No More Dollars?

For millions it is already too late.

They won’t realize the geopolitical winds which are now blowing. Off in their own lala land, the average American will be focused on sports, celebrities, what the right amount of stealing (taxes) in society is, gay rights, which foreign countries “we” should bomb next, the first woman president, and so on and so forth, while their livelihoods are sacrificed in the name of the US government.

They will wake up one morning, and their prospects will be gloomier than they are now. Don’t think such a thing happens? This exact thing just happened in the Ukraine. Devastation. People wake up one morning and suddenly everything they had worked so hard for is gone. “Oh, but that’s Ukraine!” you might say. “Not here in the US.”

Well, when you realize that a lot of the policies now being instituted in Ukraine were supported by the US government and the International Monetary Fund, which is largely funded by the US government, then maybe, just maybe you will start to see things differently. If not, I understand. Public schools are not kind institutions to reason. If that’s not reason enough just consider the growing police state.

Jim Rogers recently discussed with Yahoo! Finance how all Western governments are bankrupt, which we cover regularly, stating “There is no sound currency anymore…There’s no paper money in 2014 and 2015 that’s going to be worth much of anything.”
Bloomberg recently reported that the US dollar reached a two-year low, its weakest level since November 2011. Furthermore, the US dollar has lost 38.5% of its value since 2002. Rogers predicted the US will soon abandon the dollar for another currency!…

http://www.activistpost.com/2014/04/even-us-government-will-abandon-dollar.html

The Tragedy Of “American Exceptionalism”

“Russia … is now recognized as the center of the global ‘mutiny’ against global dictatorship of the US and EU. Its generally peaceful .. approach is in direct contrast to brutal and destabilizing methods used by the US and EU…. The world is waking up to reality that there actually is, suddenly, some strong and determined resistance to Western imperialism. After decades of darkness, hope is emerging.” – Andre Vltchek, Ukraine: Lies and Realities, CounterPunch

Russia is not responsible for the crisis in Ukraine. The US State Department engineered the fascist-backed coup that toppled Ukraine’s democratically-elected president Viktor Yanukovych and replaced him with the American puppet Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former banker. Hacked phone calls reveal the critical role that Washington played in orchestrating the putsch and selecting the coup’s leaders. Moscow was not involved in any of these activities. Vladimir Putin, whatever one may think of him, has not done anything to fuel the violence and chaos that has spread across the country.

Putin’s main interest in Ukraine is commercial. 66 percent of the natural gas that Russia exports to the EU transits Ukraine. The money that Russia makes from gas sales helps to strengthen the Russian economy and raise standards of living. It also helps to make Russian oligarchs richer, the same as it does in the West. The people in Europe like the arrangement because they are able to heat their homes and businesses market-based prices. In other words, it is a good deal for both parties, buyer and seller. This is how the free market is supposed to work. The reason it doesn’t work that way presently is because the United States threw a spanner in the gears when it deposed Yanukovych. Now no one knows when things will return to normal.

Check out this chart at Business Insider and you’ll see why Ukraine matters to Russia.

The overriding goal of US policy in Ukraine is to stop the further economic integration of Asia and Europe. That’s what the fracas is really all about. The United States wants to control the flow of energy from East to West, it wants to establish a de facto tollbooth between the continents, it wants to ensure that those deals are transacted in US dollars and recycled into US Treasuries, and it wants to situate itself between the two most prosperous markets of the next century. Anyone who has even the sketchiest knowledge of US foreign policy– particularly as it relates to Washington’s “pivot to Asia”– knows this is so. The US is determined to play a dominant role in Eurasia in the years ahead. Wreaking havoc in Ukraine is a central part of that plan.

Retired German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jochen Scholz summed up US policy in an open letter which appeared on the Neue Rheinilche Zeitung news-site last week. Scholz said the Washington’s objective was “to deny Ukraine a role as a bridge between Eurasian Union and European Union….They want to bring Ukraine under the NATO control” and sabotage the prospects for “a common economic zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

Bingo. That’s US policy in a nutshell. It has nothing to do with democracy, sovereignty, or human rights. It’s about money and power. Who are the big players going to be in the world’s biggest growth center, that’s all that matters. Unfortunately for Obama and Co., the US has fallen behind Russia in acquiring the essential resources and pipeline infrastructure to succeed in such a competition. They’ve been beaten by Putin and Gazprom at every turn. While Putin has strengthened diplomatic and economic relations, expanded vital pipeline corridors and transit lines, and hurtled the many obstacles laid out for him by American-stooges in the EC; the US has dragged itself from one quagmire to the next laying entire countries to waste while achieving none of its economic objectives.

So now the US has jettisoned its business strategy altogether and moved on to Plan B, regime change. Washington couldn’t beat Putin in a fair fight, so now they’ve taken off the gloves. Isn’t that what’s really going on? Isn’t that why the US NGOs, and the Intel agencies, and the State Dept were deployed to launch their sloppily-engineered Nazi-coup that’s left the country in chaos?

Once again, Putin played no part in any of this. All he did was honor the will of the people in Crimea who voted overwhelmingly (97%) to reunite with the Russian Federation. From a purely pragmatic point of view, what other choice did they have? After all, who in their right mind would want to align themselves with the most economically mismanaged confederation of all time (The EU) while facing the real possibility that their nation could be reduced to Iraq-type rubble and destitution in a matter of years? Who wouldn’t opt-out of such an arrangement?

As we noted earlier, Putin’s main objective is to make money. In contrast, the US wants to dominate the Eurasian landmass, break Russia up into smaller, non-threatening units, and control China’s growth. That’s the basic gameplan. Also, the US does not want any competitors, which we can see from this statement by Paul Wolfowitz which evolved into the US National Defense Strategy:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

This is the prevailing doctrine that Washington lives by. No rivals. No competition. We’re the boss. What we say, goes. The US is Numero Uno, le grande fromage. Who doesn’t know this already? Here’s more from Wolfowitz:

“The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”

In other words, “don’t even think about getting more powerful or we’ll swat you like a fly.” That’s the message, isn’t it? The reason we draw attention to these quotes is not to pick on Wolfowitz, but to show how things haven’t changed under Obama, in fact, they’ve gotten worse. The so called Bush Doctrine is more in effect today than ever which is why we need to be reminded of its central tenets. The US military is the de facto enforcer of neoliberal capitalism or what Wolfowitz calls “the established political and economic order”. Right. The statement provides a blanket justification for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine. The US can do whatever it deems necessary to protect the interests of its constituents, the multi-national corporations and big finance. The US owns the world and everyone else is just a visitor. So shut the hell up, and do what you’re told…

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/15/is-putin-being-lured-into-a-trap/

Erasing The Treme

Stalking the storyline of my book on New Orleans’ recovery, “The Fight for Home,” was what you might call the fight against home. Even as the people I profiled — Carolyn Parker, Pastor Mel Jones, and many others — struggled to get back into their neighborhoods, there was a growing sense that, as a number of people put it, “They don’t want us back.”

The “they” in this case seemed to be government; the “us” was low-income residents of color; and the reason was simple: there was money to be made from re-configuring New Orleans as a “boutique city” with a “new economy.” From the mayor’s original redevelopment plan — which designated “inner city” neighborhoods as not worth recovering — to the continuing focus on gentrifying the riverfront “crescent,” official New Orleans has used the Katrina disaster as an opportunity for 21st century urban renewal.

You can see it in the Lower Ninth Ward area known as Backatown, where the city made it almost impossible for former residents to rebuild on their properties (many of which are now occupied by post-modern Brad Pitt houses). You can see it in the attempt to pass laws to keep Mardi Gras Indians off the streets of Treme because more recent, more up-scale residents complain that this centuries-old African-American tradition is too noisy.

You can see it in the political battle over what class of business should be allowed to return to Pastor Mel’s Gentilly neighborhood. You can see it in the closing of public schools and the dismissal of long time teachers – many of whom are black – in favor of charter schools with imported Teach for America staffs. Maybe the easiest way to see it is simply to take a drive through New Orleans today and note which neighborhoods seem to have recovered and which haven’t, who lives where, and who doesn’t…

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/15/still-fighting-for-home-in-new-orleans/

 

The Four Horsemen

Related:

South Africa: Betrayal Of A Revolution

…The betrayal of the UDF and its most effective components, such as the National Civic Organisation, is today poignant, secret history.

 In 1987 and 1990, ANC officials led by Mbeki met twenty prominent members of the Afrikaner elite at a stately home near Bath, in England. Around the fireplace at Mells Park House, they drank vintage wine and malt whisky. They joked about eating “illegal” South African grapes, then subject to a worldwide boycott, “It’s a civilised world there,” recalled Mof Terreblanche, a stockbroker and pal of F.W. De Klerk. “If you have a drink with somebody … and have another drink, it brings understanding. Really, we became friends.”

So secret were these convivial meetings that none but a select few in the ANC knew about them. The prime movers were those who had profited from apartheid , such as the British mining giant Consolidated Goldfields, which picked up the tab at Mells Park House. The most important item around the fireplace was who would control the economic system behind the facade of “democracy”.

At the same time, Mandela was conducting his own secret negotiations in Pollsmoor Prison. His principal contact was Neil Barnard, an apartheid true believer who headed the National Intelligence Service. Confidences were exchanged; reassurances were sought. Mandela phoned P.W. Botha on the his birthday; the Groot Krokodil invited him to tea and, as Mandela noted, even poured the tea for his prisoner. “I came out feeling,” said Mandela, “that I had met a creative, warm head of state who treated me with all the respect and dignity I could expect.”

This was the man who, like Verwoerd and Vorster before him, had sent a whole African nation to a vicious gulag that was hidden from the rest of the world. Most of the victims were denied justice and restitution for this epic crime of apartheid. Almost all the verkramptes — extremists like the “creative, warm” Botha — escaped justice.

How ironic that it was Botha in the 1980s — well ahead of the ANC a decade later — who dismantled the scaffolding of racial apartheid and, crucially, promoted a rich black class that would play the role of which Frantz Fanon had warned — as a “transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged”.

In the 1980s, magazines like Ebony, Tribute and Enterprise celebrated the “aspirations” of a black bourgeoisie whose two-garage Soweto homes were included on tours for foreigners the regime sought to impress. “This is our black middle class,” the guides would say; but there was no middle: merely a buffer class being prepared, as Fanon wrote, for “its historic mission”. This is unchanged today.

The Botha regime even offered black businessmen generous loans from the Industrial Development Corporation. This allowed them to set up companies outside the “bantustans”. In this way, a black company such as New Africa Investments could buy part of Metropolitan Life. Within a decade, Cyril Ramaphosa was deputy chairman of what was effectively a creation of apartheid. He is today one of the richest men in the world.

The transition was, in a sense, seamless. “You can put any label on it you like,” President Mandela told me at Groote Schur. “You can call it Thatcherite, but for this country, privatisation is the fundamental policy.”

“That’s the opposite of what you said before the first elections, in 1994,” I said.

“There is a process,” was his uncertain reply, “and every process incorporates change.”

Mandela was merely reflecting the ANC’s mantra — which seemed to take on the obsessions of a supercult. There were all those ANC pilgrimages to the World Bank and the IMF in Washington, all those “presentations” at Davos, all those ingratiations at the G-8, all those foreign advisers and consultants coming and going, all those pseudo-academic reports with their “neo-liberal” jargon and acronyms. To borrow from the comic writer Larry David, “a babbling brook of bullshit” engulfed the first ANC governments, especially its finance ministries…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/south-africa-twnety-years-of-apartheid-by-another-name/5377555

 Related:

…2014 is the twentieth anniversary of South Africa’s “freedom” and the coming of democracy. It is an election year with national campaign underway pitting President Jacob Zuma, who was once part of the African National Congress’s armed struggle, and a popular if controversial/detested politician seeking reelection  against a number of challengers.

 Zuma is carrying lots of baggage because of a current theft of public monies for private use scandal involving lavish improvements on his home compound, and an earlier rape case.

The ANC has a serious political challenge as well.

On the Center right, there’s the DA—the Democratic Alliance, now transitioning from its roots in all white politics into a multi-racial Party that holds power in the Western Cape Province with Cape Town as its capital.

 And, then there are two new outfits, among other players, contesting for seats in this Parliamentary democracy.  Businesswoman and educator Mamphela Ramphele, best known as the anti-apartheid icon Steve Biko’s girl friend and her Agang Party is focusing on corruption and attracting women, while former ANC Youth League Leader, Julius Malema has set up a militant radical sounding youth-oriented party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, and says the ANC died with Mandela.

South Africa’s powerful labor unions that have been in an alliance with the ANC for decades were expected to organize a worker’s party but they have been persuaded not to. None of these political divisions fall on strict left-right differences.

 Many on all sides have strong disagreements with the ANC’s neo-liberal economic policies, and complain about pervasive poverty and low growth.

Outside the traditional political party structure, dissent is heard daily in noisy press stories exposing corruption and the ‘politics of concealment’ by the ruling ANC party.

Long time activists and ANC members are incensed by the lack of transparency and arrogance in a political elite that seems more focused on enriching themselves than serving the public…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/anti-mandela-in-the-public-eye-athlete-and-democracy-on-trial-in-south-africa/5377563