The Five Cartels that Rule America and the World

by Isaac Davis

Activist Post (December 27 2017)

Americans have been programmed to fight amongst themselves along partisan political lines, always pointing the finger at the other side of the phony left-right paradigm. Divide and conquer is the broad tactic being used to keep people from recognizing, focusing on, and targeting the truly diabolical agents in our world who hold real power over all of us at once.

We are not ruled by Republicans or Democrats, but rather by the not-so-hidden hands of institutions which have consolidated a tremendous amount of power. Our world is deeply colored by these cartels, and they impact every area of our lives, constantly maneuvering to make more and more dependent on them for our needs.

In short, these are the organizations which rule over us. These are the great forces in our world which prevent positive change and ensure that we continually slide downward into tyranny and self-destruction.

1. The International Banking Cartel

The geopolitical financial elite have for centuries been organizing to consolidate the mechanisms of wealth into the hands of a very few. The Rothschilds {1}are the popular face of this cartel, but the banking and financial corruption goes far, far beyond their influence.

The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from its profits or so dependent on its favors, that there will be no opposition from that class.

– Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863

 

Banks are in a unique position of power in our world and can generate extraordinary profits without actually producing anything. Through the issuance of currency and credit, they can control the amount of money available to the economy and create economic booms and busts, seizing titles to land, homes, businesses, and property. They hold extraordinary influence over government for their role as financiers of everything from public works to war and enjoy extraordinary pecuniary advantage and privilege.

Combine this with the new influence of supra-national organizations like the Bank for International Settlements and the World Bank, and you realize that the world is on the cusp of falling into the greatest trap of all time. The banking cartel is the primary source of war, destabilization, and military grade destruction in our world today.

2. The Medical Establishment

Human health has been hijacked by the medical establishment which forces people into an extraordinarily expensive program of dependence on insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and other health services providers.

Interestingly, the medical industry is also a major cause of premature death for Americans as malpractice, drug overdoses, botched procedures, and poor patient care contribute to these statistics. Medical errors alone are the third leading cause of death in the US {2}.

Additionally, the government deliberately serves these corporate interests by limiting and preventing information and access to services and healing modalities which may produce positive results without dependence on hospitals and physicians.

Furthermore, this cartel actually contributes knowingly to human misery by pumping deadly drugs like opioids into our world, scheming to get as many people as addicted as possible in order to cut a greater profit.

3. The Energy Industry

The raping of the planet for fossil fuel energy is something that has been going on for decades but is finally now beginning to create substantial blowback as environmental destruction is proving to be something that cannot be ignored any longer.

The nuclear industry is perfectly content to continue the pursuit of nuclear power even in the face of catastrophes like Fukushima which demonstrate that nuclear energy simply cannot be contained and is a threat to all life on planet earth.

We are witnessing major growth in the sectors of renewable energy, but the traditional energy industry has a long history of interfering with the release of alternative technologies, even going so far as to actively suppress technologies {3}.

This cartel has shaped our world in dramatic ways, most notably by creating near-universal dependence on the automobile as the primary form of transportation, which has shaped both our cities and our mindsets. The never-ending push for oil exploration is killing the most precious environmental resources we have left, but the influence of the energy cartel is so great that it can practically buy entire nations, such as Ecuador, where foreign oil ventures are allowed to press ever further into the Amazon.

4. Agricultural Chemical Producers

The industrial agrochemical giants have completely changed the face of farming on planet earth within the last 75 years or so. Family farms continue to go under at a record-setting pace, and it is clear that the endgame of companies like Monsanto is to own the patents to all food seed, lording over a planet where people are prosecuted for planting food crops.

This is quite startling, and when coupled with the fact that seed biodiversity is collapsing around us, it may only be another ten years before this endgame is realized.

In addition to seed, these companies are polluting the world in incredible ways by pressing for the overuse of toxic chemicals like glyphosate {4} and other herbicides which are killing pollinator insects {5}, destroying the soil, and causing horrible health problems for people living near farms {6}.

5. The Information Industrial Complex

This institution is the newest in our world, consisting of what is now commonly referred to as “Big Data”, meaning the corporations and government agencies which collect data points on everything in our world and use this information strategically for their interests.

James Corbett of the Corbett Report remarks:

Half a century ago, outgoing President Dwight D Eisenhower coined the term “military-industrial complex” to describe the fascistic collusion between the Pentagon and America’s burgeoning armaments industry. But in our day and age we are witnessing the rise of a new collusion, one between the Pentagon and the tech industry that it helped to seed, that is committed to waging a covert war against people the world over. Now, in the 21st century, it is time to give this new threat a name: the information-industrial complex.

 

Corbett’s recent video explains the rise of this all-powerful institution in the following presentation:

Final Thoughts

There are very few, if any, honest politicians or organizations working in earnest to spread the benefit of industry, technology, and prosperity in such a way that actually eliminates the great problems humanity faces such as hunger, environmental stewardship, health freedom, and more. These are the cartels which represent the greatest threats to our collective well-being and the prosperity of future generations.

Links:

{1} http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/01/20/rothschild-family-wealth-five-times-worlds-top-8-billionaires-combined/

{2} https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-03/medical-errors-are-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-the-us

{3} http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/09/24/how-the-government-suppresses-free-energy-technologies/

{4} http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/06/16/monsantos-glyphosate-linked-death-oceans-coral-reefs/

{5} http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/03/wakeup-call-347-native-bee-species-spiraling-toward-extinction/

{6} http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/12/01/how-monsanto-destroyed-rural-argentina/

_____

Isaac Davis is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and OffgridOutpost.com Survival Tips blog. He is an outspoken advocate of liberty and of a voluntary society. He is an avid reader of history and passionate about becoming self-sufficient to break free of the control matrix. Follow him on Facebook, here.

Read more articles from Isaac Davis at http://www.wakingtimes.com/category/contributors/isaac-davis/.

This article (The Five Cartels that Rule America and the World) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Isaac Davis and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

https://www.activistpost.com/2017/12/5-cartels-rule-america-world.html?utm

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized

Surging Russian-Chinese Trade Pressures Petrodollar

by Tom Luongo

Zero Hedge (January 13 2018)

The latest trade figures on Chinese/Russian trade should be further warning to the US that economic sanctions do not work. In May 2017 Russian and China agreed to increase bilateral trade to $80 billion by the end of 2018.

Well, they’re a year ahead of schedule …

The official figures for 2017 came in at $84.07 billion.

They did more than $8.1 billion in business in December alone. With the opening of the new ESPO oil pipeline connecting Siberia to China doubling the amount of oil China can import to 600,000 barrels per day we’ll see those numbers continue to accelerate.

And that’s the key. Remember, the massive $400 billion gas deal China made with Gazprom in 2014 hasn’t begun delivering gas. The first Power of Siberia pipeline isn’t due to be completed until 2019. The second Power of Siberia pipeline is on the table after this one.

And the two countries just agreed to a third pipeline to bring gas in from Russia’s far east last month.

So, despite back-biting from western media about the profitability of these projects, they are going forward and the two countries continue to strengthen fundamental ties to one another.

Greasing the Skids

We are now just a week away from trading yuan-denominated oil futures on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (“INE“). Trading begins January 18th.

And while that won’t change the face of oil futures overnight, it will begin shifting price discovery away from US dollar markets. It will also improve external yuan liquidity as well as visibility for Russian oil on the global market.

The Shanghai contract is for Medium Sour crude which is closer to the type of oil mainly produced by Russia. Russian Urals crude is considered Medium Sour. Saudi Arabia’s and most of OPEC is sour oil (higher in sulfur with a lower pH). With the OPEC production cuts which Russia agreed to emulate, mostly hit this market.

Both WTI and Brent crude are benchmarks for Light Sweet Crude like that of the US shale producers, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Libya. So, this contract is designed to properly price other grades of oil not tailored to US refinery needs.

And for that reason alone it will be a major competitor in the long run. The current oil market is heavily fragmented because there is no direct futures market for Sour grades of crude.

Shanghai’s contract is changing that game. Between this and that profits from it can be converted to gold via the Shanghai Gold Exchange, gives this market immediate credibility.

The effects of this have been over-stated on the one hand by hard-money advocates and under-stated on the other by entrenched financial analysts.

The important takeaway is that China has created the first unassailable and above-ground challenge to the petrodollar oil trade. To break the world’s use of the dollar as the sole settlement currency for oil required the right contract issued by a country the US can’t immediately invade and conduct a regime change operation in – like in Iraq and Libya.

Russia wins here because now there is a path for its Urals grade to become an international benchmark like WTI and Brent. And since Gazprom prefers to price its long-term gas contracts based on underlying oil prices rather than the more volatile natural gas price, this is also a win in the long run for them.

Gold convertibility is a means to deepen China’s sovereign debt markets by making it less risky to hold Chinese bonds. The lack of true yuan convertibility is the big impediment to people holding them. So, gold convertibility creates a viable exit route.

A Means to an End

Increasing trade between Russia and China has to and will go far beyond energy for its partnership to thrive. The oil trade is simply a means to building the underlying capital flow between the two countries. It makes it easier for Russian businesses to get access to Chinese capital and vice versa.

And this rapid acceleration of bilateral trade is necessary in the face of more severe US economic sanctions against Russia likely coming next month. The way to avoid sanctions is to build alternate means to do business.

We will continue to target Russian banks and financial oligarchs with the idea of curtailing economic growth by cutting out their ability to source overseas capital. And again, this is why China is so important to Russia.

Because the more we push them away the more they can turn to their Chinese partners for assistance and the US doesn’t dare sanction China, no matter how much President Trump bloviates about it.

China announced last week that it would no longer be accumulating US treasury assets. Presumably, this means that it will no longer recycle its trade surplus with the US to halt appreciation of the yuan versus the dollar. [ZH: of course this was denied within 24 hours but the threat remains.]

It’s had to over the past year with the dollar weakening like it has. But that wave is coming to an end with a reversal of Fed policy and Trump’s tax cut bill. Rising rates in the US will allow China to divest its Treasury holdings at its leisure without overly affecting the Yuan while it also deepens Yuan liquidity through its now gold-convertible bond market.

Those trade dollars will be spent in pursuit of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative and overseas where it has business. I’m sure if Russia gets into another dollar-funding crisis with new sanctions China will be there to provide dollar liquidity, just like in 2015.

Both countries understand the stakes and continue to make the right moves to support the changing macroeconomic environment. With US bonds on the verge of entering a bear market, conditions are ripe for China to deploy its massive savings to resume remaking the Asian continent.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-13/surging-russian-chinese-trade-pressures-petrodollar

Categories: Uncategorized

Putin Foresaw Death of US Global Power

by Finian Cunningham

Strategic Culture Foundation (December 29 2017)

Like a good wine, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s famous speech delivered in Munich ten years ago regarding global security has been rewarded with time. A decade on, the many facets contained in that address have only become all the more enhanced and tangible.

Speaking to a senior international audience at the annual Munich Security Conference, on February 10 2007, the Russian leader opened by saying he was going to speak about world relations forthrightly and not in “empty diplomatic terms”. In what followed, Putin did not disappoint. With candor and incisiveness, he completely leveled the arrogance of American unilateral power.

He condemned the “aspirations of world supremacy” as a danger to global security. “We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law”, adding at a later point: “One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way”.

But, moreover, Putin presciently predicted that the American arrogance of unipolar dominance would, in the end, lead to the demise of the power from seeking such supremacy.

A unipolar world, he said, is “a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day, this is pernicious not only for all those within this system but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within”.

Ten years on from that call, few can doubt that the global standing of the United States has indeed spectacularly fallen – just as Putin had forewarned back in 2007. The most recent example of demise was the sordid business earlier this month of arm-twisting and bullying by the US at the United Nations over the tabled resolutions repudiating Washington’s ill-considered declaration of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Other examples of fallen American leadership can be seen in regard to President Trump’s reckless threats of war – instead of diplomacy – with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program. Or Trump’s irrational and unfounded belligerence towards Iran. The American propensity for using military force regardless of diplomacy and international law leaves most nations feeling a shudder of contempt and trepidation.

Another example of fallen American leadership is seen in the boorish way the Trump administration has unilaterally rejected the 2015 international Paris Accord to combat deleterious climate change. Trump views it as a conspiracy to undermine the American economy, as he alluded to in his recent National Security Strategy. How can such a self-declared global leader be taken seriously, much less, with respect?

Putin’s warning that the unipolar-seeking US would “destroy itself” could not be more apt.

Because in order to seek such supremacy, such a power, by necessity of its ambition, must reject the rule of law and the principle of democracy as being nothing other than bothersome constraints on its hegemony.

President Trump likes to talk at times about the “peaceful coexistence of sovereign nation states”. But whatever virtue he may be intending or paying lip service to, it is totally negated by American ambitions of unipolar dominance – ambitions that have been harbored in successive administrations in Washington since the end of the Cold War more than 25 years ago.

To this view of the world, Putin said: “I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world”.

The impossibility, and impermissibility, stems from the inevitable tendency of unilateral conduct, which rejects the principle of all being equal under the law. The would-be unipolar hegemon, by definition, sees itself as above the law. Such a self-anointed view of oneself leads to tyranny and abuse of power.

Since the end of the Cold War balance of power between the US and the former Soviet Union, the world has been plunged into a state of permanent wars and conflicts, due to the proclivity of the United States to act alone and on the basis that its “might is right”.

Ten years ago in Munich, Putin noted:

Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centers of tension. Judge for yourselves: wars, as well as local and regional conflicts, have not diminished … even more people are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!

 

The unipolar position sought by the US leads ineluctably to a world of lawlessness, chaos, insecurity, fear, violence, and, in a fiendish feedback loop, reinforces the further deterioration in all such facets.

“Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts”, said Putin in Munich.

Recall that the Russian leader was speaking at the height of the US, British, and Nato wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those wars constitute perhaps the two biggest war crimes over the past quarter of a century. The violations went unpunished, as befitting the arrogance of unipolar power, and because of that impunity, the lawlessness and abuse of national sovereign rights have only become more exacerbated, as Putin forewarned.

Diplomacy, international law, dialogue, and consensus have been all but discarded. Look how the US and its Nato allies demolished Libya in 2011, and how they ransacked Syria covertly through a seven-year proxy dirty war; a war that was only stopped by Russia and Iran’s principled military intervention at the end of 2015. Look how the US and its Nato allies have destabilized Ukraine, yet blame Russia, even as Washington readies in the New Year to supply lethal weapons to the regime in Kiev it installed by a violent coup in February 2014.

The provocative expansion of Nato across Europe with its weapons pointed on Russia’s border was also an outcome that Putin warned against in 2007, admonishing that it would lead to more insecurity and tensions in Europe, not less.

Putin was right to talk straight truth to power in that 2007 speech, rather than using “empty diplomatic terms”, as he put it.

We cannot hope to rectify problems unless we address those problems accurately.

In doing so, Putin deserves immense praise for exposing the corruption of absolute power in world relations.

But there can be little doubt that his courageous speech in Munich in 2007 earned him the hatred of Washington’s imperial planners. Putin was in effect giving notice that Russia was shaking off the vassal status that his predecessor Boris Yeltsin had accepted in the early post-Cold War years.

“Russia is a country with a history that spans more than a thousand years and has practically always used the privilege to carry out an independent foreign policy. We are not going to change this tradition today”, said a defiant Putin.

It was this defiant independence and Putin’s searing analysis of how so much of global insecurity is the direct result of American imperialist arrogance that has since made the Russian leader the target for so much hostility from Washington over the past ten years.

When you step back, it is amazing to observe the campaign of relentless Russophobia, vilification, and slander directed at President Putin by Washington and the mass media under its control. The precedent for this demonization can be found in the Munich speech delivered by Putin a decade ago.

But let’s recap on the point he made about unipolar obsession being self-destructive.

The American penchant for lawlessness and violation of democratic principles does not just stop with its intrigues of regime change and subversions abroad. Those very noxious habits of diseased US statecraft are now eating into the body politics of the US itself.

Looking at the necrotic state of US politics and society – the venal, political infighting and corruption, the lack of respect for its own laws, and the lack of respect for its people’s sovereignty and office of the president – there can be little doubt that the once ambitious superpower is dying a slow death from diseased practices that have turned inward.

Putin saw it coming ten years ago. And in a classic futile case, they have tried to shoot the messenger ever since.

_____

Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal http://www.strategic-culture.org.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/12/29/putin-foresaw-death-of-us-global-power.html

Categories: Uncategorized

Former CIA Officer Warns …

… Deep State Is “Terrified” of Trump, “Want Him Taken Out”

by Greg Hunter

USAWatchdog.com (January 14 2018)

Zero Hedge (January 16 2018)

Former “high-level” CIA officer Kevin Shipp says President Trump has “declared war” on the so-called Deep State and the shadow government.

Shipp explains:

I differentiate between the “Deep State” and the shadow government.

The shadow government is the secret intelligence agencies that have such power and secrecy that they act even without the knowledge of Congress. There are many things that they do with impunity.

Then there is the “Deep State”, which is the military industrial complex, all of the industrial corporations and their lobbyists, and they have all the money, power, and greed that give all the money to the Senators and Congressmen.

So, they are connected, but they are really two different entities.

It is the shadow government … specifically, the CIA, that is going after Donald Trump. It is terrified that some of its dealings are going to be exposed. If they are, it could jeopardize the entire organization.

President Trump’s December Executive Order on “Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption” is a major way Trump is turning the tables on the people trying to take him down. Shipp says:

Donald Trump, very wisely, starts out calling it a “threat to US national security”. That one term brings in the US military, the US intelligence agencies, domestic law enforcement, and the whole US law enforcement into enforcing these laws. The amazing thing about the Executive Order is now it extends to foreign persons, foreign organizations, and even foreign government officials. So, this is a national security threat, which means it includes anyone inside the United States or outside the United States.

 

The very people that have been attacking Donald Trump are now feeling the Trump counter attack. Shipp says:

They are terrified, they are terrified right now. They did not expect Trump to do what he is doing now. The reason they tried to get him even before he was elected is they knew he was uncontrollable, and they knew if he got in there, they would not be able to manipulate him, and that is exactly what’s happening.

There are some people, and there is no doubt about it, that are running scared right now …

Donald Trump is questioning the Deep State and the shadow government. He’s rocking that place left and right. The news media is terrified of that. Their editors are telling them to attack him just like they are attacking him from the inside. It’s just dirty pool because they want him taken out.

 

In closing, Shipp says:

Trump’s making tremendous progress despite tremendous resistance. They have already done a character assassination on him, and I think they could go further than that … Trump is making progress, and he has them running scared.

Full interview here: https://youtu.be/flSYmWkp6Qk
 

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.When government fears the people, there is liberty.

– Thomas Jefferson

From The Company of Shadows (2013):

 

 

The CIA is a unique federal organization. It operates under a thick canopy of secrecy. Covert agents killed in the line of duty become lonely stars etched into the wall of CIA headquarters. Those officers that live must remain seated at ceremonies recognizing patriots that serve openly in the military; sacrificing the recognition they so often deserve. This is can be a lonely experience. Kevin Shipp knows that feeling. The sacrifices CIA officers have made, including risking their lives, remain hidden; locked away in their memories. For many officers, it is a unique brand of courage that will never be known. This book is about that Agency and the life of one of those officers. It is written to provide a three-hundred-sixty-degree view of the CIA and how it operates; in the light and in the dark. Kevin Shipp risked his life in service to the CIA and his country. That same courage would later place him between the CIA and the US Constitution. He would become one of the only CIA officers in history to publicly stand up against one of the most powerful agencies in the world.

The Shadow Government is a system that manipulates Washington, DC behind the scenes, that operates beyond the control of Congress, that even dictates the actions of the president and affects the daily lives of every American. It is real and has been growing in complexity for over sixty years. While the American people work long hours just to survive and make ends meet, the Shadow Government spends billions of dollars on secret operations, overthrowing governments and engages in covert wars that kill thousands – all without any vote or say by the American people; the people that pay the taxes the Shadow Government uses to fund these operations.

While their Congressmen and Senators promise they will make their lives better and improve their difficult standard of living, these same Congressmen vote for billions of dollars in military and covert action programs, taking contributions from the lobbyists of connected Shadow Government military-industrial corporations. The people starve while the kings shower themselves with gold.

 

Kevin Shipp, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, intelligence and counter-terrorism expert, held several high-level positions in the CIA. His assignments included protective agent for the Director of the CIA, counterintelligence investigator searching for moles inside the CIA, overseas counter-terrorism operations officer, internal security investigator, assistant team leader for the antiterrorism tactical assault team, chief of training for the CIA federal police force, and polygraph examiner. Mr Shipp was the senior program manager for the Department of State, Diplomatic Security, Anti-Terrorism Assistance global police training program. He is the recipient of two CIA Meritorious Unit Citations, three Exceptional Performance Awards, and a Medallion for high-risk overseas operations. He holds a master’s degree in forensic psychophysiology. Mr Shipp is the author of the best-selling book, From the Company of Shadows (2013) – an expose on CIA operations and the abuse of government secrecy. Mr Shipp has come out to expose what he calls, “The Shadow Government”, the massive system of secrecy and corruption that controls the elected US government behind the scenes. He has just started a new website: http://www.fortheloveoffreedom.net/.┬áHe will be putting free information and video presentations on the site.

https://usawatchdog.com/trump-has-declared-war-on-the-deep-state-kevin-shipp/#more-19995

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-16/former-cia-officer-warns-deep-state-terrified-trump-want-him-taken-out

Categories: Uncategorized

2017: A Banner Year for Corporate Mergers

Which Further Deepens Inequality

Outlook for the one percent (and the Democratic Party split), 2018

by Michael Hudson

The Unz Review (January 02 2018)

Low interest rates, “quantitative easing”, and the mitigation of antitrust laws led to more mergers and acquisitions in 2017, but that’s only going to fuel greater wealth inequality and tighten the corporate grip on the political system, explains economist Michael Hudson.

GREGORY WILPERT: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Gregory Wilpert coming to you from Quito, Ecuador. The year 2017 is turning out to be another banner year for the centralization of capital, that is, according to an article in the Financial Times this week, “Global mergers and acquisitions exceed three trillion dollars for the fourth straight year”. The article goes on to point out the following: Faced with the prospect of Amazon’s entry into the pharmacy business, the US’s biggest drugstore chain, CVS Health, agreed to acquire health insurer, Aetna for about $69 billion. Encroachment by Facebook and Netflix into sports, media, and film production led Rupert Murdoch to sell most of his 21st Century Fox empire to Disney in a $66 billion deal.

The US remained the most active region for mergers and acquisitions with $1.4 trillion in deals. The numbers of US deals struck in 2017 combined climbed above 12,400 for a record figure. The largest deal in 2017 has yet to be resolved as Broadcom pursues a hostile $130 billion bid for rival chip maker Qualcomm. Joining me to analyze the causes and consequences of this massive centralization of capital in 2017 is Michael Hudson. Michael is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri/Kansas City. He’s author of several books. The most recent among them is J is for Junk Economics (2017). Welcome back, Michael.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be back here.

GREGORY WILPERT: So, what at heart is causing all of this frenetic activity for companies to gobble up one another, thereby creating ever-greater centralization of capital?

MICHAEL HUDSON: It’s part of the neoliberal strategy to inflate the wealth of the one percent, basically by inflating the stock market and real estate and bond prices. Central banks are pursuing quantitative easing that offers money at almost zero interest rates. At the same time, you have the tax system’s giveaways to the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (“FIRE“) sectors, capped by deregulatory policies that are encouraging mergers and acquisitions by dismantling the antitrust legislation that has been in place since the New Deal.

The tax giveaways in the Republican tax law two weeks ago enable companies that have kept hundreds of billions of their earnings tax-free in offshore banking enclaves and tax avoidance centers to now shift them to their head office accounts. (Most were kept in US dollars all along but in the name of “false flag of convenience” companies.) All this tax-avoidance money that has been accumulating since 2004 can now be replaced in the name of the head companies instead of their just-pretend foreign affiliates in these tax avoidance centers.

So the companies are going to be very cash-rich. They’ve anticipated most of this and you can look at these mergers and acquisitions as part of an arbitrage operation. If a hedge fund, a bank or large corporation can borrow at one percent, they can buy stocks that are yielding ten percent or even more – or, for that matter, even less. They can get an arbitrage difference between the one percent they pay and the stocks whose dividends pay a higher rate of return, five, six, seven, eight, or nine percent.

When you buy enough stocks to give you control of a target company, that’s called mergers and acquisitions or corporate raiding. Hedge funds have been doing this, as well as corporate financial managers. With borrowed money, you can take over or raid a foreign company too. So, you’re having a monopolistic consolidation process that’s pushed up the market, because in order to buy a company or arrange a merger, you have to offer more than the going stock-market price. You have to convince existing holders of a stock to sell out to you by paying them more than they’d otherwise get.

But suppose you’re a company that doesn’t want to be bought out. Suppose you’re a corporation trying to defend yourself from this merger and acquisition movement. In that case, you do is what they’ve done since the 1980s: You take a poison pill, using your earnings to buy your own stock. Some companies even borrow to buy up their own stock, or they simply increase their dividend payouts so much that it pushes up the stock and leaves nothing in the corporate treasury to be raided by these raiders.

The upshot is that on the part of attackers and defenders alike, you have a process that bids up stock prices. Since the vast majority of stocks are owned by the one percent, and certainly by the ten percent, the effect is to increase the wealth of the one to ten percent in comparison to the wages the bottom 99% get. That basically is the financial and fiscal war in a nutshell.

GREGORY WILPERT: Just a quick question. You’re saying that low interest rates and quantitative easing are among the key factors here. But aren’t those policies also good for the bottom ninety percent? After all, it keeps interest rates low for ordinary borrowers, such as people who have mortgages or credit cards to pay off, and also helps keep unemployment low. What would be the alternatives if you don’t want to cause unemployment to go up by raising interest rates?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Why on earth would the one percent want to help the 99%? No, it hasn’t helped them at all.

If you’re a member of the 99%, you don’t get to borrow at one percent. Banks and hedge funds get to borrow at one percent. If you’re a credit card customer, you’re paying the same credit card rate as you’re always paying. And if you miss a payment, even to a utility company, your rate goes up to 29% or whatever. And if the bank won’t lend to you, you still have to pay fifty percent or one hundred percent or five hundred percent to the payday loan people backed by JPMorgan Chase and other Wall Street banks as major customers. So no, the 99% have not benefited from quantitative easing. Quantitative easing is to benefit the financial sector, which means basically the one percent, not benefit the rest of the economy.

We’re living in a world that’s divided into two economies: the economy of the top one percent, and the economy of the bottom 99%. I guess you could be more “centrist” and say the top ten percent versus the bottom ninety percent. But there’s definitely a stratification at work here.

GREGORY WILPERT: The Financial Times quotes analysts who say that they expect mergers and acquisitions to accelerate even more in 2018. You touched on this when you mentioned the Republican tax reform. So would you basically agree that M&A will accelerate? What are some of the underlying causes for a further continuation of this process of centralization?

MICHAEL HUDSON: There are two underlying causes. For one thing, now that the Republicans are in power in the United States – and I don’t think it would matter if Hillary’s Democrats were in power – they’re not enforcing the antitrust regulations. What deterred a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the past was the threat of creating a monopoly, so the antitrust laws prevented you. But now they’re saying, you can make a monopoly, but make sure the 99% pay through the nose. You can make a monopoly and charge the 99% higher monopolized prices.

So, what you’re having is a rentier revolution. The aim of the one percent isn’t to make money as profits from employing labor. It’s to make economic rent. It’s to make monopoly rent, land rent, and financial rent.

For instance, if you end internet neutrality and permit mergers of the big information technology corporations, that’s a form of rent-seeking. It’s part of today’s political revolution.

Another part of the tax law that is going to encourage the mergers and acquisition is the 100% depreciation write-off. Usually, if a company makes a capital investment in a building, railroad, or airplane, it gets a credit to recover this capital expense. You only pay income tax on profits (the return on capital), not on the return of capital.

Under the new law, however, instead of taking maybe five percent of the cost of this capital investment in an airplane, railroad, truck, or building for a year, you can take 100% of it off as tax deductible – up to 100%, in any given year. This makes many corporations tax-exempt altogether. Suppose you’re a company that simply lives on rent, or that makes a profit but isn’t investing much. As we all know, corporate investment is scaled way back because corporations aren’t using their earnings to invest. They’re using 92% of their earnings for stock buybacks or for dividend payouts in the last five years.

But now, all of a sudden, companies can use these earnings to buy a capital-spending company, like a railroad, trucking company, or an airline that’s going to buy airplanes. You can merge with this company. All of a sudden they get tax exemption on all of their other income that they earn because it’s such a huge gusher of tax write-offs from the immediate 100% depreciation.

The pretense of Donald Trump was, “Oh, this is going to encourage capital investment”. But the neoliberal objective is not to make any real capital investment at all, not to employ any more labor at all, but to buy something that the tax law counts as an investment. We don’t know whether they’re going to include research and development in this, or market research. We don’t really know how widely and broadly they’re going to define this capital investment write-off.

The other point I mentioned is the ability to bring corporate tax-avoidance money from the accounts of offshore banking enclaves to the head office. That is going to be a flood of cash even greater than the quantitative easing at one percent [interest rate]. The result will be a free-for-all as companies try to absorb as many other companies as they can, especially capital-intensive companies like in the transport industry.

GREGORY WILPERT: So, as the centralization effect continues. What effect do you see this having on politics, that is, how do you expect people to react at the voting booths? And then, since the Republican Party probably won’t do anything, since they’re the ones who perpetrated this particular latest change in the tax law, what do you expect the Democratic Party to do if they were to come into power?

MICHAEL HUDSON: My answer may seem counterintuitive. I think the Republican tax law is so bad that it almost guarantees a Republican victory, precisely because it’s so bad. The seeming irony is that it’s so bad that it enables the Democratic Party to think,
 

A-ha, all we have to do is be the lesser evil. We can now kick out all the supporters of Bernie Sanders, kick out anyone who supports Elizabeth Warren. We can declare war on the pro-labor part of the Democratic Party. The Republican Party is the party of the one percent, but we can be the party of the ten percent, while pretending that we’re for the 99%.

 

If the Democratic leaders keep trying to convert Republicans instead of holding the traditional Democratic constituency, there’s going to be a bloodbath in the Democratic Party as the Hillary supporters fight against the Bernie supporters, fight against labor, against unionization, and against consumers. That’s basically the Democratic program. It is going to end up fracturing the Democratic Party.

I can’t believe that Bernie and Elizabeth and the others are going to stand by and let the Democratic Party be captured by the donor class that controls it now. I think there’s going to be a bloodbath that is probably going to take more than four years.

My hope is that the Democratic party will indeed split and that the donor class will go where it belongs – with the rest of the Republican Party. This will leave a rump party to become a new social-democratic party, either a democratic socialist party or something like the British Labour Party became when it threw off the Tony Blair neoliberals. That’s what it looks like will have to happen in America. The lesser evil policy of the Democrats isn’t going to wash as a campaign simply against the Trump tax giveaway.

GREGORY WILPERT: Okay. Well, we’re going to leave it there for now. I was speaking to Michael Hudson, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Thanks again for having joined us today, Michael.

MICHAEL HUDSON: It’s good to be here. Thanks.

GREGORY WILPERT: And thank you for joining The Real News Network. If you like our news and analysis, please don’t forget to donate to The Real News this holiday season.

(Republished from The Real News Network by permission of author or representative)

http://www.unz.com/mhudson/2017-a-banner-year-for-corporate-mergers-which-further-deepens-inequality/

Categories: Uncategorized

US Preparing to Attack Pakistan?

by Eric Margolis

https://www.lewrockwell.com (January 13 2018)

Henry Kissinger rightly noted that it’s often more dangerous being an ally of the United States than its enemy. The latest victim of this sad truism is Pakistan, a loyal ally of the US since the dawn of our era.

President Donald Trump’s visceral hatred of Muslims (never mind what kind, or why, or where) erupted this week as he ordered some $900 million in US aid to Pakistan to be abruptly cut off. Trump accused Pakistan of lying and deceiving the US and providing a safe haven to Afghan resistance forces of Taliban (“terrorists” in US-speak) battling American occupation forces.

Frustrated and outwitted in Afghanistan, US imperial generals, Pentagon bureaucrats, and politicians have been trying to cast blame on anyone they can find, with Pakistan the primary whipping boy. Next in line is the notorious Haqqani network which is blamed for most US military failures in Afghanistan, though its active combat role is modest. I knew its founder, old man Haqqani. In the 1980s, he was the golden boy of the CIA/Pakistani-led effort to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan.

Why has Washington given billions in aid to Pakistan? In 2001, Washington decided to invade Afghanistan to uproot or destroy the Pashtun resistance movement, Taliban, which was wrongly blamed for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. The ethnic Pashtun warriors President Reagan had hailed as “Freedom Fighters” became “terrorists” once the west wanted to occupy Afghanistan.

But invading land-locked Afghanistan was an awesome undertaking. US troops there had to be supplied through Pakistan’s principal port, Karachi, then up twisting mountain roads and across the torturous Khyber Pass into Afghanistan. The huge amount of logistical supplies required by US troops could not be met by air supply. It cost $400 per barrel for one gallon of gasoline delivered to US troops in Afghanistan and as much as $600,000 per sortie to keep a single US warplane over Afghanistan. Without 24/7 air cover, the US occupation force would have been quickly defeated.

Invading Afghanistan without Pakistani cooperation would have been impossible. Pakistan at first refused to let US armed forces cross its borders. But as Pakistan’s former military leader General Pervez Musharraf told me, “the US put a gun to my head and said let US troops enter and use Pakistan or we will bomb you back to the Stone Age”.

That was the big stick. The carrot was some $33 billion in US cash to secure “Ground Lines of Communication” (the Karachi-Bagram route) and “Air Lines of Communication”. In fact, Pakistan briefly closed them in 2011 after US warplanes killed two dozen Pakistani Army soldiers. Pakistan could do it again unless Washington stops treating it like an enemy state.

Trump and his men just don’t understand that Pakistan has paramount national security interests in next-door Afghanistan. Thirty million Pakistanis are ethnic Pashtuns. They dominate Pakistan’s armed forces. Another 1.4 million Pashtun are refugees in northern Pakistan. Narrow-waisted Pakistan sees Afghanistan as its strategic hinterland in a next war with old enemy India.

The US-installed regime in Kabul routinely blames Pakistan for its glaring failures. Its powerful Communist-dominated intelligence agency routinely spreads untruths about Pakistan, claiming it supports “terrorism”.

In fact, the warlike Pashtun tribes along the Durand Line, the artificial border between Pakistan and Afghanistan imposed by the British colonialists, have been on the warpath since the Nineteenth Century. Winston Churchill even approved the use of poison gas on the “unruly tribesmen”. The wonderfully named Faqir of Ipi kept threatening to ride down from the Hindu Kush Mountains and put to the sack the British garrison at Peshawar.

Today, one hears threats in Pentagon circles that the US may begin bombing “Taliban sanctuaries” (actually villages where these Pashtun locals live) and then send in airmobile US troops to attack them. This would make the longest war in US history even longer. Washington just can’t seem to accept that its military machine was defeated in Afghanistan, well-known as the Graveyard of Empires.

It’s also clear that the US has not given up its ambition to neutralize or destroy Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Attacking so-called terrorist enclaves in northern Pakistan would offer a perfect cover for a major US air and ground assault on Pakistan’s nuclear complexes and dispersed storage sites. India and Israel have long been pressing the US to attack Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure.

Any major US moves against Pakistan are very likely to push it closer to Beijing and expand Chinese influence in the region. China is unlikely to allow old ally Pakistan to be torn apart by US power. Unlike the US, China remembers its old friends.

The Best of Eric Margolis: https://www.lewrockwell.com/author/eric-margolis/

Eric Margolis, eric@ericm.org, is the author of War at the Top of the World (2002) and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World (2013). See his website: http://www.ericmargolis.com/.

Copyright (c) 2017 Eric Margolis

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/01/eric-margolis/us-preparing-to-attack-pakistan/

Categories: Uncategorized

Protecting the Belt and Road Initiative …

… from US-Led Terrorism: Will China Send Troops to Syria?

by Federico Pieraccini

Strategic Culture Foundation (January 09 2018)

An interesting theme concerning Syria is the involvement of the People’s Republic of China in the conflict. While China’s diplomatic and economic assistance has been constant, its military contribution to Syria is less known. It is important for China and Russia to contain and defeat the terrorist phenomenon in the Middle East, as well as to defang the strategists in the US deep state who are unceasing in their efforts to employ jihadism as a weapon to destabilize Eurasia’s integration projects.

The Jihad International, under the economic and strategic guidance of the United States, has recruited tens of thousands of terrorists over the years and sent them to Syria. Among these, a significant number come from the Uighur ethnic group, situated in the autonomous Chinese province of Xinjiang, particularly from the city of Kashgar, geographically located in the extreme west and close to the borders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The employment of ethnic and religious minorities to destabilize the majority of a given population has been an ancient artifice repeatedly relied upon by great powers. We thus remember how radical Islam was used in Chechnya to strike the Russian Federation at its “soft underbelly” in the south-west of the country. Two wars and repeated terrorist attacks show the area has yet to be fully pacified. The Wahhabis, a Sunni (anti-) Islamic minority, have shown themselves to be the perfect spark to ignite the tensions between Shiites and Sunnis in the Middle Eastern region and beyond. The case of the Uighur Islamist extremists in Xinjiang is no exception, and the Chinese central government is well aware of the potential danger from an internal uprising or targeted sabotage in the region. Not surprisingly, there has been a tightening of security measures in the region, with exercises against terrorist attacks and riots carried out by police and paramilitary groups. Beijing does not underestimate the danger posed by populations susceptible to foreign manipulation.

While the economic support for Uyghur Islamist separatists more likely derives from Turkey than Saudi Arabia (for historical reasons), it is worth highlighting the highly proactive attitude of China in addressing the issue. As well as beefing up internal security and having a policy of zero tolerance towards such extremist ideologies, Beijing has since 2011 been contributing economically and diplomatically to the Syrian war against the jihadists.

Official estimates place about 5,000 Chinese Uyghur terrorists in Syria, and Beijing’s strategy has reflected the one already implemented in the Russian Federation. Rather than waiting for highly trained killers to return home, it is better to confront the danger in a foreign land, thereby gaining a strategic and tactical advantage over those financing and manipulating terror, which is to say the American deep state and its military and security apparatus.

Thus far, there has been a continuous support of the Syrian government coming from Beijing, both economic and diplomatic. However, rumor over the last few weeks has it that Chinese special forces and war veterans will be deployed to Syria to eliminate the Islamist threat breathing down on China’s western border.

As always, when Beijing decides to move, it does so under the radar, with extreme caution, especially militarily. Chinese military strategists intend not only to act pre-emptively against internal destabilization but to also respond asymmetrically to American involvement in the South China Sea and other areas lying within the China’s sphere of influence. The insertion of Chinese troops into the Middle East (albeit in limited numbers) would signal an epochal change in the region, a change that was instigated by the Saudi-Israeli-American trio in an effort to employ controlled chaos through Islamist terrorism but which is proving to be a chaos that they are incapable of controlling.

Preventing the spread of terrorism in Asia, and more generally in Eurasia, is understandably an important goal for Russia and China, especially in view of ambitious infrastructure projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI“). Much of the success of this project will depend on how well the Chinese government and its partners (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey in particular) will be able to prevent destabilization through the fanning of ethnic and religious tensions along the route of the BRI, such as in Pakistan.

China’s foray into Syria will involve a few special-forces units, namely: the Shenyang Military Region Special Forces Unit, known as the “Siberian Tigers”; and the Lanzhou Military Region Special Forces Unit, known as the “Night Tigers”. These units will have responsibilities for advising, training, and conducting reconnaissance. Similar to the Russian engagement in Syria, Chinese involvement will remain as hidden and limited as possible. The Chinese goal, unlike the Russian one, concerns the gaining of urban-warfare experience, in addition to hunting jihadists, and more generally, to test Chinese military readiness in war conditions, experience of which is lacking in Beijing’s recent experience.

China’s involvement in Syria is less obvious than that of the Russian Federation. The strategic objectives of the Chinese vary greatly from that of the Russians, especially vis-a-vis the Russian ability to project forces a long way from home.

The Chinese and Russians are increasing their operational capabilities, both in terms of defending their territorial boundaries as well as in their ability to project their power as a result of increased naval and aerospace capabilities. Syria offers Beijing the perfect opportunity to include itself in the global fight against terrorism, thereby preventing possible terrorist insurgencies at home. Further, it serves to send a clear message to rivals like the United States who might have thoughts of using Islamic terrorists to destabilize China. Beijing is aware of the perverse employment of terrorism to advance geostrategic goals by its Western adversaries and has no intention of succumbing to waves of attacks or chaos coordinated by the Western powers. Prevention is better than cure, and Russia and China seem to have completely embraced this philosophy by deciding, in different ways, to assist allies like Syria, Egypt, and Libya to fight terrorism.

In terms of diplomacy and economic aid, the Sino-Russian contribution could prove decisive in linking the Middle East and North Africa to major projects under development, such as the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI“) and the Eurasian Union. We are still at the preliminary stage for the time being, even as 2018 could end up being the year that major conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (“MENA“) region end, with the prospect of economic reconstruction being at the forefront.

Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal http://www.strategic-culture.org.

_____

https://www.strategic-culture.org/pview/2018/01/09/protecting-belt-road-initiative-from-us-led-terrorism-will-china-send-troops-syria.html

Categories: Uncategorized