Laura Bush making a “secret” trip to Afghanistan to announce a $40 million USAID-funded grant to support university-level education and combat illiteracy. Since then, the American University of Afghanistan has opened its doors under the leadership of Dr. C. Michael Smith.

Previously, Smith was a founder and president of another little-known entity, the American University of Nigeria, which has the added credibility of such respected board members as South Africa’s Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. So far, the American University of Afghanistan [AUAF] is expanding with no hint of the chaos and scandal that have shaken AUI-S. One intriguing note is one of the entities listed as partnering with AUAF: Goldman Sachs.

It’s hard to know where all this is going, or the long-term implications. But at least where Iraq is concerned, Thomas Friedman’s “Island of Decency” is no certainty. Were we seeing a proclivity to send the most inspiring educational figures — and perhaps to a place not packed with oil — we might have reason to be more hopeful. (Former AUI-S faculty member Mark Grueter, a doctoral candidate in history, provided research and reporting assistance.)

Senator Bernard Sanders, who is a member of the Senate Budget Committee, provides a sane response to Obama's fake deficit-centered budget in a time of middle-class collapse and the highest unemployment and poverty since the Great Depression. Think they are through (with us) just because they received only a few weeks ago what may be the last "bonuses" paid from taxpayer funds? Naaaaaahhh. (Emphasis marks and some editing inserted - Ed.)

How To Fake An Economic Recovery

Giordano Bruno


This may be a highly distasteful proposition, but just for a moment, I want you to sit back, and imagine that you are a member of the corporate banking elite.

You are a walking talking disease ridden power mad pustule who naively believes himself intellectually superior to the vast majority of humanity and above the inherent laws of conscience, honor, and general good taste. You are a villain in the purest sense, in that you not only do great harm to the world, you actually SEEK to do great harm to the world, if only to benefit yourself and your exclusive circle of “friends”; a clan of degenerate blood thirsty sociopaths with delusions of omnipotence that stalk the night like Armani wearing Chupacabra exsanguinating the joy from poor unsuspecting cultures. You are capable of anything, and sadly, you take “pride” in this fact . . . . You aren’t “rich” in the traditional sense. You aren’t a “Bill Gates” or a “Donald Trump” (I’m beginning to wonder if Donald Trump is even solvent, or if his entire fortune is a special-effect courtesy of NBC). No, you don’t “make” money, you MAKE the money. You are a global financier. You are a central banker. You create the fiat that the rest of the country uses to sustain its fantasy economy.

You dominate trade through monopoly and corporate fraud. You control the flow of currency through an economic system using fractional reserve banking, artificially pegged interest rates, and your ever trusty printing press. You put your substantial monetary clout behind BOTH major political parties, and groom presidential candidates to your globalist standards. Any politician who desires to climb the ladder of power turns to you for assistance, not the voting public.

You have a tremendous financial stake in every corporate news provider in the country, if not own them outright. You invite their top reporters to posh banquets, give them unlimited access to prominent social figures and high rollers, and fly them to private alcohol addled orgies in the middle of the California Redwoods (I wish this was all made up). Forget responsible journalism, they love hanging out with you, and would probably write whatever you tell them to. Now that you have placed yourself in the tight fitting shoes of the “enlightened few”, I want you to imagine that you have engineered an implosion in national credit sectors using ultra-low interest rates to fuel mortgage and derivatives bubbles that would contract at an unprecedented pace once it is revealed to the wider investment world that those equities which they prized only days before are now “toxic”, essentially worthless, due to mass debt defaults on loans which never should have been made in the first place. Yeah, you’re a real dirtbag. Of course, you aren’t finished yet! Your ultimate goal is centralization, and the key to centralization is to remove all options available to the masses but one; the option which garners you the greatest amount of dominance. A global economic system based on a single world currency and a single unaccountable governing body would be ideal.

What would you call this world currency? I don’t know, how about something innocuous sounding like….Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s), which you can then label as a mere “basket of currencies” when it is really a parasitic financial instrument meant to absorb currencies until it replaces them completely: In order to begin instituting this world currency, you would first need to remove the standing world reserve currency from its exalted position, that currency being the U.S. dollar. This seems rather impossible to many mainstream analysts who cannot fathom the possibility of a breakdown in the mighty Greenback, but you have already set the stage.

You have created a progressive debt singularity so immense that no amount of fiat, no amount of taxation, no amount of austerity could ever satiate its hunger. You now have the perfect excuse to print the dollar with wild abandon until its withered, corpsified remains are six feet underground, leaving the door wide open for the tap dancing fast-talking SDR to take its place. The issue is, how do you convince the general public that all is well until you are ready to unleash hyperinflation and fiscal Armageddon? How do you make them believe with all their hearts that they are not in the midst of a debt meltdown and the end of their financial sovereignty, but basking in a full-on economic recovery?! You can’t stop wealth destruction now that the avalanche has been set in motion. You can’t stop inflation and dollar devaluation (nor would you want to. Hey, you’re evil incarnate, remember?). The effects on mainstreet are beyond your ability to hide, but, what you CAN manipulate, are the statistics and indices that Americans rely on for psychological comfort. You give everyone a blindfold and a cigarette and you do what you do best; lie! Here is a step by step guide to fabricating an economic recovery out of thin air…. Don’t Count The Unemployed, Discount Them: Jobless people are a real downer and a pesky nuisance because they represent living breathing proof that a recovery is not taking place. By most standards, a recovery in jobs markets can be claimed if meaningful evidence shows a return to unemployment standards (normal unemployment) set before the recession/depression was triggered. If you are a global banker today, however, this will not do. Instead, you simply change the definition of “normal unemployment”. Thus, the debilitating jobless rate which was originally thought of as “bad”, is now thought of as “natural”. You must then publish long-winded white papers using more subjective statistics devoid of common sense while feigning a logical pretense: This only satisfies a small portion of the populace, though. Next, you must rig the manner in which unemployment is calculated to always overlook certain subsections of jobless. Never count those people who have been unemployed so long that they no longer receive benefits.

Always count people who are underemployed as fully employed, even if they are only able to scrape together ten hours a week through part time McSlavery. After this, change the manner in which raw data on unemployment is actually collected. First, the Labor Department derives most of its raw data on unemployment not through any traditional mathematical means, but through two separate surveys which are open to wide interpretation; an establishment survey, and a household survey.

The establishment survey is what we hear about at the beginning of every month, while the household survey tends to float under the mainstream radar. In 2009 and 2010, the Labor Department deemed the household survey data (a phone driven survey of 60,000 households) “more reliable” for indicating job growth, because it was supposedly accurate in counting small business hiring and self-employment. So, you have two separate surveys (unscientific indicators of employment) combined together to produce a job growth rate number, and an unemployment percentage, both of which represent, at the most, a GUESS on the current state of jobs in this country.

While the establishment survey showed only 36,000 jobs created, the household survey somehow showed around 600,000 new jobs created!?: Basically, the BLS is asking you to believe that over 600,000 people either started their own businesses, or were hired by home-based businesses in the month of January alone. I’m curious as to where all the capital inflows are coming from to launch such a revolution in home entrepreneurship in the middle of the greatest credit crisis in history.

Oh well, if the Labor Department says it’s true, it must be…

The juxtaposition of odd data collection methods is the reason why the government was able to claim a drop from 9.4% to 9% in the jobless rate while announcing only 36,000 jobs created! The household survey has become an incredibly useful tool for generating arbitrary employment data which can be molded to say whatever government officials and central bankers want it to say. Anyone who controls the source data for a calculation controls the outcome of that calculation. It’s that simple. What I wouldn’t want, if I was the Labor Department, is for some outside independent citizens group to monitor my survey methods while in progress. That would make life for a statistical huckster very difficult indeed. As Long As Stocks Are Green, The World Is Golden:

Near zero interest rates can be very useful if a central bank wishes to throw a tidal wave of fiat into a particular index in order to make it appear healthy. Certainly, the Fed has avoided admitting to any manipulation of the stock market. QE measures are all “above the board”, and all is well in Bernanke’s Mayberry.

A question arises here though that desperately begs to be answered; if the stock market’s meteoric rise from near destruction to the 12,000 point mark is “real”, and completely in tune with a legitimate recovery, then why is the Fed still keeping interest rates at near zero after almost three years, and why are they continuing quantitative easing measures?

Could it be that without constant liquidity injections from the Fed, the stock market would once again collapse like a wet paper sack? We know that in 2009, it was revealed that bailout funds which were supposed to go towards muting the effects of toxic bank assets were actually being pumped into the equities of healthy banks instead, meaning,the money has not been allocated to the areas promised:

We also know that top hedge fund managers have openly stated that stocks will remain bullish because QE funds are propping up the market:

And, frankly, if you are a global banking cartel intent on keeping the American people in the dark, it makes perfect sense to prop up stocks. A Dow in the green is like a mass dose of fiscal lithium; it calms investors into a stupor. Even people who are otherwise unconcerned about economics will keep track of the Dow as if it is a solid indicator of their personal financial safety. A great test would be to observe market reactions to a Federal Reserve interest rate hike and a freezing of QE in order to counter inflation. Will the Dow stand on its own two feet then? I seriously doubt it, but then again, I don’t know that the Fed will ever raise interest rates again… Inflation? What Inflation?:

Unmitigated inflation spells doom for any society. It’s like some monetary based animal instinct deep down in our collective unconscious. The moment we hear the word “inflation” or see prices rise dramatically, we revert to survival mode and begin honing our mammoth bone battle mallets. Governments and central banks throughout history have made it their top priority to hide the effects of inflation from the citizenry at all costs. To mask inflation is nearly impossible, especially where commodities and base goods are concerned. That’s why our government and private central bank calculate the Consumer Price Index (CPI) without counting food or energy. Most grains and crude oil have doubled in price over the past year alone, and this does not reflect well on the safety of the dollar, or the effectiveness of liquidity measures by the Fed. China, whose inflation is but a prequel to our own, is also distancing food and energy price surges from its CPI numbers, giving the false impression of leveling markets: Corporate retail chains have a tendency to absorb rising prices of base goods to avoid alienating their customer foundation, hoping that the increases are temporary. When retailers realize that prices are not going to drop back down, they eventually relent, and shelf costs skyrocket. The bottom line is clear; overall worldwide food averages were up over 28% in 2010: Crude oil prices continue to hover near the $90 mark even though inventories are at a 20 year high: The World Bank is now warning of possible disasters (which they helped create) in the wake of “dangerous price levels”: Our government’s response? Complete denial that there is any significant threat of inflation.

Denial that overprinting of the dollar and its subsequent devaluation has anything to do with rising prices. Scapegoating everything from weather, to speculators, to the fake “recovery” itself for price spikes. The longer they keep the terminology of inflation out of the mainstream, the less Americans are likely to prepare for an onslaught of the dollar. Create Debt To Pay Off Debt:

This is pretty self explanatory. If foreign investors want nothing to do with you, your explosive national debt, or your depreciating currency, where is your government going to get the money to continue spending like a drunken trophy wife at Macy’s? If you default, the jig is up, and no one will buy your recovery yarns. Instead, print even more fiat and use it to purchase your own Treasury bonds! This serves two purposes; first, it props up the federal bureaucracy which gives the impression of stability (at least for a time), and, it furthers your goal of squeezing the dollar like a grape. Remove All Checks And Balances:

If you plan on decimating an economy, you can’t very well have people pointing fingers at you while you do it. That would be inconvenient. It’s funny, but for years, ratings agencies like Moodys helped global banks facilitate the mortgage and derivatives crisis by categorizing worthless assets as AAA securities.

Without them, no one would have invested in such garbage in the first place, and the banking fraud would have been immediately exposed.

Now that ratings agencies are finally doing their job and downgrading the creditworthiness of banks and countries that possess extreme liabilities, the SEC is moving to marginalize them: Interesting that as the U.S. nears a possible credit downgrade, we suddenly no longer care what ratings agencies have to say. The SEC in itself is one enormous joke, and in no way a practical overseer of banking activity. The organization has shown itself to be either fantastically incompetent, or deliberately indifferent to ongoing financial fraud. I never thought I would find myself agreeing with a cretin like Bernie Madoff, but according to the middle-weight Ponzi artist, global banks he dealt with, like JP Morgan and HSBC, had to be perfectly aware of the scam he was undertaking, otherwise, it could not have been possible: Likewise, the SEC’s complete lack of proper investigation into such activities turned Wall Street into a globalist playground where much bigger conmen than Madoff have nested and bred like fleas. It’s not that the system needs more regulation, or more legal wrangling; this would accomplish nothing, because the system is regulated by the criminals! Therefore, new laws can be enacted in concert, and the government can deem the system reformed and recovered, all while the underlying corruption remains untouched. If the poison that instigated the fall of the markets is not uprooted, treachery will continue to reign supreme, and healthy markets a childish illusion. The Creeping Terror Two years ago I was in my local Borders bookstore and noticed that they had downsized their stock selection by what looked to be nearly a third. I made a point to ask if this was a chain wide phenomenon. Most employees I talked with said yes. I then asked if they had begun cutting employee hours by significant margins and specifically laying off longtime workers that had built up substantial pay increases. Again, the consensus was yes. Finally, and most importantly, did Borders discuss these changes with their staff in a manner that was informative and open, or, was there a lot of confusion amongst employees as to what exactly was going on? The response was that they were overwhelmingly bewildered by Borders’ lack of clear communication as to the direction of the corporation. My suggestion to them was to start looking for another job, because their company was about to declare bankruptcy. They, of course, denied this was remotely likely:

It may sound like a stretch, but the reason I bring up Borders’ (just announced) Chapter 11 is because, to me, it represents a microcosm of the creeping nature of economic collapse, especially when that collapse is being wielded and delegated.

Borders has been on the verge of default for quite a while. Did they refuse to relay this information openly to their employees because they selfishly wanted to maintain profit margins just a little longer until they were ready to pull the plug? Of course! Do global bankers with aspirations of a centralized currency keep the true destabilization of the market spectrum and the coming international dollar dump to themselves because in the end they will benefit from our shock and awe? Of course!

Whether a person loses everything all at once, or a piece at a time, the end result is the same, however, there is something especially cruel in the idea of fiscal theater; the act of inspiring false hope that a financial environment is sound when it has, in truth, already suffocated.

Why would our modern day robber barons put so much energy into constructing a fake recovery? There are many reasons, but first and foremost, to create apathy. To lure us towards inaction. To swindle us into assuming the storm will blow over, and all will return as it was. Unfortunately, recovery without intense restructuring of our economic system is impossible. The fundamentals do not support the suggestion in the slightest. The question is, who will be at the helm when the dust settles and this restructuring does eventually occur? Will the American people take the lead, as they should, and commit to a concrete free market rejuvenation of our financial environment? Or, will we sit back yet again, and let the banksters set us up for the next grand disaster?

If you would like to contribute to our soon to be launched Alternative Market Project, visit our donate page here.

Do you think it's possible that the political actions against these fiends have already started?

Over 13,000 angry union supporters gathered at the capital building in Madison, Wisconsin for a 17-hour public hearing on the issue. The protestors are calling for opposition to the bill, and an end to Walker's governorship as a whole.

As Fed Creates Russell 2000-Based "Wealth Effect", It Tells Banks To Prepare For 11% Unemployment Stress Test

One would think that the S&P doubling from the March 2009 lows would be indicative of a mission accomplished for the Fed's market manipulation, aka Open Market Operations, team. No such luck. In fact, while the abominable Dr Chairsatan and Messrs Frost Sack are spouting garbage about economic recovery to anyone retarded enough to listen (oddly they have found a great audience in Congress) behind the scenes they are telling banks to prepare for a stress test recession scenario in which unemployment is 11%. And since current unemployment is about 23%, and we continue to be in a Depression, we assume this means that the Fed is actively preparing to make sure banks will be able to handle the explosion in economic growth and, oh yeah, hyperinflation, when the $1.7 trillion in excess reserves as of June 2011, finally flood the market.

Comment Letter On Our Crime Scene Of A Stock Market

Still wondering why the US (and global) stock market is nothing more than a crime scene, and an imminent catastrophe waiting to happen, supervised and regulated by a bunch of "special" porn addicts? Then read the following comment letter and wonder no more.

Ray McGovern Bloodied at (Hillary) Clinton Talk

Sometimes the hypocrisy is just overwhelming. So, it probably shouldn’t surprise us that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would deliver a speech hailing the peaceful protests that changed Egypt while 71-year-old Ray McGovern was roughed up and dragged away for standing quietly in protest of her support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“So this is America,” said McGovern as he was hustled from the room by two security guards. “This is America.”

McGovern, a former Army intelligence officer and a 27-year veteran of the CIA, was wearing a “Veterans for Peace” t-shirt and, according to witnesses, was standing silently with his back to Secretary Clinton before he was set upon by the two agents who bruised, bloodied and handcuffed McGovern, a cancer survivor. [For video, click above link.]

Mike Krieger On The Latest Upcoming US Fad: "Serf Size Me"

"I remember when McDonald’s first released the “Super Size” promotion. You were supposed to get in line and say to the attendant “super size” me, at which point you would be served an egregiously sized portion of fries and soda. Pretty soon after that American obesity levels starting going through the roof. In any event, we won’t be having this problem much longer. Sizes are about to shrink dramatically and prices will go up at the same time.

Food quality will probably decrease as well, which is hard to imagine considering the crap that is sold as food every day. In any event, I have a suggestion for McDonald’s. They should just teach us Americans to accept our indentured servitude to the financial oligarchs and roll out a “Serf Size” menu.

People will get to the acceptance stage that much faster as they say, “serf size me!” and then walk away with three fries and a five ounce soda."

Libya, Bahrain, Iran, Yemen and Other Arab Governments Killing Protesters _________________________


Jolly Roger said...

I have started to believe that maybe this country is just too big, and had its hand in too many things. Maybe schism is the right answer. Maybe schism is the answer with the most benefit. I TRY to keep up, and I sure as hell can't. The knuckle-draggers voting for Rushpubliscums don't keep up with much of anything past whether or not Little BigHair got enough votes on "DWTS" to keep her on another week.

The Blog Fodder said...

When two cultures meet, first they fight, then they fornicate and then the missionaries come in to soften them up for the merchants.
We have an American Economics University her in Zhovti Vody that has Christian Missionary written all over it. bummer when the alternative to Putin style government is American style government.