Big Brother state reaching new levels of surveillance and depression By Roland Michel Tremblay

By Roland Michel Tremblay
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
The Marginal
Sept 19, 2008

Ben Franklin

Spying on Myspace users?

Where do we need to move now to escape Big Brother, and would the North Pole suffice? I wonder. I came back from work tonight to find a new CCTV camera right outside my door, this is as close as it can be before they install one in the apartment I live in. I live on a lone street in the suburbs of London, there is absolutely no reason to put a camera there.

We can no longer deny that our governments are control freaks, they will not stop until they know everything we all do and say at any given time. This is called paranoia. Why the need for such a police state? What are the authorities really fearing? Great questions.

Let’s study the consequences of such a Big Brother policy on all of us, and if really this is something we want in any self-proclaimed democracy. And if we don’t want it, why is it still imposed on all of us? Crucial questions.

As soon as you get your birth certificate, we have established your identity. We know your name, your date of birth and where you were born. After that, to get your first identity card or passport, what is required, is simply generally your birth certificate.

Imagine a world without birth certificate, none of us would have an identity. Imagine if none of us had a name and didn’t know where we were born and on what day. Sounds weird, but it is a fact for all animals on this planet, except of course our cherish pets which we now microchip and follow online. Only humans have this obsession with identity, identifying, and eventually to track down anything about anyone anywhere on this planet. You will never witness that anywhere in the animal kingdom.

If it were to stop there, it would be easy enough and it would be nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, your birth certificate is simply a login and password to your true identity, who you really are. That identity being every single thing you will ever do in your entire life, be it getting married, divorced, switching country, getting a loan or a mortgage. And if you do anything wrong at any time, this is when your identity becomes quite important to every single authority on this planet. Be it a great crime or something as simple as a little white lie in order to get something. That’s it, your identity might prevent you from achieving anything you ever dreamt of.

Identity is what drives every single government wild, in truth, they will not stop until they can have a quick and easy access scheme to everything you have ever done in your life from the moment you came into this world. Whatever you might want to do to protect your privacy, it is useless.

Up until now we have been lucky, the technology was simply not there, and we could still hope to get away with a little lie or two to get a job, a loan, some other benefits. Now you can forget it. Multiple central databases have been put together, I have already given my thumb print last year in order to pay with my own credit card, I had my eye scanned when I entered the United States a year ago. This is as good as my DNA, as with those, they can establish the login which is the door to my true identity, everything I ever thought of.

From now on, everything is tracked down, to the beers I bought in a Seven Eleven a few months ago where they had to scan my Californian driving licence. I was quite shocked actually, I shouted that I didn’t want the President of the United States to know that I was buying beers tonight, just in case one day, somehow, this could be used against me in a Court of Law.

I can already see it: that man has been buying 24 bottle of beers every single week he spent in Los Angeles, how can we trust an alcoholic? That man has been buying violent video games in Hounslow for over a decade, how can he be stable enough to be a manager? That man has left the UK for more than 100 days, how can we give him a British citizenship now, it is obvious he does not deserve it, or does not live here or intend to live here forever. And what difference does it really make when I have now spent more time in London than anywhere else in the world?

That guy has travelled to this country, visited this city, the very same one where some terrorist attacks took place. He has been visiting this and that website and read for 20 minutes and 30 seconds all about these conspiracy theories concerning the so called governments cover up. What credibility has he got?

Today there are good reasons for you to wish to keep your anonymity, keep some privacy about your identity, because you never know how the government laws and policies will turn against you, and these changes come fast.

In the last few years, since the destruction of the twin towers in New York, most Western countries have lost their rights and liberties. Another serious terrorist attack at this point will definitely bring about everything you most feared about the importance of your privacy when it comes to your identity. And since governments have always dreamt and worked toward being able to know everything about you since your birth, it is just a question of time before you lose your identity completely.

There must come a time when you no longer own your identity, when you are no longer free to build that identity, move about and do what you wish. This has not yet happened globally, but a large percentage of the population has already lost its identity, or the freedom to build one. For example, the unemployed, whether they are retired or simply incapable of finding a job, and people who simply run out of money.

The government and the financial institutions don’t ask much from you, until that is you run out of cash. If you need anything from the government or banks, they will want to know everything about you in return, up to where and what you spend your money on. At this point they control your destiny.

You are no longer free to move to another place, change job, or play video games all day. You have to look for work, you have to repay somehow your debts, you need to report on everything you do to get yourself out of your situation, you have to report your expenses and justify them. Any change in your life will need to be declared.

And believe me, they already know the truth about you. Do not dare lie to them, you will pay highly for the consequences. And from all that data which form your identity, decisions will be made, things might or might not be granted, you could be penalised or punished in ways you can’t even imagine right now.

If you are thinking about taking any risk, forget it, banish it from your thoughts. The Big Brother State is here, they know everything, it is always used against you in a Court of Law. I know, I work in a Crown Court. I am more amazed every day by what the Prosecution can now use in Court. It is like infinite power, and there is no end in sight to this abuse of power which does not respect the most basic human rights of privacy and freedom.

It is like, the government own us all. And don’t you ever forget it, because I do know what I am talking about. You can no longer get away with anything, you can only be, perfect citizens, conforming to the max, and be more conformist than most. Your only way out, I’m afraid. So go on pretending to some sort of existence, and explode at some point, no doubt, as such things can’t really be helped. So much repression, can only lead to explosion now and then, and again.

Financial institutions tried to prevent me from moving to the United States, they almost seized my meagre assets and declared me bankrupt when I did. That would have seriously handicapped me for many years, perhaps for life, even though I am seriously already handicapped when it comes to money and where I can spend it. Lucky me, I used my charms, and my salary was higher than previously, and of course I moved before they could say no.

It is not hard to imagine how these schemes, procedures and other protocols could become global in a few years, where everyone will be in the same boat. In a way, the tax man already checks up on everything you do and spend your money on, how you acquire it and how much of it they will get. The tax man is not yet at the point where it can dictate what your life will be, like with people who have no money, like in my case, but we’re getting there, especially now that we are facing a crash that will make the one of 1929 pale in comparison.

They will only be satisfied when they will have your complete identity on record, when they will control your life to the second. Which, by the way, sounds very much like the communist socialist countries, like for example China, where you cannot have a child or buy a house without first being on a long waiting list. Waiting a few years, giving up your identity, waiting for the authority to tell you yes or no, you can do something with your life, for a change.

Might as well be dead then, as this is no way to live, not by our own so called definition of what it is to be living in a so called free world. There is no more free world to talk about here, we have all become desperate to even breathe!

So called democracies give the impression of being different, that you have more freedom. However, I found it not to be the case, and we are much closer to this state of affair than one would like to admit.

Thankfully, I can’t have children, and I will never have the money to buy a house, so I don’t want one. I might still wish to move about though, and now I find that I can’t even do that. I am but a prisoner on probation, and I feel that globally we are all moving towards that social status.

Where it starts to look like a real prison, is in the corporate world. Let’s leave the financial institutions for a moment, to concentrate on employers, even though this is again a financial question. An employer is ready to give you money as long as you provide your identity in full, who you are, where you come from, what you have done in your past up until that very moment. This information will be verified, they need reference letters, forms to be filled out by previous employers sometimes reaching 20 pages. They need to have your whole life planned out in front of their eyes before they can make a decision. No chance for a fresh start anymore in this life.

You then have to go to work everyday, do what has been established as your job, and report anything that might change in your life. Do you need time off for some reason? Why, what happened, what has changed in your life? Are you sick, are you having a baby? Are you going through a divorce, has someone close to you died? We need to know everything. If you are to be late for five minutes tomorrow, we need an explanation, we need you to call in to let us know, we need to establish if being five minutes late was justified. If it turns out that it was not justified, or that you are late a bit too often, disciplinary actions will be taken against you and eventually will lead to your dismissal.

If it was just dismissal, it would be all right, however all the mind games they use via their HR or Personnel department are most likely to make you physically and mentally sick before any action is actually taken against you.

There is not even the smallest freedom left in this world, that you cannot go to the bathroom for fifteen minutes without having to justify it in great detail, filling out forms, and it being reported to all corners of the world to the authorities within the hour. You think I am joking? I am not. This is the world in which you are living in now. This is how anal they have become.

By all means, test it, go to the toilet for thirty minutes tomorrow at work, and see what happens, see the consequences. You will live to regret it. If not, try it again the next day. It won’t go unnoticed twice in a row, I can assure you. As it will not go unnoticed the first time around, and you will have to justify yourself. I hope you are a good liar, whilst it has become now useless in this world, they always know the truth.

Having eaten an Indian meal the previous night is no excuse, as nothing is no longer an excuse to justify anything. You are transparent, you are always lying, and so you shall pay for the consequences, no matter if you are telling the truth or not.

Guilty until proven innocent, is the world we are now living in, as perhaps it always was. It is better to bypass the toilet, shit all over your trousers and show them proudly, without shame, as it is your only way out. And burst into tears, god knows, that might work. Maybe there is still a part of them which is human, and not 100% corporate management training brainwashing, making them more like reporting machines than humans.

Through these fears they control your mind completely. You are chained to your desk, and cannot leave it for too long, and will also need to justify anywhere you go and why you left your desk unattended for so long. You better have a good excuse, constipation and having to spend hours on the toilet bowl might work once or twice, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. This is your corporate nightmare.

We are all prisoners and slaves to our employers, the financial institutions and the government. They want to establish our identity, they want to control it, they want to tell us what we need to do. And so far, they have been highly successful. One more step and it will suddenly become clearer to everyone. And all that is left for us then, is to be depressed before our incapacity to lead the life we always wanted to lead, cry due to our lack of freedom. And it all starts with your birth certificate, the day you gain your very own identity. As after that, they can track you down from the day you were born.

In a perfect world, in utopia, we would not have an identity. We would not have a past, a timeline of all our actions recorded for posterity and for authority to probe and decide if we deserve this and that or not. What they would see at the interview, would be what they would get. And if somehow you’re not wearing a suit with a tie with shiny shoes, but decided to go there in jeans and T-Shirt, that would already be giving away too much about your identity, they would make an instant judgement, and you wouldn’t get what you should get by right.

Your appearance is also a big give away as to your identity, who you really are, what you think, what you are all about. Dear me, never could I stand this idea of wearing a suit and a tie, I wish I could kill the bastard who invented those. I think of it every day. I bet he was French, bastard!

You might not be racist at all, but if for one second of inattention in your lifetime you say a racist word, lucky you if you were in your own house and you can trust your family not to tell anyone of what you said. Say it in the work environment, or anywhere on the street where there are witnesses, and watch your entire career go, your whole identity changing overnight, you are now a racist and do not deserve anything for as long as you live.

Your identity is everything. If you were born in Africa and you were black, trying to die somewhere else from where you were born might prove difficult if not impossible. Immigration will be closed to you unless you can become a refugee and there is danger for you in your own country, as long as you can justify all this to the government of the country you wish to move to. Unfortunately for you, it is unlikely that there is a civil war every year in your country, it would have helped you immigrate.

If you have committed any crime, even just being arrested at some sort of manifestation or campaign against the government, you might not be able to immigrate that easily to another country either, you might find it impossible. Every single action you do every day defines your identity.

And now in the UK, there are thousands and thousands of cameras watching your every move at all time, and so you can no longer get away with anything. Not even letting go of a cigarette butt on the sidewalk, that is an instant £100 fine. They will find you through face recognition software, you will be prosecuted for anything you do, even just walking in the park without a child or a dog, because then, certainly you are a paedophile. It made headline news recently, you can no longer walk alone in any park in England.

The only solution would be for you to remain at home, alone, shut all the doors, get rid of your computer, your phone, and any other gadget that could be used for communication and monitoring. Then, you can only hope the government has not yet bugged your place in order to monitor everything you do and say. That is the next step, and most government believes that it is no longer necessary, because with your phone and your internet connection, they know already everything they need to know, anything they need to successfully prosecute you in any Court.

A few years ago a man fell asleep at the wheel of his van, and somehow found himself on a train track. The ensuing accident killed a lot of people, and it was just that, an accident. The British government went out of its way to find anything to incriminate the man. They found out that he was chatting in a chat room with some lady at 2 am the night before. That was enough to inculpate him without doubt, this was no longer an accident, it was multiple murders. Had it not been that he was chatting on the Internet at 2 am the night before, I wonder what else they could have come up with to justify his culpability. Perhaps something to do with insurance companies? They are all going bankrupt now, thank God!

Anything will do at this point, there is no denying that. If you were spotted walking the dog at 1 am by a CCTV camera just out of your doorstep, or just opening your front door to get a bit of fresh air at 4 in the morning, that could be used against you to justify any criminal activity, or why you lost that big contract for your company (of course you were too tired), or why you missed the train the next day, and therefore, you should lose your job and find it impossible to find another. Since being sacked is now your new identity, gross misconduct is your new identity, and any future employer will most assuredly get to know about it. Your career is gone.

I have decided tonight that the dog no longer needs to pee before I go to bed. That camera outside my door, the government, the prosecution, the police, don’t need to know when our dog goes for a pee. Of course, our dog shitting on our own bit of green, even if we pick it up the very next day, is another £100 fine, 20% of my monthly salary, so out of proportions those fines are.

Of course, none of you worry about all of this, most of you are not even aware yet of all of this. Because most of you have not yet been in a bad situation where suddenly every single action you have done can be used against you to incriminate you, whatever the gravity of the crime or negligence.

You are all, however, about to find out very soon, because sooner or later, with so many new laws being passed every day, you are bound to break a few laws without even noticing it. And suddenly they will all jump on you like a ton of bricks. And then you will be in awe, you will wonder, puzzled, how this came to be, how did you and everyone else let this all happened without even a blink.

You can have a taste of it right now, take your car, go at 10 miles an hour over the speed limit, and meet on the same bit of road, all within less than a mile, three speed cameras. A minister recently in England experienced that for himself, and became an instant criminal, lost his driving licence, had to go to Court to justify himself, when there was not much to justify in the first place. And God knows what could then be used against you in that Court of Law, if you were not a Minister.

However, maybe this is not frightening enough, how likely would you be to be flashed three times within 10 minutes, even though most of us are now collecting points on our licences and collecting parking tickets for 30 seconds of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Just throw a bit of paper on the sidewalk, perhaps even unintentionally, there are CCTV cameras everywhere, your identity can now be established quickly with just a shot of your face and the databases. You’re an instant criminal with a huge fine to pay. So many people have been fined hugely in England recently for chucking their cigarette butt on the sidewalk, and yet, no one blinked an eye to this state of affair.

Because it has not happened to you yet, and when it does, you will feel powerless to stop it, you wouldn’t know what to do, and so, you will do nothing but accept that you’re a criminal and that you have to be punished. Abuse of power, this is what will be on your mind. And the lack of power to redress the situation. We are so powerless, we could never hope to be heard, to change anything, even, to warn others. Well, I am doing it right now, and so you can find a way to do it too.

Any government or other authority wishing to create a perfect orderly society, cannot bypass the fact that we need some privacy, rights and liberties. Every day, bit by bit, they blur the line between your rights and liberties, they justify it in such a way that the chart of rights and liberties, or the constitution, written or not, no longer apply. The key is to establish your true identity, and control it somehow, be it by fears of some horrible consequence if you do not comply in any way. No doubt, no one could possibly comply 100%, and so we are all criminals now, if not terrorists, in such an extreme world.

There is not much anyone can do about it, or is there? There are many organisations out there fighting against the Big Brother State, and yet, they have met their goal with little success. Millions of people walked to Westminster and Trafalgar Square to denounce unpopular policies of the government, and yet, nothing has prevented the government from passing these anti-terrorist laws and go to war.

A civil war at this point is the only solution left to reverse our lost of identity and freedom. This requires good justification, convincing, whilst taken individually, all the little decisions of the government never seem that threatening, especially when it all seemed justified at the time for whatever reason.

Civil wars are bloody things, many people would die, and in this day and age, it almost sounds unthinkable. Until at the very least the government goes global on all its policies and it affects everyone, and alienate everyone at once. Something they will be careful not to do, to cross that unacceptable threshold. So for now, even a civil war seems impossible, and we will have lost everything before the idea seems right.

So what is there left to do? Nothing? Do we have to simply sit back and watch our identity being changed and eroded, witnessing losing all our rights and liberties, becoming drones to any authority out there? Maybe making everyone more aware here and there, bits and bobs in newspapers, chapters like this one in books, articles in magazines, will eventually slow down governments, who knows. You might enjoy a few more years of partial privacy and partial freedom before it all disappear completely before your eyes.

So I’ve done my bit, what are you going to do about it? And it all begins with safeguarding your identity. No one needs to know who you are, what you do, what you have done, where you were born and the very second you came into this world. Together let’s work at erasing our identity so nothing can be used against us at some future occurrence. Sounds like the beginning of an underground movement working in the shadows. Well, I guess authorities pushed it too far, and they will do much worse before this is all over.

And yet identity could be something entirely different, and it was for a while. We could be proud of our identity. This is who I am, this is where I was born, this is all I have achieved, I am proud of being who I am. Let it be known to everyone what my identity is, as for it I will fight wars to defend my identity, my country, what we stand for, what I stand for. This is my sports’ team, they have to win, because they are who I represent, where I come from, they are who I am.

In fact, as long as you only get a fine here and there, never had trouble with money, never wished to live in a different country, are quite successful at work and collect awards from your old days in school, your identity is not only safe, but it is something to take pride in. If you love your country, even better, that gives you another collective identity, altogether you are working towards something great, building the future, evolving with times. In reality, we should be proud of our identity, and certainly not try to erase it.

The problem is, when you are no longer in control of that identity or the collective identity of your country, and when everything is now used against you to turn you, to turn us all, into criminals, this is when identity can no longer be celebrated, or can be something to be proud of.

We have reached that threshold, when no one can now recognise themselves in what the government says, when what you read in the mainstream media sounds like a distorted lie coming right out from the horse’s mouth. When you live in fear of saying one little word which could irretrievably destroy your career, make you lose your car and your house overnight, and worst of all, your credibility and your reputation… does honour still mean anything?

Don’t even think that word in your mind. One racist comment, and you’re finished. One little trip in your car, one little accident, you’re finished. Don’t show at work one day without calling your boss or justifying yourself afterwards, and you’re finished. Throw one bit of paper on the sidewalk, and you’re finished. Be born in an “undesirable” country, and you will never have a chance. Did you take a day off recently, because if you didn’t you would have gone mad and kill your manager? I know, mental wellbeing means nothing, unless you are physically dying. Whatever you do, do not breathe! Sounds extreme, sounds like reality to me.

And at that point, I no longer want an identity. I don’t care if I am being blown up by a terrorist attack, better that than having a policeman or a camera on every corner, which only seem to be there against my protection, to most assuredly turn me into a criminal, and ultimately making me lose my freedom.

There are again five police cars in front of my flat today. There were ten last week. I have no clue about what is going on, and I will never know until the day they come for me. All I know is that everyone we spoke with about it, felt that the police was there for them, as if somehow they were all guilty of something. And there we are, we’re all fit for prison because they could always find or invent something to use against us. We are all now criminals by default. We are all guilty, and there is no way to be proven innocent, not against such lies.

You must think I am one of those lunatics who have been speaking against authority all their existence, but it is not true. England has really changed in the last 15 years. The last ten times that I have gone to Central London, I got a fine of over 100 pounds each time without fail, I never had a fine in my entire life before that. There are policemen everywhere, and they don’t inspire safety, quite the contrary, they inspire fear.

I never thought I would be writing this kind of stuff, but if you live in London and have been blind to all the changes, you’re lucky indeed. I feel Hitler is in power, and I found living in Los Angeles last year even less inspiring. I have no doubt it is now as bad in Canada, as these three countries are all doing the same damn thing and following the exact same policies, no matter who is in power.

I’m not sure if I like what we have become, because of a few terrorist attacks. We had plenty of those in the past, virtually nothing changed after that, and we were happy for it. I don’t know where all this is leading, I am not going to prophesise here, but I don’t like it.

I tend to avoid Central London now, of course, the astronomical Congestion Charge doesn’t help. I don’t know who can now afford to go to Central London, but not me. Terrorists perhaps, I bet they’re all living in Westminster, immune to everything, whilst we suffer so miserably and have lost the wish to even live, in such a world.

This article is an excerpt of the book “Destructivism, The Path to Self-Destruction”, written by Roland Michel Tremblay. It is available online for free on his website, it also contains all his previous political articles:

Roland Michel Tremblay is an author with six books published in France. He is a French-Canadian born in 1972 who has been living in London UK for 15 years. He can be contacted at this e-mail address:


Tremblay-Roland Michel

Big Brother – 1984

Police State

Nader: Restoring the Rule of Law

RoboCops: Professional Policing of Political Protest – An Insider’s Viewpoint

Britain: Labour government proposes huge increase in state surveillance

Detainee alleges torture in Ramsey County jail + Protester arrested for “falling” off his bike

RNC in Twin Cities: Eight protesters charged with terrorism under Patriot Act

Big Brother in the “Big Apple”: Encircling Manhattan with thousands of surveillance cameras

America’s Spying Telecoms – ACLU Challenges FISA Law in Federal Court

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, September 18, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Last Friday the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) in Federal District Court in New York. But on the same day, Wired reported that Justice Department special counsel Anthony Coppolino informed U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco that the government would seek blanket immunity under FAA for spying telecoms.

Calling the FAA “the most sweeping surveillance bill ever enacted by Congress,” the ACLU urged the court to strike down the law as an unconstitutional breach of privacy and free speech rights.

The FAA, a piece of Bushist legislative flotsam, was overwhelmingly approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law in July by president Bush. While the reputed “opposition” party, the Democrats, managed a few bleats against immunity provisions for lawbreaking corporate grifters, they quickly fell into line and passed this disgraceful statute.

Why? So as not to appear “soft on terror” during November’s general election according to The New York Times. But flip-flopping “liberal” Democrats, including the party’s nominee for president, Sen. Barack Obama, joined their colleagues across the aisle for a more salient reason: cold, hard cash.

As I wrote in June (see: “‘Fighting Democrats’ Rake-in Big Telecom Bucks”), citing a blistering report by the watchdog group MAPLight, “the 94 Democrats who changed their position on telecom immunity ‘received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from January, 2005, to March, 2008’.”

While none of this should come as a surprise to readers of Antifascist Calling, Glenn Greenwald pointed out Monday in Salon,

…it is extremely easy to understand why not only the White House and Congressional Republicans, but also the Democratic leadership, was so eager to ensure that this law-breaking remain concealed from the public and that there are never any consequences for it. It’s because, as is true for so much of the Bush radicalism and lawbreaking over the years, top Democrats were fully aware of what was taking place and either explicitly endorsed the lawbreaking or, with full complicity, allowed it to continue.

Indeed, Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman documents in his new book, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, that top congressional Democrats worked covertly to conceal the Bush administration’s illegal NSA surveillance programs from the American people. Gellman writes:

More than three years later, [former U.S. Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales would testify that there was “consensus in the room” from the lawmakers, “who said, ‘Despite the recommendation of the deputy attorney general, go forward with these very important intelligence activities.'” By this account–disputed by participants from both parties–four Democrats and four Republicans counseled Cheney to press on with a program that Justice called illegal.

Greenwald comments:

…there is no dispute that the meeting took place and that these members were repeatedly briefed on the spying program–not only after 2004, but before 2004. This specific meeting described by Gellman, and the briefings generally, included Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman, Steny Hoyer, and Jay Rockefeller–all of whom voted to put an end to the telecom lawsuits (and thereby ensure that these crimes remain concealed), and the latter two of whom were, far and away, the key forces behind the new law that killed the lawsuits looking into these spying activities (and then joined Bush and Cheney at a festive, bipartisan White House signing ceremony to celebrate their joint victory). (“What illegal ‘things’ was the government doing in 2001-2004?”, Salon, Monday, September 15, 2008)

In other words, even when presented with the facts of Bushist criminality, congressional Democrats urged Cheney to “press on” with programs that would have made Watergate felon Richard Nixon and his cronies blush, a stunning indictment of the “Washington consensus” and the bogus “war on terror.”

In this context, it makes perfect sense that the biggest recipients of telecom largesse were House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), $29,000, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), $24,000. No slouch herself, Jane Harman (D-CA), House co-sponsor of the Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” (H.R. 1955) pulled down some $7,000 from grateful corporate grifters in the telecommunications industry. But no matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of boodle for the best Congress money can buy!

The FAA gives the Bush–and future administrations–virtually unlimited power to intercept the emails and phone calls of American citizens and legal residents. Indeed, the new law hands the state the authority to conduct intrusive spying operations “without ever telling a court who it intends to spy on, what phone lines and email addresses it intends to monitor, where its surveillance targets are located, why it’s conducting the surveillance or whether it suspects any party to the communication of wrongdoing,” according to the ACLU. Jameel Jaffer, the Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, said:

“The FISA Amendments Act allows the mass acquisition of Americans’ international e-mails and telephone calls. The administration has argued that the law is necessary to address the threat of terrorism, but the truth is that the law sweeps much more broadly and implicates all kinds of communications that have nothing to do with terrorism or criminal activity of any kind. The Fourth Amendment was meant to prohibit exactly the kinds of dragnet surveillance that the new law permits.” (“ACLU Asks Court to Strike Down Unconstitutional Spying Law,” American Civil Liberties Union, Press Release, September 12, 2008)

As the civil liberties group argues in its brief, the FAA grants unaccountable Executive branch agencies the right to acquire all of the international communications of American citizens under the pretext that “the surveillance is directed at collecting foreign intelligence information and targeted at people outside the United States.”

This is a patent falsehood. Driftnet-style communications obtained by the government in league with spying telecoms, as AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein revealed, were facilitated by AT&T when the NSA installed intercept equipment in a secret room in the corporation’s San Francisco switching office.

Indeed, Klein submitted an affidavit in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) landmark lawsuit, Hepting v. AT&T. In that affidavit Klein declared, the room contained among other equipment, a Narus STA 6400 traffic analyzer into which all of AT&T’s internet and phone traffic was routed. The retired technician should know since he helped wire the splitter box that made this possible.

Klein told the court that the company routed its “peering links” into the splitter which means that any and all traffic passing through AT&T’s network could also be scanned. The whistleblower told Judge Walker that AT&T offices in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego had similar secret rooms built for the exclusive use of NSA’s multitude of surveillance programs.

In a direct threat to attorney-client privilege and the right of a detained person to receive a fair trail, the ACLU declares that FAA grants the government the right to “acquire all of the communications of European attorneys who work with American attorneys on behalf of prisoners held at Guantánamo, including communications in which the two sets of attorneys share information about their clients and strategize about litigation.”

This is a particularly sinister feature of the law, considering Bushist treatment of so-called “enemy combatants” at the Guantánamo Bay prison gulag and global CIA “black sites.”

Meanwhile, Wired reports that the Justice Department has moved to dismiss EFF’s Hepting v. AT&T lawsuit. When Judge Walker ruled that the so-called “state secrets privilege” was not grounds for dismissal, the government deployed a new tactic, this time relying on the FAA’s immunity provisions.

Like the ACLU, EFF has stated in court briefs that the FAA is unconstitutional. The organization provided the court with five reasons not to dismiss their case against AT&T:

1. Congress violated the separation of powers by attempting to usurp judicial authority to decide the Fourth Amendment claims of millions of ordinary Americans who have been, and continue to be, subjected to dragnet surveillance for the past seven years.

2. Congress exceeded its constitutional authority by passing legislation that grants to the Executive the discretion to essentially dictate the outcome of specific, pending litigation.

3. The statute improperly requires dismissal of claims of illegal surveillance between September 11, 2001 and January 17, 2007 based not on a judicial finding about the facts of the surveillance or the legality or constitutionality of the surveillance, but instead merely based on a ‘certification’ from the attorney general that some unknown member of the Executive branch told the carriers that some undescribed surveillance is ‘lawful.’

4. The legislation denies due process to the plaintiffs by granting to the Executive, rather than the courts, the essential decision making about their constitutional and statutory rights.

5. The legislation purports to grant the Executive a unilateral right to require that the court keep secret not only the evidence, but also its own decisions. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, “Joint Case Management for Cases Involving Telecommunications Carrier Defendants,” United States District Court, Northern District of of California, San Francisco Division, MDL Docket No 06-1791 VRW, Filed September 2, 2008)

If the legislation stands constitutional muster–Bushist style–the telecoms will get off scott free if the government can prove their “assistance” was the result of a court order, authorized under the Protect America Act of 2007, or was approved by the president and was designed “to detect or prevent a terrorist attack, or in activities in preparation for a terrorist attack, against the United States, and the subject of a written request or directive.”

But given the climate of hysteria surrounding “national security” and “terrorism” (the retail variety practiced by religious nutters such as al-Qaeda or Christian fundamentalist abortion clinic bombers, not the wholesale brand of state terrorism practiced let’s say, by the U.S. government itself), the jury is out on how far the courts are willing to go in defiance of the Executive branch and a lap-dog Congress.


Speaking of hysteria, the whistleblowing website Wikileaks released a non-public “for official use only” document by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Titled “Fear of Terrorist Attack Could Trigger Mass Psychogenic Illness,” the 2006 report by the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC) cautions that terrorism-fear-created illnesses are “an additional factor to consider in the response to terrorist attacks, particularly those involving chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) weapons. The number of those suffering psychogenic illness could far exceed the number of actual casualties in a CBR event.”

That’s rich coming from a government office that specializes in whipping-up endless terror frenzies amongst the American public! The HITRAC “private sector note” provides DHS’s “perspective on the potential for mass psychogenic illness occurring as a result of anxiety over terrorism.” (emphasis added)

Proving once again, as Lilly Tomlin wisely said: “No matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up”!

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is:


COINTELPRO and Domestic Spying by Tom Burghardt

Senate Moves Forward on Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act”

Homegrown Terrorism


Domestic Spying


SEP presidential candidate speaks on financial crisis

Dandelion Salad


Jerry White, presidential candidate of the Socialist Equality Party, spoke today on moves by the Federal Reserve to bail out Wall Street speculators while workers face deepening hardship. White called for the return of resources appropriated by the financial elite, and for the transformation of banks into democratically controlled utilities, as part of a socialist transformation of the economy.

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Bush Announces Bailing Out Wall Street

The Point of No Return By Mike Whitney

Ron PauI: It’s Like A Fix For A Junkie!

Global Financial Meltdown by Michel Chossudovsky

The U.S. Is Becoming an Impoverished Nation by Richard C. Cook

The Dog Days of September By Gary Corseri

It’s the Derivatives, Stupid! Why Fannie, Freddie, AIG had to be Bailed Out

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Palin Hackers May Dodge Feds via DOJ Loophole

Dandelion Salad

by Chloe Albanesius
PC Magazine

Could the hackers who infiltrated Republican vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin’s personal Yahoo account avoid prosecution thanks to a Department of Justice policy statement?

Though federal law prohibits the unauthorized access of someone’s e-mail account, the DOJ’s interpretation of one particular case might only hold the Palin hackers accountable for accessing unopened messages, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Hackers obtained access to the Alaska governor’s personal e-mail address this week after successfully navigating through Yahoo’s password reset process. They changed the governor’s password, took screen shots of the account’s contents, accessed personal photographs, and sent all the data to the Wikileaks Web site.


Palin Hackers May Dodge Feds via DOJ Loophole – News and Analysis by PC Magazine.

h/t: BuddyP

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Wikileaks Palin hack independently confirmed, expanded


Death Becomes Her: Let’s Make Her Our President By Jason Miller

Pitbulls And Colonialist Ghosts By John Steppling


Domestic Spying

The Point of No Return By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
09/19/08 “ICH”

Following another erratic day of trading on the stock market, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke convened an emergency meeting of the Senate Banking Committee and other congressional leaders to request fast-track authority for a sweeping plan to buy back illiquid assets and other complex securities from distressed and under-capitalized banks. The turbulence in the financial markets has intensified and there is every indication that the situation will get worse before it gets better. There are a number of signs that the financial system is at the brink of collapse and that Wall Street is headed for a 1929-type crash. Depositors have begun to withdrawal their savings from money market funds alarmed by the gyrations in the market and the daily deluge of bad economic news. According to the Washington Post, funds dropped “by at least $79 billion, or about 2.6 percent” on Wednesday alone. The withdrawals are the equivalent of a slow bank run just at the time when stressed commercial banks need access to cheap capital to finance daily operations and provide loans for a steadily weakening economy. There’s also been a surge of panic-buying of US Treasurys which is considered the safest of investments. According to the Wall Street Journal, during Wednesday’s market-rout, “investors were willing to pay more for one-month Treasurys than they could expect to get back when the bonds matured. Some investors, in essence, had decided that a small but known loss was better than the uncertainty connected to any other type of investment. That’s never happened before.” (Wall Street Journal) Also, the VIX, or “fear gauge”, has soared to levels not seen since the crisis began in August just over a year ago.

On Tuesday, interbank lending rates spiked upwards causing banks to abruptly stop lending to each other. When banks stop lending to each other, they cannot perform their primary function of transmitting credit to consumers and businesses, and the economy shuts down. That is why the Fed and other members of the western banking cartel made a surprise announcement at 3 AM (EST) Wednesday morning.

From the FED:

“Today, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, and the Swiss National Bank are announcing coordinated measures designed to address the continued elevated pressures in U.S. dollar short-term funding markets. These measures, together with other actions taken in the last few days by individual central banks, are designed to improve the liquidity conditions in global financial markets….The Federal Open Market Committee has authorized a $180 billion expansion of its temporary reciprocal currency arrangements (swap lines). This increased capacity will be available to provide dollar funding for both term and overnight liquidity operations by the other central banks.”

Before the end of the day, the Fed had quadrupled the amount of dollars (to $247 billion) that central banks around the world could access in an effort to loosen up trading between the banks and resume lending to loan applicants and businesses. According to Bloomberg: “The Fed will spray dollars around the world via swap lines with other central banks. They can then auction them in their own markets.” At first, the stock market reacted positively to the Fed’s announcement, but by noon the market was 200 points down and losing altitude fast. It took another surprise announcement by the Treasury Dept–of a massive government intervention to remove the bad loans and withering mortgage-backed securities from banks’ balance sheets—of to jolt the market out of its funk and send it climbing 410 points higher on the day.

Paulson’s emergency session of Congress last night was characterized by lawmakers who attended as “chilling”. The situation is much worse than government officials have let on so far. The resurrecting of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) is a desperate attempt to address the banking systems troubles head-on by providing a taxpayer funded clearinghouse for illiquid assets and toxic mortgage-related securities for which there is presently no market. The taxpayer is being asked to pay up to $1 trillion for the speculative excesses of Wall Street investment banks and their fraudulent securities scam. Homeowners who are likely to lose their homes through foreclosure will not benefit from Paulson’s RTC. Both presidential candidates have already declared their support for the plan.

According to the New York Times: “Rumors about the Bush administration’s new stance swept through the stock markets Thursday afternoon. By the end of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average shot up 617 points from its low point in mid afternoon, the biggest surge in six years, and ended the day with a gain of 410 points or 3.9 percent.”

If ever there was proof of Plunge Protection Team activity; Thursday’s market is it. The market was sinking fast at midday even though the Fed just added nearly $250 billion in liquidity to the global system. Investors were buying short-term Treasurys in record numbers, the VIX “fear gauge” was soaring, money markets were collapsing, and the aftershocks from defaulting AIG and Lehmen were still being felt around the world. Were investors really that eager to buy back battered investment bank stocks or was the PPT busy panic-buying up futures and forcing the market upwards 617 points?

Bloomberg News:

“Options under consideration (by congress) include establishing an $800 billion fund to purchase so-called failed assets and a separate $400 billion pool at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to insure investors in money-market funds, said two people briefed by congressional staff who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans may change.”

Not a dime of public money is provided for over-extended homeowners trying to stay out of foreclosure. Not one congressman or senator at Thursday’s meeting rejected the bailout plan or called for a criminal investigation to establish whether laws were broken in the sale of fraudulent securities which have clogged the global system; pushed banks, hedge funds, insurance companies and homeowners into default, and precipitated the greatest financial crisis in the nation’s 230 year history.

Ironically, the very people who created this mess, are the ones who will decide how to resolve it; the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury. Where else, but Washington would such massive failure be rewarded with more power and authority.

The investment giants and the Federal Reserve are entirely responsible for the current meltdown. Currency deregulation brought foreign capital flooding into the equities and bond markets while the real economy suffered. Businesses were off-shored while good paying manufacturing jobs were moved overseas. Wall Street gorged itself on foreign capital while America was transformed into a nation of construction laborers and service industry workers. Now those jobs are vanishing by the millions and unemployment lines are swelling.

The ratings agencies, prevaricating mortgage applicants, and appraisers all played a part, but it’s Wall Street that’s really to blame. They lobbied to deregulate the system so investment banks could merge with commercial banks and allow the world’s biggest risk takers to have unrestricted access to the cheapest capital available; deposits. They even crafted a bogus ideology, “market fundamentalism”; touting trickle-down, free market, Voodoo economics that was entirely designed to further enrich the wealthy and savage the middle class. Earlier this week, former Senator Jack Kemp appeared at a whistle-stop with John McCain in Jacksonville, Florida. Kemp was one of the primary architects of “supply side” economics, the thoroughly discredited Reagan-era doctrine which has led us to our present economic catastrophe. Kemp’s theories fit with Milton Friedman’s “greed is good” Chicago School mumbo jumbo. Both Friedman and Kemp believe that what is good for the stock market is good for America, ignoring the shocking economic polarization that has divided the nation. Now, more and more people are beginning to see that Friedman was a charlatan who provided ideological cover for obscenely rich financiers and their dodgy investment scams.

Economist and author Henry Liu summed it up brilliantly in a recent article in the Asia Times:

“The collapse of market fundamentalism in economies everywhere is putting the Chicago School theology on trial. Its big lie has been exposed by facts on two levels. The Chicago Boys’ claim that helping the rich will also help the poor is not only exposed as not true, it turns out that market fundamentalism hurts not only the poor and the powerless; it hurts everyone, rich and poor, albeit in different ways. When wages are kept low to fight inflation, the low-wage regime causes overcapacity through over investment from excess profit. And monetary easing under such conditions produces hyperinflation that hurts also the rich. The fruits of Friedman test are in – and they are all rotten.”

Whatever headwinds the country now faces economically can be directly attributed to the inherently flawed ideology of market fundamentalism.

Tuesday’s 449 point bloodbath on Wall Street is the beginning of an unavoidable market crash. Regardless of Paulson’s plan, there’s more pain on the way. According to Bloomberg: “More than $19 trillion has been wiped off global stock market value since a high on Oct. 31 as the worst U.S. housing recession since the Great Depression and a resulting global credit crisis slowed the world economy.” All of the economic indicators point to greater losses. Once the system begins to deleverage, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. Paulson can place himself in front of a market avalanche if he so chooses, but it won’t change the outcome. Market corrections are as inexorable as the force of gravity. That’s why equity bubbles cannot be allowed to develop without interest rate intervention. Responsible action by the Central Bank could have prevented the present crisis.

On Wednesday, reported that the net long-term TIC flows came in below the consensus forecast, totaling $6.1 billion in July, while total TIC flows for the month fell to $74.8 billion, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury on Tuesday morning. Economists had been expecting net long-term flows to rise to $55.0 billion compared to the previous month’s previously reported figure of $53.4 billion.

$6.1 billion does not begin to meet the requirements of our current account deficit of $700 billion. The dollar is headed for a fall.

On Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that the “next wave” of financial pain may come from overseas if foreign entities stop buying U.S. debt.”It’s not clear who’s going to be buying our debt,” said Bloomberg. “It may very well be that the next wave is going to come back and bite us.”

The New York Times tells a similar story except this time about Asia:

“Asia’s savings have, in essence, bankrolled American spending for decades (but) Asian interest in American assets is wilting, a trend that seems to have started over the summer…Little-noticed data released by the Treasury Department on Tuesday showed that a sharp shift in international capital movements began in July. Private investors pulled a net $92.9 billion out of the United States, after putting $46.8 billion into American securities in June. (“Asia rethinks American Investments Amid Market Upheaval”, Keith Bradsher, New York Times)

Foreign central banks and investors have turned off the spigot. They can see that the US financial system is teetering and that the dollar is weakening. “The perceived risk of U.S. government debt, long held to be absent of any default risk, also climbed to a record yesterday as the government’s involvement in bailing out financial markets weighed on its own balance sheet.” (Bloomberg News) The “full faith and credit” of the United States government is slipping. US debt will be downgraded. Triple A is no longer guaranteed. America’s stock just moved to Level 3 assets. The US is now a subprime economy on life support.

Presently, “there is roughly $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits. $2.60 Trillion of that is uninsured. There is only $53 billion in FDIC insurance to cover $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits. Of the $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits, the total cash on hand at banks is a mere $273.7 Billion.” (Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis)

$273.7 Billion is a paltry sum, insufficient to meet the needs of even a minor run on the banking system. The storm hasn’t even touched ground in middle America, and already the system is buckling. 2009 is shaping up to be bleak, indeed.

The battered and over-leveraged US financial system is facing its greatest challenge in the months ahead. The frantic search for capital has already begun, but with predictably disappointing results.

Neither China nor the Saudi princes are buying any more failing investment banks. They’ll leave that to the US taxpayer. What started off as a brilliant plan to offload garbage mortgage-backed paper to gullible investors around the world has suddenly backfired and now threatens to bring the entire system crashing down and change the geopolitical power paradigm for the forseeable future.


On Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was briefed on the gravity of the financial situation in a secret meeting with the Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Chairman. Reid’s remarks are the best summary yet of the troubles that lie just ahead. He said, “We are in new territory, this is a different game…No one knows what to do.”

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Ron PauI: It’s Like A Fix For A Junkie!

Global Financial Meltdown by Michel Chossudovsky

The U.S. Is Becoming an Impoverished Nation by Richard C. Cook

The Dog Days of September By Gary Corseri

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Charges Against Journalists at RNC Dropped; Questions Remain

Dandelion Salad

Date: September 19, 2008
Contact: Jen Howard, Free Press, 202 265-1490, x22 or 703 517-6273

Charges Against Journalists at RNC Dropped; Questions Remain | Free Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Local authorities in St. Paul announced today that they will not prosecute journalists who were arrested on misdemeanor charges during the Republican National Convention earlier this month.

“This is an important first step, but many questions remain,” said Nancy Doyle Brown from Twin Cities Media Alliance. “We still need answers about why and how journalists got swept up in these arrests in the first place. And more than anything else, we need to ensure that this never happens again. We’ll never know how many important stories never got told because their authors were behind bars, not in the streets.”

Nearly two dozen reporters were arrested during the four-day event, including Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and two of her producers, Associated Press reporters, student journalists, and local TV photographers, among others. Other journalists were pepper-sprayed, and reporters with I-Witness were held at gunpoint during a “pre-emptive” police raid aimed at disrupting protesters. The press release from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s office noted that the city’s attorney will use a “broad definition and verification to identify journalists who were caught up in mass arrests during the convention.”

“We’re pleased that the St. Paul authorities ultimately acted to uphold the rights of all journalists — including those citizens using blogs, cheap cameras and cell phones to report news as it happens,” said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, the national media reform organization. “Our task now is to ensure that our press remains free to report on the events, issues and stories that matter to our country, our communities, and our democracy.”

Less than three days after the initial arrests, more than 60,000 people across the country signed on to a letter from Free Press, demanding that Mayor Coleman and local authorities immediately “free all detained journalists and drop all charges against them.” These letters were delivered to St. Paul City Hall the day after the convention following a press conference that included local citizens and many of the journalists who had been arrested earlier in the week.

“The news from St. Paul City Hall is certainly welcome regarding the decision to drop charges against journalists who were arrested and cited during the RNC,” said Mike Bucsko, executive officer of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild Typographical Union, who spoke at the press conference. “However, it is essential the elected officials in St. Paul and Ramsey County examine the circumstances that led to the needless detention and harassment of journalists to ensure this type of indiscriminate behavior on the part of law enforcement does not happen again.”

Local advocates and independent journalists from KFAI Community Radio, National Lawyers Guild, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Twin Cities IndyMedia, Twin Cities Media Alliance and The Uptake were joined by national groups the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, The Newspaper Guild, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Reporters Without Borders, the Society for Professional Journalists and the Writers Guild of America, East, in condemning the unusually harsh treatment by city authorities.

Watch the press conference:


Why We Were Falsely Arrested By Amy Goodman

This is America. We don’t jail journalists here.

Free Press: Stop the Arrests of Journalists. Sign the Letter.

Democracy Now!’s Report on Their Arrests

Response to RNC Unrest Press Conf + Mass Arrest + Explosions

Amy Goodman Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC

Hot Day in St. Paul + Press Conference On Amy Goodman’s Arrest

RNC – St Paul-Minneapolis MN

Mosaic News – 9/18/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad



This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


Mosaic needs your help! Donate here:
“Toll in Yemen Rises, Includes American,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Who is Tzipi Livni?,” IBA TV, Israel
“Livni wins close vote for Kadima leadership,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Palestinians in Iceland?,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“US Slaps Sanctions on Iranian Companies,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Deadly Cholera Threatens Iraqi Children,” Al Sharqiya TV, Iraq
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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Ron Paul: It’s Like A Fix For A Junkie!

Dandelion Salad

September 19, 2008 CNN

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h/t: mudshark


Global Financial Meltdown by Michel Chossudovsky

The U.S. Is Becoming an Impoverished Nation by Richard C. Cook

The Dog Days of September By Gary Corseri

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Global Financial Meltdown by Michel Chossudovsky

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 18, 2008

Bloody Monday September 15, 2008

Bloody Monday, September 15, 2008.  The Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) declined by 504 points  (4.4%), its largest drop since Sept. 17, 2001, when trading resumed after the 9/11 attacks.

The financial slide proceeded unabated, leading to an 800 point decline of the Dow Jones in less than a week. The World’s stock markets are interconnected “around the clock” through instant computer link-up. Volatile trading on Wall Street immediately “spills over” into the European and Asian stock markets thereby rapidly permeating the entire financial system.

The Most Serious Financial Crisis since the 1929 Wall Street Crash

When viewed in a global context, taking into account the instability generated by speculative trade, the implications of this crisis are far-reaching.

The crisis, however, has by no means reached its climax. It could potentially disrupt the very foundations of the international monetary system. The repercussions on people’s lives in America and around the world are dramatic.

The crisis is not limited to the meltdown of financial markets, the real economy at the national and international levels, its institutions, its productive structures are also in jeopardy.

As stock values collapse, lifelong household savings are eroded, not to mention pension funds.

The financial meltdown inevitably backlashes on consumer markets, the housing market, and more broadly on the process of investment in the production of goods and services.

War and the Economic Crisis

What is of utmost significance is that this plunge in stock market values occurs at the crossroads of a major military adventure. The global financial crisis is intimately related to the war.

A spiraling defense budget backlashes on the civilian sectors of economic activity. The war economy has a direct bearing on fiscal and monetary policy. Defense expenditure is in excess of $500 billion. A separate $70 billion is earmarked “to cover war costs into the early months of a new administration.  Those amounts combined would represent the highest level of military spending since the end of World War II (adjusted for inflation).” (  February 06, 2008).

“War is Good for Business”: The powerful financial groups which routinely manipulate stock markets, currency and commodity markets, are also promoting the continuation and escalation of the Middle East war. The financial crisis is related to the structure of US public investment in the war economy versus the funding, through tax dollars, of civilian social programs. “More broadly, this also raises the issue of the role of the US Treasury and the US monetary system, in relentlessly financing the military industrial complex and the Middle East war at the expense of most sectors of civilian economic activity.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Democrats endorse the “Global War on Terrorism”: Obama “goes after” Osama, Global Research, August 29, 2008)

The war is profit driven, financed through the massive Worldwide expansion of dollar denominated debt. War and Globalization go hand in hand. Wall Street, the oil companies and the defense contractors have concurrent and overlapping interests. The oil companies are behind the speculative surge in crude oil prices on the London energy market.

In turn,  resulting from the military agenda, the US civilian economy is in crisis as the nation’s resources including tax dollars are diverted into funding a multibillion Middle East war.

The Speculative Onslaught

The Worldwide scramble to appropriate wealth through “financial manipulation” is the driving force behind this crisis. It is the source of economic turmoil and social devastation.

What are the underlying causes? What prevails is a totally deregulated financial environment characterized by extensive speculative trade.

The history of deregulation goes back to the beginnings of the Reagan administration.

In the wake of the 1987 stock market meltdown, the US Treasury was advised by Wall Street not to meddle in financial markets. Free of government encroachment, the New York and Chicago exchanges were invited to establish their own regulatory procedures.

The authority to regulate the market no longer rests with the State but with stock market officials who directly serve the interests of the institutional speculators.

The crisis on Wall Street is part of a process of financial warfare.

Since the 1987 crisis, a new era of intense financial rivalry has unfolded.

Financial deregulation in the US has created an environment which favors an unprecedented concentration of global financial power.

What we are dealing  with is a major clash between competing financial conglomerates.

The financial meltdown is intimately related to the unregulated growth of highly leveraged speculative operations.

The Hedge Funds

The hedge funds play a key role in this process of restructuring. These speculative transactions (the panoply of derivatives, options, futures, index funds, etc) often transacted through hedge funds overshadow the workings of stock market transactions, and their relationship to real economic activity.

The hedge funds are private investment funds, which manage the pooled funds of wealthy investors. While they are often linked to major financial institutions, they are totally unregulated. They operate with a large pool of money capital, which is used to undertake highly leveraged speculative transactions. The latter have the characteristic that profits can be reaped when the market goes up, but also when the market goes down.

Short Selling

A stock market meltdown can be highly profitable operation. With foreknowledge and inside information, a collapse in market values constitutes (through short-selling) a lucrative and money-spinning opportunity, for a select category of powerful speculators who have the ability to manipulate the market in the appropriate direction at the appropriate time.

There are indications of a carefully engineered conspiracy to trigger the collapse of several major financial institutions through outright manipulation.

“Short selling” as well as the spreading of false rumors were used as a strategy to trigger the collapse of selected stocks on Wall Street including Lehman, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

“Short sellers aim to profit from share declines, usually by borrowing a stock, selling it and buying it back after its price has decreased. In abusive “naked” short selling, the seller does not borrow the stock and fails to deliver it to the buyer.

Some market participants say abusive short sellers have contributed to the fall of companies such as Lehman Brothers by forcing down share prices

John Mack, chief executive of Morgan Stanley, told employees in an internal memo Wednesday: “What’s happening out there? It’s very clear to me – we’re in the midst of a market controlled by fear and rumours, and short sellers are driving our stock down.”’ (Financial Times, September 17, 2008)

Regulators have acknowledged that the collapse of  Bear Stearns last March was attributable to short selling. “Regulators have been looking into a combination of short-sales and false rumors are part of the problem.” (Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2008)

Merrill Lynch is bought, Lehman Brothers is pushed into bankruptcy. These are not haphazard occurrences. They are the result of manipulation by powerful rival financial institutions, using highly leveraged speculative operations to achieve their objective, which consists in either displacing or acquiring control over a rival financial institution.
The current financial meltdown has nothing to do with market forces: it is characterized by financial warfare between competing institutional speculators.

The Market for Crude Oil

Leveraged speculative trade has pushed the price of crude oil to exceedingly high levels, reaching a peak in  July 2008. A turning point was reached and the direction of speculative trade was rapidly reversed,  leading to a dramatic plunge in prices of crude oil (See Chart  below)

Those financial institutions and/or investors who have the ability to manipulate the movement of crude oil prices,  and had prior knowledge and the ability to determine the timeline of the speculative surge and subsequent collapse, were able to reap large money profits both during the upward and downward movement of the price of  crude oil.

The movement in global prices on the New York and Chicago mercantile exchanges bears no relationship to the costs of producing oil. The spiraling price of crude oil is not the result of a shortage of oil. It is estimated that the cost of a barrel of oil in the Middle East does not exceed 15 dollars. The costs of a barrel of oil extracted from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, is of the order of $30.” (For further details see, Michel Chossudovsky, The Global Crisis: Food, Water and Fuel. Three Fundamental Necessities of Life in Jeopardy, Global Research, July 2008)

Global Economic Restructuring

This economic crisis is the outcome of a process of macroeconomic and financial restructuring initiated in the early 1980s. It is the result of a policy framework: trade and financial sector reforms under WTO auspices not to mention the imposition of the IMF deadly macroeconomic reforms, commonly referred to as the structural adjustment program.  It is accompanied by the concurrent impoverishment of large sectors of the world population.

The debt crisis of the early 1980s unleashed a wave of corporate mergers, buy-outs and bankruptcies. These changes in turn paved the way for the consolidation of a new generation of financiers clustered around the large merchant banks, the institutional investors, stock brokerage firms, large insurance companies, etc. In this process, commercial banking functions have coalesced with those of the investment banks and stock brokers leading to the consolidation of a handful of global financial conglomerates.

The unregulated use of complex speculative instruments has provided Wall Street with the means to extend its global financial empire. The main thrust of this process does not consist in overseeing the stock market per se. Rather it resides in controlling the lucrative markets for speculative instruments –derivatives, options, futures, hedges, etc.– where the scope for manipulation and insider trade is far greater.

Wall Street’s financial dominance was to be achieved through its institutional control over the channels of speculative trade. This control also provided, as in the case of the Asian crisis, the basis for weakening the role of central banks, taking control over the reigns of monetary policy, stock markets and currency markets.  In the 1997 Asian crisis alone, more than 100 billion dollars were confiscated in a matter of months from the vaults of Asia’s central banks; similar speculative assaults were carried out in Russia in 1998 and in Brazil in 1999.

These events were followed by the dramatic bubble and bust of the stocks, when the NASDAQ Composite index peaked at more than 5,000 in March 2000 and subsequently collapsed, triggering a chain of panic selling. (see below)

NASDAQ (1994-2008). peak in March 2000

The 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act. [1]

In 1999, The Financial Services Modernization Act (Gramm-Leach Bliley Act), was adopted by the US Congress. In the wake of lengthy negotiations, all regulatory restraints on Wall Street’s powerful banking conglomerates were revoked “with a stroke of the pen”.

Under the new rules ratified by the US Senate and approved by President Clinton, commercial banks, brokerage firms, institutional investors and insurance companies could freely invest in each others businesses as well as fully integrate their financial operations. The legislation repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, a pillar of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” which was put in place in response to the climate of corruption, financial manipulation and “insider trading” which resulted in more than 5,000 bank failures in the years following the 1929 Wall Street crash. (See Martin McLaughlin, Clinton Republicans agree to deregulation of US banking system, World Socialist Website, 1 November 1999).

The Merger Frenzy

Several mammoth bank mergers (including NationalBank Corp with Bank America and Citibank with Travelers Group) were carried out and approved by the Federal Reserve Board (in blatant violation of the existing legislation) prior to the passage of the 1999 Financial Modernization Act..

In the years prior to the inauguration of the Bush administration, a process of intense financial rivalry had unfolded. The New World Order largely under the dominion of American finance capital was intent on dwarfing rival banking conglomerates in Western Europe and Japan as well as sealing strategic alliances with a “select club” of German and British banking giants.

The Shape of Things to Come

The bank mergers (carried out prior to the 1999 legislation in violation of the Glass Steagall Act) were but “the tip of the iceberg”, the shape of things to come. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act had created an environment which favored an unprecedented concentration of global financial power.

Effective control over the entire US financial services industry had been transferred to a handful of financial conglomerates.

What prevails today is a de facto system of private regulation.  The evolving “global financial supermarket” is to be overseen by the Wall Street giants. State level banks across America were displaced or swallowed up by the financial giants, leading to a deadly string of bank failures.

In turn, the supervisory powers of the Federal Reserve Board,  increasingly under the direct dominion of Wall Street, were significantly weakened. The financial giants have the ability to strangle local level businesses in the US and overshadow the real economy. In fact, due to the lack of competition, the 1999 legislation, which was an initiative of Senator Phil Gramm, also entitled the financial services giants (bypassing the Federal Reserve Board and acting in tacit collusion with one another) to set the structure of interest rates as they please:

“Despite impending danger signals, the 1999 legislation seems to totally disregard the history of stock market failures since the onset of the “Asian crisis” in mid-1997. The economic and social repercussions in an integrated Worldwide financial system, –not to mention the risks of a global financial meltdown resulting from the absence of financial regulation– are far more serious today [1999] than during the years following the 1929 Wall Street crash. (Michel Chossudovsky, unpublished notes on the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act, Legislation, November 1999).

Global Financial Architecture

The Financial Services Modernization Act should not be viewed in isolation as a domestic procedure, limited to the US financial landscape.

The impacts of the legislation extended well beyond the borders of the US financial system. The institutional changes which it brought about, including the concentration and centralization of power in the hands of a small number of financial giants, largely contributed to Wall Street’s unswerving quest for global financial domination.

The Worldwide scramble to appropriate wealth through “financial manipulation” was the driving force behind this restructuring of the global financial architecture of which the 1999 US legislation was an integral part, setting the pattern of financial reform in different parts of the World.

While the 1999 Legislation does not in itself break down the barriers to capital movements, in practice it empowers Wall Street’s key players to enter the financial services markets of developing countries and consolidate a hegemonic position in global banking, overshadowing and ultimately destabilizing financial systems in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe…

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The World Trade Organization (WTO).

Financial deregulation in the US exerted a decisive influence in “setting the pace” of global financial reform under the auspices of the IMF and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The 1999 Legislation was part of a global financial agenda, consisting  in deregulating capital movements, liberalizing domestic banking and capital markets Worldwide under WTO auspices and opening up national financial services markets to the global financial conglomerates

The legislation was implemented alongside the concurrent reshaping of the global trade and financial architecture under the WTO agenda. Under the GATS, developing countries have committed themselves to full liberalization of financial services. In other words, national governments, which are already controlled by their external creditors, would be unable to deflect the Wall Street giants from entering and swallowing up national banks and financial institutions. .

In conjunction with the provisions of the Financial Services Agreement and the GATS, the 1999 banking legislation adopted in the US empowered a handful of banking conglomerates with the ability of destabilizing the domestic financial landscape of developing countries.

The sweeping deregulation of US banking imparted unprecedented powers to Wall Street’s financial conglomerates to acquire and take over banking institutions all over the World.

The tendency was towards a Worldwide financial supermarket controlled by a handful of global financial institutions which penetrate and permeate the fabric of national economies.

Two major agreements (negotiated under the WTO) contributed to “entrenching the rights” of the global banks” in international law, tantamount (according to critics) to granting “fundamental rights” to the banks which override those contained in national constitutions. The provisions of both the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Financial Services Agreement (FTA) formally break down remaining impediments to the movement of capital meaning that Bank of America or Citigroup can go wherever they please, triggering the bankruptcy of national banks and financial institutions.

Moreover, with the support of the IMF, the Wall Street conglomerates and their European and Japanese partners reinforced and consolidated their role as the World’s major creditor institutions, routinely underwriting the public debt, overseeing the conduct of State budgetary policy, issuing syndicated loans to troubled industrial corporations, overseeing the privatization of State corporations which have been put on the auction block in the context of an IMF bailout agreement, etc.

Financial Warfare: The Powers of Deception

The weapons used on Wall Street are prior knowledge and inside information, the ability to manipulate with the capacity to predict results, the spreading of misleading or false information on economic occurrences and market trends. These various procedures are best described as the “powers of deception”, which financial institutions routinely use to mislead investors.

The art of deception is also directed against their banking competitors, who are betting in the derivatives and futures markets, in stocks, currencies and commodities.

Those who have access to privileged information (political, intelligence, military, scientific, etc.) will invariably have the upper hand in the conduct of these highly leveraged speculative transactions, which are the source of tremendous financial gains. The CIA has its own financial institutions on Wall Street.

In turn the corridors of private banking and offshore banking, enable financial institutions to transfer their profits at ease, from one location to another. This procedure is also used as a safety net which protects the interests of key financial actors including CEOs, major shareholders, etc of troubled financial institutions. Large amounts of money can be moved out at an opportune moment, prior to the company’s demise on the stock market. (e.g. Lehman, Merrill Lynch and AIG).

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and its powerful stakeholders have “inside information” on the conduct of US monetary policy. They are thereby in a position to predict outcomes and hedge their bets in highly leveraged operations on the futures and derivatives markets. They are in an obvious conflict of interest because their prior knowledge of particular decisions by the Federal Reserve Board enables them as private banking institutions to make multibillion dollar profits.

Links to US intelligence, to the CIA, Homeland Security, to the Pentagon are crucial in the conduct of speculative trade, since it allows the speculators to predict events, through prior knowledge of foreign policy and/or national security decisions which directly affect financial markets. An example: the put options on airline stocks in the days preceding the 9/11 attacks.

An internal war within the financial system is unfolding.

Lehman Bros goes bankrupt, Merrill Lynch is bought up…

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taken over by the government.

Bear Stearns collapses, America’s largest insurance company AIG’s share collapse from $22.19 on September 9, to less than $4.00 at the close of trading on September 16, a decline of more than 80 percent of its value.

Goldman Sachs together with  JP Morgan Chase are negotiating with the Treasury to arrange for a $85 billion secured loan to AIG, which would be financed by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Who picks up the pieces? What lies ahead?

The process of mergers and acquisitions is likely to proceed to new heights leading to an unprecedented centralization of financial power, with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York playing a dominant role.

The meltdown will be conducive to the demise of  numerous banking and financial institutions, which will either be driven out of the financial landscape altogether or acquired by the financial giants.

Bank of America is slated to purchase Merrill Lynch, leading to the formation of the world’s largest financial institution, clashing with Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. It should be noted that while Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase are competing institutions, they are nonetheless entwined through intermarriage between the Rockefeller and Stillman families.

Bank of America in the last two decades has developed into a financial giant through a series of mergers and acquisitions. In 2004, Bank of America acquired FleetBoston Financial, in 2005 it purchases credit card giant MBNA and  in 2007 it acquires LaSalle Bank Corporation and Corporate Finance from the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. And on September 14, 2008, Bank of America announced its intention to acquire Merrill Lynch for $50 billion.

What we are dealing with is a clash between a handful of major financial institutions, which have developed through mergers and acquisitions into Worldwide financial giants.

The financial meltdown on Wall Street largely benefits Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, which is part of the Rockefeller empire, at the expense of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Bloody Monday, September 15. Lehman’s assets are of the order of $639 billion.

Potential Losers

Citigroup Inc., declined 15 percent to $15.24 for the steepest drop since July 2002. [Sept 15]

American Express Co., the biggest U.S. credit card company by purchases, fell 8.9 percent to $35.48. [Sept 15]

Goldman Sachs fell 12 percent, the most since April 2000, to $135.50. The decline was the result of short selling.[Sept 15]

Morgan Stanley, the biggest U.S. securities firm other than Goldman Sachs, fell 14 percent to $32.19.” The decline was the result of short selling. [Sept 15]

(See Bloomberg, Sept 16, 2008)

In 2000, J.P. Morgan merged with Chase Manhattan, leading to the integration of J.P. Morgan, Chase, Chemical and Manufacturers Hanover into a single financial entity. Bear Stearns was acquired in 2008 by JP Morgan Chase following its collapse. This banking empire controlled by the Rockefeller family has assets of more than 1.6 trillion dollars.

With assets of $1.7 trillion, Citigroup’s future remains undecided. It is facing serious financial difficulties which could lead it into bankruptcy. Citigroup share prices have in recent months collapsed alongside those of Fannie Mae. The Lehman debacle has precipitated a further decline of Citigroup stock prices.

It is the trustee “for unsecured creditors who are owed some $155 billion by Lehman Brothers”, but according to Citgroup statements they “have little or no exposure to the failed investment bank.”

What this means is that the collapse of Lehman will lead to massive loan default in relation to the portfolios of Citigroup and NY Mellon clients, namely client banking institutions as well as individual investors.


1. This section relied on a series of unpublished notes, on the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act, Legislation, which I wrote in November 1999.

United States’ Largest Banks

(in millions of U.S. dollars)

Rank Name (city, state) Consolidated
1. Citigroup (New York, N.Y.) $2,199,848
2. Bank of America Corp. (Charlotte, N.C.) 1,743,478
3. J. P. Morgan Chase & Company (Columbus, Ohio) 1,642,862
4. Wachovia Corp. (Charlotte, N.C.) 808,575
5. Taunus Corp. (New York, N.Y.) 750,323
6. Wells Fargo & Company (San Fransisco, Calif.) 595,221
7. HSBC North America Inc. (Prospect Heights, Ill.) 493,010
8. U.S. Bancorp (Minneapolis, Minn.) 241,781
9. Bank of the New York Mellon Corp. (New York, N.Y.) 205,151
10. Suntrust, Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.) 178,986
11. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (Providence, R.I.) 161,759
12. National City Bank (Cleveland, Ohio) 155,046
13. State Street Corp. (Boston, MA) 154,478
14. Capital One Financial Corp. (McLean, Va.) 150,608
15. Regions Financial Corp. (Birmingham, Ala.) 144,251
16. PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (Pittsburg, Pa.) 140,026
17. BB&T Corp. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) $136,417
18. TD Bank North, INC. (Portland, Maine) 118,171
19. Fifth Third Bankcorp (Cincinatti, Ohio) 111,396
20. Keycorp (Cleveland, Ohio) 101,596
21. Northern Trust Corp. (Chicago, Ill.) 77,480
22. Bancwest Corp. (Honolulu, Hawaii) 74,808
23. Harris Financial Corp. (Wilmington, Del.) 69,172
24. Comerica Incorporated (Dallas, Tex.) 67,167
25. M&T Bank Corp. (Buffalo, N.Y.) 66,085
26. Marshall & Ilsley Corp. (Milwaukee, Wis.) 63,432
27. BBVA USA Bancshares, Inc. (The Woodlands, Tex.) 59,953
28. Unionbancal Corporation (San Fransisco, Calif.) 57,933
29. Huntington Bancshares, Inc. (Columbus, Ohio) 55,985
30. Zions Bancorporation (Salt Lake City, Utah) 53,597
NOTE: As of May 30, 2008.
Source: Federal Reserve System, National Information Center.
© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2008

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The U.S. Is Becoming an Impoverished Nation by Richard C. Cook

by Richard C. Cook
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Sept. 19, 2008

Everything the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department are trying to do to stem the tide of the self-destructing U.S. financial system is a stopgap. They are locking the barn door after the horse—many horses—have already escaped, and they know it.

They also know the cause of the crisis is not subprime mortgage lending—that was just the trigger. Cries to re-regulate the failed financial industry are coming from Congress, the media, and investors around the world. But lax regulation is not the cause of the problem either. Continue reading

The Dog Days of September By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Sept 19, 2008

“Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth.
The unmentionalble odour of death
Offends the September night.”
–W.H. Auden, “September, 1939”

Historians may look back on September, 2008 as America’s economic 9/11.  Major financial institutions are collapsing—to use a bitter analogy–like the twin towers: first, Bear Stearns (already 6 months ago!); and now, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and the insurance giant A.I.G.  Just as 7 years ago, we cry out, What hit us?  Who did this?  Why?

Merrill Lynch helped finance the cotton trade before the Civil War!  Say it was an essential “linch-pin” in the rise of the South on the backs of black slaves.  Say that “free-market,” deregulated capitalism is now getting its due; if I am in steerage on the Titanic and I hear that the swells who have been dancing above our heads are about to take a dip in the sea, Schadenfreude doesn’t calm my queasy stomach.

NBC begins its broadcast with the news that I am now the proud owner of the world’s largest insurance company.  Bull!  If I own something I can determine how to dispense with it; I can decide who will oversee my assets.  Obviously, I and millions of other American taxpayers do not own a particle of A.I.G.; we’re just bailing it out.  A.I.G. will be owned by America, Inc. and managed by people very similar to its former managers.  The question is, Who owns America, Inc.?

It has become clear by September, 2008 that Americans own less and less.  In the past year, hundreds of thousands have lost their homes.  Millions no longer own their jobs.  Jobs have been shipped overseas by the real owners of America, Inc.—our corporate bosses and their political shills.  With our jobs went our job-related health care.  We do not own our own health in W’s “ownership” society.

As I write this, some 3 million Americans are without power in Houston/Galveston and along the Gulf Coast.  At least 50 Americans died as a result of Hurricane Ike.  Cuba, far poorer than Texas, was hit much harder–and they lost 4 people.  Cuba managed to safely evacuate 1 million people from its coasts.  A couple of years ago, Texas tried to evacuate people before Hurricane Rita and more than 100 died along the roads—there wasn’t enough gas to supply the evacuees’ cars, and ambulances, etc., couldn’t get through the traffic.  Do Americans collectively own their roads, their ambulances, FEMA, gas stations, oil refineries?  What do we own except a ton of personal and national debt?  “Americans” are trillions of dollars in debt to Japan, China, Western Europe, Russia and Middle East sheikdoms.  Hail the New World Order!

I put “Americans” in quotes because we are no longer who we were.  We can no longer claim to live in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”  There is nothing free here except the “free-market” our corporate bosses have foisted on us and the rest of the world to open up foreign markets to our brand-name companies so that foreign workers can make products that “Americans” will buy at exorbitant prices.  How did that happen?  Hypnosis through the mass media that “Americans” were supposed to own—hypnosis through repetition, spectacle, diversion.

This September I am supposed to believe Press Secretary Dana Perino:  “The president’s economic advisors had determined that some of these companies were so big—that to allow them to fail would have caused even greater harm … .”  Unstated: apparently the president does not believe that the 50 million Americans without healthcare are “so big” that allowing them to fail would cause greater harm.

I am supposed to believe that John McCain is a “war-hero.”  On the campaign trail, this decrepit muppet cannot get through his set speech without looking at his notes, but he repeats the mantra tirelessly.  Frankly, I see nothing “heroic” in dropping bombs on civilians thousands of feet below.  The true heroes of the Vietnam War died at Kent State, trying to stop that illegal, imperialist war.  Say their names with reverence: Jeffrey, Allison, William, Sandra.

This September I am sick of the Reagan Revolution that commandeered our economy and our good sense over two decades ago.  We’ve had Reagan’s orgy of deregulation, Bush Sr.’s “Gulf War,” Clinton’s backtracking on NAFTA and bombing of Serbia, and we have had more than enough of the Bush Doctrine of preemption.  And what have we reaped?  What Chalmers Johnson calls the “blowback” of 9/11; and, dereliction of duty by elected officials; the abrogation of constitutional protections against government abuse and police powers; public media used as  weapons of mass deception.

Isn’t it time to think in terms of a new revolution?  What about a new constitution?  Can’t we eliminate this ponderous, ludicrous electoral college?  Must we have Palin-like surprises at the end of an 18-month process?  Perhaps a parliamentary system in which we have a government-in-waiting, constantly vetted, makes better sense?  Can we not institute referenda, as in Venezuela, so that scofflaws like Bush and Cheney do not run riot for four years (after stealing one, probably two, elections)?  Must we have life-time appointments for Supreme Court “justices”?  Can we not have a Bill of Economic Rights?

On the day Hitler invaded Poland Auden wrote that he was “Uncertain and afraid / As the clever hopes expire / Of a low dishonest decade.”  And that:  “I and the public know/ What all schoolchildren learn: / Those to whom evil is done / Do evil in return.”

Is it not past time to take back America?  Or is Auden right: “The habit-forming pain, / Mismanagement and grief: / We must suffer them all again.”

I want to believe he is most right here: “All I have is a voice / To undo the folded lie … / … the lie of Authority. …”  And here: “ … no one exists alone. … / We must love one another or die.”

(Gary Corseri has posted/published his work at hundreds of venues, including Dandelion Salad, Thomas Paine’s Corner, The New York Times.  He has taught in universities and prisons, published novels and poetry collections, performed at the Carter Presidential Library; and his dramas have been presented on Atlanta-PBS, etc.  He can be contacted at


The U.S. Is Becoming an Impoverished Nation by Richard C. Cook

It’s the Derivatives, Stupid! Why Fannie, Freddie, AIG had to be Bailed Out

The end of (capitalist) history? By William Bowles

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse