Monday, September 28, 2015

Picking Through PAC Millions?  (Turning the Country Into Beggars Was the Goal of Neolibs)  Nihilists Galore (Although They Can't Spell It They're Everywhere)  Pope Frank Tells Hillary "No?"  (How Many Politicos Have the Koch Bros. Bought?)  The New Shackle of Serfdom:  Clinging to Healthcare Insurance

What happened to the Walker Super PAC money?

Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov., Scott Walker speaks at a presidential forum sponsored by Heritage Action at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, in Greenville, S.C. Walker suspended his campaign on Monday afternoon.(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) raised $97 million for his House campaigns and leadership PAC from the time he received his first donations in 1989, Center for Responsive Politics data shows — far more than any other sitting House member.

Pope Francis and Other Celebrities Reject Invitations to Hillary’s Annual Global Foundation Meeting

. . . for all his bragging about how much he’s given politicians, parties and other committees, Trump is a bit of a piker by today’s standards. Yes, he’s given a lot over the years — a little over $1 million since the 1990 cycle at the federal level. But his biggest contribution? A $100,000 gift in 2012 to the Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC allied with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that’s devoted to getting Republicans elected to the House.

But stack that up against donors like hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, healthcare investor Miguel Fernandez or roofing supply magnate Diane Hendricks, each of whom made multimillion-dollar contributions just in the last quarter of this year to super PACs backing their favored candidates ($11 million to a group backing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), $3 million to one supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and $5 million to one working to elect Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, respectively.)
And they’re not alone. Plenty of other Republican donors have given $1 million-and-up to super PACs. And though Democrats don’t play the super PAC game as enthusiastically as Republicans, even the group supporting Hillary Clinton had seven individual $1 million donors last quarter.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, shown here at this week's GOP presidential debate, has already benefited in a couple of ways from a dark money group supporting him. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Podcast:  Play in new window | Download

Five-fold Upsurge:  Super PACs, Dark Money Groups Spending Far More Than in ’12 Cycle at Same Point in Campaign

This week, Eric has an in depth conversation with economist Michael Hudson, author of the new book Killing the Host:  How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.
Eric and Prof. Hudson discuss the evolution of finance capital from its humble parasitical beginnings to the comprehensive global network of economic tapeworms and barnacles that it is today. They examine neoliberal terrorism, how debt is used as a weapon, and the disastrous effects of the financialization of the real economy.

Hudson outlines the relationship between the parasites and their bloodsucking policies of austerity, providing insight using the example of Latvia, where he witnessed first hand the smash-and-grab nature of such prescriptions. Plus, Eric and Michael touch on Obama as Wall Street errand boy, the importance of left economic organizing, and much much more.

The Public Interest & Its Planned Obsolescence

Planned Obsolescence of the Public Interest by Renegade Economists on Mixcloud

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So, we're now the country, the proud country, of beggars (or would it be just the largest part of the new western culture of begging)?

Our work is not worth our hard-fought efforts because the owners (of us) just divide up the spoils and laugh at how easily they've achieved their goal of total domination (and our easy subservience).

Every TV, radio and in-person appeal you hear from now on will be modeled on asking you/begging you to give "just a few dollars if that's all you have" to either the desperately needy or to needy institutions that used to be supported for the benefit of everyone by everyone's tax dollars, but which now are transferred directly to the rich and well-connected as tax cuts, special tax breaks, or outright gifts - as in QE to the banks.

Get used to it.

You voted these bastards in.

P.M. Carpenter has a most thoughtful essay expounding deeply on this subject:

Boehner's Ouster Was No "Conservative" Coup

Let the record show that Speaker John Boehner was deposed, by his own hand, in 1994. It was then, observes the "Times"' Carl Hulse in a useful recap of recent events, that Boehner joined with other Gingrichites in "agitating against the leadership with claims that top lawmakers were badly out of touch."

Let the record show as well that Boehner was deposed in 2010, when "revolutionary" Gingrichism flowered into Tea Partyism. The record must also show with essential continuity that Boehner was, in fact, deposed from 1932 to 1964 — the epochal cradle of conservatism's mature fanaticism.

All along, the fanaticism has been festering; the boils on its butt were the New Deal, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Movement and feminist and gay-liberation movements — progressive-authentically conservative attempts at softening the brutalities of classism, racism, sexism and raw prejudice.

One might discern with equal legitimacy that Boehner was deposed in the old Old Guard's reaction to the fin-de-siecle Progressive Movement, which itself had blossomed in reaction to the Gilded Age — which fanatical conservatives have been struggling to resurrect for more than a century.

It is that era — the one spoofed by that most American of all Americans, Mark Twain — that modern "conservatives" adore (and thus the Progressive Movement is that for which old-school conservative George Will reserves his deepest contempt):  women were in the kitchen, blacks were in their place, immigrants were despised but capitalistically exploited, gays were locked in the closet, and government was useful only to the extent of keeping wealth concentrated among aristocratic worthies.

John Boehner surfed to power on the crest of one relatively recent conservative wave, but a much larger one — one which swelled in power from all that preceded it — overtook him.

In a "Times" op-ed, former House Democratic staffer John Lawrence notes that Boehner possesses "a personable, thoughtful side … [in] contrast to the bombastic, tiresome nihilists who have driven him out of Congress." With each successive "conservative" crest (actually pseudoconservative, or reactionary, or even something worse, which I'm getting to), the atavistic conservative ways have been swamped and drowned. By now, continues Lawrence, it has come to this:  "the Tea Party … could not care less if they create chaos that diminishes the stature of government."

Yet, in those two quotes, there's a conflict. Nihilists don't wish to "diminish" government; they wish to destroy it. And it is that philosophical impulse that defines today's conservatism. If it can't rule in toto, it can destroy; and in that there resides an unmistakable crypto-fascistic tenor.

Total, unfettered power is its logical goal, for if one is gloriously 100-percent right about everything, then it follows that opponents are 100-percent wrong about everything. And in one's (often theocentric) splendor, how can one conscientiously compromise with what must be unmitigated evil?

In my view, then, the Tea Party typology that has the GOP by the balls has long since passed the rhetorical niceties of "ultraconservatism" or "pseudoconservatism" or "reactionaryism." It utterly rejects pluralism and is absolutist in its philosophy of power-by-any-means, an end-by-any-means. And in that, it is a philosophical doppelgänger of Göring's testimony before the Nuremberg court:  We knew we were absolutely right about what was good for Germany and our opposition was therefore wrong, so why would we have tolerated any opposition that could have only done harm to Germany?

What we have here — here, today — is thus a massive failure to communicate. Reigning Tea Party typology isn't conservatism, or any breed of it. It is crypto-fascism. And while I have no problem communicating that, too many others are delicately reserved, perhaps for good reason:  It sounds hysterical.

But it isn't. Because the Tea Party's crypto-fascism is, happily, also doomed. It just doesn't have the juice to achieve its goal of total power — and the power it does have is, demographically, as much of a dead man walking as John Boehner was. When they finally recognize it for what it is, Americans don't much like extremism, whether from the left or the right.

College Football, Brought to You by Charles and David Koch…

College football season has begun, and this year it is being brought to you by Koch Industries and not just in Kansas. CMD has obtained an exclusive list of the Koch-branded college football games, below.
The twelve Koch-backed college football games this season will feature Koch signage, a Koch video board, and Koch-branded giveaways.
Koch Industries is owned by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, who have made their fortune on refineries and fossil fuels. The Koch netork of billionaires is one of the largest and most influential political operations in the country, and they are major funders of climate change denial operations like the American Legislative Exchange Council. The Kochs and their political network have pledged to raise and spend nearly a billion dollars to influence who wins the 2016 election.

The Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity, ALEC . . . let me count the ways (fake independent organizations) . . . with which the Koch Brothers have beat the U.S. electorate to a bloody, quivering pulp, and thereby endeavored to take over the people's power and thus, the American government in toto.

IRS Was Going after Charles and David Koch — and Obama Shut It Down.

It Wasn’t Conservatives That Were Being Investigated by the IRS:  It Was the Koch Brothers’ Front Groups
By Pam Martens: May 16, 2013

The President Obama of 2013 who is feigning outrage over the IRS adding extra scrutiny to nonprofit applications being filed with the words Tea Party in their title is not the same man who singled out Americans for Prosperity in a speech in 2010.

Americans for Prosperity was founded and funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch, who have funneled money into politics through front groups for over four decades to advance their corporate deregulatory agenda that powers their profits and personal wealth.

The Kochs are majority owners of Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the world. (According to "Forbes," the brothers’ wealth has almost doubled in just three years to $34 billion each – while 46 million Americans without lobbyists and clever tax attorneys live below the poverty level, including one in five children.)

Americans for Prosperity is a front for creating Tea Party groups around the country to project an outpouring of grassroots’ momentum for the Koch agenda.

. . . The role of the President to lead and focus the Nation on the overarching issues was left to Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Florida’s 21st District, who correctly sized up the real problem in yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. 

Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision,” said Deutch, “the number of groups applying for this tax exempt status to the IRS has more than doubled … That’s because these so-called social welfare organizations don’t have to disclose their donors; they can still maintain their 501(c)(4) status even if they write huge checks and even if they write them to Super PACs.

In 2012, when a record $1.28 billion was spent by Super PACs and outside groups to influence the election and a quarter of that money cannot be traced to any source, the evidence shows that many of the (c)(4)s are being established for the sole purpose of funneling anonymous cash to Super PACs. Now, the IRS should not automatically accept all applications for tax exempt status when groups are increasingly being established for explicit political purposes.

So as part of the investigation, part of the discussion, we need to know whether the tax exempt status of any (c)(4), whatever its politics, was either denied or revoked, not because of politics, but because they’re ripping off taxpayers by gaining this tax exempt status.”
Deutch continued: “Of course the American people should be outraged that IRS employees would scrutinize specific groups based on political affiliations but I’m sure that my colleagues would all agree that the American people – the hardworking taxpayers of the Nation – should also be outraged that they are likely subsidizing tax breaks for the makers of the malicious Super PAC ads that poisoned our airwaves during the 2012 election season.”

In fact, the Tea Party is not a “political affiliation.” The Tea Party is not the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the Greens or the Libertarians. It is a name that has become so heavily aligned with the Koch brothers that if you search Koch brothers together with the words Tea Party in the Google search engine, you find 1.4 million links. Those links are backed with facts, starting with this video.

In the video, David Koch appears before an annual convention of chapters of Americans for Prosperity and states “… my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity.”

Later in the video, members of the state chapters of Americans for Prosperity report to David Koch on how many Tea Party groups they have created. One man states:  “… Hey folks, we’ve held 29 Tea Parties”; another says his chapter has “organized dozens of Tea Parties.” Another woman reports her Americans for Prosperity group turned out 10,000 people at a Tea Party rally in California.

If the rank and file employees of the IRS decided to use the phrase “Tea Party” to digitally search for illegal political fronts in the mountain of nonprofit applications they received, they had hard facts on the ground for their suspicions.

On August 30, 2010, Jane Mayer penned a 10,000-word investigative report for the New Yorker on the Kochs and their political front groups. The title of the article summed up the scam:  “Covert Operations.” Mayer writes as follows:

“Americans for Prosperity has worked closely with the Tea Party since the movement’s inception. In the weeks before the first Tax Day protests, in April, 2009, Americans for Prosperity hosted a Web site offering supporters ‘Tea Party Talking Points.’ The Arizona branch urged people to send tea bags to Obama; the Missouri branch urged members to sign up for ‘Taxpayer Tea Party Registration’ and provided directions to nine protests. The group continues to stoke the rebellion. The North Carolina branch recently launched a ‘Tea Party Finder’ Web site, advertised as ‘a hub for all the Tea Parties in North Carolina.’

“The anti-government fervor infusing the 2010 elections represents a political triumph for the Kochs. By giving money to ‘educate,’ fund, and organize Tea Party protesters, they have helped turn their private agenda into a mass movement.”
In the same month of August 2010, the "New York Times" ran an article headlined “The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party,” singling out the Koch brothers. The article was bylined by Frank Rich, who wrote:

“Tea Partiers may share the Kochs’ detestation of taxes, big government and Obama. But there’s a difference between mainstream conservatism and a fringe agenda that tilts completely toward big business, whether on Wall Street or in the Gulf of Mexico, while dismantling fundamental government safety nets designed to protect the unemployed, public health, workplace safety and the subsistence of the elderly.”

Later in the article, making a reference to the nonprofits in the shadows of the corporate front groups, Rich writes:  “The Koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank knowing that working Americans are aiding and abetting their selfish interests.”

Rank and file IRS agents didn’t create their suspicions about the Tea Party out of thin air; they got their best leads from the media – much of which is now showing the same lack of courage to clarify the issues as the President.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged at the hearing that he has quickly opened a criminal investigation of the IRS employees’ conduct. This is the same U.S. Attorney General who has sat for five years on a mountain of evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Wall Street firms without indicting one major player – despite the fact that the country came close to financial collapse from this industry’s systemic corruption.

To borrow the phrase from Frank Rich, the Koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank.
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Professor Paul Craig Roberts feels a movement in the force (or thinks he hears freedom stirring in the countryside).


For A Majority Of Americans, U.S. Government Has Lost Legitimacy

September 26, 2015

Noam Chomsky (33:30 point on the video) tells us that in the November 2014 Congressional elections, U.S. voter participation was at the level of 1830 when only white male property owners had the vote.

A September 25 Gallup Poll tells us why:

These are hopeful signs. They mean that the American people are beginning to see through the propaganda that confines them within The Matrix. A majority now understands that the U.S. government represents a small oligarchy and not the citizens of the United States. Change requires awareness and knowledge of reality, and this awareness is now forming.

Oh, and a few ex-parte comments on the governments' hopes and dreams to dominate its former allies.

No Brains In Washington

Paul Craig Roberts
Washington’s IQ follows the Fed’s interest rate — it is negative. Washington is a black hole into which all sanity is sucked out of government deliberations.

Washington’s failures are everywhere visible. We can see the failures in Washington’s wars and in Washington’s approach to China and Russia.

The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, was scheduled for the week-end following the Pope’s visit to Washington. Was this Washington’s way of demoting China’s status by having its president play second fiddle to the Pope? The President of China is here for week-end news coverage? Why didn’t
Obama just tell him to go to hell?

Washington’s cyber incompetence and inability to maintain cyber security is being blamed on China. The day before Xi Jinping’s arrival in Washington, the White House press secretary warmed up President Jinping’s visit by announcing that Obama might threaten China with financial sanctions.
And not to miss an opportunity to threaten or insult the President of China, the U.S. Secretary of

Commerce fired off a warning that the Obama regime was too unhappy with China’s business practices for the Chinese president to expect a smooth meeting in Washington.

In contrast, when Obama visited China, the Chinese government treated him with politeness and respect.

China is America’s largest creditor after the Federal Reserve. If the Chinese government were so inclined, China could cause Washington many serious economic, financial, and military problems. Yet China pursues peace while Washington issues threats.

Like China, Russia, too, has a foreign policy independent of Washington’s, and it is the independence of their foreign policies that puts China and Russia on the outs with Washington.

Washington considers countries with independent foreign policies to be threats. Libya, Iraq, and Syria had independent foreign policies. Washington has destroyed two of the three and is working on the third. Iran, Russia, and China have independent foreign policies. Consequently, Washington sees these countries as threats and portrays them to the American people as such.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet with Obama next week at the UN meeting in New York. It is a meeting that seems destined to go nowhere. Putin wants to offer Obama Russian help in defeating ISIS, but Obama wants to use ISIS to overthrow Syrian President Assad, install a puppet government, and throw Russia out of its only Mediterranean seaport at Tartus, Syria. Obama wants to press Putin to hand over Russian Crimea and the break-away republics that refuse to submit to the Russophobic government that Washington has installed in Kiev.

Despite Washington’s hostility, Xi Jinping and Putin continue to try to work with Washington even at the risk of being humiliated in the eyes of their peoples. How many slights, accusations, and names (such as “the new Hitler”) can Putin and Xi Jinping accept before losing face at home? How can they lead if their peoples feel the shame inflicted on their leaders by Washington?

Xi Jinping and Putin are clearly men of peace. Are they deluded or are they making every effort to save the world from the final war?

One has to assume that Putin and Xi Jinping are aware of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the basis of U.S. foreign and military policies, but perhaps they cannot believe that anything so audaciously absurd can be real. In brief, the Wolfowitz Doctrine states that Washington’s principal objective is to prevent the rise of countries that could be sufficiently powerful to resist American hegemony. Thus, Washington’s attack on Russia via Ukraine and Washington’s re-militarization of Japan as an instrument against China, despite the strong opposition of 80 percent of the Japanese population.

“Democracy?” “Washington’s hegemony don’t need no stinkin’ democracy,” declares Washington’s puppet ruler of Japan as he, as Washington’s faithful servant, over-rides the vast majority of the Japanese population.

Meanwhile, the real basis of U.S. power — its economy — continues to crumble. Middle class jobs have disappeared by the millions. U.S. infrastructure is crumbling. Young American women, overwhelmed with student debts, rent, and transportation costs, and nothing but lowly-paid part-time jobs, post on Internet sites their pleas to be made mistresses of men with sufficient means to help them with their bills. This is the image of a Third World country.

In 2004 I predicted in a nationally televised conference in Washington, DC, that the U.S. would be a Third World country in 20 years. Noam Chomsky says we are already there now in 2015. Here is a recent quote from Chomsky:

“Look around the country. This country is falling apart. Even when you come back from Argentina to the United States it looks like a third world country, and when you come back from Europe even more so. The infrastructure is collapsing. Nothing works. The transportation system doesn’t work. The health system is a total scandal–twice the per capita cost of other countries and not very good outcomes. Point by point. The schools are declining . . .”

Another indication of a third world country is large inequality in the distribution of income and wealth.

According to the CIA itself, the United States now has one of the worst distributions of income of all countries in the world.

The distribution of income in the U.S. is worse than in Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, UK, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Yemen. and

The concentration of U.S. income and wealth in the hands of the very rich is a new development in my lifetime. I ascribe it to two things.

One is the offshoring of American jobs. Offshoring moved high productivity, high-value-added American jobs to countries where the excess supply of labor results in wages well below labor’s contribution to the value of output. The lower labor costs abroad transform what had been higher American wages and salaries and, thereby, U.S. household incomes, into corporate profits, bonuses for corporate executives, and capital gains for shareholders, and in the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that had made the U.S. an “opportunity society.”

The other cause of the extreme inequality that now prevails in the U.S. is what Michael Hudson calls the financialization of the economy that permits banks to redirect income away from driving the economy to the payment of interest in service of debt issued by the banks.

Both of these developments maximize income and wealth for the One Percent at the expense of the population and economy.

As Michael Hudson and I have discovered, neoliberal economics is blind to reality and serves to justify the destruction of the economic prospects of the Western World. It remains to be seen if Russia and China can develop a different economics or whether these rising superpowers will fall victim to the “junk economics” that has destroyed the West. With so many Chinese and Russian economists educated in the U.S. tradition, the prospects of Russia and China might not be any better than ours.

The entire world could go down the tubes together.

And speaking of the rest of the world going down those oil-and-gas-slicked tubes:

Russia’s False Hopes

September 23, 2015
Paul Craig Roberts
Russia so desperately desires to be part of the disreputable and collapsing West that Russia is losing its grip on reality.

Despite hard lesson piled upon hard lesson, Russia cannot give up its hope of being acceptable to the West. The only way Russia can be acceptable to the West is to accept vassal status.

Russia miscalculated that diplomacy could solve the crisis that Washington created in Ukraine and placed its hopes on the Minsk Agreement, which has no Western support whatsoever, neither in Kiev nor in Washington, London, and NATO.

Russia can end the Ukraine crisis by simply accepting the requests of the former Russian territories to reunite with Russia. Once the breakaway republics are again part of Russia, the crisis is over. Ukraine is not going to attack Russia.

Russia doesn’t end the crisis, because Russia thinks it would be provocative and upset Europe. Actually, that is what Russia needs to do—upset Europe. Russia needs to make Europe aware that being Washington’s tool against Russia is risky and has costs for Europe.

Instead, Russia shields Europe from the costs that Washington imposes on Europe and imposes little cost on Europe for acting against Russia in Washington’s interest. Russia still supplies its declared enemies, whose air forces fly provocative flights along Russia’s borders, with the energy to put their war planes into the air.

This is the failure of diplomacy, not its success. Diplomacy cannot succeed when only one side believes in diplomacy and the other side believes in force.

Russia needs to understand that diplomacy cannot work with Washington and its NATO vassals who do not believe in diplomacy, but rely instead on force. Russia needs to understand that when Washington declares that Russia is an outlaw state that “does not act in accordance with international norms,” Washington means that Russia is not following Washington’s orders. By “international norms,” Washington means Washington’s will. Countries that are not in compliance with Washington’s will are not acting in accordance with “international norms.”

Washington and only Washington determines “international norms.” America is the “exceptional, indispensable” country. No other country has this rank.

A country with an independent foreign policy is a threat to Washington. The neoconservative Wolfowitz Doctrine makes this completely clear. The Wolfowitz Doctrine, the basis of U.S. foreign and military policy, defines as a threat any country with sufficient power to act as a constraint on Washington’s unilateral action. The Wolfowitz Doctrine states unambiguously that any country with sufficient power to block Washington’s purposes in the world is a threat and that “our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of” any such country.

Russia, China, and Iran are in Washington’s crosshairs. Treaties and “cooperation” mean nothing. Cooperation only causes Washington’s targets to lose focus and to forget that they are targets. Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov seems to believe that now with the failure of Washington’s policy of war and destruction in the Middle East, Washington and Russia can work together to contain the ISIS jihadists in Iraq and Syria. This is a pipe dream.

Russia and Washington cannot work together in Syria and Iraq, because the two governments have conflicting goals. Russia wants peace, respect for international law, and the containment of radical jihadists elements. Washington wants war, no legal constraints, and is funding radical jihadist elements in the interest of Middle East instability and overthrow of Assad in Syria. Even if Washington desired the same goals as Russia, for Washington to work with Russia would undermine the picture of Russia as a threat and enemy.

Russia, China, and Iran are the three countries that can constrain Washington’s unilateral action. Consequently, the three countries are in danger of a pre-emptive nuclear strike. If these countries are so naive as to believe that they can now work with Washington, given the failure of Washington’s 14-year old policy of coercion and violence in the Middle East, by rescuing Washington from the quagmire it created that gave rise to the Islamic State, they are deluded sitting ducks for a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

Washington created the Islamic State. Washington used these jihadists to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya and then sent them to overthrow Assad in Syria. The American neoconservatives, everyone of whom is allied with Zionist Israel, do not want any cohesive state in the Middle East capable of interfering with a “Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates.”

The ISIS jihadists learned that Washington’s policy of murdering and displacing millions of Muslims in seven countries had created an anti-Western constituency for them among the peoples of the Middle East and have begun acting independently of their Washington creators.

The consequence is more chaos in the Middle East and Washington’s loss of control.

Instead of leaving Washington to suffer at the hands of its own works, Russia and Iran, the two most hated and demonized countries in the West, have rushed to rescue Washington from its Middle East follies. This is the failure of Russian and Iranian strategic thinking. Countries that cannot think strategically do not survive.

The Iranians need to understand that their treaty with Washington means nothing. Washington has never honored any treaty. Just ask the Plains Indians or the last Soviet President Gorbachev.

If the Russian government thinks that Washington’s word means anything, the Russian government is out to lunch.

Iran is well led, and Vladimir Putin has rescued Russia from U.S. and Israeli control, but both governments continue to act as if they are taking some drug that makes them think that Washington can be a partner.

These delusions are dangerous, not only to Russia and Iran, but to the entire world.

If Russia and Iran let their guard down, they will be nuked, and so will China.

Washington stands for one thing and one thing only:  World Hegemony.

Just ask the Neoconservatives or read their documents.

The neoconservatives control Washington. No one else in the government has a voice.

For the neoconservatives, Armageddon is a tolerable risk to achieve the goal of American World Hegemony.

Only Russia and China can save the world from Armageddon, but are they too deluded and worshipful of the West to save Planet Earth?

That crazy man Charles Hugh Smith thinks there's a way out of our high-cost, low-coverage healthcare nightmare.

The New Shackle of Serfdom:  Clinging to Healthcare Insurance

September 21, 2015

The shackles of this new serfdom are invisible, but no less destructive for being invisible.

One of the more remarkable characteristics of American life is our passive acceptance of systems that are so obviously completely insane. Yes, I refer to our healthcare system,
 a.k.a. sickcare because in America sickness is profitable and health is not, and healthcare profiteering that would be the envy of pirates and warlords everywhere is the norm.
What warlord wouldn't jump on the opportunity to jack up the cost of a medication from $13.50 a tablet to $750 overnight, or as the article highlights, jack up the cost of an off-patent med from $1 a pill to $750 a pill in a few years?
This piratical pillaging is not an outlier - it's the norm in America's parasitic pharmaceutical industry:
Cycloserine, a drug used to treat dangerous multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, was just increased in price to $10,800 for 30 pills from $500 after its acquisition by Rodelis Therapeutics.
Imagine getting to jack your weekly wage from $500/week to $10,800/week while issuing a laughably lame excuse.
These profiteering prices are not the shackle of serfdom, at least not directly; few pay these prices in cash - insurers pay. And when prices rise, insurers jack their rates up accordingly (plus a bit to cover their costly political lobbying and the profit margins expected of quasi-monopolies).
Healthcare insurance is the new shackle of serfdom: Americans are forced to cling to whatever coverage they have, lest they lose coverage and risk bankruptcy.
Low-income Americans theoretically don't have to worry, as their medical care is covered by Medicaid. (They only need to find doctors and clinics that accept Medicaid. Good luck with that....)
Retired Americans only have to scrape up the few hundred bucks for Medicare Parts A, B, C, D, and of course E through Z (shall we talk about insane levels of complexity in the system? Perhaps another time...).
Modern capitalism has one necessary dynamic: the mobility of labor and capital.Financial capital is entirely mobile now; a click of a mouse button is all that's needed to send capital almost anywhere.
What happens to labor mobility when no one dares quit because that would mean losing their medicare coverage? Yes, I can already hear the obvious:  the new employer will provide the same coverage.
Oh really? What if the new employer is the worker himself? What if the new employer is too under-funded to afford America's insanely costly healthcare?
And please don't offer ObamaCare as the "solution":  in high-cost regions such as the left and right coast, any household with a moderately middle-class income doesn't qualify for ObamaCare subsidies.
Please explain the wisdom of shackling employers to employees' medical insurance, and employees to these employers.

You can't, because there is no wisdom in this insanity. The system is not the result of planning or coherence - it's simply the result of a jumbled series of historical accidents.
Yet this is the system we cling to.

Why? 1) We have no choice or 2) it's so insanely profitable for those at the top of the heap.
 Are these good reasons?
Is shackling our workforce to their current employer simply to avoid the risk of not having insurance and not qualifying for subsidies good for the economy? No.
This system makes no sense whatsoever.
There are only one way out of this insanity: break the shackles from employer to employees'  healthcare insurance and from employees to employer.
There are only two ways to break these shackles:
1. Offer everyone universal healthcare coverage via a government agency
2. Go back to a cash-only system. The "Impossible" Healthcare Solution:  Go Back to Cash (July 29, 2009)
Guess how many pills the pirate would sell for $750 each if insurers were eliminated and cash payments by patients were the only form of payment: yup, near-zero. The parasitic pirate would either have to drop the price back to $13.50 (or better yet, $1) or go broke and have to sell the rights, or be accosted by those who'd lost loved ones to his rapacious greed.
The shackles of this new serfdom are invisible, but no less destructive for being invisible.
Why Are FBI Agents Trammeling the Rights of Antiwar Activists?

Edward Snowden Inspires Global Treaty for Online Privacy


Phil said...

As you may recall my dear, I used to be a pretty hard core Liberal democrat a few years back.

Then I sobered up.

I am only half kidding when i say that though.

I had been following politics pretty hard for quite a few years and the more I saw what the Democratic leadership was doing, the more I was repulsed.
"You have to vote on it before you can know what's in it" kind of bullshit.
I finally completely renounced any association with the Democratic party it got so bad.

Now, having said all that, I didn't go completely Far Right but am more Libertarian with conservative tendencies currently.

That means that I have been studying the Far rights politics even closer than I did when I was a Liberal.
I am also spending more time reading what these people have to say about the Republican leadership.

The following may surprise you.

They are just as fed up as I was.

There seems to have been an unannounced alliance forged between the two parties at some point because there is currently no discernable difference between the motherfuckers that I can observe based on what I have been observing the past couple of years.

The rank and file Republican base is rooting for Trump for the sole purpose of punishing the GOP leadership at this point and their current rally cry is "LET IT BURN".

They are talking about the current political system but the GOP leadership especially.
They want it destroyed for the same reasons the Conservatives wanted Boehner out, for collaborating with the enemy instead of doing what they said they were going to do if and when they got the majority.

Make no mistake, the stalwart middle class Republicans are fucking pissed and now they are out for blood.

Just thought I would give you a little insight as to what I have been observing and to let you know I didn't miss you swinging by my joint there a couple of times.


Love ya right back.

Phil, AKA The Ornery Bastard, the Vulgar Curmudgeon and last but not least, Bustednuckles.

Cirze said...

Thanks for the update, Phil.

The political tension among the Rethugs is not to my taste. It doesn't even seem to be getting them off.

If they get Trumped, they will stay Trumped.

He's about as good a fascist leader as the scene has coughed up yet.

He leaves Jebbie! in the dust (and you know how those Bushies love the swastica crowd).

With the onslaught of immigration at the U.S. war-banging door, none of these 'thugs have a chance in future races.

I fear George P. because he's got the to-the-manor-born charisma that all the upper-class wannabes love, and his family is more than willing to wait for his turn.

Take care of your babies!

It might get dangerous out there.