The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy.
- Carrol Quigley, Tragedy and Hope
hej då från Sverige,
There is a fascinating new study coming out of the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. http://www.levyinstitute.org / Its titled “$29,000,000,000,000: A Detailed Look at the Fed’s Bail-out by Funding Facility and Recipient” by James Felkerson. The study looks at the lending, guarantees, facilities and spending of the Federal Reserve.
The researchers took all of the individual transactions across all facilities created to deal with the crisis, to figure out how much the Fed committed as a response to the crisis. This includes direct lending, asset purchases and all other assistance. (It does not include indirect costs such as rising price of goods due to inflation, weak dollar, etc.)
The net total? As of November 10, 2011, it was $29,616.4 billion dollars — (or 29 and a half trillion, if you prefer that nomenclature). Three facilities—CBLS, PDCF, and TAF— are responsible for the lion’s share — 71.1% of all Federal Reserve assistance ($22,826.8 billion).
One comment about some of the folks pushing back against this massive total: Yes, there is a big difference between a $100 lent for 3 days, and a $100 lent overnight rolled over 2 more times. And there is an enormous difference when temporary overnight lending lasts for three years.
Overnight lending, by its definition, is temporary, short term, lower risk, modest impact. It exists to allow slightly over-extended banks to meet their reserve requirements. But rolling overnight lending repeatedly for 3 years is none of those things. And it makes a mockery of these same reserve requirements, and the protective purposes they are supposed to serve.
BERNANKE’S OBFUSCATION CONTINUES: THE FED’S $29 TRILLION BAIL-OUT OF WALL STREET
Summary of Total Cumulative Fed Commitments
When all individual transactions are summed across all facilities created to deal with the crisis, the Fed committed a total of $29,616.4 billion dollars. This includes direct lending plus asset purchases. Table 1 depicts the cumulative amounts for all facilities; any amount outstanding as of November 10, 2011 is in parentheses below the total in Table 1. Three facilities—CBLS, PDCF, and TAF—overshadow all other facilities, and make up 71.1 percent ($22,826.8 billion) of all assistance.
Table 1: Cumulative facility totals, in billions
Source: Federal Reserve
Facility Total Percent of total
Term Auction Facility $3,818.41 12.89%
Central Bank Liquidity Swaps 10,057.4(1.96) 33.96
Single Tranche Open Market Operation 855 2.89
Terms Securities Lending Facility and Term Options Program 2,005.7 6.77
Bear Stearns Bridge Loan 12.9 0.04
Maiden Lane I 28.82(12.98) 0.10
Primary Dealer Credit Facility 8,950.99 30.22
Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility 217.45 0.73
Commercial Paper Funding Facility 737.07 2.49
Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility 71.09(.794) 0.24
Agency Mortgage-Backed Security Purchase Program 1,850.14(849.26) 6.25
AIG Revolving Credit Facility 140.316 0.47
AIG Securities Borrowing Facility 802.316 2.71
Maiden Lane II 19.5(9.33) 0.07
Maiden Lane III 24.3(18.15) 0.08
AIA/ ALICO 25 0.08
Totals $29,616.4 100.0%
Source: “$29,000,000,000,000: A Detailed Look at the Fed’s Bail-out by Funding Facility and Recipient” by James Felkerson, forthcoming, Levy Economics Institute, based on data analysis conducted with Nicola Matthews for the Ford Foundation project “A Research And Policy Dialogue Project On Improving Governance Of The Government Safety Net In Financial Crisis”.
The corrupt, privately controlled central banks of the world, especially the US Federal Reserve, BoE, ECB, and the big granddaddy of them all, the BIS, have to be taken down, or they will bring down the entire global financial system. The nexus of private banks, the central banks, and the politicians that they own through control of sovereign debt is the biggest multi-variate threat to humanity that the world has ever seen. They have the power to literally start civil and global wars to ensure that they retain the whip-hand over all the chattel debt slaves (aka citizens) of the world.
They control the corporations and governments (and thus the militaries) who are destroying the planet through resource exhaustion, GMO totalitarian food-cycle manipulation, bio-pharma schemes of both profit and population reduction, nuclear radiation pollution, nation-bankrupting and destroying empiric wars and the resultant industrial arms complex, as well as a crushingly effective race to the bottom in terms of standards of living reductions for the entire developed world.
End their dominance asap or they most assuredly will kill/incapacitate (or enslave with chains of debt) all who resist. They will remove not just the means to resist, but the very will to resist. The longer humanity waits, the less the chances of success are. They already have a track-trace-database police state grid of surveillance and control partially erected (and growing every day), they already put to use thousands of years of cumulative knowledge of mass societal manipulation tactics (both overt and covert), and they will never, ever stop increasing the amount of financialisation, commoditisation, and debt-based slavery in all spheres of endeavour. It is etched into these systemic controller's DNA.
Probably far more anticipated than the monetary announcements out of BOE (which just announced it is keeping rates at a record low of 0.5%, but no more QE), or even the ECB, and certainly far more than the latest and not greatest European summit which begins today, is the 9am testimony out of the House Agriculture Committee by one "Honorable" Jon S. Corzine, as well as the Q&A that will follow. Naturally the Q&A will be the focus, but as for the prepared remarks, they have just been released and are presented below.
The choice selection: "Obviously on the forefront of everyone’s mind – including mine – are the varying reports that customer accounts have not been reconciled. I was stunned when I was told on Sunday, October 30, 2011, that MF Global could not account for many hundreds of millions of dollars of client money. I remain deeply concerned about the impact that the unreconciled and frozen funds have had on MF Global’s customers and others. As the chief executive officer of MF Global, I ultimately had overall responsibility for the firm. I did not, however, generally involve myself in the mechanics of the clearing and settlement of trades, or in the movement of cash and collateral.
Nor was I an expert on the complicated rules and regulations governing the various different operating businesses that comprised MF Global. I had little expertise or experience in those operational aspects of the business. Again, I want to emphasize that, since my resignation from MF Global on November 3, 2011, I have not had access to the information that I would need to understand what happened. It is extremely difficult for me to reconstruct the events that occurred during the chaotic days and the last hours leading up to the bankruptcy filing....I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date. I do not know which accounts are unreconciled or whether the unreconciled accounts were or were not subject to the segregation rules.
Moreover, there were an extraordinary number of transactions during MF Global’s last few days, and I do not know, for example, whether there were operational errors at MF Global or elsewhere, or whether banks and counterparties have held onto funds that should rightfully have been returned to MF Global." Translation - he pleads da FIF.
Exclusive Interview – Jim Willie: “The Public Will Not Wake Up Until At Least One Million Private Accounts Are Stolen”
I had the chance to speak with the “Golden Jackass” this afternoon out of Costa Rica, namely, Jim Willie, publisher of the Hat Trick Letter. It was a riveting interview, as Jim’s global information and news sources paint a blackening financial future for participants in the Western financial system. According to Jim, US & European investors are at incredible risk. “The entire financial system of the Western world is imploding,” said Jim. “There is exponentially rising risks for individuals and their money…the risk right now–is people losing their entire life savings. I cannot seem to get people to understand this”.
As we began discussing the MF Global collapse, Jim articulated his belief in a financial slight-of hand originating from “notice to deliver” requests for gold and silver submitted through MF before the collapse, which had the potential to cause a Comex delivery default. “Comex was ready to default on gold and silver in November, and rather than honor the notices for delivery, JP Morgan stole the funds in the accounts that were calling for delivery…notices for delivery were replaced by stolen accounts.” The evidence of this according to Jim is that, “JPM increased the amount of silver in their registered vaults by precisely the amount that was suppose to be delivered… JPM effectively averted both a Comex default and a European Sovereign Debt implosion.”
Before closing Jim provided a stark warning, saying, “Several million private accounts may vanish – Brokerage accounts, Pension funds, Mutual funds, they’re all at risk. We are getting into the middle stages of implosion, where I believe the public will not wake up until at least one million private accounts are stolen, and completely vanish. “ This was a truly sobering interview, and given the real losses borne by MF Global account holders in the past month, Jim’s comments cannot be taken lightly.
To listen to the interview, left click the following link and/or right click and “save target as” or “save link as” to to your desktop: http://bullmarketthinking.com/wp-content/u...
MF Global and the great Wall St re-hypothecation scandal
(Business Law Currents) A legal loophole in international brokerage regulations means that few, if any, clients of MF Global are likely to get their money back. Although details of the drama are still unfolding, it appears that MF Global and some of its Wall Street counterparts have been actively and aggressively circumventing U.S. securities rules at the expense (quite literally) of their clients.
MF Global's bankruptcy revelations concerning missing client money suggest that funds were not inadvertently misplaced or gobbled up in MF’s dying hours, but were instead appropriated as part of a mass Wall St manipulation of brokerage rules that allowed for the wholesale acquisition and sale of client funds through re-hypothecation. A loophole appears to have allowed MF Global, and many others, to use its own clients’ funds to finance an enormous $6.2 billion Eurozone repo bet. If anyone thought that you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too in the world of finance, MF Global shows how you can have your cake, eat it, eat someone else’s cake and then let your clients pick up the bill. Hard cheese for many as their dough goes missing.
Current estimates for the shortfall in MF Global customer funds have now reached $1.2 billion as revelations break that the use of client money appears widespread. Up until now the assumption has been that the funds missing had been misappropriated by MF Global as it desperately sought to avoid bankruptcy. Sadly, the truth is likely to be that MF Global took advantage of an asymmetry in brokerage borrowing rules that allow firms to legally use client money to buy assets in their own name - a legal loophole that may mean that MF Global clients never get their money back.
First a quick recap. By now the story of MF Global’s demise is strikingly familiar. MF plowed money into an off-balance-sheet maneuver known as a repo, or sale and repurchase agreement. A repo involves a firm borrowing money and putting up assets as collateral, assets it promises to repurchase later. Repos are a common way for firms to generate money but are not normally off-balance sheet and are instead treated as “financing” under accountancy rules............
Full calendar year 2011 numbers are now available to calculate the results for the Social Security Trust Fund. Here's a look at the key numbers that will be reported to Congress in four months:
Payroll Tax Revenue: $669B ($642B - 2010)
Benefit payments: $726B ($702B - 2010)
Primary Deficit: $57B ($60B - 2010)
Other cash components at SSA:
Tax on benefits: $23B (2010 - $24b)
Payments to R.R. Retirement: $4.6B ($4.4B - 2010)
Overhead: $7.0B ($6.5B - 2010)
Net 2011 cash drain: $46B ($49B - 2010)
Non cash items
Interest: $116B ($117.5B - 2010)
Paper surplus: $70.0B ($68.5B - 2010)
The reported numbers will show a very small improvement ($3B ) in the net cash drain. This may cause some to look at the 2011 results and say, “See! Things are stabilizing and even getting better!” Let me try to blunt any enthusiasm in advance.
SSA measures (A) actual monthly cash receipts and then (B) makes assumptions about what additional amounts are coming in based on a series of macro assumptions (GDP, employment/unemployment, etc.). The Treasury Department pays SSA the sum of A+B. Ultimately all of the money is accounted for and any adjustments (plus or minus) are reflected in the next year's results.
This system works pretty well as the annual adjustments have been fairly modest and the adjustments have been both positive and negative. That was not the case in 2009. The models that SSA uses significantly overestimated tax revenues in that year. As a result, there were very significant downward revisions to the actual receipts that were reported in 2009. Following is a slide of SSA’s monthly 2010 revenues. Note that the revisions to FICA and SECA from the prior years totaled $28B. (2009 and 2011 also have significant prior year adjustments.)
To regularize the data for the big accounting changes it is necessary to add/subtract the adjustment from the prior year and then look forward to what overstatements/understatements were made in the then current year. When the ins and outs are made, the results for the regularized FICA/SECA revenue numbers are as follows:
The following chart shows adjusted Payroll Tax revenues minus Benefit Payments:
It appears the GOP candidates are dropping like flies: first that one crazy guy, then Cain, and now... Mitt Romney? According to a Boston Globe article, paraphrased by Reuters, the GOP frontrunner (or is that second after Gingrich now: nobody really knows any more), spent $100,000, not of his own money but state funds, to "replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret. When Romney left the governorship of Massachusetts, 11 of his aides bought the hard drives of their state-issued computers to keep for themselves.
Also before he left office, the governor's staff had emails and other electronic communications by Romney's administration wiped from state servers, state officials say. Those actions erased much of the internal documentation of Romney's four-year tenure as governor, which ended in January 2007. Precisely what information was erased is unclear." Odd: almost as if he had something to hide...
Yet something tells us the other side of those emailed correspondences will still be there: alive and kicking, somewhere on the archived servers of Bain Capital, and a few prominent health insurance companies (and of course Goldman Sachs, because Goldman Sachs is everywhere). Naturally, one would need a subpoena to get those. And for that one would need a reason to assume something is illegal. Luckily, wiping your hard disks while a servant of the people is perfectly normal in a banana republic. Now just who does Ron Paul have to murder in broad daylight while having sex with Snooki before the general media finally decides he is worthy of a shot at this whole farce?
Reuters with more: Romney staff spent nearly $100,000 to hide records
The U.S. military has some of the most advanced killing equipment in the world that allows it to invade almost wherever it likes at will.
We produce so much military equipment that inventories of military robots, M-16 assault rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers eventually start to pile up and it turns out a lot of these weapons are going straight to American police forces to be used against US citizens.
Benjamin Carlson at The Daily http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/12/05/12... / reports on a little known endeavor called the "1033 Program" http://www.justnet.org/Pages/1033.aspx that gave more than $500 million of military gear to U.S. police forces in 2011 alone. 1033 was passed by Congress in 1997 to help law-enforcement fight terrorism and drugs, but despite a 40-year low in violent crime, police are snapping up hardware like never before. While this year's staggering take topped the charts, next year's orders are up 400 percent over the same period.
This upswing coincides with an increasingly military-like style of law enforcement most recently seen in the Occupy Wall Street crackdowns. http://www.businessinsider.com/tampa-polic...
Tim Lynch, director of the Cato Institute's project on criminal justice told The Daily, http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/12/05/12... / “The trend toward militarization was well under way before 9/11, but it’s the federal policy of making surplus military equipment available almost for free that has poured fuel on this fire.”
EU to America:Thanks for the early Yuletide present: Fed To Fund IMF,Bypassing Congressional Refusal
(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve, along with the 17 euro zone national central banks, may help provide the International Monetary Fund with funds that could be used to aid debt-ridden states, a German newspaper said.
Die Welt cited sources close to the negotiations as saying the euro zone central banks could pay at least 100 billion euros ($134.2 billion) into a special fund that could be used for programs for nations struggling to control their debts.
"Also other central banks, for example the U.S. Federal Reserve, are apparently prepared to finance a part of the costs," the paper said in an advance copy of an article to appear on Monday. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may discuss the idea in the coming weeks when he visits Europe, the paper said.
Officials had said on Saturday that talks on the size of loans from euro zone central banks were starting at a technical level after finance ministers from the currency union gave the go-ahead to explore the idea. The idea is for the IMF to be able to match the new firepower of the euro zone bailout fund, which is being leveraged.
Other central banks such as the U.S. Federal Reserve seems to be willing to finance part of the costs . U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will come to Europe this week, to meet with political leaders and central bankers. Such a rescue fund could be said to be a part of the plans, want Angela Merkel (CDU) and Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris to discuss.
Germany is prepared to soften language in the euro zone's permanent bailout mechanism compelling bondholders to accept losses in exchange for much stricter budget rules, four sources have told Reuters.
The shift would not completely remove the possibility of private bondholders having to accept losses in the future, but it would align the statutes of the European Stability Mechanism more closely with IMF rules, creating a more-level playing field for private buyers of euro zone sovereign debt.
The hope is that will reassure private bondholders that they are not being singled out for losses by European policymakers, bolstering their confidence in buying euro zone bonds - and potentially helping Italy and other under-pressure borrowers.
Zero Hedge's http://www.zerohedge.com/news/latest-rumor... take:
"Yet there is one difference: whereas Germany is appealing to Europe's people to voluntarily hand over their freedom and sovereignty to Merkel, the Fed is acting on the assumption that it already has these in hand. Luckily, none of this matters as there is football night... then Dancing with the Stars night... then Jersey Shore night... then rinse and repeat..........."
Sweden's Safest as Crisis Upends Bond Market(High Taxes,Strong Regulation=Wealth Equality=Stability)
Sweden is enjoying its lowest borrowing cost ever relative to Germany as investors reward the biggest Scandinavian economy for cutting its debt to less than half Europe’s average and enforcing discipline at its banks. “Everybody is basically fleeing the euro area, not Europe,” said Georg Andersen, the managing director of the banking unit of Nykredit A/S in Copenhagen, Europe’s biggest issuer of mortgage-backed covered debt. “The Nordic area stands out as a safe haven.”
Almost two decades after resolving its last banking crisis, Sweden boasts the world’s best-performing bond market. The country, which opted to stay outside the euro, has paid down its debts and imposed stricter controls on its lenders. Sweden’s government made a profit on its 2008 financial rescue, will post a budget surplus this year and pays less than any other European Union member to borrow for 10 years.
Sweden’s success lies in part in its focus on income equality, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in an interview last month. Sweden has the world’s highest tax burden as a percentage of gross domestic product after Denmark. The two countries also boast some of the most equal income distributions in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Sweden’s financial regulator will require the country’s biggest banks to target capital buffers of at least 10 percent of their risk-weighted assets by 2013, with the ratio rising to 12 percent two years later. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision sets a minimum target of 7 percent by 2019. Sweden’s government says the more rigorous capital standards are necessary to protect taxpayers from potential losses.
All the news from Fukushima is very bad. This will continue for the rest of our lives. Like Chernobyl, the tendency for urgency will drop over time as people get used to the mess and a fatalist feeling of nothing can be done spreads deeper and deeper just like the present ‘China syndrome’ (sic) event. Of course, this movement towards the center of the earth due to gravity means it will metaphorically come out the other side in the US, not China.
The fact remains, we are possibly witnessing something much more dangerous than Chernobyl. Chernobyl dumped immense amounts of toxins and radiation across all of Europe. But Fukushima is more insidious: it is entering the water table of the biggest ocean on earth, the Pacific, and Japan’s water table which the population needs to use for business, agriculture and living in general.
Just this week, TEPCO released, only in Japanese, a report on this China Syndrome event. They finally have admitted to what I claimed would happen: the containment vessels are being systematically eaten by a molten mass of core materials. They are, as I explained in the past, chemically reacting with cement which is not rock but rather, is a water-permeable material that reacts to heat which is why fireproof materials have to be used when building incinerators, for example.
Here is one news story from this last two weeks about the continuing dangers at Fukushima. The Dragons that live in these reactors have to be groomed and fed water or they will roar back into full bellow: Architect of Reactor 3 warns of massive hydrovolcanic explosion | Fukushima Diary. http://fukushima-diary.com/2011/11/archite...
China Syndrome discussed in multiple news reports: Closer than previously believed to burning through ground below reactor
Molten nuclear fuel in one reactor at Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant burned through the steel pressure vessel and three-quarters of the surrounding concrete containment vessel that formed the reactor’s last substantial internal barrier.
The revelation of the near “China Syndrome” meltdown is yet another revision of the severity of the disaster <...>
The operator and the government agencies in charge of regulating the nuclear industry have consistently underestimated the severity of events at the plant.
Keiji Miyazaki, a professor emeritus of nuclear engineering at Osaka University, told The Wall Street Journal that questions now had to be posed about why it took so long to come up with a way to cool this reactor. “There has to be a long period of time without any (cooling) water being injected into the reactor for the fuel to melt through the concrete bottom,” he said.
Japan’s tsunami-hit Fukushima plant’s reactor was perilously close to full meltdown, ANI, Dec. 1, 2011:
<...> TEPCO and the Japanese Government have revealed for the first time that the nuclear fuel rods in reactor Number 1 likely melted completely, burning a hole through one surrounding vessel and eating through up to three-quarters of the concrete base at the bottom <...>
That brought the fuel closer than previously believed to breaching the containment vessel and continuing to burn through the ground below, a catastrophic scenario sometimes described as the “China Syndrome” <...>
Earlier, TEPCO had said only that it thought unit Number 1′s fuel was more than half melted, and that some had fallen into the containment vessel.
The findings are the latest reminder of how dangerous the mid-March accident at Fukushima Daiichi was and how much remains unknown. <...>
Remember what Kyoto University professor Hiroaki Koide told the News York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/world/as... “This is still an overly optimistic simulation (by Tepco and Japan gov't ...) even by their own simulation, it’s very borderline.”
MHLW ignores the medical statistics of Fukushima and a part of Miyagi, Yahoo Japan posting says leukemia up 7 times from last year — Champion wrestler who trained in Fukushima diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) conducts a patient survey every 3 years.
However, it turned out that they eliminated the data of Fukushima and a part of Miyagi from their statistics this time.
Date: Nov. 21
Survey of medical association of each local government
April through October
Leukemia cases have increased 7 times since last year
Chairman of medical association said that the connection between unusual increase of leukemia and Fukushima is not clear
60% of the total leukemia cases are acute leukemia (highest ratio since 1978, when they started taking this survey)
80% of the patients are from Northern Japan and the Kanto area
Fukushima has highest rate, then Ibaraki, Tochigi, Tokyo
To clear up this “confusion”, a Japanese citizen asked Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for the truth, to which they replied that they take all patients statistics but that this year they eliminated the data from Fukushima and a part of Miyagi from the whole statistics report.
They say it is to support the reconstruction of Fukushima and Miyagi, but we all know that in reality abandoning the survey only makes the situation worse.
On 3/11, earthquake and Tsunami hit Miyagi and Iwate for most of the part while Fukushima suffers from radiation mostly.
If they really wanted to try to “help reconstruction efforts” (sic), they should eliminate the data of those three prefectures, with Iwate and Miyagi given a higher priority.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare does not give any more specific reasons why.
A Wrestler in Fukushima got acute myelocytic leukemia, Fukushima Diary by Mochizuki, December 1, 2011:
Won silver medal at Asian wrestling league in Koshu last year
30 years old
Belongs to a company in Iwaki Fukushima (Source) where he used to train.
Felt ill in early September
Diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia during a medical test on 9/10/2011
Two bills are moving through the Senate and the House at the moment, aimed at creating a host of new controls and regulations over the internet, and threatening to change the way everybody does business and interacts online. SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, is the House’s attempt to severely censor the internet ostensibly in order to clamp down on piracy. The companion bill in the Senate is the Protect IP Act. The two bills create an armada of new regulations that help big corporations and hurt regular people, start-ups, and clamp down on innovation.
In the Senate, Democratic senator Patrick Leahy is leading the push to pass Protect IP. In the House, Republican congressman Lamar Smith is leading the charge for SOPA. Over at the Daily Kos, kos http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/28/1... -(no-hyperbole)?via=search writes:
“This bill would’ve been rushed through with no debate through both chambers had it not been for the singular efforts of Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a true hero of grassroots media and the social web. Wyden has put a hold on the bill in the Senate, and has promised a full filibuster. Currently, there appear to be 60 votes to overcome that filibuster, but the delaying tactics would tie up the Senate for a full week. And if it doesn’t pass this year, supporters have to start from scratch all over again next year—this time under the full glare of a spotlight.
Wyden is now being joined with Sens. Maria Cantwell of Washington, Jerry Moran of Kansas (he’s a senator that exists) and Rand Paul of Kentucky (even a stopped clock …).
Ten years ago in America, War Party fervor was on the rise, the media was in tow, and many a liberal was on board. Thus began the Bush-Cheney era, one of the darkest moments in American history. Those years seem like only yesterday, probably because on matters of substance – keeping the perpetual war machine going, undermining personal freedoms and the rule of law, encouraging environmental indifference while courting ecological disaster, and making the world safe for the corporate “persons” who own our duopoly party system — the Obama administration has been more or less continuous with George W. Bush’s.
What seems unreal was that brief interlude, begun just four winters ago as the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries loomed, and lasting into the summer of 2009, when liberal hearts and minds succumbed to the belief that Barack Obama would put an end to decades of Reaganite (neolibleral) depredations, and that we could then take up where the New Deal and Great Society left off. That Obamamaniacal moment now seems a lifetime away.
Obamamania was always an illusion in Freud’s sense, an expression of an unconscious wish. Freud also spoke of delusions, illusions held in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Before Election Day 2008, Obamamania was only an ordinary illusion to which liberals, trade unionists and, of course, persons of color were especially susceptible. By Inauguration Day, as the President-elect’s choices for top positions became known, Obamamania took on a more delusional aspect.
It was in this spirit that the liberal commentariat invoked pop historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s account of Lincoln’s war cabinet, a “team of rivals.” The idea was that the administration over which Obama would preside was not what it plainly was turning out to be; that Obama’s plan was to take advantage of the expertise of the Clintonites he picked to run foreign and domestic policy, while he, the wise and competent leader, would ride herd, assuring progressive outcomes. It soon became apparent that this argument was of mainly clinical interest; that the pundits promoting it were just making Obama appear Lincolnesque by artlessly interpreting reams of evidence to the contrary. No wonder, that we heard little more about Obama’s team of rivals once his presidency got underway.
Many of us have wondered if directed to; would our own military turn on us? It appears that this is the plan and has been all along, yet the question remains……would they actually do it if ordered to? S.1867, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d1... National Defense Authorization Act bill. Senators Carl Levin (D) MI and John McCain (R) AZ, are bringing this bill to the Senate floor on Monday after having held secret committee meetings while never holding even one hearing on this bill which authorizes military action against US citizens, right here in the United States.
When this bill passes with these police state provisions included (I believe it will) you can expect your senator who voted “yes” on the bill to maintain that they only did so because otherwise the funding for the wars would have ceased (we could only hope) and they have to continue to fight the terrorists, terrorism, or what ever lame excuse pops into their heads to explain why they voted to pass what is clearly a police state bill. The bill itself was drafted in secret and I believe it would be to our benefit to know who actually drafted that bill. Who were the “stakeholders” who actually wrote the bill introduced by these two traitorous senators. We know they didn’t write it, they never do. All bills are written by stakeholders who blow through the doors of congress carry bags of cash to buy the support of politicians who make their living selling off our rights along with anything else that isn’t nailed down.
S.1867 includes these provisions highlighted by the ACLU:
If enacted, sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d1... : would:
1) Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside theUnited States;
(2) Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and
(3) Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.
The last time we met Michael Bérubé on this site was back in 2007, and he was up to his neck in a rubbish dump, where I’d placed him, in the company of other promoters of the 2003 war on Iraq: where, I asked, are those parlor warriors now? Had any of them reconsidered their illusions…
“… that all it would take was a brisk invasion and a new constitution, to put Iraq to rights? Have any of them, from Makiya through Hitchens to Berman and Bérubé had dark nights, asking themselves just how much responsibility they have for the heaps of dead in Iraq, for a plundered nation, for the American soldiers who died or were crippled in Iraq at their urging ? Sometimes I dream of them… like characters in a Beckett play, buried up to their necks in a rubbish dump on the edge of Baghdad, reciting their columns to each other as the local women turn over the corpses to see if one of them is her husband or her son.”
Who’s this Bérubé, you ask. Well, for starters he’s the Paterno Family Professor in Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. Penn State’s website informs us that “named professorships provide support for a focused area and are funded by gifts from individual donors,” which means that Bérubé has long been on Joe Paterno’s payroll – as things have turned out an ironic status for someone who’s spent a fair slice of his time barking and snapping his jaws at “the left” for innumerable failures stemming from moral equivocation and blindness to reality. Now that famed football coach Joe Paterno has been fired from Penn State for protecting one of his assistants, Jerry Sandusky, suspected of raping a ten-year old boy, amidst many other suspected assaults on youths under Sandusky’s supervision, we must await Bérubé’s assessment of how it feels to have been the kept man of this fallen idol. Does the title “Paterno Family Professor” remain ensconced on Bérubé’s formal letterhead?
Down the years Bérubé has fostered a niche speciality in trashing what he’s pleased to call “the left,” somewhat in the manner of Todd Gitlin, who – perched on the credential of having once been an SDS president — wrote so many worthy articles bashing this same left in the Sixties and issuing stentorian warnings against any such lapses amid the youth of later epochs that eventually he parlayed his services to decorous establishment thinking into a professorship of journalism and sociology at Columbia University.
Now Bérubé has launched an attack http://www.thepointmag.com/2011/politics/l... on the “left” for its anti-NATO conduct during the recent upheavals in Libya, during which the current National Transitional Council of Libya has been installed under the supervision of this same NATO. On this site this weekend David Gibbs http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/25/the... deals capably with some of the major follies in Bérubé’s critique, but since the latter inscribes me in his roster of shame, I think a few comments are in order, starting with the obvious fact that Bérubé, eager to preserve his cred as thoughtful progressive critic of Left Excess, has had recourse to wholesale invention. The most obvious fact about what passes for the Left in the US and Europe regarding the entire Libyan saga was that it was only a few notches short of unanimity in endorsing the entire NATO-backed enterprise.
A Reply to Michael Bérubé
The “Decent Left” and the Libya Intervention
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