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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Timeline USA

This blog deals with the chronological history  of the USA, focusing on the interference of America in the affairs of other countries for pecuniary gain.  When I was a young fellow I was convinced that the Russians were the bad guys and that America wore the white hat.  The more I read, the more I realize that governments are amoral and the more powerful they are the more amoral they are.  The United States of America is, by a long shot,  the most powerful and the most amoral.

We can all recount to the abuses of other empires of the recent past.  We have the Ottoman empire with its genocide of Armenians, the Congo under Belgium with their obscene treatment of the indigenous population and the British Empire in India, interfering with the Indian population to such an extent that they didn't even allow the Indians  to weave their own cloth or make their own salt.  In China, the UK pushed opium on the population to get revenue to buy products from China; a government drug pusher.  How amoral can you get.

Britain used companies to do much of their dirty work;  the Hudson Bay Company was used in Canada and the East Indian Company in India and other Eastern countries.  The way the American empire operates is slightly nuanced but basically the same,  Its main aim is to acquire the resources of other countries at very little cost to herself, using her companies to do the dirty work, aided by the CIA and the army.

You have probably often read that America has 4% of the world's population but uses 25% of her resources.  Where do you think she gets these resources.  They are not within her territory.  She gets them from other countries.  How do you think she gets them.  Does she buy them in a fair world market with a willing exchange between buyer and seller.  Not on your nelly she doesn't.  She steals them.  

In the words of John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man et al.) they first send in the economic hit man to see if he can bribe and/or cajole the  leader to fall in line.  If that doesn't work, they send in the jackals (CIA operatives) to disrupt the society and get the leader deposed or killed so they can put in their own puppet.  Failing that, in goes the army.  They now have a couple of new wrinkles.  They have a contract army once called Blackwater*.  What an appropriate name. It has now changed its name but not what it does.  They also use the IMF and the World bank (not 'international' and not 'world' respectively)

*Blackwater is a particularly nasty form of Malaria. 

The World Bank and the IMF to give large loans to other countries.  Sounds benign doesn't it.  It is parallel to how they give mortgages to people in their own country, who can't afford them  but just on a larger scale.  These loans to countries are generally given to develop a resource such as electrical power in Iceland.  The power will be used, for instance,  to smelt Aluminium.  The target country sees almost none of this money.  It goes to American companies who do the work.  Then the client country defaults on its loan which was highly overpriced for the level of work done and America generously lets the client country pay back its loan with its resources.  Payback can also be given politically in some cases such as a favourable vote in the UN.

You may have wondered why America was so utterly furious with Cuba and Castro in particular and Communism in general.  Why should she care if another country operates her society with communes.  Incidentally, the only place I have seen communes actually  working  is in Israel.  They are called Kibbutzim (plural of kibbutz)*  and Israel is one of the staunchest friends of America.  The reason America hates Cuba is because Castro is one of the few countries in which a local took back his country for his countrymen and America, despite numerous attempts to assassinate Castro and the attempted coup (Bay of Pigs),  hasn't succeeded in getting Cuba back under her thumb.

* The Kibutz movement in its original form has collapsed for a variety of reasons but that is another story.  At some time I might write a blog on where they went wrong.  I spent a couple of years in a Kibutz and it was a magnificent system so in many ways.

Communism  is simply a code word that America uses.  America could care less about communism,  What she doesn't want is a democratically organized country in which she can not corrupt the top brass in order to steal the resources of the country.  In other words, they don't want other countries to do exactly what America did when America became independent from  Britain.  They don't want other countries to declare independence and take control of their own resources.  They call this Communism.  They don't object to communism per se.  They object to having a  democracy in a country that they can not subvert.  And if they do subvert a democracy, then at the next election a new party may take power and they have to start all over again.*

*You can bet a dollar to a donut that America is also doing her best to subvert democracies such as European countries, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to her aims.  The only question is how well she is succeeding.

America objected particularly to Russia because the bolshevik revolution, in which the workers took power, was spreading its "poison" to America.  The American bosses fought unions tooth and nail.  Thousands of people were joining the Communist party and other socialists organizations and unionizing.  In Russia in the mean time, Stalin took the reigns and in his push to shore up his country and unite them against German aggression, he committed huge abuses on his own people. 

As this became known in America, the shine went off  communism and people left the communist and socialist organizations as fast as they had joined.    FDR for a while gave comfort to the unions as he pulled America out of the depression and backed down the fat cats that had caused the great depression of the 30's.  Big business and wall street hated Roosevelt and as you will see were trying to organize a coup against him to be led by a marine general.

In the following blog I will simply list in chronological order what America has done and where possible, include he motivation and a comment here and there.  It is a work in progress and I will add to it as I find new information.  I haven't gone back to the genocide of the indigenous people or to slavery.   It somehow seems to be "then" and this is "now".  As you will see, 'Now' is just as insidious as 'Then'.

Anexation of the port of Pago Pago to obtain a harbour for a naval base.

Deposing Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii using American military and installing Sanford Dole, the cousin of James Dole of Dole Pineapple as the  governor.

Annexation of Hawaii

April 25, 1898
  America attacks Spain by destroying her fleet in Manilla, Philippines.  The excuse - to free Cuba from Spanish domination.  Spain's Pearl Harbour carried out by America.  America calls this and other actions against other countries, "Manefest Destiny".

  America annexes Philippines, Guam and Peurto Rico and Cuba, all previously Spanish colonies.  Filipinos have been rebelling against the repressive regime of the Spanish for years.  They thought that America would help them establish a democracy such as they believed, exists in America just as the Americans had done themselves against the UK. How wrong they were.

Jan3 1899
  US fleet opens fire on Manilla.  In subsequent years America slaughters whole villages in reprisals for the Philippines daring to try to establish their own democratic government as Americans did in declaring independence from Britain.  This war of attrition continues for three and a half years.  This story repeats itself again and again as America helps local dictators to put down uprisings that are trying to establish a more democratic form of government.  As I write this in 2015, America is once more doing the same in Yemen, supporting Saudi Arabia which is bombing the rebels against the oppressive Yemen government

Feb 1901
  Congress passes a bill severely limiting Cuban independence and annexing Guantanamo Bay.  United Fruit grabs huge tracks of Cuba at almost no cost for sugar production and US Steel and others grab Cuba's mineral wealth.

Teddy Roosevelt organizes a revolution in Panama, a state of Columbia, and sets Panama up as an American dependency with very limited internal powers. The prize -- the Panama Canal

At the same time, American companies, mainly United Fruit Company invests heavily in central American countries, producing commodity products to the point where the locals have to import food to feed themselves.  You can guess what sort of wages they were paying the locals who worked on their plantations.

Here are some dates in which America sent troops to Latin American countries.

Troops to Honduras 1903, 07, 11, 12, 19, 24, 25

Troops to Cuba 1906, 12, 17

Troops to Dominican Republic 1903, 14, 16

Troops to Haiti 1914

Troops to Panama 1908, 12, 21, 25

Troops to Mexico 1914

Troops to Guatemala 1920

However this doesn't show the whole story.  Continuous occupation by US military was as follows:

Nicaragua                1912 to 1933
Haiti                         1914 to 1938
Dominican Republic 1916 to 1924
Cuba                          1917 to 1922
Panama                     1918 to 1920

General Smedley Butler,  Marine General who was the commander in many of these actions wrote that he was the gangster muscle for American Business.  In his writings he sounds somewhat disgusted by what he had done.

June 28, 1914
 Archduke Ferdinand assassinated, triggering first world war.

Oct 1, 1918
 140,000 American university students inducted into the army at a stroke of the pen.  They continued their studies in the mean time, received privates pay and had to attend a range of propaganda lectures.  Any professors talking against the war were hounded out of their jobs.  The land of the free??  Certainly the home of the brave, if you had the guts to speak out.

1917 and 1918
  The Espionage and Seditions acts passed.  Provisions were wide enough to fine and/or jail anyone expressing opposition to the war and  US mail censored in an earlier version of the Patriot act.

June 28 1918
  America launches research into chemical warfare.  By  wars end there were 5,400 chemists involved in this effort.

15,000 American troops to Russia to support the White Russians against the Bolsheviks.  The Bolsheviks  trying to overthrow the Tzar and establish a just system of government.

Through this year over four million workers struck for better conditions and fair wages and the right to join unions.  This was inspired at least in part by the revolution against oppression in Russia.  US government sent in the police, then the state militias and finally federal troops to put down the strikes. Many killed and left homeless.

JP Morgan  Co were instrumental in running the reparations treaty against Germany

Special service squadron sent to Venezuela to protect the dictator Gomez who was friendly to the USA and sold oil to America.  Gulf Oil and Pan American were main oil companies in Venezuela.

An investigation showed that American companies between the two wars were helping to design German submarines and to rearm Germany.  Many companies, Ford amongst them, had subsidiaries in Germany.  Proposals were suggested to either nationalize the war industries or to tax their profits out of existence.  Ford led the charge against this.  In the mean time, America leads the world in eugenics; in the forced sterilization of undesirables.  Profits build up in blocked accounts of German subsidiaries of American companies.  Prescot bush, the father of Bush the elder and grandfather of Bush the younger works for Brown Bros Hariman, protecting the money of many of the American companies that were collaborating with the Nazis. 

After WW2, many American companies received compensation for their factories in Germany which were bombed flat. (If you put this in a piece of fiction, you would be laughed out of the writers guild)

July 1931
Japan invades Mongolia

Mar4, 1933
FDR takes over in the White House in the 4th year of the great depression.  America had had a few prosperous years to recover after the first world war but Europe was in shocking condition.  A week earlier Hitler had used the "shock Doctrine" to consolidate his power (see Naomi Klein's book of the same name).

In his inaugural address FDR blames the money lenders who, fortunately were devastated and disorganized by the crash.  He sighted obscene salaries, unpaid taxes, hidden bonuses and unethical loans (does this sound familiar).  FDR instituted strict controls on the banks including not gambling with other peoples money.  This was done through the Glass Steagell act which separated investment banks from commercial banks.  This ushered in a period of many decades in which the boom and bust cycle was halted until the banks managed to convince the government to once again eliminate these controls.*  Banks maintained that they were best placed to control their own buisness. (why do we still fall for this bullshit.  Big business is amoral)   Why, they pleaded, would we do anything to destroy our own businesses.  Why indeed!!!  Any guesses??

*Google Elizabeth Warren and have a look at her comments on this.

FDR pushes through legislation (he held both houses) on competition, minimum wages, maximum working hours and co-ordinated production.

April 1934
Congressional committee investigates the role of munition manufacturers in fomenting war.  See two books from this time.
Merchants of Death by HC Engelbrecht and FC Hanighen
Iron, Blood and Profits by George Selders
In a March issue of Fortune Magazine the following exerp

"According to the best accountancy figures it costs about $25,000 to kill a soldier during the World War.  There is one class of Big Business Man in Europe that never rose up to denounce the extravagance of its governments in this regard -- to point out that when death is left unhampered as an enterprise for the individual initiative of gangsters the cost of a single killing seldom exceeds $100.*  The reason for the silence of these Big Business Men is quite simple: the killing is their business.  Armaments are their stock in trade; governments are their customers; the ultimate consumers of their products are, historically, almost as often their compatriots as their enemies.  That does not matter.  The important point is that every time a burst shell fragment finds its way into the brain, the heart, or the intestines of a man in the front line, a great part of the $25,000. much of it profit, finds its way into the pocket of the armament makers".

*Sounds like someting Jonathan Swift would write. Shades of Gulliver's Travels

 Nov 1934
General Smedley Butler testifies to Congress that right wing business interests tried to recruit him to stage a coup against Roosevelt.  Smedley told them that if they succeeded in raising an army, he would raise another to defeat them.

Note.  1937 At this time Truman was a haberdasher.  He applies for membership in the KKK but doesn't go through with it. Each business Truman was involved in fails.

Jan 3, 1936
  FDR's message to congress broadcasted to the nation speaking about the bankers and their ilk.

     "They seek the restoration of their selfish power.  Give them their way and they will take the course of every autocracy of the past.  Power for themselves, enslavement for the public."  Do we have to learn this lesson again and again."

In a subsequent speech.

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace -- business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking class antagonism, sectionalism and profiteering.  They had begun to consider the Government of the United Stares as a mere appendage to their own affairs.  We know now that Government by organized money is just a dangerous as Government by organized mob... They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred." 
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Aug 1939
Stalin makes a non-agression pack with Hitler.  He needed time to arm Russia and get his army in order.  He had been asking the allies for years for form a united front against Hitler with no success.  He is under no illusions as to the perfidy of Hitler and the Western powers.

Jan 1941
Roosevelt managed to get Lend Lease passed in which America would supply the UK with war material to be paid back after the war. The Quid pro Quo was that America would get naval bases in various parts of the British Empire and access to her markets, from which America had been shut out up to this time.  Basically a forced sale to a country that was in danger of being overrun by Germany.  Of course, Britain really had no right to give away what didn't belong to her in the first place and which she had taken by force of arms.

Early 1941
Publishing magnate, Henry Luce, publishes an article in Life Magazine stating that this must be an American Century in which America does whatever is in the interests of America any way we see fit.  Note below in May 1942, Wallace's repudiation of this attitude. So much for the press - the guardian of freedom.  Sounds like an early Murdock

Sept 1941
Britain and Russia invade Iran, depose the Shaw and put in his son who is less sympathetic to the Nazis.

Dec 7, 1941
Pearl Harbour.  As mentioned above, America had done the same to Spain in Manilla and then took over Spain's colonies.

62% of all federal research done for the military.  Understandable since there was a war on.  Has it changed now??

May 1942
Wallace* gives his vision for the coming years.

*Roosevelt's vice president and previously the Minister of Agriculture, responsible for the most part in modernizing and saving American agriculture.

"Some have spoken of the "American Century". I say... the century which will come of this war can and must be the century of the common man... No nation will have the God-given right to exploit other nations... there must be neither military nor economic imperialism... International cartels that serve American greed and the German will to power must go... The march of freedom of the past 150 years has been a...great revolution of the people, there was the American Revolution of 1775, the French Revolution of 1792, the Latin American revolutions of the Bolivian era, the German revolution of 1848, and the Russian revolution of 1917.  Each spoke for the common man... Some went to excess, but ... people groped their way to the light..l Modern science, which is a by product and an essential part of the people/s revolution, has made it... possible to see that all of the people of the world get enough to eat... We shall not rest until all the victims under the Nazi yoke are freed... The peoples revolution is on the march."

Huge public pressure to open a new front in Europe to take some of the pressure of Russia which is bearing the brunt of Hitlers army.  Incidentally,  Russia, by a large measure, was the country that defeated Germany.  They accounted for far more German casualties and destruction of far more German war material that all other countries put together.  Russia also took more casualties by a large margin than all the allied countries put together.
Instead of a second front in Europe, the US and UK open a front in Sicily???

March 1943
Wallace, speaking Spanish, tours Latin America.  He talks of a vision of emancipation and is received with tumultuous enthusiasm by everyone.  Moneyed interests hate him.  When Roosevelt went for a 4th term, very sick and weak, The vast majority of the delegates to the Democratic congress wanted Wallace.  The party bosses, then as now, in the pocket of big business, sabotaged his vice presidency by a combination of dirty tricks, cajolement and bribery. Chief amongst them was an Oil Millionare, Edwin Pauley helped by the rest of the Democrat party bosses.   If Wallace had been vice president, he would have become president after Roosevelt and the coming years of pure nastiness would probably have been very different. During his tour of Latin America he gave this speech in Ecuador.

"If the liberation of the people for which the fight is going on today with the blood of youth and the sweat of workers results in imperialism and oppression, tomorrow, this terrible war will have been in vain.  If this sacrifice of blood and strength again brings a concentration of riches in the hands of a few -- great fortunes for the privileged and poverty for the people in general -- then democracy will have failed and all this sacrifice will have been in vain."

Clearly it did fail and it was in vain.

Note that by the end of his tour 12 countries had declared war on Germany and 20 had broken off diplomatic relations.  A Gallup pole at home put him the favourite choice to replace Roosevelt as president with twice the votes as his nearest rival.

June 6, 1944
Second front finally opened up in Europe, a year and a half later than promised to Stalin.

US initiates a World Bank  which has nothing to do with the World and an International Monetary fund which is anything but International.  Both are American Institutions and are based on Gold, the greatest part of which America owns and on the US dollar.  This gives the American great economic advantage after the war and makes her very twitchy whenever suggestions come up to use some other currency as the world medium of exchange.

Roosevelt, again and again rails against British Imperialism, only backing off enough so as not to cause a rift.  Since Roosevelt was an Honourable man (Julius Ceasar - Shakespear) I suppose he wasn't aware of American Imperialism up to this time.  He also railed against French Imperialism in Indo-China.  Roosevelt isn't  the first or the last American with either very little idea of American history or a great ability to hold two mutually exclusive ideas in their head at the same time.

Dec 1944
Britain sends troops to put down the left wing in Greece and support the Monarchy.  The left wing (our "communists" again) were allies of the British in their fight against the Nazis.

E. Wilson, the head of war production and of GM tells the Army Ordinance Board that America must remain on a permanent war economy to avoid depression.  Someone must have taken his words to heart.

Roald Dahl (author of Matilda, the BFG and many other great books) sent to spy on Wallace.  They became great friends and played tennis together.  Dahl feeds information back to Britain.  The British vested interests were no more enamoured of Wallace's vision that were the American vested interests. Wallas' vision would put an end to their privileged positions.

Brutal US backed dictator of Guatemala, Jorge Ubico, overthrown

Truman wants the CIA to only be an information gathering institution, keeping him informed about what is happening around the world

The battle begins between the military and executive (the president) over who will control the CIA

Ike in his farewell speech as army chief of staff

National security does not mean militarism or any approach to it.  Security cannot be measured by the size of munitions stockpiles or the number of men under arms or the monopoly of an invincible weapon.  That was [the] German and Japanese idea of power which, in the test of war, was proven false.  Even in time of peace, the index of material strength is unreliable for arms become obsolete and worthless, vast armies decay while sapping the strength of the nations suporting them,[and the] monopoly of weapon is soon broken.

Pity he didn't re-read his own speech when he became president.  He presided over the massive build up of nukes instead of seeking rapprochement with Russia.  In a later speech

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This spending the sweat of its labouers, the genius of its scientists , the hopes of its children.  The cost of one modern heavy bomber is... a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.  It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.  It is two fine fully equipped hospitals.  It is some 50 miles of concrete pavement.  We pay for a single figheter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.  we pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8000 people...This is not a way of life at all...Underneath cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

How do American presidents with fantastic visions get completely corrupted. PPCT  Do they never read their own speeches or is it just so much gum flapping to keep the public quiet. As president, Ike again and again threatened to use Nukes against other countries despite his great speeches.  He deployed nukes to country  after country close to Russia.  Nixon learned the lesson.

Mar 12, 1947
Truman makes a speech about fighting communism and sends military aid to Greece to shore up the Greek Monarchy against the people who want a democracy.  The "communists" against whom the American military was fighting, were allies of America in the fight against the Nazis.

Aug 1948
Truman sends troops to Russia to support the White Russians against the Bolsheviks.  Marshall plan funds diverted into  Nightingale, a guerrilla organization, originally organized by the Nazis in 1941 to subvert Russia.   Most of the American agents infiltrated into  the Ukraine were caught and executed by Stalin, further souring his attitude toward the west.  Mannn!!! did he ever have cause to mistrust the West.

CIA subverts Italian elections to get Christian Democrats elected instead of "communists".  Kennan, a fanatic anti communist, said he would like to see the Communist party outlawed so that there would be an armed insurrection, which would give America the excuse to intervene militarily in Italy.  Kennan later realized the error of his ways and reversed many of his opinions on the possibility of rapprochement with Russia.  He was immediately marginalized by the Truman administration.

Wallace, now editor of the New Republic magazine, challenges Truman for the presidency.  Party bosses use the usual tactic of accusing him of being a Communist.  Wallace loosed badly but forces Truman to adopt many of his proposals for the rights of the common man in order to get elected.  No effect, however, on Truman's foreign policy.

Our George Kennan outlined the problem and basically explained why the party bosses, who were in the pocket of big business, hated Wallace with a vengeance.

We have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population...we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment.  Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity... to do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming... we should cease to talk about vague and ... unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization...we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.  The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

Someone was listening

1949  Sukarno takes over in Indonesia.  Flash forward to 1955

Sept 23, 1949
Truman announces Russian Nuclear test.  Scientists had predicted this and pushed for America to use the intervening years to make diplomatic efforts so that an arms race would not be necessary.  Politicians ignored the advice, Big business profited.

December 9, 1950
General Douglas McArthur requests authorization to use atomic bombs at his discression in the Korean War.  Besides tactical nukes, he wanted between 30 and 50 to blow up across the access from China to North Korea to create an impassible radioactive wasteland.

In Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman democratically elected.  As usual USA condemned this as communist tyranny.  US papers joined the attack.  Arbenz began to modernize agriculture and industry and give the land back to the Guatemalan people.   America deposed Arbenz with a raft of dirty tricks and with Air support and installed their dictator puppet, Castillo Armes.  As usual, when he was installed, the purse strings opened up so that Armes would have enough funds to keep his circle of syncopates happy and helping him to keep the population under control.  United Fruit gets its land back.  Che Guevara, a medical doctor, watched this from the Argentenian embassy.  He drew the conclusion that the mistake of Arbenz was that he didn't give arms to the people.

American government votes $6m to support French in Viet Nam.  By the end of this war, they were supplying most of the funds to keep the war going.

America bombs North Korea flat and causes almost as much damage in South Korea.  Napalm was the weapon of choice and hardly a village survived.

America supports French Puppet Emperor Bao Kai in Vietnam, president Manua Roxas and later Elpidio Quirine against a peasant insurgency.  America depoloys air power against Huks peasants and beefed up the army of the regime.  War was stopped by President Ramon Magsaysay who initiated land reforms and welcomed the Huxs back into the government.  

Mossaddegh elected as prime minister of Iran.  Introduces land reforms to benefit the peasants and nationalizes the Anglo-Persian Oil Company which had been stealing Iran blind since 1913*.  APOil later became BP.  Mossaddegh was much loved by his  people but was overthrown in operation Ajax by the CIA in 1953.  From then on, only the king (Shaw) ruled with puppet prime ministers until the Shaw was deposed in 1979 and the Ayatolla Kumani took over.  Of course American oil companies took over much of Iran's oil from the UK following the overthrow of Mossaddegh.  The UK contemplated invading Iraq when Mossaddegh nationalize their oil company but opted instead for severe economic sanctions.  They collaborated with the CIA to overthrow Mosseddegh, a mistake, since they lost much of this resource to the Americans.  The success of the overthrow of a democratically elected government encouraged the CIA.  Many more such actions would follow.

*Note: the Anglo-Persian Oil company paid more in taxes in the UK than it left for the people of Iran. 

March 5 1953
Stalin dies.  His successors hold out an olive branch to Ike and John Foster Dullis.  It was rejected.
Sept 11, 2001  9/11

America carries out new H bomb tests in Polynesia.  Despite a change of the wind which they kew would harm many people, they tested it anyway.  Japanese fishing boat, the Lucky Dragon, was in the way of the fallout which gave a focus to campaigners against nuclear tests.  The bomb was about twice as powerful as was expected.

Note that Under Ike, the number of American nukes went from about one thousand to about twenty two thousand.  Under Kennedy, another nineteen and a half thousand were added.  Many of these had already been ordered under Ike. by 1960 there was a combined megatonage of 20,491 or One million, three hundred and sixty thousand Hiroshimas.  In 1961, the tonnage was slightly decreased but with the advent of more accurate ICBMs, the destructive capacity was greatly enhanced. At this time, there were no locks on Nukes and their use was delegated and sub delegated to various commanders.  With the lack of locks, even undelegated military personnel could have sent off a nuke.  The last locks were finally installed (on nuclear submarines) in the 1980's

Sukarno of Indonesia hosts a meeting of 29 non aligned nations.  Meeting agrees on neutrality as far as the US and USSR is concerned, decolonization and horror of horrors, countries taking control of their own resources.  John Foster Dulles, head of the CIA plans his assassination.  To be used, the aptly named CIA department "The Health Alteration committee".  I suppose you have to admire them for at least having a sense of humour.  CIA spreads rumors that Sukarno is involved with a blond Russian spy that has him under her control.  Plans made to release pornographic film with a Sukarno look alike.  Flash forward to 1957

Oct 4 1957
Russia, which has developed an ICBM, launches Sputnik, the first man made satellite to orbit the earth.  American prestige hugely diminished world wide.

Ike and CIA support coup by rebel military while US Airforce bombs millitary and civilian targets in Indonesia.  American pilot Allen Pope shot down and exposed at a news conference.  Ike denies any invlovement and our favorite publication, the New York Times, dutifully supports him.

Note:- When Kennedy was in power, he reversed the campaign to destabilize Indonesia, invited Sukarno to visit the White House and planned to return the visit.  He was assassinated before he could carry this out.  Bobby visited the next year.

America with the help of Belgium assassinate the democratically elected head of the Congo, Patrice Lamumba and install the American puppet dictator, Joseph Mabutu.  The incredibly resource rich Congo is still in turmoil.

Jan 1, 1959
Fidel Castro and Che Guevara overthrow American puppet dictator Fulgensio Batista.  it is 61 years since America annexed Cuba.  Three months later, Ike, who talked democracy, respect for other people and limitation of the Industrio-millitary Juggernaut, told the CIA to organize  a force of cuban exiles to overthrow Castro.  Pre-Castro, America owned 80% of Cuban mines, cattle Ranches utilities, oil refineries, 50% of the railways and 40% of the sugar industries.  Most of the rest was owned by the Cuban elite who helped control the population.    Pity Ike didn't refer back to his own speeches and what he had learned as the commander of a force which fought the naked aggression of the Nazis.

17 April 1961
CIA sponsored "Bay of Pigs" invasion of Cuba fails miserably.  Prior to the invasion, American Air power had taken out much of the Cuban air force.  Kennedy afraid that the Soviets would move on Berlin if he sent in the armed forces.  He totally lost respect for his senior commanders due to this operation and faced them down.  They assured him that the rag tag army of Cuban exiles would re-take Cuba, knowing very well that American forces would be needed.  They assumed that the new president wouldn't have the grit to deny sending in the army.  America loosed huge respect around the world for trying this on and then for not following it through.  Kennedy makes an enemy of the joint chiefs of staff and of the CIA.  His involvement in Viet Nam may partially have been due to his desire to show that he was a tough president and to revive American prestige.  Boy did that backfire.

May 1961
Kennedy sends Johnson to Vietnam.  Johnson proclaims the highly corrupt S Vietnam dictator, Diem, the Winston Churchill of SE Asia.  Perhaps that was not so far off the mark but not the way he meant it.

Note: -When Kennedy took office, there were 800 "military advisors" in Vietnam.  By 1963, 16,000 (but still no boots on the ground - does this sound familiar).  Villagers already being relocated at gun point and herbicides being sprayed on the jungle.

August 1961
Democratically elected president Joao Goullant takes power in Brazil.  Intends to do land reforms, institute democratic rights and to legalize the communist party.  America tools up to remove him. 

Oct 1961
Despite having used the Soviet superiority in nuclear weapons to get elected (shock doctrine used once again), Kennedy sets    McNamera  to research the true situation.  Result:

                                                              Russia                                US
ICBM's                                                           4                                 45
Total warheads                                              ?                               3400
Heavy bombers                                          192                             1500
IRBM's near the "enemy"                               0                               120
Fighter bombers within range                       0                              1000
Total Nukes                                                2500                           25000

Following the Bay of Pigs, Russia responds by setting off a 30MT bomb and then a 50.  She had plans for setting off a 100MT but restrained herself.  She wanted to let America know that using nukes against Russia would not go unanswered.

Nov 1961
Kennedy unleashes operation Mongoose against Castro using espionage, sabotage and general dissorder to wreck the Cban economy and assassinate Castro using Cuban exiles.  Imagine a democracy trying to fight off this type of assault.  Cuba would have been back in the hands of the Americas before breakfast the next day.  Casto foils all these efforts.

The size of the operation is instructive.  There were 600 CIA agents and 5000 'contractors' involved and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were set the task of working our a false flag excuse to invade Cuba.    Suggested were:

*Blaming the Cubans for sabotaging the upcoming orbital flight by John Glen if it didn't succeed.  Not  clear if the Americans were going to sabotage it themselves to create the excuse.
*Sinking a ship and blaming it on the Cubans.  Remember, this was the way they justified sinking the Spanish fleet and later used it again in the Gulf of Tonkin
*Starting a terror campaign against Cuban refugees in America and blaming it on Castro
*Sinking a boat load of Cuban refugees escaping from Cuba and blaming it on Castro.
*Hijacking a plane and blaming it on Cuba (is any of this sounding familiar)
*Shooting down a civilian airliner full of college students and blaming Cuba (and more familiar still)
*Shooting down a military plane over international waters.
*Staging an attack on Gitmo.

Jan 1962
US convinces Latin American countries to kick Cuba out of OAS

April 1962
American military maneuvers carried out with 40,000 American troops simulating the invasion of a Caribbean state.

May 1962
Two smaller military exercises.

October 1962
Operation Ortsac announced.  An operation by 7500 marines to overthrow a government of a Caribbean Island (spell Ortsac backwards)

Note:- When Kennedy visited Vietnam in 1951, he advised against supporting French war.  Later he spoke about needing to win the hearts and minds of the people in third world countries.  He pointed out the absurdity of opposing Russia in Eastern Europe while supporting the French in Vietnam, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.  What happens when a man assumes the presidency of the US that makes sensible moral clever men throw away all reason.  US is soon supporting corrupt South Vietnam govt for 'American prestige'.  The whole Far East would be threatened if Communism was allowed to spread.  (true message - if these countries all achieved democracy, it would be much harder to subvert them to US business aims although it looks as if America began at some point to believe her own propoganda and Communism became the boogy man).

Oct 1962
Cuban missile crisis.  Russians had calculated that missiles in Cuba would deter America from a first strike against Russia and keep Cuba from being invaded.

Oct 16 1962
In a meeting with his advisers, Kennedy pondered why Russia had done this. He suggested it would be like the US putting MRBMs in Turkey.  Bundy had to inform the president that the US had already done this.

US backed down Russia in the missel crisis but the lesson the Soviets learned was never to be humiliated again and they started a massive build up of nukes and delivery systems.  Krushchev soon forced out of power

America concluded that it could back Russia down whenever they wanted to

Following the crisis, Kruscheve made approaches to Kennedy to wind down the conflict.  Nuclear war had been barely averted.  After a time Kennedy agreed.  He also decided to wind down in Vietnam and withdrae troops.  Joint Chiefs of Staff furious.  Kennidy formalized his commitment to that in NSAM 263 on Oct 11 1963.  He planned to initiate this after the 1964 elections which he was sure he would loose if he announced a withdrawl before th election.

Nov 22, 1962
Kennedy shot ending any chance of rapprochement with Russia, cooperation in space, withdrawal from Vietnam and recognition of Cuba.  Who killed Kennedy?  Who had the motivation.  An exerp from Oliver Stone's book, The untold history of the United States

"In the minds of some leaders in the military and intelligence community, Kennedy was guilty of far more than three betrayals.  He was guilty of not following through in the Bay of Pigs, disempowering the CIA and firing its leaders, resisting involvment and opting for a neutralist solution in Laos, concluding the atmospheric test ban treaty, planning to disengage from Vietnam, flirting with ending the cold war, abansoning the space race, encouraging third world nationalism and perhaps most damming, accepting a negotiated settlement in the Cuban Missile Crisis."

Dec 1962
In Dominican republic.Juan Bosch is elected democratically.  He was deposed by the military.  Flash forward to 1965

June 1963
America cuts off aid to Brazil but increases finances to the military.  Alliance for Progres offers funds to states whos governlors oppose Goulart

March8, 1963
American Secretary of State for inter-american affairs says that fron now on Latin American countries will be judged on how well they promote US interests, not on how well they promote the good of their people.  At least he is honest.

1964 (a very busy year for America)
US demands that Goulart impose austerity.  Instead, he carries out land reform, nationalizes American property and sets in place controls over foreign capital. 
Once again, America foments a millitary coup and does everything possible to disrupt the Brazil economy and stir up the Brazilian people.  General Castallo Branco takes over and imposes his dictatorship.  In the first month 50,000 people arrested.  He uses the massive amounts of money flowing in from America through USD AID and from the Inter Aerican Development Bank to keep control.  For the next 20 years, Brazil has the greatest gap between the wealth of the rich and the poor.

Peru tries to nationalize her oil company, a subsidiary of of Standard Oil.  America once again stops all support of the Govt and increases support for the military.  You know where this is going.  It's getting to be a bit of a bore.

CIA helps Eduerdo Frei of Chilli defeat democratically elected Salvador Allende.  As usual, Military given lots of aid.  Americans train Chillian military officers in counter insurgency (read keeping control of a suppressed population) in her facility in Panama.  Chilli had been a democracy since 1932.  America using the companies kennecott and Anaconda (what an appropriate name) control Chillis massive copper mines. As usual, pretty well nothing left for the Chillians.  See 1970 for when Allende ran again for president.

August 1964

October 1964
China explodes her first nuke.

Sukarno of Indonesia seizes caltex and  160,00 acres of rubber plantation from American company US rubber

Oct 1 1965
A group of junior officers kill 6 generals who they accuse of plotting with the CIA.  Conveniently General Suharto (don't confuse the name with Sukarno, the prime minister) was not there.  He leads the army in putting down President Sukarno's supporters.  He accuses the PKI, a communist party that Sukarno was supporting of engineering this plot (how absurd can you get) and spreads propaganda against them.  CIA provides Suharto with names of opposition and a huge slaughter results. For the next couple of decades, Indonesians remain in poverty except for the rich circle that supports Suharto.

Johnson and McNamara use a fabricated (false flag operation) to justify escalating the war in Vietnam. they blew a hole in a navy ship in the Gulf of Tonkin.   During his election campaign, Johnson had said that he was not going to send American boys to Vietnam..  Do all politicians lie through their teeth.  Johnson began a steady escalation and ignored Vietnam suggestions for negotiations. 

A popular uprising in the Dominican Republic tries to re-instate Bosch.  Raborn, head of the CIA supports Johnson and Johnson sends in 23,000 troops with 10,000 in reserve offshore using Castro and Communism as an excuse to put down the uprising.  `Same old same old.

Hubert Humphrey urges Johnson not to escalate the war.  Johnson freezes him out of policy sessions despite the fact that the VP is a legislated member of the NSC.  Weapons of choice in Vietnam are mapalm, cluster bombs and white phosporous.  US manufactures another false flag operation, maintaining that North Vietnam was supplying weapons to Vietkong. A bombing campaign against North Vietnam titled rolling thunder began.

As massive anti-war rallys begin, CIA starts massive surveilance despite the fact that they are not meant to operate within the borders of America.  Main purpose to find out about dissidents to the war despite dissidence being a constitutional right of every American.  CIA eventually had files on 300,000 American citizens and extensive files on 7200.  Johnston was not a happy camper when the CIA could not prove any connection with communism.

March 1969
Nixon begins bombing Cambodia.  Uses Major Hall Night to falsify bombing reports so that it looks as if he is bombing Vietnam.  True story comes out in 1973 when Night testifies before congress. (actually the bombing started in 1965 under Johnson)  In April, the New York Times reported the story. (they do sometimes get something right) and Nixon and Kissenger has the FBI tap phones of all sorts of officials to try to find out where the leak came from.  Nixon deploys nuke armed bombers to within range of Vietnam.

October, November 1969
Nixon spreads rumours that the anti war demonstrations are communist inspired.  The old boogy man once again that most Americans accept uncritically.  Shades of 1984.

October 15, 1969
At least 2 million Americans demonstrate against the war all over America.

November 1969
Massacure at Mai Laie.  Virtually no fighting age men in the village.  American troops go on a rampage killing old men, women and children and raping the women.  Not a single bullet had been fired against the American troops.  Lt William Calley, the officer in charge.  Troops take a "tea break" in the middle of the "operation" before resuming the carnage.  Lt Hugh Thompson, a helicopter pilot used his mounted weapons to protect civilians as well as he could and was shunned for his efforts.  Much later he was posthumously decorated for his efforts.  At least 50 high level officers knew of the massacre and  covered it up.  It only came to light because Ron Ridenhour sent reports of Mai Laie to many members of congress at the same time.  Nixon was reported to have said that the "dirty rotten Jews of New York were behind the story".

Allende of Chilli runs again for president and wins despite massive disinformation campaigns by the CIA.  Allende promises wealth distribution and the nationalization of American mining companies and of ITT.  Nixon instructs CIA to force Allende out.  David Atlee Phillips, the station chief in Brazil who had been involved in overthrowing the government in Guatamala and suppressing a democratic uprising in the Dominion Republic was chosen to head the operation.  The NY times, that paragon of good reporting, ran an article saying that if Allende took over, the communists would be in and there would not be a free election for years.  CIA encourages army to stage a coup.  A reader Michael Dodge took exception to the article and wrote the following letter to the editor.  Surprisingly they printed it.

     Sir:  Intregued by you marvelous cold war headline,  MARXIST THREAT IN THE AMERICAS, I read on to see who is being threatened.  Apparently it's some US copper firms, the telephone company, and assorted juntas.  Somehow, I'm not alarmed.  I am, however irritated by your persistent assumption that any form of Marxism enjoying any form of success in any part of the world is ipso facto a threat.  This kind of thinking gave us Viet Nam.  And it ignores the obvious; non-Marxist politicians have generally failed to meet the needs of the masses.  I suggest we let our humanity transcend our cold war reflexes and hope that the people of Latin America are finding some kind of solution to their problems.  We haven't been much help.

America cuts off all loans to Chilli from the Import Export bank and the Agency for International* Development, increases aid to the army and continues to destabilize Chilli with all means at her disposal.  Allende takes over as president Nov3. 

*Don't you love the way America puts words like "World" and "International" in front of her financial institutions.

April 30, 1970
America invades Cambodia and continues bombing.  Cambodia descimated.

June 1971
NY Times begins to publish the Pentagon Papers showing the lies the American government had fed to the American people and to Congress over the years about the Viet Nam war.  Daniel Ellsberg had acquired these papers and went into hiding.  When the Govt. got a court order to stop publication of the on going serial, Elsberg sent the next chapters to other papers.  Each managed a few chapters before they were shut down.  Eventually all were published.

July 1971
Chillian Congress nationalizes Kennecott, Anaconda and Cerro mining and takes management control of ITT.  Thge mining companies had taken billions out of Chilli for an investment of approximately 30m so Allende refuses any compensation for the take over of these Chillian resources.

Spring 1972
Up to this point, America had dropped more tonnage of bombs on Vietnam than were dropped by all sides in all previous wars.  Or stated another way, three times the tonnage of bombs dropped by both sides in WW2.  In addition she had sprayed 19,000 tons of herbicide on the jungles colloquially known as Agent Orange.  This herbicide was contaminated with the very dangerous dioxin which has left Viet Nam with a heritage of deformed children down through the generations.

The US had threatened the use of nuclear weapons on 13 occasions, mainly by Nixon.  He had learned this trick from Ike who had also employed it.  By wars end 59,000 Americans were dead, and an estimated 3.8 million Vietnamese.  The bombing of Cambodia sent people into the arms of the Khmer Rouge under Paul Pot.  He killed an  estimated 1.5million of his own people in addition to the approximately half a million killed by US bombing.  The scenario repeats itself over and over.  America attacks a country, the bigest psychopath takes over and decimates his own people in his attempts to hold power.  The words of a Kamer Rouge officer, Chhit Do describe the process.

Every time after there had been bombing, they would take the people to see the craters, to see how big and deep the craters were, to see how the earth had been gouged out and scorched...The ordinary people sometimes literally shit in their pants when the big bombs and shells came.  Their minds just froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days.  Terrified and half crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told.  It was because of their dissatisfaction with the bombing that they kept on co-operating with the Khmer Rouge, joining up with the Khmer Rouse, sending their children off to go with them...sometimes the bombs fell and hit little children and their fathers would be all for the Khmer rouge

Why were Nixon and Kissinger not hung.  The death toll, just in that conflict is just short of Hitlers record in killing Jewish people.

Incidentally, America had been secretly bombing Laos since 1964.  In 1967, the relatively low level bombing intensified.    George Chapelier, UN Belgian advisor interviewed survivors and described it thus.

Prior to 1967, bombing was light and far from populated centers.  By 1968 the intensity of the bombing was such that no organized life was possible in the villages.  The villages moved to the outskirts and then deeper and deeper into the forest as the bombing climaxed reached its peak in 1969. when jet planes came daily and destroyed all stationary structures.  Nothing was left standing.  The villagers lived in trenches and holes or in caves.  They only farmed at night.  All of the interlocutors, without any exceptions, had his village completely destroyed.  In the last phase, bombings were aimed at the systematic destruction of the material basis of the civilian society.  Harvest burned down and rice became scarce.

I can't help wondering what the tell the pilots that carry out these bombing raids.  How do they brainwash what should be some of the brightest in their society to kill civilian populations on a hitlarese scale.  What do they teach in their military colleges.  Are these future officers ever taught the true history of the United States 

Dec4, 1972
Allende takes his case against the USA to the UN and gives an hour and a half speech.  Here is an exerp but click on the link for a much fuller rendition.

 "Our economy could no longer tolerate the subordination implied by having more than eighty percent of its exports in the hands of a small group of large foreign companies that have always put their interests ahead of those of the countries where they make their profits.... These same firms exploited Chilean copper for many years, made more than four billion dollars in profit in the last 42 years alone, while their initial investments were less than thirty million... we find ourselves opposed by forces that operate in the shadows, without a flag, with powerful weapons, from positions of great influence.... We are potentially rich countries yet we live in poverty.  We go here and there begging for credits and aid, yet we are great exporters of capital.  It is a classic paradox of the capitalist economic system".

At the end of his speech he recieved a thunderous prolonged standing ovation by the members of the UN.  Bush the Elder was the ambassador to the UN at the time and was very uncomfortable in having to stand there clapping himself.  He later made some supercilious comments about how America didn't do such things.  The head of ITT followed suit.  Again, I wonder if American politicians are ignorant of how their country works or complicit.  I suspect a combination of both.  

CIA continues to do everything it can to destabilize Chili and encourage Pinochet of the army to stage a coup.  Pinochet scheduled the coup for Sept 11, 1973.  Allende got wind of the coup.  He made a final radio address to his people, said goodby and shot himself.  Pinochet took power and murdered 3,200 of his opposition.  America (ho hum ho hum) opened her cheque book to the new regime.  Pinochet also carried out assassinations of an estimated 13,000 Chillians who were opposed to his government and were living overseas.  Many dissidents who were not killed were sent to concentration camps.

Jan27, 1973
Peace accord signed and last UD troops leave Vietnam.  Nixon resumes bombing???  Nixon stoped when he heard what was being revealed about Watergate.    War continued two more years.

April 30, 1975
North Vietnam finally takes Saigon and war is over

Oct 7, 2001
America invades Afghanistan
2002  At the latest count, America has a military presence in 132 of the United Nations 190 countries.

The information in this blog was taken from a number of sources listed below.  Links within the text have generally been referenced back to Wikipedia which gives much more information on each subject.

Klein, Naomi., Shock Docterine

Perkins, John., Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
                        The Secret History of the American Empire

Skahill, Jeremy., Blackwater

Stiglitz, Joseph, E.,  The Price of Inequality

Stone, Oliver and Peter Kusnick.,  The Untold History of the United States.
(also available for Kindle and as a 10 part DVD set from Amazon)  This is an amazing work and is the main source for this blog.

Weiner, Tim, Legacy of Ashes, The history of the CIA

Wikipedia  many references.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


PPCT.  Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.  Why is this so hard to understand.  If politicians are being supported financially by rich individuals, banks, the Corporatocracy, by the arms manufacturers, these individuals and companies will call the tune.  The politicians will do their bidding.  Right wing governments seem to be particularly prone to this, having a built in sympathy for big business but left wing parties are also supported by big business.  Why should we be surprised when, even the left rarely does what is good for the people who elected them.

Look around you.  Is the middle class participating in the economy or is more and more money being accumulated by the top 1%.  Are the rights of workers being eroded, even down to the petty level that companies no longer have to give their workers a tea break*.  Are companies being allowed to  avoid taxes by various dodges such as joining with a small company in a foreign country with a different tax system.  Are companies sending their manufacturing overseas.  If you see these symptoms, you are in a country in which the government is in Thrall to big business.

* Recent move by the government here in New Zealand

Here is a particularly insidious example.  In the US of A, the land of democracy and freedom, the land in which the government is for the people and by the people, (yeah right!!) a vast majority of those same citizens agree that many gun reforms are necessary.  Agreement is pretty universal that one shouldn't be able to buy assault rifles, not buy guns with huge manazines, not buy heavy machine guns, for heaven sake and so forth.  It is agreed that there should be background checks and, for instance,  insane people and criminals should not be able to buy guns.  And yet the American Government ignores the people.  Who do you think is paying the piper in this example.  Follow the money.  Even more strange, a significant proportion of the NRA (National Rifle Association) agrees with the need for many of the suggested reforms.  Guess who is making money from a lack of gun control.  Always follow the money.

The only way out of this is to give politicians a set amount of money from the public purse and a set amount of air time on Government radio stations.  They should be afforded free time in halls and civic centres to address people and of course they can use the internet to their hearts content.

It would be worthwhile to provide each politician with a standard web site with the information arranged in a standard form so that any citizen, once he had got used to the format, could easily search for whatever information he is looking for.

These standard web sites could also be linked horizontally where, for instance, if you were looking up the voting record of a particular politician on a specific bill, you could jump sideways to another politician to see how he had voted on the same bill.

Part of the information would be entered for them such as their voting record, their history, any convictions they have had and so forth and the rest of the web site would be for them to present their case.

Does this sound expensive; giving politicians money for their campaigns from the public purse.  If you think so, just look at the cost of the present system.  Money is being concentrated in the hands of the now famous 1%, The rich are paying far less than their fair share of taxes, corporations are avoiding taxes and they send their manufacturing overseas.  Even Warren Buffet says that he pays a smaller tax, by percentage, than his secretary.  Big business is taking their profits overseas and are still allowed to operate as if they are American businesses and the middle class is being gutted.   The cost of the present system is huge and effects all of us.

Worse still, there is a very good chance that the present system will destroy our civilization with sudden climate change as we push the light switch just that lettle bit too far.  It may send us back into a dark age or even a stone age.  Fossil fuel is being burnt in greater and greater amounts each year and governments are not taking the simple, well known, technical measures that would address this.  All of this, despite report after report by the IPCT that we are heading for hell in a hand basket.

A good start would be to simply transfer the estimated trillion dollars of subsidies from the fossil fuel industry which is hugely profitable and give it to renewable energy companies.

The next step might be to institute Tax and Dividend a la Jim Hansen.  Neither of these measures and a host of other simple, well understood, necessary measures will be taken as long as politicians are financed by vested interests.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Globization and Free trade agreements??

Globalization has been a disaster for the people of the world and Free Trade Agreements are their cornerstone.  It shouldn't be this way.  Free trade between people should bring benefits to all.  The problem is the lack of regulation.  On an individual level we are regulated.  We aren't allowed to kill each other and there are sanctions if we do.  We aren't allowed to steal from each other, to shut down the right of other to free speech, to freedom of religion and so forth.

 Big business has been fighting tooth and nail to be allowed to operate without regulation.  We will self regulate, they say.  Well we have seen where that got us in 2008.  If it hadn't been for Obama, we would have had a financial melt down.  As it is, the best that could be done is to postpone the melt down while we got banks, wall street and big business under control.  We have failed. 

Because these institutions Pay the Piper, they Call the Tune (PPCT) and the underlying situation is even more dire than it was before 2008.  Banks are bigger, we haven't put in place regulations to allow them to fail, they are gambling with our money and Rent taking* and we allow big business to pollute our commons even to our air without paying for the clean up. 

 *Every time they make a transaction, some of the money sticks to their grubby little fingers as a commission.  This is called rent taking.  It encourages them to shift money back and forth and enriches them beyond the dreams of ordinary people.  Where do you think this money comes from.  That's right.  From your pocket.

For heaven sake, the fossil fuel industry receives an estimated trillion dollars of subsidies and makes gigantic profits when they should actually be paying extra tax for the mess they are making.  Sure it is us that are using their products but they are fighting tooth and nail to avoid a transition to renewable energy.  They are probably loosing the battle but their rear guard actions are making the transition take far too long.  We may be well on the way to testing the theory of sudden climate change.

Below is an small sample of Naomi Klein's recent book This Changes Everything.  I would highly recommend getting the whole book.  In this part, Naomi describes how trade agreements shot down what has been described as the best solar energy initiative in North America.   Be afraid, be very much afraid.   This is only one aspect of the effects of the trade agreements which underpin globalization.  There are many more.  I would suggest you also get her book Shock Doctrine.    Curious actions by your government begin to make sense with this background.

Suddenly, trade law became a whole lot less abstract.  And if you think that only right wing governments cow tow to their financial bosses, I have news for you.  Yes the Left often puts people of integrity up for election rather than puppets but they also receive a lot of their finances from big business.  PPCT

From This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

Sitting at the long conference table overlooking his factory floor, Paolo Maccario, an elegant Italian businessman who moved to Toronto to open a solar factory, has the proud, resigned air of a captain determined to go down with his ship. He makes an effort to put on a brave face: True, “the Ontario market is pretty much gone,” but the company will find new customers for its solar panels, he tells me, maybe in Europe, or the United States. Their products are good, best in class, and “the cost is competitive enough.”
As chief operating officer of Silfab Ontario, Mr. Maccario has to say these things; anything else would be a breach of fiduciary duty. But he is also frank that the last few months have been almost absurdly bad. Customers are convinced the factory is going to close down and won’t be able to honour the 25-year warranty on the solar panels they purchased. Suppliers who had been planning to set up their own factories nearby to cut down on transport costs are now keeping their distance.
Even his own board back home in Italy (Silfab is owned by Silfab SpA, whose founder was a pioneer in Italian photovoltaic manufacturing) seemed to be jumping ship – cancelling a $7-million investment in custom machinery. What are the chances he would choose to open this factory here today, given all that has happened, I ask. At this, all attempts at PR drop away and he replies, “I would say below zero if such a number exists.”
And yet in 2010, the decision to locate the company’s first North American solar manufacturing plant in Ontario seemed to make a great deal of sense. One year earlier the province had unveiled its climate action plan, the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, centred on a bold pledge to wean Canada’s most populous province completely off coal by 2014.
The plan was lauded by energy experts around the world, particularly in the U.S., where such ambition was lagging. On a visit to Toronto, Al Gore offered his highest blessing, proclaiming it “widely recognized now as the single best green energy [program] on the North American continent.” The legislation created what is known as a feed-in tariff program, which allowed renewable energy providers to sell power back to the grid, offering long-term contracts with guaranteed premium prices.
The catch was that in order for energy providers to qualify, they had to ensure that a minimum percentage – 40 to 60 per cent – of their workforces and materials were local to Ontario.
The provision was an attempt to revive Ontario’s moribund manufacturing sector, which was reeling from the near bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler. Compounding these challenges was the fact that Alberta’s tar sands oil boom had sent the Canadian dollar soaring, making Ontario a much costlier place to build anything.
In the years that followed the announcement, Ontario’s efforts to get off coal were plagued by political blunders. Large natural gas and wind developers ran roughshod over local communities, while the government wasted hundreds of millions (at least) trying to clean up the unnecessary messes.
Yet even with all these screwups, the core of the program was an undeniable success. By 2012, Ontario was the largest solar producer in Canada and by 2013, it had only one working coal-fired power plant left. And by 2014, more than 31,000 jobs had been created. Silfab is a great example of how it worked.
The Italian owners had already decided to open a solar panel plant in North America. But Ontario – overcast and cold a lot of the year – wasn’t “on the radar screen,” Mr. Maccario admitted. That changed when the province introduced the green energy plan. Its local-content provisions meant that in communities that switched to renewable energy, manufacturers like his could count on a stable market for their products, one that was protected from having to compete head-to-head with cheaper solar panels from China. So Silfab chose Toronto for its first North American solar plant.
Ontario’s politicians loved Silfab. It helped that the building the company purchased to produce its panels was an abandoned auto parts factory. And many of the workers the company hired also came from the auto sector. Then things started to go very wrong. Just as the U.S. has acted against local renewable supports in China, so Japan and then the European Union let it be known that they considered Ontario’s local content requirement to be a violation of World Trade Organization rules.
The WTO ruled against Canada, determining that Ontario’s buy-local provisions were indeed illegal. And the province wasted little time in nixing the local-content rules that had been so central to its program. It was this, Mr. Maccario said, that led his foreign investors to pull their support for factory expansion. “Seeing all those, for lack of a better term, mixed messages … was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
From a climate perspective, the WTO ruling was an outrage: If we want to keep warming below catastrophic levels, wealthy economies like Canada must make getting off fossil fuels their top priority.
How absurd, then, for the WTO to interfere with that success – to let trade trump the planet itself.
And yet from a strictly legal standpoint, Japan and the EU were perfectly correct. One of the key provisions in almost all free trade agreements involves something called “national treatment,” which requires governments to make no distinction between goods produced by local companies and goods produced by foreign firms outside their borders.
Worse, it’s not only critical supports for renewable energy that are at risk of these attacks. Any attempt by a government to regulate the sale or extraction of particularly dirty kinds of fossil fuels is also vulnerable to similar trade challenges.
For instance, in 2012, the U.S.-incorporated oil company Lone Pine began taking steps to use NAFTA to challenge Quebec’s hard-won fracking moratorium. It has since announced plans to sue Canada for at least $230-million U.S. under NAFTA’s rules on expropriation and “fair and equitable treatment.”
None of this should be surprising. Of course the richest and most powerful companies in the world will exploit the law to try to stamp out real and perceived threats and to lock in their ability to dig and drill wherever they wish in the world.
In some cases, governments may successfully defend their emission-reducing activities in trade court. But in too many others, they can be relied upon to cave in early, not wanting to appear anti-free trade. Trade challenges aren’t killing renewable energy, but the growth is not happening fast enough. And the legal uncertainty that now surrounds some of the most significant green energy programs in the world is bogging us down at the very moment when science is telling us we need to leap ahead.
To allow arcane trade law, which has been negotiated with scant public scrutiny, (my emphasis) to have this kind of power over an issue so critical to humanity’s future is a special kind of madness. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz puts it, “Should you let a group of foolish lawyers, who put together something before they understood these issues, interfere with saving the planet?”
The greatest tragedy of all is that so much of this was eminently avoidable.
We knew about the climate crisis when the rules of the new trade system were being written. After all, NAFTA was signed just one year after governments, including the U.S., signed the landmark United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio.
And it was by no means inevitable that these deals would go through. A strong coalition of North American labour and environmental groups opposed NAFTA precisely because they knew it would drive down labour and environmental standards.
But for a complex set of reasons, the leadership of many large environmental organizations decided to play ball. “One by one, former NAFTA opponents and skeptics became enthusiastic supporters, and said so publicly,” writes journalist Mark Dowie in his critical history of the U.S. environmental movement, Losing Ground.
The errors of this period cannot be undone, but it is not too late for a new kind of climate movement to take up the fight against so-called free trade and build this needed architecture now.
That doesn’t – and never did – mean an end to economic exchange across borders. It does, however, mean a far more thoughtful and deliberate approach to why we trade and whom it serves.

Excerpted from This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.Copyright © 2014 Naomi Klein. Published by Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

The Real America

I had to copy this to my blog.  It expresses so well what I have come to understand abut America.  We run a small organic farm here in New Zealand and have many many WWOOF'ers passing through and working with us anywhere from a couple of weeks to as much as a year.  Many of them are young people from America generally under 30.  With one exception, and she wasn't a WWOOFer, all are very aware of what is going on in America and they are appalled.  Perhaps there is hope.  Thanks to Ann Jones for such a perceptive article.  At the end of the article, I have listed a few sources of information that may interest you.

“Has America gone crazy?”

It's a question that dogs me wherever I travel abroad -- and one for which I increasingly have no easy answer

"Has America gone crazy?"Joni Ernst (Credit: AP/Charlie Neibergall)
This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.
Americans who live abroad — more than six million of us worldwide (not counting those who work for the U.S. government) — often face hard questions about our country from people we live among. Europeans, Asians, and Africans ask us to explain everything that baffles them about the increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the United States.  Polite people, normally reluctant to risk offending a guest, complain that America’s trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and “exceptionality” have gone on for too long to be considered just an adolescent phase. Which means that we Americans abroad are regularly asked to account for the behavior of our rebranded “homeland,” now conspicuously in decline and increasingly out of step with the rest of the world.
In my long nomadic life, I’ve had the good fortune to live, work, or travel in all but a handful of countries on this planet.  I’ve been to both poles and a great many places in between, and nosy as I am, I’ve talked with people all along the way. I still remember a time when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world for way too many reasons to go into here.
That’s changed, of course. Even after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I still met people — in the Middle East, no less — willing to withhold judgment on the U.S.  Many thought that the Supreme Court’s installation of George W. Bush as president was a blunder American voters would correct in the election of 2004. His return to office truly spelled the end of America as the world had known it.  Bush had started a war, opposed by the entire world, because he wanted to and he could. A majority of Americans supported him.  And that was when all the uncomfortable questions really began.

In the early fall of 2014, I traveled from my home in Oslo, Norway, through much of Eastern and Central Europe. Everywhere I went in those two months, moments after locals realized I was an American the questions started and, polite as they usually were, most of them had a single underlying theme: Have Americans gone over the edge? Are you crazy? Please explain.
Then recently, I traveled back to the “homeland.”  It struck me there that most Americans have no idea just how strange we now seem to much of the world. In my experience, foreign observers are far better informed about us than the average American is about them. This is partly because the “news” in the American media is so parochial and so limited in its views both of how we act and how other countries think — even countries with which we were recently, are currently, or threaten soon to be at war. America’s belligerence alone, not to mention its financial acrobatics, compels the rest of the world to keep close track of us.  Who knows, after all, what conflict the Americans may drag you into next, as target or reluctant ally?
So wherever we expatriates settle on the planet, we find someone who wants to talk about the latest American events, large and small: another country bombed in the name of our “national security,” another peaceful protest march attacked by our increasingly militarized police, another diatribe against “big government” by yet another wannabe candidate who hopes to head that very government in Washington.  Such news leaves foreign audiences puzzled and full of trepidation.
Question Time
Take the questions stumping Europeans in the Obama years (which 1.6 million Americans residing in Europe regularly find thrown our way).  At the absolute top of the list: “Why would anyone oppose national health care?” European and other industrialized countries have had some form of national health care since the 1930s or 1940s, Germany since 1880.  Some versions, as in France and Great Britain, have devolved into two-tier public and private systems.  Yet even the privileged who pay for a faster track would not begrudge their fellow citizens government-funded comprehensive health care. That so many Americans do strikes Europeans as baffling, if not frankly brutal.
In the Scandinavian countries, long considered to be the most socially advanced in the world, a national (physical and mental) health program, funded by the state, is a big part — but only a part — of a more general social welfare system.  In Norway, where I live, all citizens also have an equal right to education (state subsidized preschool from age one, and free schools from age six through specialty training or university education and beyond), unemployment benefits, job-placement and paid retraining services, paid parental leave, old age pensions, and more.  These benefits are not merely an emergency “safety net”; that is, charitable payments grudgingly bestowed upon the needy.  They are universal: equally available to all citizens as human rights encouraging social harmony — or as our own U.S. constitution would put it, “domestic tranquility.”  It’s no wonder that, for many years, international evaluators have ranked Norway as the best place to grow old, to be a woman, and to raise a child. The title of “best” or “happiest” place to live on Earth comes down to a neighborly contest among Norway and the other Nordic social democracies, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.
In Norway, all benefits are paid for mainly by high taxation. Compared to the mind-numbing enigma of the U.S. tax code, Norway’s is remarkably straightforward, taxing income from labor and pensions progressively, so that those with higher incomes pay more. The tax department does the calculations, sends an annual bill, and taxpayers, though free to dispute the sum, willingly pay up, knowing what they and their children get in return. And because government policies effectively redistribute wealth and tend to narrow the country’s slim income gap, most Norwegians sail pretty comfortably in the same boat. (Think about that!)

Bloggers note:  The Norwegian benefits are also paid for from a sovereign wealth fund set up using the revenue from their part of the North Sea Oil.  Britian frittered her portion away on current expenses, Norway set up this fund, which, by the way, is used, amongst other things, to fund Norwegian research, in order to create revenue for her programs.

Life and Liberty
This system didn’t just happen. It was planned. Sweden led the way in the 1930s, and all five Nordic countries pitched in during the postwar period to develop their own variations of what came to be called the Nordic Model: a balance of regulated capitalism, universal social welfare, political democracy, and the highest levels of gender and economic equality on the planet. It’s their system. They invented it. They like it. Despite the efforts of an occasional conservative government to muck it up, they maintain it. Why?
In all the Nordic countries, there is broad general agreement across the political spectrum that only when people’s basic needs are met — when they can cease to worry about their jobs, their incomes, their housing, their transportation, their health care, their kids’ education, and their aging parents — only then can they be free to do as they like. While the U.S. settles for the fantasy that, from birth, every kid has an equal shot at the American dream, Nordic social welfare systems lay the foundations for a more authentic equality and individualism.
These ideas are not novel. They are implied in the preamble to our own Constitution. You know, the part about “we the People” forming  “a more perfect Union” to “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”  Even as he prepared the nation for war, President Franklin D. Roosevelt memorably specified components of what that general welfare should be in his State of the Union address in 1941. Among the “simple basic things that must never be lost sight of,” he listed“equality of opportunity for youth and others, jobs for those who can work, security for those who need it, the ending of special privileges for the few, the preservation of civil liberties for all,” and oh yes, higher taxes to pay for those things and for the cost of defensive armaments.
Knowing that Americans used to support such ideas, a Norwegian today is appalled to learn that a CEO of a major American corporation makes between 300 and 400 times as much as its average employee. Or that governors Sam Brownback of Kansas and Chris Christie of New Jersey, having run up their state’s debts by cutting taxes for the rich, now plan to cover the loss with money snatched from the pension funds of workers in the public sector. To a Norwegian, the job of government is to distribute the country’s good fortune reasonably equally, not send it zooming upward, as in America today, to a sticky-fingered one percent.
In their planning, Norwegians tend to do things slowly, always thinking of the long term, envisioning what a better life might be for their children, their posterity.  That’s why a Norwegian, or any northern European, is aghast to learn that two-thirds of American college students finish their education in the red, some owing $100,000 or more. Or that in the U.S., still the world’s richest country, one in three children lives in poverty, along with one in fiveyoung people between the ages of 18 and 34. Or that America’s recent multi-trillion-dollar wars were fought on a credit card to be paid off by our kids. Which brings us back to that word: brutal.
Implications of brutality, or of a kind of uncivilized inhumanity, seem to lurk in so many other questions foreign observers ask about America like: How could you set up that concentration camp in Cuba, and why can’t you shut it down?  Or: How can you pretend to be a Christian country and still carry out the death penalty? The follow-up to which often is: How could you pick as president a man proud of executing his fellow citizens at the fastest rate recorded in Texas history?  (Europeans will not soon forget George W. Bush.)
Other things I’ve had to answer for include:
* Why can’t you Americans stop interfering with women’s health care?
* Why can’t you understand science?
* How can you still be so blind to the reality of climate change?
* How can you speak of the rule of law when your presidents break international laws to make war whenever they want?
* How can you hand over the power to blow up the planet to one lone, ordinary man?
* How can you throw away the Geneva Conventions and your principles to advocate torture?
* Why do you Americans like guns so much?  Why do you kill each other at such a rate?

To many, the most baffling and important question of all is: Why do you send your military all over the world to stir up more and more trouble for all of us?
That last question is particularly pressing because countries historically friendly to the United States, from Australia to Finland, are struggling to keep up with an influx of refugees from America’s wars and interventions. Throughout Western Europe and Scandinavia, right-wing parties that have scarcely or never played a role in government are now rising rapidly on a wave of opposition to long-established immigration policies. Only last month, such a party almost toppled the sitting social democratic government of Sweden, a generous country that has absorbed more than its fair share of asylum seekers fleeing the shock waves of “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known.”
The Way We Are
Europeans understand, as it seems Americans do not, the intimate connection between a country’s domestic and foreign policies. They often trace America’s reckless conduct abroad to its refusal to put its own house in order.  They’ve watched the United States unravel its flimsy safety net, fail to replace its decaying infrastructure, disempower most of its organized labor, diminish its schools, bring its national legislature to a standstill, and create the greatest degree of economic and social inequality in almost a century. They understand why Americans, who have ever less personal security and next to no social welfare system, are becoming more anxious and fearful. They understand as well why so many Americans have lost trust in a government that has done so little new for them over the past three decades or more, except for Obama’s endlessly embattled health care effort, which seems to most Europeans a pathetically modest proposal.
What baffles so many of them, though, is how ordinary Americans in startling numbers have been persuaded to dislike “big government” and yet support its new representatives, bought and paid for by the rich. How to explain that? In Norway’s capital, where a statue of a contemplative President Roosevelt overlooks the harbor, many America-watchers think he may have been the last U.S. president who understood and could explain to the citizenry what government might do for all of them. Struggling Americans, having forgotten all that, take aim at unknown enemies far away — or on the far side of their own towns.
It’s hard to know why we are the way we are, and — believe me — even harder to explain it to others. Crazy may be too strong a word, too broad and vague to pin down the problem. Some people who question me say that the U.S. is “paranoid,” “backward,” “behind the times,” “vain,” “greedy,” “self-absorbed,” or simply “dumb.”  Others, more charitably, imply that Americans are merely “ill-informed,” “misguided,” “misled,” or “asleep,” and could still recover sanity.  But wherever I travel, the questions follow, suggesting that the United States, if not exactly crazy, is decidedly a danger to itself and others. It’s past time to wake up, America, and look around.  There’s another world out here, an old and friendly one across the ocean, and it’s full of good ideas, tried and true.