Saturday Matinee: Struggle

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From MentalRev Productions:

Struggle is a case study of the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio, the deciding swing state which delivered the presidency once again to George W. Bush. Diligently researched by the key contributors to the film, Struggle is a bold film that challenges the legitimacy of that Presidential Election and brings the entire US electoral process into question.

This gripping documentary is filmed with a mix of expert testimony and first-hand accounts of voters whose votes were suppressed or manipulated, and community members who protested for election reform and justice in the State and National Capitals. This informative, engaging and tense film is told from a grass roots perspective, from the ground up, without the filters of mainstream media framing the dialogue. Filmed with a handheld style that reflects the intensity of the moment, this film identifies the practices of Individual and State entities to silence protest and manipulate elections in the United States.

This film was made without the resources of mainstream media or a highly funded political campaign. This is a grass roots film that speaks truth to power, with your help we will magnify that voice and demand free and fair elections for all Americans.

Posted in Activism, Art, corporate news, Corruption, Film, freedom of speech, History, media, news, police state, Racism, Saturday Matinee, Social Control, society, State Crime, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zika: Why Biotech is Imperative to National Security

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By Ulson Gunnar

Source: New Eastern Outlook

When we think of national security, we think of tanks, jets, missile defense systems and more recently, information space. But what about the realm of the microscopic, the biological or the genetic?

Whether you think biotechnology, genetics and microbes constitute another plane upon the modern battlefield or not is irrelevant. Someone else already does, and they have a head start on the rest of the world.

Genotype Specific Bioweapons

The Project for a New American Century or PNAC for short, penned a particularly unhinged policy paper in 2000 titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century.”

In it, among many other things, it specifically writes:

Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and “combat” likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and perhaps the world of microbes.

…advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.

Advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes sound like the stuff of science fiction, and even if it were developed, it would be by the “bad guys,” right?

Wrong. As a matter of fact, the Western-backed apartheid government in South Africa in the 1980’s under Project Coast, attempted to create genotype specific bioweapons aimed at sterilizing the nation’s black women. PBS Frontline’s article, “What Happened in South Africa?” would recount:

In 1998 South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission held hearings investigating activities of the apartheid-era government. Toward the end of the hearings, the Commission looked into the apartheid regime’s Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) program and allegations that it developed a sterility vaccine to use on black South Africans, employed toxic and chemical poison weapons for political asssassination, and in the late 1970s provided anthrax and cholera to Rhodesian troops for use against guerrilla rebels in their war to overthrow Rhodesia’s white minority rule.

While South Africa’s entire CBW program was abhorrent, what is particularly frightening is the use of South Africa’s national vaccination program as a vector for infecting black women with viruses meant to sterilize them. Now that vaccination programs are being pushed globally, there lies the danger that such weapons could be used against entire regions of the planet.

PBS would elaborate further on the CBW program, stating that the South African government:

Developed lethal chemical and biological weapons that targeted ANC [African National Congress] political leaders and their supporters as well as populations living in the black townships. These weapons included an infertility toxin to secretly sterilize the black population; skin-absorbing poisons that could be applied to the clothing of targets; and poison concealed in products such as chocolates and cigarettes.   

PNAC’s dream of genotype specific bioweapons then, is not some far-off science fiction future, it is something that has been pursued in earnest for decades, and apparently by interests aligned to the West, not enemies of it.

Zika and GM Mosquitoes 

Though it is so far impossible to confirm a link between the two, it is troubling nonetheless to see the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus spreading in Brazil precisely from where GM (genetically modified) mosquitoes were released several years ago.

A 2012 entry in Nature titled, “Brazil tests GM mosquitoes to fight Dengue,” would report:

Scientists in Brazil say an experiment to reduce populations of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegyptimosquito, by releasing millions of genetically modified (GM) insects into the wild, is working.

More than ten million modified male mosquitoes were released in the city of Juazeiro, a city of 288,000 people, over a period of time starting a year ago.

The US CDC (Center for Disease Control) would report that Zika virus cases in northeast Brazil were first officially recognized in early 2015, with international hysteria finally reached early this year. The cases seem most concentrated in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, upon the borders of which the city of Juazeiro lies.

What could have happened between 2011 and 2016 that might have led to this development? Could the GM mosquitoes designed to stamp out dengue have mutated in some unpredictable way? And could this experiment have caused the Zika virus itself to mutate in an unpredictable way? It already has mutated once, allowing it to spread among humans more prolifically.

Or what if GM mosquitoes supposedly meant to wipe out dengue were serving as a vector for something else entirely? We can only imagine the sort of stories, excuses and feigned ignorance the South African government would have conjured had its genotype specific bioweapons worked, and black women began turning up sterilized in huge numbers after receiving their “vaccines.”

Mosquitoes as a Vaccine Vector 

Using mosquitoes as a vector to deliver engineered genetic material to humans as a sort of involuntary, inescapable “vaccine” is already a reality. The London Telegraph in its article, “Genetically modified mosquitos could be used to spread vaccine for malaria,” reported in 2010 that:

Experts believe “flying vaccinators” could eventually be a radical new way of tackling malaria.

The new approach targets the salivary gland of the Anopheles mosquito.

Scientists in Japan have engineered an insect producing a natural vaccine protein in its saliva which is injected into the bloodstream when it bites.

The “prototype” mosquito carries a vaccine against Leishmania, another potentially fatal parasite disease spread by sand flies.

And if mosquitoes can naturally deliver viruses, and scientists can alter what mosquitoes carry and infect hosts with, it is possible to engineer viruses to deliver virtually anything into targeted populations much in the same way viruses are re-engineered into vectors in labs today through a process called gene therapy. In the wrong hands, this technology and these techniques could become terrifying weapons.

For those in the middle of the Zika virus hysteria, perhaps it already has.

How Could They? Why Would They?

To answer “how could they possibly do something so diabolical?” we need only think back to 2003 and recall how the United States intentionally lied to the world, then between its initial invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, killed upward to a million people. This includes several thousand of its own soldiers and civilians, many of whom it appears were killed by militants armed and funneled into the country by the United States’ closest regional allies, with the US’ resolute backing.

To answer “why” American and European special interests seek to render any particular population sick, weak and they and/or their offspring incapable of  perpetuating a viable civilization, PNAC itself sums it up quite clearly:

The United States is the world’s only superpower, combining preeminent military power, global technological leadership, and the world’s largest economy. Moreover, America stands at the head of a system of alliances which includes the world’s other leading democratic powers. At present the United States faces no global rival. America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible.

A population racked with birth defects, diminishing health and IQs and a lack of physical vitality constitutes the enemy every hegemon throughout history has dreamt of facing both on the battlefield and upon the grand chessboard of geopolitics.

Whether the Zika outbreak is linked to some insidious biowarefare program, an experiment gone wrong or simply the forces of nature, it showcases the danger biology can pose and reminds us of what greater dangers may yet await us if we do not properly prepare and protect ourselves.

Domestic Biotech is Imperative to National Defense 

It has been almost painful to watch the rest of the world attempt to catch up to the United States and Europe in the information war. For decades the West dominated information warfare without contest.

Only now have nations like Russia, China, Iran and others finally caught up and in some cases exceeded Western capabilities. Only now are nations finally investing seriously in information and cyber warfare capabilities. Only now does it seem that nations realize the folly of depending on others for both information, and information technology.

Russia recently decided to switch to local computer processor manufacturers to run on all computers used for official business. This is because foreign corporations making processors imported into the Russian Federation had been apparently compromised on the factory floor with the cooperation of these foreign corporations by US intelligence agencies.

We can easily imagine the danger of having US intelligence agencies getting into Russia’s IT infrastructure through these backdoor passes. It doesn’t take much imagination to think about the trouble US intelligence agencies could cause if they could get inside Russia’s human, natural and agricultural genomes.

Developing a viable domestic biotech industry is not only a matter of economic prosperity, but clearly also a matter of vital national security. Foreign corporations should no better be able to access a nation’s “genetic code and files” than it can its computer code and files. After all, genetic information is not entirely unlike digital information.
Brazil and other nations that have invited foreign biotech corporations to meddle with their human, natural and agricultural genomes are likened to those nations who hand their vital infrastructure over to foreign interests only to find out through Wikileaks years later the sort of invasive spying, abuses and other means of self-serving treachery this access has been exploited for.

Let’s not wait for Wikileaks to tell us 10 years from now just how bad the nations of the world had been infiltrated and exploited through biotechnology before we recognize this industry as absolutely vital to national security and begin investing in it domestically, rather than outsourcing it overseas.

 

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Related Video:

 

Posted in Authoriarianism, black ops, conditioning, Corporate Crime, corporate news, Corruption, culture, Dystopia, Geopolitics, GMOs, Health, media, Militarization, Psy-ops, Science, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Financial turmoil and increasing risks of a severe worldwide economic recession in 2016-17

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By Rodrigue Tremblay

Source: Dissident Voice

“May you live in interesting times.”—Popular curse, purported to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse

“The sources of deflation are not a mystery. Deflation is in almost all cases a side effect of a collapse of aggregate demand—a drop in spending so severe that producers must cut prices on an ongoing basis in order to find buyers. Likewise, the economic effects of a deflationary episode, for the most part, are similar to those of any other sharp decline in aggregate spending—namely, recession, rising unemployment, and financial stress.”—Ben S. Bernanke (1953- ), on November 21, 2002

“I’m about to repeat what I said at this time last year and the year before . . . Sooner or later a crash is coming and it may be terrific. The vicious circle will get in full swing and the result will be a serious business depression. There may be a stampede for selling which will exceed anything that the Stock Exchange has ever witnessed. Wise are those investors who now get out of debt.”—Roger Babson (1875-1967), on September 5, 1929

The onset of 2016 has been most chaotic for global financial markets with, so far, a severe stock market correction. As a matter of fact, the first month of 2016 has witnessed the most severe drop in financial stocks ever, with the MSCI All-Country World Stock Index, which measures major developed and emerging stock markets, dropping more than 20 percent, as compared to early 2015. For sure, there will be oversold rallies in the coming weeks and months, but one can expect more trouble ahead.

Many commentators are saying that the epicentre of this unfolding financial and economic crisis is in China, with the Shanghai Composite Index beginning to plummet at the beginning of the year. In my view, reality is more complex and even though China’s financial and economic problems are contributing to the collapse in commodity prices, the epicenter of the crisis is still in Washington D.C.

That is because the current unfolding crisis is essentially a continuation of the 2007-08 financial crisis which has been temporarily suspended and pushed into the future by the U.S. central bank, the Fed, with its aggressive and unorthodox monetary policy of multiple rounds of quantitative easing (QE), i.e., buying huge quantities of financial assets from commercial mega-banks and other institutions, including mortgage-backed securities, with newly created money. As a consequence, the Fed’s balance sheet went from a little more than one trillion dollars in 2008 to some four and a half trillion dollars when the quantitative easing program was ended in October 2014. Other central banks have followed the Fed example, especially the central bank of Japan and the European central bank, which also adopted quantitative easing policies in monetizing large amounts of financial assets.

Why did the Bernanke Fed adopt such an aggressive monetary policy in 2008? Essentially for three reasons: First, the lame-duck Bush administration in 2008 was clueless about what to do with the financial crisis that had started with the de facto failure of Bear Stearns in the spring of 2008 and of Merrill Lynch in early September 2008, culminating on September 15, 2008, with the failure of the large global investment bank of Lehman Brothers. So the U.S. central bank felt that it had to step in. In fact, it financed the merger of the two first failed mega-banks with the JPMorgan Chase bank and the Bank of America respectively. (For different reasons, it did not intervene in the same way when the Lehman Brothers bank failed.)

Secondly, bankers who have a huge influence in the way the Fed is managed did not want the U.S. government to nationalize the American mega-banks in financial difficulties, as it had done in 1989 when the George H.W. Bush administration established the government-owned Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) to take over some 747 insolvent savings and loans thrift banks.

Thirdly, the Bernanke Fed was very worried that the 2007-08 banking crisis would lead to a Japanese-style deflation that would wreak havoc with an overleveraged economy. The hope was to avoid a devastating debt-deflation economic depression like the one suffered in the 1930s.

By injecting so much liquidity in the system, the Bernanke Fed created a gigantic financial bubble in stocks and bonds, even though the real economy has grown at a somewhat languishing 2 percent growth rate. Stock prices went into the stratosphere while interest rates fell as bond prices rose. Last December 16, the Fed announced officially that it will no longer blow into the financial balloons and that it was raising short-term interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis, setting the target range for the federal funds rate to between 1/4 to 1/2 percent. This was a signal that the financial party was over. And what’s more, this means that the stock market and the bond market will once again go in different directions, as a reflection of the state of the real economy, no matter what the Fed does.

Since 2008, the U.S. Fed has painted itself into a financial corner from which I personally felt it would be difficult to extricate itself. Indeed, it would be extremely difficult to correct the financial bubbles it has created—as an unintended consequence of salvaging the mega-banks in creating trillions of free money—without damaging the real economy of production and employment. If global stock markets collapse and if price deflation accelerates, making it more difficult to service the debt of consumers, corporations, and government alike, a repeat on a larger scale of what has happened in Japan over the last twenty-five years can be feared. This, at the very least, could lead to a global economic recession in 2016-17. If we go back in history, it could also be a repeat of the 1937-38 crash and recession, eight years after the crash and financial crisis of 1929-32.

One thing can be made clear: The creation of the Fed in 1913, as a semi-public American central bank, has not prevented the occurrence of financial crises. It has, however, been a boon to large banks because it has served as an instrument to socialize their losses.

Stay tuned.

 

Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is an international economist and author, whose last two books are The Code for Global Ethics, Prometheus Books, 2010; and The New American Empire, Infinity Publishing, 2003. He can be reached at: rodrigue.tremblay@yahoo.com.

 

Posted in Corporate Crime, culture, Economics, Financial Crisis, History, Recession, Social Control, society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forget Techno-Optimism: We Can’t Innovate Our Way Out of Inequality

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By Chris Lehmann

Source: In These Times

Toward the end of his 250-page hymn to digital-age innovation, The Industries of the Future, Alec Ross pauses to offer a rare cautionary note. Silicon Valley may have incubated all the wonders and conveniences one can imagine—and oh, so many more! But for the international business elites looking to remake their emerging market economies in the Valley’s gleaming, khaki-clad image, there’s some bad news: It can no longer be done. A “decades-long head start” has granted too great a competitive advantage to the charmed peninsula along the Northern California coast.

Not to worry, though! On-the-make tech globalists can still make a go of it, provided they’re prepared to embrace “specific cultural and labor market characteristics that can contradict both a society’s norms and the more controlling impulses of government leaders.”

Stripped of the vague and glowing techno-babble, this is a prescription for good old-fashioned neoliberal market discipline. Everywhere Ross looks across the radically transformed world of digital commerce, the benign logic of market triumphalism wins the day. When Terry Gou—the Taiwanese CEO of Foxconn, the vast Chinese electronics sweatshop that doubles as an incubator for worker suicides—plans to eliminate the headache of supervising an unstable human workforce by replacing it with “the first fully automated plant” in manufacturing history, why, he’s simply “responding to pure market forces”: i.e., an increase in Chinese wages that cuts into Foxconn’s ridiculously broad profit margins. And you and I might see the so-called sharing economy as a means to casualize service workers into nonunion, benefit-free gigs that transfer economic value on a massive scale to a rentier class of Silicon Valley app marketers. But bouncy New Economy cheerleaders like Ross see “a way of making a market out of anything, and a microentrepreneur out of anyone.”

When confronted with the spiraling of income inequality in the digital age, Ross, like countless other prophets of better living through software, sagely counsels that “rapid progress often comes with greater instability.” Sure, the “wealthy generally benefit over the short term,” but remember, kids: “Innovations have the potential to become cheaper over time and spread throughout the greater population.”

Ross first stormed into political prominence as an architect of Barack Obama’s “technology and innovation plan” during his 2008 presidential campaign, and he has spent four years captaining his own charmed, closed circle of tech triumphalism as the White House’s “senior advisor for innovation” under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This renders The Industries of the Future something more than another breathless, Tom Friedman-style tour of the wonderments being hatched in startups, trade confabs and gadget factories. Ross’ book is also a tech-policy playbook for the likely Democratic presidential nominee, who has spared no effort in soliciting the policy input—and landing the campaign donations—of the Silicon Valley mogul set. As such, it should give any Hillary-curious supporter of economic justice considerable pause.

To be sure, Ross raises some vague concerns about how, for example, the runaway growth of the sharing economy drains workers of job security, healthcare benefits, pensions and the like. He avers that “as the sharing economy grows … the safety net needs to grow with it,” but, much like his politically savvy boss, he offers nothing in the way of policy specifics besides the inarguable yet unactionable truism that if the sharing economy “generates enormous amounts of wealth for the platform owners, then the platform owners can and should help pay for added costs to society.”

The larger point for Ross, in any event, is that the innovative megafirms of tomorrow will come to spontaneously serve the public good. Not to mention that many IPO investors “are pension funds,” Ross coos, which “manage the retirement funds for people in the working class like teachers, police officers, and other civil servants.” Never mind, of course, that the neoliberal logic of the Uber model means that we’re creating a workforce that’s unlikely ever to come within shouting distance of a pension benefit again.

This kind of terminal Silicon Valley myopia also accounts for the vast economic and political blindspots that continually undermine Ross’ relentlessly chipper TED patter. To take just one instructive instance, in a book that devotes considerable real estate to the innovations of “fintech” (the streamlining of global digital currency exchanges and investment transactions) nowhere does the author acknowledge the pivotal role that tech-savvy Wall Street analysts—the “quants” as they’re known in Street argot—played in stoking the early-aughts housing bubble that led to the near-meltdown of the global economy.

That’s because it’s an axiomatic faith for this brand of techno-prophecy that innovation can never actually make anything worse—in just the same fashion that the quants were insisting, right up until the end, that there could never be a downturn in the national housing market. If this is the kind of wisdom Hillary Clinton relied on to promote her global innovation agenda at the State Department, one shudders to think of how it might run riot through the White House come next January.

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Two for Tuesday

The The

Shahid Buttar

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War fraud: The great lies behind imperial warfare in the 21st century

By Mark Taliano

Source: Intrepid Report

The “War On Terror” and “The War On Drugs” are both fraudulent, and they are both related. In a classic example of “reverse projection”, ”the War on Terror” is literally a “War for Terror,” and the “War on Drugs” is literally a “War for Drugs.”

Terror, coupled with the illegal trade in narcotics, particularly heroin, is enabling the orchestration, and funding, of illegal warfare which serves the interests of an international oligarch class as it destroys humanity.

The barbarity of the military operations conducted by the West is beyond the imagination of most domestic audiences, even when details are publicized.

Broadly speaking, we can decode the 9/11 terror wars using a simple formula:

  • Problem
  • Reaction
  • Solution

NATO imperialists engineer or exploit problems to create reactions, with a view to creating previously planned solutions. Typically, problems (i.e, 9/11 crimes) serve to engineer public consent (reaction) for illegal invasions (solution).

The “end-game” also contradicts publically stated goals. Evidence demonstrates that the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, as well as the war in Ukraine, were launched and prosecuted with a view to destroy each country through invasion, occupation, plunder, and to establish military footholds. The popular notion that the wars are being prosecuted for humanitarian purposes is absolutely ridiculous.

Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, for example, drug-trafficking warlords such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were used to create extremist “jihadist” armies (mujahideen) to destroy the Soviet-protected socialist republic. The long-standing CIA-terror group alliance, which pre-dates Afghanistan, continues to be empowered by profits from illegal drug trafficking: According to U.S sources, the production of opium (which is eventually processed into heroin) has increased “40-fold” since the initial invasion of Afghanistan.

So, the invasion destroyed a secular, socialist government and filled the vacuum with extremist drug-trafficking terrorist warlords. But imperialists gained a military foothold in the country.

Iraq

We all know now that the fraudulent “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” pretext was used for the criminal invasion of Iraq. The engineered problem was followed by mixed reactions from a less gullible public, but the invasion (solution), was launched (on the heels of genocidal sanctions) anyway.

Joe Quinn reports that in this invasion, US Death Squads manufactured a civil war to divert attention from the real culprits: the occupiers. A 10,000 strong “Shia militia” under US command is used to terrorize the population and to destroy Iraqi grassroots resistance. Often, the terrorists bomb civilian targets and falsely blame innocent groups—false flag tactics—which in turn create engineered friction and retaliation. Black propaganda operations are a CIA specialty. Consequently, Iraq is now an unstable terrorist quagmire, whereas before the invasion it was a modern, well-developed country free of any identifiable terror groups.

Libya

The NATO invasion of Libya, previously the wealthiest country in Africa, was also a product of repeated Western lies, and now, it too, is a hotbed of terrorism, vice, and drug trafficking. Erin Banco reports in “Drug And Human Trafficking In ‘Lawless’ Libya Is Funding ISIS” that the West’s “lack of foresight has enabled different groups of fighters to traffic a continuous supply of arms, drugs and people across Libya’s borders, helping to bankroll some of the world’s most violent terrorists.”

Syria

The invasion of Syria is following predictable patterns as well. A constellation of extremist, mercenary terror groups, including ISIS—all supported by the West—are trying to destroy Syria. Drug trafficking, stolen oil and artifacts are being used to finance the mass murder, and death squads, often under the cover of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are being used to create a “civil war,” and to destroy President Assad’s government. The terror and mass murder are primarily orchestrated externally with a view to making Syria safe for Wahhabism, barbarity, and a NATO military presence.

A Wikileaks cable indicates that since 2011, more than 230,000 people have died and a million have been injured. But despite the so-far-successful alliance of Syria, Iran, and Russia in destroying the mercenary terrorists and in saving Syria, the West can take some consolation: the US already has a military foothold in the country. Only time will tell if the West succeeds in creating and sustaining yet another unstable, terrorist-infested vassal state.

Despite what naysayers might think, the NATO-perpetrated holocaust is in many respects a neocon success story: a succession of previously independent countries have been destroyed, and a NATO presence has been installed. In fact, the wars for Terror and Drugs are winning, despite ostensible setbacks.

The whole process of death and destruction is not rational or moral, and the degeneracy is beyond evil. Commentators call it imperialism.

 

Posted in anti-war, black ops, CIA, conditioning, Conspiracy, Corruption, culture, divide and conquer, Drug War, Economics, Empire, False Flag, Geopolitics, History, Social Control, society, State Crime, war, war on terror, wasted taxpayer dollars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hang onto your wallets: Negative interest, the war on cash, and the $10 trillion bail-in

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By Ellen Brown

Source: Intrepid Report

Remember those old ads showing a senior couple lounging on a warm beach, captioned “Let your money work for you”? Or the scene in Mary Poppins where young Michael is being advised to put his tuppence in the bank, so that it can compound into “all manner of private enterprise,” including “bonds, chattels, dividends, shares, shipyards, amalgamations . . .”?

That may still work if you’re a Wall Street banker, but if you’re an ordinary saver with your money in the bank, you may soon be paying the bank to hold your funds rather than the reverse.

Four European central banks—the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank, Sweden’s Riksbank, and Denmark’s Nationalbank—have now imposed negative interest rates on the reserves they hold for commercial banks; and discussion has turned to whether it’s time to pass those costs on to consumers. The Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve are still at ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy), but several Fed officials have also begun calling for NIRP (negative rates) [update: Bank of Japan implemented a negative interest rate 1/29/16].

The stated justification for this move is to stimulate “demand” by forcing consumers to withdraw their money and go shopping with it. When an economy is struggling, it is standard practice for a central bank to cut interest rates, making saving less attractive. This is supposed to boost spending and kick-start an economic recovery.

That is the theory, but central banks have already pushed the prime rate to zero, and still their economies are languishing. To the uninitiated observer, that means the theory is wrong and needs to be scrapped. But not to our intrepid central bankers, who are now experimenting with pushing rates below zero.

Locking the door to bank runs: The cashless society

The problem with imposing negative interest on savers, as explained in the UK Telegraph, is that “there’s a limit, what economists called the ‘zero lower bound.’ Cut rates too deeply, and savers would end up facing negative returns. In that case, this could encourage people to take their savings out of the bank and hoard them in cash. This could slow, rather than boost, the economy.”

Again, to the ordinary observer, this would seem to signal that negative interest rates won’t work and the approach needs to be abandoned. But not to our undaunted central bankers, who have chosen instead to plug this hole in their leaky theory by moving to eliminate cash as an option. If your only choice is to keep your money in a digital account in a bank and spend it with a bank card or credit card or checks, negative interest can be imposed with impunity. This is already happening in Sweden, and other countries are close behind. As reported on Wolfstreet.com:

The War on Cash is advancing on all fronts. One region that has hogged the headlines with its war against physical currency is Scandinavia. Sweden became the first country to enlist its own citizens as largely willing guinea pigs in a dystopian economic experiment: negative interest rates in a cashless society. As Credit Suisse reports, no matter where you go or what you want to purchase, you will find a small ubiquitous sign saying “Vi hanterar ej kontanter” (“We don’t accept cash”) . . .

The lesson of Gesell’s decaying currency

Whether negative interests will actually stimulate an economic recovery, however, remains in doubt. Proponents of the theory cite Silvio Gesell and the Wörgl experiment of the 1930s. As explained by Charles Eisenstein in Sacred Economics:

The pioneering theoretician of negative-interest money was the German-Argentinean businessman Silvio Gesell, who called it “free-money” (Freigeld). . . . The system he proposed in his 1906 masterwork, The Natural Economic Order, was to use paper currency to which a stamp costing a small fraction of the note’s value had to be affixed periodically. This effectively attached a maintenance cost to monetary wealth.

. . . [In 1932], the depressed town of Wörgl, Austria, issued its own stamp scrip inspired by Gesell. . . . The Wörgl currency was by all accounts a huge success. Roads were paved, bridges built, and back taxes were paid. The unemployment rate plummeted and the economy thrived, attracting the attention of nearby towns. Mayors and officials from all over the world began to visit Wörgl until, as in Germany, the central government abolished the Wörgl currency and the town slipped back into depression.

. . . [T]he Wörgl currency bore a demurrage rate [a maintenance charge for carrying money] of 1 percent per month. Contemporary accounts attributed to this the very rapid velocity of the currencies’ circulation. Instead of generating interest and growing, accumulation of wealth became a burden, much like possessions are a burden to the nomadic hunter-gatherer. As theorized by Gesell, money afflicted with loss-inducing properties ceased to be preferred over any other commodity as a store of value.

There is a critical difference, however, between the Wörgl currency and the modern-day central bankers’ negative interest scheme. The Wörgl government first issued its new “free money,” getting it into the local economy and increasing purchasing power, before taxing a portion of it back. And the proceeds of the stamp tax went to the city, to be used for the benefit of the taxpayers. As Eisenstein observes:

It is impossible to prove . . . that the rejuvenating effects of these currencies came from demurrage and not from the increase in the money supply. . . .

Today’s central bankers are proposing to tax existing money, diminishing spending power without first building it up. And the interest will go to private bankers, not to the local government.

Consumers today already have very little discretionary money. Imposing negative interest without first adding new money into the economy means they will have even less money to spend. This would be more likely to prompt them to save their scarce funds than to go on a shopping spree.

People are not keeping their money in the bank today for the interest (which is already nearly non-existent). It is for the convenience of writing checks, issuing bank cards, and storing their money in a “safe” place. They would no doubt be willing to pay a modest negative interest for that convenience; but if the fee got too high, they might pull their money out and save it elsewhere. The fee itself, however, would not drive them to buy things they did not otherwise need.

Is there a bigger threat than a sluggish economy?

The scheme to impose negative interest and eliminate cash seems so unlikely to stimulate the economy that one wonders if that is the real motive. Stopping tax evaders and terrorists (real or presumed) are other proposed justifications for going cashless. Economist Martin Armstrong goes further and suggests that the goal is to gain totalitarian control over our money. In a cashless society, our savings can be taxed away by the banks; the threat of bank runs by worried savers can be eliminated; and the too-big-to-fail banks can be assured that ample deposits will be there when they need to confiscate them through bail-ins to stay afloat.

And that may be the real threat on the horizon: a major derivatives default that hits the largest banks, those that do the vast majority of derivatives trading. On November 10, 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported the results of a study requested by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings, involving the cost to taxpayers of the rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act in the “cromnibus” spending bill last December. As Jessica Desvarieux put it on the Real News Network, “the rule reversal allows banks to keep $10 trillion in swaps trades on their books, which taxpayers could be on the hook for if the banks need another bailout.”

The promise of Dodd-Frank, however, was that there would be “no more taxpayer bailouts.” Instead, insolvent systemically-risky banks were supposed to “bail in” (confiscate) the money of their creditors, including their depositors (the largest class of creditor of any bank). That could explain the push to go cashless. By quietly eliminating the possibility of cash withdrawals, the central bank can make sure the deposits are there to be grabbed when disaster strikes.

If central bankers are seriously trying to stimulate the economy with negative interest rates, they need to repeat the Wörgl experiment in full. They need to first get some new money into the economy, money that goes directly to the consumers and local businessmen who will spend it. This could be achieved in a number of ways: with a national dividend; or by using quantitative easing for infrastructure or low-interest loans to states; or by funding free tuition for higher education. Consumers will hit the malls when they have some new discretionary income to spend.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com. Listen to “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown” on PRN.FM.

Posted in Authoriarianism, Consumerism, Corporate Crime, Corruption, culture, Economics, Empire, Financial Crisis, History, Recession, Social Control, society, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Chaos Always Seems To Have Such Grand Potential

tahrir

By Shauna Janz

Source: Collective Evolution

We have been experiencing “chaos as grand potential” throughout our entire history. From the first potential of life that exploded from the stars and hurled across a universe in chaotic fashion, to the evolution of all species on our Earth, to the splitting of cells that form life in a mother’s womb.

Growth and evolution emerge from chaos.

Another way of thinking about chaos is the process of positive disintegration – originally used in psychology by Kazimierz Dąbrowski, who viewed tension and anxiety as a necessary part of any personal growth process. This term has also been used by Joanna Macy to describe how living systems evolve; when continued feedback tells a system that it has become dysfunctional, the system responds by changing.

In other words, when old ways of doing things are no longer adaptive or effective, we are catapulted into a disintegration process, or chaos, so that new ways of doing things can emerge that are positive for a sustainable life.

Chaos is a necessary part of the process any living system, individual, or community goes through to adapt, evolve, and remain sustainable in their environment.

For people, that environment may be our own personal body/mind, our families, our workplace, our society, or our collective global community.

From the chaos, or disintegration, comes the grand potential for something wholly new to arise – something that surpasses the old way of being and has become a more inclusive and integrated way of being.

I am reminded of Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart, dedicated to finding hope when we are suffering from change or loss; when we are in the midst of disintegration. Through her soothing words, she assists her readers to remain open and aware through the confusion and anxiety of chaos.

Pain and grief often inhabit the space of chaos. As familiar ways prove no longer useful, we are thrust into a space of unknowing and chaos before new ways can fully develop.

I reflect on the grief I have experienced in my own life, and on the grief in others that I have witnessed and supported. When loss and change erupt in our lives, we are left in the emotional wake to re-create who it is we are in our changed world.

We are left to find a new way to make meaning and to find adaptive strategies to live on and continue to thrive. It may mean letting go of certain roles or identities, or it may mean embracing new ones and honouring the process.

This doesn’t happen overnight. Before new ways emerge, we are left in confusion. We are left in anxiety. We are left in pain and grief.

In this chaotic space we may feel fearful, uncertain, and out of control. We may react and grasp for anything that might give us a sense of comfort or control, or allow us to numb out from feeling at all.

We see this on a personal scale as well as on a global scale – whether grasping for escape through another drink, Netflix series, or new pair of shoes, or whether grasping for control through declaring another war or engaging in oppressive acts against others.

Positive disintegration can only happen if we stay aware, open, and conscious to see the potential that lies within the chaos, and to then act to create new ways that are sustainable.

If we learn to navigate our own personal grief and chaos in conscious ways remaining calm, open, and trusting, then we gain the ability to navigate the grief and chaos in our world in the same way.

Remaining conscious and open is absolutely necessary because globally we are in the midst of a significant disintegration process, and we need to change how we live.

We know that the capitalist industrial growth complex that currently defines our global economics and social systems has become dysfunctional. We are witnessing extreme abuses of power, violence. and tactics of separation – all rooted in fear and grasping for control.

We are all experiencing the impacts of this global chaotic time – grief, anxiety, uncertainty. We are also witnessing efforts to make changes for a sustainable and equitable future.

Joanna Macy calls this time “The Great Turning.” In her book Coming Back to Life – Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World she exemplifies many of the ways we are seeing the process of positive disintegration carry out in our world.

From direct action and legislative work to slow down the process of environmental and social destruction, to academics and grassroot groups working to educate about the impacts of our capitalist industrial system, to the cognitive revolutions and spiritual awakenings that deeply shift our consciousness toward a sustainable way of being on this Earth — we have the ability to stand strong in the winds of chaos, to choose openness and compassion, to hold fast to our vision of a vibrant and sustainable future, and to act in loving ways, now.

We are seeing new forms of sustainable practices emerge, witnessing the resurgence of ancestral ways of knowing, and experiencing shifts of consciousness.

There is no one person that will save our planet or human family. It takes the whole global community to respond, which means it takes each and every one of us to step forward in our own ways to shine our light and hold hope, trust, and compassion through this time of chaos.

Each one of us has a gift – has words to share, actions to motivate, art to show, or ways of being that exude love, trust and connection.

There is a place for everyone – whether it is the frontlines of direct action and resistance, raising conscious and compassionate children, or actively healing your own wounds – these all contribute to the healing of our world.

Joanna Macy says, you cannot “fix” the world, but you can take part in its self-healing. Healing wounded relationships within you and between you is integral to the healing of our world.

Each one of us who chooses love over fear, feeling over numbing, and compassionate action over apathy, contributes to the emergence of a sustainable new way of being in our world.

I invite you to reflect on the ways you are responding in your own life to a global future of love and sustainability. What are the gifts you bring to this world? How are you actively living your gifts every day?

And I thank you for remaining open and compassionate amidst this time of chaos as grand potential.

Posted in Activism, conditioning, consciousness, culture, Philosophy, Psychology, society, Sociology, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment