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Posts Tagged ‘global elite’

“Vindicated” India renews call for London to drop Dow

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/vindicated-india-renews-call-london-drop-dow-115455085–spt.html

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Friday renewed its demand that London 2012 terminates its sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals, feeling vindicated by the resignation of a Games watchdog panel member over the tie-up.

Meredith Alexander quit the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 on Wednesday, saying she did not want to be part of a body that “became an apologist” for Dow Chemicals, the U.S. firm linked to India’s 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

Dow bought the Bhopal plant owner Union Carbide in 1999.

Alexander said a number of other panel members were also “deeply disturbed” by the company’s sponsorship of a temporary decorative wrap around London’s Olympic Stadium.

Her resignation prompted IOA chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra to send a second letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge exactly six months before the Games, saying there was no need to carry “this toxic legacy”.

“…the resignation of Ms Meredith Alexander from the Games Ethics Committee – the Commission for Sustainable London 2012 – has vindicated IOA’s stand of opposing Dow’s sponsorship,” Malhotra wrote in his letter, copies of which were distributed to Indian media.

“I am sure that you are well aware of the growing opposition to this sponsorship the world over with NGOs (non-governmental organisations), intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, Members of British Parliament and civil society openly coming out against it.

“On behalf of the IOA I again urge you to take steps to remove Dow as sponsor and settle the matter as early as possible,” Malhotra added.

Activists say 25,000 people died in the years that followed the gas leak at a pesticides factory in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

Campaigners have demanded Dow boosts a 1989 compensation package for those affected by the disaster.

Dow, also an IOC worldwide partner, has denied any responsibility for the accident and says Union Carbide had settled its liabilities with the Indian government.

A number of former Olympians have slammed the London sponsorship deal while Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has urged the government to boycott the Games over the issue.

However, Malhotra has ruled out the possibility.

Malhotra said he has sent a copy of his letter to London Games chief Sebastian Coe as well, while also conveying the IOA’s position to the British High Commissioner in India last week.

(Editing by Mark Meadows; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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Unreported Soros Event Aims to Remake Entire Global Economy

Posted by Admin on April 10, 2011

Left-wing billionaire’s own experts dominate quiet push for ‘a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order.’
  • By Dan Gainor
  • Wednesday, March 23, 2011 4:48 PM EDT

Two years ago, George Soros said he wanted to reorganize the entire global economic system. In two short weeks, he is going to start – and no one seems to have noticed.
On April 8, a group he’s funded with $50 million is holding a major economic conference and Soros’s goal for such an event is to “establish new international rules” and “reform the currency system.” It’s all according to a plan laid out in a Nov. 4, 2009, Soros op-ed calling for “a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order.”
The event is bringing together “more than 200 academic, business and government policy thought leaders’ to repeat the famed 1944 Bretton Woods gathering that helped create the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Soros wants a new ‘multilateral system,” or an economic system where America isn’t so dominant.
More than two-thirds of the slated speakers have direct ties to Soros. The billionaire who thinks “the main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat” is taking no chances.
Thus far, this global gathering has generated less publicity than a spelling bee. And that’s with at least four journalists on the speakers list, including a managing editor for the Financial Times and editors for both Reuters and The Times. Given Soros’s warnings of what might happen without an agreement, this should be a big deal. But it’s not.
What is a big deal is that Soros is doing exactly what he wanted to do. His 2009 commentary pushed for “a new Bretton Woods conference, like the one that established the post-WWII international financial architecture.” And he had already set the wheels in motion.
Just a week before that op-ed was published, Soros had founded the New York City-based Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), the group hosting the conference set at the Mount Washington Resort, the very same hotel that hosted the first gathering. The most recent INET conference was held at Central European University, in Budapest. CEU received $206 million from Soros in 2005 and has $880 million in its endowment now, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
This, too, is a gathering of Soros supporters. INET is bringing together prominent people like former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and Soros, to produce “a lot of high-quality, breakthrough thinking.”
While INET claims more than 200 will attend, only 79 speakers are listed on its site – and it already looks like a Soros convention. Twenty-two are on Soros-funded INET’s board and three more are INET grantees. Nineteen are listed as contributors for another Soros operation – Project Syndicate, which calls itself “the world’s pre-eminent source of original op-ed commentaries” reaching “456 leading newspapers in 150 countries.” It’s financed by Soros’s Open Society Institute. That’s just the beginning.
The speakers include: 

  • Volcker is chairman of President Obama’s Economic Advisory Board. He wrote the forward for Soros’s best-known book, ‘The Alchemy of Finance‘ and praised Soros as “an enormously successful speculator” who wrote “with insight and passion” about the problems of globalization.
  • Economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute and longtime recipient of Soros charity cash. Sachs received $50 million from Soros for the U.N. Millennium Project, which he also directs. Sachs is world-renown for his liberal economics. In 2009, for example, he complained about low U.S. taxes, saying the “U.S. will have to raise taxes in order to pay for new spending initiatives, especially in the areas of sustainable energy, climate change, education, and relief for the poor.”
  • Soros friend Joseph E. Stiglitz, a former senior vice president and chief economist for the World Bank and Nobel Prize winner in Economics. Stiglitz shares similar views to Soros and has criticized free-market economists whom he calls “free market fundamentalists.” Naturally, he’s on the INET board and is a contributor to Project Syndicate.
  • INET Executive Director Rob Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, who is on the Board of Directors for the Soros-funded Economic Policy Institute. Johnson has complained that government intervention in the fiscal crisis hasn’t been enough and wanted “restructuring,” including asking “for letters of resignation from the top executives of all the major banks.”

Have no doubt about it: This is a Soros event from top to bottom. Even Soros admits his ties to INET are a problem, saying, “there is a conflict there which I fully recognize.” He claims he stays out of operations. That’s impossible. The whole event is his operation.
INET isn’t subtle about its aims for the conference. Johnson interviewed fellow INET board member Robert Skidelsky about “The Need for a New Bretton Woods” in a recent video. The introductory slide to the video is subtitled: “How currency issues and tension between the US and China are renewing calls for a global financial overhaul.” Skidelsky called for a new agreement and said in the video that the conflict between the United States and China was “at the center of any monetary deal that may be struck, that needs to be struck.”
Soros described in the 2009 op-ed that U.S.-China conflict as “another stark choice between two fundamentally different forms of organization: international capitalism and state capitalism.” He concluded that “a new multilateral system based on sounder principles must be invented.” As he explained it in 2010, “we need a global sheriff.”
In the 2000 version of his book “Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism,” Soros wrote how the Bretton Woods institutions “failed spectacularly” during the economic crisis of the late 1990s. When he called for a new Bretton Woods in 2009, he wanted it to “reconstitute the International Monetary Fund,” and while he’s at it, restructure the United Nations, too, boosting China and other countries at our expense.
“Reorganizing the world order will need to extend beyond the financial system and involve the United Nations, especially membership of the Security Council,’ he wrote. ‘That process needs to be initiated by the US, but China and other developing countries ought to participate as equals.”
Soros emphasized that point, that this needs to be a global solution, making America one among many. “The rising powers must be present at the creation of this new system in order to ensure that they will be active supporters.”
And that’s exactly the kind of event INET is delivering, with the event website emphasizing “today’s reconstruction must engage the larger European Union, as well as the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia.” China figures prominently, including a senior economist for the World Bank in Beijing, the director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the chief adviser for the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations.
This is all easy to do when you have the reach of George Soros who funds more than 1,200 organizations. Except, any one of those 1,200 would shout such an event from the highest mountain. Groups like MoveOn.org or the Center for American Progress didn’t make their names being quiet. The same holds true globally, where Soros has given more than $7 billion to Open Society Foundations – including many media-savvy organizations just a phone call away. Why hasn’t the Soros network spread the word?
Especially since Soros warns, all this needs to happen because “the alternative is frightening.” The Bush-hating billionaire says America is scary “because a declining superpower losing both political and economic dominance but still preserving military supremacy is a dangerous mix.”
The Soros empire is silent about this new Bretton Woods conference because it isn’t just designed to change global economic rules. It also is designed to put America in its place – part of a multilateral world the way Soros wants it. He wrote that the U.S. “could lead a cooperative effort to involve both the developed and the developing world, thereby reestablishing American leadership in an acceptable form.”
That’s what this conference is all about – changing the global economy and the United States to make them “acceptable” to George Soros.
– Iris Somberg contributed to this commentary

Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.

 

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China knows less about NKorea than thought

Posted by Admin on November 30, 2010

Logo used by Wikileaks

BEIJINGChina knows less about and has less influence over its close ally North Korea than is usually presumed and is likely to eventually accept a reunified peninsula under South Korean rule, according to U.S. diplomatic files leaked to the WikiLeaks website.

The memos — called cables, though they were mostly encrypted e-mails — paint a picture of three countries struggling to understand an isolated, hard-line regime in the face of a dearth of information and indicate American and South Korean diplomats’ reliance on China’s analysis and interpretation.

The release of the documents, which included discussions of contingency plans for the regime’s collapse and speculation about when that might come, follows new tensions in the region. North Korea unleashed a fiery artillery barrage on a South Korean island that killed four people a week ago and has since warned that joint U.S.-South Korean naval drills this week are pushing the peninsula to the “brink of war.”

The shelling comes on the heels of a slew of other provocative acts: An illegal nuclear test and several missile tests, the torpedoing of a SouthKorean warship and, most recently, an announcement that in addition to its plutonium program, it may also be pursuing the uranium path to a nuclear bomb.

The memos give a window into a period prior to the latest tensions, but they paint a picture of three countries struggling to understand isolated and unpredictable North Korea.

In the cables, China sometimes seems unaware of or uncertain about issues ranging from who will succeed North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to the regime’s uranium enrichment plans and its nuclear test, suggesting that the North plays its cards close to its chest even with its most important ally.

Questioned about the enriched uranium program in June last year, Chinese officials said they believed that was program was “only in an initial phase” — a characterization that now appears to have been a gross underestimate.

China is Pyongyang’s closest ally — Beijing fought on the northern side of the Korean War and its aid props up the current regime — and its actions have often served to insulate North Korea from foreign pressure. It has repeatedly opposed harsh economic sanctions and responded to the latest crises by repeating calls for a return to long-stalled, six-nation denuclearization talks that the North has rejected.

But China would appear to have little ability to stop a collapse and less influence over the authorities in Pyongyang than is widely believed, South Korea’s then-vice foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, is quoted telling American Ambassador Kathleen Stephens in February.

China lacks the will to push Pyongyang to change its behavior, according to Chun, but Beijing will not necessarily oppose the U.S. and South Korea in the case of a North Korean collapse.

China “would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ as long as Korea was not hostile towards China,” Chun said.

Economic opportunities in a reunified Korea could further induce Chinese acquiescence, he said.

The diplomatic cables warn, however, that China would not accept the presence of U.S. troops north of the demilitarized zone that currently forms the North-South border.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China would not comment specifically on the cables.

“China consistently supports dialogue between the North and South sides of the Korean peninsula to improve their relations,” Hong said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

In the leaked cable, Chun predicts the government in Pyongyang would last no more than three years following the death of ailing leader Kim Jong Il, who is seeking to transfer power to his youngest son Kim JongUn, a political ingenue in his 20s.

Chun also dismisses the possibility of Chinese military intervention if North Korea descended into chaos.

Despite that, China is preparing to handle any outbreaks of unrest along the border that could follow a collapse of the regime. Chinese officials say they could deal with up to 300,000 refugees, but might have to seal the border to maintain order, the memos say, citing an unidentified representative of an international aid group.

Chinese officials are also quoted using mocking language in reference to North Korea, pointing to tensions between the two neighbors in contrast to official statements underscoring strong historical ties.

Then-Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei is quoted as telling a U.S. official in April 2009 that Pyongyang was acting like a “spoiled child” by staging a missile test in an attempt to achieve its demand of bilateral talks with Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the leaked documents. Officials around the world have said the disclosure jeopardizes national security, diplomats, intelligence assets and relationships between foreign governments.

Five international media organizations, including The New York Times and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, were among those to receive the documents in advance. WikiLeaks is also slowly posting all the material on its own site.

 

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The Road to World War III – The Global Banking Cartel Has One Card Left to Play

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2010

Global Research, September 28, 2010
ampedstatus.com – 2010-09-27
The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here.

When we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers, while essentially accurate, also misses the most vital point.

This crisis is the direct result of a strategic economic attack on the existence of a middle class and democracy worldwide. The stock market and economy have become weapons of mass oppression manipulated by an imperial banking cartel to impose order and exploit the masses. This crisis boldly represents the manifest evolution of the fascist spirit reasserting itself as the dominant ideology.

Any fairytale notions of the United States being a democratic republic built on the rule of law have been utterly dispelled. As a nation we have been bred and conditioned to be dangerously naïve to the darker forces which operate beyond the spotlight of the mainstream media. We have been blinded to what has been developing throughout the world.

The economic imperialism that has now blown-back to the United States and Europe has been evolving for decades and can be directly traced back to the end of World War II, to the birth of the CIA, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

For those of us who have been paying attention to economic imperial operations that have been carried out against countries throughout the world, this looks all too familiar. The IMF and global bankers have conquered the second and third world, and they have now moved on to countries within the first world. Western European and American working classes are in the cross-hairs now.

Economic and societal indicators, along with recent G-20 policy decisions, clearly demonstrate that they are carrying out and escalating systemic economic attacks throughout Europe and the US.

To put it in technical terms, the United States government has been taken over by a financial terrorism network. They have bought off leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties, and have established a dominant role in all three branches of government and throughout the mainstream media. They have complete control of the economy, stock market, US Treasury, Federal Reserve, World Bank, IMF and global banking system. Free market capitalism has collapsed; it’s now a rigged global market. This is an organized criminal operation, an imperial fascist movement that is determined to destroy our very way of life.

A war has already been launched against us.

In just the past three years we have lost an unprecedented amount of national wealth, trillions upon trillions of our tax dollars have been looted by Wall Street, endless wars, enormous subsidies for the most profitable global corporations and tax cuts for the richest one percent of the population. Never before, in the history of civilization, has a nation been so thoroughly and systematically fleeced.

This is all the result of a coordinated economic attack by a global banking cartel against 99 percent of the US population.

Until we can become politically intelligent enough to see this as the reality and root cause of our current crisis, we will not be able to overcome it, our living standards will continue to decline and we will all be sentenced to a slow death in a neo-feudal system built on debt slavery.

The average American is horribly naïve to just how depraved, corrupt and addicted to power this banking cartel is. Through their control and domination of the mass media, they have kept their crimes against humanity out of public consciousness. We have been shielded from the global devastation and death toll that they have already wrought. The result is an unsuspecting population of confused and passive people having their future ripped out from under them, right before their eyes, without any organized defense or resistance.

As the entrenched global banking cartel continues to control domestic political policy, the next phase of this crisis will inevitably feature an escalation into mass violence. As the Army War College stated, the Pentagon is preparing for “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States” and “widespread civil violence” due to “purposeful domestic resistance.”

In clear signs of what is to come, rioting and violence as a result of economic turmoil has already been experienced in many countries throughout the world. However, civil unrest has not yet occurred within the United States. There are many theories as to why there has been so little resistance from the US population thus far, and several factors play into it. The most significant factor is that social safety net programs have been vital in preventing people from resorting to extreme measures. Currently, a stunning number of Americans, 52 million, are receiving life-sustaining assistance from government “anti-poverty” programs, such as food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid and Medicare. This has already stretched a social safety net system that is designed to handle significantly less people to its limit. This safety net system has now been drained of all reserve resources over the past two years, and is obviously not sustainable under current economic and political conditions.

As social safety net programs have been drained of reserves, many US citizens have also been burning through their personal savings. Over the past few years the percentage of Americans living paycheck to paycheck has dramatically increased. In 2007, 43 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. In 2008, the percentage increased to 49 percent. In 2009, the number skyrocketed up to 61 percent. The most recent number for 2010 has exploded to ashocking 77 percent. This means in our nation of 310 million citizens, 239 million Americans are one setback away from economic ruin and millions more are in danger of having to rely on government assistance for survival.

So as this prolonged economic crisis continues, these safety nets, that are already overwhelmed, will have to support more and more people and will inevitably break down. As we have just begun to see, budget cuts to vital social programs on the state and federal levels will become increasingly severe right at the point when many more Americans will need them. As the 52 million Americans currently surviving in “anti-poverty” programs are gradually cutoff from life-sustaining government assistance – and as the 239 million people now living paycheck to paycheck, buried in debt, stressing out and working their asses off just to make ends meet realize that things are not going to be getting any better — and are only going to get worse — social unrest and outbursts of violence will eventually start to bubble up to the surface and the ruling elite will no longer be able to maintain power by simply deceiving the masses via mainstream media propaganda.

When an overwhelming majority of the population directly feels negative effects upon their own living standards, the propaganda system collapses. The illusion comes crashing down and people will finally start to get wise to the horrific scam that is being played on them. When they wake from their media-induced American dream state and realize that they are now living in a nightmare, as crazy as it may sound, people will actually stop voting against their own interests. The apathetic majority, that doesn’t vote, will become active in the interests of self-preservation as their survival instincts kick in.

The handwriting is on the wall and the ruling class has to realize that by the time 2012 rolls around, their puppet politicians will be voted out of office, or their heads will roll, quite literally.

Looking at this from a purely technocratic sociological viewpoint, avoiding mass riots and violence while this many desperate people lose life-sustaining programs appears to be an impossible task, and given our current economic and political environment this seems inevitable.

In an article titled “A Planet at the Brink: Will Economic Brushfires Prove Too Virulent to Contain?” Michael T. Klare explained:

“As people lose confidence in the ability of markets and governments to solve the global crisis, they are likely to erupt into violent protests or to assault others they deem responsible for their plight, including government officials, plant managers, landlords, immigrants, and ethnic minorities. (The list could, in the future, prove long and unnerving.) If the present economic disaster turns into what President Obama has referred to as a ‘lost decade,’ the result could be a global landscape filled with economically-fueled upheavals.”

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski expressed  his fears:

“I was worrying about it because we’re going to have millions and millions of unemployed, people really facing dire straits. And we’re going to be having that for some period of time before things hopefully improve. And at the same time there is public awareness of this extraordinary wealth that was transferred to a few individuals at levels without historical precedent in America….

And you sort of say to yourself: what’s going to happen in this society when these people are without jobs, when their families hurt, when they lose their homes, and so forth?”

Outbreaks of civil unrest are something that the US government and Pentagon have been expecting, and preparing for. Former US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee stating that the greatest threat facing the US is not terrorism, it’s the current economic crisis:

“The primary near-term security concern of the United States is the global economic crisis and its geopolitical implications. The crisis has been ongoing…. Of course, all of us recall the dramatic political consequences wrought by the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, the instability, and high levels of violent extremism.”

Intelligence Committee Vice-Chair Christopher Bond said the economic crisis is now “the primary focus of the intelligence community.” As the Army War College has warned, the response to this coming phase of the economic crisis “might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance.”

Journalist Chris Hedges summed up this report:

“The specter of social unrest was raised at the US Army War College in November in a monograph titled ‘Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development.’ …

The ‘widespread civil violence,’ the document said, ‘would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.’

‘An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home,’ it went on….

In plain English, something bureaucrats and the military seem incapable of employing, this translates into the imposition of martial law and a de facto government being run out of the Department of Defense. They are considering it. So should you.”

The International Monetary Fund is predicting a “social explosion” due to this crisis. The IMF and World Bank have a long history of creating social upheaval. Leaked documents from within the World Bank refer to the next phase of the crisis as the “IMF riot.”

Journalist Greg Palast obtained classified planning documents, which shed light on the covert economic imperial operations, Structural Adjustment Programs, that the IMF, World Bank and US Treasury have used in the past as a playbook for destabilizing and conquering foreign nations. In the UK newspaper The Observer, Palast interviewed Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who was a former World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, turned whistleblower. They revealed the four-step IMF plan. Though the strategy is slightly modified based on the nation being attacked, here in the United States we are currently about to enter a variation of step-three, which is currently being phased in throughout Europe. This step inevitably leads to a significant portion of the population losing the ability to obtain basic necessities essential for survival. Once this happens, riots inevitably occur, or as they put it: step 3.5 is executed.

Here is how Palast and Stiglitz summed it up:

“At this point, according to Stiglitz, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: market-based pricing – a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and… gas.

This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls ‘the IMF riot’.

The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, ‘down and out, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,’…

What Stiglitz did not know is that Newsnight obtained several documents from inside the World Bank. In one, last year’s Interim Country Assistance Strategy for Ecuador, the Bank several times suggests – with cold accuracy – that the plans could be expected to spark ’social unrest’.”

To sum up, the interlocked IMF and World Bank set the conditions for ’social unrest’ and then once it occurs they move to step-four, which is the ultimate in disaster capitalism – they profit off the misery and the civilian population is then buried in a neo-feudal system of severe debt and poverty.

So what is the IMF saying right now about our situation in Europe and the US? A recent Telegraph report reads:

“IMF fears ’social explosion’ from world jobs crisis

America and Europe face the worst jobs crisis since the 1930s and risk ‘an explosion of social unrest’ unless they tread carefully, the International Monetary Fund has warned….

Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist, said the percentage of workers laid off for long stints has been rising with each downturn for decades but the figures have surged this time. ‘Long-term unemployment is alarmingly high: in the US, half the unemployed have been out of work for over six months, something we have not seen since the Great Depression,” he said….

The IMF said there may be a link between rising inequality within Western economies and deflating demand. Historians say the last time that the wealth gap reached such skewed extremes was in 1928-1929…”

To show you how insidious the IMF is, they have recently launched a propaganda campaign to publicly decry deficit budget cuts and austerity measures. However, behind the scenes they have been forcing implementation of them and making their usual demands for cuts in vital social services and public spending, once those cuts are in place, the riots obviously follow.

A recent Washington Post report states:

“IMF issues broad call for US financial prudence:
Cut Social Security. Ditch the deduction for interest on home mortgages. Tax gasoline.
The United States recently opened itself to the most intense scrutiny yet by the International Monetary Fund, and on Thursday was offered a bitter pill when the agency criticized some well-defended aspects of American culture — cheap fuel, subsidized housing, and a government retirement check…. “

Economist Dean Baker writes:

“The central bankers and their accomplices at the IMF are dictating policies to democratically elected governments. Their agenda seems to be the same everywhere, cut back retirement benefits, reduce public support for health care, weaken unions and make ordinary workers take pay cuts.”

In another report Baker adds:

“The IMF program calls for cutbacks in government support for healthcare, pensions, and a wide range of other public services. It also calls for weakening labor market regulations that provide workers with job security.

These recommendations are being given in a context where the world economy is suffering from a massive shortfall of demand. In other words, tens of millions of people are unemployed right now because there is not enough spending to keep them employed. The IMF’s program is almost certain to reduce spending further leading to even larger shortfalls in demand and more unemployment….

The IMF’s track record gives us reason not only to question the institution’s competence but also its motivations…. It is possible to see a similar pattern in the IMF’s latest set of policy recommendations to deal with the economic crisis.”

In an article entitled, “The Attack of the Real Black Helicopter Gang: The IMF Is Coming for Your Social Security,” Baker continues:

“Last week, the IMF told the United States that it needs to start getting its budget deficit down. It put cutting Social Security at the top of the steps that the country should take to achieve deficit reduction. This one is more than a bit outrageous for two reasons…

While the IMF has no problem warning about retired workers getting too much in Social Security benefits, it apparently could not find its voice when the issue was the junk securities from Goldman Sachs or Citigroup that helped to fuel the housing bubble.

The collapse of this bubble has not only sank the world economy, it also destroyed most of the savings of the near retirees for whom the IMF wants to cut Social Security. The vast majority of middle-income retirees have most of their wealth in their home equity. This home equity largely disappeared when the bubble burst.”

So the IMF and global banking cartel are setting the conditions for social unrest and pushing for policies that will provoke it, and the Pentagon is preparing for a military response. As scary and unbelievable as all this may sound, we are on afast track to this scenario.

To Sum Up

The American and global economy have already been looted and destroyed beyond repair. Most serious economists will admit that governments have already exhausted their capital by bailing out the banks and taking on unprecedented amounts of debt. The bailouts and recent return to high profits were just the final phase of the looting and a further consolidation of wealth on an unprecedented scale. There are still tens of trillions of dollars in debt hidden off-the-books andhundreds of trillions of dollars in dark pools of derivative liability. As the downturn continues, there is nothing left to revive the economy, the reserves and safety nets have already been stretched to their limits.

We have a political and economic system that has been overrun by organized corruption and theft. Along with a mass media system that does not inform the populace and has effectively marginalized and isolated the majority of the population. Meanwhile, bubbling just under the surface is a very heavily armed population with a militia movement that has doubled in size over the past year, and their memberships continue to rapidly grow. Without the necessary general political intelligence or infrastructure to organize an effective mass non-violent movement, we are steamrolling toward spontaneous riots and outbursts of armed insurrection.

In other words, as this economic downturn continues, what is now a passive and confused population will eventually devolve into an explosion of violence. Without a coherent non-violent movement to provide a viable alternative, without an outlet for severe and legitimate grievances that provides any chance for urgently affecting necessary political change, people will resort to violence as a last desperate act of vengeance and frustration. As time passes, these forgotten and isolated people, tens of millions of them, are quickly running out of options, and they will act out just as exploited people throughout the world always have.

A man who sparked a revolution against the same banking cartel that has caused our crisis described the general attitude among a population that successfully rebelled through armed insurrection:

“The people are weary of being oppressed, persecuted, exploited to the maximum. They are weary of the wretched selling of their labor-power day after day — faced with the fear of joining the enormous mass of unemployed — so that the greatest profit can be wrung from each human body, profit later squandered in the orgies of the masters of capital….

The feeling of revolt will grow stronger every day among the peoples subjected to various degrees of exploitation, and they will take up arms to gain by force the rights which reason alone has not won them.”

Whatever your preconceptions of the man who said this may be, the voice of Che Guevara can now be clearly understood and related to by the overwhelming majority of people throughout the United States.

Already, despite intensive propaganda, a stunning 80 percent of the US population believes that the government has failed them. The health care and financial reform bills have proven that our politicians are much more concerned about the short-sighted necessity to please the Economic Elite and raise campaign funds, than they are to understand the consequences of millions of Americans being forced into situations where their very survival is threatened. In a system where most elected officials are millionaires, this lack of perspective and understanding is ultimately what will lead to violence. Whether it is by arrogance or ignorance, perhaps both, it appears that our ruling class has suicidal tendencies. Unless they quickly recognize the growing threat posed by the dispossessed masses, our puppet politicians will themselves be in harm’s way.

To show you how incredibly out of touch our current elected officials are, and to give you a clear indication of the prevailing attitude on Capitol Hill, a recent report from the Washington Post summed up their response to the recent news that a record number of Americans are now living in poverty:

“The reluctance of political leaders on both sides of the aisle to directly confront the fact that growing numbers of Americans are slipping into poverty reflects a stubborn reality about the poor: They are not much of a political constituency.

‘We talk to many people on Capitol Hill who do believe poverty is important and is a blight on our nation, but we are also up against a general recognition that poor people don’t vote in great numbers. And they certainly aren’t going to be making campaign contributions. That definitely puts them behind many other people and interests when decisions are being made around here.’”

And that sums up our current crisis, doesn’t it? The “poor people don’t vote” and they don’t make “campaign contributions.”

As the Rage Against the Machine song goes, “The riot be the rhyme of the unheard.”

How will this imperial fascist banking cartel respond to revolt? How will they maintain their power over an increasingly radicalized and hostile US population?

In an attempt to stave off organized rebellion, they are already escalating their propaganda efforts in attempts to divide and distract the population. The tactics of their divide and conquer strategy are already on full display. Their mainstream media outlets have drastically increased coverage and focused attention on the rhetoric of division – using divisive issues like immigration, racism, religious bigotry, the “lazy unemployed,” “entitlement welfare” and gay marriage to divide and distract the population and prevent the masses from organizing against their true oppressors.

This propaganda effort is only a temporary measure and will not suffice over the long-term. As the economy continues to collapse, the banking elite risk being overthrown as a result of their own greed. So they will then turn to physical, military-based violence to suppress populations that can no longer be controlled through propaganda and economic coercion.

To paraphrase policy analyst Anatol Lieven, the classic strategy of an endangered oligarchy is to divert discontent among the population into nationalistic militarism. It is time, once again, to bang the drums of war and “whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor.” The source of the following quote is unknown, but the evident wisdom of it is something that we have already experienced firsthand in the recent past:

“Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.”

An increased external threat will lead to an increased internal crackdown, which creates the pretext and conditions for a police state. As we have already seen in the first phase of the crackdown on civil liberties since the “War on Terror” began, when rioting and outbursts of armed insurrection begin within the US, external threats, real or imagined, will again be presented to justify extreme measures to suppress American citizens, and to further repress and divert internal dissent. Without an external enemy to rally the population against, the population will rally against the pre-existing internal powers.

To put a slight twist on what Guy DeBord insightfully said back in 1988: the banking cartel “constructs its own inconceivable foe, terrorism. Its wish is to be judged by its enemies rather than by its results. The story of terrorism is written by the state and it is therefore highly instructive. But they must always know enough to convince them that, compared with terrorism, everything else must be acceptable, or in any case more rational and democratic.”

As millions of Americans and the majority of the global population look for vengeance on those responsible for severely declining living standards, the global banking cartel are not going to blame themselves, so they will deflect blame to China, a most convenient target.

As a result of the crisis, national currencies are reeling, and the dollar, although currently one of the strongest paper currencies, is losing power as the crisis escalates. The IMF is working to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency and have begun discussing the possibility of making their Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) the new world reserve currency. A plummeting dollar will obviously put the American population in a severely desperate situation and the US-based banking cartel needs an excuse to divert political backlash. In China, the nation poised to replace the US as the preeminent global superpower, they have the perfect scapegoat.

US-based global corporations have been shifting their business to China and off-shoring millions of jobs to the region due to their extremely low worker wages. So the American population is already pre-disposed to blaming China, as opposed to the companies who are exploiting the cheap labor. US politicians have been conveniently shifting blame for unemployment from themselves to China. Meanwhile, China also owns a significant portion of US national debt. US Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has recently declared that the national debt is the number one security threat. As Mullen stated, “Tax payers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the national debt by 2012.” A significant portion of this interest will be going to China.

As national governments attempt to survive in an increasingly hostile global economy, trade and currency wars will flare up and escalate. China is in perhaps the strongest position to win these conflicts. China and Japan have just engaged in a fierce currency battle. This currency battle is not to be underestimated. We are talking about the world’s second and third largest economies, after the United States. China has just overtaken Japan for the number two position. The militant rhetoric between these two nations is escalating. US politicians were quick to jump on the situation with calls to classify China as a “currency manipulator” and impose trade tariffs and penalties against them.

International economic reporter Barry Grey recently summed up the situation in an article entitled, “Economic crisis threatens to unleash global currency wars:”

“The eruption of currency exchange conflicts is bound up with mounting signs that the global economic crisis is systemic, rather than merely conjunctural, and growing fears that a genuine recovery is not in the offing. The European sovereign debt crisis and the weakening of US economic growth have led governments around the world to seek to secure a greater share of export markets. Under conditions of slowing growth and stagnant markets, this inevitably heightens trade conflicts between competing capitalist nations.

In particular, the US and the European Union, spearheaded by the export power Germany, have aggressively pursued a cheap currency policy in order to gain a trade advantage against their rivals. Of the major economic powers, Japan has suffered the greatest damage from these policies, as investors and speculators have shifted from dollar- and euro-denominated investments to the yen, driving up the currency’s exchange rate.

This has embittered relations between Japan and both the US and the EU. Japan has also denounced China for artificially keeping its currency low while bidding up the yen by increasing its purchases of Japanese government securities.”

The global banking cartel’s leading puppets on Capitol Hill, Senators Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer and Richard Shelby were all quick to attack China. Barry Grey continued:

“In opening the Senate Banking Committee hearing, Chairman Christopher Dodd declared China a currency manipulator and said its ‘economic and trade policies’ present ‘roadblocks to our recovery.’ He went on to accuse China of stealing intellectual property, violating international trade agreements and dumping goods. He also denounced China for acquiring national resources in developing countries and building up its military.

In his opening statement, the ranking Republican on the committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama, declared, ‘There is no question that China manipulates its currency in order to subsidize Chinese exports. The only question is: Why is the administration protecting China by refusing to designate it as a currency manipulator?’

Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said, ‘China’s currency manipulation is like a boot on the throat of our recovery and this administration refuses to try to get China to remove that boot.’”

On top of all this, China has now overtaken the US as the world’s top energy consumer. Michael T. Klare reports on China’s new position of power:

“The main point: by becoming the world’s leading energy consumer, China will also become an ever more dominant international actor and so set the pace in shaping our global future.

Because energy is tied to so many aspects of the global economy, and because doubts are growing about the future availability of oil and other vital fuels, the decisions China makes regarding its energy portfolio will have far-reaching consequences. As the leading player in the global energy market, China will significantly determine not only the prices we will be paying for critical fuels but also the type of energy systems we will come to rely on. More importantly, China’s decisions on energy preferences will largely determine whether China and the United States can avoid becoming embroiled in a global struggle over imported oil and whether the world will escape catastrophic climate change.”

China’s rise in power, mixed with the decline of western economies and the need for an external scapegoat sets up a global collision and inevitable confrontation between vying superpowers. Currency and trade wars will likely be a prelude to military confrontation.

Based on early maneuvering it is evident that the masters of war have already drawn up sides. You may have missed it, but the US, Israel and the NATO Alliance have already put Iran, Lebanon, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and China on notice. And the “withdrawals” from Iraq and the Af-Pak region are over-hyped. The occupation of these countries continues with no end in sight. In fact, they aren’t withdrawing as much as they are repositioning and shifting their forces, preparing for an escalation. In many ways the wars in Iraq and Af-Pak have only been the initial phase of a global attack, positioning forces and building massive military bases in pivotal geo-strategic locations. The operations in this region have essentially been a warm-up for much wider-ranging attacks against much stronger countries. While most of the US population is playing checkers, seeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as one-off battles, the global banking cartel is playing chess, using these wars as only initial geo-strategic moves in a grand strategy toward total world domination.

The intensity of military maneuvering presently occurring is alarming. Read through these recent news reports pulled from the AmpedStatus database, all from just the past few weeks, and let me know if you think I’m being extreme in foreseeing World War III:

  • So there we have it. The global Economic Elite have effectively looted and destroyed national economies worldwide, the propaganda system is quickly collapsing, and the masses are beginning to get restless. It’s time to move to the next phase of the attack. Preparations are already underway. We are on the road to World War III.

    Add to this picture rapidly declining natural resources and an increasingly hostile and polluted environment with extreme weather events frequently pounding the globe. In the past decade the global corporate elite have already engaged in three major resource wars in Iraq, Af-Pak and Northern Africa.

    With a growing global population and an increasing demand for declining resources, we have already crossed a tipping point and are now in the ecological red. For the first time in human history, we are now consuming resources faster than nature can produce them. As developing countries like China and India attempt to live like western countries, there are simply not enough resources. The global economy is built on an unsustainable foundation. Instead of evolving and changing course, the entrenched banking power base is digging in further, and they run NATO, the private military complex and the US government. Based on the current policies that are in place, they have clearly already decided that they want to keep living business as usual and refuse to evolve and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. With this decision, they have effectively already decided to further escalate their oppression of the overwhelming majority of humanity, and this will lead to the death of literally hundreds of millions of people.

    The global banking cartel view the world’s limited resources as their property, and they have consistently proven that they have absolutely no hesitation in killing millions upon millions of people for these resources – just look at what they have already done in the recent past throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

    In the years since Northern Africa was discovered to be “the richest patch of earth” due to large deposits of natural minerals that are needed to power computer technologies, over five million Africans, in just that region, have died as a result of war.

    The global elite have consistently used a strategy of arming and funding both sides of armed conflicts. While opposing populations kill each other off, they make off with their natural resources. When they confront a government that cannot be bribed or provoked into civil or regional war, they fund brutal death squads, attempt military coups and intimidate them by giving weapons to undemocratic neighboring regimes. If all that doesn’t work, they are declared a threat to national security and the US military, private contractors and NATO forces invade and occupy the country.

    These terrorist strategies are not limited to the Middle East and Africa, just ask our neighbors throughout Latin America about the School of the Americas. Contrary to popular belief, the horrendous torture techniques inflicted upon people in Abu Ghraib, Iraq were not an isolated incident. Many of those brutal torture techniques were developed over years by torturing innocent civilians throughout Latin America.

    The picture in Latin America today is one of inspiration. People throughout the region are rising up against the global corporate elite and claiming their rights and natural resources as their own, from Bolivia to Ecuador to Venezuela. This is another factor driving the “endangered oligarchy” into resorting to military desperation. The military coup in Honduras, the attempted coup in Venezuela, and the failed attempt to provoke Columbia and Venezuela into an armed conflict all clearly indicate where this situation is headed if the imperialist bankers get their way.

    The average American is dreadfully unaware of just how depraved these people are. The little regard they have for human life is beyond common comprehension.

    The global elite have already used the “War on Terror” as a pretext to drastically increase military spending and build a massive private military and intelligence complex on the backs of the American taxpayer. According to an extensive report from the Washington Post, a stunning 1.2 million private contractors work in this complex. Most Americans are not aware that 69 percent of the soldiers deployed in our name are private contractors, and 80 percent of them are foreign nationals, meaning they are not even from the United States. Half of the people we have deployed in our name, who are funded by our tax dollars, are not even fighting for our country, they are fighting for a paycheck.

    Wars are a highly profitable racket, which gives an enormous incentive to keep them going. This is one of the reasons why the war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. This system has led to a perpetual state of war. Military spending, although widely reported as being around $680 billion per year, is more accurately totaling over $1 Trillion per year. Of this staggering amount of annual spending, 25 percent of it goes unaccounted for, not counting the billions of our tax dollars lost to over-charging and all-out fraud.

    This private military complex has become so out of control that politicians are now forced to admit that they have no idea what is happening within it. As the Washington Post report revealed:

    “The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

    These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

    The investigation’s other findings include:

    * Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

    * An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.”

    There are so many unaccountable cells and competing factions within this complex, any one of them could go rogue and launch an attack on the US soil and make it look like another “terrorist” organization or nation executed it. This may sound too conspiratorial to the casual observer, but it would be stunningly naïve to think that in a massive complex like this, with so little oversight and accountability, given the huge sums of money at stake, that something tragic wouldn’t eventually occur. The implications are ominous, to say the least.

    We already had a proven act of internal domestic terror occur with the Anthrax attacks in 2001. It is not a stretch to think that any moves away from a state of permanent war, and any cut to military spending that would threaten the existence of many of the world’s largest and most powerful and profitable corporations, would result in an attack in hopes of inciting a military conflict. Former President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning against the “unwarranted influence” of the military industrial complex, and “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power” pales in comparison to the modern private military complex. While many of these companies currently rely on US tax dollars, they are not part of the government, they are global private entities with their own interests at heart, similar to the Federal Reserve banking system. In fact, when you peel back the layers, many of these private military companies are funded by the global banking cartel.

    When you understand the forces behind war, you must acknowledge the words of famed two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient US Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler. He accurately summed up the situation when he said:

    “I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism…. The general public shoulders the bill. This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones, Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.”

    To give just two brief examples of how the banking cartel operates behind the scenes during wars, consider the following. The genocidal carnage in Northern Africa that killed over 5.4 million people was enthusiastically supported by the IMF and World Bank. In a news report entitled, “The Business of War in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Dena Montague and Frida Berrigan explained:

    “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have knowingly contributed to the war effort. The international lending institutions praised both Rwanda and Uganda for increasing their gross domestic product (GDP), which resulted from the illegal mining of DRC resources. Although the IMF and World Bank were aware that the rise in GDP coincided with the DRC war… they nonetheless touted both nations as economic success stories….”

    In another example of grotesque profiting off massive levels of death, banking cartel members made a fortune on the production of cluster bombs. The Guardian revealed the details:

    “The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world’s biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them.

    HSBC… has profited more than any other institution from companies that manufacture cluster bombs. The British bank… has earned a total of £657.3m in fees arranging bonds and share offerings for Textron, which makes cluster munitions…. Campaigners maintain the deadly weapons can explode years after combat, killing or maiming innocent people….

    Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan and UK-based Barclays Bank are also named among the worst banks [funding the production of cluster bombs]….

    Goldman Sachs, the US bank which made £3.19bn proft in just three months, earned $588.82m for bank services and lent $250m to [cluster bomb manufactures] Alliant Techsystems and Textron.”

    To sum all of this up, the global banking cartel and private military complex are a runaway virus that demands a permanent state of warfare. They are intrinsically parasitic in nature, they have devolved into a fascist enterprise that survives and profits off of destruction. If they don’t get a war, they will create one in the interest of their own self preservation. As former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell once explained: “Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the US military machine to turn.” This insight can now be extended to the global banking cartel. Enemies are now necessary for the wheels of the global banking cartel to turn.

    Under the cover of the “War on Terror” they have launched a massive campaign of violence abroad and have been systematically looting our economy and stripping of us civil liberties at home.

    So as the US and global population becomes more radical, and as the environment becomes more hostile, with increasingly limited natural resources, in a desperate attempt to maintain power the global banking cartel will escalate from economic attacks to worldwide military-based assaults. This is the clear path we are on – the road to World War III.

    This may very well be a case of history repeating itself. Not to oversimplify an extremely complex situation, but this is all too similar to the origins of World War II. The looting of the masses by an unaccountable Wall Street elite led to the Great Depression and set the conditions for WWII. Desperate and impoverished populations increasingly supported more and more extreme leaders. The conditions are now so ripe for world war that Noam Chomsky has convincingly compared modern-day America to Weimar Germany prior to the outbreak of WWII. Research the history of pre-war societies and you will see for yourself how our current political environment fits historical precedent like a glove.

    As mentioned before, the roots of our current crisis can be directly traced back to the aftermath of World War II. In the ruins of WWII grew global institutions like the IMF and World Bank. It also gave us the National Security Act and the CIA. All were central and pivotal in creating the crisis which we are now confronted with.

    After analyzing our current crisis and studying well-established historical precedents, one must conclude that creating a world war is the last card the global bankers have left to play, other than conceding power, and history has taught us that the ruling class never concedes power. Of course the one-tenth of one percent of the global population hoarding our wealth could give back a significant amount of the $39 Trillion they looted from us (not counting what they have hidden in offshore accounts). That would certainly go a long way to fixing the crisis they have caused, but again, the ruling class has never conceded power, no matter how excessive and ill-gotten their gains.

    So brace yourself… unless we significantly change our present course, we are on the road to World War III.

    David DeGraw is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by David DeGraw

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    Benjamin Fulford Update May 31/10

    Posted by Admin on June 2, 2010

    Posted by benjamin

    May 31, 2010

    The Pentagon and US government have drawn up emergency plans to evacuate much of the population surrounding the Gulf of Mexico in anticipation of toxic rain and severe environmental damage, a military intelligence source says. The extreme environmental destruction and the deliberate failure to put an end to the oil leaks are all part of the dark cabal’s bargaining strategy since all they have left to bargain with now is the threat of mayhem. At the same time, a senior oil industry source has approached the White Dragon Society with an offer of $60 billion a month to be spent on saving the planet so long as the money goes through the Vatican, the BIS and the Federal Reserve Board.

    The moves by the Feds, the BIS, the Vatican and the oil people are a clear sign they are at last recognizing the handwriting on the wall. The situation is not looking very good for them at all right now.

    First of all, the attack on the Euro is moving ahead via the weakest dominoes. After Greece, the next targets of speculative attack will be Spain (already happening), Italy and the five Baltic states, according to a senior member of the Rothschild family. After that, the next phase of the attack will proceed against France, then England and finally the United States. The result will eventually be revolution followed by banksters hanging from lampposts as famously predicted by George Bush Senior.

    The attempt by Germany to ban naked short selling is healthy in the sense that naked short selling creates volatility but ultimately, it is just a case of shooting the messenger. The underlying reality cannot be regulated away. The fact of the matter is the Mediterranean, British and US people have been living beyond their means for a very long time and their international credit has dried up. Each of these regions either needs to issue a new, devalued currency or else watch their economies implode until wages fall to developing country levels. A debt write-off is also definitely a must for all of these regions because the alternative is the politically impossible scenario of hundreds of years of debt slavery for these peoples. The debt will be paid in gold and the White Dragon Society has enough for all.

    In the US, meanwhile, white hats in the Pentagon are steadily making their preparations for a major move against the Washington D.C. Corporation. The mobilization of militias and military outfits around the country are not directed against the American people, Pentagon sources say. Although as little as a year ago about half the US military establishment was ready to support the Federal Reserve Board crime syndicate, that is no longer the case. The Pentagon has now told Washington they will not move against the US people. Furthermore, if necessary, the Chinese and the Russians will help the American patriotic forces defend themselves against Blackwater (Xe) S.S. stormtroopers should things come to a head.

    The last source of Federal Reserve Board strength would seem to be their corporate propaganda media but that is just a paper tiger. All the Pentagon would need to do is occupy the main networks and newspapers and force them to do what they have long since stopped doing: tell the truth.

    The Cabal that has secretly ruled the West for thousands of years is running out of time to reach a deal. What used to be a unified monolith is now splintering into increasingly small fragments.

    As we have already seen England has split from the US, the Mediterranean countries are splitting from Northern Europe and the US is internally split too.

    Furthermore, the Vatican is now split into three groups that are engaged in a vigorous internal struggle: Opus Dei, the Jesuits and the Vatican itself. Ultimately, the Pope will have to resign and the Vatican will have to reveal its secrets before this dispute can be settled by God-fearing average Catholics.

    The situation in Israel is also coming to a head. The flotilla that is attempting to break the blockade of Gaza is backed by Turkey.

    Turkey, once a strong ally of Israel, is now spearheading an Islamic movement against the Zionist state. This completely alters the balance of power in the region and makes Israel look increasingly like the Crusader state at the time of Saladin. Take a look at the amount of soldiers (including reserves) available to each side should things come to a head:

    Israel 629,000

    Turkey 1,075,000

    Syria 536,000

    Iran 3,675,000

    Lebanon 85,000

    Egypt 1,109,000

    While it may seem premature to include Egypt in this list since they formally signed a peace treaty with Israel, Egypt is definitely headed for regime change. It should also be noted Turkey has a state-of-the-art NATO-equipped military Nor is the United States likely to intervene militarily on behalf of Israel given the current political situation in the US these days.

    It should be noted that the offer of $60 billion a month to the White Dragon Society was made contingent on coming up with some sort of settlement of ancient disputes between the three main peoples of the book: the Jew/Protestants, the Vatican and the Muslims.

    The solution is really quite simple to reach now that the nightmarish Satanic plan to enslave humanity is coming to an end: live and let live. If you look at the situation objectively you will see there is no reason for conflict between these groups, all the fighting and strife between them has been artificially engineered.

    As usual, there is a lot we are being asked not to report at present in order to prevent ongoing, sensitive negotiations and preparations from being derailed. We do not expect any public announcements yet but we can say that this week’s Bilderberg meeting in Spain is being countered by a secret, extremely powerful non-Bilderberg meeting elsewhere. The secrecy is only temporary and is meant to protect people’s lives until the situation is ready for the long-awaited public announcements. Until that happens, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    http://www.benjaminfulford.net

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    Israeli Attack on Flotilla Sparks Wave of International Protests

    Posted by Admin on June 2, 2010

    by: Nora Barrows-Friedman, t r u t h o u t | Report

    photo
    This protest in Madrid, Spain, is one of many worldwide that are expressing outrage against Israel’s raid on humanitarian flotillas headed for Gaza. (Photo: Carlos Barbudo)

    Rami al-Meghari watched the news unfold from live video feeds monitoring international waters 65km off the coast of the Gaza Strip Monday morning, one of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents anticipating a shipment of wheelchairs, prefabricated homes, crayons, raw construction supplies, dental surgery equipment and reams of paper brought by international humanitarian activists on board a flotilla of boats.

    However, the flotilla was intercepted and attacked by Israeli naval commando units, flanked by armed speedboats and helicopters. Soldiers climbed on board the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ship and opened fire with live ammunition, killing at least 19 people and wounding 60, according to the latest reports.

    A journalist living in Gaza’s Meghazi refugee camp, al-Meghari tells Truthout that the attack was a devastating blow to the Palestinian people in Gaza – who have suffered through a three-year-long blockade as Israel forbids the entry of essential goods and humanitarian supplies, including medicines. He says he was horrified at what took place on the ship. “I am in absolute sorrow for the human loss,” he said.

    From the occupied Gaza Strip to the San Francisco Bay Area, global reaction in protest of the Israeli military’s attack on the flotilla has been swift. Outraged by Israel’s attack on the flotilla, and fueled by international news headlines and internet-based information swapping through sites such as Twitter and Facebook, tens of thousands of people across the world have taken to the streets in sustained anger against Israeli policies and the actions of its military toward the humanitarian aid flotilla, while the United Nations and the Turkish government work to impose diplomatic pressure.

    Palestinians in the occupied West Bank launched demonstrations against the Israeli military immediately following the attack, but the protests were quickly dispersed and banned by the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces shot a young American journalist in the face with a tear gas grenade during a women-led demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. There were also protests inside the old city in occupied East Jerusalem, while others demonstrated outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house in the Western side of the city.

    In the Palestinian city of Umm al-Fahem in northern Israel, Palestinian youth burned tires as Israeli forces attempted to lock down areas of the city. Elsewhere, Israeli and Palestinian protesters descended on the city of Ashdod, where detention camps had been set up by the military to hold those arrested from the flotilla and to where some of the ships on the flotilla were being towed. Protesters in Haifa and other northern Israeli cities also joined the day of action.

    People in Egypt and Jordan took part in similar protests as thousands across the region demanded that their governments sever diplomatic and political ties with Israel. Lebanese demonstrators surrounded the UN headquarters in Beirut to condemn Israel’s policies and the violent attack against the flotilla.

    In Turkey, thousands of protesters attempted to storm the Israeli embassy in Istanbul right after the killings. Later in the day, Turkish government officials categorized Israel’s attack as “state terrorism” and withdrew its ambassador to Israel as thousands of protesters hit the streets in spontaneous demonstrations demanding justice for those killed in the attack and for Palestinians in Gaza.

    In Canada, protests were planned at Israeli embassies and Federal buildings in an “emergency response” to Israel’s aggressions. Seven thousand Swedish demonstrators hit the streets of Stockholm as the Swedish government summoned its Israeli ambassador, condemning the attack as “completely unacceptable” and demanding clarification by the Israeli government. Sweden had several of its citizens on board the ships.

    Meanwhile, across the US, pro-justice activists took to the streets in anger and anguish over the killings. Protesters organized in New York City’s Times Square, and in Houston, Cleveland and Seattle, among other cities. University of Chicago freshman Sami Kishawi tells Truthout he joined a massive demonstration in downtown Chicago on Monday afternoon. “I will remain open and willing to participate in dialogue that will reveal to the public the grim reality of the oppression of the Palestinian people,” he said.

    In the Bay Area, activists protested outside Israeli embassy in downtown San Francisco. Oakland resident Amir Qureshi told Truthout that he joined the protests in solidarity with the more than 600 activists on the flotilla, and is taking part in other actions as well, including countering some of the Israeli propaganda that’s filtered down inside the US corporate media and calling US representatives in Congress. “Ordinary unarmed global civilians from more than a dozen countries have the courage to take on Israel’s navy in support of the besieged population of Gaza and even give our lives in doing so,” Qureshi said. “Such global solidarity shows the power of people and how it can affect global causes.”

    At the same time, condemnation of Israel’s attacks have come from global leaders and icons of civil rights and justice. The Elders – a contingent of past and present world leaders and Nobel laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter – released a press statement on Monday declaring Israel’s attack as “completely inexcusable.”

    “This tragic incident should draw the world’s attention to the terrible suffering of Gaza’s 1.5 million people, half of whom are children under the age of 18,” The Elders’ statement said.

    Back in Gaza, locally-based civil society groups sent out a press statement urging the international community to take direct action against Israeli policies. They wrote:

    <blockquote>”We Gaza based Palestinian Civil Society Organizations and International activists call on the international community and civil society to pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and killings in Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla sailing for Gaza, and begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.

    “We salute the courage of all those who have organized this aid intervention and demand a safe passage through to Gaza for the 750 people of conscience from 40 different countries including 35 international politicians intent on breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. We offer our sincerest condolences to family and friends who have lost loved ones in the attack.

    “… The people of Gaza are not dependent people, but self sufficient people doing what they can to retain some dignity in life in the wake of this colossal man-made devastation that deprives so many of a basic start in life or minimal aspirations for the future.

    “We, from Gaza, call on you to demonstrate and support the courageous men and women who went on the Flotilla, many now murdered on a humanitarian aid mission. We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials for war crimes and the International protection of the civilians of Gaza. We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign of a country proving again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged. Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as any other people, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the 6 million Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.”</blockquote>

    From Gaza’s Meghazi refugee camp, al-Meghari said of Israel’s actions Monday morning, “violence only breeds violence. And as long as Israeli repression remains in place, Palestinian and pro-justice people around the world will keep up their resistance to that repression.”

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    Obama Must Ask Netanyahu the Right Questions

    Posted by Admin on June 2, 2010

    by: Ira Chernus, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

    photo
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Moshe Milner GPO / IsraelMFA)

    Debate rages around the world about the Israeli attack on the humanitarian flotilla headed to Gaza. And it should rage. As Martin Luther King Jr., said, an injustice to one is an injustice to all.

    But the debate that matters most – the one that will decide the fate of Palestinians and Israelis alike – is going on inside the Oval Office. If Barack Obama ever decides that the Israelis absolutely must end the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, he’ll demand and get a settlement. Then, both peoples can start living in peace, sooner than most Americans think.

    If Obama continues waffling and lets the Israelis maintain the status quo, the conflict will continue, and so will the insecurity it inflicts on both sides.

    Obama must understand that perfectly well as he prepares for the delayed visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He must know that he could make the conversation a genuine turning point in US policy, if he wants to. The agenda he sets for that conversation is crucial.

    So far, the indications are not promising. In a brief phone talk with Netanyahu just hours after the brutal attack at sea, Obama merely “expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning’s tragic events as soon as possible,” the White Housesaid.

    No, Mr. President, that’s the wrong way to begin. It avoids the real issue – which is just what the Israeli leader wants. He’d love to see the world debating about “all the facts and circumstances.” He’d love to treat the whole terrible disaster at sea as if it were a schoolyard scrap: He hit me first. No, he hit me first. Liar! No, you’re a liar!

    Netanyahu and the Israeli government would be happy to drag that argument out because it gives them a double victory. They get to play their favorite role – the victim of threats to their very existence – while distracting the Obama administration from the issue that really matters: the Israeli domination of Gaza and the West Bank.

    As long as that domination continues, whether in the form of occupation or blockade, it makes a peace settlement impossible. And that seems to be precisely what the Israeli government aims for – or certainly at least itspowerful right wing, which has Netanyahu in its power. Instead of pursuing peace, Israeli leaders want to pursue a public relations effort at damage control, which comes down to image control.

    So, they’re happy to have everyone – especially in the Oval Office – scrutinizing all the video footage and eyewitness accounts to figure out exactly what happened on the Mavi Marmara, minute by minute. The battle of competing images and interpretations could go on for months, even years. As long as the world is distracted by that battle, it will bring any chance of a meaningful peace process to a grinding halt.

    The Israelis seem to have had something like that in mind when they set out to stop the Gaza flotilla. Their PR machine was in high gear before the flotilla even set sail. A sympathetic analyst in the conservative Jerusalem Post lamented the failure of the Israeli “diplomatic [read: PR] initiative aimed at explaining to the world why it planned to stop the ships.” As he noted, “stories were leaked by the government to the press about the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the Turkish organization that is behind the flotilla, described as a ‘radical Islamic organization.'”

    Within hours of the attack at sea, top Israeli leaders were holding press conferences touting the same unsubstantiated claims that the flotilla was led by violent supporters of international terrorist groups. “Gaza has become a base for terrorists backed by Iran,” said Netanyahu,  suggesting that this unsubstantiated claim somehow justified all that killing; it was simply “self-defense.”

    Could it be just coincidence that so many Israeli military personnel, politicians and journalists all repeated the same strange charge that IDF soldiers were victims of “attempted lynching”? (Find it hereherehere,here and here, for example.) It’s more likely that the word “lynch” was cooked up in a PR office, well before the disaster at sea took place (probably by some flake who doesn’t know English well enough to know what the word really means).

    The Israelis went to sea not only with 50 Border Guards as well as sailors, but also with embedded Israeli reporters. Prominent journalist Ron Ben-Yishai was apparently given permission for a scoop, the first direct report from scene, predictably sympathetic to the Israelis. (The other reporters’ dispatches were embargoed until they could be vetted by censors.) Back on land in Israel, one blogger reported hours after the event, the talking heads were already focusing only on “the threat to the soldiers lives and the insufficient force that was sent to take control over the Mavi Marmara.” The Israeli media allowed little doubt that their military personnel were the victims, not the perpetrators, of the attack.

    Some skilled video producers went along on the mission, too. Shortly after the confrontation, they released slick footage, which does indeed seem to show Israeli troops descending onto the Mavi Marmara and immediately being brutally attacked. No doubt, Netanyahu will bring that film with him to the Oval Office and hope Obama watches every second of it. After all, the president says he wants to know “all the facts and circumstances.”

    In the end, though, Netanyahu will tell him that only one fact really matters: Israel was justified because it was acting in self-defense. And, surely, he’ll remind Obama of Israel’s ultimate goal, the one he repeats at every opportunity: preventing another Holocaust. He’ll link the killing on the Mavi Marmara with the specter of the Holocaust, using the whole arsenal of weapons that his skilled PR experts have invented in their fertile imaginations.

    He’ll try to keep the conversation focused on the one question that dominates Israeli political life: Weren’t the Israelis merely doing what they had to do to stop the next Holocaust? And, perhaps, even to save Western civilization against “radical Islamic forces,” according to ananalysis published hours after the attack by a prominent Israeli academic in one of his nation’s most popular newspapers. That will be a common response among many Jews, especially in Israel, but some here in the US, too.

    Uri Avnery, the grand old man of the Israeli peace movement, summed it up most incisively, as usual, in a recent column titled “Hallelujah, the World is Against Us!” In recent years, he wrote, as Jews have escaped persecution and gained power, “a sense of unease, of disorientation, set in.” Many Jews “felt that something was out of order, that the well-known road signs were not working anymore…. That’s frightening,” and it makes many Jews suspicious. So, “without being conscious of it,” many Jews “do what we can to be hated again, to feel at home, on familiar ground…. We shall not rest until the world is anti-Semitic again, and we know how to behave. As the jolly song goes: ‘The entire world is against us, but what the hell.'”

    If Obama, and the world, focus only on “all the facts and circumstances” about who did what during that tragic dawn at sea, it will give Israeli leaders another excuse to lead their people in singing their jolly song, perpetuating their cherished images of victimization. The more criticism they receive, the more most Israelis will be convinced that the worlds really is against them. And the more excuse that will give them to resist serious negotiations for peace.

    This is not to deny the need for a full investigation. But it’s vital to put even the worst events in broader perspective. The US government has supported so many evils of the Israeli occupation and blockade because the Israeli PR machine has been so successful. It has managed to get the US mass media, most of the US public and, very possibly, their president to believe that the whole world just might be against Israel, that any Israeli violence might very well be justified self-defense against another Holocaust.

    If Obama really wants to be the president who brings peace to the Middle East, he has to take a much broader view. When he asks Netanyahu for “all the facts and circumstances,” he must ask the big, crucial questions: By what right does Israel maintain its blockade of Gaza at all costs, despite all the human suffering it brings? By what right does Israel maintain its occupation of and settlements on the West Bank at all costs? Why does Israel resist the peace settlement that the rest of the world sees as fair and just? Why does Israel persist in such self-defeating policies, keeping its own people as well as its Palestinian neighbors locked in a vicious cycle of insecurity?

    Even those who want to focus on the one terrible incident of violence at sea should be asking not who started the fighting, but by what right did the Israeli Navy steam into international waters and unilaterally declare a “naval blockade”? (Strangely, the Israeli PR machine put out video of that declaration, as if it somehow justified all the killing to come.) It’s all part of the same pattern: Israel making unilateral decisions that put intolerable restrictions on Palestinians’ lives.

    That’s what the flotilla to Gaza was trying to shine a light on. Now, the light has grown much brighter, though it is encased in the dark shadow of mourning. But if we let it become a narrow pencil light, illuminating only the events of a few tragic hours, we will miss the larger picture at which the Obama administration should be looking: the injustices perpetuated by Israel over many tragic decades.

    Those of us who want to see a just peace and a truly independent viable Palestinian state should do whatever we can to break through the fallacious stereotype of Israel as the eternal victim. If that image is discredited – if it no longer frames discussion of the Middle East conflict here in the US – the Obama administration can begin to explore new options for US policy.

    Every time we persuade a friend, a neighbor, a relative, a co-worker to see Israel as a dominating power, not an endangered victim, we take a step closer to a just peace in the Middle East. That can be the most fitting memorial for the victims of Israeli bullets, who wanted only to bring humanitarian relief to Gaza.

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    US to conduct naval exercises with S Korea after attack

    Posted by Admin on May 26, 2010

    A giant offshore crane salvages the bow section of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan off Baengnyeong Island, South Korea, file picture from 24 April 2010

    The US has confirmed it will hold naval exercises with South Korea, after a report blamed the North for the sinking of a Southern warship, officials say.

    The Pentagon said the joint anti-submarine and other military exercises would start “in the near future”.

    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak earlier froze trade with Pyongyang, vowing to punish those who carried out the attack.

    North Korea has said it will retaliate for any action taken against it.

    The country’s main newspaper called the investigation an “intolerable, grave provocation”.

    ‘Unequivocal support’

    South Korea has said it will refer the North to the UN Security Council in response to the sinking of the Cheonan – and the resulting death of 46 sailors – in March.

    In a move endorsed by the US, President Lee said in a televised address that Seoul would no longer tolerate “any provocative act by the North and will maintain a principle of proactive deterrence”.

    Analysts describe the joint exercises as a statement of US commitment to help Seoul rather than an attempt to intimidate Pyongyang.Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the decision to start joint naval exercises was “a result of the findings of this recent incident”.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier that her country was working hard to avoid an escalation.

    After talks in China, she urged countries in the region to contain “the highly precarious situation created by North Korea”.

    China – North Korea’s closest trading partner and a permanent member of the Security Council – has urged “restraint”.

    Japan said it was contemplating its own sanctions on Pyongyang.

    The North depends on South Korea and China for up to 80% of its trade and 35% of its GDP.

    In 2009, inter-Korean trade stood at $1.68bn (£1.11bn) – 13% of the North’s GDP.

    The measures announced by South Korea included:

    • Stopping inter-Korean trade
    • Banning North Korean ships from using South Korean waterways or shortcuts
    • Resuming “psychological warfare”
    • Referring the case to the UN Security Council

    The BBC’s John Sudworth in Seoul says the measures are as tough a response as the South could take short of military action.

    They reported that parts of the torpedo retrieved from the sea floor had lettering that matched a North Korean design.The measures came less than a week after experts from the US, the UK, Australia and Sweden said in a report that a torpedo had hit the Cheonan.

    Pyongyang denies any involvement in the sinking, calling the investigation a “fabrication” and threatening war if sanctions were imposed.

    “If [South Korea] sets up new tools for psychological warfare such as loudspeakers and leaves slogans for psychological warfare intact, ignoring our demands, we will directly aim and open fire to destroy them,” a statement by the military said on Monday.

    “More powerful physical strikes will be taken to eradicate the root of provocation if [South Korea] challenges to our fair response,” said a commander, according to official news agency KCNA.

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    Fiscal Crises Threaten Europe’s Generous Benefits

    Posted by Admin on May 26, 2010

    Fiscal crises threaten Europe’s generous benefits

    LONDON — Six weeks of vacation a year. Retirement at 60. Thousands of euros for having a baby. A good university education for less than the cost of a laptop.

    The system known as the European welfare state was built after World War II as the keystone of a shared prosperity meant to prevent future conflict. Generous lifelong benefits have since become a defining feature of modern Europe.

    Now the welfare state — cherished by many Europeans as an alternative to what they see as dog-eat-dog American capitalism — is coming under its most serious threat in decades: Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

    Deep budget cuts are under way across Europe. Although the first round is focused mostly on government payrolls — the least politically explosive target — welfare benefits are looking increasingly vulnerable.

    “The current welfare state is unaffordable,” said Uri Dadush, director of the Carnegie Endowment’s International Economics Program. “The crisis has made the day of reckoning closer by several years in virtually all the industrial countries.”

    Germany will decide next month just how to cut at least 3 billion euros ($3.75 billion) from the budget. The government is suggesting for the first time that it could make fresh cuts to unemployment benefits that include giving Germans under 50 about 60 percent of their last salary before taxes for up to a year. That benefit itself emerged after cuts to an even more generous package about five years ago.

    “We have to adjust our social security systems in a way that they motivate people to accept regular work and do not give counterproductive incentives,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told news weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on Saturday.

    The uncertainty over the future of the welfare state is undermining the continent’s self-image at a time when other key elements of post-war European identity are fraying.

    Large-scale immigration from outside Europe is challenging the continent’s assumptions about its dedication to tolerance and liberty as countries move to control individual clothing — the Islamic veil — in the name of freedom and equality.

    Deeply wary of military conflict, many nations now find themselves nonetheless mired in Afghanistan on behalf of what was supposed to be a North Atlantic alliance, shying away from wholesale pullout while doing their utmost to keep troops from actual combat.

    Demographers and economists began warning decades ago that social welfare was doomed by the aging of Europe’s baby boomers. Some governments had been trimming and reforming, but now almost all are scrambling to close deficits in order to prevent a wider collapse of confidence in the euro.

    “We need to change, to adapt … for the sake of the protection of our social model,” European Union Commissioner Joaquin Almunia of Spain told reporters in Stockholm Thursday.

    The move is risky: experts warn the cuts could undermine the growth needed to pull budgets back on a sustainable path.

    On Monday, Britain unveils 6 billion pounds ($8.6 billion) in cuts — mostly to government payrolls and expenses. The government has promised to raise the age at which citizens receive a state pension — up from 60 to 65 for women, and from 65 to 66 for men. It also plans to toughen the welfare regime, requiring the unemployed to try to find jobs in order to collect benefits.

    Britain says it will limit child tax credits and scrap a 250-pound ($360) payment to the families of every newborn. Ministers are reviewing the long-term affordability of the country’s generous public sector pensions.

    Funding for Britain’s nationalized health care service will be protected under the new government, however, and should rise each year to 2015.

    France’s conservative government is focusing on raising the retirement age. Many workers can now retire at 60 with 50 percent of their average salary. Extra funds are available for retired civil servants, those with three or more children, military veterans and others.

    A parliamentary debate is planned for September. Unions in France are organizing a national day of protest marches and strikes on Thursday to demand protection of wages and the retirement age.

    In Spain, billions in cuts to state salaries go into effect next month, and the Socialist government has frozen increases in pensions meant to compensate for inflation for at least two years.

    “They’ve hit us really hard,” said Federico Carbonero, 92, a retired soldier. He said he was unlikely to live long enough to see the worst of the pension freeze, but had no doubts he would have to start relying on savings to maintain his lifestyle.

    Spain is cutting assistance payments for disabled people by 300 million euros ($375 million) and did away with a three-year-old bonus of 2,500 euros ($3,124.25) per new baby. It also has proposed hiking the retirement age for men from 65 to 67.

    Countries in northern Europe have done a far better of reforming social welfare and have unemployment systems that focus on re-employing people instead of making their unemployment comfortable, said Gayle Allard, a professor of economic environment and country analysis at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid.

    Denmark and other Nordic countries are known for the world’s highest taxes and most generous cradle-to-grave benefits. Denmark has implemented a system known broadly as “flexicurity,” which combines flexibility for employers to hire and fire workers with financial security and training to prepare for new jobs.

    Denmark had a 7.5 percent unemployment rate in the first quarter of this year, well below the EU average of 9.6 percent. Swedish and Finnish unemployment stood at 8.9 percent. Norway, with some of the world’s most generous unemployment benefits fully funded by oil for the forseeable future, has Europe’s lowest jobless rate, just 3 percent in April.

    Southern European countries that have not moved toward reforming welfare in the same ways are paying a steep price.

    After sharp cutbacks imposed as the condition of an international bailout this month, Greeks must now contribute to pension funds for 40 instead of 37 years before retiring, and the age of early retirement is set to 60 at the earliest.

    Civil servants with monthly salaries of above 3,000 euros ($3,750) will lose two extra months of salary — one paid at Christmas, the other split between Easter and summer vacation.

    In Portugal, seen as another potential candidate for bailout, the government is focusing on hikes in income, corporate and sales taxes and has avoided drastic changes to welfare entitlements. Unemployment benefits will be cut somewhat and the out-of-work will have to accept any job paying more than 10 percent more than what they would receive in unemployment benefits.

    The government is also stepping up checks on welfare claims, freezing public sector pay and slicing public investment.

    “There’s been a lack of willingness to shift away from welfare as purely social protection towards an approach which has been in much of northern Europe in recent years, which is welfare as social investment,” said Iain Begg, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s European Institute.

    Otto Fricke, a budget expert for the Free Democrats, the coalition partner of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, told The Associated Press that no decisions on cuts have been made, but everything is on the table except education, pension funds and financial aid to developing countries. At least one high-ranking CDU member has called for the idea of protecting education to be re-examined, however.

    German public education, which was virtually free until 2005, when some of Germany’s 16 states started charging tuition fees of 1000 euros ($1,250) a year.

    Virtually all Germany’s students pay that much or less to attend state-funded universities, including elite institutions. Education isn’t as cheap elsewhere in Europe but the 3,290 pounds ($4,720) per year paid by British students at Cambridge is still far less than Americans pay at comparable schools like Harvard, where annual tuition comes in just shy of $35,000.

    The idea of cutting education is proving hard to swallow in the face of Germany’s promise to contribute up to 147.6 billion euros ($184.5 billion) in loan guarantees to protect Greece and other countries that use the euro from bankruptcy.

    “I am worried that this crisis will also affect me on a personal level, for example, that universities in Germany will raise the tuition in order to pay the loan they give to Greece,” said Karoline Daederich, a 22-year-old university student from Berlin.

    Associated Press writers Juergen Baetz and Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin, Malin Rising and Karl Ritter in Stockholm, David Stringer in London, Veronika Oleksyn in Vienna, Harold Heckle in Madrid, Elaine Ganley in Paris, Elena Becatoros in Athens and Barry Hatton in Lisbon contributed to this report.

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    Huge fireball likely large meteor that may have left debris

    Posted by Admin on April 26, 2010

    Huge fireball likely large meteor that may have left debris

    April 15, 2010 9:53 PM

    http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/04/meteor-spotted-over-midwest.html

    MeteorUW-Madison.jpg

    The flash of what may have been a meteor over Madison, Wis., about 10 p.m. Wednesday, as seen from a weather observatory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences photo)

    A fiery ball of light witnessed by thousands as it swept over the upper Midwest Wednesday night was almost certainly a large meteor that probably left a trail of debris across southern Wisconsin, asteroid experts say.

    The path of the meteor was tracked by Doppler radar at two National Weather Service stations, in the Quad Cities and at LaCrosse, Wis. 

    “It has the appearance that is completely consistent with being a bright meteor,” said Mark Hammergren, an Adler Planetarium astronomer who specializes in asteroids, after viewing the Doppler images.

    The object, which lit up the sky shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday across parts of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin, was very likely a piece of an asteroid, a rocky planetoid formation that orbits the sun, he said. Almost all meteors come from asteroids.

    It almost certainly was not from debris trailing a comet or part of a meteor shower associated with a comet, as earlier reports have speculated, Hammergren said.

    “We won’t know for sure until we get specimens” of whatever the object was, if pieces of it survived the fiery plunge through the Earth’s atmosphere, he said. But it was so large, he said he was fairly certain some may be found. Technically, if pieces of a meteor survive the impact, they are known as “meteorites.”

    There was no “space junk” satellite debris that would have de-orbited into the atmosphere over that part of the U.S. Wednesday night, said William Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at the Aerospace Corporation in California, ruling out that it could have been a piece of an old satellite.

    According to the weather service’s Milwaukee office, officials there, in LaCrosse, Wis., Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa, and in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. received “numerous reports of a fireball” about the same time people began contacting Milwaukee area officials about the flare.

    National Weather Service radar in LaCrosse, Wis. showed the object at between 6,000 and 12,000 feet, heading from northwest to southeast over Grant and Iowa counties.

    (The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences has a series of time lapse photos of the event as seen from Madison; an Iowa sheriff’s department captured video of the flash that’s been posted on YouTube.)

    Christine McMorris was in her Woodstock home Wednesday evening looking out of her kitchen window as she washed dishes and talked with a friend when she noticed a bright light coming from the sky.

    “All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye, I saw this huge ball of fire and a huge light,” said McMorris. “I was like, what the hell was that?”

    She had seen many shooting stars during her travels to the western United States. But last night put those to shame, she said.

    “They are minuscule compared to this, it was enormous,” she said.

    She said as the meteor traveled closer to the surface, its intensity diminished until she lost sight of it during the approximately five to 10 seconds it took to drop. She said it didn’t have a tail.

    “It was truly spectacular,” she said.

    Becky Hoffman, who lives on a farm near Dixon, said she and her husband were getting ready for bed when they looked out and saw a “big glow” in the sky. She found it strange because the air was clear of storm clouds. She said she is about an hour and a half from the Wisconsin border and noticed the light north of her home.

    “We thought it might have been a transformer blowing up in the area,” she said, but she dismissed it because she did not hear any explosions.

    She said it was a reddish orange glow to it and she didn’t think anything of it until she turned on the radio this morning and heard that it was a meteor.

    “That’s what it was, I saw it,” said Hoffman. “I thought it was pretty exciting, I just want to know where it ended up at. Did it disintegrate into the skyline or did it actually hit ground?”

    In a statement on its Web site, the National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities said: 
    “Just after 10 pm CDT Wednesday evening April 14th, a fireball or very bright meteor was observed streaking across the sky. The fireball was seen over the northern sky, moving from west to east. 

    “Well before it reached the horizon, it broke up into smaller pieces and was lost from sight. The fireball was seen across Northern Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin. Several reports of a prolonged sonic boom were received from areas north of Highway 20, along with shaking of homes, trees and various other objects including wind chimes. As of late Wednesday evening, it is unknown whether any portion of this meteorite hit the ground.”

    Hammergren said the apparently large size of the meteor indicates pieces may well have survived and hit the ground.

    “The strength of this was comparable to others where multiple fragments have been recovered, he said, guessing that as a meteor prior to hitting and exploding in the atmosphere may have weighed “hundreds of pounds”.

    Similarly sized meteors have produced meteorite fragments from the size of grains of sand to fist size and football-sized chunks. 

    Meteorites are so highly prized by scientists, collectors and dealers, that teams of searchers already are preparing to go to an area in southwest Wisconsin where fragments most likely would have crashed into the ground, he said.

    WGN Radio’s Greg Jarrett and Jim Wiser contributed to this story.

    — William Mullen, Liam Ford and Carlos Sadovi

    Click HERE to see a WGN-Radio video and audio report on this story.

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    Markets could be derailed again, warns Soros

    Posted by Admin on April 24, 2010

    Markets could be derailed again, warns Soros

    APR 14, 2010 07:11 EDT

    CLIMATE-COPENHAGEN/Railway porter-turned-billionaire financier George Soros delivered a stark warning last night that the financial world is on the wrong track and that we may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis.

    The man who ‘broke’ the Bank of England (and who is still able to earn a cool $3.3 bln in a year) said the same strategy of borrowing and spending that had got us out of the Asian crisis could shunt us towards another crisis unless tough lessons are learned.

    Soros, who worked as a porter to pay for his studies at the London School of Economics after emigrating from Hungary, warned us to heed the lesson that modern economics had got it wrong and that markets are not inherently stable.

    “The success in bailing out the system on the previous occasion led to a superbubble, except that in 2008 we used the same methods,” he told a meeting hosted by The Economist at the City of London’s modern and impressive Haberdashers’ Hall.

    “Unless we learn the lessons, that markets are inherently unstable and that stability needs to the objective of public policy, we are facing a yet larger bubble.

    “We have added to the leverage by replacing private credit with sovereign credit and increasing national debt by a significant amount.”

    One crumb of comfort could be the 10-year period between the 1998 Asian crisis and the 2008 credit crisis. If the pattern is repeated, it should at least mean we have another 8 years to go before the next crash…

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