DaniMartExtras, Too

ALTERNATIVE NEWS NETWORK

REAL NEWS March 07

Posted by Xaniel777 on March 6, 2012

TODAY’S NEWS : March 07, 2012

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US will ensure Israel’s “military superiority”: Panetta

( And let’s not forget, that Panetta is a minion kiss ass for ‘ THE ELITE ‘ )~~ Xaniel777

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{ XANIELS NOTE : After seeing these numbers ( by Mike Rivero – see comment below ), and knowing of the Billions upon Billions of dollars and military hardware given to Israel already, one might begin to realize that ‘ WE THE PEOPLE ‘, who’s money has/is being diverted to Israel, are actually the ‘ OWNERS OF ISRAEL ‘.( of course by this same logic, I guess that China could claim the U.S. as well, never the less… )

As such, I declare Israel a very bad investment and vote we shut it down.

Upon it’s closure, we can divert all the Israeli citizens ( who will only have their own leaders and the leaders of the U.S. to thank for this) to the Palestinian unemployment lines, where they can hob-nob and rub elbows with the very people that they have been committing ‘ CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY ‘ against!

We can place our U.S. leaders in that same line and start over !

Won’t that be something to see. And from that perspective I say, ” MONEY WELL SPENT IF IT ACCOMPLISHES THAT GOAL, WHICH HAS BEEN LONG OVER DUE!!” }~~ Xaniel777
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From Aletho News
ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Al Akhbar | March 6, 2012

The United States will ensure Israel retains “military superiority” over its adversaries as the country faces the potential threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

“This is an ironclad pledge which says that the United States will provide whatever support is necessary for Israel to maintain military superiority over any state or coalition of states, as well as non-state actors,” Panetta told the top pro-Israel lobby in Washington, AIPAC.

He touted President Barack Obama’s record of security assistance to Israel, saying the administration has “dramatically” increased military aid since Obama entered the White House in 2009, despite the superpower’s ongoing economic woes.

“This year, the president’s budget requests US$3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel, compared to US$2.5 billion in 2009,” said Panetta, according to a prepared text of the speech delivered to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Panetta cited advanced missile and rocket defenses and plans to deliver the new F-35 fighter jet to Israel, which he said would provide the country with “unquestioned” air superiority.

But amid growing speculation that Israel may conduct a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, Panetta made no mention of more powerful “bunker buster” bombs that Israel would need to reach some deeply buried targets.

It remains unclear if the Pentagon has provided Israel with the most powerful conventional bomb in the US arsenal, the massive ordnance penetrator (MOP), which the Air Force says could strike facilities 200 feet underground.

The Pentagon chief echoed comments by Obama on Sunday, saying the United States would not tolerate Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and was ready to take military action if necessary.

“Let me be clear: We do not have a policy of containment – we have a policy of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said to applause from members of AIPAC.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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COMMENT BY : Mike Rivero of WRH.com

US Government budget :

Schools CANCELED

Hospitals CANCELED

Roads CANCELED

Bridges CANCELED

Flood control CANCELED

Veteran’s benefits CANCELED
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Bombs for Israel $1923648264729831

Warplanes for Israel $02347503247598043

Cruise Missiles for Israel $2340957230475

Harpoon Missiles for Israel $9864598236498752

Chemical weapons for Israel $2937452374805720

Radars for Israel $239475370458

Missile defense systems for Israel $2390845720375

Warships for Israel $203945238

Surveillance satellites for Israel $29348572964988
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~~ MIKE R.

END

The hunt is on, cabal arrests accelerating

From Benjamin Fulford’s Blog

March 05, 2012

The ongoing financial war is accelerating with arrests and assassinations being seen on both sides. George Bush Senior and Bill Gates were arrested last week for sabotaging the new financial system after being fingered by Timothy Geithner, pentagon sources say. The Federal Reserve Board crime syndicate cabalists for their part murdered Lord James Blackheath on February 29th, after he denounced their theft of $15 trillion in the British House of Lords. The White Dragon Society, meanwhile has put out an all points bulletin seeking the immediate arrest for questioning of former Hong Kong Police Chief Peter Stevens.

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Stevens is wanted on charges of smuggling into Japan the nuclear weapon that was used for the 311, 2011 nuclear and tsunami attack against Japan. Stevens is currently located at the Puerto Galera yacht club in the Philippines.

The gnostic illuminati family and the hacker group anonymous have also agreed to join forces with the White Dragon Society with a program of attacks on Monsanto and other cabal strongholds. The Rockefellers, Krugers, Openheimers, Mellons, Warburgs, Rothschilds, Bushes, Morgans and other cabal families will be systematically hunted down and rounded up if they do not surrender within the month of March.

Become a member and finish reading this story at :  Weekly Geopolitical News and Analys

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03/05/2012  UPDATED :

Update on the “death” of Lord James Blackheath. The just published Weekly Geopolitical News and Analysis20120305 states that Lord James Blackheath was murdered by the cabal. The source for this information was a member of the Rothschild family. The Wikipedia entry on Lord Blackheath also stated that he died on February 29th. However, a spokesperson for the House of Lords in the UK said that “as far as we know he is alive and well.”

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OTHER NEWS, QUESTIONS, ECT. from Benjamin Fulford’s BLOG :

03/07/2012

RE: Some questions

 Dear Benjamin,

I would want to believe that such an organisation, White Dragon Society, exists. But as much as I would like to believe it, I find it very hard to believe.

So how do I know how if I could trust you?
What proof can you deliver of this White Dragon Society and if they’re so secret why do they let you spill all the beans?

And also, why on earth would you put links on your website referring to the 9/11 Truth movement, which is most ridiculous movement ever, considering it’s all intelligence people trying to cover up the real reasons of 9/11. 

I have at this point absolutely no reason whatsoever to trust you.

I saw a comment of you on a website telling about a secret meeting of 57 countries about creating a new financial system. If it was so secret, why did you know about it? I find it very hard to believe people are gonna tell you, so you can spill the beans all over the internet and probably blow their cover.

So give me some answers, are you not a member of the Knight of Malta, any other knighthood like the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, or are you not schooled at a Jesuit university of some sort?

Of course you won’t answer this question if it would be true, but still I will ask.

I hope you are not creating yet another smokescreen for the Illuminati, because if you do you will for sure burn in hell when Christ will return to earth. 
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ANSWER :

Greetings.

Thanks for the cynical e-mail. 

First of all, the White Dragon Society will prove itself to be real with action not words. Do not believe in it until you see the results for yourself.

 
The 911 truth movement has functioned like a portal into which people, if they follow the trail, get led to the truth about the secret government and secret societies.

Of course it is also used as a distraction by disinformation agents. 

The meeting of 57 countries was not secret. However, the media in the West is controlled by 5 corporations all linked to the banking cabal. They did not report it because it was a meeting designed to end their financial monopoly. 

Although I have met Knights of Malta, and some seem to be genuinely good people (others would fit into the evil category), I have not joined any knightly order except for the red and the blue as well as the White Dragon. 

I did go to the Jesuit run Sophia University for 3 1/2 years. The Jesuits I personally met there seemed to be nice, if somewhat superstitious. However, I did not join the Jesuits and never heard about the Jesuit oath until years later. I find the Jesuit Oath from the 15th century to be abhorrent. 

As far as waiting for Christ or aliens or whatever to come and save us is concerned I believe the first thing Christ would do if he returned would be to ask people to save themselves. It is up to us all as individuals to do what we personally can (it does not have to be big) to make the world a better place. 

Sincerely,

Benjamin Fulford

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QUESTION :

RE: How to prepare

 Hi,

I have been reading about the changes that are occurring from Benjamin
and a variety of other sources.  What suggestions do you have to

prepare for what is to come?  I live in America and I have a family

with small children.  My concern is whether or not I need to prepare
with food, supplies etc. or if that is unnecessary.
 
Thank you,

 Julie

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ANSWER :

Hi Julie,

It seems unlikely now that anything really bad is going to happen. However, it is always good to have a couple of big sacks of rice and a sack of beans to have as a food supply in case the financial crisis causes a temporary disruption in the supply chain. 
You might also locate a rural place your family could go to in the unlikely case things got really bad and war seemed imminent. 

Benjamin Fulford

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QUESTION :

RE: Question

Hello Ben,

Thank you for all your good information. I have a question on this weeks update regarding the arrest of Bush Sr. 

He and his wife were in the movie theater in Houston on Friday of last week. They were with SS men. So when was his arrest?

I live in Houston and my girlfriend was at the movie theater when they all came in.

He is out and about albeit maybe he is under the control of the secret service.

I am curious as this man is nasty.

Regards,

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ANSWER :

Thanks for that information. My understanding is that Bush, Kissinger etc. are out and about but always have a US marshall with them. They are not allowed to do things like flee to their Paraguayan hideouts.

However, I urge anybody out there who physically sees these people to take pictures or videos and if possible ask them questions. The rules of journalism are that if they are on public land (like a sidewalk) you can ask them a question. Ask them why they support genocide or whatever else you want to ask them.

Benjamin Fulford

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END

AG Eric Holder Says Targeted Killing of US Citzens, Without Due Process, Is Legal and Constitutional

 

From Scotty Starnes’s Blog

My Politically Incorrect Point of View

March 6, 2012 by Scotty Starnes

The United States Constitution and the 5th Amendment disagrees.

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property,without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Nowhere does the U.S. Constitution grant the government the power to be judge, jury and executioner. The Constitution calls for separation of powers for this very reason. It’s a system of checks and balances.

This legal opinion shows the hypocrisy of Team Obama and liberals in general. Waterboarding a known terrorist who bragged about killing 3,000 Americans is unconscionable and inhumane. Killing US citizens without due process is A-OK.

CHICAGO — Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday presented the Obama administration’s most detailed justification for armed drone strikes against Al Qaeda leaders, arguing that the U.S. government doesn’t legally need judicial review to kill terrorist operatives overseas — even when they’re Americans.

It’s clear that United States citizenship alone does not make such individuals immune from being targeted. But it does mean that the government must take into account all relevant constitutional considerations with respect to United States citizens — even those who are leading efforts to kill innocent Americans,” Holder said in a speech delivered at Northwestern University School of Law.

Questions about the legal basis for lethal U.S. drone operations have swirled for years, particularly as the Obama administration stepped up drone strikes in Pakistan. However, the queries and criticism became more intense after reports in 2010 that a New Mexico-born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki — killed in a Sept. 2011 drone strike — was on a list of terror suspects that the U.S. had decided to target using deadly force.

Holder is the highest-ranking administration official yet to defend the administration’s position, arguing that placing terror suspects on a so-called kill list is subject to “robust oversight” but should not and need not involve the courts.

“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not accurate,” Holder said. “Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, it does not guarantee judicial process.”

Continue reading>>>

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AIPAC Works for the 1 Percent

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{ XANIEL’S NOTE : This is hardly  ‘ Late Breaking News ‘. Many of us, already in the trenches, have been aware of this for a along, long time !

However, it is very encouraging to see many others waking up and getting the truth out there. ‘ WELCOME TO THE BATTLE FOR FREEDOM !! ‘ } ~~ Xaniel777

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From Poor Richard’s Blog

and  Truthdig 

By Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges gave this talk Saturday night in Washington, D.C., at the Occupy AIPAC protest, organized by CODEPINK Women for Peace and other peace, faith and solidarity groups.

March 05, 2012 “Truthdig” —The battle for justice in the Middle East is our battle. It is part of the vast, global battle against the 1 percent. It is about living rather than dying. It is about communicating rather than killing.

It is about love rather than hate. It is part of the great battle against the corporate forces of death that reign over us—the fossil fuel industry, the weapons manufacturers, the security and surveillance state, the speculators on Wall Street, the oligarchic elites who assault our poor, our working men and women, our children, one in four of whom depend on food stamps to eat, the elites who are destroying our ecosystem with its trees, its air and its water and throwing into doubt our survival as a species.

What is being done in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, is a pale reflection of what is slowly happening to the rest of us. It is a window into the rise of the global security state, our new governing system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism.”

It is a reflection of a world where the powerful are not bound by law, either on Wall Street or in the shattered remains of the countries we invade and occupy, including Iraq with its hundreds of thousands of dead. And one of the greatest purveyors of this demented ideology of violence for the sake of violence, this flagrant disregard for the rule of domestic and international law, is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

I spent seven years in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times.

I lived for two of those seven years in Jerusalem. AIPAC does not speak for Jews or for Israel. It is a mouthpiece for right-wing ideologues, some of whom hold power in Israel and some of whom hold power in Washington, who believe that because they have the capacity to war wage they have a right to wage war, whose loyalty, in the end, is not to the citizens of Israel or Palestine or the United States but the corporate elites, the defense contractors, those who make war a business, those who have turned ordinary Palestinians, Israelis and Americans, along with hundreds of millions of the world’s poor, into commodities to exploit, repress and control.

We have not brought freedom, democracy and the virtues of Western civilization to the Muslim world. We have brought state terrorism, massive destruction, war and death.

There is no moral distinction between a drone strike and the explosion of the improvised explosive device, between a suicide bombing and a targeted assassination. We have used the iron fist of the American military to implant our oil companies in Iraq, occupy Afghanistan and ensure that the Muslim world remains submissive and compliant. We have supported a government in Israel that has carried out egregious war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza and is daily stealing larger and larger portions of Palestinian land.

We have established a network of military bases, some the size of small cities, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait, and we have secured basing rights in the Gulf states of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. We have expanded our military operations to Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Egypt, Algeria and Yemen. And no one believes, except perhaps us, that we have any intention of leaving.

And let us not forget that deep inside our secret world of offshore penal colonies, black sites, and torture and interrogation centers, we practice the cruelty and barbarity that always accompanies unchecked imperial power.

There were scores of graphic pictures and videos from the prison in Abu Ghraib that were swiftly classified and hidden from public view. And in these videos, as Seymour Hersh reported, mothers who were arrested with their young sons, often children, watched in horror as their boys were repeatedly sodomized. This was filmed. And on the soundtrack you hear the boys shrieking. And the mothers were smuggling notes out to their families saying, “Come and kill us because of what is happening.”

We are the biggest problem in the Middle East. It is we who legitimize the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads, suicide bombers and radical jihadists. The longer we drop iron fragmentation bombs and seize Muslim land, the longer we kill with impunity, the more these monsters, reflections of our own distorted image, will proliferate.

“If you gaze into the abyss,” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “the abyss gazes into you.”

I am no friend of the Iranian regime, which helped create and arm Hezbollah, is certainly meddling in Iraq, has persecuted human rights activists, gays, women and religious and ethnic minorities, embraces racism and intolerance, and uses its power to deny popular will. And yes, it is a regime that appears determined to build a nuclear weapon, although I would stress that no one has offered any proof this is occurring.

I have spent time in Iranian jails. I was once deported from Tehran in handcuffs. But I do not remember Iran orchestrating a coup in the United States to replace an elected government with a brutal dictator who for decades persecuted, assassinated and imprisoned democracy activists. I do not remember Iran arming and funding a neighboring state to wage war against our country.

Iran never shot down one of our passenger jets, as did the USS Vincennes—nicknamed Robocruiser by the crews of other American vessels—when in June 1988 it fired missiles at an Airbus filled with Iranian civilians, killing everyone on board. Iran is not sponsoring terrorist strikes within the United States, as our intelligence services and the Israeli intelligence services currently do in Iran.

We have not seen five of our top nuclear scientists since 2007 murdered on American soil. The attacks in Iran include suicide bombings, kidnappings, beheadings, sabotage and “targeted assassinations” of government officials and other Iranian leaders. What would we do if the situation were reversed? How would we react if Iran carried out similar acts of terrorism against us?

We are, and have long been, the primary engine for radicalism in the Middle East. The greatest favor we can do for democracy activists in Iran, as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf and the states that dot North Africa, is to withdraw our troops from the region and begin to speak to Iranians and the rest of the Muslim world in the civilized language of diplomacy, respect and mutual interests.

The longer we cling to the doomed doctrine of permanent war the more we give credibility to the extremists who need, indeed yearn for, an enemy that speaks in the same crude slogans of nationalist cant and violence that they do. The louder the Israelis and their idiot allies in Washington call for the bombing of Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions, the happier are the morally bankrupt clerics who are ordering the beating and murder of demonstrators.

We may laugh when crowds supporting [President] Ahmadinejad call us “the Great Satan,” but there is a very palpable reality that informs the terrible algebra of their hatred. And since even the most optimistic scenarios say that any strike on Iranian nuclear installations will at best set back Iran’s alleged weapons program by [only] three or four years, we can be sure that violence will beget violence, just as fanaticism begets fanaticism.

The hypocrisy of this vaunted moral crusade is not lost on those in the Middle East. Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan, India and Israel did not and developed nuclear weapons programs in secret. Israel now has an estimated 400 to 600 nuclear weapons. The word “Dimona,” the name of the city where the nuclear facilities are located in Israel, is shorthand in the Muslim world for the deadly Israeli threat to Muslims’ existence.

What lessons did the Iranians learn from our Israeli, Pakistani and Indian allies?

Given that we are actively engaged in an effort to destabilize the Iranian regime, given that we use apocalyptic rhetoric to describe what must be done to the Iranian regime, and given that Israel could obliterate Iran many times over, what do we expect from the Iranians? On top of this, the Iranian regime grasps that the doctrine of permanent war entails making “pre-emptive” and unprovoked strikes. And they know that if Iraq, like North Korea, had had a bomb they would have never suffered American invasion and occupation.

Those in Washington who advocate attacking Iran, knowing as little about the limitations and chaos of war as they do about the Middle East, believe they can cripple nuclear production and neutralize the 850,000-man Iranian army. They should look closely at the 2006 Israeli air campaign in southern Lebanon, which saw Hezbollah victorious and united most Lebanese behind the militant Islamic group. If the massive Israeli bombing of Lebanon failed to pacify 4 million Lebanese, how can we expect to pacify a country of 70 million people? But reality never seems to impinge on the neoconservative universe or the efficacy of its doctrine of permanent war.

I have watched over the years as these neoconservatives have meddled disastrously in the Middle East. The support by neoconservatives of the Israeli right wing—and I covered Yitzhak Rabin’s 1992 campaign for prime minister when prominent AIPAC donors poured money and resources into Likud to defeat Rabin—is not about Israel. It is about advancing this perverted ideology. Rabin detested these neoconservatives. When he made his first visit to Washington after being elected prime minister he dismissed requests from the lobby for a meeting by telling aides: “I don’t speak to scumbags.”

These neoconservatives, who like our own neoconservatives hide behind the rhetoric of patriotism, national security and religious piety, are not wedded to any discernable doctrine other than force. They, like all rabid nationalists, are stunted and deformed individuals, only able to communicate in the language of self-exaltation and violence.

“The nationalist is by definition an ignoramus,” the Yugoslav writer Danilo Kiš wrote. “Nationalism is the line of least resistance, the easy way. The nationalist is untroubled, he knows or thinks he knows what his values are, his, that’s to say national, that’s to say the values of the nation he belongs to, ethical and political; he is not interested in others, they are no concern of his, hell—it’s other people (other nations, another tribe). They don’t even need investigating. The nationalist sees other people in his own images—as nationalists.”

AIPAC does not drive Middle Eastern policy in the United States. I am afraid it is worse than that. AIPAC is one of an array of powerful and well-funded neoconservative institutions that worship force and drive our relations with the rest of the world. These neoconservatives choose an enemy and then our compliant class of journalists, specialists, military analysts, columnists and television commentators line up to serve as giddy cheerleaders for war. Moments like these always make me embarrassed to be a reporter.

Our political elite, Republican and Democrat, finds in this ideology a simple, childish allure. This ideology does not require cultural, historical or linguistic literacy. It reduces the world to black and white, good and evil. The drumbeat for war with Iran sounded by AIPAC is part of this broad, sick, binary vision of a world that can be subjugated by force, a world where all will be made to kneel before these corporate and neoconservative elites, where none, including finally us, will be permitted to whisper dissent.

Pre-emptive war, under post-Nuremberg law, is defined as a criminal act of aggression. George W. Bush, whose disregard for the rule of law was legend, went to the U.N. for a resolution to attack Iraq, although his interpretation of the U.N. resolution as justifying the invasion of Iraq had dubious legal merit. But in this current debate over war with Iran, that pretense of legality is ignored.

Where is Israel’s U.N. resolution authorizing it to strike Iran? Why isn’t anyone demanding that Israel seek one? Why does the only discussion in the media and among political elites center around the questions of “Will Israel attack Iran?” “Can it successfully carry out an attack?” “What will happen if there is an attack?” The essential question is left unasked. Does Israel have the right to attack Iran? And here the answer is very, very clear. It does not.

 
These neoconservatives were too blind and too enamored of their own power to see what invading Afghanistan and Iraq would trigger; so too are they unable to comprehend the regional conflagration that would be unleashed by attacking Iran, what it would mean for us, for Israel, for our allies and for tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of innocents.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” the Bible warns.

And since our elites have no vision it is up to us. The uprisings from Tunisia to Egypt to Greece to Occupy Wall Street to our gathering outside AIPAC’s doors in Washington are the same primal struggle for sanity, peace and justice, for a world wrenched free from the grip of those who would destroy it. And the abject fawning of our political elite, including Barack Obama, before AIPAC and its bank account is yet another window into the moral bankruptcy of our political class, another sign that the formal mechanisms of power are useless and broken.

Civil disobedience is all we have left. It is our patriotic duty. We are called to make the cries of mothers, fathers and children in the squalid refugee camps in Gaza, in the suburbs of Tehran and in the bleak industrial wastelands in Ohio heard. We are called to stand up before these forces of death, the purveyors of violence, those whose hearts have grown cold with hatred. We are called to embrace and defend life with intensity and passion if we are to survive as a species, if we are to save our planet from the ravages of corporate greed and the specter of endless and futile war.

The Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, in his poem “Rypin,” translated by Peter Cole, examined what power, force and self-worship do to compassion, justice and human decency. Rypin was the Polish town his father escaped from during the pogroms.

These creatures in helmets and khakis,

I say to myself, aren’t Jews,

In the truest sense of the word. A Jew

Doesn’t dress himself up with weapons like jewelry,

Doesn’t  believe in the barrel of a gun aimed at a target,

But in the thumb of the child who was shot at—

In the house through which he comes and goes,

Not in the charge that blows it apart.

The coarse soul and iron first

He scorns by nature.

He lifts his eyes not to the officer, or the soldier

With his finger on the trigger—but to justice,

And he cries out for compassion.

Therefore, he won’t steal land from its people

And will not starve them in camps.

The voice calling for expulsion

Is heard from the hoarse throat of the oppressor—

A sure sign that the Jew has entered a foreign country

And, like Umberto Saba, gone into hiding within his own city.

Because of voices like these, father

At age sixteen, with your family, you fled Rypin;

Now here Rypin is your son.

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. © 2012 TruthDig

END

PALESTINE OCCUPIES AIPAC

Palestine absent? Not at Occupy AIPAC

From DesertPeace

by Alex Kane 

March 6, 2012

BibiBarackpuppets
Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu puppets greeted AIPAC attendees near the Washington Convention Center (Photo: Alex Kane)

Washington, D.C.–Iran, Iran, Iran. Tensions between Israel and Iran over Iranian nuclear energy is dominating this year’s AIPAC conference. President Barack Obama’s speech yesterday to the annual conference was mostly devoted to Iran, and “announced no new initiatives” on the Israel/Palestine front, as Inter Press Service‘s Mitchell Plitnick reports. Similarly, as we reported, Jeffrey Goldberg spent 45 minutes interviewing Obama, and not one of the questions were about Palestine.

AIPAC and Benjamin Netanyahu may want to push the pesky Palestinian issue off of the agenda, but Occupy AIPAC is fighting against that desire.

As Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator, put it in Foreign Policy:

Netanyahu himself surely appreciates the extent to which this comes in handy, in that focusing on Iran (although not attacking Iran) allows Israel to line up together with the West in the camp of the “good guys” for once, as opposed to in the doghouse on the Palestinian issue. Want a sense of just how well this distraction serves the greater Israel cause? Take a look at Goldberg’s latest interview with Obama for the Atlantic — 4,561 words and not one of them mentions the Palestinians or settlements.

While protesters from Occupy AIPAC have put stopping a potential Israeli strike on Iran at the top of their agenda, Palestine remains a key part of the discourse here.

Yesterday, Palestinian flags waved proudly at the demonstrations near the AIPAC conference; chants of “free, free Palestine” echoed in the streets of D.C.; young Palestinians danced dabka and blared Arabic music; and AIPAC delegates were greeted by mock checkpoints and settlements first thing in the morning. Clearly, Palestine remains important to the activists who have gathered in America’s capital to say no to AIPAC’s agenda.

The centrality of Palestine was underscored by an impromptu speech given by a young woman from Palestine who was in D.C. for Occupy AIPAC. She held up a sign that read, “Stop stealing our land.” (I didn’t grab her name, but I believe it was the woman who tweets under the moniker @Tweet_Palestine and blogs here.) As hundreds massed outside the Washington Convention Center to protest AIPAC, she grabbed a microphone and explained how Mustafa Tamimi was killed in the village of Nabi Saleh.

“Do you want them to kill our children?” she yelled, and explained how Palestinian children are terrorized by night raids conducted by the Israeli army. “Look at the faces of children. Remember the children you have killed.” Her speech was greeted by cheers from the protesters and stares from AIPAC delegates. But at least they heard the word Palestine.

Written FOR

END

Enjoy the Central Bank Party While It Lasts

From The Dismal Optimist

March 05, 2012

“It is patriotic to accept to pay a supplementary tax to restore the country.”

   -Francois Hollande, the Socialist Challenger for the French Presidency, after proposing a 75% marginal   tax rate on earnings of over one million euros per year

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

   -Dr. Samuel Johnson, distinguished eighteenth century man of letters and author of the influential A Dictionary of the English Language

 

“If this plan saw the light of day, it would end in catastrophe for French football.”

   -Frederic Thiriez, head of the French Professional Football League, in response to Francois Hollande’s tax proposal

Don’t Fight the Tape – But Prepare for an Unhappy Ending

Central banks are printing money all over the world. New names have been given to what is really an age old phenomenon. Desperate governments have traditionally debased their currencies when they have no other way of financing their deficits. Quantitative easing, LTRO, Fed/ECB swaps, whatever. A new technocratic lexicon has been invented to cover what is really a time honored expedient of debasement and paper money printing.

 

Investors for the moment almost have no choice. Get out the surfboard, hitch a ride on the global tsunami of freshly minted central bank money and get long equities. In 2012 equity markets have rallied everywhere, particularly emerging equity markets, and will probably keep doing so. Short term interest rates are near zero and likely to stay that way for the rest of this year.

Investment managers are tired of telling their clients that they earned zero and had to pay a fee anyway. The European crisis has been overcome by massive LTRO money printing and a friendly “borrow all the dollars you want” swap agreement between the Fed and the ECB. And the US is in the midst of a tepid recovery (better than nothing!) Lastly, China seems to be slowing but not crashing.

 

Money must head for risk assets. Tough luck for defined benefit pension funds and retirees who until recently lived off of nice, safe bond income.

 

Bernanke’s little head fake of last week in not mentioning a QE3 can be taken with a grain of salt. The US has another $1.3 billion projected deficit to be financed and the fragile US recovery cannot stand a rise in short rates. A war with Iran would make the US deficit so much worse.

The US unemployment picture is not as pretty as the recent decline in the official U3 rate to 8.3 percent would suggest. For one thing the Labor Force Participation rate continues to move downward. The broader and less quoted U6 rate which includes people who have given up looking for work for January is 15.1 percent. Bernanke knows the numbers.

And recent Treasury data show some fall off in Chinese buying of US Treasury securities. US short rates will not rise and Treasury auctions will not fail. Not if the Fed can help it. The Fed will print.

 

Historically, countries faced with financing wars would print paper money and eliminate convertibility into a commodity such as gold, silver or copper. This happened over and over from Sung Dynasty China facing northern invaders, to the Napoleonic Wars, to the American Civil War and of course to World War I.

 

But this time it’s not wars but democracies’ underlying tendency to inexorably move to bankruptcy which is the culprit. Citizens vote to obtain through the political process what they cannot obtain in the market. Modern democratic governments are expected to socialize risk and redistribute income from the smarter (you would probably say luckier if you are on the left) affluent minority.

The welfare state grows and grows, its costs disguised in the complexity of the budget process and ignored by the public anyway. Public sector unions, whose existence and freedom of actions politicians elected by universal suffrage found impossible to oppose even though they knew better, have accelerated the process. 

We vote for you, you reward us, is the working relationship most public sector unions in most democracies have with their politicians. No greater conflict of interest hath any country. The public sector debts have built up. And nobody has to bother lifting the fetters of a commodity money conversion requirement that was so important in the age of the classical gold standard before WWI.

Richard Nixon cut the last of those golden fetters in 1971 when the US ceased to honor its commitment under the Bretton Woods Agreement to sell gold for dollars at a fixed rate to other central banks. Since the demise of Bretton Woods, every central bank in the world can be its own ATM machine. And indeed they have.

 

So far the world’s central banks have been “lucky”. Thanks to the prior global bubble ending in 2008 and the realization that the so-called advanced countries are reaching the end of their borrowing capacity, the world is in a massive deleveraging mode which tends to be deflationary.

For the moment the central banks can get away with printing all the money they want without massive increases in consumer price indexes. The public doesn’t connect increases in prices of commodities like gold or oil with the current bout of money printing.

But if history is any guide, this money printing will matter and the age of deflation and deleveraging will be followed by an age of inflation. Deleveraging or no, entitlements already promised will grow inexorably larger.

Inflation of course is one way governments can effect major defaults on sovereign debt and unaffordable entitlements.

 

Regarding the global equity markets, I am seeing various forecasts from vaunted gurus ranging from imminent collapse, to rally in the first half of 2012 then followed by collapse to rally all year. I lean towards the last view. But with a very low confidence level. And with a fear that the party won’t go on forever.

The American Problem

This week’s New York magazine carries an article by Jonathan Chait entitled “Why Republicans Fear This Year Could Be Their Last Real Shot.”

The article lays out how the growing demographic ascendance of African American and Hispanic populations versus the heretofore dominant white population spells long run catastrophe for the Republicans.

According to the article, each presidential election sees the non-white proportion of the vote grow by two percent.

 

This demographic shift along with the overall aging of the population and decline of the worker/ beneficiary ratio (not mentioned in the New York Magazine article) will intersect with the coming need to deal with America’s burgeoning sovereign debt and entitlement crisis. Republicans in theory stand for smaller government, lower taxation and faster economic growth.

Practice is another matter—Republicans often do the opposite of what their supposed ideology would recommend. The underlying populist dynamic of universal suffrage forces them to join the Democrats in expanding government and socializing risk.

Today’s Democrats stand for bigger government, higher taxation and don’t worry as much about economic growth.

 The coming American sovereign debt crisis—whether it’s next year after the election or ten years from now—will involve some mix of higher taxes and defaulting or reneging on government debts and entitlements. Just what the solution mix will be in terms of overt default/reneg, inflation, financial repression and tax increases remains to be seen. But unlike many other more homogeneous countries which face the same problem, the American version will in a part take on a racial/ethnic hue, i.e., older and more affluent whites vs. African Americans, (non-Cuban) Hispanics.

 The data show that Hispanics and African Americans on average tend to be underperformers when measured by educational achievement or family incomes. Whites and Asians are outperformers. Obviously this kind of divide is not a healthy situation.

Just why these gaps persist is a matter for educators, historians and policy makers, who unfortunately thus far have yet to come up with an uniformly agreed upon explanation much less a solution. Discussions of these issues often leads to anger and recriminations.

But all that matters for the purpose of forecasting government spending and the conflicts that lie ahead is that the assumption is reasonable that this underperformance will continue for the intermediate future.

 

Presumably underperforming groups are greater users of government services, especially those programs like food stamps and Medicaid which are pure wealth transfers not camouflaged by phony trust programs like that financing Social Security.

And, as the Republicans are fond of pointing out, only fifty percent of Americans pay income taxes. I have not seen data breaking this out along racial/ethnic lines but it is likely the profile of non-income tax payers and the income tax payers is quite different.

 A preview of the way the coming American budget disaster and race will intersect in America can be seen by the reaction Newt Gingrich got when he labeled President Obama a “food stamp president.” Gingrich was himself labeled a racist for this although he never explicitly mentioned race. But his accuser implicitly assumed that minorities were the major food stamp recipients and that this was obvious to Gingrich.

 The coming battles over solving the problems of the bankrupt American government will not be pretty. It will be a bit more difficult for an American president to preach patriotism to the affluent in these circumstances. Although, if there is a war with Iran, he might try.

 

The Future – There Is a Bright Side

I have been accused of being too dismal, and not optimist enough. So allow me to make a few at least semi-optimistic points:

1.     For investors globalization and the acceleration of technology offer significant rewards. I recommend to everyone a book by Ray Kurzweil called The Age of Spiritual Machines

While you might not agree with Kurzweil’s views on artificial intelligence, the central theme of this book is his law of accelerating returnsUnder this law, technology is a continuation of human evolution and technology itself is speeding up at an accelerating rate. A more prosperous and healthier world lies ahead.

As I see it, all those Chinese and Indian and other “third world” brains that have recently been added to the global economy will benefit everyone. And provide investment opportunities for Western investors.

2.     The world is not running out of energy or food. Technology is taking care of that and again investment opportunities will abound in these areas. In the energy area fracking and horizontal drilling have opened a bonanza in terms of natural gas and oil. If only the US and China would stop wasting money on so-called green energy boondoggles like solar and wind and ethanol in the case of the US.

And again in the case of the US, get rid of arbitrary environmental obstacles. And let the market made the investment decisions! In the case of food, biotechnology will feed the world. Serious studies don’t find the Franken food scares to be valid. Again. Let technology do its work and let the market decide!

3.     A major fiscal crisis a la Greece and Iceland is coming to the advanced countries including Japan. Investors should be preparing now for the eventual major debasement of the dollar and the euro. Look to place funds in alternative assets like gold and in countries which won’t have a fiscal crisis like Australia, Singapore and Russia. There are alternatives.

4.     The US has been the land of technological innovation and economic progress. The world has benefitted.   It would be a global tragedy if this were to change. But there is a risk that the US fiscal crisis will be “solved” by more taxes, financial repression and cutbacks in services that that the government should be providing.

The cutback in funding to the world renowned University of California system is an example of a bad decision. Education is cut back in order to pay outsized pensions to retired California workers. Parenthetically, this hurts members of minority groups for whom the University of California system was one avenue out of “underperforming” status. (Fortunately for-profit education may fill some of the gap.)

US technological and military superiority is threatened not by China or India but by US fiscal profligacy. It is up to the US and the other advanced countries to make the right choices to deal with the fiscal crisis. It will not be easy but they can do it.

5.     Capital goes where it is welcome. This is true not only of physical and financial capital but also of human capital. It is a big globalized world out there. In the past the US was the big welcoming country.

It still can be. But if the US and other advanced countries “solve” their fiscal problems with taxes and other growth stunting measures, then well-trained professionals and young people from these countries will think about emigrating to countries that don’t have major fiscal problems and won’t try to squeeze them for their last penny.

Singapore and Australia are two countries that come to mind. Already it appears that Greek citizens are emigrating to Australia, as they did in the past. Smart people don’t have to stay where they are exploited. Smart countries will try to attract them. The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor has a plaque that reads “Give me your tired, your poor.”

That’s not the new migrant. Maybe someone will add a new plaque, somewhere at a spanking new airport in what used to be called a third world country or an advanced country that made the right choices. “Give me your brains, your ambitious.”

Peter T. Treadway______________________________________________________

Dr. Peter T Treadway  is principal of Historical Analytics LLC. Historical Analytics is a consulting/investment management firm dedicated to global portfolio management. Its investment approach is based on Dr. Treadway’s combined top-down and bottom-up Wall Street experience as economist, strategist and securities analyst.

Dr. Treadway also serves as Chief Economist, CTRISKS Rating, LTD, Hong Kong.

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