ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

Friday, August 31, 2012

Long Live The Revolution

Long Live The Revolution

By Bretigne Shaffer
Information Clearing House
Friday, August 31, 2012

I’ve seen many posts like this one today, from Antonia Litsinger:

“Well, I'm not going to get into the classic insanity mode - doing
things over and over and expecting different results. I'm done
with this whole political shit. It was fun for a while and I met a
whole bunch of great people in the liberty movement. Let the
crooks and the deviants have it. I've withdrawn my consent and
am turning my back to them all.”

This is good. This is someone waking up.

This is someone - and there are many of them - who has put
a real effort into changing things for the better through the
political system.

Many have been doing it since 2007, some even longer.

And while some will continue the fight, continue working to get
“good people” into bad offices, others are starting to look a little
deeper, are starting to recognize that it is the system itself that is
broken, not the particular individuals who happen to be heading it
up at the moment.

I shouldn’t be, but I am still surprised when I hear people urging
me to support Romney because Obama will be so much worse, or
Obama because Romney will be so much worse.

I hear this from smart people, people I respect, and I have to do
a double take because I can’t believe what I’m hearing.

I can’t believe they can’t see that both of these people - or
more accurately, the interests that support both of these people -
are phenomenally evil and that to support either one is to support
driving our country further toward a police state, aggressive
military adventurism, economic cronyism and ultimately bankruptcy.

Yet people are so tribal, and so ruled by fear.

I don’t know where the tribalism comes from. Some of it is
learned, but I fear some of it is innate, and it still astounds
me to see how powerful it is, to watch otherwise intelligent
and caring people throw their support behind what can only be
described as a fascist dictator, all because he’s “one of them”.

“He’s a Democrat and I’m a Democrat and Democrats are good!”
Or “yes, he’s awful, but the other guy is so much worse!”

It is such a powerless position to be in, and is precisely how the
power elite maintain their control over our lives - through fear.

Fear of the terrorists their own policies incited; fear of “rich”
people; fear of “illegal” immigrants; fear of the other guy who
might win if you don’t throw your support behind our equally
awful candidate.

What struck me, in reading the Tweets of those watching
the proceedings, was this:

Those who today were cheering because now “Ron Paul will
finally retire and we’ll be done with him”, or berating him
for not falling in line and supporting Romney like a good
Party Member, really don’t get it.

It’s not that they don’t “get” Ron Paul, it’s not that they don’t
agree with his message or don’t understand why so many people
are so passionate about him.

It’s not even that they don’t “get” that Romney and Obama are
essentially the same.

What they don’t get is that the point of the liberty movement is not
simply to win elections, and it is certainly not to win elections just
for the sake of winning them.

The point of the liberty movement is to bring about liberty.

And after witnessing the corruption and dishonesty of the 2008
election proceedings and now the 2012 elections so far, it just may
be dawning on more than a few in this movement that participating
in the establishment’s rigged game is not an effective way of
bringing about a free society.

If there is anything good that comes out of the Republican National
Convention of 2012, it will be this:

That the Republican Party leadership’s blatant disregard for its own
procedures, its willingness to change the rules at the last minute to
prevent an outcome it does not want, will be instructive to those
who still believe in “working within the system to change the system.”

It will push more liberty activists to start thinking of more creative
ways, more productive ways of bringing about a free society.

And it’s about time.

Many of us were cynical about building a free society by using the
machinery of the state all along. But we supported Ron Paul
because we had to say we tried.

For myself, I felt that if his presidncy was even a possibility (even
though I don’t even believe in the office of the presidency) I had
to do what I could to make it happen, for the sake of the lives that
would be saved by reining in an aggressive foreign policy if nothing

And I did, and I don’t regret it. But now it’s time to get serious
about building a free society.

The illusion that we can do it through the voting booth should
by now be thoroughly discredited.

Our focus should now be on building the society we believe in - one
that is based on peaceful, voluntary interactions, where violence is
only acceptable as a response to violence.

The coercive system is failing, and it will only get worse.

It’s time for us to get to work.

Bretigne Shaffer is the author of Memoirs of a Gaijin and
Why Mommy Loves the State. She blogs at

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scared and Silent: Censoring the Truth Under Obama

Scared and Silent: Censoring the Truth Under Obama

By Jemima Pierre
Black Agenda Report
August 29, 2012

Legacies are built around what is known about a presidency.

However, President Obama is amassing a legacy of secrets kept
and whistleblowers punished.

The Obama administration has been after Wikileaks since that
organization released classified military reports and diplomatic
cables showing evidence of US war crimes in Iraq.

This past weekend, while giving a televised speech from the
balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange
directed a segment of his comments towards US president
Barack Obama.

Assange demanded that the Obama administration stop its
unprecedented “war on whistleblowers” – a war in which
Assange himself has been cast as an enemy.

Indeed, Assange had been granted political asylum by Ecuadoran
President, Rafael Correa in an attempt to prevent his extradition
to the US, and his supporters are rightly worried that the US
government is gunning to punish the man responsible for one
of the greatest release of classified information in history.

One doesn’t have to dismiss the serious rape allegations against
Assange, or agree with his bizarre libertarian politics, to recognize
the truth in his claim of a US witch-hunt.

The Obama administration has been after Wikileaks since that
organization released classified military reports and diplomatic
cables showing evidence of US war crimes in Iraq, and that
verified its corrupt imperialist actions around the world.

But the Assange stand off provides one more example of the rogue
nature of the Obama administration.

This administration has punished so-called whistleblowers – those
who reveal certain illegal actions by US government agencies –
more than any other in US history.

It has used the obscure Espionage Act, a WWI law meant to go after
spies, more than all other presidential administrations combined.

Similar to George W. Bush, the Obama administration has also been
over-classifying documents that deal with US torture, corruption,
and imperial misadventures, making it much easier to label and
charge so-called enemies of the state.

This is where Assange and Wikileaks come in.

In retaliation, Obama’s administration has gone after both Julian
Assange, the editor of Wikileaks, and Bradley Manning, 24 year old
US army intelligence analyst who is accused of releasing Wikileaks’s
trove of classified information, including the “Collateral Murder”
video of the US military slaughter of Iraqis, two of whom were
Reuters journalists.

For that allegation, Bradley Manning, who has yet to be convicted
of a crime, has spent more than 800 days in military prison,
relentlessly tortured and kept in inhumane conditions.

He is subject to intensive solitary confinement 23 hours a day,
denied a pillow and sheets for his bed, barred from accessing
news events, and subject to extreme sensory deprivation.

But while most people (or, I hope, some people) may be aware of
Assange and Manning, they are probably not familiar with the cases
of other “whistleblowers,” such as John Kiriakou or Thomas Drake.

Kiriakou is a former CIA agent who was indicted in April and
charged under the Espionage Act for allegedly releasing classified
information to journalists.

Kiriakou exposed and assailed the torture technique of “enhanced
interrogation” (otherwise known as waterboarding).

It is this critique of waterboarding, his defense argues, that has
earned him the wrath of the US government.

Thomas Drake is a former National Security Agency (NSA) official
who was also charged under the Espionage Act for criticizing the
agency’s wasteful use of taxpayer money on useless intelligence

He complained that NSA’s mismanagement did not allow it to
catch the 2001 September 11th plot, and led it to spend more
than a billion dollars on a spying program that was eventually

He also questioned the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping.

Drake’s case has received more media attention than the others,
and he recently managed to defeat the government’s espionage

Yet, with these vindictive – and selective – prosecutions the
Obama administration is sending a clear message: that dissent
will be silenced through blatant verbal, physical, and legal

In fact, as Noam Chomsky recently reminded us, Obama, much
more than Bush, has shifted the law towards a culture of political

And it is those who blow the whistle who are punished, not those
who commit the crimes.

Consider that no one from the Bush administration has been
punished for torturing prisoners or for warrantless wiretapping,
or that no Wall Street banks or their executives have been
indicted for causing the global financial collapse.

Now, consider the information “leaked” to the New York Times by
senior government officials that glorified Obama’s personal role in
picking names of victims for his “Kill List,” and the access granted
to filmmakers making a movie about the assassination of Osama Bin

Thus, those who celebrate the president’s callous murder
directives, and who support the US empire’s misadventures
get a free pass.

What the Obama administration is prosecuting, then, is not leaks,
but information that brings the illegal activities of the US under
scrutiny and that show evidence of a failing – and flailing – empire.

As BAR columnist Margaret Kimberly wrote of the Manning case,
“The enemy is anyone, anywhere who dares to consider revealing
the truth about how this country actually conducts itself around
the world.”

Obama has surpassed Bush not only in the criminal treatment
of those who point out this country’s wrongdoing, but also
in its unmatched violations of the rights of those he governs.

Because along with the persecution and prosecution of
whistleblowers, comes the draconian laws, such as the
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows
the government to detain and kill its citizens at will,
and a growing and frightening national security apparatus.

These are meant to keep us all in line – scared shitless and silent.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Sentence of Death

The Most Privileged Actors Deserve the Most Severe Punishment

By B. Sidney Smith
Counter Punch
August 27, 2012

I was a staunch opponent of the death penalty, but in recent
years I have had a change of mind on the issue.

I now support the death penalty, but only for the privileged.

This is not meant to be funny.

There are generally two arguments made in favor of the death
penalty: deterrence and proportionality.

The deterrence argument is really about defending the public
welfare, the idea being that if a would-be perpetrator of capital
crimes knows it might mean their death if they are caught, they
are less likely to commit such crimes.

The proportionality argument has to do with retributive justice;
some crimes are so horrific, it is argued, that justice can only be
served by the ultimate punishment.

Neither of these arguments is supportable in the present system,
which is partly why I previously opposed the death penalty.

The overwhelming majority of death sentences are handed down
for crimes committed by persons who did so at least in part out
of some sort of mental defect.

I don’t mean insanity, exactly; in most cases it is a mix of
ignorance, sociopathy, post-traumatic stress, psychopathy, or
schizophrenia—any of which are likely brought on by conditions
beyond the control of the perpetrator.

Also in many cases the capital crime was occasioned by some form
of extreme emotional or physical duress, despair, or desperation.

This is as true of the private aggravated murder as it is of the
mass murder, such as the recent ones in Colorado, Wisconsin,
and Norway.

In no such case is the death penalty’s deterrence potential
likely to be a factor in the perpetrator’s cogitations, and
to the exent that it might be it is surely countered by the
implicit endorsement of societal violence that state-sanctioned
killing represents.

The proportionality argument fails on two counts.

First, to be just, the degree of punishment must be independent of
any factors other than the crime committed and its circumstances.

But it is incontrovertible that the likelihood of receiving the
death penalty in the present system depends not on the crime
but upon the race and economic status of the defendant.

Second, a crime that results in at most a few dozen deaths may
attract the death penalty but a crime that results in thousands
of deaths, say by falsifying research results in order to rush a
new drug to market, goes effectively unpunished.

This cannot under any analysis be considered proportional.

However, when it comes to persons who occupy top leadership
positions in the public or private sector, or to those whose great
wealth itself establishes them in positions of extraordinary
privelege (the categories of course overlap quite a bit), both the
deterrence argument and the proportionality argument have great

One generally cannot become privileged without being a rational

Indeed, leaders and the financially successful must be capable of
determining to a very fine precision the effects and consequences
of their actions.

They are perhaps best able to weigh the possible repercussions
of their choices against their perceived benefits.

For such a person the knowledge that a given choice might mean
their life is highly likely to be a factor in their decision whether
to commit a capital crime.

The death penalty for such men and women is, in short, apt to
be a deterrent, in most cases a very strong one.

Moreover, while the lone deranged gunman may mow down dozens
in a manic rage, this is very small potatoes next to the mass death
and destruction that the privileged may visit upon their victims.

The corporate CEO or bank president who destroys the household
savings of millions in the service of his own greed, the politician
who visits the devastation of war upon whole societies in service
to corruption and ambition or who betrays his oath of office by
subverting the rule of law and weakening the very fabric of
democratic government—measured by their harm these are the
crimes of greatest proportion, and surely call for the greatest
punishment society deems fit to impose.

Surely, too, these are the crimes that we should most wish to

There is ample precedent for reserving to the most privileged
actors the most severe punishments.

The Nuremburg trials of World War II are perhaps the foremost
example of the principle in action: it was not the mid-level
managers overseeing the Holocaust, nor the guards at the
camps, but the top leaders who were hanged, to the general
approval of the civilized world.

Even contemporary Americans recognize the validity of this
principle—at least when it is applied to others—as shown in
the outpourings of public approval at the hanging of Saddam
Hussein and the execution in captivity of Osama bin Laden.

In a just society it is not the weakest transgressors who suffer
the severest public wrath, but those who by dint of privilege
can betray the greater trust and bring the greatest harm.

In our society it is reversed: those least able to defend themselves
are likeliest to meet the executioner, while our most privileged
miscreants have become effectively immune to legal justice.

It is past time to restore the proper balance.

Let responsibility attend privelege, let accountability be the mantle
of leadership, and let culpability be the measure of our retribution.

B. Sidney Smith is a recovering math professor, gardener,
and creative loafer. He may be reached through his website,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Invisible Americans Get The Silent Treatment

Invisible Americans Get The Silent Treatment

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Common Dreams
Saturday, August 25, 2012

It’s just astonishing to us how long this campaign has gone on with
no discussion of what’s happening to poor people.

Official Washington continues to see poverty with tunnel vision –
“out of sight, out of mind.”

And we’re not speaking just of Paul Ryan and his Draconian budget
plan or Mitt Romney and their fellow Republicans.

Tipping their hats to America’s impoverished while themselves
seeking handouts from billionaires and corporations is a bad habit
that includes President Obama, who of all people should know

Remember: for three years in the 1980’s he was a community
organizer in Roseland, one of the worst, most poverty-stricken
and despair-driven neighborhoods in Chicago.

He called it “the best education I ever had.”

And when Obama left to go to Harvard Law School, author
Paul Tough writes in The New York Times, he did so, “to
gain the knowledge and resources that would allow him to
eventually return and tackle the neighborhood’s problems

There’s a moving line in Dreams from My Father where Obama
writes: “I would learn power’s currency in all its intricacy and
detail” and “bring it back like Promethean fire.”

Oddly, though, for all his rhetorical skills, Obama hasn’t made a
single speech devoted to poverty since he moved into the White

Five years ago, he was one of the few politicians who would talk
about it. Here he is in July 2007, speaking in Anacostia, one of the
poorest parts of Washington, D.C.:

“The moral question about poverty in America — How can
a country like this allow it? — has an easy answer: we can’t.
The political question that follows — What do we do about
it? – has always been more difficult. But now that we’re
finally seeing the beginnings of an answer, this country has
an obligation to keep trying.”

Barack Obama the candidate said he wanted to spend billions
on a nationwide program similar to Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem
Children Zone in New York City, widely praised for its focus
on comprehensive child development.

In the last three years, only $40 million have been spent with
another $60 million scheduled for local community grants.

Obama’s White House team insisted their intentions were good,
but the depth of the economic meltdown passed along by their
predecessors has kept them from doing more.

And yes, billions have been spent on direct aid to families in
the form of welfare, food stamps, housing vouchers and other

What’s needed, as Paul Tough at the Times and others say, is
a less scattershot, more comprehensive program that gets to
the root of the problem, focusing on education and mentoring.

Not easy to do when a disaffected middle class that votes says
hey, what about us? — and the wealthy one percent who lay out
the fat campaign contributions simply say, so what?

Just a few days ago, The Chronicle of Philanthropy issued a
report on charitable giving. Among its findings:

“Rich people who live in neighborhoods with many other wealthy
people give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than rich
people who live in more economically diverse communities.”

Responding to that study, social psychologist Paul Piff told
National Public Radio, “The more wealth you have, the more
focused on your own self and your own needs you become, and
the less attuned to the needs of other people you also become.”

Those few who dedicate themselves to keeping the poor ever
in sight realize how grave the situation really is.

The Associated Press reports that, “The number of Americans
with incomes at or below 125 percent of the poverty level is
expected to reach an all-time high of 66 million this year.”

A family of four earning 125 percent of the federal poverty level
makes about $28,800 a year, according to government figures.

That number’s important because 125 percent is the income limit
to qualify for legal aid, but although that family may qualify for
help, budgets for legal services have been slashed, too, and pro
bono work at the big law firms has fallen victim to downsizing.

So it’s not surprising, the AP goes on to say, that there’s a crisis
in America’s civil courts because people slammed by the financial
meltdown, overwhelmed by foreclosure, debt collection and
bankruptcy cases, can’t afford legal representation and have to
represent themselves, creating gridlock in our justice system and
one more hammer blow for the poor.

We know, we know: It is written that, “The poor will always be
with us.”

But when it comes to our “out of sight, out of mind” population
of the poor, you have to think we can help reduce their number,
ease the suffering, and speak out, with whatever means at hand,
on their behalf and against those who would prefer they remain

Speak out: that means you and me, and yes, Mr. President, you,

You once told the big bankers on Wall Street that you were all
that stood between them and the pitchforks of an angry public.

How about telling the poor you will make sure our government
stands between them and the cliff?

Bill Moyers is the host of the new show Moyers & Company, a
weekly series of smart talk and new ideas aimed at helping
viewers make sense of our tumultuous times through the
insight of America’s strongest thinkers. His previous shows
on PBS included NOW with Bill Moyers and Bill Moyers Journal.

Michael Winship, senior writing fellow at Demos and president
of the Writers Guild of America, East, is senior writer of the
new public television series Moyers & Company, premiering in
January 2012.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Party Down: The 2012 Politics of Fantasy

Party Down: The 2012 Politics of Fantasy

Those who succeed in politics, as in most of the culture,
are those who create the most convincing fantasies.

— Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion

By Ben Schreiner
Dissident Voice
August 24, 2012

With both tickets now set, the democratic farce that is
the U.S. presidential election lumbers into its final act.

And for a campaign already rife with all the petty trivialities
and celebrity intrigues more suiting of a reality TV show, it
is no surprise that both political parties intend on using their
upcoming political conventions to furnish choreographed
spectacles designed for little more than prime time viewing.

According to the New York Times, a “$2.5 million Frank Lloyd
Wright inspired theatrical stage,” complete with 13 different
video screens, will welcome the television viewer of the
Republican national convention in Tampa.

All part of an effort, the Times notes, to cloak that cold,
vulture capitalist Romney in a veil of “warmth, approachability
and openness.”

As a senior Romney advisor boasted to the paper, “Even
the [wooden video screen] frames are designed to give it
a sense that you’re not looking at a stage, you’re looking
into someone’s living room.” (Presumably a direct mock-
up of one Romney’s living rooms.)

Protecting Mitt’s newly crafted aura of “approachability
and openness” from the potential wayward vagabond, the
city of Tampa will spend $24.85 million alone on law
enforcement personnel during the four day convention.

This will include a massive deployment of 3,500-4,000
“contingency officers” from up to 63 outside police
departments. Hospitality clearly has its limits.

It is all much the same for the Democratic convention set
for early September in Charlotte.

The award-winning Brand Obama is also much too valuable
to be tarnished by the taint of social unrest.

The looming crackdown on dissent Charlotte-style, though, will
be eased by nothing short of an Orwellian city law allowing any
large public gathering to be declared “an extraordinary event.”

Arbitrary search and arrest of any individual the police fancy
will then be ipso facto legal. (Like such police practices are
in any way “extraordinary.”)

Of course, all those hapless souls set to be greeted with the swing
of the police truncheon in the streets of Tampa and Charlotte will
garner nary a mention from the herd of corporate media planning
to embed safely within the bunkered convention halls.

Instead, the legions of dimwitted media pundits and talking heads
will busy themselves filling air time as they wax-poetic on the true
splendor of American democracy manifested in the sheets of
convention confetti raining from the rafters.

The media’s neat packaging of the entire spectacle as all part of
the must-see docudrama titled “Decision 2012” will undoubtedly
do little to hide the true nature of the charade from the perceptive

Nonetheless, the politics as entertainment orgy will precede
forth, with the media present to celebrate and partake in it
all. Which can only give added credence to the Neil Postman
quip that, “In America, the least amusing people are its
professional entertainers.”

The fundamental matter of whether there is truly decision
at all to be made in 2012, needless to say, is rather dubious.

As the New York Times writes of the international outlooks
of Obama and Romney:

“The actual foreign policy differences between the two seem
more a matter of degree and tone than the articulation of a
profound debate about the course of America in the world.”

Put differently, threats to bomb Iran, “contain” China,
and bow to Israel are simply beyond debate.

Indeed, even leftist supporters of Obama admit there is
no discernible difference between the two candidates.

As Obama backers Bill Fletcher and Carl Davidson instead argue,
“November 2012 becomes not a statement about the Obama
presidency, but a defensive move by progressive forces to hold
back the ‘Caligulas’ on the political right.”

Such bankrupt arguments inevitably rear their ugly head every
four years in the now tired attempt to send the fractured
American Left scurrying straight into death vise of the
“Party of the people.”

Given this altogether pitiful state of affairs, the presidential
campaign necessarily must devolve into little more than a
national marketing campaign—replete with the assorted
gimmicks, tricks, and deceptions inherent to that vile craft
deemed “public relations.”

Thus, the “decision” to be made in 2012 is limited to that
between Brand Obama and Brand Romney.

No different in approach, really, than choosing between
Pepsi and Coke—Nike and Adidas.

For just as with all branding, the 2012 decision is not about
deciphering between two differing products or candidates—as
they both promise to deliver the same agenda of neoliberalism
at home, imperialism abroad—but rather choosing between two
sets of experiential promises (fictitious as they are).

In terms of 2012, it’s the dim hope and vague slogan of
“Forward” proffered from camp Obama, versus team Romney’s
promise of comfort to be found in a restoration of America

In other words then, the man best able to peddle the most
convincing fantasy to the American consumer this fall shall
be the one to ultimately prevail in November.

All befitting of an empire of illusion.

Ben Schreiner is a freelance writer living in Salem, Oregon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MF'ing Justice

MF'ing Justice

By Jim Karger
The Dollar Vigilante
August 21, 2012

Jon Corzine is a contemporary Richard Nixon: a low rent thief,
liar, and American success story.

Corzine, you may recall, bet $6.3 billion on the wrong side of
European sovereign debt, a wager his own risk department at
MF Global told him was nuts, and a wager so big and so wrong
that it wiped out the entire firm.

After the news hit the wire and blood hit the water MF's
customers started jumping ship and that is when MF
deliberately took customer money as its own to keep its
head above water.

It was too little, too late. The company filed for bankruptcy
protection and Corzine resigned.

Over $1 billion in customer funds remain missing in action.

Depending on who you listen to, Corzine may have known
the funds he ordered transferred were customer money.

He certainly should have known and there is little dispute
he has a serious gambling problem and that he destroyed
the savings and lives of hundreds of investors and businesses.

Now, after 10 months of a pretend investigation, one that has not
involved so much as an interview by the FBI of Corzine himself,
federal prosecutors have decided they are not going to charge him
with anything.

Nothing. Nada. Vaya con dios, amigo.

Such is the nature of justice in America's fast lane.

Plausible Deniability Retested

Taking a cue from Nixon's "plausible deniability" gambit, Corzine
has reminded us of a few important political truths that every
American should remember as they struggle to find a safe place
for themselves and whatever money they have left:

1. Former CEOs of Goldman Sachs, like Goldman Sachs itself, are
too big and too connected to fail, no matter how egregious their

And, to make sure we all know that, in addition to giving Corzine
a pass, the government also announced last week that they are
ending an investigation into whether Goldman Sachs misled
investors in a $1.3 billion sale of residential mortgage-backed
securities in 2006, shortly before the housing crash.

You may recall that Goldman was packaging this rancid financial
trash so that one client (John Paulson) could short them, while
simultaneously selling the other side of the deal to their own
clients, conveniently failing to disclose that these instruments
were specifically designed to fail.

2. Former US Senators won't be prosecuted for anything, ever,
even if caught with underage boys on videotape.

They know where too many bodies are hidden, as evidenced by the
softballs a fourth grader could have handled when Corzine testified
in Congressional hearings on what happened to the money.

3. Big-dollar supporters of any sitting President and his party are
too important to lose to jail.

Corzine was one of Obama's biggest campaign "bundlers", a way
for the rich to gain direct access to a candidate by leaning on
people inside their organizations to contribute far more than
ostensibly they would have without implicit threats to do so.

Proven Techniques of Truth Suppression

Not wanting to bet the farm solely on his political connections,
but needing to make sure the fix was in, Corzine used several
of the time-tested "Thirteen Techniques of Truth Suppression",
favorites of politicians and their owners who don't want to go
to jail, which I estimate to be all of them.

In Corzine's case, he selected from the liar's list as if were a
menu of fine wines, first using technique number nine:

“Come half-clean. This is also known as 'confession and avoidance'
or 'taking the limited hang-out route.'

This way, you create the impression of candor and honesty while
you admit only to relatively harmless, less-than-criminal "mistakes.'
This stratagem often requires the embrace of a fall-back position
quite different from the one originally taken."

Corzine played this gambit well, even professionally, first
suggesting that he knew nothing, a proposition so absurd
that it fell apart like a cheap suit, then subtly implying
that he actually was a moron, a gambler with a problem,
too stupid to be held liable for anything, though not in
those exact words.

His prepared testimony was, in a word, disturbing:

"I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts
have not been reconciled to date. I do not know which accounts
are unreconciled or whether the unreconciled accounts were or
were not subject to the segregation rules. Moreover, there were
an extraordinary number of transactions during MF Global’s last
few days, and I do not know, for example, whether there were
operational errors at MF Global or elsewhere, or whether banks
and counterparties have held onto funds that should rightfully
have been returned to MF Global."

Yes, Corzine swore to all that with a straight face.

To make sure no stonewall was left unturned, Corzine borrowed
from the crook's playbook once more, this time technique number

“Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth
as ultimately unknowable."

This worked well when the big banks got behind Henry Paulson,
another former Goldman Sachs CEO during the housing meltdown,
as he explained not-so-patiently that we, the general public, were
far too ignorant to ever understand what went wrong and so we
should stop trying.

Matt Taibbi observed in his brilliant article in Rolling Stone:

"There’s been an intense effort at trying to convince the public that
no crime has been committed. Whoever is handling MF Global’s P.R.
. . . appears to have convinced the company’s officers to emphasize
the word 'chaos' in describing the last days of the firm – as though
$1.2 billion wasn’t intentionally stolen, per se, but simply lost in
a kind of uncontrolled whirlwind of transactions that magically
carried the money out of accounts off to worlds unknown."

No one with good sense professes to believe Corzine except
those who matter, Congress, and federal prosecutors.

Finally, Corzine called on technique number twelve, “Require
the skeptics to solve the crime completely," which was easy
in this case since he was never interviewed by federal law
enforcement, making their inability to prosecute true, albeit

The fact that MF Global was a client of Attorney General
Eric Holder's, and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s,
former law firm Covington & Burling, didn't hurt Corzine's
chances either, and the all clear signal was given when Holder
(an accomplished criminal in his own right) refused to appoint
a Special Prosecutor.

Like Nixon, Corzine is a one man epidemic of deceit, a thug with
the conscience of a rabid hyena, and like Nixon, he is not going
to jail.


Not only is Corzine avoiding prosecution, but under the heading
of "in your face, MF'er," he is going into business again.

Doing what you ask? Handling the money of others, of course.
Max Keiser summarized the situation best:

"Corzine is considering opening a new hedge fund, though the
notion that anyone — even a slack-jawed muppet happy to buy
whatever Goldman‘s prop traders want to sell — would seed
Corzine money so he can trade or steal it away seems absurd —
rather like putting a child molester in charge of a day-care."

Absurd, yes, but true nonetheless and odds are he will raise
millions, and if not become a high-priced political or financial

The Big Ugly Picture

Corzine is just another poster child for fraud and malfeasance at
the highest levels, public and private. His photo is not alone on
that wall of shame.

In the big picture, he is small potatoes. Other bigger players are
being given passes for far more egregious crimes.

JP Morgan, infamous manipulator of silver, stepped closer to the
edge by losing $6 billion in a single trading loss.

It's megalomaniacal CEO, Jamie Dimon, no stranger to truth
suppression, expertly employed technique number four:

“Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspect of
the weakest charges.

Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumors and
give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges,
real and fanciful alike."

Dimon took full responsibility (for a nanosecond) before blaming
it all on a straw man, a rogue trader who turned out to have all
the authority he exercised.

No one is going to jail.

To the contrary, almost as a gift, the US Commodity Futures
Trading Commission (CFTC) dropped a four-year investigation
(mainly held behind closed doors) into JP Morgan's obvious and
rampant silver price manipulation just to show there were no
hard feelings.

Still another shining example of "justice", as that term is
now defined by the owners, is Barclay's Bank, believed to
be a mastermind in the virtually incalculable LIBOR fraud.

Its execs have skated criminal prosecution and the bank has
paid a relatively meager $350 million fine for everyone to
forget it ever happened, except its former CEO, Bob Diamond,
who used technique number two:

“Wax indignant. This is also known as the ‘how dare you?’
gambit..." after British Parliament observed the obvious—
that he is an unmitigated filthy liar like all the rest.

And, then there is Standard Chartered who will pay
a $340 million to settle charges that it illegally
funneled hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran in
violation of innumerable US and international sanctions.

No criminal charges, mind you, just $340 million to take care
of what amounted to a $250 billion conspiracy. Some might
characterize that as a good investment.

Finally, it would be unfair to leave out Morgan Stanley, lead
underwriter of the now infamous Facebook offering, who took
a play from Goldman Sachs and the great Paulson short.

They marketed Facebook stock to the unwitting while shorting
it all the way down, making another $100 million.

It is not just about Corzine anymore. The pathology of cronyism
is endemic and spreading.

Immoral Of The Story

So, what is the moral of this hideous little tale? What are the
lessons for our children?

Perhaps we should sit them down and wax philosophical:

"Kids, you know the old saying that 'crime doesn't pay?' Well,
that's bullshit.

Crime pays and pays big unless you are poor and without political
connections in which case you will likely join the American gulag
and soon.

"And that rule about always telling the truth? How can I put this
gently? That's bullshit, too.

Liars, good ones, rise to the top of government and corporations.
They are sociopaths by nature and have no empathy for anyone
other than themselves.

They are sick, but they are rich. You can make more money
from five minutes knowing the right insider than you can
from a lifetime of hard work.

"And, finally, about that Biblical 'suggestion' to 'do unto others
as you would have them do unto you?'

Well, that will get you a job selling printer cartridges at Best Buy
or teaching yoga to the woo-woos if you are limber.

"No, my children, If you want to make it big in this world, smile,
lie, follow the money, suck the ass of those on the fast train,
step on the little people and fuck anyone who gets in your way.

"Make Daddy proud."

Jim Karger is a lawyer, and frequent contributor to The Dollar
Vigilante, who has represented American businesses against
incursions by government and labor unions for 30 years.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The American Way

The American Way

By Stephen Lendman
Information Clearing House
Friday, August 17, 2012

Past and present leaders reveal the soul of their nations.

Arguably America never had one.

Current domestic and foreign policies provide convincing evidence.

Police state harshness targets defenders of right over wrong

National resources go for militarism, belligerence, and making
super-rich elites richer.

Corporations are licensed to steal, exploit, and plunder.

Wars ravage one country after another. Humanity is ruthlessly

Battlefields shift from one theater to another. Gangsterism
writ large reflects official policy.

Syria is ground zero.

Months of Western generated violence left thousands dead, many
more injured, and countless numbers displaced. Nothing deters
America's war machine madness.

Bloodlust defines it. Dominance matters most. Body counts mount.
Rule of law principles and democratic values are considered quaint
and out of date.

Stomping on people is policy.

Concern for human and civil rights is off the table. Winning hearts
and minds was never America's game. Crushing the will to resist is
more important.

Repression enforces the message harshly. Death squad diplomacy
eliminates non-believers. Where it ends, who knows!

Despite ongoing direct and proxy wars, hawkish US lawmakers want
more. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman are three
of America's worst.

Peace they believe is abhorrent.

Death squad massacres in Syria aren't enough. As a 2008
presidential candidate, McCain's advocated bombing Iran.

"Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran," he sang on his "Straight Talk"
tour to the tune of a popular Beach Boys song.

Lunatics like this run America. Now McCain wants more. So do
Graham and Lieberman.

They're not alone.

On August 5, the Washington Post gave them op-ed space. Together
they headlined "The risks of inaction in Syria," saying:

Provide "robust assistance" to opposition fighters. Establish and
reinforce safe zones. Use "airpower and other unique US assets."

Damn the risks. "(I)naction carries" greater ones. "(S)trategic" aims
matter most.

Failure to intervene more aggressively "jeopardiz(es) both our
national security interests and our moral standing in the world."

Fact check

Official US policy calls for replacing all independent governments
with pro-Western ones.

War is America's national pastime. Dominance alone matters.
Sovereign rights can't be allowed to interfere.

Washington planned war on Syria years ago.

It's orchestrating events on the ground. It's been involved from
day one. It's recruiting, arming, funding, training, and directing
mercenary killers.

It's not good enough so let's bomb, say McCain, Graham and

With these type lawmakers influencing policy, don't bet money
on humanity surviving.

Don't expect America to renounce war. Don't imagine embracing
democratic values is planned.

Hunker down for worse to come. Get involved and try to stop it.

Syria is about to go up in flames. Iran is next, then other nations.

No good ending comes from this. Wars beget more of them.
Permanent ones assure self-destruction.

Perhaps America will take humanity with it. It's not far-fetched.

Partnered with Britain, other key NATO allies, Israel, and regional
despots, chances of armageddon are too high to risk.

Chances for homeland tyranny are virtually certain. Militarism writ
large heads it there. It's closer than most people imagine. It's not
pretty now. Expect much worse ahead. It could come any time.

Battleground Syria could shift venues to America if popular
resistance erupts. Daily violence and atrocities there could
become commonplace domestically.

Some neighborhoods already experience low intensity versions of
what could easily ratchet higher. Hammering one country after
another draws it closer.

Former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter mimicks
McCain, Graham and Lieberman. Halting Syrian violence depends
on increasing it, they believe.

People like this run America. They're interviewed on US television.
They're given feature op-ed space.

Earlier, Slaughter called for "no-kill zones." Pentagon officials
call them "buffer zones." They're ground-based no-fly zones. If
established, they assure full-scale war.

Slaughter supports no holds barred escalation.

On July 31, her Financial Times article headlined "We will pay
a high price if we do not arm Syria's rebels," saying:

"It is time for bold action," she said. She suggests Libya 2.0. Go
for broke, she urges. Other hawks echo her sentiment. "Syrians
will remember those who remember them," she said.

The longer fighting rages, the greater Assad's support grows,
the more America is hated.

Syrians aren't stupid. They know what Washington did to Iraq
and Libya. They know what's gone on in Afghanistan since 2001.

They understand that wherever America arrives, death,
destruction, and unspeakable human misery follow.

If Washington wins, they lose. They're willing to die to prevent it.

America plans full-scale war. Imagine how many more will die.
Imagine the vast destruction. Imagine any nation ravaging others.

It's the American way.

Permanent wars are waged for wealth, power and dominance.
At the same time, homeland needs go begging.

Out-of-control militarism heads America for tyranny and ruin.
Along the way, millions suffer and die.

Obama follows in the tradition of previous warrior presidents.

Over time, stakes and risks grow exponentially. State-of the art
weapons threaten everyone.

Obama's National Security Strategy "reserve(s) the right to act
unilaterally if necessary to defend out nation and our interests."

In other words, preemptive wars with weapons of mass destruction
is policy.

Obama claims it's "to keep the American people safe (and advance
the nation's) values and ideals." It threatens other countries to bend
to Washington's will or else.

In the process it destroys freedom.

Chalmers Johnson called war profiteering "the most efficient means
for well-connected capitalists to engorge themselves at the public

Expect more of it, he warned. Expect tyranny to replace
democracy. Expect hell on earth so globalists can control it.

Maybe they'll destroy it instead.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and His new book is titled "How
Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government
Collusion and Class War"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No Place To Go

No Place To Go

By David Glenn Cox
The Smirking Chimp
August 14, 2012

“Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and
out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”
– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I am a child of history; I was a kid who sat in the corner listening to
the stories of the garrulous old men reflecting on life, after having
too much to drink.

My parents both grew up poor during the last Great Depression and
occasionally, something will occur which strikes one of those old
memory chords.

This morning as I walked out into the sunlight, at the bottom of the
stairs there sat parked, a shiny new automobile and instantly my
brain shouted “Rock!” at me.

My mother had told me about this game that she and the other
children played growing up in inner city Chicago.

The girls would be jumping rope or playing hopscotch and the boys
would be doing what boys do when someone would shout, “Rock!”

The children would drop their toys and cease their play and hunt
up a nice, good sized rock. Because the cry “Rock!” carried with it
a special meaning, it meant that there was a new car coming down
the street.

Was this class envy perhaps or poor parenting skills, what could
make these children all behave so wantonly?

To these young children the appearance of a new car meant
someone with money was coming down the street. The only
people who came into their neighborhood in new cars were
landlords, rent or bill collectors.

These children at ten or twelve years of age well understood the
distinction between rich and poor and what they saw wasn’t envy,
but oppression.

Mr. Hoover had told them prosperity was just around the corner,
the newspapers, all staunchly Republican, had repeated and
encouraged Mr. Hoover’s message,

“Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or
executive pronouncement. Economic wounds must be healed
by the action of the cells of the economic body - the producers
and consumers themselves.” – Herbert Hoover

A very high and grand philosophical pronouncement, but to
these children they saw it a bit differently.

To these children with bright eyes and eager faces, it meant
they would go without enough to eat. It meant their families
would disintegrate before their eyes because their fathers
and mothers could find no work.

My own mother held life long enmity for her own father who
had abandoned the family during the depression.

It wasn’t until many years later, after I had studied the times
and finally had the message jack hammered into my own brain like
a pounding, before I could begin to understand myself.

Look at the pictures from those times; count the hundreds of
men standing in those bread lines.

They weren’t men who were broke; they were men who were
broken. They were men who felt the shame of not being able
to care for their families.

Men who came home each night empty handed without a job
and without hope.

They were men forced to look into the eyes of their hungry
children; they were men hiding from their own shame and
their own sense of failure.

“Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight
of the human spirit and human dignity.” – Herbert Hoover

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it?

How a big fat man living in a big white house eating sumptuous
meals can speak about freedom and sunlight so, as children starved
and ate from garbage cans.

“The people of this country want relief, and they do not have
to eat a whole side of beef to tell when it is tainted. They have
bitten off the hoof of this situation in the United States. They
know. We have given them no place to go.” – Huey Long

As you travel through your life today you must see what is unseen
and hear what is unspoken.

That man at the convenience store or the waitress who brings
you your coffee, they are poor people. They work for less than
subsistence wages, they don’t save for retirement and they don’t
have health care.

One in three Americans can’t make their rent or mortgage
payments. Of fifty million mortgages in America, twelve
million are currently under water.

Over ten million homes have been foreclosed already, affecting at
least forty million Americans including twenty million children and
we have given them no place to go.

From the Washington Post: “Foreclosures will probably rise in 2012
— and that could be a good sign”

Why does the Washington Post think another one million more
families thrown out into the road to live as vagrants is a good

“Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or
executive pronouncement. Economic wounds must be healed
by the action of the cells of the economic body - the producers
and consumers themselves.” – Herbert Hoover

It is repetitions of the fat man speak, it is sugar coated and dressed
up in fine clothes but when you strip it bare and look honestly at
the message of the naked words they are those of your government
saying, Fuck you!

“The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political
freedom was the business of the Government, but they have
maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They
granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right
to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything
to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.”
– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Since April of 2006, wage growth in this country has reached 0.1
in only two months while in seven months there has been no wage
growth at all. Over the same time period the cost of living has
averaged a rise of 0.6 percent per month.

If you are very, very lucky you are working the same number of
hours you worked twelve months ago.

In all private non farm payrolls the average number of hours worked
per week is 34.5 meaning even at $10 per hour, well above the
minimum wage, a worker must try to survive on $345.00 per week
before taxes.

The average rent in 2012 has risen to $1,091 per month; meaning
at nearly 40% per hour over and above the federal minimum wage
American workers cannot afford the very basics of life.

The average pay for those in the leisure and hospitality industry
is $349.00, that’s bars, restaurants, hotel workers, theaters and
amusement parks.

For retail workers the average wage for all workers is $16.31 per
hour or $500 per week, that is, if they get the average 34 hours.

After paying rent they are left with $900 for the month to buy food,
pay utilities, laundry, gas or car insurance.

As I walked passed a pay phone in front of the grocery store
yesterday, I heard a young woman on the phone, “A car? I haven’t
had a car in six months. It broke down and I couldn’t afford to get
it fixed.”

And I thought to myself, “I bet that’s right.” Over eight million
American workers laboring part time for economic reasons and
they dream about $500 per week.

In May, the Bureau of Labor statistics proudly announced, 79.1
percent of American households have at least one member employed.

Think about that, think about what that really means. It means over
20 percent of American households don’t have anyone employed in

It is a crime and a travesty, it is the thing which revolutions are
made of.

Over 16 million children live in poverty and half of all Americans
will live in poverty before the age of 65.

One in six Americans currently live in poverty and one in two are
either in poverty or are low income.

From the CIA world Fact Book:

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required major shifts in national
resources from civilian to military purposes and contributed to the
growth of the US budget deficit and public debt - through 2011, the
direct costs of the wars totaled nearly $900 billion, according to US
government figures.” But for you my fellow Americans you get the
fat man talk,

“And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns
as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of
our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of
our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy,
liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope. – Barack Obama

Somehow, blowing smoke and up my rear end got left out of that
equation, what about the sunshine and the open windows?

Fat man speak says, ignore the needs of the people, speak in lofty
platitudes, tell the hungry, the poor and the dispossessed just how
wonderful they have it.

Then tell them why we need to make even more cuts.

“A mob is coming here in six months to hang the other ninety-five
of you damned scoundrels, and I'm undecided whether to stick here
with you or go out and lead them.” - Huey Long to the United
States Senate

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Screwed Election

Wall Street Can’t Lose, and America Can’t Win

Everyone hates the big banks—except the two candidates
running for president.

Joel Kotkin on the bipartisan triumph of crony capitalism.

By Joel Kotkin
The Daily Beast
August 10, 2012

Everyone hates Wall Street.

About two in three Americans do not think what’s good for Wall
Street is good for America, according to the 2012 Harris poll, but
do think people who work there are less “honest and moral than
other people,” and don’t “deserve to make the kind of money
they earn.”

Confidence in banks is at a record low, according to Gallup, as
they’ve suffered the steepest fall in esteem of any American
institution over the past decade.

And people have put their money where their mouth is, with
$171 billion leaving the stock market last year alone, and 80
percent of Wall Street communications executives conceded
that public perception of their firms was not good.

Americans are angry at the big-time bankers and brokers, and
yet, far from a populist attack on crony capitalism, Wall Street
is sitting pretty, looking ahead to a presidential election that
it can’t possibly lose.

They have bankrolled a nifty choice between President Obama,
the largest beneficiary of financial-industry backing in history
and Mitt Romney, one of their very own.

One is to the manner born, the other a crafty servant; neither
will take on the power.

Think of this: despite taking office in the midst of a massive
financial meltdown, Obama’s administration has not prosecuted a
single heavy-hitter among those responsible for the financial crisis.

To the contrary, he’s staffed his team with big bankers and their

Under the Bush-Obama bailouts the big financial institutions have
feasted like pigs at the trough, with the six largest banks borrowing
almost a half trillion dollars from uncle Ben Bernanke’s printing

In 2013 the top four banks controlled more than 40 percent of
the credit markets in the top 10 states—up by 10 percentage
points from 2009 and roughly twice their share in 2000.

Meantime, small banks, usually the ones serving Main Street
businesses, have taken the hit along with the rest of us with
more than 300 folding since the passage of Dodd-Frank, the
industry-approved bill to “reform” the industry.

Yet past the occasional election-year bout of symbolic class
warfare, the oligarchs have little to fear from an Obama victory.

“Too big to fail,” enshrined in the Dodd-Frank bill, enjoys the
full and enthusiastic support of the administration.

Obama’s financial tsar on the GM bailout, Steven Rattner, took
to The New York Times to stress that Obamians see nothing
systemically wrong with the banking system we have now, blaming
the 2008 market meltdown on “old-fashioned poor management.”

“In a world of behemoth banks,” he explained to we mere mortals,
“it is wrong to think we can shrink ours to a size that eliminates
the ‘too big to fail’ problem without emasculating one of our most
successful industries.”

But consider the messenger.

Rattner, while denying wrongdoing, paid $6.2 million and
accepted a two-year ban on associating with any investment
adviser or broker-dealer to settle with the SEC over the
agency’s claims that he had played a role in a pay-to-play
scheme involving a $50,000 contribution to the now-jailed
politician who controlled New York State’s $125 billion
pension fund.

He’s also expressed unlimited admiration for the Chinese economic
system, the largest expression of crony capitalism in history.

Expect Rattner to be on hand in September, when Democrats
gather in Charlotte, the nation’s second-largest banking city,
inside the Bank of America Stadium to formally nominate
Obama for a second term.

In a sane world, one would expect Republicans to run against this
consolidation of power, that has taxpayers propping up banks that
invest vast amounts in backing the campaigns of the lawmakers who
levy those taxes.

The party would appeal to grassroots capitalists, investors, small
banks and their customers who feel excluded from the Washington-
sanctioned insiders' game. The popular appeal is there. The Tea
Party, of course, began as a response against TARP.

Instead, the party nominated a Wall Street patrician, Mitt Romney,
whose idea of populism seems to be donning a well-pressed pair of
jeans and a work shirt.

Romney himself is so clueless as to be touting his strong fund-
raising with big finance.

His top contributors list reads something like a rogue’s gallery from
the 2008 crash: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley,
Credit Suisse, Citicorp, and Barclays.

If Obama’s Hollywood friends wanted to find a perfect candidate
to play the role of out-of-touch-Wall Street grandee, they could
do worse than casting Mitt.

With Romney to work with, David Axelrod’s dog could design
the ads right now.

True, some of the finance titans who thought Obama nifty back
in 2008 have had their delicate psyches ruffled by the president’s
election-year attacks on the “one percent.”

But the “progressives,” now tethered to Obama’s chain, are
deluding themselves if they think the president’s neo-populist
rancor means much of anything.

They get to serve as what the Old Bosheviks would have
called “useful idiots,” pawns in the fight between one
group of oligopolists and another.

This division can be seen in the financial community as well.

For the most part Obama has maintained the loyalty of those
financiers, like Rattner, who seek out pension funds to finance
their business.

Those who underwrite and speculate on public debt
have reason to embrace Washington’s free spenders.

They are also cozy to financiers like John Corzine, the former
Goldman Sachs CEO and governor of New Jersey, whose now-
disgraced investment company MF Global is represented by
Attorney General Eric Holder’s old firm.

The big-government wing of the financial elite remains firmly in
Obama’s corner, as his bundlers (including Corzine) have already
collected close to $20 million from financial interests for the

Record support has also poured in from Silicon Valley,
which has become ever more like a hip Wall Street west.

Like its east-coast brethren, Silicon Valley has also increased
its dependence on government policy, as well-connected venture
capitalists and many in the tech community have sought to enrich
themselves on the administration’s “green” energy schemes.

Romney, on the other hand, has done very well with capital
tied to the energy industry, and others who invest in the
broad private sector, where government interventions are
more often a complication than a means to a fast buck.

His broad base of financial support reflects how relatively
few businesses have benefited from the current regime.

Who loses in this battle of the oligarchs?

Everyone who depends on the markets to accurately give
information, and to provide fundamental services, like
fairly priced credit.

And who wins?

The politically well-situated, who can profit from credit
and regulatory policies whether those are implemented by
Republicans or Democrats.

American democracy and the prosperity needed to sustain it
are both diminished when Wall Street, the great engineer of
the 2008 crash, is all but assured of victory in November.

Joel Kotkin is a presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman
University and a contributing editor to the City Journal.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Two Faces of a Police State

Sheltering Tax Evaders, Financial Swindlers, and Money Launderers
while Policing the Citizens

By James Petras
Dissident Voice
August 08, 2012

Never in the history of the United States have we witnessed crimes
committed on the scale and scope of the present day by both
private and state elites.

An economist of impeccable credentials, James Henry, former chief
economist at the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey & Company,
has researched and documented tax evasion.

He found that the super-wealthy and their families have as
much as $32 trillion (USD) of hidden assets in offshore tax
havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax

This study excluded such non-financial assets as real estate,
precious metals, jewels, yachts, race horses, luxury vehicles
and so on. Of the $32 trillion in hidden assets, $23 trillion is
held by the super-rich of North America and Europe.

A recent report by a United Nations Special Committee on Money
Laundering found that US and European banks laundered over
$300 billion a year, including $30 billion just from the Mexican
drug cartels.

New reports on the multi-billion dollar financial swindles involving
the major banks in the US and Europe are published each week.

England’s leading banks, including Barclay’s and a host of others,
have been identified as having rigged the LIBOR, or inter-bank
lending rate, for years in order to maximize profits.

The Bank of New York, JP Morgan, HSBC, Wachovia and
Citibank are among scores of banks, which have been
charged with laundering drug money and other illicit
funds according to investigations from the US Senate
Banking Committees.

Multi-national corporations receive federal bailout funds and tax
exemptions and then, in violation of publicized agreements with
the government, relocate plants and jobs in Asia and Mexico.

Major investment houses, like Goldman Sachs, have conned
investors for years to invest in ‘garbage’ equities while the
brokers pumped and dumped the worthless stocks.

Jon Corzine, CEO of MF Global (as well as a former CEO of Goldman
Sachs, former US Senator and Governor of New Jersey) claimed that
he “cannot account” for $1.6 billion in lost client investors funds
from the collapse of MF Global in 2011.

Despite the growth of an enormous police state apparatus, the
proliferation of investigatory agencies, Congressional hearings and
over 400,000 employees at the Department of Homeland Security,
not a single banker has gone to jail.

In the most egregious cases, a bank like Barclay’s will pay a minor
fine for having facilitated tax evasion and engaging in speculative

At the same time, the principle ‘miscreant’ in the LIBOR swindle,
Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Barclay’s Bank, Jerry Del Missier,
will receive a severance payout of $13 million dollars.

In contrast to the ‘lax’ law enforcement practiced by the
burgeoning police state with regard to the swindles of the
banking, corporate and billionaire elites, it has intensified
political repression of citizens and immigrants who have
not committed any crime against public safety and order.

Millions of immigrants have been seized from their homes and
work-places, jailed, beaten and deported. Hundreds of Hispanic
and Afro-American neighborhoods have been the target of police
raids, shootouts and killings.

In such neighborhoods, the local and federal police operate
with impunity – as was illustrated by shocking videos of the
police shootings and brutality against unarmed civilians in
Anaheim, California.

Muslims, South Asians, Arabs, Iranians and others are racially
profiled, arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted for participating in
charities and humanitarian foundations or simply for attending
religious institutions.

Over 40 million Americans engaged in lawful political activity are
currently under surveillance, spied upon and frequently harassed.

The Two Faces of the US Government: Impunity and Repression

Overwhelming documentation supports the notion that the
US police and judicial system has totally broken down when
it comes to enforcing the law of the land regarding crimes
among the financial, banking, corporate elite.

Trillion-dollar tax-evaders, billionaire financial swindlers and
multi-billionaire money launderers are almost never sent to jail.

While some may pay a fine, none have their illicit earnings seized
even though many are repeat criminals.

Recidivism among financial criminals is rife because the penalties
are so light, the profit are so high and the investigations are
infrequent, superficial and inconsequential.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported
that $1.6 trillion was laundered, mostly in Western banks, in 2009,
one fifth coming directly from the drug trade.

The bulk of income from the cocaine trade was generated in North
America ($35 billion), two-thirds of which were laundered in North
American banks.

The failure to prosecute bankers engaged in a critical link of the
drug trade is not due to ‘lack of information’, nor is it due to the
‘laxness’ on the part of regulators and law enforcement.

The reason is that the banks are too big to prosecute and the
bankers are too rich to jail. Effective law-enforcement would
lead to the prosecution of all the leading banks and bankers,
which would sharply reduce profits.

Jailing the top bankers would close the ‘revolving door’, the
golden portal through which government regulators secure their
own wealth and fortune by joining private investment houses
after leaving ‘public’ service.

The assets of the ten biggest banks in the US form a sizeable share
of the US economy. The boards of directors of the biggest banks
inter-lock with all major corporate sectors.

The top and middle financial officials and their counterparts
in the corporate sector, as well as their principle stockholders
and bondholders, are among the country’s biggest tax evaders.

While the Security and Exchange Commission, the Treasury
Department and the Senate Banking Committee all make a
public pretense of investigating high financial crimes, their
real function is to protect these institutions from any efforts
to transform their structure, operations and role in the US

The fines, which were recently levied, are high by previous
standards but still only amount to, at most, a couple of weeks’

The lack of ‘judicial will’, the breakdown of the entire regulatory
system and the flaunting of financial power is manifested in the
‘golden parachutes’ routinely awarded to criminal CEOs following
their exposure and ‘resignation’.

This is due to the enormous political power the financial elite
exercise over the state, judiciary and the economy.

Political Power and the Demise of ‘Law and Order’

With regard to financial crimes, the doctrine guiding state
policy is ‘too rich for jail, too big to fail’, which translates
into multi-trillion dollar treasury bailouts of bankrupt
kleptocratic financial institutions and a high level of state
tolerance for billionaire tax-evaders, swindlers and money

Because of the total breakdown of law enforcement toward
financial crimes, there are high levels of repeat offenders in
what one British financial official describes as ‘cynical (and
cyclical) greed’.

The current ‘banner’ under which the financial elite have seized
total control over the state, the budget and the economy has been

This refers to the deregulation of the financial system, the
massive expansion of tax loopholes, the free flight of profits
to overseas tax havens and the dramatic shift of ‘law enforcement’
from prosecuting the banks laundering the illicit earnings of
drug and criminal cartels to pursuing so-called ‘terrorist states’.

The ‘state of law’ has become a lawless state.

Financial ‘changes’ have permitted and even promoted
repeated swindles, which have defrauded millions and
impoverished hundreds of millions.

There are 20 million mortgage holders who have lost their
homes or have been unable to maintain payments; tens of
millions of middle class and working class taxpayers who
were forced to pay higher taxes and lose vital social
services because of upper class and corporate tax evasion.

The laundering of billions of dollars in drug cartel and criminal
wealth by the biggest banks has led to the deterioration of
neighborhoods and rising crime, which has destabilized middle
and working class family life.


The ascendancy of a criminal financial elite and its complicit,
accommodating state has led to the breakdown of law and order,
the degradation and discrediting of the entire regulatory network
and judicial system.

This has led to a national system of ‘unequal injustice’ where
critical citizens are prosecuted for exercising their constitutional
rights while criminal elites operate with impunity.

The harshest enforcement of police state fiats are applied
against hundreds of thousands of immigrants, Muslims and
human rights activists, while financial swindlers are courted
at Presidential campaign fund raisers.

It is not surprising today that many workers and middle class
citizens consider themselves to be ‘conservative’ and ‘against

Indeed, the majority wants to ‘conserve’ Social Security, public
education, pensions, job stability, and federal medical plans,
such as MEDICARE and MEDICAID against ‘radical’ elite advocates
of ‘change’ who want to privatize Social Security and education,
end MEDICARE, and slash MEDICAID.

Workers and the middle class demand stability of jobs and
neighborhoods and stable prices against run-away inflation
of medical care and education.

Wage and salaried citizens support law and order, especially when
it means the prosecution of billionaire tax evaders, criminal money-
launderering bankers and swindlers, who, at most, pay a minor
fine, issue an excuse or ‘apology’ and then proceed to repeat their

The radical ‘changes’ promoted by the elite, have devastated
life for millions of Americans in every region, occupation and
age group.

They have destabilized family life by undermining job security
while undermining neighborhoods by laundering drug profits.

Above all they have totally perverted the entire system of justice
where the ‘criminals are made respectable and the respectable
treated as criminals’.

The first defense of the majority is to resist ‘elite change’ and
to conserve the remnants of the welfare state.

The goal of ‘conservative’ resistance will be to transform the entire
corrupt legal system of ‘functional criminality’ into a system of
‘equality before the law’.

That will require a fundamental shift in political power, at the local
and regional level, from the bankers’ boardrooms to neighborhood
and workplace councils, from compliant elite-appointed judges and
regulators to real representatives elected by the majority groaning
under our current system of injustice.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton
University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class
struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and
Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books).

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Other America

Least We Forget

By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Information Clearing House
Friday, August 03, 2012

On 14 April 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his second
visit to Stanford's Memorial Auditorium.

On this occasion he delivered “The Other America,” an address
that calls everyone together to create a more just world.


Members of the faculty and members of the student body of this
great institution of learning; ladies and gentlemen.

Now there are several things that one could talk about before such
a large, concerned, and enlightened audience. There are so many
problems facing our nation and our world, that one could just take
off anywhere.

But today I would like to talk mainly about the race problems since
I'll have to rush right out and go to New York to talk about Vietnam
tomorrow. and I've been talking about it a great deal this week and
weeks before that.

But I'd like to use a subject from which to speak this afternoon,
The Other America.

And I use this subject because there are literally two Americas.

One America is beautiful for situation. And, in a sense, this
America is overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the
honey of opportunity.

This America is the habitat of millions of people who have
food and material necessities for their bodies; and culture
and education for their minds; and freedom and human
dignity for their spirits.

In this America, millions of people experience every day the
opportunity of having life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
in all of their dimensions. And in this America millions of young
people grow up in the sunlight of opportunity.

But tragically and unfortunately, there is another America.

This other America has a daily ugliness about it that constantly
transforms the ebulliency of hope into the fatigue of despair.

In this America millions of work-starved men walk the streets
daily in search for jobs that do not exist.

In this America millions of people find themselves living in
rat-infested, vermin-filled slums.

In this America people are poor by the millions. They find
themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the
midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

In a sense, the greatest tragedy of this other America is what it
does to little children. Little children in this other America are
forced to grow up with clouds of inferiority forming every day in
their little mental skies.

As we look at this other America, we see it as an arena of blasted
hopes and shattered dreams. Many people of various backgrounds
live in this other America.

Some are Mexican Americans, some are Puerto Ricans, some are
Indians, some happen to be from other groups. Millions of them
are Appalachian whites. But probably the largest group in this
other America in proportion to its size in the Population is the
American Negro.

The American Negro finds himself living in a triple ghetto. A ghetto
of race, a ghetto of poverty, a ghetto of human misery.

So what we are seeking to do in the Civil Rights Movement is to deal
with this problem. To deal with this problem of the two Americas.

We are seeking to make America one nation, Indivisible, with
liberty and justice for all.

Now let me say that the struggle for Civil Rights and the struggle
to make these two Americas one America, is much more difficult
today than it was five or ten years ago.

For about a decade or maybe twelve years, we've struggled all
across the South in glorious struggles to get rid of legal, overt
segregation and all of the humiliation that surrounded that
system of segregation.

In a sense this was a struggle for decency; we could not go to
a lunch counter in so many instances and get a hamburger or a
cup of coffee. We could not make use of public accommodations.

Public transportation was segregated, and often we had to sit
in the back and within transportation — transportation within
cities — we often had to stand over empty seats because sections
were reserved for whites only.

We did not have the right to vote in so many areas of the South.
And the struggle was to deal with these problems.

And certainly they were difficult problems, they were humiliating
conditions. By the thousands we protested these conditions.

We made it clear that it was ultimately more honorable to accept
jail cell experiences than to accept segregation and humiliation.

By the thousands students and adults decided to sit in at
segregated lunch counters to protest conditions there.

When they were sitting at those lunch counters they were in
reality standing up for the best in the American dream and
seeking to take the whole nation back to those great wells
of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers
in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration
of Independence.

Many things were gained as a result of these years of struggle.

In 1964 the Civil Rights Bill came into being after the Birmingham
movement which did a great deal to subpoena the conscience of
a large segment of the nation to appear before the judgment seat
of morality on the whole question of Civil Rights.

After the Selma movement in 1965 we were able to get a Voting
Rights Bill. And all of these things represented strides.

But we must see that the struggle today is much more difficult. It's
more difficult today because we are struggling now for genuine

It's much easier to integrate a lunch counter than it is to guarantee
a livable income and a good solid job.

It's much easier to guarantee the right to vote than it is to
guarantee the right to live in sanitary, decent housing conditions.

It is much easier to integrate a public park than it is to make
genuine, quality, integrated education a reality.

And so today we are struggling for something which says we
demand genuine equality.

It's not merely a struggle against extremist behavior toward
Negroes. And I'm convinced that many of the very people who
supported us in the struggle in the South are not willing to go
all the way now.

I came to see this in a very difficult and painful way. In Chicago
the last year where I've lived and worked. Some of the people
who came quickly to march with us in Selma and Birmingham
weren't active around Chicago.

And I came to see that so many people who supported morally
and even financially what we were doing in Birmingham and
Selma, were really outraged against the extremist behavior
of Bull Connor and Jim Clark toward Negroes, rather than
believing in genuine equality for Negroes.

And I think this is what we've gotta see now, and this is what
makes the struggle much more difficult.

So as a result of all of this, we see many problems existing
today that are growing more difficult. It's something that is
often overlooked, but Negroes generally live in worse slums
today than 20 or 25 years ago.

In the North schools are more segregated today than they were
in 1954 when the Supreme Court's decision on desegregation was

Economically the Negro Is worse off today than he was 15 and 20
years ago. And so the unemployment rate among Whites at one
time was about the same as the unemployment rate among Negroes.

But today the unemployment rate among Negroes is twice that of
Whites. And the average income of the Negro is today 50% less than

As we look at these problems we see them growing and developing
every day.

We see the fact that the Negro economically is facing a depression
in his everyday life that is more staggering than the depression of
the 30's.

The unemployment rate of the nation as a whole is about 4%.
Statistics would say from the Labor Department that among
Negroes it's about 8.4%.

But these are the persons who are in the labor market, who
still go to employment agencies to seek jobs, and so they
can be calculated. The statistics can be gotten because they
are still somehow in the labor market.

But there are hundreds of thousands of Negroes who have given
up. They've lost hope.

They've come to feel that life is a long and desolate corridor for
them with no Exit sign, and so they no longer go to look for a job.

There are those who would estimate that these persons, who
are called the Discouraged Persons, these 6 or 7% in the Negro
community, that means that unemployment among Negroes
may well be 16%.

Among Negro youth in some of our larger urban areas it goes to 30
and 40%. So you can see what I mean when I say that, in the Negro
community, there is a major, tragic and staggering depression that
we face in our everyday lives.

Now the other thing that we've gotta come to see now that many of
us didn't see too well during the last ten years — that is that racism
is still alive in American society.

And much more wide-spread than we realized. And we must see
racism for what it is. It is a myth of the superior and the inferior

It is the false and tragic notion that one particular group, one
particular race is responsible for all of the progress, all of the
insights in the total flow of history. And the theory that another
group or another race is totally depraved, innately impure, and
innately inferior.

In the final analysis, racism is evil because its ultimate logic is

Hitler was a sick and tragic man who carried racism to its logical
conclusion. He ended up leading a nation to the point of killing
about 6 million Jews.

This is the tragedy of racism because its ultimate logic is genocide.

If one says that I am not good enough to live next door to him; if
one says that I am not good enough to eat at a lunch counter, or
to have a good, decent job, or to go to school with him merely
because of my race, he is saying consciously or unconsciously
that I do not deserve to exist.

To use a philosophical analogy here, racism is not based on some
empirical generalization; it is based rather on an ontological

It is not the assertion that certain people are behind culturally
or otherwise because of environmental conditions.

It is the affirmation that the very being of a people is inferior.
And this is the great tragedy of it.

I submit that however unpleasant it is we must honestly see and
admit that racism is still deeply rooted all over America. It is still
deeply rooted in the North, and it's still deeply rooted in the South.

And this leads me to say something about another discussion that
we hear a great deal, and that is the so-called "white backlash".

I would like to honestly say to you that the white backlash is
merely a new name for an old phenomenon.

It's not something that just came into being because of shouts
of Black Power, or because Negroes engaged in riots in Watts,
for instance.

The fact is that the state of California voted a Fair Housing bill
out of existence before anybody shouted Black Power, or before
anybody rioted in Watts.

It may well be that shouts of Black Power and riots in Watts
and the Harlems and the other areas, are the consequences
of the white backlash rather than the cause of them.

What it is necessary to see is that there has never been a single
solid monistic determined commitment on the part of the vast
majority of white Americans on the whole question of Civil Rights
and on the whole question of racial equality.

This is something that truth impels all men of good will to admit.

It is said on the Statue of Liberty that America is a home of exiles.
It doesn't take us long to realize that America has been the home
of its white exiles from Europe.

But it has not evinced the same kind of maternal care and concern
for its black exiles from Africa.

It is no wonder that in one of his sorrow songs, the Negro could
sing out, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child."

What great estrangement, what great sense of rejection caused a
people to emerge with such a metaphor as they looked over their

What I'm trying to get across is that our nation has constantly taken
a positive step forward on the question of racial justice and racial

But over and over again at the same time, it made certain
backward steps. And this has been the persistence of the
so called white backlash.

In 1863 the Negro was freed from the bondage of physical slavery.
But at the same time, the nation refused to give him land to make
that freedom meaningful.

And at that same period America was giving millions of acres of
land in the West and the Midwest, which meant that America
was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an
economic floor that would make it possible to grow and develop,
and refused to give that economic floor to its black peasants, so
to speak.

This is why Frederick Douglas could say that emancipation for the
Negro was freedom to hunger, freedom to the winds and rains of
heaven, freedom without roofs to cover their heads.

He went on to say that it was freedom without bread to eat,
freedom without land to cultivate. It was freedom and famine
at the same time. But it does not stop there.

In 1875 the nation passed a Civil Rights Bill and refused to enforce
it. In 1964 the nation passed a weaker Civil Rights Bill and even to
this day, that bill has not been totally enforced in all of its

The nation heralded a new day of concern for the poor, for the
poverty stricken, for the disadvantaged. And brought into being a
Poverty Bill and at the same time it put such little money into the
program that it was hardly, and still remains hardly, a good skirmish
against poverty.

White politicians in suburbs talk eloquently against open housing,
and in the same breath contend that they are not racist.

And all of this, and all of these things tell us that America has
been backlashing on the whole question of basic constitutional
and God-given rights for Negroes and other disadvantaged groups
for more than 300 years.

So these conditions, existence of widespread poverty, slums, and
of tragic conniptions in schools and other areas of life, all of these
things have brought about a great deal of despair, and a great deal
of desperation.

A great deal of disappointment and even bitterness in the Negro
communities. And today all of our cities confront huge problems.

All of our cities are potentially powder kegs as a result of the
continued existence of these conditions. Many in moments
of anger, many in moments of deep bitterness engage in riots.

Let me say as I've always said, and I will always continue to say,
that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating.

I'm still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon
available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and

I feel that violence will only create more social problems than
they will solve.

That in a real sense it is impracticable for the Negro to even
think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States.

So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my
brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to
affirm that there is another way.

But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in
condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they
must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots.

I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air.
Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be
condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots.

But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And
what is it that America has failed to hear?

It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened
over the last few years.

It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have
not been met.

And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are
more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about
justice, equality, and humanity.

And so in a real sense our nation's summers of riots are caused
by our nation's winters of delay.

And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position
of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over

Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot

Now let me go on to say that if we are to deal with all of the
problems that I've talked about, and if we are to bring America
to the point that we have one nation, indivisible, with liberty
and justice for all, there are certain things that we must do.

The job ahead must be massive and positive. We must develop
massive action programs all over the United States of America
in order to deal with the problems that I have mentioned.

Now in order to develop these massive action programs we've got
to get rid of one or two false notions that continue to exist in our

One is the notion that only time can solve the problem of racial
injustice. I'm sure you've heard this idea.

It is the notion almost that there is something in the very flow of
time that will miraculously cure all evils. And I've heard this over
and over again.

There are those, and they are often sincere people, who say to
Negroes and their allies In the white community, that we should
slow up and just be nice and patient and continue to pray, and
in a hundred or two hundred years the problem will work itself
out because only time can solve the problem.

I think there is an answer to that myth. And it is that time is
neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively.

And I'm absolutely convinced that the forces of ill-will in our nation,
the extreme rightists in our nation, have often used time much
more effectively than the forces of good will.

And it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation
not merely for the vitriolic words of the bad people and the violent
actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and
indifference of the good people who sit around and say wait on

Somewhere we must come to see that social progress never rolls
in on the wheels of inevitability.

It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work
of dedicated Individuals. And without this hard work time itself
becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation.

And so we must help time, and we must realize that the time is
always right to do right.

Now there's another notion that gets out, it's around everywhere.
It's in the South, it's in the North, it's In California, and all over our

It's the notion that legislation can't solve the problem, it can't do
anything in this area. And those who project this argument contend
that you've got to change the heart and that you can't change the
heart through legislation.

Now I would be the first one to say that there is real need for a
lot of heart changing in our country, and I believe in changing
the heart. I preach about it.

I believe in the need for conversion in many instances, and
regeneration, to use theological terms.

And I would be the first to say that if the race problem In America
is to be solved, the white person must treat the Negro right, not
merely because the law says it, but because it's natural, because
It's right, and because the Negro is his brother.

And so I realize that if we are to have a truly integrated society,
men and women will have to rise to the majestic heights of being
obedient to the unenforceable.

But after saying this, let me say another thing which gives the other
side, and that is that although it may be true that morality cannot
be legislated, behavior can be regulated.

Even though it may be true that the law cannot change the heart,
it can restrain the heartless.

Even though it may be true that the law cannot make a man love
me, it can restrain him from lynching me. And I think that's pretty
important also.

And so while the law may not change the hearts of men, it can and
it does change the habits of men.

And when you begin to change the habits of men, pretty soon the
attitudes will be changed; pretty soon the hearts will be changed.

And I'm convinced that we still need strong civil rights legislation.
And there is a bill before Congress right now to have a national or
federal Open Housing Bill. A federal law declaring discrimination in
housing unconstitutional.

And also a bill to make the administration of justice real all over
our country.

Now nobody can doubt the need for this. Nobody can doubt the
need if he thinks about the fact that since 1963 some 50 Negroes
and white Civil Rights workers have been brutally murdered in
the state of Mississippi alone, and not a single person has been
convicted for these dastardly crimes.

There have been some indictments but no one has been convicted.
And so there is a need for a federal law dealing with the whole
question of the administration of justice.

There is a need for fair housing laws all over our country. And it
is tragic indeed that Congress last year allowed this bill to die.

And when that bill died in Congress, a bit of democracy died,
a bit of our commitment to justice died. If it happens again
in this session of Congress, a greater degree of our commitment
to democratic principles will die.

And I can see no more dangerous trend in our country than
the constant developing of predominantly Negro central cities
ringed by white suburbs. This is only inviting social disaster.

And the only way this problem will be solved is by the nation
taking a strong stand, and by state governments taking a strong
stand against housing segregation and against discrimination in
all of these areas.

Now there's another thing that I'd like to mention as I talk about
the massive action program and time will not permit me to go
into specific programmatic action to any great degree.

But it must be realized now that the Negro cannot solve the
problems by himself.

There again, there are those who always say to Negroes, "Why don't
you do something for yourself? Why don't you lift yourselves by your
own bootstraps?" And we hear this over and over again.

Now certainly there are many things that we must do for ourselves
and that only we can do for ourselves. Certainly we must develop
within a sense of dignity and self-respect that nobody else can give

A sense of manhood, a sense of personhood, a sense of not being
ashamed of our heritage, not being ashamed of our color.

It was wrong and tragic of the Negro ever to allow himself to be
ashamed of the fact that he was black, or ashamed of the fact
that his ancestral home was Africa. And so there is a great deal
that the Negro can do to develop self respect.

There is a great deal that the Negro must do and can do to amass
political and economic power within his own community and by
using his own resources.

And so we must do certain things for ourselves but this must not
negate the fact, and cause the nation to overlook the fact, that
the Negro cannot solve the problem himself.

A man was on the plane with me some weeks ago and he
came up to me and said, "The problem, Dr. King, that I
see with what you all are doing is that every time I see
you and other Negroes, you're protesting and you aren't
doing anything for yourselves."

And he went on to tell me that he was very poor at one time, and
he was able to make by doing something for himself. "Why don't
you teach your people," he said, "to lift themselves by their own
bootstraps?" And then he went on to say other groups faced
disadvantages, the Irish, the Italian, and he went down the line.

And I said to him that it does not help the Negro, it only deepens
his frustration, upon feeling insensitive people to say to him that
other ethnic groups who migrated or were immigrants to this
country less than a hundred years or so ago, have gotten beyond
him and he came here some 344 years ago.

And I went on to remind him that the Negro came to this country
involuntarily in chains, while others came voluntarily.

I went on to remind him that no other racial group has been a
slave on American soil.

I went on to remind him that the other problem we have faced
over the years is that this society placed a stigma on the color
of the Negro, on the color of his skin because he was black.

Doors were closed to him that were not closed to other groups.

And I finally said to him that it's a nice thing to say to people that
you oughta lift yourself by your own bootstraps, but it is a cruel
jest to say to a bootless man that he oughta lift himself by his own

And the fact is that millions of Negroes, as a result of centuries
of denial and neglect, have been left bootless.

They find themselves impoverished aliens in this affluent society.
And there is a great deal that the society can and must do if the
Negro is to gain the economic security that he needs.

Now one of the answers it seems to me, is a guaranteed annual
income, a guaranteed minimum income for all people, and for
our families of our country.

It seems to me that the Civil Rights movement must now begin
to organize for the guaranteed annual income.

Begin to organize people all over our country, and mobilize forces
so that we can bring to the attention of our nation this need, and
this is something which I believe will go a long long way toward
dealing with the Negro's economic problem and the economic
problem which many other poor people confront in our nation.

Now I said I wasn't going to talk about Vietnam, but I can't make
a speech without mentioning some of the problems that we face
there because I think this war has diverted attention from civil

It has strengthened the forces of reaction in our country and
has brought to the forefront the military-industrial complex
that even President Eisenhower warned us against at one time.

And above all, it is destroying human lives. It's destroying the
lives of thousands of the young promising men of our nation.
It's destroying the lives of little boys and little girls In Vietnam.

But one of the greatest things that this war is doing to us in Civil
Rights is that it is allowing the Great Society to be shot down on
the battlefields of Vietnam every day.

And I submit this afternoon that we can end poverty in the United
States. Our nation has the resources to do it. The National Gross
Product of America will rise to the astounding figure of some $780
billion this year.

We have the resources:

The question is, whether our nation has the will, and I submit that
if we can spend $35 billion a year to fight an ill-considered war in
Vietnam, and $20 billion to put a man on the moon, our nation can
spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet
right here on earth.

Let me say another thing that's more in the realm of the spirit I
guess, that is that if we are to go on in the days ahead and make
true brotherhood a reality, it is necessary for us to realize more
than ever before, that the destinies of the Negro and the white
man are tied together.

Now there are still a lot of people who don't realize this.

The racists still don't realize this. But it is a fact now that
Negroes and whites are tied together, and we need each other.

The Negro needs the white man to save him from his fear.
The white man needs the Negro to save him from his guilt.

We are tied together in so many ways, our language, our music, our
cultural patterns, our material prosperity, and even our food are an
amalgam of black and white.

So there can be no separate black path to power and fulfillment
that does not intersect white groups.

There can be no separate white path to power and fulfillment short
of social disaster.

It does not recognize the need of sharing that power with black
aspirations for freedom and justice.

We must come to see now that integration is not merely a
romantic or esthetic something where you merely add color
to a still predominantly white power structure. Integration
must be seen also in political terms where there is shared
power, where black men and white men share power together
to build a new and a great nation.

In a real sense, we are all caught in an inescapable network of
mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.

John Donne placed it years ago in graphic terms, "No man is an
island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a
part of the main."

And he goes on toward the end to say, "Any man's death diminishes
me because I'm Involved in mankind. Therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."

And so we are all in the same situation: the salvation of the Negro
will mean the salvation of the white man. And the destruction of
life and of the ongoing progress of the Negro will be the destruction
of the ongoing progress of the nation.

Now let me say finally that we have difficulties ahead but I haven't
despaired. Somehow I maintain hope in spite of hope. And I've
talked about the difficulties and how hard the problems will be as
we tackle them.

But I want to close by saying this afternoon, that I still have faith
in the future. And I still believe that these problems can be solved.

And so I will not join anyone who will say that we still can't develop
a coalition of conscience.

I realize and understand the discontent and the agony and the
disappointment and even the bitterness of those who feel that
whites in America cannot be trusted. And I would be the first to say
that there are all too many who are still guided by the racist ethos.

And I am still convinced that there are still many white persons
of good will.

And I'm happy to say that I see them every day in the student
generation who cherish democratic principles and justice above
principle, and who will stick with the cause of justice and the cause
of Civil Rights and the cause of peace throughout the days ahead.

And so I refuse to despair. I think we're gonna achieve our freedom
because however much America strays away from the ideals of
justice, the goal of America is freedom.

Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up in
the destiny of America.

Before the pilgrim fathers landed at Plymouth we were here.

Before Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic
words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here.

Before the beautiful words of the Star Spangled Banner were
written, we were here.

For more than two centuries, our forebearers labored here
without wages. They made cotton king.

They built the homes of their masters in the midst of the
most humiliating and oppressive conditions.

And yet out of a bottomless vitality, they continued to grow
and develop.

And I say that if the inexpressible cruelties of slavery couldn't stop
us, the opposition that we now face, including the so-called white
backlash, will surely fail.

We're gonna win our freedom because both the sacred heritage of
our nation and the eternal will of the Almighty God are embodied
in our echoing demands.

And so I can still sing "We Shall Overcome."

We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long
but it bends toward Justice.

We shall overcome because Carlyle is right, "No lie can live

We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right, "Truth
crushed to earth will rise again."

We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right, "Truth
forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne — Yet that
scaffold sways the future."

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of
despair a stone of hope.

With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discourse
of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith, we will be able to speed up the day when all
of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles,
Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and live
together as brothers and sisters, all over this great nation.

That will be a great day, that will be a great tomorrow.

In the words of the Scripture, to speak symbolically, that will be
the day when the morning stars will sing together and the sons of
God will shout for joy.

Copyright © Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967