The Fall of the American Empire

The Connection between Torture, Wall Street Bank Profits and Our Descent into Poverty

We who are watching President Obama carefully observe that he has betrayed us. For unknown, hopefully innocent and unknowing reasons, he has chosen an economic policy based on a massive falsehood, and advisors who have enabled Wall Street Banks to earn rich profits in the short run based on that falsehood. Obama has committed $12.8 Trillion to bailing out crooked Wall Street Banks, fraudulent by the public admissions of their own CEOs, and attempting to make them whole, a ratio of 14 for Wall Street Bank crooks to 1 for our Main Street economy. Obama continues the idiotic policy through massive bailouts of Wall Street crooks by trying to restart the unregulated real estate bubble, specifically including unregulated derivatives, credit default swaps, and hedge funds.

Instead of hope and change from the policies of the Bush Administration that some of us expected, every single policy regarding the maintenance of an aggressive economic empire abroad has been retained or expanded. We are all concerned about the depression that now confronts us, our loss of jobs and our loss of our homes in foreclosure, and the loss of our old age security. We had somehow assumed that Obama would deal with that directly and effectively by taking steps to restore purchasing power. An obvious first thing we expected was that he would enlarge and lengthen unemployment benefits. This has not happened. President Obama has not clearly explained how his present bail out priorities will help us. He has announced no alternate strategy if the present strategy does not work. Our disillusion was capped off by an article in the Wall Street Journal on April 18, 2009 reporting that Obama was considering secret retention of the right of the CIA to torture. We get no explanation of this from the mainstream media, nothing from the Democratic Party and nothing from the Republican Party. Even Marxists seem unconcerned about Wall Street Banks. It is left to us citizens and voters to try to find answers to these perplexing questions from non-mainstream sources and from economists and analysts who are not beholden to Wall Street’s status quo. We thus have a massive job of self-education and education of friends and neighbors. As Professor Michael Hudson suggests, we might copy a small European nation where labor unions called a one day general strike for the purposes of educating citizens. In the United States, we may need a one week general strike, probably more than one.

Since so large a proportion of public money is devoted to crooked Wall Street Banks, and to the maintenance of the aggressive spread of American investment opportunities in foreign lands, it seems appropriate to examine the dynamics of the Wall Street Banking system.

Three Preliminary Definitions

By “Wall Street Banks,” we mean about 10 dominant leading international banks of the United States, Europe and Japan, the main ones being based in the United States, and the major firms that they lend money to in defense industries, manufacturing and industrial businesses, agri-business and transportation. The term includes the Federal Reserve System, the WTO and the IMF. We do not mean the local independent banks that serve us in our local communities.

By “capitalism” we mean the political-economic system in which the Wall Street Banks and the firms they finance including their control over the governments where they operate. Capitalists are thus those within the operating complex of Wall Street Banks who have access to the means of producing goods and services, and access to the Wall Street Bank loans to do so. We citizens and voters whether employed or self-employed are not “capitalists.” because we have control of and access to nothing but our own labor or brain power which we sell or rent to employers or clients, patients and customers. The car dealers, professionals and independent businesses in our local communities are not capitalists in the sense here used. We non-Wall Street citizens and voters have very different moral values, ethics and interests than Wall Street Banks.

By “the massive falsehood,” we mean the culture wide dominating falsehood promoted by Wall Street Banks and its politicians and advisors and, so far, accepted by President Obama. It is this lie:

“The economy can flourish indefinitely by increasing the supply of goods and services and loaning people money with which to buy them. It is never necessary to increase the wages and purchasing power of employees. Wages and salaries can be cut, jobs eliminated, and production transferred to low wage countries without harming our stable economy.”

Current events now graphically demonstrate the falseness of this proposition as does simple logic. Imagine an economic system where all of the work is done by unpaid slaves. The slaves could buy nothing, having no earned income. So who is left to buy? Banks might loan slaves money with which to buy, but how would slaves repay the loans? That is now our plight. Wall Street Banks hate unions and hate high wages and salaries for employees. Wall Street Banks hate giving citizens more money and security. Our jobs were transferred overseas where workers earn too few pennies to buy much of anything. Too many of us are unemployed or employed only part time at a wage where we can not even buy enough food, much less support our huge, but very fragile economy.

The Private Fortune Building Machine: How the Fed and Private Banks Create Money Out of Thin Air and Then Profit by Lending it To Us

The Wall Street Banking System is private. It exists to make a profit for its investors and owners. Congress in the 1913 Federal Reserve Act granted a franchise to private banks to create money and to regulate interest rates. This franchise today is exclusive for all practical purposes since most money is “check book” money and not coins and dollar bills.

The Federal Reserve Board is not a public institution. Although the President selects the 12 board members for staggered terms, by law, they must be selected from a pool of private bankers. The Federal Reserve Bank and its 12 member branches are also private banks, owned by the member private banks. We have no accurate way of knowing the profits of this system because, by law, it may not be subjected to public audit.

The Federal Reserve Board creates money out of thin air, simply by writing a check, with no back up reserves or deposits and then allows a member bank to “create” 10 times more of that initial check book money. Our government backs this magic money as “legal tender” for the payment of all debts and taxes. For example, if a member bank has applications for loans, say $1000, the Fed simply writes a check for this money out of nothing and lends it to the member bank. Then a second bit of magic money making occurs: Each such loan by a member bank becomes an “asset” or a reserve so that the member bank can loan 90% of the first “asset” to a second borrower, and 90% of the second borrower to a third borrower and so on, to a maximum of $10,000 based on the initial $1000. This is called fractional reserve banking.” It is a fabulous way to create a permanent and growing “critical mass” fortune due to the compounding of money loaned at interest over time. It is the hidden secret of private banking that has existed at least since Rothschild in the early 1800s. The banks charge us interest on money they create out of thin air. The private fortunes that this system generates over the decades are beyond belief. These private banking fortunes must have multiplied many times.

The total private banking fortunes of Bank investors and heirs of investors must now be as large as the entire planet’s GNP. We have no way of knowing how much. This then is the operational underpinning of the private banking system. If we had known in time, we all should have started banks. Foreign banks and individuals, probably including Rothschild heirs, own stock in our private Wall Street Banks, but again we have no way of knowing how much. Because it generates so much money, it generates dominant power over our government. In fact it was this already existing private bank lobby money and power that “persuaded” congress to delegate its power to coin money and regulate the value thereof to private banks in 1913. Keep this secret, magic, profit generating system in mind as we examine how the private banks have used this power since 1913. Think also of the statement attributed to the legendary European banker Amschel Mayer Rothschild who allegedly said in 1838: “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.”

How the Wall Street Banks Have Compounded Their Political Power and Profits, From 1913 to Date

Wall Street Banks have persistently striven to place themselves at the center of every human transaction so as to make money, and to expand their profit making opportunities and their power.

In 1944 the Wall Street Banks met at a ski resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.Voters and citizens in the US were fighting WWII in the armed services, riveting airplanes, welding tanks and ships, and buying Victory Stamps arranged as corsages for their dates. Millions of ordinary citizens were putting out this massive effort to secure the Four Freedoms, Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Religion. The Wall Street Banks had a very different objective. They were meeting in Bretton Woods to plan how to maximize their profit and power following WWII. England, France, Germany and Japan were physically and financially devastated by WWII. The United States escaped WWII relatively unharmed. Wall Street Banks seized the opportunity to dominate. Wall Street Bankers hatched a plan to make the dollar backed by gold the dominant currency for the planet and to breach national barriers so as to foster dominant lending and investment opportunities throughout the world for Wall Street Banks. The dollar dominance created by Bretton Woods was backed by the US guarantee that it was “legal tender,” and the promise to pay in gold if demanded, the “gold standard.”

By 1971, The US debt and inflation due to the Viet Nam War caused Europeans to demand payment of debts in gold. This was exhausting our gold supply so President Nixon unilaterally abandoned the gold standard and adopted a “floating dollar standard” relative to other currencies. The US dollar dominance was strong enough by that time that the dollar remained the dominant currency of the planet, aided by a Treaty with Saudi Arabia that all oil it sold would be paid for with dollars.

After a time a domestic crisis occurred in the operation of this Wall Street Bank capitalism. There would be overproduction: more goods produced than earned wages could purchase, and still yield a profit. Wages stagnated. Wall Street Banks found insufficient profitable places to loan money. The Wall Street Banks quickly adapted using the IMF and the WTO which the private banks controlled. They exported their Wall Street Bank crisis to poor countries. They made large loans to foreign governments often to their Dictators, to “help them develop.” Wall Street Banks were not being charitable or benevolent. They imposed harsh conditions on these loans:

1. The borrowing country had to open its borders so that Wall Street Banks could invest in that country.

2. The country had to privatize many of its public works such as water works, abandon “socialism,” and adopt a market economy so that Wall Street Banks could purchase or invest in that country without restriction.

3. The country had to cut its social welfare programs (which had the intended effect of compelling workers to accept lower wages, or starve.)

4. Taxes had to be raised on the workers so that the IMF loans could be repaid.
This was the Wall Street Bank salvation formula that was imposed on the Soviet Union, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Indonesia, among others.

By 1980, poor nations became unable to pay and Wall Street Banks were desperate to find still other ways to make profit. Wall Street Banks adopted the policy of “Financialization.” This meant that instead of trying to loan money for the production of goods and services that human beings needed, and could pay for, Wall Street Banks would buy and sell each other’s companies, invest in hedge funds or bets that a company or commodity would go up or down. The profits for Wall Street Banks were immense, much more than Wall Street Banks had ever made before. Wall Street Banks used its new money to persuade Congress to abolish the Glass-Steagall Act and to pass a law prohibiting regulation of these “securities.”

This new absence of regulation enabled Wall Street Banks to become crooks, to engage in fraud. Wall Street Banks made “liar loans,” risky loans that Wall Street Banks knew from decades of banking experience, the borrowers were unlikely to repay. Wall Street Banks begged local mortgage brokers to sell such liar loans to unqualified buyers of houses, urging them to falsify their income. These liar loans were made sometimes to unlearned first time home buyers and sometimes to speculative individuals who thought they saw a way to make money without working from the appreciation in house values.

Wall Street Banks then bundled these loans, and issued layer upon layer of bonds “secured” by these “liar loans.” Wall Street Banks then pressured the rating agencies like Moody’s to give these very risky bonds an AAA rating. Wall Street Banks then sold these bonds to state pension funds, wealthy foreign individuals, to foreign governments, and even to a tiny town in Northern Norway, all of whom justifiably relied on the AAA rating. The profits for Wall Street Banks created many new billionaires and millionaires. These Financial Assets grew to about 425% of U.S. Gross National Product. The total fortunes now accumulated by the families invested in Wall Street Banks are probably enough to control the entire developed world.

It is these crooked fraudulent Wall Street Banks, stock holders and CEOs that Obama is now bailing out with a commitment of $12.8 Trillion of public money. Further than that, President Obama has retained as his main advisors the same persons and the same crooked fraudulent practices that created our current depression and difficulties.

The Wars Against Terror, Aided Where Necessary by Torture and Assassination, are Critically Necessary to the Maintenance of the Power of the Wall Street Banks

Any person or group within a foreign country who actively opposes imperialistic Wall Street Bank looting or dollar domination is labeled a radical, a communist, a socialist, or more recently a terrorist. Terrorists are often loyal to their cause and to each other and will not talk when captured, so Wall Street Banks find it necessary to torture them so as to identify and capture other terrorists. This will not seem so strange or unusual to those who know that US employers, to protect their profits, have historically resorted to hired thugs, beatings, and murder of those employees who engaged in a work stoppage and union organizing. Employers did not see this as immoral or uncivilized. Such striking employees were “terrorists,” outlaws, hooligans, and radicals, so far as employers were concerned. Wall Street Banks apparently see those who oppose their policies abroad in the same way. According to Professor Michael Hudson, Wall Street Banks say in effect: If you oppose our dollar domination, we will kill you.” William Blum in his 1995 book, Killing Hope, gave us the details of 55 foreign countries in which our military or CIA had been involved in killing operations after WWII up to 1995! (The “hope” that Wall Street Banks killed was the hope of the citizens of these countries for a better life.) Since 1995, we have the additional examples of Yugoslavia-Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Pakistan.

Criminals Have Captured Our Government

We can make sense out of what is happening only by seeing Wall Street Banks for what they are: Criminals with far more power and capacity for evil than the mob or the mafia. These criminal Wall Street Banks, unlike the mafia, have control of our national government, with its larger military capacity than all of the other nations put together. These criminals have at their disposal, 800 military bases in 70 countries, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, the CIA, most academic persons, the main stream press, and the support of the major religious faiths.
They have the tools of modern advertising and PR to create diversionary fears, to create “false flag disasters,” and to manipulate our thoughts and our votes.

Wall Street Banks are now exercising their power over our government to restart the crooked bubble without regulation. Michael Hirsch in an April 10, 2009 Newsweek article entitled “Wall Street Digs In” writes:

At issue is whether trading in credit default swaps and other derivatives – and the giant, too-big-to-fail firms that traded them — will be allowed to dominate the financial landscape again once the crisis passes. As things look now, that is likely to happen. And the firms may soon be recapitalized and have a lot more sway in Washington — all of it courtesy of their supporters in the Obama administration. With its Public-Private Investment Program set to bid up and buy toxic assets, the administration is handing these companies another giant federal subsidy. But this time the money will come through the back door, bypassing Congress, mainly via FDIC loans. No one is quite sure how the program will work yet, but it’s very likely going to make a lot of the same Wall Street houses much richer at taxpayer expense. Meanwhile, the big banks that still need help will almost certainly get another large infusion once the stress tests are completed by the end of the month.

The financial industry isn’t leaving anything to chance, however. One sign of a newly assertive Wall Street emerged recently when a bevy of bailed-out firms, including Citigroup, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, formed a new lobby calling itself the Coalition for Business Finance Reform. Its goal: to stand against heavy regulation of “over-the-counter” derivatives, in other words customized contracts that are traded off an exchange. Companies like these kinds of contracts, which are agreed to privately between firms, because they allow them to tailor a hedge perfectly against a firm-specific risk for a certain time period. But in order to preserve its right to negotiate these cheaper private contracts, Wall Street is apparently willing to argue for the same lack of public transparency and to permit the systemic risk that led to the crash.

Even Though the Congressional Oversight Committee Cannot Find Out What is Going On, What Can We Citizens Deduce Concerning Our Own Well-Being?

Elizabeth Warren, the head of the Congressional Oversight Committee, tells us that she cannot get answers from Wall Street Banks about their strategy or what they have done with the bail out money they have already received. However it is clear from the evidence that Wall Street Banks are attempting to subject us ordinary citizens to the policies that they imposed on the poor nations of the world. We ordinary US citizens are destined to become like the citizens of “underdeveloped” nations. Wall Street Banks are trying to “kill our hope.”

* We have to accept “free trade” meaning the exporting of our jobs to foreign nations where labor is cheaper, unregulated capitalism, and police wiretap power over our thoughts and records.

* We have to endure privatization of our public works such as water works, freeways and prisons, abandon “socialism,” and avoid joining unions

* We have to accept cuts in our social welfare programs (which have the intended effect of compelling us to accept lower wages, or starve.)

* We have to pay higher taxes to repay the bail out debts, while the wealthy get tax cuts.

Wall Street Banks well know of the culture wide lie that they have propagated. They know that the jig is up, that our wages and salaries have been so depleted, and our borrowing so maxed out, that the system is about to fall. Lending us more money, will no longer work.

Professor Michael Hudson says that the crooked Wall Street Banks know that the debts now being incurred by us taxpaying citizens can never be repaid. They know that this will cause China and Saudi Arabia to stop buying our Bonds, Bonds that finance our wars and bases that encircle and threaten those countries like China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia who now buy our bonds. Wall Street Banks know that their own acts and policies will inevitably bring our political economy crashing down. As bankers, they well know that creating a lot of “check book” money (fiat currency) will cause massive inflation so that each of our dollars will buy less and less.

So the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the human owners of the Wall Street Banks are grabbing all of the Trillions of dollars that they possibly can, while they can. They will quickly convert their dollars to a stable foreign currency if there is one, to land, oil, gold, diamonds, plutonium, and commodities, and live in residential castles behind guarded gates.

They will buy or obtain by foreclosure all available food producing land. Those of us that survive will be reduced to feudal serfs allowed to work a parcel of land for the economic nobles who own it, and to retain a small share of food, wool and cotton for ourselves. We will become share-croppers at best, and dead at worst.

So How Does Obama Fit Into All of This?

Is Obama the hypnotized, drugged, programmed puppet of Wall Street Banks?

Is Obama afflicted with the psychological disorder of two or more personalities, one magnificently promising us hope and change, and the other delivering starvation, serfdom, and death?

Is he simply innocently ignorant of the real dynamics of our political economy and respectful of his Harvard academic advisor like Lawrence Summers, University of California advisor Christina Romer and Wall Street Banker, Secretary Geithner who themselves have built their careers on the lie?

Does he have the ambition of the top law school graduates of rising to the top of the “legal pecking order” by serving the legal “needs” of the very largest private institutions?

Is he a very bright man who does know of the lie, but also knows the political limits, within which he can operate, and, somewhat like Lincoln, is waiting for Wall Street Banks to fall even further, become even more weak and bankrupt, before he can act on our behalf? If so there are neither plans on the shelf, nor knowledgeable persons to implement it.

We have no way of knowing what motivates Obama. How do you see him? What is your strategy given the circumstances? I am “beating pots and pans” as loudly as I can, and writing articles like this in my effort to arouse others to participate in massive protest marches whose objective is to make the politicians meet our needs. I invite you to do the same. As a fall back position, I am buying a small parcel of land with my remaining retirement dollars where I can grow food and keep a goat.

Doug Page is a retired lawyer for unions, a former Democratic politician, and a life long observer of government, unions and business. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Doug, or visit Doug's website.

18 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. rg the lg said on April 23rd, 2009 at 10:34am #

    Oh for crying out loud!

    Get real … O’Bama did NOT betray us. We believed the rhetoric! O’Bama is a politician … and that means when his lips are moving he is lying. I am reminded of Goebbels … the bigger the lie …

    For years we have created what some call a ‘hologram’ … a world made up of gazillions of false images about who we are, where we came from, etc. These false images, in the pretechno dreamscape of the 21st century included text books that we believed because we couldn’t believe our teachers were lying to us. They were … and whether or not they knew it, the fact remains they had a strong bias to attempt to make us complacent for our masters.

    They succeeded well … we suckered for Bush, and we suckered for O’Bama … and the reality is that the sucker-punch was built on all of the falsehoods of the greatest, most effective, entirely successful brain-washing campaign ever! We committed a grotesque genocide of the Native American (Indian?) and we pretend it was for ‘progress.’

    But ‘progress’ in USan terms means ‘profitability’ for the oligarchs … and corporations (the bigger, the less our alleged leaders will allow them to fail). We saw human beings as ‘property’ and the only reason we didn’t enslave the Indians (and consequently enslaved the blacks) was that the Indians were too tough to daunt. The result was annihilation.

    I could go on, but why bother. The whole myth of the ‘American’ story has been going on for so long that nobody realizes what a lie it is.

    Ward had it right when he said Chickens Came Home to Roost on 9/11.

    I can NOT believe that you actually thought O’Bama was really any different.

    Skeptically Cynical,

    RG the LG

  2. Don Hawkins said on April 23rd, 2009 at 2:40pm #

    They have the tools of modern advertising and PR to create diversionary fears, to create “false flag disasters,” and to manipulate our thoughts and our votes.

    Yes they sure do. Do we need a permit?

  3. Tennessee-Chavizta said on April 23rd, 2009 at 4:39pm #


    First of all: what people need in this country is to create a united-front composed of all the small socialist, leftist parties of this country (The Green Party, The Socialist Equality Party, The Democratic Socialists of USA, The Socialist Party of USA, The Revolutionary Communist Party of USA, The Workers World Party of USA, The Marxist-Leninist Party of USA, and other alternative socialist parties) which would be a real vehicle in which the masses, the majority of americans who are pissed off with the capitalist-system, would have an answer out of this mess. to caste their votes every 4 years.

    However there is a catch-22 with a creation of a United-Socialist-Front composed of small socialist parties.

    The catch-22 problem is that the USA corporate fascist system thru the media and its other evil things it has, will not let that united-front succeeding, The media apparatus would denounce it as a cult or an evil organization, and would spread dirty propaganda against it, just like it did and it has done many times against Ron Paul, Howard Dean and even against Obama.

    Second: An educational-propaganda campaign

    In order to create a united socialist party we would also need an educational campaign in order to spread socialism and marxism propaganda, information and knowledge to the masses about the evils of capitalism, fascism and imperialism and that the only solution for American citizens is socialism and marxism as the only real alternative which is participative democratic socialism. An educational program to debunk the taboos and myths created by right-wing libertarians and conspiracy theorists such as Jeff Rense, Alex Jones and other conspiracy free market libertarian lunatics against Marxism, and communism ideology.

    I read the biography of Hugo Chavez and that’s how he started his political program in order to change Venezuela. He first tried to wake up Venezuelan poors about the evils of neoliberalism, he talked about the importance of teaching the masses about capitalism vs. socialism. And then when Venezuelan’s poors digested the ideology of socialism, Hugo Chavez and his political movement began a campaign in Venezuela as an electoral option in 1998.

    And here in USA we gotta do the same thing that Chavez did, teach the US poor for some months or years what is capitalism and what is socialism before trying to do form any political party.

    Almost nobody in USA have taught the masses the evils of neoliberalism, not even Kucinich, Ron Paul or any other candidate.

    Ron Paul was one of the few candidates who talked about the US constitution and nobody listened to him, however his major flaw is that Ron Paul is not socialist or marxist. I don’t know why if he is good intentioned as people say, he chosed the Libertarian free market ideology. If he is real smart, he should be a socialist and leftist, not a libertarian.

    Because we all know that in history and present, countries with real bad economic problems and where its population is real poor, adopt state-capitalist policies or social-democrat leftist policies, but not libertarian free markets at all. In fact, when libertarianism free market is applied it increases poverty and destroys whole economies (Examples: Argentina)

    So Ron Paul didn’t teach the US population about the evils of capitalism, because of the fact that Ron Paul was a capitalist, not a real alternative for poor people.

    Only socialist parties can be a real alternative for victims of the Bush-Obama 1.5 trillion dollars bailouts, but socialist parties don’t have access to TV and the press in the USA and that’s why most americans don’t know the ideology of socialism,ge in TV.

    So before marketing a United Socialist Front in USA as a third party alternative we need to spend some months or years trying to teach the poor people of America about the evils of capitalism and the wonders of a participative democratic socialist system, a people’s system.

    socialism is so good, that it is the only ideology in this country that proposes a minimum wage of 15 dollars an hour.

    No other ideology proposes 15 dollars for minimum wage: 3. We call for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, indexed to the cost of living. 5. We call for all financial and insurance institutions to be socially owned and operated by a democratically-controlled national banking authority, which should include credit unions, mutual insurance cooperatives, and cooperative state banks. In the meantime, we call for re-regulation of the banking and insurance industries

  4. beverly said on April 23rd, 2009 at 6:31pm #

    “For unknown, hopefully innocent (there goes that hope shit again), and unknowing reasons, Obama . . .”

    Who are these people who keep writing about their surprise and bewilderment at Obama’s wicked ways??? Doug Page, you’re a lawyer so you must have some smarts go get through law school and pass the bar. As a lifelong observer of govt, unions, and business you’ve been around the block enough times to detect a bullshit artist when you see and hear one. Since you’ve posted on this website, you must be aware of indy media and have read some of it.

    With the above credentials and aptitude, you ought to know full well that Obama is doing exactly what he was elected to do – to keep the military/corporate complex gravy train rolling. The man ain’t no dummy. He graduated Harvard. Supposedly came up “the hard way,” complete with single mom/welfare storyline (cue violins, please), Mr. Community Organizer of the Chicago ghetto, yada, yada. With all this background, he knows what needs to be done but has no intentions of doing anything not straight outta the Wall Street/Pentagon playbook.

    I am so tired of left leaning pundits and pontificators expressing their puzzlement and despair at Obama shitting all over every issue on the left/progressive agenda. Throughout the campaign, Obama’s empty rhetoric and sleaze bag, neoliberal team provided little doubt which way he was swinging on the political playground. It’s beyond weak now to feign shock and dismay when the writing was on the wall long ago. Sadder still, is what little criticism of Obama from the Left is tepid at best. These people are so lobotomized and p.c. paralyzed they are going to awake four years from now to discover Obama has screwed them over as much as Bush did.

  5. Guy McPherson said on April 23rd, 2009 at 7:10pm #

    Even if Obama wanted to help “the people” — which I sincerely doubt — he faces the 9.1% annual decline in crude oil forecast by the IEA. By the end of his first term, the world’s oil supply will be about the same as it was in 1970, when the world had about half as many people and was far less industrialized. China and India are not going away. If the American way of life is non-negotiable, the oil wars have only just begun. More likely, we’ll be halfway to the post-industrial stone age by 2012.

  6. amine said on April 23rd, 2009 at 7:16pm #

    the article is very well written and thank you for trying to spark a wind of change. i work in a corporate company as a middle class worker,the majority of my department from 21 years old to early 40’s go home and plug their nintendo’s ,wiis ..and play till 3:00 am in the morning. now is this generation or two generations combined will change a system.? they can give a damn about who is president , if we torture,if they wire tap us. when i find higher ups in the companies reading ” dragon novels”, i get very angry that these lazy asses have no clue of what’s awaiting them when it is their turn to loose their jobs. the problem is not obama..he cannot wipe his ass without being watched not to take country changing decisions on his own. his was put in power not because we elected him,because the bankers financed his campaign and sat with him and told him what is expected from him if they elect him. so in order to change this corrupted system…the above people will need to taste what starvation means..what freezing in winter means…not having a job means and its stress…when all this happens like back in France for example, then the American nintendo lovers will go to sites like dissident ,read articles from scholars like you , then go out in the street and raise hell on the bankers . but for now lets keep eating chiken wings,watch the game drive v8 cars, and of course play nintendo.

    as my solution to the current issue is the same as yours ..massive riots that puts the entire country into a immidiate series of amendments need to take place:
    * trial of the crimninals at the white house and wall street
    * form a new government from scratch
    *adopt a new foreign policy by letting poor nations to choose their fate and their leaders , that is true democracy that will reinstate the american people’s image.
    *regulate our car industry …buy american propaganda…impose higher taxes on car imports, set higher manufacturing standards such as those of Germany.
    *finally and the most important one : take the media off the hands of the people that own the banks. and create other sources of media easily accessible and more transparent to educate the masses.

  7. Tennessee-Chavizta said on April 23rd, 2009 at 7:44pm #


    Steve Watson
    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    You couldn’t make it up if you tried. AFP today reports that Al-Qaeda chief in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, has been captured and arrested. The problem with this is that al-Baghdadi has already been reported captured, previously reported killed and even said to have never actually existed by the U.S. military.

    “Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was arrested today in Baghdad,” Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qasim Atta told AFP.

    “It was Iraqi forces who arrested him based on an intelligence tipoff from someone,” he added.

    Also known as Abu Hamza al-Baghdadi and Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi, many questions have surrounded the so called leader of al Qaeda’s political front organization the “Islamic State of Iraq”.

    He was thought to have been one of the figures to succeed the equally shadowy Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as a leader of insurgent forces in Iraq in 2006, after al Zarqawi, who was also previously reported captured and killed on several occasions, was laid to rest for good by the PR arm of the Pentagon.

    The announcement of al-Baghdadi’s capture today jars with multiple previous reports from up to two years ago, detailing his arrest, his death and even questioning his existence altogether.

    In March 2007, the Interior Ministry of Iraq claimed that al-Baghdadi had been captured in Baghdad. This was reported by AP and picked up by the likes of CNN, whose report stated that another insurgent had positively confirmed al-Baghdadi’s identity.

    The U.S. military denied that al-Baghdadi was in their custody, however, and one day later Iraqi officials retracted their statements regarding his arrest.

    Indeed this back and forth announcement of capture and later retraction occurred three times in the space of one week.

    Then one month later, on May 3, 2007, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced that al-Baghdadi had been killed by American and Iraqi forces north of Baghdad.

    However, in July 2007, the U.S. military reported that al-Baghdadi had never actually existed and was, for all intents and purposes, a myth.

    A reportedly high ranking “Al Qaeda in Iraq” detainee identified as Khaled al-Mashhadani, then claimed that al-Baghdadi was a fictional character created to give an Iraqi face to a foreign-run terror group, and that the “Islamic State of Iraq” was a “virtual organisation in cyberspace” created by al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayub al Masri.

    The person claiming to be Baghdadi continued to release video and audiotapes attacking U.S. occupation of Iraq, but refused to show his face.

    The U.S. military’s claim that Baghdadi is a fictitious character was then challenged in May 2008 after a police chief in Haditha said Baghdadi’s real identity is Hamed Dawood Mohammed Khalil al Zawi. “He was an officer in the security services and was dismissed from the army because of his extremism,” the police chief told al Arabiya television.

    Now Baghdadi has been reported captured again!

    This saga is another example of how a manufactured smoke and mirrors propaganda veils reality. The “war on terror” mantra continues to be propagated as justification to wage permanent occupation and control over the middle east by the global elite.

    Al Qaeda in Iraq, al Zarqawi, al Baghdadi and the legions of other al qaeda operatives who have been reportedly captured and killed over and over are used as interchangeable PR tools.

    Are or were any of them ever real? Possibly. However that matters little now.

    Once again 99% of the corporate media will no doubt enthusiastically champion this latest arrest as a key victory in the continuing war on terror, and the majority of Americans who even notice will not take a second glance at the ludicrous back story.

  8. Tennessee-Chavizta said on April 23rd, 2009 at 7:58pm #

    amine said on April 23rd, 2009 at 7:16pm #

    Indeed, but you must state that what we need is to turn US govenrment into a socialist-government. To topple the whole capitalist-government and reform it into a socialist-government. That’s the only way to save USA.

  9. Hue Longer said on April 23rd, 2009 at 8:09pm #

    rg the lg said on April 23rd, 2009 at 10:34am #”We saw human beings as ‘property’ and the only reason we didn’t enslave the Indians (and consequently enslaved the blacks) was that the Indians were too tough to daunt. The result was annihilation”

    Hello rg,

    It doesn’t take from your point but Native Americans were used by Europeans as slaves for hundreds of years and in large numbers too. They were shipped to different parts of the Americas, to Africa, Europe and any island that produced anything. Local Americans didn’t work so well because they knew the lay of the land and it made more sense to inport Africans and export them. This is just organized slavery and doesn’t touch on using the locals til they died–whether it was in 1500 or in 1849

  10. Hue Longer said on April 23rd, 2009 at 8:12pm #

    I should add instead of imply that it wasn’t a question of people being tougher than orthers

  11. Tennessee-Chavizta said on April 23rd, 2009 at 8:27pm #


    In 1728 John Gay wrote The Beggar’s Opera for the London stage. It was an attack on the corruption of Robert Walpole’s government of private men and on the self-interested motivations that were now to drive society. It featured a central character called Mr. Peachum, a turn-key (gaoler), who aided, organised and fenced for the criminal fraternity of London (representing the cut-throat selfishness of Walpole’s ministers) and then turned them in to the authorities when they were no longer profitable to him.

    It is not surprising that such a play should appear with the arrival of capitalism within society, with its emphasis on mercenary personal gain replacing any notion of loyalty or community. It is also not surprising that a prison was the chosen setting, nor that the law was seen as a corrupt tool in the hands of a selfish few. What is surprising, is how durable this image from the dawn of Modernity has turned out to be.

    The prison was a common feature of 18th century writing, because it was emerging as a new and devastating weapon in the class war. Under feudalism the population could be controlled by fear, by selected spectacular public executions, to keep the whole thing running. Emergent industrial capitalism, however, needed a disciplined workforce, ready to clock on and work like machines, and obey. For industrial capitalism, gory punishments and executions were wasteful, and did not create sufficient internal discipline. Other methods were required.

    Thus, with the advance of capitalism, we see less and less reliance on execution as a means of social control, and more and more on the rise of the prison. It is telling that the prominent liberal philosopher Jeremy Bentham advanced, for his idea of a Utilitarian Utopia, the Panopticon, a prison/workhouse/school, wherein from a central tower an observer could see into all the individual cells, without being seen themself. The idea was that the uncertainty of not being detected would prevent the inhabitants from stepping out of line, and thus there would be no offences. This was a fantasy of the factory, perfectly compliant workers, in their place, and knowing their own duty and work. It is also an image from which capitalism has never been able to escape, because it is precisely that discipline that it needs to function. This applies not just in the workplace, but in the whole of society.

    Surplus population

    The big problem for capitalism is that it contains the seeds for its own discord, so whenever social discipline breaks down prison is deployed to try and patch things up. The prison remains as a solid reminder of the anti-social nature of capitalism.

    Capitalism creates such social breakdown because its creates a “surplus population”. Capitalism can, to keep up the compulsion on the workers to work, only fully maintain those workers who succeed in selling their labour power. Some of the rest are maintained at a lower level as an “industrial reserve army” to be used in the event of production expanding. Beyond them is a stagnant pool of the permanently unemployed who are regarded as “unemployable”. In recent years, as economic growth has slowed and the introduction of labour-saving methods continued, the size of this pool has grown. As far as the capitalist is concerned these workers, since they are on no use to them, can go hang (quite literally in the past).

    Thus Noam Chomsky has spoken of “a kind of superfluous population there’s no point in educating because there’s nothing to do with them. You put them in prison because we’re a civilized people and you don’t send death squads out to murder them” (interview with David Barsamian, 1971).

    The facts for America bear this out. In California education budgets have been slashed, and prison officers earn 30 percent more than lecturers, with a massive increase in the use of prisons. In that state alone over 130,000 people were held in prison in 1995, and it was still rising then. California has allocated $3.2 billion extra to its prison budget since 1992. Nor is California alone, and nor is it the worst. In 1993 California had 607 prisoners per 100,000 population, Texas had 700, and Georgia had 730. The combined totals of the three most populated European states (France, UK, Germany) only reached 84 per 100,000 head of population in the same year. In 1997 in the USA the figure was 645.

    In 1995 5.4 million Americans were within the prison system (that includes remand, on parole, in prison, etc.), which works out as about 5 percent of the adult male population. The prison system has been deployed, to great effect, both to ameliorate the unemployment statistics (all those prisoners don’t show up) and to control the “socially excluded”. Within the vast network of controls, the US poor are being restrained and disciplined. This is on top of the increasing number of restraints being imposed by the American “welfare” system.

    In recent years in Britain, both under the Tories and Labour, the prison population has began to shoot up as our masters, realising the bankrupt nature of their policies, and the stagnant nature of modern capitalism, decided to copy the US model. According to Home Office Statistics for 1997, there were 61,114 people in prison in the UK, 5,833 more than the previous year, and increase of 11 percent. The prison population has increased by 37 percent since 1993 (when it was 44,570), and it is clear that it is the greater use of custodial sentences that has caused that increase. The number of prisoners per 100,000 head of population has also increased to 111 (120 in England and Wales, 119, in Scotland and 95 in Northern Ireland), second only to Portugal in Europe.

    What’s more is the increasing use of private prisons, selling them to a whole bunch of Peachums, to make a profit from locking up the poor (Gay is still with us). The massive amount of spending on prisons is going to create a demand to keep the prisons full (which will be complemented by police arrest quotas), to justify the payments and swell the security firms’ profits. As the system gets more and more expanded, more firms are being allowed a slice of the prison cake. In August this year, two months after the 1000th convict was tagged for home detention (a cheap and easy modern equivalent of the Panopticon, to enable the government to extend prison control even further), the government announced the winning firms that had tendered to administer these schemes.

    The Curfew Orders which necessitate tagging are a way of subtly increasing the effect of prison, and controlling the numerous “petty offenders” for whom prison is too expensive and wasteful and option

    More discipline

    In April, the government announced that it was going to extend its “Welfare to Work” scheme to some lucky young prisoners, to help them find work (and thus buck the 76 percent recidivism rate for young offenders). This linking (apart from being a naked attempt to try and use their “captive audience” to increase the success figure for the New Deal) demonstrates the intrinsic values of the New Con, that it is a device by which the government is trying to control the surplus population, and allocate them to work, whenever they can find it for them. Already they are embarking on making it mandatory for single mothers to attend their initial New Deal interviews. Increasingly more and more strings are attached to “welfare”. Inspectors can call round at recipients homes and look round for signs of co-habitation, with a de-facto search warrant, under threat of extra-judicial punishment (removal of benefits).

    Prison is also a device by which to promote and re-enforce racial division in society (as if creating a “criminal class” isn’t divisive enough). In Britain 1.5 percent of the British male population are Caribbean, however a staggering 10.4 percent of the British male prison population are likewise Caribbean. Of the female prison population, 12.9 percent were Caribbean, while only 1.8 percent of the general female population are.

    The racism aspect is worsened when one considers that some 2,720 immigrants are held in “Detention Centres” as what the Home Office euphemistically calls “non-Criminal Prisoners”, part of the government’s attempts to prevent immigrants entering the country.

    Also prison was used extensively for fine defaulters, of whom some 6,300 found their way to gaol, helping victimise the poor of society even more.

    It is worth remembering, that throughout the Thatcher Years, police pay awards were significantly above other public sector pay awards (such as nurses and teachers), as the government fought to secure the loyalty of the police force. The result of this can be seen in the difference between the police involvement in the Miners’ Strike (with an illegal national police force being established, and the miners’ freedom of movement restricted) and recent events in Australia, where the police refused to intervene in the dockers’ dispute telling the government straight that they should fight their own battles. Also, increasingly, local councils are reliant on Close Circuit Television Cameras (with ever increasing sophistication) to keep an eye on us and ensure we are behaving (that damned panoptic eye again). We are not judged to be responsible enough to go about our own lives.

    Other attacks on basic liberties abound, police stop and search powers are increased, the right to silence is removed, the right to trial by jury is decreased, freedom of movement is restricted. The change of government has made no difference. Increasingly the state is trying to shape and control our lives through bureaucracy or through the police.

    The only solution open to capitalism now, faced with social decay and chaos, is to criminalise the “surplus population”, to lock them up, to take control of them and increase discipline throughout society. Capitalism’s only solutions are brutal and barbaric, and in 1997 70 inmates of prisons killed themselves.

    Socialism offers to end the social conditions that cause that breakdown and necessitate enforced discipline, offering instead self-worth, and freedom of association in production, a strong inclusive social identity. The prison is not a symbol of capitalism. Capitalism is a prison, and it is imperative for us to try and break out of it.

  12. Tennessee-Chavizta said on April 23rd, 2009 at 8:36pm #

    Most americans don’t know what socialism, capitalism, social-democracy, fascism, and imperialism is. In fact most americans don’t even know that USA is an empire, doing imperialism in the world, and that USA is collapsing as a capitalist empire.

    Remember folks that all US citizens care about is food, sex, drugs and pleasures.

    People in this country think that politics is irrelevant. However when capitalism finally collapses, american citizens will experience a painful wake up call, and will necesarily out of need, be driven to support a socialist party arising as an option for the capitalist mess of Democrats and Republicans.


  13. john andrews said on April 23rd, 2009 at 10:53pm #

    Great piece Doug.


    The simple measure of making it illegal for private money to finance election campaigns (and requiring the state to do it instead) would go a long way to providing real people-power in government.

    Free Democracy is a solution.

  14. johnmayer said on April 24th, 2009 at 2:12am #

    It is estimated that Obama’s plan could benefit 8 to 9 million homeowners from the new modification procedures. So how do you know you qualify for the Mortgage Modification? Check the website
    to see if you qualify. I was also in trouble and I am glad I did check it before I talk to my mortgage company and it helped – John Mayer, California

  15. David said on April 24th, 2009 at 1:33pm #

    Jeez, Beverly, you really beat the piss out of poor Mr. Page. Thanks!

    It’s getting closer and closer to torches and nooses time. And it’s long overdue.

  16. Mark Herpel said on April 25th, 2009 at 6:41am #

    Ok, I feel your pain. It’s a good article/post you have written and I agree with most of it. But it’s also just like the 40 others I read yesterday and today. You speak in the echo of thousands of other bloggers saying the same thing. I don’t want to hear complaints anymore I need solutions for me. Local everyday solutions before inflation wipes out the middle class.

    So what can I as one person, one voice do about the colossal Trillion dollar problems in Washington? How does my one voice make any difference?

    Do you have any everyday solutions or can we expect more and more complaints, theories and hindsight?

    Skype IM ‘digitalcurrency’

  17. Kaelieh said on April 26th, 2009 at 10:24am #

    *Slow hand raise

    Umm…. I know the arguments for socialism, and there’s some validity there. And what Hugo Chavez has done for his people is admirable and he’s made great strides of progress for the poor in his country. I’m a fan of the guy.

    But, uh, I don’t really want to live under socialism.

  18. Tennessee-Chavizta said on April 27th, 2009 at 7:26am #

    Kaelieh said on April 26th, 2009 at 10:24am #

    You are like most americans who love poverty, pain and suffering. Capitalism makes people poorer not richer. I do want to get out of economic limitations, boredom, poverty and hopelessness. And socialism is the only solution for that.

    Face it, you will never get out of poverty and pain within this system. You could read 100 books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, invest in Mcdonalds stocks, have 2 jobs and you will be even more poorer, more exhausted, sicker and just literally dead

    Face it, socialism is the only way to get richer and feel better