Feudalism and the Fed

In my last post I was banging on about the demise of the petrodollar, and in particular how the USA will react to the resulting loss of its world hegemony. At last week’s Westminster PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn made a passing reference to the TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a mega trade deal that is currently still in negotiation (if it goes through it will cover 40% of all world trade). Corbyn’s questions last week were all about cancer treatments and the NHS (here). If the TTIP deal goes go through it looks highly likely that it will mean the privitisation of the NHS (in January the UK government refused to hand over documents which might have proved this). TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is one of three mega trade agreements that the USA is currently pushing through, known as the 3Ts, the other two being the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). In one sense the 3Ts are a reaction to the demise of the petrodollar and they are an attempt to stop the rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), who are excluded from these trade agreements. In another sense the 3Ts are the most egregious assault on civil liberties ever seen in modern history, because they give corporations power over sovereign governments. In countries that sign-up to the 3Ts the dollar will be king and profit will take precedence over all else. The citizens of these countries will be reduced to little more than serfs. Does that sound dramatic..? like something out of a dystopia novel..? Perhaps you should read the links I give here, or maybe listen to the following excerpt from an interview that Michael Hudson gave to Pacifica Radio last week. Michael Hudson is a well-respected economist and historian…

The original, hour long Pacifica Radio interview can be found here.

The Michael Hudson article that they are discussing in the interview can be found here.

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Historic Proportions and Petrodollars

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the value of all final goods and services produced within a state in a given year. Here’s the top 10 countries in terms of GDP, with the European Union shown first, because as an economic block it has the highest GDP in the world. The figures shown are in millions of US dollars (ie, trillions):

European Union $18,527,116
1. United States $17,348,075
2. China $10,356,508
3. Japan $4,602,367
4. Germany $3,874,437
5. United Kingdom $2,950,039
6. France $2,833,687
7. Brazil $2,346,583
8. Italy $2,147,744
9. India $2,051,228
10. Russia $1,860,598

Source

You might notice that the GDP of the United States is not that far behind the GDP of the European Union. The US has a large population and a lot of natural resources; but there again, so do China, Brazil and Russia. So why is US GDP so disproportionately high..? One word: petrodollars (although some will no doubt argue with me on this). To explain petrodollars you have to go back to the Bretton Woods Agreement, in 1944, which established the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, backed by US gold reserves. However, by the end of the 1960s, expenditures on the Vietnam war made it apparent to many countries that the US was printing far more money than it had gold. Nations began to panic and demanded that the US give them gold for their dollars. The situation came to a head in 1971 when France attempted to exchange its dollars for US gold and President Nixon refused.

This default on the gold standard led to a rapid decline in the value of the US dollar. Uncle Sam needed to do something about it, and so in the early 1970s one of the strangest, most bizarre financial deals ever was struck between the USA and Saudi Arabia. It’s called the ‘petrodollar’, and it meant that Saudi Arabia, followed by the other OPEC states, would only sell oil for US dollars, and they would invest any excess oil profits in US Treasury bonds, notes, and bills. In return, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states would be protected by the US military (most notably from Israel).

The petrodollar agreement was struck between President Nixon and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia in 1973. For the US it was a ‘Died and gone to Heaven’ kind of deal. With all the world’s oil now being sold in US dollars it created a strong demand for the currency, pushing up its value immensely. As the printer and issuer of the dollar, the US was effectively able to buy oil for nothing. All OPEC profits went into the US financial system. As a result of all this the US economy soared. If you’ve ever wondered how on Earth the US (and UK) can have such close relations with totally vile regimes like Saudi Arabia, there’s the answer.

There was a downside to the petrodollar, though. Countries now needed dollars to buy oil. There were two ways of getting them: either buy them from the US, at a mark up, or else manufacture goods and export them to the US in exchange for dollars. As a result, the US was flooded with cheap imports (remember all those Japanese cars, for instance) and a huge number of manufacturing jobs were lost in the US.

With the collapse of the Soviet bloc in the early 1990s the US became the sole superpower (in money terms, not in terms of nuclear weapons) and instead of embracing a new era of peace it aggressively defended its hegemony, including the petrodollar. In 2000 the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, started making noises that in future he would sell Iraqi oil in Euros (prompted by France and a few other EU members). In 2001 we had 9/11. In 2002 Iraq started selling its oil in Euros. In 2003 the US invaded Iraq on the flimsiest of pretexts. One of the first things the American occupiers and their puppet government did was to bring back the petrodollar. At the time the Euro was relatively strong against the dollar, and by selling its oil in dollars Iraq was losing 20% of the value of its oil.

Also during the early 2000s countries such as Russia, Iran, Indonesia and Venezuela were talking about abandoning the petrodollar. This slide was halted by using sanctions and threats of freezing assets, and of course the example of Iraq. When it comes to wars in the Middle East, “It’s all about oil” is an often heard refrain. As far as the USA goes, it’s not about oil per se (with fracking the US is now self-sufficient in energy), it’s about the currency that oil is sold in, and the free ride that the petrodollar gives the US. Look at Libya, an oil rich country and its biggest producer in Africa. In 2010 Colonel Gaddafi started selling oil for gold instead of petrodollars. We all know what happened to Gaddafi, and although Libya is now in chaos it will come as no surprise that the country’s oil is now being sold in petrodollars again.

This brings us on to the present, where countries such as Russia, China and India have recently abandoned the petrodollar and are now selling oil in their own currencies. This is mega stuff, because unlike Libya, et al, these countries are too big/powerful to be pushed around by the USA and its totally corrupt/incompetent war machine. This means the end of the petrodollar and US world hegemony; and the 64,000 petrodollar question is, how will the USA react to this? Well, thesedays the USA is largely run by batshit crazies backed-up by a totally presstitute news media, so I’m afraid that things do not bode well. What’s going on in Syria right now is a good example of this (Syria is an oil producer which also wants to abandon the petrodollar). The key here is the total disconnect between reality and what the public in the West are told by politicians and presstitutes, such as this total bullshit.

During the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 90s the world went through a very dangerous period, that thankfully didn’t lead to major war and conflict. Now, with the imminent collapse of the United States of America, arguably the most corrupt and violent nation that’s ever existed, the world is going through a crisis of historic proportions. Let’s just hope that sane heads prevail in Moscow and Beijing. There’s certainly no sane heads in Washington at the moment.

Petrodollar corruption

In my follow-up post to this I talk about the trade deals that the USA is presently pushing through, in an attempt to retain the hegemony of the dollar.

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Psychopaths

I am sure I’m not the only one who has had enough of total propaganda bullshit like this…

Teenager Sevdet Besim allegedly planned to target police with explosive kangaroo

Last October I completely lost my appetite, because yet again the world came very close to a nuclear war. If you’re one of those people who rely on the corporate media for news you won’t be aware of this close call. I’ll let Paul Craig Roberts explain. Dr Paul Craig Roberts worked for the Reagan administration and was editor of the Wall Street Journal, amongst other things. Here he is being interviewed by the Daily Coin last month. The interview runs to 70 minutes and is well worth a listen

The original interview can be found here.

Paul Craig Roberts’ web site can be found here.

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Everybody Must Get Stoned

I deal with some very heavy duty stuff on this blog, the darkest side of human nature, and dealing with such stuff can tend to make you anxious and depressed; but for some reason it doesn’t get me down too much. The world is, and always has been, a totally fucked-up place, and I seem to have the ability to be able to step back from it, to see it from afar, to see it in a somewhat ironic way.

But not everyone is able to distance themselves, which brings me on to Amber Lyon, an award-winning journalist who used to have a high profile on CNN. Lyon is known for her work in 2011 on reporting human rights abuses against pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain. Lyon was sacked from her job in 2012, after claiming that CNN were censoring news of the Arab spring protests in Bahrain (here). As a result of her experiences in Bahrain, and her career reporting on the worst side of human nature, Amber Lyon found herself suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Lyon had always been clean and sober, yet the PTSD became so bad that she sought relief in psychedelic drugs, and seemingly found a cure. She set up an organisation called Reset.Me, an independent journalism site covering psychedelics, natural medicines, and alternative therapies. Lyon also traveled the world and made a documentary about psychedelic drugs and their healing properties.

At this point I should say that the only drugs I have ever done are nicotine and alcohol, which are bad enough. I’ve also had a lot of personal experience of people who have been totally wasted by psychedelic drugs; but there again, many more people get totally wasted by alcohol. In otherwords, I’m not in any way being judgemental here. What I am trying to say is that I do not endorse what follows in this post, and provide it for information purposes only.

It’s wonderful that someone’s mental anguish can be soothed or cured by psychedelics; but the thing is, however happy you become that awful reality is still out there in the wider world, and we’re not going to improve things unless we directly address that reality. Amber Lyon, a talented journalist, now campaigns for alternative therapies, including ayahuasca, which is one of the most powerful naturally occurring psychedelic drugs and is found in South America. Here’s Amber Lyon, on the Joe Rogan show back in March 2014, talking about her first experience of using ayahuasca in the Peruvian jungle…

The complete Joe Rogan interview with Amber Lyon can be found here.

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It’s not 2016, it’s 1984

Chunky Mark, aka ‘the artist taxi driver’, really hit the nail on the head today…

What Chunky Mark is talking about relates to a secret tax evasion deal done with Google.

http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/didnt-know-hmrc-google-secret-deals-george-osborne-tax-gap/

In the six years since Osborne became chancellor he has doubled the national debt to a record-breaking more than £1.5 trillion (which the citizens of the UK have to pay an eye-watering amount of yearly interest on – enough to pay for the national health service). No one calls this out, because the entire mainstream media has now become a neo-con propaganda machine, and it reaches into all corners of the internet. It’s all about robbing the citizens blind and severely restricting their civil liberties. Watch how the presstitutes try to defend this outright criminality, and attack anyone who tries to challenge it:

John McDonnell (Labour shadow chancellor) on Channel 4 last night:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwQgTMJD8xg

And on the BBC last night:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbwtp30OqhY
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A Mystery Disease

I wonder how many readers have heard of the massive gas leak in a suburb of Los Angeles that’s been going on for the best part of three months now? As a result of this gas leak, thousands of people are suffering from rashes, dizziness, the shakes, nosebleeds and massive headaches. Animals are suffering similar symptoms and some have died. Here’s the latest from the Los Angeles Times (which is corporate media. For a more honest assessment of the severity of the situation see this Town Hall meeting). The LA gas leak is an example of how many major stories are no longer reported in the wider world, and of course a prime example of that is Fukushima and the death of the Pacific Ocean. Here’s some of the latest…

http://www.king5.com/story/tech/science/environment/2016/01/19/sea-star-die-off-worst-ever-recorded/79016818/

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/e0587ee6cc0043c392e3cd28f7b2129e/starvation-suspected-massive-die-alaska-seabirds

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/6/in-warming-ocean-record-numbers-of-seals-and-sea-lions-are-sick-or-starving.html

http://www.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2015/12/11/californias-sea-lions-are-starving-this-is-what-were-doing-about-it

The corporate media come out with phrases like “unprecedented die-offs” and “epic proportions”, and the cause of it all is always a “mystery disease”. Last month, Naohiro Masuda, who’s chief of decontamination and decommissioning at Fukushima, said this to the press…

Nothing can be promised… not even robots have been able to enter the main fuel-debris areas so far… This is something that has never been experienced. A textbook doesn’t exist for something like this

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201512150079

Whatever Naohiro Masuda says, few will argue that the Japanese response to Fukushima has been woefully inadequate; in fact, some say that part of the response has made things even worse (this guy puts forth the notion that high level officials, including prime minister Abe, are part of a death cult called Mahikari who want to bring about the end of the world). Some would also say that Japan’s lurch towards full-blown fascism has also made the situation much worse – The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which owns and runs the Fukushima plant, is one of the biggest corporations in Asia and is totally in bed with the Japanese government.

When it comes to politics and corruption things aren’t much better in North America, as I tried to hint at by mentioning the LA gas leak at the start of this post. A good example of this is what’s been happening to Dana Durnford, who recently completed 260 days on the ocean during his Expedition for Life, which documented the damage that Fukushima radiation has done to the tidal zones of British Columbia. For the last three years there’s been a smear campaign against Dana, he’s received death threats, he’s had his boat sabotaged, he’s been arrested, a writ has been issued against him, and it’s all been orchestrated by Canadian officials in an attempt to silence him. Here’s the final part of a livestream that Dana did last night (contains bad language)…


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Pork Pies

Angus Robertson is the leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons. During the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions, Robertson is allowed two stabs at trying to get a straight answer out of David Cameron. Robertson nearly always asks good questions, and at yesterday’s PMQs they were about Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen…

Cameron’s answers are quite blatant lies. It’s an indication of the sorry state of British politics when a prime minister can stand up in Parliament and quite openly tell pork pies. It’s also an indication of the sorry state of British society that none of the mainstream media challenged Cameron over these lies.
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Music tributes to David Bowie

There’s been a lot of them in the 7 days since Mr Bowie kicked the bucket. I’ll highlight two of my favourites, starting with Choir! Choir! Choir! who are an organisation based in Toronto, Canada. On Saturday evening, Choir! Choir! Choir! invited members of the public to come to the Art Gallery of Ontario, to pay tribute to Bowie by singing a rendition of Space Oddity. More than 500 complete strangers turned up, and this is the result…

The original video can be found here, along with more info about Choir! Choir! Choir!

When it comes to the celeb side of things, everyone from Elton John to Madonna to Bruce Springsteen has got in on the Bowie tribute stuff. However, for me there was only one celeb who really nailed it. This was Rick Wakeman, who played piano on Life on Mars when it was originally recorded back in 1971. Here’s Wakeman performing Life on Mars live on BBC Radio 2 last week, on the day that Bowie’s death was announced…

My own tribute to David Bowie can be found here.

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Happy Happenstance

“Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”

Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich Marshall, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.

On Wednesday the UK press widely trumpeted that the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, was going to make an important announcement in the next 24 hours (here). Sure enough, the next day Hogan-Howe announced that the Met police is going to add 600 more armed officers to its force, as a response to the Paris terror attacks. Also on Thursday news of the terror attacks in Jakarta started breaking. Here’s some screenshots of the Thursday online editions of the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph

Guardian gun headline

___________________________________________

Telegraph gun headline

Bear in mind that the forthcoming Hogan-Howe announcement was widely publicised the day before the Jakarta attacks took place. A happy happenstance. Here’s the Daily Mail coverage of the Jakarta attacks; I’ve chosen the Mail because they always include lots of big photos (warning: graphic content)…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3398712/explosions-heavy-gunfire-heard-central-Jakarta.html

It’s interesting to compare the Jakarta photos with those that came out of last November’s Paris attacks…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3318086/11-dead-terrorists-open-fire-Paris-restaurant.html

Both incidents took place in crowded cities, where there were lots of mobile phone cameras around, and both involved gunmen and suicide bombers. Do you notice a difference between the two sets of photos? In the Jakarta photos there’s lots of blood on the ground, there’s badly injured people, there’s dead people, there’s images of one of the attackers. All of this is missing from the Paris photos, some of which are badly blurred. All I can say is that I’m very suspicious of the Paris attacks (here), because the timing of it was just a little bit too convenient for the neo-con agenda.

“The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda, and any informed intelligence officer knows this. But, there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an intensified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the United States.”

Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook

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David Bowie RIP

Last week the 8th of January was David Bowie’s 69th birthday, and on that day he released an album called ‘Black Star’. Two days later, on the 10th of January, Bowie died of cancer. He’d been diagnosed 18 months ago and apparently it was liver cancer. Only a very small number of people knew about Bowie’s illness, and the announcement today of his death has shocked the world, particularly coming so soon after the release of ‘Black Star’, which is Bowie’s 25th studio album and the only one that doesn’t have an image of him on the cover. As was often the case with Bowie albums, ‘Black Star’ puzzled many critics and listeners alike. There’s been instances of pop artists hinting at their demise in one or two songs, but as far as I’m aware no one has ever made an entire album about it. Even in death, Bowie was quite unique.

Where do I start with Mr Bowie..? there’s so many brilliant songs. I’ll play just four of them here, starting with Life on Mars, from the ‘Hunky Dory’ album, released in 1971. In my humble opinion, Life on Mars is one of the best pop songs ever written, both for its wonderfully surreal lyrics and its emotional intensity…

David Bowie spent the mid seventies in Los Angeles, where he was doing large amounts of the white stuff. “I blew my nose one day and half my brains came out,” he later said. In 1976 Bowie fled back to Europe for some personal detox, and what became known as the Berlin trilogy of albums, ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lodger’ (‘Low’ is one of my favourite albums. You can find my post about it here). Here’s the title track from the ‘Heroes’ album, being performed in Berlin in 2002…
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