Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Sorry Ukraine, US won’t be riding to your rescue: Essential wake-up call to Kiev, ending years of delusion

By Paul Robinson | RT | June 9, 2021

Since 2014, the US has encouraged Kiev’s leaders to believe that it has their back, come what may. Now, as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline nears completion, the Ukrainian president is screaming betrayal as he realizes he was misled.

A while back, it used to be popular in some circles to play up talk of the “Putinsliv” – the impending sell-out in which Russian President Vladimir Putin was apparently destined to throw the rebels of Donbass under the bus and surrender them to the tender mercies of the Ukrainian government. The irony is that, while Putinsliv never happened, the fury coming out of Kiev this week suggests that Ukraine itself has suffered a dramatic and unexpected “Bidensliv,” being sold out by US President Joe Biden.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had a troubled relationship with the country, which he accused of trying to undermine his election campaign in 2016. Republicans also used the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter, in Ukraine to paint Trump’s Democratic opponent as corrupt. Consequently, Ukrainians generally welcomed Biden’s election as president and have viewed him as a much more reliable ally.

Until this week, that is. Now, things are looking a little different.

For the past few months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pressing Biden for a meeting. His position was that this should take place before Biden holds talks with Putin. Otherwise, the argument goes, the Russian and American leaders might stitch up Ukraine’s fate and then present Kiev with a fait accompli. Better that Zelensky gets to Biden first, they say, so as to forestall any attempt by the Americans to betray Ukraine to the Russians.

This, however, was not to be. Speaking to Zelensky by phone on Monday, Biden offered to host him in Washington later this summer, after Biden meets Putin in Geneva on 16 June. Apparently, the White House has decided that managing relations with Russia takes precedence over keeping Ukraine happy – a not unreasonable position given that Moscow has nearly 1,500 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, whereas Ukraine has not a single one. The safety of the world tends to focus the mind on what is really a priority.

In another blow to Zelensky, the Biden administration has finally given up its campaign to sabotage the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is designed to bring natural gas directly from Russia to Germany. At present, Russia exports natural gas to the rest of Europe largely through an old Soviet pipeline system running through Ukraine, and pays Kiev some $3 billion a year for the privilege. Kiev fears that, once the new underwater link is up and running, Russia will be able to stop the supply of gas through the country, thereby depriving it of much-needed cash.

For this reason, Zelensky and his allies have been lobbying the Americans to prevent the pipeline from being finished. To that end, the Trump administration imposed numerous sanctions on companies involved in the project. Now, though, the Biden government has waived those sanctions on the main German company involved, in effect giving the pipeline a green light for completion.

This was little more than a recognition of reality: Nord Stream 2 was going to be completed no matter what America did. So it made little sense for the US to degrade its relations with Berlin any more than it has already. Given a choice between the goodwill of rich and powerful Germany on the one hand, or of weak and impoverished Ukraine on the other, it was fairly obvious which one Washington would side with. The only surprise was that it took so long to work it out.

Adding insult to injury, Putin announced last week that the first section of the pipeline had been completed. This news provoked Zelensky into a mini tantrum. Speaking to the Axios news website, he complained that he was “confused” and “disappointed” by the American decision to waive sanctions on the project. He was “positive” that America could stop construction if it wanted, he said. Zelensky was also angered by the fact that the Americans didn’t tell him about their decision, and that he had to learn about it from a White House press briefing. “How many Ukrainian lives does the relationship between the United States and Germany cost?” he asked.

The Ukrainian president’s comments reveal a remarkable naivety. It seems he truly believed both that the United States is all-powerful; and that the Americans would prioritize relations with Kiev over relations with Moscow and Berlin. Now he is learning the hard way that in international politics, as Thucydides said, “the strong do what they will, and the weak suffer as they must.”

If the episode acts as a wake-up call for Zelensky’s government, that will be a good thing. For too long, Ukrainian leaders have given the impression they are living in a fantasy world in which the West will in due course induce Russia to abandon any support for the rebellion in Donbass with a campaign of massive economic, military and diplomatic pressure. This vision has manufactured an unwillingness in Kiev to make the concessions required to bring peace to Donbass under the Minsk II Agreement of February 2015, most notably the granting of “special status” to the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk. As a result, it has played a major role in perpetuating the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

To be fair to Zelensky, the Americans have done everything they can to encourage the fantasy that Russia can be pressured into surrender. As he notes in his interview with Axios, Biden had offered him “direct signals” that the US was prepared to block the [Nord Stream 2] pipeline. This is plausible. It fits a pattern of behavior in which Washington has led Kiev’s ruling elite to believe it will have their back come what may, including in its efforts to ignore the Minsk Agreement.

Consequently, it is perhaps not surprising that Zelensky feels betrayed. The American government has misled Ukraine’s leaders into thinking that it will go the whole hog on the country’s behalf. To an outside observer, this was never plausible. But in the desperate world of Ukrainian politics, it may well have appeared otherwise. Kiev’s bubble has long since needed bursting. To the extent that the Nord Stream 2 debacle has done that, it has paradoxically been a rather good week for Ukraine – no matter what Zelensky or his supporters may think.

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics, and is author of the Irrussianality blog

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Support for Lockdowns: A ‘Bootleggers and Baptists’ Phenomenon

By David McGrogan | AIER | June 8, 2021

One of the most striking characteristics of ‘lockdownism’ – though one which, seen in the cold light of day, is hardly surprising – is that support for it has been generated through confluences of interests. The most obvious example of this is the way in which the aims of public health bodies (preventing excess deaths) have aligned so closely with those of certain big, incumbent market actors, such as supermarkets, social media giants, and online marketplaces (that is, profit). Lockdowns appear to suit those with self-consciously virtuous motives; they also very often suit those who want to make money. When people stay at home, they stop the virus spreading – but they also spend more time online, buy more from online stores, and rely on big ‘essential’ supermarkets rather than small, independent ‘mom and pop’ nonessential retail.

In light of this, are we at all surprised that it is very often the big social media firms, streaming services and the like that have been most strongly in favor of restrictions? There is nothing conspiratorial about this, nor probably even anything intentional. It is just the straightforward application of one of the most fundamental lessons of classical economics: incentives matter, and the incentives of these actors just tend to point in the same direction. It’s not that these businesses consciously support lockdowns due to a naked profit motive, in other words; it’s simply that their incentives to reject lockdownism are not strong, or are lacking entirely, because their interests are not in conflict with it.

One of the most important, helpful, but least well-systematized concepts in the study of regulation is the ‘bootleggers and Baptists’ phenomenon, coined by Bruce Yandle. Yandle observed that political activism in favour of the prohibition of alcohol sales and Sunday closing laws in the US was often a combination of high and low motives. Baptists are in favor of restricting the selling of alcohol because it is ‘good for society.’ Bootleggers are in favor of it because, for their purposes, the less alcohol that is lawfully available the better. The two groups do not conspire with one another, openly or otherwise. But the alignment of their interests is a kind of pincer movement which regulators find difficult to resist.

Bootleggers’ and Baptists’ coalitions, then, are circumstantial alignments between virtue and the profit motive. And they are everywhere in public life. To pick just one example, the Scottish and UK governments increasingly regulate the consumption of alcohol and sugar, through a variety of price floors, mandatory packaging requirements, and surcharges. These measures satisfy public health advocates, whose motives are pure (if probably misguided). But they also satisfy big incumbents, who can usually swallow increased costs much more readily than smaller operators, and who are adept at finding ways to sell smaller portions of familiar brands for the same price. Is there a conspiracy taking place? No: it’s just that incumbents are not strongly incentivized to lobby against the measures in question, because those measures are not actually very harmful to them.

The alignment of interests between public health advocates and certain market actors during the Covid period is, then, readily conceptualized in bootlegger-and-Baptist terms. It isn’t that there is any conniving or ‘backstairs intrigue’ going on. It’s simply that public health advice has gone strongly in one direction, and there has been no real incentive for certain sections of the corporate world to push back against it – rather the opposite.

This is not an entirely novel observation, and will have been evident to many observers. What has been less well-noticed is that there is something of a psychological bootlegger-and-Baptist phenomenon taking place within individuals’ minds as well – and that this has been particularly important in building support for lockdowns among the professional classes.

This was brought home to me early on in the pandemic, when an acquaintance sent me an email proclaiming how important the stay-at-home message was, but also saying that he regretted the fact that, having recently bought a new house, he was (I quote directly) ‘too busy to enjoy lockdown.’ This person’s rather blithe allusion that lockdown was something one should be enjoying was strikingly indicative, I thought, of the general mood among professional people that I knew. And indeed this was hardly the only person who, accidentally or openly, admitted to me that they rather liked the prospect of being shut at home. (I am sure that most readers of this post will have noticed the same phenomenon.) Many people seem to have relished the opportunity to get lots more work done. Others have found the release from stressful commuting or other commitments blissful. Being able to work from home, and often having quite nice homes, a lot of professional people have felt that lockdown gave them a better work-life balance. In other words, lockdown simply wasn’t a great hardship for a certain chunk of the population – and in fact came as something of a blessing.

This is not to suggest for a moment that support for lockdowns has been selfish, of course. Far from it. Rather, it is simply to observe that there has, again, been a strong confluence of interests – except here it is within the individual mind. I do not doubt that people have generally felt that all the restrictions they have been subjected to have been morally right (the ‘Baptist’ motive). But it is also true that they have had self-interested reasons for finding that the measures have not been all that bad of an idea, as well (the inner ‘bootlegger’).

It is the combination of the bootleggers and the Baptists working in tandem that is so effective, in Yandle’s sketch, and the same is true within us, as well. Our internal respective bootlegger, and Baptist, impulses are strong in their own right, and if they had been at odds during the pandemic, they would have tended to cancel each other out and there may have been more of a pushback against the restrictions. But because they have been working together, they are very powerful. This goes a long way toward explaining the behavior of white collar professionals during the pandemic: they have been acting out of a genuine sense of virtue, but they have also done rather well out of doing so, at least in the short term. It’s not one or the other, and high and low motives are not mutually exclusive – it’s both in combination that does the trick.

David McGrogan is Associate Professor of Law at Northumbria Law School. Before entering academia, he lived and worked in Japan for the best part of a decade. His research focuses on human rights law and the law of contract, in respect of both of which he tends to adopt a classical liberal perspective.

June 9, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Biden’s Disastrous ‘Infrastructure’ Bill

By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – 02.06.2021

The Biden Administration has proposed what it calls a $2.3 trillion “infrastructure” legislation which it calls the “American Jobs Plan.” Far from addressing the huge deficit in America’s highway, bridges, railway, electric grid, water supply and such economically vital infrastructure that would address critical problems in the functioning of the economy, the Biden planners have cynically taken a politically popular word, “infrastructure,” and packed hundreds of billions of dollars into economically wasteful, destructive initiatives having more to do with the Green Agenda than rebuilding a healthy economy. If passed, it will have negative consequences for the world’s once-leading economy with serious geopolitical implications.

In March Biden signed another huge extra-budget bill, the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan.” That one was allegedly to aim at dealing with the impact of COVID. The bill dealt in fact with almost everything but COVID. The act is a grab bag of partisan pet projects. Among other things the act provided $12 billion for foreign aid; $15 billion for health care for illegal immigrants; $112 billion for welfare benefits and a generous $350 billion for Democrat-run states. Less than 10% was directed at COVID relief measuresIn politics how you frame or package a bill is more important than the true content. Critics claim these huge spending bills are aimed at buying a future Democratic voter base with government handouts.

Everything is Infrastructure’

No surprise then that now the Biden team has rushed another multi-trillion bill to Congress. The $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan is a bill where way less than half of the measures have to do with conventional infrastructure investment in roads, rails, electric grids, water supplies, ports or airports—all the areas essential to the efficient functioning of the economy. A total of $750 billion or only 32% of the total actually goes for infrastructure such as highway or bridge repairs. Yet even that total includes only $115 billion of real infrastructure for highways, bridges, and surface streets. But the $750 transportation infrastructure section proposes $174 billion for more government subsidies for Green Agenda electric vehicles in what might be called a “make Elon Musk richer” subsidy. The White House fact sheet says that this will help make the US more competitive with China’s electric cars. But the best selling E-car in China today is Musk’s Tesla. That $174 billion is far more than the total $115 billion earmarked for real highway, bridge and transportation infrastructure spendingYet the White House promotes the bill by referring to the need to address America’s crumbling highways and bridges as though this was what the bill is focused on.

The Biden bill defines pretty much everything as “infrastructure.” His American Jobs Plan calls among other items for spending on what it terms “care infrastructure.” They define this as $25 billion to upgrade child care facilities and $400 billion expenditure on care for the elderly and disabled, spending which might be justifiable, but not as “infrastructure.”

Buried in the text of the bill’s $100 billion to go to electric grid modernization and another $27 billion for something called a “clean energy and sustainability accelerator,” is a proposal that would extend generous tax credits to promote solar and wind energy alternatives to reach “zero carbon” electricity by 2035, a ruinous idea. It has been estimated that to make US electricity 100% carbon free, it would require a staggering 25% to 50% of all land in the United States. Today’s coal, gas and nuclear grid requires 0.5 percent of land in the United States. Clearly Biden’s Green jobs plan is hiding a far more sinister agenda.

What the Administration also hides is the fact that it would be a huge boon to China which has a global near-monopoly on production of solar panels, and Denmark or Germany which make most windmill turbines today. Those do not create American jobs as Biden Climate Czar John Kerry once claimed. Ironically, the Biden Administration sees Germany as the model, the place where the Merkel green energy program has created the highest electric costs in all Europe.

Then the Biden bill proposes $10 billion to create something called a “Civilian Climate Corps,” something that deliberately sounds like Roosevelt’s Depression era Civilian Conservation Corps, but with a Green New Deal politically correct “woke” update. The White House says that it will “put a new, diverse generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters, bolstering community resilience (?), and advancing environmental justice (whatever that means-w.e.) through a new Civilian Climate Corps.” No doubt in Biden-Harris America that has something to do with race and gender, but not with infrastructure.

Another $20 Billion should go “to Advance Racial Equity and Environmental Justice.” Apparently that means destroying existing highway infrastructure in cities where it is claimed to divide neighborhoods racially. Further an impressive $213 Billion will go to build or retrofit 2 Million Houses and Buildings. Then it adds another $40 billion for public housing, arguing this will “disproportionately benefit women, people of color, and people with disabilities.” For anyone familiar with America’s inner-city public housing ghettoes, this is hardly positive for the people who should live in the places.

In one of the most curious “infrastructure” proposals, Biden would spend $100 billion for New Public Schools and Making School Lunches “Greener.” This comes just after the COVID bill in March gave an unprecedented $128 billion for public schools. The American system gives control over education to local municipal governments and not the Federal government, leading some to suggest the agenda of the Biden crew is imposing a stealth Federal government takeover of public school education. What the Biden people mean by “green lunches” includes “reducing or eliminating the use of paper plates and other disposable materials.” Presumably that includes eliminating plastic knives and forks, leaving the children perhaps to eat with their fingers?

And, for good “infrastructure” measure, more billions will go to “Eliminate ‘Racial and Gender Inequities’ in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) research and development.” How that helps America’s crumbling basic infrastructure is not made clear.

All this $2.3 billion grab bag of mainly Green Agenda projects will be financed by the largest tax increases since the 1990’s as well as a wider Federal deficit.

The Real Infrastructure Deficit

The entire Green New Deal and UN Agenda 2030 is a fraudulent cover to deliberately deindustrialize not only the United States, but also Europe and the entire industrialized world. No economy in history outside of damages of war or depression has deliberately gone from a more energy efficient infrastructure to a lower one. Notably China, while pledging agreement, also says it will comply with Net Zero Carbon, but only ten years after the US and EU, by 2060. Right now they are adding new coal plants at a rapid pace.

The real infrastructure deficit in the US economy is in hundreds of thousands of miles of national Interstate highways. As well, a deteriorating electric grid is made more vulnerable by forced purchase of high-cost unreliable solar or wind energy.

In March the American Society of Civil Engineers released its analysis of US infrastructure, before the Biden $2.3 billion proposal. The report evaluates the state of bridges, roadways, public transit, ports, airports, inland waterways, water supplies. It does so every four years. They estimate that a total of at least $6 trillion is needed to repair or fix America’s deteriorated infrastructure. This is basic infrastructure, not Green Agenda. The report notes that infrastructure that brings clean water to major cities, as well as thousands of miles of wastewater pipelines, sewer systems built decades ago, are badly in need of renewal. The report adds that the drinking water infrastructure system, some 2.2 million miles of underground pipes, is ageing and badly in need of renewal. Local water utilities are replacing some 1% to 5% a year, far too little, due to lack of funding.

The ASCE report notes that of the 617,000 bridges across the United States, “42% are at least 50 years old, and 46,154, or 7.5% of the nation’s bridges, are considered structurally deficient, meaning they are in “poor” condition.” Alone the backlog of urgently needed bridge repair would require $125 billion. And they estimate that over 40% of the nation’s roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition.

This is just a partial indication of the huge deficit in real economic infrastructure needed to maintain and improve the economic performance of the US economy. The fact that the Green Agenda of the pro-global warming Biden Administration is misusing popular calls for maintaining this basic necessary infrastructure in favor of inefficient and destructive Green and other schemes will mean that the economic foundation of the United States will weaken at an accelerated pace. Some influential circles such as BlackRock apparently want this. Biden’s two senior economic advisers are from BlackRock. Brian Deese, head of green or sustainable investment (ESG) at BlackRock, is director of the National Economic Council, and Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, former chief of staff to BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink, is Deputy Treasury Secretary under former Fed head Janet Yellen. BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm with more than $9 trillion under management, is a lead player in the Davos World Economic Forum Great Reset agenda and clearly, in the Biden “infrastructure” agenda.

F. William Engdahl is a strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University.

June 2, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Israel: ‘A Villa in the Jungle’ or a Settler Colonial Zionistan?

By Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh | Aletho News | May 31, 2021

The following article will tackle the phenomenon of racism inside the Israeli society. It will critically analyze the ideology that sustains racism inside the social fabric of Israeli society.

Despite the fact that the manifestation of racism in Israel is distinct and apparent against Mizrahi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, African refugees and foreign workers, nevertheless, this research article will concentrate on racism that is practiced against the indigenous Palestinian Arabs. Other types will be tackled in a future research article.

Consequently, the following research article will not review aspects and history of Zionist racism against the indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel, but will be a critical exploration of the reasons and motives that stand behind the phenomenon of Zionist racism.

Definitions of Racism

Racism is, historically, a concept that was developed by Europeans five centuries ago. It has been defined, in various ways, by a number of scholars. Their definitions were neither uniform nor comprehensive.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, racism is,

… the belief that humans may be divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races”; that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural and behavioral features; and that some races are innately superior to others. The term is also applied to political, economic, or legal institutions and systems that engage in or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race or otherwise reinforce racial inequalities in wealth and income, education, health care, civil rights, and other areas…[1]

Moreover, “… the false notion that “white” people were inherently smarter, more capable, and more human than nonwhite people became accepted worldwide. This categorization of people became a justification for European colonization and subsequent enslavement of people from Africa…”[2]

In reality, racism, is a human-manufactured concept that lacks any genuine scientific basis. Furthermore, this concept has been imbibed by the capitalist ruling class to become part of its ruling ideology. According to the leftist Haitian revolutionary, Jan Makandal, racism has a social class dimension. It is

… a system of behaviors regulating in a very oppressive manner the fundamentally antagonistic class relation … for the reproduction of the whole society, in the interest of the dominant classes. Racism is all about class relations and class antagonism. Some ideological behaviors [traditions, customs] do transcend different modes of production and have adapted to the existing mode of production.[3]

The Ruling Zionist Ideology

In their book, “The German Ideology – Theses on Feuerbach”, Karl Marx and Frederic Engels analyzed the ideology of the capitalist ruling classes. They asserted that,

[t]he ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.[4]

The bourgeois settler colonial consciousness has been the ruling idea since the establishment of the Zionist colonial project. Through the process of ruling, this settler colonial ideology inculcated inside the social fabric of Zionist society. It spread out to all socio-economic segments of the Zionist settler society. All segments have been affected by it. This settler colonial ideology affected all social classes, including the Jewish working class. As a result, Through the process of racist ideological indoctrination, Jewish workers, have developed false consciousness.

Israeli Jewish workers harbor racist hatred towards Palestinian Arab workers. They do not sympathize with Palestinian Arab workers who are discriminated against, receive lesser wages than the Jewish workers and are more exploited by the Zionist settler bourgeoisie. They also do not see any common interests with the Palestinian Arab workers.

The Zoomorphic Bigotry of Zionist Leaders

As Jewish supremacy becomes entrenched at the highest levels of power and in the collective consciousness of the Israeli masses, their racist leaders voiced it out by means of racial slurs.

In an attempt to dehumanize the indigenous Palestinians, their racial slurs utilized a combination of names of wild animals and insects. The following is only a segment of the racial slurs that were used by Zionist politicians.

After the failure of the Camp David talks with Yasser Arafat, Ehud Barak, the ex-Prime Minister of Israel, described the Palestinians as “… crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more.”[5]

While discussing the resumption of peace talks in a radio interview in 2013, Jewish Home MK and deputy defense minister Eli Ben Dahan described the Palestinians in the following terms. “To me, they are like animals, they aren’t human.”[6]

Likud Member of Knesset Oren Hazan, called the Palestinians “dogs”, “terrorists” and beasts.[7]

Other Zionist leaders have a long history of comparing Palestinians to animals. In a speech to the Zionist parliament, Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin described the Palestinians as “beasts walking on two legs”.[8]

In a speech to Jewish settlers, Zionist Prime Minister Yitshaq Shamir, remarked, that “The Palestinians would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”[9]

Ex-Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Raphael Eitan, depicted the Palestinians after colonial settlement as follows. “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”[10]

In a speech to the Knesset, Likud minister and leader of the largest settler lobbying group, Yehiel Hazan, declared that “The Arabs are worms. You find them everywhere like worms, underground as well as above… “[11]

The ex-Minister of Justice and one of the leaders of the settler “Jewish Home” party, Ayelet Shaked, depicted, the Palestinians on her Facebook page as “little snakes”.[12] During the 2019 election campaign, ex-Minister Shaked “… released a controversial ad depicting herself as a model in a perfume commercial, spraying herself with scent labelled “Fascism.” At the end she says to the camera, “To me, it smells like democracy.”[13]

Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev “… is also known for fueling racism and violence against Palestinians and African refugees. In 2012, she helped incite a wave of anti-African violence, including assaults and arson attacks, targeting people from countries like Sudan and Eritrea, telling an angry mob that asylum seekers “are a cancer in our body.” The same year, she told an interviewer, “I’m happy to be a fascist.” …”[14]

It should be pointed out that an evaluation, very close to a prediction, was voiced out in 2016 by former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak. During an Israeli TV interview in 2016, Barak declared that Israel has been “infected by the seeds of fascism … What has happened is a hostile takeover of the Israeli government by dangerous elements. And it’s just the beginning. Barak added “This government needs to be brought down before it brings all of us down,”. He concluded by saying that “Life-sustaining Zionism and the seeds of fascism cannot live together”.[15]

On Feb. 9th, 2016, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the construction site of the barrier on the eastern border. During that tour, Netanyahu stated that:

“At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all … I’ll be told, ‘this is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”[16]

In September 2011, Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of settlements in Hebron and Kiryat Arba and head of the West Bank setter rabbis’ council, told a conference that Arabs are “wolves”, “savages” and “evil camel riders.”[17]

It should be pointed out that Zionist settler colonialists `are motivated by a colonialist superiority complex towards the indigenous Palestinians as well as towards the surrounding indigenous Arab nations. Zionist settler colonialists have always depicted their Zionist settler entity as being the “only democracy in the Middle East”.  When comparing the Zionist entity with the surrounding Arabs, some Zionist leaders went as far as depicting their entity as a “prosperous modern villa in the jungle”.

In 1996, Ehud Barak, the Zionist Labor Party leader, gave a speech, as foreign minister, to Jewish communal leaders in St. Louis, the United States. His speech included the following “innovative” comparison between Israel and the surrounding Arab world.

“The dreams and aspirations of many in the Arab world have not changed. We still live in a modern and prosperous villa in the middle of the jungle, a place where different laws prevail. No hope for those who cannot defend themselves and no mercy for the weak.”[18]

Barak’s depiction of the surrounding Arab world as a jungle “… has inescapable colonialist undertones… the jungle — a loaded concept, not a scientific designation — represents the limits of European ability to impose order, and thus to make sense of their surroundings…”[19]

Of course, this “jungle” is populated by Arabs whom he regards as predators, beasts and ferocious animals that pose a threat to the Jewish “villa”. Barak did not elaborate why such a “modern and prosperous villa” has developed an apartheid-like colony with an illegal separation wall. He neither explained why this assumed “civilized villa” still commits a number of war crimes such as: torture of Palestinian detainees, assassination of Palestinian leaders, administrative incarceration without trial for Palestinian activists, expropriation of Palestinian-owned land, ethnic cleansing, settler colonialism, national oppression of the indigenous Palestinians, plunder of Palestinian natural resources, massacres of Egyptians, Palestinians and Lebanese, and ongoing aggressive wars against the Arab residents of this “jungle”. So, could we truly and logically consider this aggressive war mongering entity “a villa in the jungle”? or is it in reality nothing but a despicable settler colonial entity that could not but develop its compatible Zionistans.

Moreover, another pretender is Zionist ex-president of Israel and Likud leader Moshe Katsav, who compared the Palestinians with Jews, then pointed out the differences as including the following:

“There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies? Not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbours here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.”[20]

Katsav’s moral convictions were put on test when he was convicted, on December 30, 2010, by an Israeli court of law, of two counts of rape, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice. Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison. On 7 December 2011, Katsav arrived at Maasiyahu Prison in Ramleh to begin serving his seven-year sentence. He was released from prison, under restrictive conditions, on 21 December 2016, having served five years of his sentence.[21]

In their attempt to appear tough on “security” affairs, Zionist politicians indulged in a “zoomorphic bigotry”[22], in which they depicted the Palestinians with animal and insect names. This animalization of Zionist narrative is very typical of colonial settlers who aim at the dehumanization of the indigenous Palestinian population, a step Zionist settlers deemed necessary for covering up their plunder and for justifying the war crimes they have committed against the indigenous Palestinians.

Consequently, an ingrained racist frame of mind and a clear racist consciousness could be found among segments of Israeli Jews. Such racist way of thinking is typical of white settler societies like colonized French Algeria, Apartheid South Africa, the United States, Australia, and Canada. The following is a brief review of racism among Israeli Jews that was openly expressed in national polls.

Israeli Polls and Racism

In the period 2001-2016, numerous public polls on ethnic cleansing were held in Israel.  In a total of thirteen polls, Israeli Jewish citizens openly expressed their support for the removal of Palestinian Arab citizens outside Israel. The percentage of Jewish support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians ranged between 40 percent of the respondents in 2006 to 75 percent in 2015. In the year 2006, a total of “… 40 percent believed that the State should encourage Arabs to emigrate from the country.”[23], while in the year 2015, a total of “… [t]hree-quarters want[ed] the government to prepare a practical plan to encourage Muslim Arab-Israelis to emigrate…”[24]

The distribution of Jewish citizens support for ethnic cleansing ranged between 40-48 percent of the Jewish respondents in five polls and between 50-66 percent of the Jewish respondents in six other polls. In 2006 a total of “…40 percent believe[d] that the State should encourage Arabs to emigrate from the country.”[25], while in 2016 “… 48 per cent of Jewish respondents said Arabs should be removed from Israel…”[26]

Racist Israeli Laws

In 2017, 156 racist laws were presented to the Knesset, out of them 25 were enacted as laws while the rest are still in the process of being prepared for legislation.[27]

According to another source, “[t]here are more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel. directly or indirectly, based solely on their ethnicity, rendering them second- or third-class citizens in their own homeland.”[28]

In an attempt to uphold a “… permanent Jewish control of the majority of the land… the Israeli cabinet, in a vote of 17-2, recommended the adoption of a new bill to restrict access to ‘state land’ to Jews only…”[29]

This bill “… was formulated as a response to a High Court decision on 8 March 2000, which upheld the right of Adel and Iman Qaadan, a Palestinian couple from Baqa al-Gharbiyya in the Galilee, to lease a plot of land and build a home in the nearby Jewish “lookout” settlement of Katzir.”

Zionist law-makers assume that once racism and racist practices get regulated by a law, it automatically becomes legitimate, justifiable and acceptable. However, these racist laws allow the state of Israel to slowly drift into an “Apartheid political system” that exists on the ground but still fiercely denied by Zionist apologetics.

This bill actually “… resembles, in principle, South Africa’s 1950 Group Areas Act, under which the vast bulk of the country was reserved for White ownership and occupation…”[30] However, the Israeli government’s endorsement of the bill was in reality the provision of a “… legal backing to a situation that has existed in practice since the establishment of the state.”

Ex-Israeli minister and member of Knesset Shulamit Aloni depicted this law as racist. She added that “[b]y the right of our might, we are acting as a racist nation. South Africa, as well, was white and democratic…”[31]

In 2013, far-right member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich[32] presented a new law to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation which allowed small Jewish villages of 600 families to set up acceptance boards. This law empowers acceptance boards to bar Palestinian Arab citizens from moving in under the “claim that his or her lifestyle is incompatible with life in the village.”[33]

In January 2021, the Israeli parliament, passed “… a controversial bill declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country. [T]he bill is unashamedly majoritarian and illiberal…”[34] Moreover, the Hebrew language was declared to be the sole official language and Arabic was relegated to an inferior status.

In response, Netanyahu  commented that “…“Israel is not a state of all its citizens,” but rather “the nation-state of the Jewish people – and them alone.” He also added that there are “22 other Arab countries” where Palestinian citizens of Israel can go live…”[35]

Racial Segregation and Zionist Apartheid

In accordance with article II of the 1973 “International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid”, apartheid is defined as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”[36]

All settler colonialist projects pursue exclusive and segregationist policies towards the indigenous peoples. One manifestation of these policies is the setting up of apartheid-like structures that exclude the indigenous peoples and keep them outside the settler colonialist demographic perimeters. A number of examples can be cited here. The American settler colonialists set up the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)[37], and the Canadian settler colonialists set up the “Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada[38], while the South African settler colonialists set up the “Native Affairs Department”[39] or Bureau of Bantu Affairs.

Being a settler colonialist project, the Zionist regime has its own departments of “Arab affairs”. In 1948, Ben-Gurion appointed Bichur Shitreet, a Mizrahi Jew, as ‘Minister for Minorities Affairs’. But in 1949, he dismissed him and imposed a colonial military government on the Palestinian residential areas, then appointed himself as Defence Minister in charge of “Arab affairs”.

Moreover, each Israeli ministry has its own Department of Arab Affairs. Even the Zionist army has its “Druze Battalion” which is exclusively for Palestinian Druze and is called the “Battalion for Minorities” or the Herev Battalion.[40]

The Israeli trade union, the Histadrut, began to accept Palestinian Arab citizens as members only in 1958. Palestinian Arab workers were kept segregated inside the “Arab Department”. Later on, and in an attempt to integrate the Palestinian workers, the Histadrut set up the ‘Department of Assimilation’ so as to assimilate the Arab workers inside the Histadrut.[41]

In April 5, 2016, Voice of Israel Radio, reported that “… when possible maternity wards [in Israeli hospitals] separate between Jews and Arabs.” This fact was reiterated by Member of Knesset Betzalel Smotrich, who added that “it is only natural that my wife will not want to be next to someone who just gave birth to a baby who in 20 years’ time may try to kill her baby.”[42]

Zionist apartheid could, also, be found inside the colonized West Bank. One example that could be cited is that of Brian Walt, an ex-South African Jewish Rabbi. In 2012 Rabbi Brian Walt, the founding executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, led a delegation of American civil rights leaders to the colonized West Bank. While visiting the West Bank city of Hebron, “… Michael Manikin, a leader with the Israeli human rights group “Breaking the Silence”, gestured to Shuhada Street, the street our group was about to walk down, and told us it was a “sterile street” — a street forbidden to Palestinians. Only Jews and other tourists were permitted to walk down the street.”[43]

Upon hearing this, Rabbi Brian Walt reported: “I was horrified. My heart beat fast as tears rolled down my face. As a child growing up in Apartheid South Africa, I was intimately familiar with separate beaches, buses, cabs, entrances to post offices and public benches with “Whites Only” signs. But even in Apartheid South Africa, there were no “sterile streets” that only white people could walk on.”[44]

It is worthwhile to bring out a remark by the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times of South Africa, Mondli Makhanya, a member of another delegation who concluded his visit to the colonized West Bank in 2009 by remarking, “When you observe from afar you know that things are bad, but you do not know how bad. Nothing can prepare you for the evil we have seen here. In a certain sense, it is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.”[45]

The Development of the Zionistan Solution

Through segregation, racist laws and military orders, Zionist settlers were provided, by the Zionist colonial administration, with a number of tools, to help them to dominate the indigenous Palestinians. Indigenous land and water resources were expropriated for the exclusive benefit of Jewish settler colons. Indigenous Palestinians were severely exploited, enormously oppressed and collectively punished for struggling to regain their national rights.

Consequently, these Zionist-ruled Palestinian areas inside the West Bank were described by various terms such as: ‘self-rule areas’, ‘autonomous areas’, ‘Palestinian Cantons’, and Palestinian ‘Bantustans’. However, these terms cannot be regarded but as misnomers. They are inadequate and, at the same time, they reveal a lack of a concise term to precisely describe these political entities. Therefore, I decided to call them “Zionistans”, a name that was coined by me to describe the Apartheid-like entity that was developed by Israeli settler colonialists. This new concept is more suitable for their colonial nature and can adequately describe their settler Apartheid-like features.

Consequently, a Zionistan could be defined as: a territory set aside by Israel as a racially segregated entity that was developed specifically for the indigenous Palestinians. These Zionistans were actually designated as: Area-A, Area-B, and Area-C. Then Hebron was subdivided into Area H-1 and Area-H-2. All Zionistans were given partial municipal independence and zero sovereignty. They were made to have full politico-economic subordination to Israel.

Concluding Remarks

Within the sea of fragmentation, disintegration and manufactured political chaos that was developed by Western imperialism, the leaders of the Zionist settler colonialist state developed the concept of the “Jewish State”, that was later ‘upgraded’ to the slogan of the “Jewish Democratic State”. Zionist and imperialist strategists planned the Middle East region to become conducive for the growth of sectarian, weak and waring entities. Inside this conglomeration of waring entities, the vicious Zionist sectarian entity was supposed to dominate them politically, economically and militarily. Moreover, this narrow Jewish sectarian state would look to outside observers, as a normal sectarian entity situated among a sea of sectarian entities. Therefore, it was extremely important to destroy the national state of Syria and Iraq, a step that preceded sectarianism and was necessary for its founding.

In conjunction with that colonial target, Western imperialism launched in 2011 its counter-revolution in Iraq and Syria. They brought into occupied Iraq a collection of bands of Muslim thugs, killers, rapists, robbers and pyromaniacs that were picked from various Muslim and Arab societies. Members of these criminal bands were trained by the CIA, the Mossad, the secret services of Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. A well-developed plan of destruction was provided to them and they began their diabolical destruction of the state structures and institutions of Iraq and Syria. They hoped that once the unifying state structures were dismantled, sovereignty would disappear and disintegration would appear. Only in this conducive environment can the Zionist sectarian entity thrive and prosper.

But, due to Israel’s ongoing colonial Zionistan project, the slogan of the Jewish State began to erode then it transformed itself into the Jewish Democratic State, a kind of Jewish fallacy. This metamorphosis was eloquently expressed by the American writer Richard Silverstein.

“The “Jewish” gave “democracy” a knockout, smashing it to the canvas. Israelis want more and more Jewish and less and less democracy. From now on don’t say Jewish democracy. There’s no such thing, of course. There cannot be. From now on say Jewish state, only Jewish, for Jews alone. Democracy – sure, why not. But for Jews only.” [46]

Finally, the Zionist capitalist regime of settler colonialism is the cardinal source of racism in Israel. Capitalist colonialist racism incorporates all layers, segments, and classes of Israeli society: secularist, religious, Ashkenazi’s and Afro-Asians, Zionist left and Zionist right, kibbutz members, workers, bourgeoisie, settlers, military, civilians, and politicians.

Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh is a retired professor of sociology who use to work at Birzeit University in the colonized West Bank. He is a resident of Nazareth, Israel. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Manchester and is author of a number of books and research articles.

[1] Smedley, Audrey, https://www.britannica.com. Retrieved on: 15-1-2021

[2] Ibid.

[3] Makandal, Jan, “A Contribution to the Ongoing Debate on Racism”, www.koloksyon.inip.org, 7-1-2015

[4] Marx, Karl, “The German Ideology – Theses on Feuerbach / Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy”, https://www.goodreads.com. Accessed on: 23-3-2021

[5] Yahoo/Answers, “what do you think of these quotes from Israelis about Palestinians?”, https://answers.yahoo.com. Retrieved on: 17-2-2021

[6] Pileggi, Tamar, “New deputy defense minister called Palestinians ‘animals’”, https://www.timesofisrael.com, 11-5-2015

[7] Deger, Allison, “Israeli lawmaker calls Palestinians visiting relatives in Israeli prison ‘beasts’ and ‘human scum’ ”, http://mondoweiss.net,  26-12-2017

[8] Quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts”, New Statesman, 25 June 1982. As reproduced by Yahoo/Answers, “what do you think of these quotes from Israelis about Palestinians?”, https://answers.yahoo.com. Retrieved on: 17-2-2021

[9] As quoted by the New York Times, April 1, 1988. Reproduced by Yahoo/Answers, “what do you think of these quotes from Israelis about Palestinians?”, https://answers.yahoo.com. Retrieved on: 17-2-2021

[10] Yahoo/Answers, “what do you think of these quotes from Israelis about Palestinians?”, https://answers.yahoo.com. Retrieved on: 17-2-2021

[11] Shirazi, Nima, “Netanyahu’s Zoomorphic Bigotry: A Retrospective”, http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com, 10-2-2016

[12] Sims, David, “Jews: Exempt from the Rules They Force on Us” , http://nationalvanguard.org, 29-5-2019

[13] IMEU, “Israeli Election Guide 2019”, https://imeu.org, 1-4-2019

[14] Ibid.

[15] Channel 10, as quoted by Haaretz, “Israel Has Been Infected by the Seeds of Fascism, Says ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak”, http://www.haaretz.com, 20-5-2016

[16] As quoted from Ha’aretz correspondent Barak Ravid, by Shirazi, Nima, “Netanyahu’s Zoomorphic Bigotry: A Retrospective”, http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com, 10-2-2016

[17] IMEU, “Discrimination Against Palestinian Citizens of Israel”,  https://imeu.org, 28-9-2011

[18] Berman, Lazar, “After walling itself in, Israel learns to hazard the jungle beyond”, https://www.timesofisrael.com, 8-3-2021

[19] Berman, Lazar, “After walling itself in, Israel learns to hazard the jungle beyond”, https://www.timesofisrael.com, 8-3-2021

[20] Katsav, Moshe, as reported by The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001. Quoted by Israel Forum, “Israeli quotations about Palestinians”, www.israelforum.com, Copyright 2010

[21] Katsav, Moshe, http://e-wikipedia.org. Accessed on 1-4-2021

[22] Shirazi, Nima, “Netanyahu’s Zoomorphic Bigotry: A Retrospective”, http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com, 10-2-2016

[23] Roffe-Ofir, Sharon, “Poll: Israeli Jews shun Arabs”, https://www.ynetnews.com, 22-3-2006

[24] Sales, Ben, “Most religious Zionists want Arabs out of Israel, study finds”, http://www.timesofisrael.com, 23-10-2015

[25] Roffe-Ofir, Sharon, “Poll: Israeli Jews shun Arabs”, https://www.ynetnews.com, 22-3-2006

[26] Dearden, Lizzie, “Nearly half of Israeli Jews believe Arabs should be ‘expelled’ from Israel, survey finds”, https://www.independent.co.uk, 8-3-2016

[27] MADAR Center, Report, “156 racist laws were put forward in the Knesset”, https://www.arab48.co, 30-7-2017

[28] IMEU, “Discrimination Against Palestinian Citizens of Israel”,  https://imeu.org, 28-9-2011

[29] BADIL Resource Center, “Land in Israel For Jews Only”, Quoted by Ha’aretz, 9 July 2002, www.nonprofitnet.ca, 9-­2002

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Bezalel Smotrich is ideologically affiliated with the late Meir Kahana who called for the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinian Arabs. Smotrich, along with Atamar Gvier another Kahanist, are currently members of the Netanyahu coalition camp. They both support the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arabs (ZS).

[33] MEE staff, “New poll shows rampant racism in Israel”, https://www.middleeasteye.net, 11-12-2018

[34] Editorial, “The Guardian view on Israel’s new law: popular will is being weaponized”, https://www.theguardian.com. Accessed on: 11-1-2021

[35] IMEU, “Israeli Election Guide 2019”, https://imeu.org, 1-4-2019

[36] Ben, Norton, “Israel’s ‘Apartheid Regime’ Is a ‘Crime Against Humanity’: UN Report”, http://www.accuweather.com, 15-3-2017

[37] Wikipedia, “Bureau of Indian Affairs”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved on: 23-11-2020

[38] Derworiz, Colette E., “Federal Departments of Indigenous and Northern Affairs”, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca, 18-4-2020

[39] Christie, Pam and Collins, Colin, “Bantu Education: Apartheid Ideology or Labor Reproduction?”, Comparative Education, Vol. 18, No. 1 (1982), pp. 59-75. As republished by http://www.jstor.org. Accessed: 31-10-2012.

[40] Battalion for Minorities or Herev Battalion, https://www.youtube.com, 24-11-2020

[41] Interview with Head of the Department of Assimilation, Histadrut Headquarters, Tel-Aviv, 2-8-2020.

[42] Israel Today, “Poll ‘Proves’ Israelis Are Racist; Are They Really?”, https://www.israeltoday.co.il, 13-4-2016

[43] Walt, Brian, “As a Rabbi Raised in South Africa, I Can’t Ignore Israel Is an Apartheid State”, https://truthout.org, 17-2-2021

[44] Ibid.

[45] Levy, Gideon, “Worse than apartheid”, www.haaretz.com, 9-11-2009

[46] Silverstein , Richard, “Israelis Support Ethnic Cleansing, Annexation and Apartheid State”, https://www.richardsilverstein.com, 22-10-2010

May 31, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Global heating: Study shows impact of ‘climate racism’ in US – BBC

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | May 26, 2021

The clown Matt McGrath is at it again:

A new study says that black people living in most US cities are subject to double the level of heat stress as their white counterparts.

The researchers say the differences were not explained by poverty but by historic racism and segregation.

As a result, people of colour more generally, live in areas with fewer green spaces and more buildings and roads.

These exacerbate the impacts of rising temperatures and a changing climate.

Cities are well known magnifiers of a warmer climate.

The surface urban heat island effect is the technical term for the impact that the buildings, roads and infrastructure of cities have on temperatures.

All that concrete and asphalt attracts and stores more heat, ensuring that both days and nights in big urban areas are much warmer than the surrounding locations.

But, within cities, there are often large differences in this heat island impact, with areas rich in trees and green spaces noticeably cooler than those that are dense with housing and industry.

previous study in the US found a correlation between warmer neighbourhoods in big cities with racist housing practices dating back to the 1930s.

Back then, areas with large African-American or immigrant populations were “redlined” in documents by federal officials, and deemed too hazardous for home loans and investment.

This led to a concentration of poverty and low home ownership rates in some parts of big cities.

This new study takes a broader look at these warmer neighbourhoods and the people who are affected by them.

Using satellite temperature data combined with demographic information from the US Census, the authors found that the average person of colour lives in an area with far higher summer daytime temperatures than non-Hispanic white people.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57235904

The actual paper, which is here, does not mention “racism” at all. So why does McGrath introduce it as a concept, never mind inventing the term “climate racism”?

Quite what the “racist” housing policies of the 1930s have to do with 21st century America is beyond me. There has been nothing to stop people moving out of those areas since, as millions have. (This is known as “black flight”, with first the black middle class, followed by the working class, moving out to the suburbs, as the whites did before them. What is left tends to be the “underclass”. See here for more details.)

It is well known that poor people, particularly in inner cities, all around the world suffer worse outcomes in all sorts of ways, for instance healthcare, education and job prospects. And, as McGrath now seems to have realised, the urban heat island effect is far more significant than the tiny amount of climate warming seen in the last century.

Maybe instead of wasting trillions on fighting climate change, we should spend a fraction of it on improving inner cities.

May 26, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | Leave a comment

Add The Wall Street Journal To The People Who Can’t Do Basic Arithmetic

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | May 17, 2021

Let’s face it, lots of people aren’t very good at math, even rather basic math. On the other hand, some people are quite good at it. If you aren’t very good at math, there are plenty of other things for you to do in life. My own field of law practice mostly does not require much skill at math, and there are plenty of math-challenged people who are nevertheless very good lawyers.

But some big societal decisions require a certain level of math competence. Some of these decisions can involve multi-hundreds of billions of dollars, or even multi-trillions of dollars. For example, consider the question of whether proposed electricity generation system X has the capability to deliver the amount of electricity a state or region needs, and at the times it is needed. Answering this question is just a matter of applied basic arithmetic. Given the dollars involved, you would think that when a question like this is being addressed, it would be time to call in some people who could do the arithmetic, or who at least would be willing to try.

Yet when the issue is replacing generation of electricity by fossil fuels with generation by “renewables,” it seems that the need to believe that the renewables will work and be cost effective is so powerful that all efforts to do the arithmetic get banished. I last considered this issue in a post last week titled “California’s Zero Carbon Plans: Can Anybody Here Do Basic Arithmetic?” The answer for the California government electricity planners was a resounding “NO.” Today, the Wall Street Journal joins the math-challenged club with a front page story headlined “Batteries Challenge Natural Gas As America’s No. 1 Power Source.” (probably behind pay wall)

The theme of the story is that “renewable” energy sources, such as solar, paired with batteries to balance periods of low production, are rapidly becoming so cheap that they are likely to “disrupt” natural gas plants that have only recently been constructed:

[T]he combination of batteries and renewable energy is threatening to upend billions of dollars in natural-gas investments, raising concerns about whether power plants built in the past 10 years—financed with the expectation that they would run for decades—will become “stranded assets,” facilities that retire before they pay for themselves. . . . But renewables have become increasingly cost-competitive without subsidies in recent years, spurring more companies to voluntarily cut carbon emissions by investing in wind and solar power at the expense of that generated from fossil fuels.

To bolster the theme, we are introduced to industry executives who are shifting their investment strategies away from natural gas to catch the new renewables-plus-batteries wave. For example:

Vistra Corp. owns 36 natural-gas power plants, one of America’s largest fleets. It doesn’t plan to buy or build any more. Instead, Vistra intends to invest more than $1 billion in solar farms and battery storage units in Texas and California as it tries to transform its business to survive in an electricity industry being reshaped by new technology. “I’m hellbent on not becoming the next Blockbuster Video, ” said Vistra Chief Executive Curt Morgan.

But how does one of these solar-plus-battery systems work? Or for that matter, how does a wind-plus-battery system work? Can anybody do the arithmetic here to demonstrate how much battery capacity (in both MW and MWH) it will take to balance out a given set of solar cells at some particular location so that no fossil fuel backup is needed? You will not find that in this article.

Here’s something that ought to be obvious: solar panels at any location in the northern hemisphere will produce less power in the winter than in the summer. The days are shorter, and the sun is lower in the sky and consequently weaker. Therefore, any system consisting solely of solar panels plus batteries, where the batteries are seeking to balance the system over the course of a year, will see the batteries drawn down continuously from September to March, and then recharged from March to September. Do batteries that can deal with such an annual cycle of seasons even exist? From the Journal piece:

And while batteries can provide stored power when other sources are down, most current batteries can deliver power only for several hours before needing to recharge. That makes them nearly useless during extended outages. . . . Most current storage batteries can discharge for four hours at most before needing to recharge.

OK, then, so if solar-plus-battery systems are about to displace natural gas plants, what’s the plan for winter? They won’t say. The fact is, the only possible plans are either fossil fuel backup or trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of batteries. But the author never mentions any of that. How much fossil fuel backup? That’s an arithmetic calculation that is not difficult to make. But the process of making the calculation forces you to actually propose the characteristics of your solar-plus-battery system, which then makes the costs obvious. How much excess capacity of solar panels and batteries do you plan to build to minimize the down periods? Do you need solar panel capacity of four times peak usage, or ten times? Do you need battery capacity of one week’s average usage (in GWH) or two weeks or a full month?

The simple fact is that wind/solar plus battery systems would not need any government subsidies if they were cost effective. The Biden Administration is proposing to hand out many, many tens of billions of dollars to subsidize building these systems. They are clearly not cost-effective, and not even close. But no one in a position to know will make the relatively simple calculations to let us know how much this is going to cost. Even the Wall Street Journal can’t seem to grasp the math involved. And President Biden? It’s embarrassing even to ask the question.

May 20, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Rosneft announces launch of flagship gas project in the Arctic

RT | May 16, 2021

Russian energy giant Rosneft has revealed the launch of the Rospan International gas project in the Yamal region of the Arctic. It is expected to become the company’s gas production hub in the region.

“Regarding natural gas, we want to announce that in the first quarter of 2021 the company launched its flagship gas project called Rospan,” Eric Liron, Rosneft’s vice president for in-house services, told investors during a teleconference this week.

The project will provide annual gas production of more than 20 billion cubic meters, as well as production of 5 million tons of gas condensate and more than one million tons of propane and butane, he added.

“At the moment, both technological lines have already been put into operation. The railway terminal for the shipment of propane and butane has also been opened, all the necessary pipeline infrastructure is operating and the production potential has been fully technically confirmed,” Liron said.

Rospan International, a subsidiary of Rosneft, produces gas and gas condensate at the Vostochno-Urengoysky and Novo-Urengoysky license areas.

May 16, 2021 Posted by | Economics | | 2 Comments

The Markets Are Rigged

Corbett • 05/14/2021

At base, the markets are a con game where the rich and powerful employ a raft of confidence men to lure suckers into the latest mania. In this game, the suckers are the general public who are left holding the bag as the market bubble bursts while the smart money swoops in to buy up the leftover assets at pennies on the dollar. In this week’s edition of The Corbett Report, James Corbett pulls back the curtain on the Wall Street casino and reveals how the house always wins the rigged games.

Watch on Archive / BitChute / Minds / Odysee / YouTube or Download the mp4

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).

TRANSCRIPT

In December of 2020, video game retailer GameStop reported an operating loss of $63 million in the previous quarter on the back of an 11% reduction in the store base. The story—just one of dozens of such reports flooding the financial newswires—meant little to the general public and went largely unnoticed.

Two groups did show an interest in the news, however: the Wall Street vultures who see every faltering company as an easy source of money in the futures markets and a small band of retail investors who saw the potential for the floundering gaming franchise to turn things around.

Within a matter of weeks, these two groups would clash in one of the most spectacular stock market face offs in recent memory. Even the White House got drawn into the saga.

REPORTER: I was concerned about the stock market activity we’re seeing around GameStop and now with some other stocks as well, including the subsidiary or whatever—the company that was . . .  Blockbuster?—and have there been any conversations with the SEC about how to proceed?

JEN PSAKI: Well, I’m also happy to repeat that we have the first female treasury secretary and a team that’s surrounding her and often questions about market we’ll send to them. But our team is of course—our economic team, including Secretary Yellen and others—are monitoring the situation.

SOURCE: Biden Team Is ‘Monitoring’ the Surge in GameStop Shares, Psaki Says

The human drama in the story made it easily recognizable as a David vs. Goliath narrative. Here was a ragtag band of mom-and-pop—or, in this case, millennial—investors going up against the hudge fund billionaires. And, just as it seemed they may actually have an effect, the full power of the financial and political system seemed to swoop in to suppress them.

But the “revelation” that retail investors are fighting a rigged game against the Wall Street hedge fund behemoths is hardly a revelation at all. In fact, it is merely the latest example in a long series of events showing that the stock market was never meant to bring riches and fortune to the average investor.

Instead, when the story is told in its full context, there is only one obvious conclusion to be drawn:

The Markets Are Rigged.

You’re tuned into The Corbett Report.

The stock market is often portrayed in the financial media as a magical crystal ball that can not only tell us about what is happening in the economy, but predict geopolitical events, forecast elections, or even reveal to us the inner workings of the minds of men.

BECKY QUICK: Alright, so polls are one way of trying to figure out who’s going to win. Watching the markets are another. They’re pretty good at predicting elections sometimes, too.

SOURCE: Here’s how markets may predict who will win the presidential election

LESLIE PICKER: Valuations on a price-to-earnings basis are below post-crisis averages leading some to believe that decent fundamentals could—emphasis on could—jumpstart the shares higher.

DOMINIC CHU: You’re telling me you don’t have a crystal ball . . .

PICKER: I don’t.

CHU: . . . And I don’t blame you.

PICKER: I don’t. But even I did I couldn’t say it here.

CHU: Alright.

PICKER: (Laughs)

SOURCE: Worldwide Exchange CNBC October 12, 2018 5:00am-6:00am EDT

KRISTINA HOOPER: Well, we could very well see some gains, some pullbacks, more gains. Certainly animal spirits are alive and well, but I would argue it’s a very different spirit animal than last year. Since the start of February our spirit animal is probably the chihuahua.

SOURCE: Bloomberg Markets Americas Bloomberg February 16, 2018 10:00am-11:00am EST

But this is a lie. In reality, the markets are driven not by underlying economic fundamentals, as the public is asked to believe, but by the actions of the central banks.

This is not even a controversial point.

In 2014, the Bank for International Settlements warned that central banks were causing “elevated” asset prices.

report from the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum that same year warned that “Central banks around the world, including in Europe, are buying increasing volumes of equities” and “The same authorities that are responsible for maintaining financial stability are often the owners of the large funds that have the potential to cause problems.”

And in 2016—in the midst of the historic bull run that has seen the Dow Jones and S&P indexes reach all-time record high after all-time record high—economist Brian Barnier published a report documenting that between the beginning of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program in 2008 and the 1st quarter of 2015, the Fed was directly responsible for 93% of equity value growth in the US.

This modern era of central bank-dominated markets, however, is only the latest version of a game that is as old as the markets themselves. At base it’s a con game where the rich and powerful employ a raft of confidence men to lure suckers into the latest market mania. In this game, the “suckers” are the general public who are left holding the bag as the market bubble bursts while the “smart money” swoops in to buy up the leftover assets at pennies on the dollar.

The game was being played as far back as 1814 when a uniformed man posing as the aide-de-camp of Lord Cathcart landed in Dover spreading the false rumour that Napoleon had been killed by a detachment of Cossacks. When the rumours reached London later that day, three men dressed up as French officers in white Bourbon cockades were parading across Blackfriars bridge proclaiming the end of the Napoleonic empire and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. By the time the British government officially dispelled the rumour later that afternoon, an elaborate fraud had already played out in the London stock markets. The rumour had kicked off a buying frenzy and the perpetrators of what is now known as The Great Fraud of Cowley—the ones who had started the rumours and hired the actors to help spread them—had already sold 1.1 million pounds worth of government stock into the market peak.

Another bit of market manipulation centering around Napoleon’s military fortunes played out again the next year, in 1815. Nathan Rothschild of the infamous Rothschild banking dynasty used the smuggling network that he and his brothers had built to funnel gold and silver to Wellington’s army to get news of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo back to London 24 hours before the official word reached the British government. Although a fancified version of the story involving homing pigeons and Nathan’s acting abilities at the stock exchange are easily dismissed as anti-Semitic slurs by the mainstream press, even the official Rothschild Archive treatment of the incident admits that Nathan Rothschild did receive early warning of Wellington’s victory and he did profit from that foreknowledge in the stock market. Historian Niall Ferguson has written on the subject in detail in his authorized biography of the Rothschilds and even the BBC published a story in 1998 outlining how the conspiracy functioned and how the brothers communicated in secret by writing their letters in the Judendeutsch script they had learned in their childhood in the Frankfurt Jewish ghetto.

The stock market con game isn’t just an historical relic, though. Those with advance knowledge of world events continue to profit from their insider information, sometimes in the most macabre way imaginable.

ANTONIO MORA: What many Wall Street analysts believe is that the terrorists made bets that a number of stocks would see their prices fall. They did so by buying what they call ‘puts.’ If you bet right the rewards can be huge. The risks are also huge unless you know something bad is going to happen to the company you’re betting against.

DYLAN RATIGAN: This could very well be insider trading at the worst, most horrific, most evil use you’ve ever seen in your entire life.

SOURCE: 9/11 Wall Street Blames Put Option Inside Trading On Terrorists

In the wake of 9/11, researchers began to uncover a money trail that proved those with advance knowledge of the attack had indeed used their insider information to profit from the events of that day.

In addition to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States, the governments of ItalyGermanyBelgium and other countries began their own investigations into a series of trades betting against companies that were hurt by 9/11—like Boeing, Merrill Lynch, United Airlines, Munich Re and others—and betting on companies that profited from the attacks—including a six-fold increase in call options on the stock of defense contractor Raytheon on September 10, 2001.

In subsequent years, not one, not two, but three separate, peer-reviewed papers concluded that the unusual trading in the weeks prior to 9/11 were “consistent with insiders anticipating the 9/11 attacks.” But incredibly, the SEC investigation into this money trail was abruptly terminated and the records of that investigation were subsequently destroyed.

Why? Because, as researchers like Kevin RyanMichael Ruppert and others later discovered, the trail led them to the doorstep not of Al Qaeda, but well-connected American businessmen and intelligence officials.

MICHAEL C. RUPPERT: So right after the attacks of 9/11 the name Buzzy Krongard surfaced. It was instant research that revealed that Buzzy Krongard had been allegedly recruited by CIA Director George Tenet to become the Executive Director at CIA, which is the number three position, right before the attacks.

And Alex Brown was one of the many subsidiaries of Deutsche Bank, one of the primary vehicles or instruments that handled all of these criminal trades by people who obviously knew that the attacks were going to take place, where, how and involving specific airlines.

SOURCE: Terror Trading 9/11

KEVIN RYAN: I came across this document that had been released: a memorandum for the record of the 9/11 Commission. It was prepared by a staff member of the 9/11 Commission. His name is Douglas Greenberg and he reviewed simply the FBI’s meetings on their communications related to this. This document identified a couple of companies that were flagged by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and one of them—this was September 21st just ten days after the attacks—one of these companies that was flagged was called Stratesec. And this is a very interesting company because it’s a security company that had contracts for the World Trade Center and Dulles Airport where one of the planes took off on 9/11, as well as United Airlines, which owned two of the other three planes. So this security company, Stratesec, was a very central player in in the events of 9/11, you could say, because they ran security for these different areas in the years leading up to 9/11.

So for them this company stopped to be flagged by the SEC was very compelling and when I looked at this document—prepared by the 9/11 Commission which wasn’t released until 2007—I noticed that the  names had been redacted of the stock traders, but I could make out who they were. In particular, one of them was a director of the company Stratesec. He was also a director of a company in Oklahoma, an aviation company. He was also a director of a Washington, DC-based financial organization. With just that information you could tell very clearly that this man was Wirt Dexter Walker. He was the Chief Executive Officer of Stratesec and also a director there. His wife, Sally Walker, was also named in the flagging by the SEC. So I began looking into that.

SOURCE: Terror Trading 9/11

JEREMY ROTHE-KUSHEL: …the last thing I want to leave you with is the National Reconnaissance Office was running a drill of a plane crashing into their building and you know they’re staffed by DoD and CIA…

ROBERT BAER: I know the guy that went into his broker in San Diego and said “Cash me out, it’s going down tomorrow.”

JEREMY ROTHE KUSHEL: Really?

ROBERT BAER: Yeah.

STEWART HOWE: That tells us something.

ROBERT BAER: What?

STEWART HOWE: That tells us something.

ROBERT BAER: Well, his brother worked at the White House.

(SOURCE: WeAreChangeLA debriefs CIA Case Officer Robert Baer about apparent Mossad and White House 9/11 foreknowledge)

Horrific as these instances of insider trading are, an even deeper layer of the story lies in the fact that these trades—unlike the high-profile show trials of Martha Stewart and other stories-of-the-week—never result in prosecutions. The protection afforded the 9/11 inside traders speaks to an even deeper layer of the problem: the use of the markets to line the pockets of insiders and their political cronies is not a bug in the system, but a feature. In fact, the entire system has been designed to be manipulable, ensuring that the little guys never have a chance against the billionaire bankers and hedge funds.

A clue to this story goes back to the most well-known event in stock market history: the Great Crash of 1929. Even there, in the midst of one of the most devastating financial collapses in human history, there was money to be made by insiders who knew what was coming.

One such insider was Albert Henry Wiggin, Chairman of the Chase National Bank and the man who had been instrumental in attracting the Rockefeller family to begin their century-long involvement in Chase. When the market began plummeting on Black Thursday 1929, Wiggin and his fellow banking associates were lauded as heroes for their actions to restore order to the market, which culminated in New York Stock Exchange Vice President Richard Whitney stepping out on the floor of the Exchange and making a great commotion by yelling out orders for key stocks at above-market prices.

What the public did not know, but what emerged three years later during congressional investigation, was that by the time chaos descended on Black Tuesday 1929, Wiggin had already positioned himself to profit handsomely from the financial havoc that he knew was coming. As Nomi Prins details in her book, All the President’s Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power:

Wiggin knew he was covered no matter what happened. Shortly before the Crash, he shorted shares in his own bank by borrowing shares from various brokers at prices he anticipated would fall, at which time he would buy the shares in the market at lower prices and return them to the brokers, making money on the difference. When the Dow stood at 359 on September 23, 1929 (the market had topped out twenty days earlier at 381), he placed what would be a hugely profitable bet that Chase’s stock would fall.

[. . .]

Before shorting those shares, Wiggin executed another profitable and shady strategy, using his bank’s funds to plump the shares up. He placed $200 million of his depositors’ money into trusts that speculated in Chase stock, thus participating in the very pool operations that artificially boosted its price during the run-up to the Crash. He pocketed $10.4 million from these trades, including $4 million from shorting the shares he drove up (after he drove them up) during the two-week period preceding the Crash. His justification for selling his own shares while Chase Securities was pushing customers to buy them was that the price was “ridiculously high.” He had, in effect, bet against all the other Chase shareholders who had trusted in his hype about the firm.

Another person who profited greatly from the financial crash was Joseph P. Kennedy, father of future president John F. Kennedy. The famous story, likely apocryphal but parroted by NPRThe Washington PostPBS and any number of mainstream outlets, is that Kennedy, a savvy stock trader, knew the market was overheated when a random shoeshine boy gave him stock tips.

If this story is to be believed, Joe’s random interaction with a shoeshine boy in 1929 was one of the most profitable conversations of his life. Not only did Kennedy sell off most of his stock holdings shortly before the crash, he aggressively shorted the markets, meaning that while most of America—and much of the world—was plunged into one of the deepest and most prolonged financial crises in the history of the country, the Kennedy family flourished. In 1977, eight years after Joe’s death, the New York Times estimated the family fortune to be somewhere between $300 and $500 million.

There are more than enough reasons to doubt that it was actually a brief chat with a shoeshine boy that led to Kennedy’s remarkable good fortune, however. The patriarch of the Kennedy dynasty had a reputation as an unscrupulous businessman, including the persistent allegations that he made his fortune in bootlegging during the Prohibition era. And so it was a shock to the nation when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Kennedy to head the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934.

Even the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Historical Society struggles to explain the choice. “Kennedy had profited handsomely from financial manipulation,” their website frankly admits, “but he understood keenly the need to balance the interests of the people with the imperatives of the financial markets.” For his part, when asked why he had tapped a well-known scoundrel like Kennedy to head such an agency, President Roosevelt is said to have replied: “Takes one to catch one.”

That the SEC, the “independent federal agency” tasked with regulating the markets, should have an admitted market manipulator as its first chair should not be surprising when the agency’s track record is examined. Time and again, the SEC has not just allowed market manipulation to take place, but actively facilitated it.

When the largest Ponzi scheme in market history, Bernie Madoff’s unbelievable $64.8 billion investment fraud scam, came to a crashing halt with his arrest in December of 2008, attention turned to the SEC. How could the agency, which had investigated Madoff’s investment firm multiple times, not have halted the scam earlier?

A subsequent Inspector General report made the scope of this “failure” even more unbelievable, finding that “between June 1992 and December 2008 when Madoff confessed, the SEC received six substantive complaints that raised significant red flags concerning Madoff’s hedge fund operations and should have led to questions about whether Madoff was actually engaged in trading.” After excoriating the agency for its incompetence time and again over the course of two decades of failed opportunities, the report concludes:

As the foregoing demonstrates, despite numerous credible and detailed complaints, the SEC never properly examined or investigated Madofi’s trading and never took the necessary, but basic, steps to determine if Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme. Had these efforts been made with appropriate follow-up at any time beginning in June of 1992 until December 2008, the SEC could have uncovered the Ponzi scheme well before Madoff confessed.

HARRY MARKOPOLOS: I gift wrapped and delivered the largest Ponzi scheme in history to them and somehow they couldn’t be bothered to conduct a thorough and proper investigation because they were too busy on matters of higher priority. If a $50 billion Ponzi scheme doesn’t make the SEC’s priority list, then I want to know who sets their priorities.

SOURCE: Madoff tipster Markopolos calls SEC captive to Wall Street

Similarly, when Enron shook the markets in 2001 by declaring the then-largest bankruptcy in history after its systemic accounting fraud was exposed, the question of the SEC’s role in the scandal arose. Why had the agency not caught on to the scam? A subsequent Senate Committee report excoriated the commission, noting that the “watchdog” had only opened one (unrelated) investigation into Enron in the past decade, that it repeatedly missed warning signs of corporate misconduct, that it granted the company unusual leeway in using mark-to-market accounting for its transactions and did not even seek to validate the models employed by the energy giant. In the end, the committee concluded that the entire affair represented a “systemic and catastrophic failure” of the SEC.

But the SEC did not use the lessons learned in these “systemic and catastrophic failures” to stop such fraud from taking place in the future. In fact, the Commission responded to these “failures” not by stringently cracking down on these scams, but by helping to facilitate new kinds of untraceable accounting trickery.

In the wake of the signal “failures” of SEC and other regulators to prevent the scandalous accounting fraud and subsequent catastrophic failures of Enron, Worldcom and Tyco, the US Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a federal law intended to “protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant to the securities laws, and for other purposes.” The nature of those “other purposes” soon became apparent as the devil emerged from the details of the software that promised to streamline the Sarbanes-Oxley compliance process for companies operating in the new regulatory environment.

One of these software solutions was EmailXtender, an email archiving program designed to help companies comply with Sarbanes-Oxley reporting requirements. The program was supposed to create a permanent record of emails so that auditors would be able to access all communications in the future, but, according to Richard Grove, who was working as a software salesman selling the program to prospective corporate clients, the program actually provided companies with a way to permanently and untraceably delete those records.

RICHARD GROVE: So a few weeks later in August of 2003 I was at a client called the NASD— which later changed its name so it’s now called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority—and the NASD was looking at our product and they wanted to use it internally. And one of the guys across the table says to me, “Hey, wait a minute. This product has a back door! Because right here where you’re supposed to take this information and put it on the write-once-read-many storage, which is a type of permanent storage,” he said, “There’s this jar file and you can delete the jar file and then there’s no evidence of that transaction whatsoever.”

So he was showing me across a table that there’s a loophole, there’s a back door in a software that allows nefarious transactions to go on and subsequently they didn’t buy the software they’re like, “This is bullshit, this isn’t worth the money. This is not what it’s supposed to be and you should do something about that.” Now, I had management from my side in the meeting so I went to my managers afterwards and I’m like, “What’s this all about and why what’s going on with this?” and I was told not to talk about it.

SOURCE: The Economy Lie – Part 2 – Richard Grove

Concerned with the possibility for mass financial fraud that was being enabled by this software, Grove took his concerns to the SEC. But instead of acting on this information to launch an investigation into the company and the software, the SEC not only dismissed Grove’s warning, but went out and bought that very software for their own use.

RICHARD GROVE: Right now the SEC reports to the President. So at the end of the day when the SEC was telling me they’re not interested, they’re telling me they’re not interested because I’m tying the Bush administration in with billionaire Richard Egan and his company that’s helping these companies do this. Of course they don’t want to sponsor that getting out to the public.

I filed a lawsuit, I represented myself in court against a multi-billion dollar international corporation and after three years—and after proving my case in court, including the fact that the SEC acted with complicity to protect the perpetrators—my case was dismissed on a technicality. Recognizing that the events I proved in court actually happened but were conveniently “outside the statute of limitations for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.”

And once I understood the purpose of Sarbanes-Oxley regulations was to keep these companies from deleting files and that the back door in the software allow these companies to delete files— and more importantly the fact that someone outside of the company that’s not even associated with the company but has access to that software could launder money or steal money or just delete money from corporations and switch financial records all around without anyone, any investigator, any auditor being able to audit that—those things I thought were interesting. But when the SEC, after I told them, bought the software with the back door in it and started to use it for itself then I knew that the SEC was not there to regulate like I thought it was. They were also, “Hey, we can find a benefit from this back door in a software. We can delete files now. Now we’re above the law!”

SOURCE: The Economy Lie – Part 2 – Richard Grove

But of all the various schemes for manipulating the markets, none have been quite so brazen as the Plunge Protection Team.

Formally known as the “Working Group on Financial Markets,” the Plunge Protection Team, or PPT, was born in the wake of another stock market crash: Black Monday of October 1987. Far from a “conspiracy theory” or “internet rumour,” the formation of the group was announced in the pages of the Federal Register on March 22, 1988, which contained, on page 9421, the text of Executive Order 12631, a seemingly mundane announcement signed by President Reagan on March 18, 1988.

The order, citing “the major issues raised by the numerous studies on the events in the financial markets surrounding October 19, 1987,” goes on to establish a working group of the treasury secretary, the Fed chair, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). It empowers the group to “consult, as appropriate, with representatives of the various exchanges, clearinghouses, self-regulatory bodies, and with major market participants to determine private sector solutions wherever possible” and to report back to the president.

Hidden behind this innocuous-sounding rhetoric is an organization that has been at work for the last three decades, quietly but documentably intervening to prop up the markets whenever they start plunging—or even sagging.

The name “Plunge Protection Team” comes from a Washington Post article that ran under that headline in February 1997. In that piece, staff writer Brett D. Fromson revealed how the Working Group on Financial Markets (like “defense planners in the Cold War period”) war-game various market cataclysms and their response to them. One scenario Fromson described involves a large sell-off on a Monday morning after a week of tanking markets.

“The chairman of the New York Stock Exchange has called the White House chief of staff and asked permission to close the world’s most important stock market. [. . .] In the Oval Office, the president confers with the members of his Working Group on Financial Markets—the secretary of the treasury and the chairmen of the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The officials conclude that a presidential order to close the NYSE would only add to the market’s panic, so they decide to ride out the storm. The Working Group struggles to keep financial markets open so that trading can continue. By the closing bell, a modest rally is underway.”

The article acknowledged that each of the Plunge Protection Team’s constituent agencies (the treasury, the Fed, the SEC and the CFTC) have a “confidential plan” on file to deal with a market meltdown. But aside from trivial details (the SEC’s plan is called the “red book,” for example, after the color of the document’s cover) nothing of substance is revealed. How, exactly, do the agencies plan to “keep financial markets open so that trading can continue”?

A major clue to the PPT manipulation puzzle came in the form of a 1989 Wall Street Journal op-ed by Robert Heller, who was at the time exiting a three-year stint as Federal Reserve System governor. Entitled “Have Fed Support Stock Market, Too,” Heller’s op-ed argued that the so-called “circuit breakers” set up after the Black Monday 1987 scare were not sufficient to prevent another recurrence of panic. “Instead,” he opined, “an appropriate institution should be charged with the job of preventing chaos in the market: the Federal Reserve.” In Heller’s vision, the Fed could prevent a market rout by stepping in to purchase stock futures contracts during sell-offs.

Rather than regarding Heller’s piece as a mere op-ed offering a proposal for something the Fed could do in the future, however, some reporters—like John Crudele, the man who drew attention to Heller’s “proposal” in the first place—have suggested that the Wall Street Journal piece was in fact a trial balloon, preparing the public for the eventual revelation that the Fed was already intervening in the markets.

If Heller’s op-ed was a trial balloon, the full truth was finally revealed to the public in the wake of “the day that changed everything.” After all, if the PPT was ever going to intervene to prop up the markets, the pandemonium of 9/11 and the ensuing market sell-off presented them with the perfect opportunity to do so.

And so it was that George Stephanopolous appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America on September 17, 2001, to blithely announce to the American public that their markets were a sham:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS: What I wanted to talk about for a few minutes is the various efforts that are going on in public and behind the scenes by the Fed and other government officials to guard against a free-fall in the markets. [. . .] The Fed in 1989 created what is called the ‘Plunge Protection Team’—which is the Federal Reserve, big major banks, representatives of the New York Stock Exchange and the other exchanges—and they have been meeting informally so far. And they have a kind of an informal agreement among major banks to come in and start to buy stock if there appears to be a problem. They have in the past acted more formally . . . I don’t know if you remember, but in 1998, there was a crisis called the Long-Term Capital Crisis. It was a major currency trader, and there was a global currency crisis. And they, with the guidance of the Fed, all of the banks got together when it started to collapse and propped up the currency markets. And they have plans in place to consider [doing] that [again] if the markets start to fall.

SOURCE: Good Morning America, Septermber 17, 2001

And, just like when it was calmly admitted in 2016 that the “record bull run” since 2008 had been a Federal Reserve-created mirage, the public was flat-out told in 2001 that the Fed would coordinate with the banks to interfere in the markets as needed. And in both cases, these revelations were promptly memory-holed and ignored in all future reporting of the market’s gyrations.

So what do the manipulations of the Plunge Protection Team actually look like?

On Monday, February 5, 2018, things were playing out on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange much like the “nightmare scenario” painted in the 1997 Washington Post article by Fromson. After a 666-point decline the previous Friday, the Dow Jones was down a further 1,600 points on the day, as big a decline as the index had ever seen. . . . And then, miraculously, late in the afternoon “[s]omeone arbitrarily and aggressively started buying stocks and halved the loss.”

As John Crudele, the journalist that has been covering the PPT and its machinations for decades now, observed at the time:

Nobody has ever proven that the Fed and its friends actually protect Wall Street against plunges. It is, you might say, the Loch Ness monster of the financial world — people get glimpses of something but never see a clear picture.

That’s what happened during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Telephone records I obtained showed numerous calls between then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and contacts on Wall Street on days when the stock market was tanking and the decline needed to be stopped.

The action in stocks on those days looked a lot like what happened on Monday, when the Dow was down nearly 1,600 points and was suddenly jerked back to a smaller loss.

For decades now, a similar scene has played out on days of dramatic market plunges. After an initial sell off, a late afternoon rally by a mystery buyer would reassure the markets and claw back the loss. Sometimes, the manipulation was so obvious it left literal straight lines in the charts. But still, no official word ever came from the Plunge Protection Team itself.

. . . until December 2018, that is. Ten months after Crudele called out the PPT’s actions to prop up the Dow Jones after its 1600 point plunge, then-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin openly announced that he was calling on the Plunge Protection Team to “assure normal market operations” during a December stock slide that was on track to be the worst December in the US markets since 1930.  As Forbes put it in their headline about the move: “Mnuchin Calls Plunge Protection Team; Stocks Soar One Day Later.” In the article, Forbes writer Adam Sarhan noted of the events following Mnuchin’s open call to the PPT:

“The market was closed on Tuesday for Christmas but stocks soared 1,000 points (the largest gain since the last bear market during the financial crisis) on Wednesday. Literally, the first day after that call was made. I can’t make this up.”

With a gift for understatement, Sarhan concludes that: “One important lesson investors can learn from the market action over the past decade is that the government plays a very important role.”

From crooked regulators to outright manipulation, from “failed” investigations to insider trading windfalls, the markets have been one big con job on the American public, and the people of the world, since their inception. In fact, there are many more examples of fraud, deception and manipulation that could be documented.

There is, for example, the testimony of Bill Murphy to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during a hearing on suppression of precious metal prices.

BART CHILTON: But can you give the Commission some specific evidence, some specific examples of how you think that’s occurring, when you think that’s occurring?

BILL MURPHY: Yes I can and I had 11 years worth of evidence that all hangs together here. But somebody came to my attention two days ago of a whistleblower nature that we’re going to handle hand to the press afterwards and we think it’s very important for the American public and this hearing to have this information.

On March 23rd, 2010, GATA Director Adrian Douglas was contacted by a whistleblower by the name of Andrew Maguire. Mr. McGuire, formerly of Goldman Sachs, is a metal trader in London. He has been told first hand by traders working for JPMorgan Chase, that JPM manipulates the precious metals markets and they brag how they make money doing so.

In November 2009, he contacted the CFTC Enforcement Division to report this criminal activity. He described in detail the way JPM signals to the markets its intentions to take down the precious metals. Traders recognize these signals and make money shorting the metals alongside JPM. Maguire explained how there are routine market manipulations at the time of option expiry, non-farm payroll data releases, and COMEX contract rollover, as well as ad-hoc events.

On February 3 he gave two days’ advance warning by email to Eliud Ramirez, a senior investigator for the CFTC’s Enforcement Division, that the precious metals would be attacked upon the release of the non-farm payroll data on February 5. Then on February 5, as it played out exactly as predicted, further e-mails were sent to Ramirez while the manipulation was in progress.

It would not be possible to predict such a market move unless the market was manipulated.

In an email on that day, Mr. Maguire wrote: “It is common knowledge here in London amongst the metals traders that it is JPM’s intent to flush out and cover as many shorts as possible prior to any discussion in March about position limits. I feel sorry for all those not in the loop. A serious amount of money was made and lost today and in my opinion as a result of the CFTC [allowing] by your own definition an illegal concentrated and manipulative position to continue.”

 SOURCE: Bill Murphy of GATA Reveals Whistle-Blower in Gold Price Suppression

Or there was the 2010 Flash Crash, the harrowing 35-minute window from 2:32 PM to 3:07 PM on May 6, 2010, when the Dow plunged nearly 1,000 points . . . and then gained most of it back. The incredible and unprecedented swing left traders and financial talking heads completely stymied, but after five years of relentless investigation, the Department of Justice presented the man that they framed as the arch-mastermind that set off the most alarming collapse-and-recovery in the history of the markets: a day trader living in his parent’s house in Hounslow.

NARRATOR: 15 minutes of chaos that shook the world’s biggest markets.

NEWS ANCHOR: What the heck is going on down there?

REPORTER: I don’t know. There is fear. This is capitulation, really.

LIAM VAUGHN: On May 6th, 2010, without warning, the U.S. stock market and futures markets just crashed.

REPORTER: It can’t be there. That is not a real price.

ANCHOR: The flash crash, which wiped a trillion dollars off the value of American companies in five minutes. . . .

LIAM VAUGHN: To look at a price chart, it looked like a kind of runaway elephant.

ANCHOR: It took authorities five years, guys, to track down this lone British trader, allegedly involved in a 2010 flash crash.

REPORTER: Navinder Singh Sarao, dubbed the hound of Hounslow, has been accused of manipulating the market.

REPORTER: U.S. regulators claim he made about $40 Million

SOURCE: The Wild $50M Ride of the Flash Crash Trader

Despite the fact that multiple professorsmainstream newspapers and even a former rogue trader himself all testified to the impossibility that the incredible rollercoaster of the Flash Crash was really caused by the “spoofing” antics of a lone trader, the story was effectively shelved and the underlying issue of the algorithmically-driven High Frequency Trading—which involves bots performing large numbers of orders in fractions of a second and requires traders to pay millions of dollars to co-locate their servers with the exchanges’ computers to give them a head start on their competitors that is measured in milliseconds—was never addressed.

Or there was the insider trading scandal of 2020, when multiple senators were probed for insider trading after being briefed by the senate’s health and foreign affairs committees about the likely effects of the coronavirus scare in the US.

JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, Adam, several senators are facing criticism this morning after reports that they sold stock after being briefed about the coronavirus. But before the market started tanking, four senators are said to have made trades. But two in particular are facing a lot of criticism.

The first is Senator Richard Burr. ProPublica reports on February 13th he sold between $628,000 to $1.7 million dollars worth of stock in 33 separate transactions. He is the chairman of the Senate Intel committee and he was getting daily briefings about the coronavirus at that time according to Reuters. So there are a lot of questions about why he made those trades.

SOURCE: 4 US senators under scrutiny after dumping millions in stocks

The probe into Senator Burr—who was one of the only senators to vote against the legislation that made such insider trading illegal—and the other accused senators was later dropped with no charges filed.

In fact, there are many, many such examples of market rigging, insider trading and manipulation of stock and commodity prices for the benefit of the bankers and their political allies that could be detailed, not just in the US markets, but in markets around the world. But such an exhaustive list would be, by this point, unnecessary. The markets are rigged, and that rigging is pervasive and systemic.

So it should come as no surprise that the GameStop pandemonium began when it was observed that another common method of market manipulation was taking place on GameStop’s stock: naked shorting.

Naked shorting involves traders taking advantages of loopholes and discrepancies in paper and electronic trading systems to short shares that don’t even exist. In this case, hedge funds, convinced that the flailing gaming retailer was going to go the way of BlockBuster Video and seeing the December 2020 reports of operating losses, began aggressively shorting the stock. By the time the “wallstreetbets” community on reddit discovered the naked shorting operation, the hedge funds were already 140% short on shares of GameStop, meaning that 40% more stock was being sold short than even existed.

This led to the massive short squeeze in January, with redditors and other retail investors buying up shares in GameStop and running up the stock price, forcing the hedge funds to buy up stock to cover their shorts and exposing them to billions of dollars in losses.

But that was only the beginning of the revelations of market rigging in the GameStop saga. The remarkable squeeze was brought to an abrupt halt when Robinhood—the electronic trading platform that burst on the scene in 2014 promising to “democratize the stock market” with its zero-commission trading app—stopped trading on GameStop and other wallstreetbets-driven trades like AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry and Nokia. The official explanation for the trading halt—that Robinhood had to suspend trading in the stocks until it could increase its collateral with the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation—merely underlines the point that the average mom-and-pop investor will continue to be thwarted from trading while the massive hedge funds and market makers with direct access to the markets will always be able to cover their positions in the event of any popular, “democratic” market activity.

This point was further underlined when yet another aspect of the retail investing scam was revealed: payment for order flow, or PFOF, in which hedge funds pay retail brokerages for access to their customers’ trades. With this information, hedge funds can not only buy orders before they are processed and flip the trade back to the market, pocketing the spread between the buy and sell price, but they can front run orders, effectively cutting in front of the brokerages’ clients to buy hot stocks before the retail investors. As it turns out, Robinhood made nearly $700 million selling their clients’ trade data to the big hedge funds in 2020 alone.

Nor was it a surprise when it was learned that Biden’s Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, was paid over $800,000 in speaking fees by Citadel LLC which operates both Citadel—a hedge fund that provided a $2 billion emergency backstop for GameStop short seller Melvin Capital—and Citadel Securities—”a market maker that handles about 40% of U.S. retail stock order flow, including from brokerages like free-trading app Robinhood.” When asked whether Yellen would recuse herself from advising the president on the GameStop situation, White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded that she wouldn’t, saying that Yellen was an expert and that she deserved the money.

REPORTER: . . . And I had a follow-up on the markets and everything that’s happening with GameStop. You did mention, I believe yesterday, that the treasury secretary is monitoring the situation and she’s, kind of, on top of it. There have been some kind of concerns about her previous engagements with Citadel and speaking fees that she has received from Citadel. Are there any plans to have her recuse herself from advising the President on GameStop and the whole Robinhood situation?

PSAKI: Well, just to be clear, what I said was that we have—the treasury secretary is now confirmed. Obviously, we have a broad economic team. The SEC put out a statement yesterday that I referred to. But I don’t think I have anything more for you on it, other than to say, separate from the GameStop issue, the secretary of treasury is one of the world-renowned experts on markets, on the economy. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone she was paid to give her perspective and advice before she came into office.

SOURCE: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki (January 28, 2021)

The entire affair grew even more absurd when internet researchers discovered that Jen Psaki’s relative, Jeff Psaki, himself worked for Citadel. The “fact checkers” at Newsweek were quick to rule the story as false, however, not because Psaki’s relative did not in fact work for Citadel, but because “a source close to Jeff” told Newsweek that “Jen and Jeff Psaki are distant second cousins but have no relationship.”

Whatever further twists and turns the GameStop saga takes, the conclusion is foregone: the “little people” may be able to get one past the goalkeepers of the manipulated markets here and there, but those deviations from the standard will always return to the status quo. In the end, the hedge funds and their billions will be protected while the little guy will be misinformed, steered down blind alleys, panicked, tricked into investing in bubbles, and, ultimately, fleeced for the benefit of the financial vultures and their bought-and-paid-for politicians and regulatory friends.

At last the David and Goliath story that has been woven around the GameStop insurrection is revealed for what it is: a story, a fable, a convenient narrative to trick the public back into the phoney, manipulated markets to once again take their place at the casino table. It  is designed to trick people into thinking that this time they’ll be able to win against the house. But that is not how a casino works. In the central-bank inflated, derivatives-laden mystery markets of Wall Street, the games are rigged, the dice is  loaded, and the house always wins in the end.

None of this is surprising to those who have known for decades that the markets are rigged. But every generation needs to see the deception play out in real time to understand just how deep and pervasive the systemic rot is. From this point on, those who have experienced the effects of this deception only have to answer one question: Are you going to continue to play Wall Street’s rigged game, or are you going to take your chips off the table and invest in local businesses and projects with the people on Main Street?

The choice is yours. It always has been.

May 16, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 1 Comment

How did this cause us to ransack our society? Here is the reality

TheFatEmperor | May 10, 2021

Visualise the reality. And SHARE like hell.

Big thanks to Geoffrey Kell who sent me this to share – four OUR CHILDREN.

NOTE: My extensive research and interviewing / video/sound editing and much more does require support – please consider helping if you can with monthly donation to support me directly, or one-off payment: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=69ZSTYXBMCN3W

Alternatively join up with my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IvorCummins

May 15, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

Partners Don’t Use Blackmail: Top German Lawmaker Slams US Attempts to Block Nord Stream 2

By Tim Korso – Sputnik – 13.05.2021

Washington has been strongly opposed to the Nord Stream 2, a joint project by Russia’s Gazprom and European energy giants, trying to stop its construction with sanctions. The European beneficiaries of the project have condemned the US meddling in the bloc’s economic and energy affairs.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is an economic project beneficial to German interests and thus must be completed in the shortest term possible, parliamentary co-leader of the German party The Left, Dietmar Bartsch has stated. The lawmaker, who is expected to fight for the chancellor’s seat in this year’s election, added that the US must not create obstacles for the project’s completion.

“Washington must not make decisions for Germany and Europe regarding their energy security. Partners do not resort to blackmail and threats in their relations”, Bartsch stressed.

The US has repeatedly objected to the plans of European countries to complete and certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was designed to deliver up to 55 million cubic metres of Russian natural gas per year. Washington claims the pipeline undermines European energy security, making it dependent upon Moscow, and suggests buying American or Israeli LNG instead. The White House also expressed concern that Nord Stream 2 will deprive Ukraine of lucrative contracts on the transit of Russian gas through its territory. The latter has been disrupted by Kiev multiple times in the past.

EU powers, especially Germany, have defended the project, insisting that the continent’s energy supplies are sufficiently diversified. German politicians and lawmakers regularly denounce the sanctions Washington has put in place in order to force European countries to abandon the pipeline. Russia, for its part, has assured the West that gas transit through Ukraine will continue as long as it remains economically viable.

The Nord Stream 2 is now in the final stages of construction despite the US countermeasures. Around 5% of the pipe remains to be built according to statements by the operating company. The question, however, remains whether any European entity will agree to certify the pipeline once it’s complete to allow it to turn on the taps, as they would risk falling under American sanctions by doing so.

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 2 Comments

Degrowth: Universities Push Permanent Poverty as the Solution to Climate Change

By Eric Worral | Watts Up With That? | May 12, 2021

According to modelling by University of Sydney and ETH Zürich, scaling back total production and placing a cap on maximum wealth would not only save the planet, it would also allow us all to enjoy shorter working weeks and the financial security of a generous universal basic income.

Climate Change Modeling of “Degrowth” Scenarios – Reduction in GDP, Energy and Material Use

UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY | MAY 11, 2021

Well-being can be maintained in a degrowth transition. […]

Degrowth focuses on the global North and is defined as an equitable, democratic reduction in energy and material use while maintaining wellbeing. A decline in GDP is accepted as a likely outcome of this transition. […]

“We can still satisfy peoples’ needs, maintain employment and reduce inequality with degrowth, which is what distinguishes this pathway from recession,” Mr Keyßer says.

“However, a just, democratic and orderly degrowth transition would involve reducing the gap between the haves and have-nots, with more equitable distribution from affluent nations to nations where human needs are still unmet — something that is yet to be fully explored.”

A ‘degrowth’ society could include:

  • A shorter working week, resulting in reduced unemployment alongside increasing productivity and stable economic output.
  • Universal basic services independent of income, for necessities i.e. food, health care, transport.
  • Limits on maximum income and wealth, enabling a universal basic income to be increased and reducing inequality, rather than increasing inequality as is the current global trend.

I think it is only fair to give the professors an opportunity to showcase their degrowth theories, by slashing their university funding, so they can demonstrate by example how much happier we would be if we all embraced a permanent reduction in income.

May 12, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments