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Bank Fraud and Mounting Household Debts in America: The Unspoken Victims of “Payday Loans” By Devon DB

Building Solidarity With Africa: Struggle Against Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism and US-NATO Militarization

Hong Kong’s People Have Spoken – End the Protests

The Next US Presidential Election Will Move The World Closer To War by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Bank Fraud and Mounting Household Debts in America: The Unspoken Victims of “Payday Loans” By Devon DB

Posted in: WORLD NEWS | Comments (0)

Student Loans: The Government is Now Officially in the Banking Business

Despite what the talking heads are saying, the economy isn’t doing so well. With this most recent jobs report, the two main sectors of growth were fast food and retail, accounting for a total of about 32.2% of jobs created in October. In part, due to low-paying jobs, many are using payday loans to get by and unfortunately when it comes time to pay up, many are paying much more than what they borrowed due to extremely high interest rates. While this has been bought up in the mainstream every now and then, rarely has anyone taken a look how payday loans came into existence and the type of havoc they wreak on people, mainly the poor. We need to realize that payday loans only harm us and explore alternatives.

According to the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the practice of getting credit against one’s next payment goes back to the Great Depression; however, “as the spread of direct deposit and electronic funds transfer technologies slowed the growth in the demand for check cashing services” and payday loans were more of a side job to check cashing businesses. Yet, the situation changed in 1978 that would facilitate the rise of payday lenders.

The beginnings of payday loans can be found in the 1978 Supreme Court case Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Service Corp which stated that “national banks were entitled to charge interest rates based on the laws of states where they were physically located, rather than the laws of states where their borrowers lived.” This allowed banks to offer credit cards to anyone they deemed qualified. A further empowerment came from the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 which allowed for banks and financial institutions to decide interest rates based on the market. This laid the foundation for payday loans as now one could set up a payday loan company and charge high interest rates, saying they were based on the market which would allow them to make a profit and due to the court case, payday lenders could offer loans to literally anyone they wanted, even those with bad credit.

Payday lenders are able to profit off of the loans they provide by charging interest, which can get out of control. For example, “For a loan of $300, a typical borrower pays on average $775, with $475 going to pay interest and fees over an average borrowing cycle.” It was noted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 1999 that the loans have “annualized interest rates often ranging from 213 percent to 913 percent” or 4.4%-19% a week! Thus, while the interest rates might not seem ridiculous at first glance, they can easily grow out of control.

Now, while it’s known that mainly working-class people and the poor are the main users of payday loans, that’s also a rather broad brush. More specificity was attained in 2012, when Pew Research reported that the majority of payday loan borrowers are 25-44 year old white women, though “there are five groups that have higher odds of having used a payday loan: those without a four-year college degree; home renters; African Americans; those earning below $40,000 annually; and those who are separated or divorced.” Furthermore, the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that “three times the percentage of payday loan customers are seriously debt burdened and have been denied credit or not given as much credit as they applied for in the last five years.”

So the victims of payday loans are part of groups and communities that are already having economic troubles, even more so due to the current economic climate. In terms of why people utilized payday loans, it was found that “most borrowers use payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses over the course of months, not unexpected emergencies over the course of weeks,” which really just speaks to the problem of wages and how people aren’t being paid enough.

The situation becomes all the more tragic when one finds that not only are the bottom lines of payday lenders “significantly enhanced by the successful conversion of more and more occasional users into chronic borrowers,” but also that “the federal government has found that one of the country’s biggest payday lenders provides financial incentives to its staff to encourage chronic borrowing by individual patrons,” (emphasis added) as was reported in a 2003 issue of Economic Development Quarterly. So the vulnerable are then put into a cycle of poverty which is extremely difficult to get out of.

There has been an attempt by state governments to regulate payday loans. Some states ban outright, whereas others limit interest rates. The lenders are getting smart and attempting to avoid regulation by “making surface changes to their businesses that don’t alter their core products: high-cost, small-dollar loans for people who aren’t able to pay them back.”

It should be noted that payday lenders are not small chumps in the financial world. For a while major banks were involved in payday lending, such as “Wells Fargo, Bank of America, US Bank, JP Morgan Bank, and National City (PNC Financial Services Group)” and were able to finance 38% of the entire payday lending industry and that is a rather conservative estimate. These banks bowed out of the industry in January 2014 after being warned by federal regulators that they were going to look to see if the loans violated consumer protection laws. But the problem doesn’t end there.

There are also middlemen involved that operate on behalf of the payday companies. It was reported in April 2014 that a lawsuit was being filed against Money Mutual which claimed that “[claimed] the company [was] operating as an unlicensed lender by arranging loans that violate a [Illinois] state law that restricts borrower fees.” Money Mutual is itself not a lender, but rather “a lead generator that sells sensitive customer information, like bank-account numbers and email addresses, to payday lenders, and federal and state officials increasingly are cracking down on these businesses.” Middlemen like Money Mutual can be paid $50-$150 per lead, even if the person doesn’t take out a loan. This can quickly add up. In 2012 Bloomberg News found that “lead generators in financial services take in $100 million a year, with the market growing by more than 16 percent annually.”

Yet, this is just with storefront lenders, all new problems arise when one delves into the world of online payday lending. It has beenreported that many online payday lenders “attempt to skirt the rules and charge exorbitant fees, amongst other affronts to regulations that leave many a consumer seeking payday loan legal help” and that the Pew Research Center “found that about 30 percent of Internet payday loan borrowers claim they have received at least one threat from the lender,” whether it be for arrest or that the debtor’s employer would be contacted.

One of the worst problems with online payday lenders is theft; just take the story of Jeannie Morris of Kansas City. She entered personal information on websites that offered to match her up with payday lenders, however the situation took a turn for the worse when, “without asking her approval, two unrelated online lenders based in Kansas City had plopped $300 each into her bank account.

Together, they began withdrawing $360 a month in interest payments” and after her account was wiped clean, Jeannie was hounded by collection companies. Jeannie is not alone as “many consumers reported that loans they’d never authorized had been dropped into their bank accounts. Then those accounts often evaporated as the lenders snatched out money for interest payments while never applying any of the money to the loan principal.” So now online payday lenders can just lend people money without asking them and then clean out people’s bank accounts, effectively stealing from families.

The situation may seem hopeless, but there are alternatives to payday loans. One way is with credit union loans where members are allowed to borrow up to $500 each month and each loan is “connected to a SALO cash account, which automatically deducts 5 percent of the loan and places it in a savings account to create a ‘rainy day fund’ for the borrower.” Small consumer loans are another option. They are a lot less expensive than payday loans, for example, “a person can borrow $1,000 from a finance company for a year and pay less than a $200-$300 payday loan over the same period. If possible, someone could also get a cash advance on their credit card. In the long term, credit counseling can help a person to create a debt repayment plan and find a way to balance a budget.

Payday lenders are a major problem and prey on the desperate in order to make money. We need to organize and fight for the economic freedom of everyone. Consumer watchdog groups and payday borrowers and victims of payday theft need to come together to end this practice that creates a cycle of debt. To quote the rallying cry of IWW songwriter Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn, organize!”

Originally posted on Occupy.com

Devon Douglas-Bowers is a 22 year old independent writer and researcher and is the Politics/Government Department Chair of the Hampton Institute. He can be contacted at devondb[at]mail[dot]com.

admin @ November 21, 2014

Building Solidarity With Africa: Struggle Against Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism and US-NATO Militarization

Posted in: AFRICA, NORTH AFRICA, SOUTH AFRICA, WEST AFRICA, WORLD NEWS | Comments (0)

All across the continent AFRICOM and NATO must be defeated to liberate the people

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 The following address was delivered at the National Workers World Conference held in New York City on Nov. 15-16, 2014.

United States and NATO interventions in Africa and throughout the Middle East are increasing. From Egypt and Morocco in the North to Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and others to the West, right down through the Sudans, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa in the Central, Eastern and Southern regions, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is increasing its efforts to thwart the development of Africa.

Africa is rich with mineral resources, agricultural commodities and a young, vibrant work force which the world capitalist system seeks to exploit at a maximum level. This phenomenon follows an historical process that extends back to the middle 15th century when Portugal and Spain began the Atlantic Slave Trade which led to colonialism and modern day imperialism and neo-colonialism.

This year represents the 90th anniversary of the transition of V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik tendency within Social Democracy that matured into the Russian Communist Party and the October Revolution, creating the world’s first socialist state initiating the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Viewing the organized working class and its natural allies within the peasantry and the nationally oppressed as the engine of revolutionary change in the present epoch, we recognize the paramount importance of the unity of the proletariat in the western industrialized states with the peoples of the world in the struggle against global dominance of the international finance capital.

In the final chapter of Lenin’s seminal work entitled “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism”, he says that “monopoly has grown out of colonial policy. To the numerous ‘old’ motives of colonial policy, finance capital has added the struggle for the sources of raw materials, for the export of capital, for spheres of influence, i.e., for spheres for profitable deals, concessions, monopoly profits and so on, economic territory in general. When the colonies of the European powers, for instance, comprised only one-tenth of the territory of Africa(as was the case in 1876), colonial policy was able to develop—by methods other than those of monopoly—by the ‘free grabbing’ of territories, so to speak. But when nine-tenths of Africa had been seized (by 1900), when the whole world had been divided up, there was inevitably ushered in the era of monopoly possession of colonies and, consequently, of particularly intense struggle for the division and the re-division of the world.”(1916)

Of course the African people have fought against the ravages of imperialism since its inception. The destruction of the slave system during the 19th century and the anti-colonial wars of the same century along with the emergence of independent African states on the continent and in the Caribbean during the 20th century, along with the movements for Civil Rights, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism in the U.S. and other western states, illustrates the heroic role of the African workers, farmers and youth. These contributions have informed and re-shaped the contemporary outlook and contours of the anti-imperialist and socialist movements around the world.

Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism and Militarism

Despite the existence of 54 independent states on the African continent, today the principal struggle is against a new and more insidious form of exploitation and oppression, neo-colonialism. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the leading strategist and tactician of the African Revolution to emerge during the post-World War II era, not only fought for the liberation of Ghana, Africa and the unity of the continent under socialism, he observed and recorded the working of neo-colonialism noting correctly that it was U.S. imperialism that posed the greatest threat to the genuine liberation, sovereignty and unity of the people.

Nkrumah wrote in his book “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism” that “Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States, which has long exercised its power in Latin America. Fumblingly at first she turned towards Europe, and then with more certainty after World War II when most countries of that continent were indebted to her. Since then, with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world.”

It is within this context that we must examine recent developments in Burkina Faso where the masses rose up against the puppet of neo-colonialism Blaise Compaore.  On Oct. 30 millions of people gathered throughout the capital of Ouagadougou and other cities around the landlocked state in West Africa demanding the ouster of Compaore, taking over the parliament and setting it on fire.

Nonetheless, the military comprador elites representing imperialism are still seeking to maintain control of the state on behalf of the mining interests and the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). In Burkina Faso, the country has been utilized as a rear-base in the so-called “anti-terrorism” programs conducted by the Pentagon.

This struggle of the workers and youth is not confined to Burkina Faso. To the south in Ghana, workers are emerging from a general strike where the public sector was paralyzed for two weeks, and the newly-emerging oil sector was hit by a work stoppage sending chills through petroleum industry worldwide.

From Nigeria and Egypt to Zambia and South Africa, workers are demanding a living wage, decent housing, quality education and a society devoid of environmental degradation.

Through Workers World newspaper these struggles are given not only prominence but they are placed within the context of the global class war encompassing the proletariat and the oppressed internationally. Our solidarity with the global fight against imperialism is the best policy in combating institutional racism and national chauvinism.

Revolutionary Cuban Solidarity in the Response to the EVD Outbreak

The most outstanding example of solidarity with Africa is exemplified by the Socialist Cuba since the early 1960s. As Fidel Castro said in 1976, Cubans are a Latin-African people opposed to colonialism, racism and imperialism.

Cuba has once again demonstrated its solidarity with the continent in practice by responding to the latest outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in three West African states. These are not acts of charity no more than Cuba’s intervention in defense of Algeria during early years of its independence; its campaign against neo-colonialism in Congo under the direction of Che Guevara in 1965; and its deployment of 350,000 internationalist volunteers in Angola between 1975 and 1989, playing a decisive role in the overall liberation of Southern Africa from white settler-colonialism.

Today Cuba sends thousands of healthcare workers throughout Africa and the world. The Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) trains physicians internationally, even those from nationally oppressed communities in the U.S.

Over the last few months Cuba has shown the way in responding rapidly to the outbreak of EVD in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where approximately 5,000 have died and twice as many have been impacted. Cuban officials recognized along with the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), that the EVD outbreak and its devastating social and economic effects is a direct result of the legacy of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

In order to reverse the lack of healthcare infrastructure and resources in far too many African states, it will require a decisive break with imperialism. Africa must move towards socialist development in order to ensure its future.

As historical materialists we understand the difference between quantitative and qualitative development. There can be quantitative growth without real development. Although African states have experienced escalating rates of foreign direct investment (FDI), it does not necessarily translate into qualitative development in the areas of addressing the social conditions of the majority of the populations.

It is only through a delinking with imperialism and the construction of socialism that Africa, and indeed the world, will realize the abolition of poverty, economic exploitation and imperialist militarism. Through the organization of the working class and nationally oppressed in the imperialist states we can build solidarity with Africa and the peoples of the globe.

admin @ November 21, 2014

Hong Kong’s People Have Spoken – End the Protests

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Will Hong Kong’s “pro-democracy” movement heed the voice of the people and leave the streets indefinitely? Or remain there, revealing their true, self-serving agenda?

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Despite an ongoing media circus in the West portraying a “popular uprising” in Hong Kong, China – in reality the Chinese people and particularly the citizens of Hong Kong have grown tired of the unrest.

After popular demand, the Public Opinion Programme (HKU POP) of the University of Hong Kong conducted a poll asking whether or not the “Occupy Central” movement should come to an end. An overwhelming 80% said yes with HKU POP stating specifically, “almost 80% called for an end to the occupation.”

Bloomberg in their article, “Most Hong Kong People Want Pro-Democracy Protests to End Now,” would also admit:
About 68 percent of 513 respondents said the government should clear the protesters immediately, according to a survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong Nov. 17-18.
Surely, with “Occupy Central” claiming to be a “pro-democracy” movement, it will heed the will of the people and voluntarily withdraw from Hong Kong’s streets indefinitely. However, despite the wording of Bloomberg’s headline, those blocking up Hong Kong’s streets are not “pro-democracy.” The backlash against “Occupy Central” is not the Hong Kong public turning on “pro-democracy” protesters but rather the Hong Kong public understanding “Occupy Central” has nothing at all to do with democracy in the first place.

The degree to which the “Occupy Central” has been exposed as a foreign-backed political destabilization is so complete that there is little likelihood that such a destabilization will be possible in Hong Kong, or anywhere else inside of China well into the foreseeable future.

Leaders including Benny Tai and Joshua Wong have all been linked to US State Department funded organizations, projects, and campaigns. “Occupy Central” leaders including Martin Lee and Anson Chan literally were in Washington D.C. earlier this year lobbying for US support in front of the very organizations funding the political activity of virtually every prominent “Occupy Central” leader. Even HKU POP has been implicated in “dirty money” used to qualify an ad hoc referendum carried out by “Occupy Central” ahead of the recent protests.

Heed the Will of the People?

Perhaps greater evidence of “Occupy Central’s illegitimacy resides not in its documented financial and political ties to foreign interests, but rather the utter contempt in which “Occupy Central” leaders hold the Hong Kong public’s interests.

Before street unrest even began, “Occupy Central” held a “referendum” to gauge public interest in their “proposals.” Only a fifth of Hong Kong’s voting public turned out for the “referendum” which intentionally left out any possible vote to condemn the entire process or the “Occupy Central” movement promoting it. With this paltry “fifth” tentatively “behind” the movement, they took to the streets to disrupt life for the entire special administrative region.

Thousands, or even the tens of thousands the Western media claimed took to the streets at the height of the unrest still only constitutes less than one percent of Hong Kong’s total population – or in other words – “Occupy Central” isn’t an exercise in “pro-democracy” but rather an exercise in loud, violent, minorities posing as a majority.

From start to finish, “Occupy Central’s” agenda of imposing upon Beijing the British Empire’s parting demands when relinquishing control over a region it itself tolerated no “democracy” within, was never supported by the majority of Hong Kong, nor the rest of China of which Hong Kong is now a part of. Instead, it was a foreign-backed project to put a corrupt, treasonous political order into power under the guise of popular support and “democracy.”

Remember the Liars and Manipulators

Readers should take particular note of the Western media’s coverage of this now fully exposed and verified unpopular “popular movement,” understanding the litany of lies, attacks, and spin used to sell an otherwise unpalatable agenda. From Time Magazine’s promotional covers and their attempts to induct Joshua Wong into their “Person of the Year” line-up, to weepy narratives monkeying similar foreign-backed destabilizations in Ukraine and across the Middle East where the result has been bloodshed and the rise of Al Qaeda and literal Nazis.

Care must be taken in the coming days as desperate manipulators both in Hong Kong and among their foreign sponsors in the US and Europe seek to breath new life into the waning and unpopular movement. Masked men have already tried to provoke local police. Attempts to create bloodshed and martyrs may be the only step left to prevent “Occupy Central’s” total and permanent collapse.

When next CNN, the BBC, MSNBC, and their various regional satellite news organizations attempt to foist upon the public tales of “popular uprisings” that just so happen to coincidentally coincide with the West’s agenda of encircling and containing the rise of potential global competitors, “Occupy Central” and its undemocratic cluttering of Hong Kong’s streets against the will of the local population should come to mind.

Advice for Protesters

Anyone can complain. Few can actually propose apolitical solutions that will appeal to everyone regardless of political persuasion. People need jobs, healthcare, infrastructure, education, and access to the tools required to shape and influence the world around them in positive and progressive ways. None of this can be accomplished by blocking roads, complaining, or even voting.

It can be done through direct action, community projects, and other ways of organizing time and energy to produce pragmatic solutions rather than political division.

Images: Protests that don’t include programs or pragmatic solutions serve little purpose beyond creating social division, chaos, and even rolling back what is in the best interest of the general public. Real solutions rarely require protests and had young activists attracted to Wall Street’s “Occupy Central” charade attempted to pursue real solutions, they would have certainly been met by partners both across the public and government rather than the scorn and condemnation they now face.

“Occupy Central” is a documented attempt by Washington to co-opt Hong Kong’s political landscape and use it against Beijing. It hinged on manipulating well-intentioned young people to make life difficult for both the local population of Hong Kong and public administrators in Beijing. It in no way sought or attempted to achieve tangible progress for the benefit of Hong Kong – such as better streets, schools, hospitals, or job prospects, and instead centered around creating a system that would propel “Occupy Central’s” leaders into political power.

Spending months, or even years complaining, protesting, and blocking roads in order to establish “democracy” still doesn’t answer the “what” or “why” of the fight. What programs or objectives does “Occupy Central” have after they “win?” The answer is intentionally ambiguous relying on catch phrases like “freedom,” “democracy,” and “human rights,” because the reality of “proxy versus Beijing,” “Wall Street beachhead,” or “neo-colonialism” is utterly unpalatable.

When a real goal or program is actually established – such as improving access to open source educational resources for students, the creation of creative co-working spaces to encourage innovation and small businesses, or creating a network of healthy organic community gardens – ideas that will appeal to people of all political persuasions, young activists will find willing partners both across the public and the government. The idea of “protesting” rather than simply working on actual projects and programs will finally appear as absurd to these activists as the “Occupy Central” movement now appears to the vast majority of Hong Kong’s population.

admin @ November 21, 2014

The Next US Presidential Election Will Move The World Closer To War by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Posted in: NORTH AFRICA, WORLD NEWS | Comments (0)

hillary clinton globalresearch.ca

Glenn Greenwald has revealed that Hillary Clinton is the presidential candidate of the banksters and warmongers.

Pam and Russ Martens note that Elizabeth Warren is the populist alternative. I doubt that a politician who represents the people can acquire the campaign funds needed to run a campaign. If Warren becomes a threat, the Establishment will frame her with bogus charges and move her aside.

Hillary as president would mean war with Russia. With neocon nazis such as Robert Kagan and Max Boot running her war policy and with Hillary’s comparison of Russia’s president Putin to Adolf Hitler, war would be a certainty. As Michel Chossudovsky and Noam Chomsky have written, the war would be nuclear.

If Hillary is elected president, the financial gangsters and profiteering war criminals would complete their takeover of the country. It would be forever or until armageddon.

To understand what we would be getting with Hillary, recall the Clinton presidency. The Clinton presidency was transformative in ways not generally recognized. Clinton destroyed the Democratic Party with “free trade” agreements, deregulated the financial system, launched Washington’s ongoing policy of “regime change” with illegal military attacks on Yugoslavia and Iraq, and his regime used deadly force without cause against American civilians and covered up the murders with fake investigations. These were four big changes that set the country on its downward spiral into a militarized police state with massive income and wealth inequality.

One can understand why Republicans wanted the North American Free Trade Agreement, but it was Bill Clinton who signed it into law. “Free trade” agreements are devices used by US corporations to offshore their production of goods and services sold in American markets. By moving production abroad, labor cost savings increase corporate profits and share prices, bringing capital gains to shareholders and multi-million dollar performance bonuses to executives. The rewards to capital are large, but the rewards come at the expense of US manufacturing workers and the tax base of cities and states.

When plants are closed and the work shipped overseas, middle class jobs disappear. Industrial and manufacturing unions are eviscerated, destroying the labor unions that financed the Democrats’ election campaigns. The countervailing power of labor against capital was lost, and Democrats had to turn to the same sources of funding as Republicans. The result is a one party state.

The weakened tax base of cities and states has made it possible for Republicans to attack the public sector unions. Today the Democratic Party no longer exists as a political party financed by the union dues of ordinary people. Today both political parties represent the interests of the same powerful interest groups: the financial sector, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, the extractive industries, and agribusiness.

Neither party represents voters. Thus, the people are loaded up with the costs of financial bailouts and wars, while the extractive industries and Monsanto destroy the environment and degrade the food supply. Elections no longer deal with real issues such as the loss of constitutional protections and a government accountable to law. Instead the parties compete on issues such as homosexual marriage and federal funding of abortion.

Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was the initiating move followed by the removal of more constraints that allowed the financial system to transform itself into a gambling casino where bets are covered by the public and the Federal Reserve. The full consequences of this remain to be seen.

The Clinton regime’s attack on the Serbs was a war crime under international law, but it was the Yugoslavian president who tried to defend his country who was put on trial as a war criminal. When the Clinton regime murdered Randy Weaver’s family at Ruby Ridge and 76 people at Waco, subjecting the few survivors to a show trial, the regime’s crimes against humanity went unpunished. Thus did Clinton set the precedents for 14 years of Bush/Obama crimes against humanity in seven countries. Millions of people have been killed, maimed, and displaced, and it is all acceptable.

It is easy enough for a government to stir up its population against foreigners as the successes of Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama demonstrate. But the Clinton regime managed to stir up Americans against their fellows as well. When the FBI gratuitously murdered Randy Weaver’s wife and young son, propagandistic denunciations of Randy Weaver took the place of accountability. When the FBI attacked the Branch Davidians, a religious movement that split from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with tanks and poison gas, causing a fire that burned 76 people, mainly women and children, to death, the mass murder was justified by the Clinton regime with wild and unsubstantiated charges against the government’s murdered victims.

All efforts to bring accountability to the crimes were blocked. These were the precedents for the executive branch’s successful drive to secure immunity from law. This immunity has now spread to local police who routinely abuse and murder US citizens on their streets and in their homes.

Washington’s international lawlessness about which the Russian and Chinese governments increasingly complain originated with the Clinton regime. Washington’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” originated in the Clinton regime, as did the goal of “regime change” in Iraq and Washington’s illegal bombings and embargoes that costs the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, lost lives that Clinton’s Secretary of State said were justified.

The US government had done wicked things in the past. For example, the Spanish-American war was a grab for empire, and Washington has always protected the interests of US corporations from Latin American reformers, but the Clinton regime globalized the criminality. Regime change has become reckless bringing with it danger of nuclear war. It is no longer Grenada and Honduras whose governments are overthrown. Today it is Russia and China that are targeted. Former parts of Russia herself–Georgia and Ukraine–have been turned into Washington’s vassal states. Washington-financed NGOs organize “student protests” in Hong Kong, hoping that the protests will spread into China and destabilize the government. The recklessness of these interventions in the internal affairs of nuclear powers is unprecedented.

Hillary Clinton is a warmonger, and so will be the Republican candidate. The hardening anti-Russian rhetoric issuing from Washington and its punk EU puppet states places the world on the road to extinction. The arrogant neoconservatives, with their hubristic belief that the US is the “exceptional and indispensable” country, would regard a deescalation of rhetoric and sanctions as backing down. The more the neocons and politicians such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham escalate the rhetoric, the closer we come to war.

As the US government now embraces pre-emptive arrest and detention of those who might someday commit a crime, the entire cadre of neocon warmongers should be arrested and indefinitely detained before they destroy humanity.

The Clinton years produced a spate of books documenting the numerous crimes and coverups–the Oklahoma City bombing, Ruby Ridge, Waco, the FBI crime lab scandal, Vincent Foster’s death, CIA involvement in drug running, the militarization of law enforcement, Kosovo, you name it. Most of these books are written from a libertarian or conservative viewpoint as no one realized while it was happening the nature of the transformation of American governance. Those who have forgotten and those too young ever to have known owe it to themselves to acquaint or re-acquaint themselves with the Clinton years. Recently I wrote about Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s book, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton. Another book with substantial documentation is James Bovard’s Feeling Your Pain. Congress and the media aided and abetted the extensive coverups, focusing instead on the relatively unimportant Whitewater real estate deals and Clinton’s sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Clinton and his corrupt regime lied about many important things, but only his lie about his affair with Monica Lewinsky caused the House of Representatives to impeach him. By ignoring numerous substantial grounds for impeachment and selecting instead an insubstantial reason, Congress and the media were complicit in the rise of an unaccountable executive branch. This lack of accountability has brought us tyranny at home and war abroad, and these two evils are enveloping us all.

admin @ November 21, 2014

US Prepares to Sell Warships to Saudi Arabia to Help “Take Down Iran” By Bruce Gagnon

Posted in: WORLD NEWS | Comments (0)

BREAKING: U.S. Warships Headed To Persian Gulf

The American revolution was supposed to have happened because of the revulsion our ‘founding fathers’ had with the institution of ‘divine right of kings’ or monarchy.  Supposedly the new American nation went to war with England because a revolutionary ‘democracy’ was the preferred way of organizing our new nation.  (Of course the truth was that the American ‘founding fathers’ had their own dreams of empire which is just what has sadly turned out for this country.  But the mythology of America is all about our rejection of monarchy.)

Fast forward to today and we see the headlines on November 20 in the Portland Press Herald newspaper: Bath Iron Works may get Saudi ship contract worth billions.

The article reads in part:

Saudi Arabian officials say they are preparing to move forward with an upgrade to the country’s navy that could include a multibillion-dollar contract for Bath Iron Works, the Reuters news service reportedWednesday.

BIW’s DDG-51 destroyer is one of at least two ship designs being considered for the long-discussed Saudi Naval Expansion Program II, or SNEP, which has an estimated value of roughly $20 billion, Reuters said.

Patrick Dewar, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, told the news service that Saudi officials were planning to release new information over the next several months about how the country plans to proceed with SNEP.

Dewar told Reuters that the Saudis are considering whether to buy up to a dozen of Lockheed’s steel monohull Littoral Combat Ship or the larger DDG-51 destroyer built by BIW, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp.

“We are aware of the ongoing discussions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia concerning modernization of the Saudi fleet,” said BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini.

“We are in the business of building naval surface combatants and should the two governments reach an agreement on a program, we would be highly interested in pursuing that opportunity.”

Looking at a map we see the close proximity of Iran to Saudi Arabia.  We know that the Saudi monarchy wants to take down Iran (as does Israel and the US).  We know that the DDG-51 destroyer built by BIW is outfitted with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems that are key elements in US first-strike attack planning.  We know that these warships are heavily reliant on US military satellites to direct the on-board weapons systems to their targets.  Saudi Arabia does not have the military satellites nor the ground-based command and control systems to guide these weapons systems to their targets.  Thus any Saudi high-tech ships and weapons would be run through the Pentagon’s warfighting satellite system.  In other words the Saudi monarchy would be paying for the ships that would essentially augment existing US military forces now surrounding Iran in places like Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations in the region.

Most interesting of all is that US shipyard workers would be building warships for a brutal and unforgiving monarchy that is known for making ISIS look like amateurs. Saudi Arabia is one of the last places on earth where capital punishment is a public spectacle – carried out in what is called Chop Chop Square in Riyadh.

Capital and physical punishments imposed by Saudi courts, such as beheading, stoning (to death), amputation and lashing, as well as the sheer number of executions have been strongly criticized. The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, stoning or firing squad, followed by crucifixion. The 345 reported executions between 2007 and 2010 were all carried out by public beheading. The last reported execution for sorcery took place in September 2014.

Interfaith Unity Against Terrorism reports:

Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Wahabbism – the extremist thought from which all jihadist militancy now pours forth. Saudi Arabia and its Wahabbism’s militant Islamic doctrines constitute a clear and present danger to the Middle East and to the entire world. The house of Saud derives its legitimacy from religious credentials underwritten by Wahabbi clerics. Wahabbism is the creed that has fuelled all jihads –many with West’s blessings- in world’s recent memory.

You’d think that official circles in Washington would be up-in-arms about selling high-tech weapons of war to the brutal monarchy of Saudi Arabia.  But this likely $20 billion weapons sale indicates just how corrupt and immoral the US ‘experiment’ in democracy has become.  The #1 industrial export product of the US today is weapons.  The US wants to take down Iran and has made a pact with the Saudi’s to do just that.

There can be no doubt that the American dream of freedom, justice and democracy is now no more than a hollow phrase.

 Bruce K. Gagnon http://www.space4peace.org   http://space4peace.blogspot.com  (blog)

admin @ November 21, 2014