Archive for the ‘Economic Meltdown’ Category

via The Military Industrial Complex Strikes Again: War Spending Will Bankrupt America

The Military Industrial Complex Strikes Again: War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Posted By Luther Blissett By John W. Whitehead: The Rutherford Institute 03/06/18: OR:

“Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? Do we need to spend more money on our military (about $600 billion this year) than the next seven countries combined?

Do we need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000 reserves when the enemy at the moment-ISIS-numbers in the low tens of thousands?

If so, it seems there’s something radically wrong with our strategy.

Should 55% of the federal government’s discretionary spending go to the military and only 3% to transportation when the toll in American lives is far greater from failing infrastructure than from terrorism?

Does California need nearly as many active military bases (31, according to as it has UC and state university campuses (33)?

And does the state need more active duty military personnel (168,000, according to Governing magazine) than public elementary school teachers (139,000)?”— Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times

Mark my words, America’s war spending will bankrupt the nation.

For that matter, America’s war spending has already bankrupted the nation to the tune of more than $20 trillion dollars.

Now the Trump Administration is pushing for a $4.4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2019 that would add $7 trillion to the already unsustainable federal deficit in order to sustain America’s military empire abroad and dramatically expand the police state here at home.

Trump also wants American taxpayers to cover the cost of building that infamous border wall.

Truly, Trump may turn out to be, as policy analyst Stan Collender warned, “the biggest deficit- and debt-increasing president of all time.”

For those in need of a quick reminder:

“A budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends and what it takes in.

The national debt, also known as the public debt, is the result of the federal government borrowing money to cover years and years of budget deficits.”

Right now, the U.S. government is operating in the negative on every front: it’s spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily (from foreign governments and Social Security) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad.

This is how military empires fall and fail: by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death.

It happened in Rome.

It’s happening again.

Not content to merely police the globe, in recent decades, America has gradually transformed its homeland into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone.

Since taking office, President Trump—much like his predecessors—has marched in lockstep with the military.

Now Trump wants $716 billion to expand America’s military empire abroad and billions more to hire cops, build more prisons and wage more profit-driven war-on-drugs/war-on-terrorism/war-on-crime programs that eat away at the Fourth Amendment while failing to make the country any safer.

Even the funds requested for infrastructure will do little to shore up the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, railways, highways, power grids and dams.

No matter how your break it down, this is not a budget aimed at perfecting the Union, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting general welfare, or securing the blessings of liberty for the American people.

No, this is a budget aimed at pandering to the powerful money interests (military, corporate and security) that run the Deep State and hold the government in its clutches.

So much for Trump’s campaign promises to balance the budget and drain the swamps of corruption.

The glaring economic truth is that at the end of the day, it’s the military industrial complex—and not the sick, the elderly or the poor—that is pushing America towards bankruptcy.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

The illicit merger of the armaments industry and the Pentagon that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars.

That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe.

Incredibly, although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

War is not cheap.

Although the federal government obscures so much about its defense spending that accurate figures are difficult to procure, we do know that since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $1.8 trillion in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (that’s $8.3 million per hour).

That doesn’t include wars and military exercises waged around the globe, which are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

Mind you, these ongoing wars—riddled by corruption, graft and bumbling incompetence—have done little to keep the country safe while enriching the military industrial complex—and private defense contractors—at taxpayer expense.

Just recently, for example, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending.”

Just consider the fact that it costs American taxpayers $2.1 million per year for each soldier deployed in Afghanistan.

Imagine what you could do with that money if it were spent on domestic needs here at home.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, not as long as the money interests in Washington keep calling the shots and profiting from the spoils of war.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.

Not only does the U.S. have the largest defense budget, it also ranks highest as the world’s largest arms exporter.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

For example, while erecting a security surveillance state in the U.S., the military-industrial complex has perpetuated a worldwide military empire with American troops stationed in 177 countries (over 70% of the countries worldwide).

In the process, billions have been spent erecting luxury military installations throughout the world.

For example, the U.S. Embassy built in Iraq, dubbed “Fortress Baghdad,” covers 104 acres and boasts a “city within a city” that includes six apartment buildings, a Marine barracks, swimming pool, shops and 15-foot-thick walls.

Camp Anaconda in Iraq, like many U.S. military bases scattered across the globe, was structured to resemble a mini-city with pools, fast food restaurants, miniature golf courses and movie theaters.

While most Americans can scarcely afford the cost of heating and cooling their own homes, the American government spends $20 billion annually just to provide air conditioning for military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In essence, what we’re doing is “we’re air conditioning the desert over there in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places,” noted retired brigadier general Steven Anderson, a former chief logistician for Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq.

Think about that for a minute.

There’s a good reason why “bloated,” “corrupt” and “inefficient” are among the words most commonly applied to the government, especially the Department of Defense and its contractors.

For instance, a study by the Government Accountability Office found that $70 billion worth of cost overruns by the Pentagon were caused by management failures.

To put that in perspective, that equates to one and a half times the State Department’s entire $47 billion annual budget.

Fraud is rampant.

A government audit, for example, found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents;

$644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price.

$1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase.

$71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

Price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire.

And if you think gas prices at home can get high, just consider what the American taxpayer is being forced to shell out overseas: once all the expenses of delivering gas to troops in the field are factored in, we’re paying between $18-30 per gallon for gas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Incredibly, despite reports of corruption, abuse and waste, the mega-corporations behind much of this ineptitude and corruption continue to be awarded military contracts worth billions of dollars.

The rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, but the one that remains constant is that those who run the government are feeding the appetite of the military industrial complex.

What began in 2001 as part of an alleged effort to root out al Qaeda has turned into a goldmine for the military industrial complex and its army of private contractors.

Just consider: the Pentagon in 2008 spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year.

Yet Congress and the White House want taxpayers to accept that the only way to reduce the nation’s ballooning deficit is by cutting “entitlement” programs such as Social Security and Medicare?

As Martin Luther King Jr. recognized, under a military empire, war and its profiteering will always take precedence over the people’s basic human needs.

Simply put, we cannot afford to maintain our over-extended military empire.

“Money is the new 800-pound gorilla,” remarked a senior administration official involved in Afghanistan.

“It shifts the debate from ‘Is the strategy working?’ to ‘Can we afford this?’

And when you view it that way, the scope of the mission that we have now is far, far less defensible.”

Or as one commentator noted, “Foreclosing the future of our country should not be confused with defending it.”

Inevitably, military empires collapse.

As Cullen Murphy, author of Are We Rome? and editor-at-large of Vanity Fair writes:

A millennium hence America will be hard to recognize.

It may not exist as a nation-state in the form it does now—or even exist at all.

Will the transitions ahead be gradual and peaceful or abrupt and catastrophic?

Will our descendants be living productive lives in a society better than the one we inhabit now?

Whatever happens, will valuable aspects of America’s legacy weave through the fabric of civilizations to come?

Will historians someday have reason to ask, Did America really fall?

The problem we wrestle with is none other than a distorted American empire, complete with mega-corporations, security-industrial complexes and a burgeoning military.

And it has its sights set on absolute domination.

Eventually, however, all military empires fail.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military.

Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise.

As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways.

Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy.

Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire.

Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

I would suggest that what we have is a confluence of factors and influences that go beyond mere comparisons to Rome.

It is a union of Orwell’s 1984 with its shadowy, totalitarian government—i.e., fascism, the union of government and corporate powers—and a total surveillance state with a military empire extended throughout the world.

As we have seen with the militarizing of the police, the growth of and reliance on militarism as the solution for our problems both domestically and abroad affects the basic principles upon which American society should operate.

We must keep in mind that a military empire will be ruled not by lofty ideals of equality and justice but by the power of the sword.

Those in the military are primarily trained to conduct warfare, not preserve the peace.

Here’s the kicker, though: if the American empire falls and the American economy collapses—and with it the last vestiges of our constitutional republic—it will be the government and its trillion-dollar war budgets that are to blame.

Of course, the government has already anticipated this breakdown.

That’s why the government has transformed America into a war zone, turned the nation into a surveillance state, and labelled “we the people” as enemy combatants.

For years now, the government has worked with the military to prepare for widespread civil unrest brought about by “economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.”

Having spent more than half a century exporting war to foreign lands, profiting from war, and creating a national economy seemingly dependent on the spoils of war, the war hawks long ago turned their profit-driven appetites on us, bringing home the spoils of war—the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.—and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America:

The War on the American People, this is how the police state wins and “we the people” lose.

More than 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us not to let the profit-driven war machine endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

We failed to heed his warning.

As Eisenhower recognized in a speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on Apr. 16, 1953, the consequences of allowing the military-industrial complex to wage war, exhaust our resources and dictate our national priorities are beyond grave:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people…

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.

Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”


via Time To Make Life Hard For The Rich

Time To Make Life Hard For The Rich 03/01/18
Posted By Luther Blissett By Hamilton Nolan: Splinter: Or:

It is time for polite, respectable, rational people to start saying what has become painfully obvious: It is time to stop respecting the rich, and start stealing from them. In earnest.

Inequality is eating America alive. It has been growing for decades.

To say that “the American dream is dead” is no longer a poetic exaggeration—it is an accurate description of 40 years of wage stagnation and declining economic mobility that has produced a generation that cannot expect to live better than their parents did.

Not because of devastating war or plague, but because of a very specific set of rules governing a very specific economic system that encourages the accumulation of great wealth among a tiny portion of the population, to the detriment of the vast majority of people.

Our political and business leaders have chosen to embrace a system that favors capital over labor.

A system in which the more you already have, the more you make, and the less you have, the harder it is to build wealth.

It is a system designed to increase inequality.

It is functioning exactly as designed. And now, it is about to get worse.

How long are people supposed to tolerate being smacked in the face?

By the rich?

Who already have more than enough?

It is not as though the fact that inequality is a crisis is a fact that snuck up on anyone.

Economists have seen the trend for decades, and the general public has been well aware of it since at least the financial crisis.

Obama called it “the defining challenge of our time.”

Thomas Piketty became a rock star by writing a very dry book about it.

It’s not an underground thing.

It is well known and well understood by the people in control of the institutions with the power to change it.

The response to this dire situation by the Republican Party, which a wholly owned subsidiary of the American capital-holding class, has been to pass a tax bill that will horribly exacerbate economic inequality in this country.

It is a considered decision to make a bad situation worse.

It is a deliberate choice—during a time when the rich already have too much—to take from the poor in order to give the rich (including members of Congress and the President) more.

That is not a metaphor.

That is the reality.

That is what the Republican party is about to accomplish on behalf of the donor class, calling it “middle class tax relief” in the face of mathematical proof to the contrary.

Even to my cynical ass, the sheer fuck you-ness of this action towards the majority of the country is breathtaking.

This is not just a failure to solve a severe problem; it is the expenditure of vast amounts of political capital to make the severe problem worse so that a tiny handful of people will get wealthier than anyone needs to be.

Ideally, in a democracy, elected leaders reflecting the interests of the people would pass taxes and regulations to reverse the growing inequality here.

For that to happen, we would need to end gerrymandering and reform campaign finance and probably abolish the Senate and the Electoral College, and that’s just for starters.

It is not imminent, in other words.

Our broken political system, which is designed to reward money with political power, is actually moving in the opposite direction of a solution.

Who is suffering because of this?

Most Americans.

Certainly the bottom 50% are acutely suffering—money that would have been in their paychecks has been instead funneled upwards into the pockets of the rich.

Every desperate family that has found themselves coming up short for rent or food or medicine, every American who has downgraded her dreams and aspirations because they became financially implausible, has been directly harmed by the political and economic class war perpetuated by the rich, even if they cannot see the perpetrators with their own eyes.

I think that people have been more than patient in the face of this slow-moving crisis.

In 2009, when the markets crashed and millions were laid off, nobody rioted and kidnapped the financiers and burned their homes.

The outcome of that lack of direct action is the situation we find ourselves in today.

Violence against people is morally wrong and a bad way to solve problems.

But capital is different.

One thing that would help to create the political environment conducive to solving the inequality problem would be to make the cost of accumulating all that capital too high to be worth it.

In other words, to create a downside to being too rich.

I have personally stood in a room full of hedge fund titans and billionaire investors warning one another explicitly that inequality must be addressed lest the U.S. become a place like Latin America, where rich people are forced to live behind walls, surrounded by armed guards, because of the very real risks from the rage of the poor.

Rich people in this country do not want to live like that.

If they see that they must stop being so greedy in order to enjoy their own freedom, they will stop being so greedy.

Those conditions have to be created by people who want justice.

Our situation is absurd.

Not since the Gilded Age has it been more clear that a few people have too much.

Furthermore, the people with too much are investing in political clout to give themselves more.

It’s just wrong.

If the government won’t help, we have to help ourselves.

Sticking up a billionaire on the street for $100 is not going to do it.

But one can imagine other ways that angry Americans might express their dissatisfaction with our current division of wealth:

A large-scale online attack against the holdings of the very rich; yachts sunk in harbors; unoccupied vacation homes in the Hamptons mysteriously burned to the ground.

Sotheby’s auctions swarmed by vandals, Art Basel attacked by spraypaint-wielding mobs, protests on the doorsteps of right-wing think tanks, venomous words directed at millionaires as they dine in fancy restaurants.

People have a right to life and safety, but property does not.

A life spent screwing the little people so that you can acquire lots of stuff loses its allure when you know that all that stuff will be smashed to pieces by angry little people.

It is not hard to put together a list of those who should be targeted—Forbes publishes it every year.

Likewise, public campaign finance records give us a pretty good idea of exactly who is funding the politicians who are perpetuating this economic war on behalf of the rich.

It is nice to imagine a grand, well-targeted computer hack that would neatly transfer billions of dollars out of the accounts of, say, the Walton family and into a charity account that would disburse the money to the poor in untraceable ways.

That seems far-fetched.

Realistically, what people can do now is to start thinking about ways to make it uncomfortable to be too rich.

Socially uncomfortable and otherwise.

When the accumulation of great wealth ceases to be a praiseworthy endeavor and instead becomes viewed as a sick, greedy pastime whose only reward is the hatred of your fellow citizens and the inability to live comfortably without fear of your excessive property being destroyed, rich people will rethink their goals.

Until then, inequality will keep rising, and everything, for most people, will continue to slowly, slowly get worse.

By Jon Jeter 02/02/18 []

Over a period of 40 years, capitalists like Rockefeller, Walmart, the Koch Brothers, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have completely rearranged the financial universe — all but eradicating inflation, and radically devaluing work relative to capital.

NEW YORK — “It’s Not a Roar,” read the first-edition headline for the New York Times business article published January 27, “but the Global Economy is Finally Making Noise.”

A death rattle, perhaps?

Try as they may, the mainstream media simply cannot prepare for public viewing the gaping wound to the head that murdered the U.S. economy.

Never mind the Dow, the Fed Funds rate, or Apple’s latest earnings report, the cause of death is really quite simple: work is underpaid.

If we are to raise the economy from the dead, the American worker needs a raise.

For all intents and purposes, when adjustment is made for inflation, workers in the private sector haven’t had a pay increase in nearly 30 years.

That’s not just a problem for wage-earners who find they have too much month left at the end of their paycheck, but for an entire global economy that depends on consumer demand in the U.S.

With our paychecks shrinking, the workforce in the U.S. has resorted to borrowing more and more money — to buy a new car, fix a broken tooth, or finance the kids’ college education — to make up for the loss in buying power. Such forced borrowing, at the interest rates typically charged by lenders, only deepens the consumer cash crunch.

Poor & Getting Poorer

Said Jane, who raises chickens with her husband at their central Texas ranch: “Everyone I know is poor and getting poorer.”

As we struggle to pay down the mountains of credit-card debt, monthly insurance premiums, car loans, or skyrocketing utility bills, we spend less and less on new stuff.

Rosa Luxemburg called this cycle “underconsumption;” more modern economists call it debt deflation.

What it all means is that Laura of New Jersey makes very few new purchases these days.

The monthly premiums on the state exchange she, her husband and two sons enrolled in increased last month from $1,750 to $2,350.

Well actually, that’s not quite true. It would’ve cost that much had she and her husband continued with the same plan but, with college tuition for their second son bearing down on them, they decided to downgrade to a less expensive plan, which costs only $2,000 a month.

And that’s only for catastrophic coverage; they have a $6,000 deductible — and, even when coverage does kick in, it only pays for half their health care costs.

“So we send our kids to the doctor,” Laura told MintPress. But she and her husband “do not go.”

When her oldest son went off to college four years ago, he was fortunate enough to receive scholarships that paid about half of the $50,000 annual bill, leaving Laura and her husband to foot the rest.

Her youngest son starts college in the fall, and they are looking at adding possibly another $60,000 in annual expenses.

“Most of our woes came from the economic crash of 2008,” she said, when her husband lost his job in publishing.

“We just never recovered.”

Only creditors have. Since onerous debts triggered the 2008 meltdown, households, businesses and governments have merely borrowed 43.8 trillion more dollars, Sonja Gibbs, Senior Director of Global Capital Markets for the Institute for International Finance, told MintPress.

Happy Days Are Here Again-For Whom?

The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have joined President Trump in his State of the Union Speech in cuing up “Happy Days are Here Again” because their high-rolling advertisers and constituents are heavily invested in restoring consumer confidence — if not income levels — and encouraging more shopping sprees to grease the wheels of a dried-up demand economy.

The contradiction is that the mainstream media have consistently been a cheerleader of the very policies that have robbed American consumers of their buying power.

Despite their proclamations to the contrary, the country has never recovered from the financial ruin of 2008 that was triggered by the collapse of an overpriced real estate market.

It is true, as the Obama Administration claimed, that many banks had become “too big to fail,” although he failed to mention that that development was the result of laissez-faire government enforcement of antitrust and anti-monopoly regulations.

But rather than force banks to accept a “haircut” or write down the loans on their balance sheets to help jumpstart consumer spending, Obama’s Treasury department did just the opposite — effectively pouring gasoline on a fire by loaning the banks billions in low-interest loans to re-inflate the asset bubble that popped in 2008.

The result is the best-of-times, worst-of-times quality that characterizes the relationship between the country’s wealthiest 1 percent and everyone else, with stock market indexes — and poverty rates — at or near historic highs.

The Plutocrats Rearrange The Financial Universe

What’s important to note is that the dispossession of workers in the U.S. is a man-made catastrophe, and is the culmination of the plutocrats’ concerted 45-year effort to undo the stagflation crisis of 1973, and, if possible, ensure that it never happened again.

At the heart of the crisis was inflation, caused by pay hikes for the U.S. workforce, that was running as high as nine percent year-over-year at that time.

Workers, generally, don’t mind moderate levels of inflation because they have more cash in their pockets — and indeed, poverty levels in 1973 were at an all-time low.

Conversely, creditors consider inflation a type of financial fraud in which they loan a borrower $100 but get only $95 back.

“It is clear to me,” David Rockefeller wrote in 1971 to his fellow Chase Manhattan board members, “that the entire structure of our society is being challenged.”

As many labor historians — most notably, Kim Phillips-Fein – have documented, today’s savage inequalities are rooted in that epoch when labor unions were strong, factories were humming, oil prices high, and wages were causing inflation to climb.

Over a period of 40 years, capitalists like Rockefeller, Walmart, the Koch Brothers, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have completely rearranged the financial universe, all but eradicating inflation, which hasn’t increased by more than 3 percent annually in nearly 30 years.

But, as theorists as diverse as Hegel and Luxemburg have noted, this reversal of fortune is a case of Wall Street biting its nose to spite its face.

As the Marxist economist Richard Wolff notes in describing Hegel’s master-slave dialectic, an employer reflexively moves to pay his workers as little as possible, and yet his prosperity is wholly dependent on workers earning enough money to buy his products and services.

With workers’ buying-power in decline, big business has had to resort to smoke-and-mirrors to generate profits.

Stock prices for companies such as Apple, for example, aren’t skyrocketing because of robust sales, but because the company is borrowing money at low-interest rates to repurchase its own stock and drive up the price.

One Great Economic House Of Cards

In his latest book, The End of Normal, University of Texas Economics Professor James Galbraith — the son of the great Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith — asserts that the 2008 crisis wasn’t just part of a normal macroeconomic cycle but the culmination of a political economy that lost its way beginning in the 1980s. Galbraith told MarketWatch last month:

I think there are really major changes in the structure of the economy going forward.

The share of business investment has been quite low, share of construction has been very low, and that means the economy is being driven increasingly by the consumer.

The consumer is dependent upon the access to debt, auto loans, consumer loans and student loans.

Those things will build up over time until such time as there is a crack and households decide that they no longer wish to access the credit — at which point this phase of the expansion will end.”

It might, in fact, be time to ask the New York Times the question that a reporter for Fortune Magazine, Bethany McClean asked Enron’s Chief Financial Officer in March of 2001.

Suspecting that the now-discredited energy-services firm was cooking its books, McClean — according to the 2005 documentary on Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room — asked the chief financial officer in a telephone call a question he could not answer, setting in motion a chain of events that revealed that the whole enterprise was a house of cards:

“How exactly does Enron make its money?”

via Financial Tyranny: ‘We the People’ Are the New Permanent Underclass in America

Posted By Luther Blissett 01/22/18 []

By John W. Whitehead-The Rutherford Institute

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” ― Frédéric Bastiat, French Economist

Americans can no longer afford to get sick and there’s a reason why.

That’s because a growing number of Americans are struggling to stretch their dollars far enough to pay their bills, get out of debt and ensure that if and when an illness arises, it doesn’t bankrupt them. []

This is a reality that no amount of partisan political bickering can deny.

Many Americans can no longer afford health insurance, drug costs or hospital bills.

They can’t afford to pay rising healthcare premiums, out-of-pocket deductibles and prescription drug bills.

They can’t afford to live, and now they can’t afford to get sick or die, either.

To be clear, my definition of “affordable healthcare” is different from the government’s.

To the government, you can “afford” to pay for healthcare if your income falls above the poverty line.
That takes no account of rising taxes, the cost of living, the cost to clothe and feed a household, the cost of transportation and communication and education, or any of the other line items that add up to a life worth living.

As Helaine Olen points out in The Atlantic []:

“Just because a person is insured, it doesn’t mean he or she can actually afford their doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical, and other medical bills. The point of insurance is to protect patients’ finances from the costs of everything from hospitalizations to prescription drugs, but out-of-pocket spending for people even with employer-provided health insurance has increased by more than 50 percent since 2010.”

For too many Americans, achieving any kind of quality of life has become a choice between putting food on the table and paying one’s bills or health care coverage.
It’s a gamble any way you look at it, and the medical community is not helping.

Healthcare costs are rising, driven by a medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industry that are getting rich off the sick and dying.

Indeed, Americans currently pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care.

We spent more than $10,000 per person on health care in 2016.

Those attempting to shop for health insurance coverage right now are understandably experiencing sticker shock with premiums set to rise 34% in 2018.

It’s estimated that costs may rise as high as $15,000 by 2023.

As Bloomberg reports []:

“Rising health-care costs are eating up the wage gains won by American workers, who are being asked by their employers to pick up more of the heftier tab… The cost of buying health coverage at work has increased faster than wages and inflation for years, pressuring household budgets.”

Appallingly, Americans spend more than any developed country on healthcare and have less to show for it.

We don’t live as long, we have higher infant mortality rates, we have fewer hospital and physician visits, and the quality of our healthcare is generally worse.

We also pay astronomical amounts for prescription drugs, compared to other countries.

Whether or not you’re insured through an employer, the healthcare marketplace, a government-subsidized program such as Medicare or Medicaid, or have no health coverage whatsoever, it’s still “we the consumers” who have to pay to subsidize the bill whenever anyone gets sick in this country.

And that bill is a whopper.

While Obamacare (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act) may have made health insurance more accessible to greater numbers of individuals, it has failed to make healthcare any more affordable.


As journalist Laurie Meisler concludes: “One big reason U.S. health care costs are so high: pharmaceutical spending. The U.S. spends more per capita on prescription medicines and over-the-counter products than any other country.” []

One investigative journalist spent seven months analyzing hundreds of bills from hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and medical equipment manufacturers.

His findings confirmed what we’ve known all along: health care in America is just another way of making corporations rich at consumer expense. []

An examination of an itemized hospital bill (only available upon request) revealed an amazing amount of price gouging. []

Tylenol, which you can buy for less than $10 for a bottle, was charged to the patient at a rate of $15 per pill, for a total of $345 for a hospital stay.

$8 for a plastic bag to hold the patient’s personal items and another $8 for a box of Kleenex.

$23 for a single alcohol swab.

$53 per pair for non-sterile gloves (adding up to $5,141 for the entire hospital stay).

$10 for plastic cup in which to take one’s medicine.

$93 for the use of an overhead light during a surgical procedure.

$39 each time you want to hold your newborn baby.

And $800 for a sterile water IV bag that costs about a dollar to make.

This is clearly not a problem that can be remedied by partisan politics.

The so-called Affordable Care Act pushed through by the Obama administration is proving to be anything but affordable for anyone over the poverty line. []

And the Trump administration’s “fixes” promise to be no better.

Indeed, for too many Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and struggle just to get by, the tax penalty for not having health insurance will actually be cheaper than trying to find affordable coverage that actually pays for care. []

This is how the middle classes, who fuel the nation’s economy and fund the government’s programs, get screwed repeatedly.

When almost 60% of Americans are so financially strapped that they don’t have even $500 in savings [] and nothing whatsoever put away for retirement, and yet they are being forced to pay for government programs that do little to enhance their lives, we’re not living the American dream. []

We’re living a financial nightmare.

We have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn and forcing us to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

We have no real say, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow.

George Harrison, who died 16 years ago this month, summed up this outrageous state of affairs in his song Taxman:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me.

In other words, in the eyes of the government, “we the people, the voters, the consumers, and the taxpayers” are little more than indentured servants and sources of revenue.

If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property and your money, you’re not free.


The government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes.

Government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing.

And the IRS insists on getting the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.

It wasn’t always this way, of course.

Early Americans went to war over the inalienable rights described by philosopher John Locke as the natural rights of life, liberty and property. []

It didn’t take long, however—a hundred years, in fact—before the American government was laying claim to the citizenry’s property by levying taxes to pay for the Civil War.

As the New York Times reports, “Widespread resistance led to its repeal in 1872.” []

Determined to claim some of the citizenry’s wealth for its own uses, the government reinstituted the income tax in 1894.

Charles Pollock challenged the tax as unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

Pollock’s victory was relatively short-lived.

Members of Congress—united in their determination to tax the American people’s income—worked together to adopt a constitutional amendment to overrule the Pollock decision.

On the eve of World War I, in 1913, Congress instituted a permanent income tax by way of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and the Revenue Act of 1913. []

Under the Revenue Act, individuals with income exceeding $3,000 could be taxed starting at 1% up to 7% for incomes exceeding $500,000.

It’s all gone downhill from there.

Unsurprisingly, the government has used its tax powers to advance its own imperialistic agendas and the courts have repeatedly upheld the government’s power to penalize or jail those who refused to pay their taxes.

Irwin A. Schiff was one of the nation’s most vocal tax protesters.

He spent a good portion of his life arguing that the income tax was unconstitutional.

He paid the price for his resistance, too:

Schiff served three separate prison terms (more than 10 years in all) over his refusal to pay taxes.

He died at the age of 87 serving a 14-year prison term.

As constitutional activist Robert L. Schulz noted in Schiff’s obituary []:

“In a society where there is so much fear of government, and in particular of the I.R.S., [Schiff] was probably the most influential educator regarding the illegal and unconstitutional operation and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code. It’s very hard to speak to power, but he did, and he paid a very heavy price.”

It’s still hard to speak to power, and those who do are still paying a very heavy price.

All the while the government continues to do whatever it likes—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little thought for the plight of its citizens.

The national debt is $20 trillion and growing.

The amount this country owes is now greater than its gross national product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). []

We’re paying more than $270 billion just in interest on that debt annually. []

And the top two foreign countries who “own” our debt are China and Japan.

To top it all off, all of those wars the U.S. is so eager to fight abroad are being waged with borrowed funds.

As The Atlantic reports: []:

“For 15 years now, the United States has been putting these wars on a credit card… U.S. leaders are essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

If Americans managed their personal finances the way the government mismanages the nation’s finances, we’d all be in debtors’ prison by now.

Still, the government remains unrepentant, unfazed and undeterred in its money grabs.

While we’re struggling to get by, and making tough decisions about how to spend what little money actually makes it into our pockets after the federal, state and local governments take their share (this doesn’t include the stealth taxes imposed through tolls, fines and other fiscal penalties), the police state is spending our hard-earned tax dollars to further entrench its powers and entrap its citizens.

For instance, American taxpayers have been forced to shell out $5.6 trillion since 9/11 for the military industrial complex’s costly, endless so-called “war on terrorism.” []

That translates to roughly $23,000 per taxpayer to wage wars abroad, occupy foreign countries, provide financial aid to foreign allies, and fill the pockets of defense contractors and grease the hands of corrupt foreign dignitaries.

Mind you, that staggering $6 trillion is only a portion of what the Pentagon spends on America’s military empire.

That price tag keeps growing, too. []

The 16-year war in Afghanistan, which now stands as the longest []and one of the most expensive []wars in U.S. history, is about to get even longer and more costly, thanks to President Trump’s promise to send more troops over. []

In this way, the military industrial complex will get even richer, and the American taxpayer will be forced to shell out even more funds for programs that do little to enhance our lives, ensure our happiness and well-being, or secure our freedoms.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in a 1953 speech:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.

Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. […] Is there no other way the world may live?

This is still no way of life.

Yet it’s not just the government’s endless wars that are bleeding us dry.

We’re also being forced to shell out money for surveillance systems to track our movements, money to further militarize our already militarized police, money to allow the government to raid our homes and bank accounts, money to fund schools where our kids learn nothing about freedom and everything about how to comply, and on and on.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The government isn’t taking our money to make our lives better.

Just take a look at the nation’s failing infrastructure, and you’ll see how little is being spent on programs that advance the common good.

We’re being robbed blind so the governmental elite can get richer.

This is nothing less than financial tyranny.

“We the people” have become the new, permanent underclass in America.

It’s tempting to say that there’s little we can do about it, except that’s not quite accurate.

There are a few things we can do (demand transparency, reject cronyism and graft, insist on fair pricing and honest accounting methods, call a halt to incentive-driven government programs that prioritize profits over people), but it will require that “we the people” stop playing politics and stand united against the politicians and corporate interests who have turned our government and economy into a pay-to-play exercise in fascism.

We’ve become so invested in identity politics that label us based on our political leanings that we’ve lost sight of the one label that unites us: we’re all Americans.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the powers-that-be want to pit us against one another. []

They want us to adopt an “us versus them” mindset that keeps us powerless and divided.

Trust me, the only “us versus them” that matters anymore is “we the people” against the police state.
We’re all in the same boat, folks, and there’s only one real life preserver: that’s the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution starts with those three powerful words:

“We the people.”
The message is this: there is power in our numbers.

That remains our greatest strength in the face of a governmental elite that continues to ride roughshod over the populace.

It remains our greatest defense against a government that has claimed for itself unlimited power over the purse (taxpayer funds) and the sword (military might).

As Patrick Henry declared in the last speech before his death:

“United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions … or … exhaust [our strength] in civil commotions and intestine wars.”

This holds true whether you’re talking about health care, war spending, or the American police state.

June 21, 2016 · by Volubrjotr

Translation Of Photo Title ~ Викинг => Viking => “History’s only a symptom… we’re the diagnosis” 980 A.D.

I. Russia: Leadership

A presentation by Hugo Salinas-Price, President of the Mexican Civic Association, A.C., offered to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 16-18, 2016, at the generous invitation of Mr. Sergei Prikhodko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

Europe – including Ukraine – is constantly bombarded with propaganda on the part of the US about the danger of “Russian Aggression”.

The seed for the propaganda was provided by events in the Crimean Peninsula, after the US-led coup which ousted the elected President of Ukraine and installed a US-led puppet government.

The people of Crimea did not regard the unelected government in Kiev as favorable to their interests, and in a peaceful vote decided to rejoin Russia, of which Crimea has been a part since time immemorial.

This action on the part of Crimea, has been painted as “Russian Aggression”.

As a result of the mythical threat of aggression on the part of Russia, concocted as part of the enduring plan of the US to become the world’s dominant super-power, which requires the dismemberment of Russia, the EU was forced by the US to apply “Sanctions” to commerce with Russia.

Russia responded with sanctions of its own on European commerce, namely by cutting off its purchases of Europe’s products in agriculture and industry.

France has been adversely affected by the loss of Russia for its agricultural products and Germany equally affected by the loss of Russia for its industrial products.

However, Russia could respond not only by opposing military strength to military threats and applying counter-sanctions, but by undermining NATO’s threats and the “Sanctions” régime by means of a moral initiative which would strongly impress public opinion in Europe regarding Russia.

Let us remember that Napoleon once said, “In war, morale is three times more important than weaponry.”

The moral initiative which Russia could take to dissolve Europe’s support for NATO, counter American propaganda regarding the threat of “Russian Aggression”, and eliminate the program of European “Sanctions”, would be to create the Silver Ruble coin – a completely unexpected action for which Russia’s adversaries are totally unprepared and for which they have no answer.

A Brief Description of the Silver Ruble Coin:

Russia's Silver Rubles

The Russian silver coin to be monetized would contain 1/2 ounce of pure silver, alloyed to .900 or .916 purity, for durability.

The silver coin would be minted and monetized in Russian rubles by the Treasury of the Russian Federation, by a monetary quote issued by the Treasury.

The coin would bear no stamped monetary value.

The monetized silver coin would become a parallel currency, which would circulate in parallel with the ruble currency issued by the Russian Central Bank.

The Silver Ruble coins would form part of “M-0” (“M-zero”) which is the narrowest gauge of money supply.

Thus M-0 would be made up of Russian Silver Ruble coins, along with the banknotes and base-metal coins issued by the Central Bank.

For the Russian Silver Ruble coin to remain in circulation as money, and form part of M-0 indefinitely, it would be indispensable that the coin receive its monetary value in rubles by means of a “monetary quote” which would be issued by the Treasury.

This quote would be communicated to the population daily by the Media.

Otherwise, a traditional stamped value on the coin in rubles would soon be surpassed by rises in the price of silver and the coin would be demonetized, as were all its predecessors in the last century.

Saint Vladimir

The creation of the Silver Ruble coin would mark an important precedent, because at present, no government in the world issues currency: all governments have abdicated from that right, in favor of their respective Central Banks, each of which belongs to the world-embracing syndicate of Central Banks headed by the Federal Reserve of the USA.

The present worldwide system of Central Banking has exhausted its possibilities, as is evident in the fact that 17 countries in the world are now suffering “negative interest rates”, that is to say, interest rates below zero for large depositors in banks, which amount to a punishment on savers.

The “negative interest rate policy” is a logical aberration and serves to demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of the world’s Central Banking System.

The economies of the world are in a slump and there is not one country in the world that is enjoying a worry-free prosperity.

It is time for a change, and the Silver Ruble coin would mark a necessary change, because:

a) The creation of the Silver Ruble coin by the Treasury of the Russian Federation would signify that Russia affirms its sovereign right to create money, a right which has been usurped by the Central Banks of the world, and

b) because its monetary value in Russian rubles would reside in the value of the silver it contains.

The rising price of silver would translate to a rising monetary quote for the Silver Ruble, making it ideal as an instrument for the modest amounts of savings that even the poorest Russian would like to have: the rising monetary value of the Silver Ruble would protect savings from inflation, while being totally liquid at any moment.

The Silver Ruble coin’s monetary value, given by a quote on the part of the Treasury, should increase with increases in the value of the silver content, but remain unchanged with falls in the value of the silver content. History provides abundant proof that nations that have used silver money, have always disregarded falls in the value of the silver in their silver money.

The only thing extraordinary about this coin would be its adaptation to modern circumstances.

There is no logical contradiction.

Russia silver coin

Strategic and Political Implications:

The creation of the Silver Ruble would astound Europe, and indeed, every one of the other 7 billion humans upon this Earth, because it would be a return to true money, which does not exist in today’s world.

Please consider the transcendent political implications for Russia in gathering the admiration and interest of the whole world with this simple measure.

In the simplest terms, an action that gathers the attention of the whole world is of enormous importance politically: for instance, the importance of the Space Program of the US has resided in that the world watches and is strongly impressed by this spectacular capability of the US, and therefore unconsciously accepts and consents to the economic, political and social programs emanating from the US.

In sports, spectators watch and cheer the player that is carrying the ball. In politics, the world’s attention is centered on the nation that is ahead of others in adopting new policies to deal with political conditions that are no longer satisfactory.

By creating the Silver Ruble coin, Russia places itself on the center-stage of the world, with an innovation that will immediately strike the imagination of the entire population of the globe. ¡Russia is now carrying the ball!

Europeans would be fascinated by Russia’s remarkable move, since they are now the object of their European Central Bank’s (ECB) policy of punishing them for saving by applying “negative interest rate policy” (NIRP); indeed, the ECB threatens Europeans with the elimination of the Euro 500 banknote, which the ECB knows quite well is the new refuge sought by savers trying to escape the punishment of NIRP; and the ECB has already taken the first step in its aggression against savers in the EU by ceasing to print any more Euro 500 banknotes.

The thinking of Europeans would be:

“How can Russia be considered a threat, when it is doing something as interesting, attractive and humane as instituting, once again, silver as money? And why do the Russians now have silver money for their savings, while our own ECB is waging war against our interest, which is to save the money it provides, and which is only paper in any case? Surely, Russia is not our enemy; it is leading the way to a better world.”

Please note that with this measure, Russia is undercutting the moral standing of NATO, and demolishing the picture of Russia as an aggressor nation. The creation of the Silver Ruble coin is a strategic move of immense importance!

Besides impressing all Europeans, the creation of the Silver Ruble would be a welcome surprise for millions of Americans who have been saving important amounts of silver coins.

The Russian measure would reinforce the convictions of this segment of US population, that includes the most intelligent Americans. Millions of Americans would change their attitude – from doubts, to a favorable opinion of Russia.

This would undermine the “War Party” in the US, which paints Russia as an aggressor.

Russian Politics:

This new form of money would be received with unbounded joy on the part of the population of the Russian Federation.

The effect upon Russia itself would be simply electrifying: the most remote regions of Russia would wish to see, acquire and hold these coins as savings, because they would not be subject to devaluation, but would rise in ruble value as the ruble price of silver continued to rise.

This impulse would serve to gather the remote regions of Russia into complete support and identification with the central government in Moscow.

That some of the savings of the Russian people may be in the form of silver coins represents a revolutionary change in monetary policy: its objective is not directly growth of GDP, which is the objective of Central Banking.

Its objective is truly revolutionary: it is simply the true enrichment of the Russian people, for the purposes which each individual may wish to give to his accumulated wealth.

History shows us that this policy has been everywhere and at all times the pre-condition for general prosperity.

We cannot think of any measure – so simple to effect – that would produce so much joy for the population of Russia and such overwhelming political support for its present government, a measure that would create a new image of Russia, which the world’s nations will seek to imitate, and which at the same time, does not affect the present Russian ruble monetary system, administered by the Russian Central Bank.

Convicted Soviet Spy Harry Dexter White (left) and John Maynard Keynes (right) at the Bretton Woods Conference conspiring Rothschild's Private Federal Reserve 1913.

Leadership is won by means of better ideas; the US squandered its right to leadership by the imposition of the defective “Bretton Woods Agreements” of 1944, whose defects were clearly perceived fifty years ago by France’s great President, General Charles de Gaulle – defects that have led, inevitably, to the present monetary and financial debacle which spans the world.With the Silver Ruble coin, Russia consolidates its political unity and baffles its adversaries.

The eyes of the world will turn to Russia for leadership to a better world.

II. The Silver Ruble Coin Revolution Strengthens Russia

The international monetary order consists of a world network of Central Banks which accumulate dollars as reserves, as well as other currencies considered as worthy of enjoying “Reserve Currency” status, though these currencies themselves also accumulate indispensable dollar reserves.

Russia and China are the only countries that could challenge the prevailing monetary order, because they have the armaments necessary to stand up to the US.

The only monetary order which could completely eliminate the dollar as the world’s reserve currency would be the gold standard, under which gold becomes the world’s money, as it was prior to 1914.

The transformation of the world’s economy which will, at some point, accompany an inevitable return to gold as the world’s money, will be an extremely traumatic event. It does not appear to be in the interest of Russia or of China to go down that path, at least for the time being

However, the international monetary order, which derives its existence from the “Bretton Woods Agreements” of 1944, is exhausted.

The world is in a slump.

There is not a single country in the world to which we can point as a model of prosperity and stability.

All countries are at monetary war with each other in the struggle to obtain dollar reserves, whose only origin is the US and which are indispensable for economic and political stability.

The time has come for a new idea regarding money: the creation of a silver coin with a monetary value, which can circulate in parallel with “paper” money.

The Russian “Silver Ruble”, issued by the Treasury of the Russian Federation: a 1/2 ounce silver coin with a monetary value in rubles quoted by the Treasury and no stamped face value.

The quoted ruble value of the coin to rise with rises in the ruble value of silver, but to remain stable with falls in the ruble value of silver.

The creation of this Silver Ruble would mean a historic, fundamental break of the stranglehold exerted on the world by the present monetary order.

It would mean that once again, silver attains status as money in Russia.

The creation of this coin would not require the overthrow the present monetary order, as a return to gold as money would do, but it would be an important step towards the return to gold as money.

The Russian silver coin would be monetized in Russian rubles to yield the Treasury a seigniorage (profit) of 20% over the cost of the silver in the coin, plus cost of minting.

The monetization would be effected by a monetary quote on the part of the Treasury, which would announce every day the monetary value of the silver coin in rubles: the monetary value of the coin would rise with rises in the ruble value of silver, but would remain unchanged with falls in the ruble value of silver.

he creation of the silver ruble coin by the Treasury of the Russian Federation would signify that Russia affirms its sovereign right to create money, a right which has been usurped by the Central Banks of the world.

We have no doubt whatsoever that this new form of money, the result of a new idea, would be received with unbounded joy on the part of the population of the Russian Federation, and that the political support it would generate for the present government of Russia would be overwhelming and lasting.

The effect upon the population would be simply electrifying: the most remote regions of Russia would wish to see, acquire and hold these coins as savings, because they would not be subject to devaluation, but would surely rise in ruble value as the ruble price of silver continued to rise.

This impulse would serve to gather the remote regions of Russia into complete support and identification with the central government in Moscow.

Rothschild's Keynesian West

The measure to create the Silver Ruble is not a measure to promote economic growth, which we suspect means little to the average Russian.

It is a measure – truly revolutionary in this age – to promote the wealth of each Russian; wealth which each Russian will be able to hold in his hand and save in his home.

This is a measure which each Russian will understand immediately and support with enthusiasm.

We cannot think of any measure – so simple to effect – that would produce so much joy for the population of Russia and such overwhelming political support for its present government.

A measure which at the same time, does not affect the present Russian ruble monetary system, administered by the Russian Central Bank.

III. The Silver Ruble Coin: True Wealth for Russians

There is one path, and only one path, to a world of international economic co-operation and stability in peaceful relations, and that path is the resumption of the use of gold as the world’s money.

However, to recover that path would today imply what we might term “major surgery” in the world’s economic structure. Today, no country seems anxious to enter that period of major economic surgery. Tomorrow, events may force the decision.

The creation of a new, parallel currency in Russia, in the form of a silver coin, to be issued by the Treasury of the Russian Federation, which would give the coin a quoted monetary value (which will rise with rises in the ruble price of silver, but not fall if the ruble price of silver falls) is a simple and straightforward measure which would certainly not disrupt Russia’s economy.

We have already shown that the yearly minting into silver coins of 1,000 tons of silver would only produce 0.7% (seven-tenths of one percent) of the total of rubles in the hands of the public (M0).

The question then arises: How much silver coinage should be created?

The Central Bank of Russia controls the ruble money supply in Russia, and through its control of the banking system, the credit issued in Russian rubles.

For practical purposes, the Silver Ruble coin issued by the Treasury of the Russian Federation would have to be considered, by the Bank of Russia, as if it were a foreign currency whose value is not under its control.

The banking system would credit ruble balances of customers for the ruble value of the silver coins deposited for credit to those accounts, and it would debit the same accounts (or receive cash) for silver coin sales to the public

There can be only one destination for the Silver Ruble coin in Russia: the savings of the Russian people.

The total of personal savings in silver ruble coins in Russia would be the reflection of the aggregate capacity of Russians to save silver coins.

Like any individual who is offered silver coins for his savings, the aggregate will respond in the same fashion: it will absorb silver coins up to its capacity and willingness to save in silver.

If the number of silver coins offered to the public surpasses its momentary capacity to save, then the public will not be able to take up all the silver coins offered to it.

The distributor of the silver coins would be the Russian banking system; at some moment, the public might not be able to purchase all the coins offered to it, because the public’s capacity for savings had been momentarily saturated.

Since the banking system would only be able to place the coins among the public by selling them in exchange for Russian rubles, unsold silver coins would not be of any use to the banking system: it would be quite unable to extend credit denominated in Silver Ruble coins or open digital bank accounts denominated in Silver Ruble coins.

At that time, the banking system could return silver coins to the Treasury for credit in Russian rubles.

After a short period, the public’s capacity for savings would quite naturally renew and a renewed demand for silver coins would become evident; whatever surplus of coins the Treasury might have, would once again be absorbed by the public through the banking system.

Thus, the creation of silver ruble coins by the Treasury would have to take into account the capacity of the public to acquire the coins for its savings.

That savings of the Russian people may be in the form of silver coins represents a transcendent change in monetary policy: its objective is not directly growth, or greater economic activity.

It’s objective is truly revolutionary: it is simply the true enrichment of the population, for the purposes which each individual may wish to give to his accumulated wealth.

Needless to say, this policy has been responsible everywhere and at all times in history as the pre-condition for general prosperity.

The desire for additional wealth is not subject to a limit.

Since the silver coin is a unit of wealth, there can be no theoretical limit to the amount of silver coinage that the Treasury of the Russian Federation may place in the hands of its population.

In time, as individual Russians acquire Silver Ruble coins and thus increase their wealth, those Russians who consider that they have accumulated sufficient wealth will quite spontaneously wish to exchange their wealth for income.

They will then exchange their Silver Ruble coins (which undoubtedly will have increased substantially in monetary value) for investments which will produce an income.

Some individuals will purchase property in order to obtain rental income.

Other individuals will seek to acquire land for productive purposes, or machinery for their agricultural properties; some will acquire shops, or inventory for their shops, or additional equipment for enterprises which they already own; some individuals might purchase gold backed bonds, to provide interest income, if such bonds were available.

The list of possible ways to exchange wealth for income, is endless.

The only economically sound basis for prosperity lies in the accumulation of wealth through savings, which at some point is exchanged for means to acquire income. The Silver Ruble coin offers Russians an enticing way to accumulate wealth.

IV. Economic Effects of the Russian Silver Ruble Coin

It would be difficult if not impossible to detect price changes in the Russian market, attributable to the introduction of silver coins into circulation in the country.

If every year, 1,000 tons of silver were minted and put into circulation with a quoted monetary value (based on today’s prevailing exchange rate for the Russian ruble and the dollar price of silver) the proportion of silver rubles to paper rubles and base metal coins would still not differ much from 0.7% (seven tenths of one percent).

This is because it is likely that the yearly growth of paper rubles and base metal coins in Russia will be greater than the increase in the quantity of additional silver rubles each year. Money in circulation in every country of the world increases every year by much more that 0.7%, and Russia is no exception.

The economic effect of the introduction of 1,000 tons of silver rubles into circulation each year – only 0.7% of the total of banknotes and base metal coinage in the hands of the public – would be too small and spread out over the whole economy to be measured by price changes.

Saving is the abstention from consuming.

At present prices, if 1,000 tons of silver were minted into Silver Ruble coins, their monetary value as quoted by the Russian Treasury would amount to 50 Billion rubles.

If 50 Billion rubles’ worth of Silver Ruble coins were sold to the Russian people in exchange for their banknotes or base coin money, that would imply a reduction in consumption , and an increase in the people’s savings, of 50 Billion rubles each year.

We cannot know exactly what things the Russian people would not buy, in order to be able to purchase silver coins whose projected monetary value may be of the order of 800 rubles, if present day prices and the exchange rate remain stable.

Russians would have various preferences about what things they would do without, in order to acquire Silver Ruble coins.

Once in the hands of the people, “Gresham’s Law” assures us that the silver coins will not be spent by their owners.

Though perfectly acceptable and welcome in payment, the owners of silver coins will prefer to put away the silver coins as savings, and use banknotes, base metal coins or digital balances in the banking system to make payments

Silver ruble coins will only be spent in the face of individual personal emergencies, and will be immediately snapped up by the public, anxious to increase their savings.

The importance of the Silver Ruble coin is not primarily economic and measurable statistically. Its enormous importance lies in the satisfaction of the Russian people and the wholehearted support which it will generate for the Government of Russia.

V. The Russian Silver Ruble Coin vis a vis the US Dollar

At the present time, the US Dollar is the world’s currency.

There are some 170 currencies in the world, but they are all really nothing more than disguises for the Dollar.

The proof is that when the Central Bank of any country runs out of Dollars, the currency issued by that Central Bank becomes worthless.

The Silver Ruble coin would unquestionably be a currency superior to the US Dollar, and at present, the only currency superior to the US Dollar.

The Russian Silver Ruble coin would be the best currency in the world, because its monetary value will be a function of the international value of the silver it contains, a value independent of the Russian Central Bank’s holding of Dollars.

It would be the only currency that would not lose purchasing power, and the only currency that would be rising in monetary value for quite some time to come, as the price of silver rises in international markets.

We predict that the Silver Ruble coin would immediately find a ready market in Europe and in Ukraine, now at odds with Russia.Since the Russian Silver Ruble coin would be the world’s best currency, its desirability would not be limited to the population of Russia. Russia’s neighbors would undoubtedly exhibit a desire to own Silver Ruble coins, especially taking into account the ECB’s lunatic policy of ceasing to print Euro 500 banknotes, the EU’s flirting with the idea of a totally cashless economy where all money would be nothing more than digits on bank computers – digits which have been threatened with “bail-ins” of customers’ accounts to help pay for banking bankruptcy – and finally, the EU’S shameful “demonization” of people’s use of banknotes to pay for any purchase over a small amount of cash, by grouping innocent people with tax-evaders and drug dealers.

Whether the Silver Ruble coin would travel in an orderly fashion, through established institutions, or simply filter through all official barriers and “black markets” to Europe, the Russian Silver Ruble coin would find its way, inevitably, into the hands of Europeans, who want to hold their savings in something better than the dollar and their own currencies.

Silver coins are available to Europeans, but they are all subject to an “Added Value Tax” because they are not money.

The Silver Ruble coin should not be subject to this tax, because it is MONEY.

This would be an important advantage to the sale of Silver Ruble coins to Europe.

The Silver Ruble coin would certainly not overthrow the importance of the US Dollar: Dollars are negotiated in astronomic quantities.

But it would dethrone the Dollar as far as quality is concerned: the Silver Ruble coin would be seen by all Europeans as the currency superior to the Dollar.

We have mentioned elsewhere, the inevitable political effect upon Europe, favorable to Russia, as a result of European recognition of the superior monetary quality of the Russian Silver Ruble coin.

The export of Silver Ruble coins to foreign countries should be viewed in a positive light by Russia’s government: not only would the Silver Ruble coins carry with them a very favorable impression of Russia, received by inhabitants of neighboring countries – Ukraine comes to mind – but the export would be substantially beneficial to Russia in economic terms.

The silver in the Silver Ruble coins would be sold for export at the current international market price of silver, plus a 20% profit after costs of minting.

It would be to Russia’s benefit to mint and export silver coins to the full amount demanded by the external market.

If the market were to absorb all the silver produced by Russian mines, it would still be profitable to purchase silver on the international markets, to satisfy export demand.

Minting Silver Ruble coins adds value to silver; thus the export of coins is preferable to the export of silver as a commodity, in 30 Kg. bars.

VI. Silver Ruble Coin and Money Supply

Data at show that the total supply of banknotes and base metal coins in the hands of the public in the Russian Federation, as of February 2016, amounted to 7,150 Billion rubles.

The total supply of banknotes and coins in the hands of the public is the monetary aggregate known as “M0”, or “M-Zero”.

This is the narrowest calculation of money supply in Russia.

If a silver coin were to be monetized in Russian Rubles by the Treasury of the Russian Federation, it would be placed into circulation in parallel with the banknotes and coins issued by the Bank of Russia, and would form part of the monetary aggregate known as “M0”.

One metric ton of silver contains 32,150 ounces.

If the coin to be minted. quoted with a monetary value, and placed into circulation were to be a 1/2 oz. coin, then the number of coins produced from one ton of silver would be 64,300 oz.

Supposing an initial quantity of 100 tons of silver were minted into 1/2 oz. coins, the quantity of coins produced would be 6,430,000.

A recent calculation of a possible monetary quote for the 1/2 oz. silver coin yielded a value of 800 Rubles.

This quote – using the price of silver extant when the calculation was made – would provide an assured profit (known as “seigniorage”) for the Treasury of the Russian Federation of 20% over the cost of the silver metal plus minting costs.

The total quoted monetary value of the silver coins issued would be: 6,430,000 X 800 = 5.144 Billion rubles.

For the same of simplicity, let us round out the figure to 5 Billion rubles.

Placing these silver coins into circulation would remove from circulation 5 Billion paper rubles, if paper and base metal coins were handed in to the banking system in exchange for the coins; alternatively, if digital banking balances were used to pay for the Silver Ruble coins, those balances would be drawn down at a rate of 800 paper rubles for one silver coin.

If only paper rubles and base metal coins were used in the acquisition of the Silver Ruble coin, M0 would remain unchanged at 7,150 Billion rubles, but of this sum, 5 Billion rubles would be in the form of 6,430,000 silver coins.

If only digital bank balances were drawn down, M0 would increase by 5 Billion rubles, to 7,155 Billion rubles.

In this last case, the proportion of rubles in paper banknotes and base metal coins, to rubles in the form of silver coins would then be: 7,150: 5.

7,150/5 = 1,430 paper and coin rubles for every silver ruble in circulation.

The value of silver rubles in circulation, after minting 100 tons of silver, would represent 0.07% (seven hundredths of one percent) of the value of the remaining paper banknotes and base metal coins in circulation.

If the amount of silver coins minted were increased ten times, to 1,000 tons, the value of the silver coins in circulation would also increase by a factor of ten, to 0.7% (seven tenths of one percent) of the monetary value of the remaining paper banknotes and base metal coins in circulation (M0).

The quoted monetary value of the silver coins would then be 50 Billion rubles; and since the quoted monetary value of the silver coins would include a 20% of assured seigniorage for the Treasury of the Russian Federation, the profit from minting 1,000 tons of silver would be 10 Billion rubles a year.

(We mention the profit of the Treasury because it illustrates the fact that turning silver into money is a far more profitable use for the metal, than simply selling it as a commodity on the world markets.)

Due to the inevitable operation of “Gresham’s Law”, the silver coins would be withdrawn from active circulation and placed into savings in the hands of the public.

The coins could be used as money for purchases and would have to continue to form part of “M0”, but would be retained as savings, in “passive” circulation. Thus, the “active circulation” of “M0” would in effect be reduced, in this last example, by the amount of 50 Billion rubles.

However, variations in the amount of “M0” for the past year have been of comparable size, and in the latest months reported, a change (of 0.7%) caused by the introduction of the Silver Ruble coins to an amount of 50 Billion rubles, would be far less than the reductions and increases actually registered.

Thus the monetary effect of minting 1,000 tons of silver into 1/2 oz. coins each year would be negligible.

Table for Russian “M-0” in recent months:

Russia Money Supply M0

VII. Central Bankers and Silver Money

At present, and for many years before these times, and for reasons which it would take a thick book to document, the world community of Central Bankers considers that it is its duty and in the best interests of society, to direct their policies to the promotion of their objective of economic growth.

Central Bankers must justify their existence in the eyes of the public by showing proof of their efficient activity, as reflected in substantial increases in national economic growth.

When “growth” is not present, the political edifice is in danger of collapsing, because the politicians advertise their skill and keep themselves in office, by quoting the figures on growth which the Central Bank produces.

Spending by the public leaves a trail of data which can be gathered and evaluated; when spending increases, the Central Bankers may be able to present a picture of economic growth, based on numbers which can be gathered and analyzed.

On the other hand, Central Bankers are disturbed when the public prefers to save rather than to spend. Central Bankers interpret less spending – increases in savings, that is – as the prelude to diminishing growth.

Central Banker phobia for savings has approached the level of madness, as we can see in the policy of the ECB which is aimed at punishing savers by charging them “negative interest” on their bank deposits.

The ECB is now considering a future punitive move against savers, by eliminating the Euro 500 banknotes which savers may hope to acquire, if they are to avoid the punishment of negative interest on their bank deposits.

It has recently decided to cease printing the Euro 500 banknote, as a first step in that direction.

The ideas that the population of any country should enjoy economic freedom; that the population should be allowed the satisfaction of accumulating savings, and that the population should not be the object of a war by the Central Banks upon its desire to accumulate savings – such ideas are unfortunately, foreign to the intellectual formation of the Central Banker.

Growth can be measured by prices and volumes of sales – or so the Central Bankers think – while the personal satisfactions of the individuals that make up a nation, including the satisfaction of accumulating silver savings, cannot be measured.

The satisfaction felt by the saver when he accumulates silver coins is one of the great satisfactions of economically active men and women.


The Central Banker cannot measure this highly important satisfaction, and since savings can be interpreted by the Central Banker as leading to contraction of growth and economic breakdown, the Central Banker is, generally speaking, an enemy of popular savings – and especially of savings in silver, a monetary metal which cannot be conjured up by expanding credit, which is what Central Bankers do.

The world’s network of Central Banks reflects the obsession of the world’s intellectuals with technology, which is based on number and which has obtained enormous importance in our world.

The natural sciences that support technology are based on numbers arrived at by experimentation, and they are therefore positivist.

“Mainstream Economics” – which supports the institution of Central Banking – strives to be considered as one of the Positivist Sciences.

However, in dealing with affairs of the mind, “Mainstream Economics” – which is what Central Bankers practise – is applying methods only appropriate to the natural sciences.

Positivist technology is inappropriate in the realm of economics, which deals with human action.

Thus, Central Bankers are unable to consider how human beings are going to react to their policies.

The following is an example of this inability on the part of Central Bankers to comprehend the importance of satisfying the wishes of the populations, rather than satisfying their own arbitrarily selected objectives:

The author of these lines received a signed letter from a Central Bank, which expressed two reasons for opposing the creation of a silver coin with a quoted monetary value:

1. Because “silver is too expensive to be used a money”, and

2. Because the price of silver fluctuates in value.

With the first reason it gave for opposing the creation of a silver coin with a quoted monetary value, the Central Bank unconsciously revealed its fundamental point of view: that people are not worthy of owning truly valuable money with intrinsic worth, and that the Central Bank is not interested in the satisfaction of the people in owning silver money.

The second reason simply ignores the nature of the proposed silver ruble coin, which is that its monetary value will always increase with increases in the value of silver, but remain stable in case of falls in the value of silver.

The attitude of all Central Banks is to shun, as the plague, any idea of an alternative money that does not devalue and cannot be created by the Central Bank.

The economic science of Central Bankers is actually no science at all: it is the expression of the value judgments of the Central Bankers, who wish to impose upon their captive populations their own value judgments of what is convenient for their populations, and suppress or even combat – as in their imposition of NIRP – the individual wishes of the millions who are subject to their “diktat”.

VIII. The Failure of Mechanistic Economics

The first requirement for successful action upon the physical world is correct information about the facts upon which we are to act.

The Wright brothers understood this requirement when they began their work to build a flying machine, because they began by a rudimentary but quite effective study of aerodynamics; they built models of wings and tested their behavior.

They then proceeded to design a wing for their flying machine based upon the results of their tests and thus achieved a historic success in 1903.

As a result of the enormous successes which industry achieved during the 19th and 20th centuries, humanity has fallen in love with Physics, the study of the physical world. In the physical world experimentation is fundamental and provides reliable results, because in the realm of physics we can endlessly repeat any experiment and obtain exactly the same result every time.

We live in a world of truly dazzling successes: marvelous television, billions of cell phones, the Internet, fantastic air travel – the list is endless.

However, with regard to the condition of human beings, the record is not at all pleasing.

Our world is in a state of bankruptcy; there is a growing popular dissatisfaction with political and economic arrangements; famine is apparent in some regions.

The financial world is in total disarray.

Humanity is not happy.

What has happened over the past couple of centuries is that the leading thinkers were seduced by the success of physics and fell into the mistaken idea that the principles that were so successful in the realm of physics were the same principles that could resolve human problems – a huge mistake.

If we analyze present-day economics and its sister, politics, we find that the basis of Keynesianism – which rules the world, today – is fundamentally an attempt to apply the principles of physics to a realm which is not governed by physics, but by the capacity of humans to choose: the realm of choosing, developed by the Austrian School of Economics and its up-dated version, expounded by the New Austrian School of Economics led by Professor Antal E. Fekete.


Physics quantifies: it measures, weighs and counts both time and quantity. It experiments and determines predictable relationships between physical causes and effects.

The dismal failure of Keynesian economics which now engulfs the whole world has happened because the Keynesians have been determining economic policy on the basis of statistics, a process of measuring, weighing and counting.

Then they have proceeded to experiment, as the physicists do, upon humanity; QE1 and QE2 have been, admittedly, nothing more than experiments.

The Keynesians have expected bright success from their “scientific approach” to economics, but as is clearly evident, they have failed miserably.

The fact is that there exist two different realms upon which human intelligence may operate: the realm of the material, physical world and the realm of human events: Austrian Economics and its sister, Politics.

Physics is the correct approach to dealing with the material world.

But as soon as we wish to deal with the realm of human action, we are in an entirely different sphere, because humans can choose.

There is no such thing as choice the physical world; it is a faculty limited to human beings.

Physics deals with the understanding of relationships between entities that have no choice.

Therefore, the experimentation of physics reveals constants and predictable results, but Physics is helpless when the object of its study has a choice: if atoms had the faculty of choosing, Physics could have no atomic theory!

Since humans have the capacity to choose, economic theory based on the laws of Physics cannot deal with humans successfully.

Constants are non-existent in the realm of human action because humans choose and are therefore unpredictable.

Graphs are of little use, because they only show us something about what has taken place in the past, but as successful (and unsuccessful) speculators know, they don’t give us any certainty at all about what will take place in the future.

Statistics are arbitrary selections out of an immense mass of historic data – all data are historic, as they register what has happened in the past – and are inevitably colored by the value judgments of the statistician as he selects what he considers the important data.

Equations are useless and misleading, because choosing is about differences, and equations are about equalities.

“Sociology” – the brain child of August Comte – aims to reduce human behavior to a science, along the lines of the physical sciences, but as one wit said:

“Just about the only thing Sociology has been able to discover is – that some do, and some don’t.”

Do what? Anything and everything!

And yet, this is what “Economics” today is all about: statistics, the search for constants and the elaboration of graphs.

This is the approach of physics to a realm that is utterly beyond the scope of physics.

Failure – the inability to achieve its objectives – is the guaranteed result of the application of Keynesian mechanistic economics to politics, because of the objects with which physics can deal successfully, none have the faculty of choosing, whereas humans can and do choose at every moment of their waking lives.

Combine mechanistic economics with the printing-press and digital money the world is forced to use, and you have the sufficient reasons for a collapse of civilization as we have known it. It is indeed very odd that a whole brilliant civilization can be taken down by the acceptance of a set of false ideas.

The X22 Report Tells Us What The MSM Won’t!


As shared in this recent story from Bloomberg, the richest 400 people in the world have just lost a combined $182 BILLION dollars after the disastrous stock market crash on Thursday/Friday. 
If Americans think that we will somehow escape the coming pain, the newly released video from the X22 Report Spotlight should help us to regain our focus as special guest Bill Holter joins Dave from X22 Report to tell us why we all better be prepared now; Monday could quite easily bring absolute disaster.

In the 2nd video we learn that there’s a strong possibility that the DOW may soon lose 10,000 points in an ‘epic Wall Street’ rant.
The account of the third video was terminated by YouTube – can you say CENSORED? I KNEW you could!
Telling us that the economic collapse could quickly help turn America into a 3rd world country, Dave and Bill tell us that we should be prudent, especially if we haven’t been preparing for what ANP and other alternative media outlets have been warning readers about for some time now….the clock is ticking viciously away and the sand in the hourglass counting down economic Armageddon has almost run out. 


The story in the Telegraph from August 17th, days before the most recent Wall Street crash (the 2 day market crash was bigger than ANY 1 day crash in US history!), told us that the doomsday clock for a global market crash had struck one minute before midnight. China’s currency devaluation, we are told, signaled the coming ‘endgame’ and left equity markets teetering on the edge. 
As one trusted ANP source has told us, if we are NOT prepared for what’s coming, disaster awaits and it could be terminal. 
While this linked story by Susan Duclos told us about what the 1st 72 hours after an EMP attack upon America might look like, we learned that the difference between life and death is most often based upon preparation and while an economic collapse would not bring the exact same circumstances that an EMP attack would, the overall situation remains the same. ‘Get There Before The Food Runs Out!’ Susan warned, ‘for when catastrophe hits, it will already be too late!


Susan also shared that should an EMP attack strike America, millions of Americans would die in the 1st month alone. 
We also know that civilization is only 9 meals away from anarchyIf we’re not prepared, our next meal may only be obtainable at a local FEMA camp. 
With Venezuela having just declared 60 days of martial law in 5 municipalities of the border state Tachira as warned in a new story from Zero Hedge, we can only wonder how long it will be until the US is forced to do the same thing as the economy completes its apocalyptic tumble, leaving America just the latest country to taste what China is tasting now as their central bank loses control… they certainly won’t be the last.