|April 21, 2013||Posted by admin under John Parulis|
There are troubling pictures and videos from reputable sources, that seem to be telling either a different story or a completely new story from what is officially being disseminated about the state of the Tsarnaev brothers.
First this early news report:
If as seemingly shown in this video, the the captured suspect is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, then how did that “alive” naked man become this “dead” naked man? If the captured naked man was not Tamerlan Tsarnaev, then who was he?
The individual above, wearing insignias that could belong to military contractor Craft, appears to be carrying a backpack similar in design to an exploded backpack seen in FBI photos. Here are a set of questions I emailed to Craft:
Was your firm hired to serve Boston police, FBI, or marathon authorities to provide security services for the recent Boston Marathon?
Operatives wearing what look like your logos and or uniforms can be seen in numerous marathon photographs, carrying large black backpacks, radiation detectors and other apparatus, why?
Can you comment on what appears to be an exploded backpack that looked like the one one of these so called operatives wearing your insignias or uniforms, was photographed wearing?
If your firm was indeed hired for the Boston Marathon, what was its purpose? Were you aware of the Tsarnaev brothers before or during the explosions at the marathon? Were you performing surveillance activities on the Tsarnaev brothers at any time?
Your written response is appreciated,
John Parulis, Independent Media Producer
Check out these related stories:
Why Such Secrecy About Private Military Contractor’s Men Working the Event? Boston bombers’ uncle married daughter of top CIA official
|January 25, 2013||Posted by admin under Admin|
Through much of history the abnormal has been the norm. This is a paradox to which we should attend. Aberrations, so plentiful as to form a terrible normality of their own, descend upon us with frightful consistency.
The number of massacres in history, for instance, are almost more than we can record. There was the New World holocaust, consisting of the extermination of indigenous Native American peoples throughout the western hemisphere, extending over four centuries or more, continuing into recent times in the Amazon region.
There were the centuries of heartless slavery in the Americas and elsewhere, followed by a full century of lynch mob rule and Jim Crow segregation in the United States, and today the numerous killings and incarcerations of Black youth by law enforcement agencies.
Let us not forget the extermination of some 200,000 Filipinos by the U.S. military at the beginning of the twentieth century, the genocidal massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks in 1915, and the mass killings of African peoples by the western colonists, including the 63,000 Herero victims in German Southwest Africa in 1904, and the brutalization and enslavement of millions in the Belgian Congo from the late 1880s until emancipation in 1960—followed by years of neocolonial free-market exploitation and repression in what was Mobutu’s Zaire.
French colonizers killed some 150,000 Algerians. Later on, several million souls perished in Angola and Mozambique along with an estimated five million in the merciless region now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The twentieth century gave us—among other horrors—more than sixteen million lost and twenty million wounded or mutilated in World War I, followed by the estimated 62 million to 78 million killed in World War II, including some 24 million Soviet military personnel and civilians, 5.8 million European Jews, and taken together: several million Serbs, Poles, Roma, homosexuals, and a score of other nationalities.
In the decades after World War II, many, if not most, massacres and wars have been openly or covertly sponsored by the U.S. national security state. This includes the two million or so left dead or missing in Vietnam, along with 250,000 Cambodians, 100,000 Laotians, and 58,000 Americans.
Today in much of Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East there are “smaller” wars, replete with atrocities of all sorts. Central America, Colombia, Rwanda and other places too numerous to list, suffered the massacres and death-squad exterminations of hundreds of thousands, a constancy of violent horrors. In Mexico a “war on drugs” has taken 70,000 lives with 8,000 missing.
There was the slaughter of more than half a million socialistic or democratic nationalist Indonesians by the U.S.-supported Indonesian military in 1965, eventually followed by the extermination of 100,000 East Timorese by that same U.S.-backed military.
Consider the 78-days of NATO’s aerial destruction of Yugoslavia complete with depleted uranium, and the bombings and invasion of Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Western Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now the devastating war of attrition brokered against Syria. And as I write (early 2013), the U.S.-sponsored sanctions against Iran are seeding severe hardship for the civilian population of that country.
All the above amounts to a very incomplete listing of the world’s violent and ugly injustice. A comprehensive inventory would fill volumes. How do we record thecountless other life-searing abuses: the many millions who survive wars and massacres but remain forever broken in body and spirit, left to a lifetime of suffering and pitiless privation, refugees without sufficient food or medical supplies or water and sanitation services in countries like Syria, Haiti, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Mali.
Think of the millions of women and children around the world and across the centuries who have been trafficked in unspeakable ways, and the millions upon millions trapped in exploitative toil, be they slaves, indentured servants, or underpaid laborers. The number of impoverished is now growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. Add to that, the countless acts of repression, incarceration, torture, and other criminal abuses that beat upon the human spirit throughout the world day by day.
Let us not overlook the ubiquitous corporate corruption and massive financial swindles, the plundering of natural resources and industrial poisoning of whole regions, the forceful dislocation of entire populations, the continuing catastrophes of Chernobyl and Fukushima and other impending disasters awaiting numerous aging nuclear reactors.
The world’s dreadful aberrations are so commonplace and unrelenting that they lose their edge and we become inured to the horror of it all. “Who today remembers the Armenians?” Hitler is quoted as having said while plotting his “final solution” for the Jews. Who today remembers the Iraqis and the death and destruction done to them on a grand scale by the U.S. invasion of their lands? William Blum reminds us that more than half the Iraq population is either dead, wounded, traumatized, imprisoned, displaced, or exiled, while their environment is saturated with depleted uranium (from U.S. weaponry) inflicting horrific birth defects.
What is to be made of all this? First, we must not ascribe these aberrations to happenstance, innocent confusion, and unintended consequences. Nor should we believe the usual rationales about spreading democracy, fighting terrorism, providing humanitarian rescue, protecting U.S. national interests and other such rallying cries promulgated by ruling elites and their mouthpieces.
The repetitious patterns of atrocity and violence are so persistent as to invite the suspicion that they usually serve real interests; they are structural not incidental. All this destruction and slaughter has greatly profited those plutocrats who pursue economic expansion, resource acquisition, territorial dominion, and financial accumulation.
Ruling interests are well served by their superiority in firepower and striking force. Violence is what we are talking about here, not just the wild and wanton type but the persistent and well-organized kind. As a political resource, violence is the instrument of ultimate authority. Violence allows for the conquest of entire lands and the riches they contain, while keeping displaced laborers and other slaves in harness.
The plutocratic rulers find it necessary to misuse or exterminate restive multitudes, to let them starve while the fruits of their land and the sweat of their labor enrich privileged coteries.
Thus we had a profit-driven imperial rule that helped precipitate the great famine in northern China, 1876-1879, resulting in the death of some thirteen million. At about that same time the Madras famine in India took the lives of as many as twelve million while the colonial forces grew ever richer. And thirty years earlier, the great potato famine in Ireland led to about one million deaths, with another desperate million emigrating from their homeland. Nothing accidental about this: while the Irish starved, their English landlords exported shiploads of Irish grain and livestock to England and elsewhere at considerable profit to themselves.
These occurrences must be seen as something more than just historic abnormalities floating aimlessly in time and space, driven only by overweening impulse or happenstance. It is not enough to condemn monstrous events and bad times, we also must try to understand them. They must be contextualized in the larger framework of historical social relations.
The dominant socio-economic system today is free-market capitalism (in all its variations). Along with its unrelenting imperial terrorism, free-market capitalism provides “normal abnormalities” from within its own dynamic, creating scarcity and maldistributed excess, filled with duplication, waste, overproduction, frightening environmental destruction, and varieties of financial crises, bringing swollen rewards to a select few and continual hardship to multitudes.
Economic crises are not exceptional; they are the standing operational mode of the capitalist system. Once again, the irrational is the norm. Consider U.S. free-market history: after the American Revolution, there were the debtor rebellions of the late 1780s, the panic of 1792, the recession of 1809 (lasting several years), the panics of 1819 and 1837, and recessions and crashes through much of the rest of that century. The serious recession of 1893 continued for more than a decade.
After the industrial underemployment of 1900 to 1915 came the agrarian depression of the 1920s—hidden behind what became known to us as “the Jazz Age,” followed by a horrendous crash and the Great Depression of 1929-1942. All through the twentieth century we had wars, recessions, inflation, labor struggles, high unemployment—hardly a year that would be considered “normal” in any pleasant sense. An extended normal period would itself have been an abnormality. The free market is by design inherently unstable in every aspect other than wealth accumulation for the select few.
What we are witnessing is not an irrational output from a basically rational society but the converse: the “rational” (to be expected) output of a fundamentally irrational system. Does this mean these horrors are inescapable? No, they are not made of supernatural forces. They are produced by plutocratic greed and deception.
So, if the aberrant is the norm and the horrific is chronic, then we in our fightback should give less attention to the idiosyncratic and more to the systemic. Wars, massacres and recessions help to increase capital concentration, monopolize markets and natural resources, and destroy labor organizations and popular transformative resistance.
The brutish vagaries of plutocracy are not the product of particular personalities but of systemic interests. President George W. Bush was ridiculed for misusing words, but his empire-building and stripping of government services and regulations revealed a keen devotion to ruling-class interests. Likewise, President Barack Obama is not spineless. He is hypocritical but not confused. He is (by his own description) an erstwhile “liberal Republican,” or as I would put it, a faithful servant of corporate America.
Our various leaders are well informed, not deluded. They come from different regions and different families, and have different personalities, yet they pursue pretty much the same policies on behalf of the same plutocracy.
So it is not enough to denounce atrocities and wars, we also must understand who propagates them and who benefits. We have to ask why violence and deception are constant ingredients.
Unintended consequences and other oddities do arise in worldly affairs but we also must take account of interest-driven rational intentions. More often than not, the aberrations—be they wars, market crashes, famines, individual assassinations or mass killings—take shape because those at the top are pursuing gainful expropriation. Many may suffer and perish but somebody somewhere is benefiting boundlessly.
Knowing your enemies and what they are capable of doing is the first step toward effective opposition. The world becomes less of a horrific puzzlement. We can only resist these global (and local) perpetrators when we see who they are and what they are doing to us and our sacred environment.
Democratic victories, however small and partial they be, must be embraced. But the people must not be satisfied with tinseled favors offered by smooth leaders. We need to strive in every way possible for the revolutionary unraveling, a revolution of organized consciousness striking at the empire’s heart with the full force of democracy, the kind of irresistible upsurge that seems to come from nowhere while carrying everything before it.
Jan. 25, 2013
|January 24, 2013||Posted by admin under John Parulis|
These are a summary of findings of a new poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.
Six in ten Americans believe that that the United States weakened its economy by overspending in its responses to the 9/11 attacks. In particular, respondents felt this was especially true of the U.S. mission in Iraq. Two out of three Americans perceive that over the decade since 9/11, U.S. power and influence in the world has declined. This view is highly correlated with the belief that the United States overspent in its post-9/11 response efforts – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At this point, a large majority (73%) wants the United States to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan, but less than half (44%) want troops withdrawn completely.
Fifty-five percent say that the United States has spent too many resources in the Iraq war, while a plurality of 49% called the Iraq war a mistake (45% right decision). This criticism is a bit lower than other polls that asked similar questions in 2010 and found a majority ranging from 51 to 62% saying that it was not the right decision.
A Zogby poll conducted in August 2007 found that 51% of Americans want Congress to probe Bush/Cheney regarding the 9/11 attacks, two-thirds (67%) of Americans say the 9/11 Commission should have investigated the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7
|December 15, 2012||Posted by admin under John Parulis|
|August 20, 2012||Posted by admin under John Parulis|
Click to listen (or download)
About 30:20 min into this program is the interview with The Public Banking Institute’s Marc Armstrong and NALC’s Dave Welsh discussing the prospect and importance of re-starting the US Postal Bank. While banking reform has become a non-starter, setting up public banks to benefit the people rather than shareholders remains an exciting possibility.
|August 15, 2012||Posted by admin under Admin|
Resolution to Investigate the Establishment of a Postal Banking System
Whereas, expanding postal services and developing new sources of revenue are important
components of any effort to save the public Post Office and preserve living-wage jobs; and
Whereas, many countries, including Germany, France, Italy and Japan, have a long and
successful history of postal banking, where customers do their basic banking at their
neighborhood post office; and
Whereas, in the U.S. a Postal Savings system operated successfully from 1911 to 1967,
providing a safe and efficient place for customers to save and transfer funds – until it was killed
under pressure from the banking industry. Postal Savings was set up to attract the savings of
immigrants accustomed to saving at post offices in their native countries, provide safe
depositories for people who had lost confidence in private banks, and make it more convenient for
working people than private banks (since post offices were open substantially longer than bankers’
Whereas, postal banks, called Kiwibanks, are now thriving in New Zealand, with bank branches called
PostShops in local post offices – “putting us in more locations than any other bank in New Zealand
literally overnight (without wasting millions on new premises!)” [Kiwibank website] In an early “move
your money” campaign, New Zealanders voted with their feet. In an island nation of only 4 million,
Kiwibank attracted 500,000 customers away from the Australian big banks in just four years; and
Whereas, the giant banks that dominate the U.S. financial and political system are corrupt institutions that
defrauded homeowners in the mortgage scandal, and engaged in complex multi-Billion dollar hijinks
that brought on the 2007-09 financial crisis. The American working people have lost faith in these banks
as a trustworthy place to put their hard-earned money; and
Whereas, a USPS bank would offer a “public option” for banking, providing basic checking and savings
– and no complex financial wheeling and dealing. Postal banks could serve the 9 million people who
don’t have a bank account and 21 million who use usurious check cashers, giving low-income people
access to a safe banking system; and
Whereas, the Post Office is uniquely positioned, with a lot of branches around the country and an already
successful business in money orders. It is a trusted and venerable institution older than the Constitution, at
a time when people do not have much trust in banks. It is funded not with taxes but with postage stamps,
which buy the labor and machines to transport your letter 3000 miles. It is the only U.S. agency that
serves all its customers six days a week. And it is perhaps the last form of communication that protects
privacy, since tampering with the mail is against federal law; and
Whereas, the Post Office should be saved and it can be saved. A Postal Bank, combining teller services
with postal services, could help achieve this, while at the same time offering a competitive alternative to a
runaway Wall Street banking monopoly that Congress seems unable to control; and
Whereas, the 2012 National Convention of the National Association of Letter Carriers unanimously
adopted an almost identical resolution, calling for the postal unions to investigate the establishment of a
Postal Banking System in the U.S.
Therefore be it resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council urge Congress and the Executive Branch to
investigate the possibility of the establishment of a public Postal Banking System in the U.S. – drawing on the rich
experience of successful postal banking in Germany, France, Italy, Japan and New Zealand – and using our
unprecedented network of post offices to provide safe basic checking and savings to our hundreds of millions of
postal customers; and
Be it finally resolved, that we forward this resolution to affiliate unions, area labor councils, Calif. Labor
Federation, AFL-CIO and Change to Win Federation, for concurrence and action.
Submitted by Lili Beaumont, NALC 214, and adopted by the Executive Committee of the San
Francisco Labor Council on August 6, 2012.
OPEIU3 AFL-CIO 11
|July 22, 2012||Posted by admin under John Parulis|
The recent LIBOR scandal points to yet another in a series of remarkable failures and the deliberate misconduct of the banking industry. The toll is far reaching. 1.2 million Americans have lost their homes to foreclosure with many more facing this serious condition. The American middle class has been devastated. All this brought to you by a banking system rife with corruption, poor or no oversight, a banking gang, that steers a cancerous control over legislative bodies all throughout the US. The US Justice system has been unable to prosecute any individuals in the slew of banking scandals, preferring to negotiate huge cash settlements rather than sending the guilty to jail. States Attorneys General have also failed to bring the full weight of the justice system to bear down on this out of control institution.
There is a powerful movement building in America to wrestle control of banking away from private hands and entrust it to legally structured “public banks”. In Europe the call for public banking has intensified with some calling for nationalizing too big to fail private banks.
“Only if the largest banks are broken up, the part-nationalized outfits turned into genuine public investment banks, and new socially owned and regional banks encouraged can finance be made to work for society, rather than the other way round. Private sector banking has spectacularly failed – and we need a democratic public solution. “
Seumas Milne, The Guardian
Another neglected player with the ability to turn around the toxicity in private banking is the IOR or better known as, the Vatican Bank. Unfortunately the Vatican Bank is mired in its own ongoing problems related to noncompliance with 7 internationally recognized banking standards, including possible funding of terrorist organizations :
The Vatican Bank was set up amid murky situations and possible links to another scandal in the 80′s known as the Banco Ambrosiano Scandal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banco_Ambrosiano
For more on this scandal and Vatican banking see Robert Hutchison’s illuminating book, Their Kingdom Come: Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei which is as much about the secretive church organization Opus Dei, as it is about Vatican Banking. Today, Opus Dei controls the IOR.
In spite of these serious difficulties, the Church stands at the pinnacle of a great positive revival if it can address its compliance problems and considers championing the plight of working Catholic families throughout the globe. The true reserves of the IOR may not be known, but the treasures of the Vatican itself are on constant display to the many visitors who view its priceless art each day. If there was some way to safely add these treasures to its reserves, the IOR could make global history by making no or low cost loans to Catholic families in distress. The phrase “Holy Mother Church” could take on a new meaning, with a newly reformed IOR rediscovering the teachings on compassion and setting a standard for what banking could be.
-John Parulis, CWA 39521
|July 22, 2012||Posted by admin under Admin|
Reflections on Politics and Academia: An Interview with Michael Parenti
Noted political scientist Michael Parenti was recently interviewed by another noted political scientist, Carl Boggs. The interview originally appeared in the academic journal New Political Science, June 2012. It is presented here in its entirety.
CB: In your book To Kill a Nation, your focus on a multitude of crimes carried out by U.S. and NATO forces during nearly three months aerial bombardments – preceded by roughly a decade of economic, political, and military efforts to destroy Yugoslavia as a unified nation — .brought widespread outrage from leftists as well as liberals who uncritically accepted the Western demonization of Serbs as the party singularly guilty of atrocities during the long and bloody civil war. My own generally positive review of your book elicited similar harsh responses. How, in your opinion, could American progressives normally critical of U.S. interventions abroad suddenly become so myopic in the case of Yugoslavia?
MP: Most U.S. leftists want to open toward those to the right of them and eschew those to their left. Their prime passion seems to be making war against communism or what they call “Stalinism,” a largely undefined and rather dated demon. I’m talking about people on the intellectual and sectarian left, not the Tea Party reactionaries. Many of the liberal-left saw Milosevic as the last Stalinist in Europe who had to be done in. So they readily swallowed the mass media’s fabricated stories about genocidal atrocities allegedly committed by the Serbs. They stood shoulder to shoulder with NATO, the CIA, the Pentagon, the White House and mainstream media, the same usual suspects whom they say we should never trust. They believed every demonizing story fed to them about the Serbs. To give just one example: they believed that 100,000 people in Kosovo were slaughtered by the Serbs and that the Trepca mines were filled with corpses. No such mass graves were found and in the Trepca shafts not even a shoe or belt buckle was found. Actually the Serbs were the ones who had the largest multi-ethnic populations in their republic, including Croats, Albanians, and Slovenians; the Serbs were not indulging in ethnic cleansing and certainly not genocide. The Kosovars fleeing south during the war openly exclaimed that they were running from the NATO bombings not from a Serbian Juggernaut. I have all the sources and citations in To Kill a Nation, almost all of them western sources including ones from the United Nations and even NATO.
But it is a familiar scenario: U.S. leaders demonize the targeted leader, in this case the democratically elected Milosevic, and this gives them license to bomb his people—with depleted uranium no less. In my book The Face of Imperialism I call it “Privatization by Bombing.” I was in Serbia a few weeks after the 78 days of bombing and noted that only government-owned and worker-owned factories, utilities, hotels and the like were bombed. The privately owned Hilton Hotel and other private companies had not a scratch.
What is unusual is that so many lefties got suckered into this “humanitarian war” scenario. As I say, I think some of them are fighting the ghost of Stalin, possessed as they are by their knee-jerk anti-communism. The Serbs were targeted by the U.S. imperialists because they were the biggest ethnic group, the one most against secession, and with a working class that was more socialist than in any other of the Yugoslav republics.
CB: The process of globalization is usually presented in mainstream (and standard political-science) discourse as something of a natural phenomenon – an inevitable tendency of the world economy toward heightened integration, transnational communication, prosperity, and (in some readings) democracy. You have written, in contrast, that globalization is no inexorable process but rather a conscious, planned design by multinational corporate interests to expand the realm of capitalist markets and profits, making it anything but a development favoring economic prosperity and political democracy. Can you elaborate on this argument?
MP: In The Face of Imperialism I have a chapter dealing with globalization; I take a couple of pages to criticize those Marxists who seemed unable to grasp what globalization is. As with the conservatives, many Marxists (but not all) missed the whole nature of the struggle. They saw globalization only as a process of expanding investment-which Marx and Engels described long ago, so why the fuss. But those of us who actually knew something about the free trade agenda—including farmers, workers, students, and intellectuals all over the world—understood that under globilization’s free trade agreements public services can be ruled out of existence because they cause “lost market opportunities.” Laws that try to protect the environment or labor and health standards already have been overturned in many countries for “creating barriers to free trade.” Globalization monopolizes production by removing protections for small producers and farmers who are then undersold and driven out by heavily subsidized corporations.
What is also overthrown is democracy itself, the right to have laws that are protective of the social wage, human services, and local economies. Globalization elevates investment rights above all other rights. Globalization also attempts to monopolize nature itself, allowing corporations to lay exclusive claim to basic resources of life, including farm seeds, rice, corn, and even rainwater. It is not free trade; it is monopoly investment. The results are disastrous for Third World nations and not good for any of us except the 1%.
CB: The severe economic crisis we have experienced in the U.S. – and the world – during the past few years is often understood as either a temporary downturn or a cyclical adjustment within an otherwise healthy, dynamic growth-oriented “market” system. After all, previous crises have typically been followed by sustained phases of development. Is there something qualitatively novel, more deeply structural and long-term, about the present crisis?
MP: Recessions are difficult and painful for us but not such a bad thing for Corporate America. Recession allows giant firms to more easily swallow up smaller ones (or other giants) thereby increasing oligopolistic concentration and diminishing competition. Profits keep flowing in while corporate tax rates remain lighter than ever (as even the Wall St. Journal recently reported). Recession also tames or totally defeats labor unions. And the general public learns humility too. The 1% does not want a public that is well educated and well informed, free of debt, able to organize and make demands, directed by a strong sense of entitlement and high expectations, advocating not-for-profit social programs and services. Recessions often teach the working public to stay in its lowly place and work harder and harder for less and less. Crisis, panic, recession, and poverty are the common conditions of free-market capitalism not the rare exception. Take a look around the world at (to name just a few) capitalist Nigeria, capitalist Indonesia, capitalist Hungary, capitalist Bosnia, capitalist Haiti, capitalist Honduras, and soon-to-be capitalist Libya.
But capitalism is also a self-devouring beast. One function of the capitalist state seldom mentioned, even by Marxists, is to protect capitalism from the capitalists. If the 1% become too successful in their frenzied pursuit of profits and their furious determination to roll back all regulations and restraints, they may well destroy their own system. The plutocrats will plunder everything and everyone in sight, including other capitalists. Toss the global ecological crisis into this witch’s brew and we may well be headed toward monumental disaster. In the middle of it all we have a president (Obama) who keeps jacking up the military budget and is now spending billions to build the first new (and utterly dangerous) nuclear plant in decades, announcing proudly “I believe in nuclear power.”
CB: You have written, in your book Contrary Notions, that “the important legitimating symbols of our culture are mediated through a social structure that is largely controlled by centralized, moneyed organizations. This is especially true of our information universe whose mass market is pretty much monopolized by corporate-owned media.” This offers a rather monolithic view of media culture in the U.S. Do you see any signs, or sources, of fissures in this system – of a break from the hegemonic order?
MP: The corporate owned mass media are not as perfectly reactionary as media owners might want. All sorts of information can be found buried in the back pages of the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, and other mainstream publications—or even stuck right in the headlines. Some of it can be quite revelatory, if you know how to connect the dots. Troublesome events peek through the haze: recession, poverty, enormous public debt, horrific military interventions, corrupt lawmakers, thieving financiers, renditions and torture, unprecedented natural disasters—but these are not things we lefties inventively pull out of our radical hats. They really exist. Reality is radical. Often the media have to report something about these unpleasant realities, and when they do, this convinces the moneyed reactionaries that there exists a “biased liberal media” that tries to make capitalist society look bad.
As for “fissures” in the communication universe, well, there do exist a few hundred non-profit community and campus radio stations that occasionally allow a dissident voice on the air. I do about 35 radio interviews a year on small stations all around the country that broadcast to very small listening audiences. There also are a few under-financed tiny circulation magazines that offer some leftist perspectives. And then there is the Internet which has the defects of its own virtues, with websites and blogs that extend across the entire political spectrum, and hundreds of self-appointed columnists and commentators of all political hues.
Still the moneyed class and its acolytes control almost the entire communication universe. Getting heard by larger publics is an uphill battle if you have no access to major media. I speak from direct experience. I usually get over 100,000 hits a month on my website, while Glenn Beck gets millions of hits and has many millions of viewers and listeners (and makes millions of dollars). Can he really be that much more intelligent and informed than the rest of us? Or is he just more ideologically correct and therefore better marketed by superrich interests? So the Internet has provided an outlet but—given the way moneyed resources are distributed—it is difficult to create a level playing field.
CB: In your book God and His Demons you write: “God’s wonders never work more mysteriously – and deleteriously – than in the propagation of religion itself. Religion is widely credited with being the great progenitor of moral virtues, but looking at the actualities of history we cannot help noticing how frequently religions have served as instruments for promoting intolerance, autocracy, and atrocity.” To what extent has this kind of religious dogmatism influenced the contemporary rightward shift in American politics, in which Christian fundamentalists (among others) seem fully possessed of a combination of righteous moralism, nationalist xenophobia, and political authoritarianism?
MP: As I note in God and His Demons, many fundamentalist groups are completely hostile toward “godless” secular democracy; they are uncompromising totalitarian theocrats and openly say as much. They are dedicated to infiltrating the various institutions of this country. About 25 years ago I was invited to speak at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The Academy’s political science department was using my textbook, Democracy for the Few. No kidding. I had an interesting time and made some nice friends. But today I would not be allowed through the gate. The Academy has been taken over by Protestant fundamentalists as has other military centers and bases throughout the armed forces. More generally, the fundamentalist worshippers have played an active role injecting theocratic values into political discourse, especially with such receptive reactionary presidents as Reagan and George W.
The clearest case of theocratic intrusion into secular politics was Pope John Paul II’s destruction of liberation theology throughout Latin America, a CIA sponsored suppression that needs more revelation than the few pages I gave it in my book. And of course there is a circular effect. The secular reactionaries fund the fundamentalists in whatever ways they can and even appoint some of them to public office. So church impacts upon state and state bolsters the church, all in a mutually reactionary direction, a marriage made in heaven—or more likely somewhere else.
CB: Returning to the Occupy movement and its many offshoots, can we find cause for optimism here at a time when our experience with other contemporary social movements has been somewhat less than positive. Popular insurgencies rooted in global justice, antiwar politics (Iraq), and immigration rights, for example, have generally stalled and failed to achieve much political articulation or durability. Might one identify something entirely different about this new insurgency – different enough to justify renewed optimism for the future?
MP: That’s a crystal ball question. Who can say? I would qualify what I said earlier about the imperium. It is horribly powerful but neither invincible nor omnipotent. There have been victories and changes. In my lifetime I have seen Jim Crow driven off its pedestal. I have seen a peace movement that eventually almost paralyzed the U.S. war effort in Indochina and raised a ferment on the domestic front that shook up our institutions and our very lives. There have been dramatic gains by feminists and gays, and now a sudden explosion of class fightback by the Occupy movement. Uprisings are unpredictable things. Nobody expected the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt, not even the Egyptologists and Middle East specialists. If they did, they certainly kept it to themselves. Everything may seem hopeless and then suddenly the people find something in themselves and each other and the democracy is out on the streets.
I guess the best approach is the one offered by Antonio Gramsci who said we must have “a pessimism of the mind and an optimism of the will.” That is, we must be able to look at how grim things can get and have no sunshine illusions about what we face, but we must also keep fighting as if it made a difference and had an impact—because sometimes it does.
Let me end by thanking Carl Boggs for his efforts in putting this interview together. It’s a privilege to be interviewed by someone of his caliber.
|July 22, 2012||Posted by admin under Admin|
Will Lawsuits Sink the Ships?
Titanic Banks Hit Libor Iceberg
by ELLEN BROWN
At one time, calling the large multinational banks a “cartel” branded you as a conspiracy theorist. Today the banking giants are being called that and worse, not just in the major media but in court documents intended to prove the allegations as facts. Charges include racketeering (organized crime under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO), antitrust violations, wire fraud, bid-rigging, and price-fixing. Damning charges have already been proven, and major damages and penalties assessed. Conspiracy theory has become established fact.
In an article in the July 3rd Guardian titled “Private Banks Have Failed – We Need a Public Solution”, Seumas Milne writes of the LIBOR rate-rigging scandal admitted to by Barclays Bank:
It’s already clear that the rate rigging, which depends on collusion, goes far beyond Barclays, and indeed the City of London. This is one of multiple scams that have become endemic in a disastrously deregulated system with inbuilt incentives for cartels to manipulate the core price of finance.
. . . It could of course have happened only in a private-dominated financial sector, and makes a nonsense of the bankrupt free-market ideology that still holds sway in public life.
. . . A crucial part of the explanation is the unmuzzled political and economic power of the City. . . . Finance has usurped democracy.
Bid-rigging and Rate-rigging
Bid-rigging was the subject of U.S. v. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm, a ten-year suit in which the U.S. Department of Justice obtained a judgment on May 11 against three GE Capital employees. Billions of dollars were skimmed from cities all across America by colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion. Other banks involved in the bidding scheme included Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and UBS. These banks have already paid a total of $673 million in restitution after agreeing to cooperate in the government’s case.
Hot on the heels of the Carollo decision came the LIBOR scandal, involving collusion to rig the inter-bank interest rate that affects $500 trillion worth of contracts, financial instruments, mortgages and loans. Barclays Bank admitted to regulators in June that it tried to manipulate LIBOR before and during the financial crisis in 2008. It said that other banks were doing the same. Barclays paid $450 million to settle the charges.
The U. S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission said in a press release that Barclays Bank “pervasively” reported fictitious rates rather than actual rates; that it asked other big banks to assist, and helped them to assist; and that Barclays did so “to benefit the Bank’s derivatives trading positions” and “to protect Barclays’ reputation from negative market and media perceptions concerning Barclays’ financial condition.”
After resigning, top executives at Barclays promptly implicated both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve. The upshot is that the biggest banks and their protector central banks engaged in conspiracies to manipulate the most important market interest rates globally, along with the exchange rates propping up the U.S. dollar.
|June 14, 2012||Posted by admin under John Parulis|
Here’s the text of AB 2500. If passed and implemented, this bill has the potential of starting a revolution in banking that puts people back in charge of their money. The federal government is locked in corruption and corporate cash. Only the states can save the Union. Urge your Assembly-person to pass it.
BILL NUMBER: AB 2500 INTRODUCED
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Hueso
FEBRUARY 24, 2012
An act to add Part 9.5 (commencing with Section 17750) to Division
4 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to state government,
and making an appropriation therefor.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
AB 2500, as introduced, Hueso. State government: California
Investment Trust: state bank.
Existing law authorizes the Infrastructure and Economic
Development Bank to enter into loan agreements with a sponsor or a
participating party in order to finance a project related to
infrastructure or economic development. Existing law provides that
all money in the possession of, or collected by, any state agency or
department is state money and is subject to provisions governing its
deposit and handling in trust accounts. Existing law authorizes the
Pooled Money Investment Board to invest surplus state money held in
the Pooled Money Investment Account in accordance with certain
This bill would establish the California Investment Trust within
state government, and would authorize the trust to exercise various
powers and duties relating to banking, including, among others,
receiving and managing deposits from public funds, loaning money,
engaging in financial transactions, and buying and selling federal
funds. The bill would require all state money, as defined, to be
deposited into the California Investment Trust. The bill would
establish a California Investment Trust Board to be chaired by the
Treasurer, and would establish an advisory board for purposes of
advising the board. The bill would establish the California
Investment Trust Fund for deposit of all state moneys, and would
continuously appropriate those moneys to the board for expenditure,
thereby making an appropriation of General Fund moneys. The bill
would require the State Auditor to make specified audits of the
trust, and require the State Auditor, Department of Finance, and the
Controller to make specified reports to the Legislature with regard
to the trust. The bill would exempt certain documents of the trust
from public disclosure.
Existing constitutional provisions require that a statute that
limits the right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the
writings of public officials and agencies be adopted with findings
demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need
for protecting that interest.
This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.
Vote: 2/3. Appropriation: yes. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Part 9.5 (commencing with Section 17750) is added to
Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:
PART 9.5. California Investment Trust
CHAPTER 1. FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS
17750. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California communities have suffered greatly since the
financial crisis of 2007. During the last several years, monthly
unemployment levels have remained above 10 percent leaving millions
of Californians out of work. Bankruptcies among small businesses and
individuals are up, capital markets are tight, and local communities
have limited resources to address their economic and community
(b) Independent analysis has shown that a state bank can do all of
(1) Support in-state economic development by increasing access to
capital for businesses in the state.
(2) Support job creation and retention through increased and
sustained business lending.
(3) Provide stability to the local financial sector.
(4) Reduce the cost paid by state government for banking services.
CHAPTER 2. DEFINITIONS
17751. For the purposes of this part, the following terms have
the following meanings:
(a) “Advisory board” means the advisory board of the trust.
(b) “Board” means the board of directors of the trust.
(c) “California Investment Trust” or “trust” means the California
Investment Trust established pursuant to this part.
(d) “California Investment Trust Fund” or “fund” means the fund
established by Section 11757 for the deposit and appropriation of
(e) “Financial institutions” means banking or savings
organizations, including, but not limited to, banks, savings and loan
associations, and credit unions authorized to conduct business in
California, and state-chartered commercial banks, trust companies,
and savings and loan associations.
(f) “Public funds” means public funds of any local entity or
(g) “State-chartered bank” means a corporation incorporated under
Division 1 (commencing with Section 100) of Title 1 of the
Corporations Code that is, with the approval of the commissioner,
incorporated for the purpose of engaging in, or that is authorized by
the commissioner to engage in, the commercial or industrial banking
business, and, in that capacity, may carry out various powers and
duties, including, among others, the receipt of private deposits, and
the loaning and investment of money.
(h) “State money” means all general fund money in the possession
of, or collected by, any state agency or department that is not
otherwise restricted for expenditure by the California Constitution.
CHAPTER 3. THE CALIFORNIA INVESTMENT TRUST
17752. (a) The California Investment Trust is hereby established
within state government as an independent entity.
(b) The purposes of the California Investment Trust are all of the
(1) Supporting the economic development of the state by increasing
access to capital for businesses and farms within the state in
partnership with local financial institutions.
(2) Providing stability to the local financial sector without
entering into competition with community banks, credit unions, or
other financial institutions.
(3) Reducing the cost paid by state government for banking
(4) To return profits, beyond those necessary to accomplish the
mission and sound operations of the trust, to the General Fund.
CHAPTER 4. THE CALIFORNIA INVESTMENT TRUST BOARD
17753. (a) The California Investment Trust Board is hereby
established within the trust. The board shall operate, manage, and
control the California Investment Trust. The board shall locate and
maintain places of business of the trust. The board shall adopt and
enforce orders, rules, and bylaws for the transaction of the trust’s
(b) The board shall consist of all of the following:
(1) The Governor or his or her designee.
(2) The Treasurer.
(3) The Controller or his or her designee.
(4) One member appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and
having a background in one or more areas of finance, including, but
not limited to, individuals working in for-profit and nonprofit
financial and academic institutions and economic development
(5) One member appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly and having
a background in one or more areas of finance, including, but not
limited to, individuals working in for-profit and nonprofit financial
and academic institutions and economic development practitioners.
(c) The Treasurer shall act as chairperson of the board. The board
shall establish rules requiring the holding of regular meetings and
specifying the means for providing notice of the meetings consistent
with Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 9 of Part 1
of Division 3.
(d) The powers of the board and the functions of the trust shall
be implemented through actions taken and policies and rules adopted
by the board, subject to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340)
of Part 1 of Division 3 and Section 11758.
(e) Three members of the board shall constitute a quorum to
transact business and exercise all rights, duties, and powers of the
(f) The board shall appoint a president of the trust. The person
appointed as president shall have extensive experience in banking.
The board may appoint and employ any subordinate officers, employees,
and agents as the board considers necessary, and shall define the
duties, designate the titles, and fix the compensation of all those
persons. The board may designate the president or other officers or
employees as its agent in respect to the functions of the trust,
subject to the supervision, limitation, and control of the board.
(g) The board may remove and discharge any and all persons under
subdivision (f) or Section 11754.
CHAPTER 5. ADVISORY BOARD
17754. (a) To enlist the help of private enterprise and to
encourage more active use of the purposes for which the California
Investment Trust is established, the board shall appoint an advisory
board of directors that consists of seven members.
(b) The members of the advisory board shall include:
(1) One representative of this state’s financial industry sector.
(2) One representative of this state’s small business sector.
(3) One representative of this state’s agricultural sector.
(4) One representative of this state’s labor groups.
(5) At least two members shall be officers of state-chartered
banks who do not maintain offices outside the boundaries of this
(c) The board shall appoint a chairman, vice chairman, and
secretary of the advisory board. The term of office of directors
shall be set by the board, but may not exceed four years.
(d) The advisory board shall do all of the following:
(1) Meet regularly with the management of the trust to review the
trust’s operations and finances to determine whether recommendations
should be made by the advisory board to the board relating to
improved management performance, better customer service and overall
improvement in internal methods, procedures and operating policies of
(2) Make recommendations to the board relating to the
establishment of additional objectives for the operation of the
(3) Make recommendations to the board concerning the appointment
of officers of the trust.
(4) Meet every annual quarter with the board to present
recommendations concerning the trust.
(5) Participate on loan committees, if created by the board.
CHAPTER 6. STATE MONEYS
17755. (a) The California Investment Trust may accept deposits of
public funds. The trust may not accept deposits of private funds.
(b) All state moneys shall be deposited in the California
Investment Trust Fund. All income earned by the trust for its own
account on state moneys that are deposited in, or invested with, the
trust to the credit of the state shall be credited to, and become a
part of, the revenues and income of the trust.
(c) Whenever any public funds are deposited in the trust, the
official having control of the public funds and the sureties on the
bond of the official shall be exempt from all liability by reason of
loss of any of the funds deposited in the trust.
(d) The trust shall pay interest on public deposits at a rate
comparable to average statewide rates paid by private depositories of
public funds and may offer other financial products to state
entities on a competitive basis.
CHAPTER 7. POWERS
17756. The California Investment Trust may do all of the
(a) Make loans in the form of participation loans in which the
originator of the loan is a financial institution doing business in
this state that meets safety and performance standards that are
generally accepted by state or federal financial regulatory agencies
and the purpose of the loan is for operation or expansion of a
qualified business located in California.
(b) Purchase participation interests in loans made or held by
financial institutions doing business in this state and that meet
safety and performance standards that are generally accepted by state
or federal financial regulatory agencies where the purpose of the
loan is for operation or expansion of a qualified business located in
(c) Purchase, guarantee, or hold loans originated by financial
institutions doing business in this state that meet safety and
performance standards that are generally accepted by state or federal
financial regulatory agencies.
(d) Purchase or hold loans that are insured or guaranteed in whole
or in part by the United States, its agencies, or instrumentalities.
(e) Make, purchase, guarantee, or hold loans of instrumentalities
of this state.
(f) Purchase or hold loans that are obtained as security pledged
for, or originated in the restructuring of, any other loan properly
originated or participated in by the trust.
(g) Invest its funds in conformity with policies of the board.
(h) Buy and sell federal funds.
(i) Act as a custodian bank for financial institutions organized
under the laws of this state and accept deposits from the financial
institutions in connection with this function.
(j) Issue bank stock loans to financial institutions organized
under the laws of this state and doing the majority of their business
in this state.
(k) For financial institutions that make the trust a reserve
depository, perform the functions and render the services of a
clearinghouse, including all facilities for providing domestic and
foreign exchange and may rediscount paper, on terms prescribed by the
(l) Perform all acts and do all things necessary, convenient,
advisable, or desirable to carry out the powers expressly granted or
necessarily implied in this act through or by means of its president,
officers, agents, or employees or by contracts with any person,
firm, or corporation.
(m) The bank may not make a loan to any board member, the
president, or any officer of the bank.
CHAPTER 8. CALIFORNIA INVESTMENT TRUST FUND
17757. (a) The California Investment Trust Fund is hereby
established in the State Treasury for use by the trust.
Notwithstanding Section 13340, all money held in the fund is
continuously appropriated to the trust for purposes of this part.
(b) As soon as possible after the end of each calendar year, the
board shall determine the amount of income, if any, earned by the
California Investment Trust in that calendar year that is in excess
of amounts necessary to pay for expenses of administering the
activities of the trust and shall, in consultation with the
Legislature, determine how much of the excess shall be transferred to
the General Fund, if not constitutionally restricted with regard to
the transfer of those funds.
CHAPTER 9. RULES AND REGULATIONS
17758. The California Investment Trust Board shall adopt rules
and regulations to do all of the following:
(a) Ensure the safety and soundness of the California Investment
Trust, adhere to sound underwriting practices, avoid excessive risk
and, to the extent possible, reflect applicable standards for safety
and soundness set forth in Part 364 of Title 12 of the Code of
(b) Specify the trust’s powers and permissible investments and
(c) Authorize specific services that the trust may provide.
(d) Specify limits for loans and other obligations the trust makes
(e) Specify reserve requirements consistent with federal law.
(f) Set other requirements that the board considers necessary to
administer the trust under this act.
CHAPTER 10. AUDIT
17759. (a) The State Auditor shall contract with an independent
certified public accounting firm for an annual audit of the trust in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
(b) The State Auditor shall audit annually or contract for an
annual audit of the separate programs and funds administered by the
trust. On request of the State Auditor, the board shall assist the
State Auditor in the auditing firm selection process, but the
selection of the auditing firm is the State Auditor’s responsibility.
The auditor selected shall prepare an audit report that includes
financial statements presented in accordance with the audit and
accounting guide for banks and savings institutions issued by the
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The auditor also
shall prepare audited financial statements for inclusion in the
comprehensive annual financial report for the state.
(c) The State Auditor may conduct performance audits of the trust,
including the separate programs and funds administered by the trust.
(d) The auditor shall report the results of the audit to the board
and to the Legislature.
(e) The trust or its separate programs and funds shall pay the
costs of the audit, which shall be expended from the fund.
(f) The Department of Finance and the Controller shall examine the
bank at least once every 24 months and conduct any investigation of
the trust that may be necessary.
(g) The Treasurer shall report the examination results, and the
results of any necessary investigation, to the board and to the
Legislature as soon as practicable.
(h) The Department of Finance and the Controller may charge a fee
for any examination or investigation at an hourly rate to be set by
the Treasurer, sufficient to cover all reasonable expenses of the
department and the Controller associated with the examinations and
investigations provided for by this section, which shall be expended
from the fund.
CHAPTER 11. REPORT
17760. (a) Immediately following the close of each calendar
month, the Treasurer shall prepare a report on the General Fund, the
trust, and every other fund under his or her control itemized as to
all of the following:
(1) The amount in the fund at the close of business at the end of
the preceding month.
(2) The amount of revenue deposited or transferred to the credit
of each fund during the current month.
(3) The amount of withdrawals or transfers from each fund during
the current month.
(4) The amount on hand in each fund at the close of business at
the end of the current month.
(b) One copy of the report shall be provided promptly to those
requesting the report, so long as the supply lasts. The report shall
also be posted on the Internet Web site of the Treasurer.
CHAPTER 12. TITLE
17761. (a) All business of the California Investment Trust shall
be conducted under the name of the “California Investment Trust.”
Title to property pertaining to the operation of the trust shall be
obtained and conveyed in the name of the “California Investment
Trust, doing business as the California Investment Trust.”
(b) Instruments shall be executed in the name of the State of
California within the scope of authority granted by the California
Investment Trust Board. The president of the trust may execute
instruments on behalf of the trust, including any instrument
granting, conveying, or otherwise affecting any interest in or lien
upon real or personal property.
(c) Other officers or employees of, and legal counsel to, the
trust may execute instruments on behalf of the trust when authorized
by the board.
CHAPTER 13. RECORDS
17762. (a) The following records of the California Investment
Trust are confidential and shall not be disclosed to the public:
(1) Commercial or financial information of a customer of the
trust, whether obtained directly or indirectly, other than routine
credit inquiries concerning information that is required to be
disclosed in accordance with due legal process.
(2) Internal or interagency memoranda or letters that would not be
available by law to a party other than in litigation with the trust.
(3) Except as provided in Section 11759 or 11780, information that
is contained in, or related to a report of, an examination or
operating or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of or for the
use of a state or federal agency responsible for the regulation or
supervision of any trust activity, unless the state or federal agency
is required by law to make the report open to the public.
(b) As used in this section, “customer” means any person that has
transacted or is transacting business with, or has used or is using
the services of, the California Investment Trust, or for which the
trust has acted or is acting as a fiduciary with respect to trust
SEC. 2. The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of this
act, which adds Section 11762 to the Government Code, imposes a
limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings of public
bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies within the
meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution.
Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the Legislature makes the
following finding to demonstrate the interest protected by this
limitation and the need to protect that interest:
In order to protect the confidentiality of the internal records of
persons doing business with the California Investment Trust and to
ensure effective administration of the California Investment Trust,
it is necessary that certain records be exempt from disclosure.