WASHINGTON – While US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta attempted to convince top Israeli
politicians and security officials not to launch a strike on Iran's
nuclear facilities during his visit to
Israel last week, his predecessor Donald Rumsfeld, seems more prepared for a
In an interview with Fox News, the former US Defense Secretary
said "the prime minister of Israel,
Netanyahu, is probably correct. Sanctions tend not to work very
well over a long period of time."
Rumsfeld, who served as secretary of defense during both the Ford
and Bush administrations, told Fox that "Israel's intelligence on Iran is
excellent." He further denied the claims that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would not
yield any results.
"I don't think that Israel has to destroy all of Iran's
nuclear capability, said Rumsfeld adding that "Iran is a sophisticated
country. They must have deeply buried sites. And I'm sure the Israelis know
precisely what they currently have."
"All the Israelis need to do is delay them," the
Republican official said, clarifying that Israel "wouldn't need to destroy
Iran's facilities 100 percent, like they were able to do in Iraq or in Syria."
Rumsfeld further criticized the pattern of leaks emerging from
White House concerning Iran, and said that "If I were in the Israeli
government, I don't think I would notify the United States government of any
intent to do anything about Iran. So my guess is, given the pattern of leaks
out of the White House, that any prime minister of Israel would not call the
United States and give clear intentions as to what they plan to do."
While in Israel last week, Panetta assured both the prime minister
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak
that the US would act when it becomes clear that military intervention in Iran
During his visit, Panetta echoed President Barack Obama's position
that currently the international community should focus on curbing Iran's
nuclear ambitions through harsh sanctions rather than considering a military
In May 2009, a wealthy 20-year-old was drag racing through the city streets of Hangzhou, China, when his Mitsubishi struck and killed a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The car was traveling so fast that the victim—a 25-year-old telecom engineer of a modest, rural background—was flung at least 20 yards. Afterward, bystanders and reporters photographed the driver, Hu Bin, as well as his rich friends, who nonchalantly smoked cigarettes and laughed while waiting for the police to arrive at the scene.
These images, soon posted online, provoked a public outcry. Anger over the callous behavior of these wealthy Chinese youths was followed by accusations of a police cover-up. First, the local authorities admitted that they had underestimated the speed Hu’s vehicle was traveling by half. (Incredibly, the police had first suggested that Hu was going no more than 43 mph.) Public furor rose again when Hu received a three-year prison sentence, an exceptionally light punishment in a country where drunk drivers guilty of similar accidents can receive the death penalty.
But the most stunning allegation was that the man appearing in court and serving the three-year sentence wasn’t Hu at all, but a hired body double.
The charge isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. The practice of hiring “body doubles” or “stand-ins” is well-documented by official Chinese media. In 2009, a hospital president who caused a deadly traffic accident hired an employee’s father to “confess” and serve as his stand-in. A company chairman is currently charged with allegedly arranging criminal substitutes for the executives of two other companies. In another case, after hitting and killing a motorcyclist, a man driving without a license hired a substitute for roughly $8,000. The owner of a demolition company that illegally demolished a home earlier this year hired a destitute man, who made his living scavenging in the rubble of razed homes, and promised him $31 for each day the “body double” spent in jail. In China, the practice is so common that there is even a term for it: ding zui. Ding means “substitute,” and zui means “crime”; in other words, “substitute criminal.”
The ability to hire so-called substitute criminals is just one way in which China’s extreme upper crust are able to live by their own set of rules. While Occupy Wall Street grabbed attention for its attacks on the “1 percent,” in China, a much smaller fraction of the country controls an even greater amount of wealth. The top one-tenth of 1 percent in China controls close to half of the country’s riches. The children and relatives of China’s rulers, many of whom grew up together, form a thicket of mutually beneficial relationships, with many able to enrich themselves financially and, if necessary, gain protection from criminal allegations.
A police officer in central China agreed to discuss the phenomenon of “replacement convicts” with me so long as I didn’t refer to him by name. “America has the rule of law, but China has the rule of people,” the police officer told me. “If somebody is powerful, there’s a good chance they can make this happen. Spend some money and remain free.” According to the police officer, hired stand-ins are “not common but not rare either.” As examples, the officer listed several high-ranking mafia figures whose underlings serve time in their stead. The mafia cares for the substitute’s family and pays a bonus for the time served.
Sometimes, family members cover for each other. This is especially true in cases of traffic accidents, where the police may be able to identify the vehicle involved in the crime but not the driver. In one case, as seen in this highly graphic television segment showing a drunk driver plowing through an old man, the driver’s son admits he falsely “confessed” to the crime to prevent police from testing his father’s blood-alcohol level. The police officer told me that in cases of drunk, unlicensed, or uninsured drivers, it “often happened” that a slightly more sympathetic substitute—someone who has insurance, a license, or is at least sober—would confess in the driver’s place. An adopted daughter stood in for her father after a deadly accident; in another case, because witnesses took down the license plate of the car involved in a drunk-driving hit-and-run, the deputy director of the Xuchang County Forestry Bureau sent his wife to appear as his substitute.
Where photographs or video of the criminal at the scene of the crime have been widely circulated, however, it is necessary to use a body double. “The most successful instances are the ones nobody ever knows about,” the police officer said. “You need a powerful trick to pull it off.” Even the wealthy and influential may be unable to cover up an outrageous public crime—such as a horrific traffic accident—where there is widespread public outrage and online cries for criminal charges.
In October 2010, a young man driving drunk on the Hebei University campus struck two college women on rollerblades, killing one. The driver—the son of the deputy chief of the district police—continued on, dropping off his girlfriend. When security guards and students finally stopped him, he shouted: “Charge me if you dare. My father is Li Gang.” This scandal seemed to encapsulate China’s problems with corruption and abuse of power. Accusations of an attempted cover-up included conspiracy theories about a body double. Because Li Gang’s son was known under two different names, Li Yifan and Li Qiming, rumors spread that one of these names belonged to the hired substitute. One Internet poster wrote sarcastically: “Even if he had received a life sentence, he could still find someone to be his stand-in!”
“Replacement convicts” are not new. For centuries, the use of criminal substitutes was among the first things Westerners would mention when discussing China’s legal system. Missionary and traveler Karl Gützlaff in 1834, French legal scholar Édouard Louis Joseph Bonnier in 1862, and American scholar Owen Lattimore in the 1930s wrote about the practice. In 1895, Taiwan missionary George Mackay described witnessing these replacement convicts: “It was an open secret that these men had nothing to do with the case, but were bribed to wear the cangue for six weeks.” In 1899, Ernest Alabaster, a scholar of Chinese criminal law, wrote that courts “permitted” the real offenders to hire substitutes, and that such things “frequently happen, have for long happened, and—notwithstanding Imperial decrees to the contrary—will, under the system, always happen.” Supposedly, the going rate in 1848 for a replacement convict was 17 pounds, which would come to roughly $2,000 in present-day dollars.
Incredibly, substitutes could be hired even for executions. Nineteenth-century traveler Julius Berncastle, the Qing Dynasty author De Fu, and the legal scholar John Bruce Norton each described substitute executions as regular events. This 1883 report from the Board of Punishments demanded an inquiry into how a youth named Wang Wen-shu “was wrongly convicted” and “was on the point of being executed as a substitute for one Hu T’ian, whose alias he was falsely declared to be.” T. T. Meadows, the British diplomat who convinced Western nations to copy China’s system of civil-service exams, argued that the phenomenon of substitute executions was not as surprising as it might seem. If a family is starving, wouldn’t many parents accept execution in exchange for enough money to save their children?
Some imperial Chinese officials who admitted to the use of substitute criminals justified its effectiveness. After all, the real criminal was punished by paying out the market value of his crime, while the stand-in’s punishment intimidated other criminals, keeping the overall crime rate low. In other words, a “cap-and-trade” policy for crime.
With China zigzagging from the extreme capitalism of hiring criminal substitutes to the extremes of communism, one might have thought ding zui would cease to exist. But with the return of capitalism, substitute criminals soon followed.
Nevertheless, this “trick” is becoming increasingly difficult to pull off thanks to the Internet. Chinese netizens can easily circulate photos to compare the image of an alleged perpetrator with the person who shows up in court. In fact, that happened in the case of Hu Bin, the drag racer who killed a pedestrian. Here are posted comparison photographs of Hu in his car after the accident and the man who appeared and reported to be Hu in the courtroom, with the simple questions: “Is this the same fucking person???? Is all of China blind?”
This website provides four photos: the mystery man in court; Hu after the accident; Hu in daily life; and a man alleged to be the substitute. The author notes distinctions between the men’s weight and the distances between the eyebrows, and cites an Internet survey in which 130 people felt the man in court was Hu, and 8,873 concluded he was a substitute.
To be clear, not everyone is convinced that Hu’s family hired a stand-in. Judicial authorities insist the man sentenced was Hu, and the police officer I spoke with agreed. “This case is not one of ding zui. That family has only a moderate amount of wealth, and they don’t have any political power. The photos of the man in the car and in the court look like different people, but it’s just the camera angle and lighting,” he told me. The officer didn’t deny there may have been corruption involved. “There’s definitely something going on there. His sentence was just three years, which is very light, so maybe they have some kind of connections.”
It’s been three years since Hu’s sentencing, so last month someone walked free from prison.
“So long as the rulers are comfortable, what reason have they to improve the lot of their serfs?”- Bertrand Russell, 1952 (p61)
Bertrand Russell in his 1952 book The Impact of Science on Society* he describes the effects of “scientific technique” on the increasing control of societies by an ever shrinking number of people. As we will see, “scientific technique” is much more than just the development and widespread use of new technology, but first some of its effects.
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (1872-1970) was a renowned British philosopher and mathematician who was an adamant internationalist and worked extensively on the education of young children. He was the founder of the Pugwash movement which used the spectre of Cold War nuclear annihilation to push for world government. Among many other prizes, Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950 and UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) Kalinga prize in 1957.
From Impact of Science on Society:
“This [the telegraph] had two important consequences: first messages could now travel faster than human beings; secondly, in large organizations detailed control from a centre became much more possible than it had formerly been.
The fact that messages could travel faster than human beings was useful, above all, to the police…” – 33
“Electricity as a source of power is much more recent than the telegraph, and has not yet had all the effects of which it is capable. As an influence on social organisation its most notable feature is the importance of power stations, which inevitably promote centralisation… as soon as a community has become dependent upon them for lighting and heating and cooking. I lived in America in a farm-house which depended entirely upon electricity, and sometimes, in a blizzard, the wires would be blown down. The resulting inconvenience was almost intolerable. If we had been deliberately cut off for being rebels, we should soon have had to give in.” – 35
“But what is of most importance in this connection is the development of flying. Aeroplanes have increased immeasurably the power of governments. No rebellion can hope to succeed unless it is favoured by at least a portion of the air force.” – 36
“In industry, the integration brought about by scientific technique is much greater [than agriculture] and more intimate.
One of the most obvious results of industrialism is that a much larger percentage of the population live in towns than was formerly the case. The town dweller is a more social being than the agriculturist, and is much more influenced by discussion. In general, he works in a crowd, and his amusements are apt to take him into still larger crowds. The course of nature, the alternations of day and night, summer and winter, wet or shine, make little difference to him; he has no occasion to fear that he will be ruined by frost or drought or sudden rain. What matters to him is his human environment, and his place in various organisations especially.
Take a man who works in a factory, and consider how many organisations affect his life. There is first of all the factory itself, and any larger organisation of which it may be a part. Then there is the man’s trade union and his political party. He probably gets house room from a building society or public authority. His children go to school. If he reads a newspaper or goes to a cinema or looks at a football match, these things are provided by powerful organisations. Indirectly, through his employers, he is dependent upon those from whom they buy their raw material and those to whom they sell their finished product. Above all, there is the State, which taxes him and may at any moment order him to go and get killed in war, in return for which it protects him against murder and theft so long as there is peace, and allows him to buy a fixed modicum of food.” [emphasis mine] – 44
“The increase of organisation has brought into existence new positions of power. Every body has to have executive officials, in whom, at any moment, its power is concentrated. It is true that officials are usually subject to control, but the control may be slow and distant. From the young lady who sells stamps in a Post Office all the way up to the Prime Minister, every official is invested, for the time being, with some part of the power of the State. You can complain of the young lady if her manners are bad, and you can vote against the Prime Minister at the next election if you disapprove of his policy. But both the young lady and the Prime Minister can have a very considerable run for their money before (if ever) your discontent has any effect.” [emphasis mine] – 45
“The increased power of officials is an inevitable result of the greater degree of organisation that scientific technique brings about. It has the drawback that it is apt to be irresponsible, behind-the-scenes, power, like that of Emperors’ eunuchs and Kings’ mistresses in former times. To discover ways of controlling it is one of the most important political problems of our time. Liberals protested, successfully, against the power of kings and aristocrats; socialists protested against the power of capitalists. But unless the power of officials can be kept within bounds, socialism will mean little more than the substitution of one set of masters for another: all the former power of the capitalist will be inherited by the official. [emphasis mine]” – 47
“As we have seen, the question of freedom needs a completely fresh examination. There are forms of freedom that are desirable, and that are gravely threatened; there are other forms of freedom that are undesirable, but that are very difficult to curb… The resultant two-fold problem, of preserving liberty internally and diminishing it externally, is one that the world must solve, and solve soon, if scientific societies are to survive.
Let us consider for a moment the social psychology involved in this situation.
…The armed forces of one’s own nation exist – so each nation asserts – to prevent aggression by other nations. But the armed forces of other nations exist – or so many people believe – to promote aggression. If you say anything against the armed forces of your own country, you are a traitor, wishing to see your fatherland ground under the heel of a brutal conqueror. If, on the other hand, you defend a potential enemy State for thinking armed forces necessary to its safety, you malign your own country, whose unalterable devotion to peace only perverse malice could lead you to question…
And so it comes about that, whenever an organisation has a combatant purpose, its members are reluctant to criticise their officials and tend to acquiesce in usurpations and arbitrary exercise of power which, but for the war mentality, they would bitterly resent. It is the war mentality that gives officials and governments their opportunity. It is therefore only natural that officials and governments are prone to foster war mentality.” [emphasis mine] – 51
“I incline to think that ‘liberty’, as the word was understood in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is no longer quite the right concept; I should prefer to substitute ‘opportunity for initiative’. And my reason for suggesting this change is the character of a scientific society.” – 68
More Organization is More Power
“The effect of the telegraph was to increase the power of the central government and diminish the initiative of distant subordinates. This applied not only to the State, but to every geographically extensive organization. We shall find a great deal of scientific technique has a similar effect. The result is that fewer men have executive power, but those few had more power than such men had formerly.” [emphasis mine] – 35
“We have seen that scientific technique increases the importance of organisations, and therefore the extent to which authority impinges upon the life of the individual. It follows that a scientific oligarchy has more power than any oligarchy could have in pre-scientific times. There is a tendency, which is inevitable unless consciously combated, for organisations to coalesce, and so to increase in size, until, ultimately, almost all become merged in the State. A scientific oligarchy, accordingly, is bound to become what is called ‘totalitarian’, that is to say, all important forms of power will become a monopoly of the State.” [emphasis mine] – 56
“In the first place, since the new oligarchs are the adherents of a certain creed, and base their claim to exclusive power upon the rightness of this creed, their system depends essentially upon dogma: whoever questions the governmental dogma questions the moral authority of the government, and is therefore a rebel. While the oligarchy is still new, there are sure to be other creeds, held with equal conviction, which must be suppressed by force, since the principle of majority rule has been abandoned. It follows that there cannot be freedom of the Press, freedom of discussion, or freedom of book publication. There must be an organ of government whose duty it is to pronounce as to what is orthodox, and to punish heresy. The history of the Inquisition shows what such an organ of government must inevitably become. In the normal pursuit of power, it will seek out more and more subtle heresies. The Church, as soon as it acquired political power, developed incredible refinement of dogma, and persecuted what to us appear microscopic deviations form the official creed. Exactly the same sort of thing happens in the modern States that confine political power to supporters of a certain doctrine.” – 57
“The completeness of the resulting control over opinion depends in various ways upon scientific technique. Where all children go to school, and all schools are controlled by the government, the authorities can close the minds of the young to everything contrary to official orthodoxy. Printing is impossible without paper, and all paper belongs to the State. Broadcasting and the cinema are equally public monopolies. The only remaining possibility of unauthorised propaganda is by secret whispers from one individual to another. But this, in turn, is rendered appallingly dangerous by improvements in the art of spying. Children at school are taught that it is their duty to denounce their parents if they allow themselves subversive utterances in the bosom of the family. No one can be sure that a man who seems to be his dearest friend will not denounce him to the police; the man may himself have been in some trouble, and may know that if he is not efficient as a spy his wife and children will suffer. All this is not imaginary, it is daily and hourly reality. Nor, given oligarchy, is there the slightest reason to expect anything else.” [emphasis mine] – 58
What is Scientific Technique?
Scientific technique is much more than just the impact of new technology on the machinations of society. It is the use of science, in its most calculating and inhumane ways, to analyze, control and guide societies in a desired direction.
The rest of the articles in this series will also elaborate on other aspects of scientific technique, especially its application to education and human breeding. But first, I will examine Bertrand Russell’s views about the stability of scientific societies and the possibility of a scientific world government.
*Quotes from Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society (1952). ISBN0-415-10906-X
The Impact of Science on Society, is a book written by Bertrand Russell. It was first published in 1952.
Some key quotes:
“For some reason which I have failed to understand, many people like the system [scientific totalitarianism] when it is Russian but disliked the very same system when it was German. I am compelled to think that this is due to the power of labels; these people like whatever is labelled ‘Left’ without examining whether the label has any justification.”- p56
“The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.” – p41
“The completeness of the resulting control over opinion depends in various ways upon scientific technique. Where all children go to school, and all schools are controlled by the government, the authorities can close the minds of the young to everything contrary to official orthodoxy. Printing is impossible without paper, and all paper belongs to the State. Broadcasting and the cinema are equally public monopolies.” – p57
“Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves happy, because the government will tell them that they are so.” – p62
“War, as I remarked a moment ago, has hitherto been disappointing in this respect, but perhaps bacteriological war may prove effective. If a Black Death could spread throughout the world once in every generation, survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full. There would be nothing in this to offend the conscience of the devout or to restrain the ambition of nationalists. The state of affairs might be somewhat unpleasant, but what of it? Really high-minded people are indifferent to happiness, especially other people’s.” – p116 – p117
“Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton. (The Aztecs kept a domesticated alien tribe for the purposes of cannibalism. Their regime was totalitarian)” – p63
Considered a paradigm of Renaissance scientific and Utopian literature,
Bacon's New Atlantis (1624) pioneered new methodological standards by
systematizing the process of scientific enquiry and discovery. The work is the
foundation of Bacon's reputation as the father of modern science in England and
as a herald of the modern scientific and philosophical world-view. Bacon has
also been distinguished by scholars and scientists throughout the centuries for
his important contributions to politics, law, and literature as well as
philosophy and science. Thomas Jefferson characterized him as one of the three
greatest men the world had ever known. Though scientists and political theorists
today reject many of Bacon's findings, they are indebted to his New
Atlantis and other scientific writings for offering a model for modern
research and development.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first eugenics conference, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation put
on a family planning conference in London last month.
The conference, which began on 11 July and was co-hosted by the UK Department for International Development, included among its coalition partners such organizations as Planned Parenthood, Marie Stopes International, and the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA).
From Hard Eugenics to Soft Eugenics
The original conference that Bill Gates wished to commemorate was titled The First International Eugenics Congress. It was convened in London from 24-29 July, 1912, and was presided over by Leonard Darwin, the son of Charles Darwin and dedicated to Charles Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton (1822–1911). Galton invented the term Eugenics to describe his theory that man could be perfected through strategic breeding. His ideas that certain races are genetically superior to other races had a profound impact on later Nazi theorists.
The 1912 conference included an exhibit by the American Breeders’ Association, whose former president, Harry Laughlin, proposed to eradicate the “inferior” members of society through compulsory sterilization. The conference featured a presentation from Bleeker van Wagenen, who gave a report on the progress of sterilization laws in the United States and advocated compulsory sterilization as a means for improving the human gene pool.
Early 20th century Eugenics theory was often accompanied by the notion that economics can be improved by decreasing the surplus population. Such ideas were based on the theories of Thomas Malthus (1766 –1834) who suggested that the poor were draining the world’s recourses. One of Malthus’s solutions for reducing the surplus population was to introduce policies specifically designed to bring death to large numbers of peasants. For example, he encouraged poor people to move near swamps, because he knew that they would catch diseases there and begin dying off.
The conference that the Gates Foundation put on last month to commemorate The First International Eugenics Congress included no calls for forced sterilization, but Bill and Malinda Gates did pledge hundreds of millions of dollars to improve access to contraception in the developing world. Following in the footsteps of early 20th century social engineering theory, they echoed Malthus by suggesting that we have an economic responsibility to ensure that there are fewer people. Wendy Wright has rightly called this the “latest effort to blame children for poverty and women’s troubles.”
Bill Gates is quick to repudiate his dependence on Malthus. In an interview with PBS, he told Moyers that “The one issue that really grabbed me as urgent were issues related to population” and he shared how originally he “thought that the Malthusian principles applied at least in the developing countries.” Gates went on to say how he came to understand that “essentially Malthus was wrong” and that alternatives to Malthus’s doomsday scenerios included raising wealth, improving health and educating women.
But we should not be too quick to assume that Bill and Melinda Gates have completely abandoned a Malthusian framework. On the contrary, Mr. and Mrs. Gates have both frequently drawn attention to the economic ramifications of there being too many people. This was made explicit by Melinda Gates in 2011 when she commented that “Government leaders…are now beginning to understand that providing access to contraceptives is a cost-effective way to foster economic growth…”
So what exactly is the relation between contraception and economic growth? The connection is simple: fewer people = more resources. This may not be the hard eugenics of Malthus, but it certainly involves what Andressen Blom and James Bell have called “soft negative eugenics.” Blom and Bell define soft eugenics as follows:
“for economic reasons governments should use taxpayer dollars to underwrite the decisions of citizens to pursue recreational sexual activity. The underlying economic assumption is that the prospective children of the poor citizens likely to utilize such government-funded programs would be likely to hamper economic growth if they are born.”
Decreasing the Surplus Population
This is not the first time that Bill and Malinda Gates have ventured into population control. At the Technology, Entertainment and Design 2010 Conference, Bill Gates gave a talk in which he suggested that the solution to global warming is to have fewer people.
This is part of a new groundswell of interest in population control which posits a direct relationship between global warming and the amount of people on the earth. The Microsoft founder reduced our planet’s problem to a simple equation: CO2=P x S x E x C CO2(total population-emitted CO2 per year) = P (people) x S (services per person) x E (average energy per service) x C (average CO2 emitted per unit of energy).
The goal, Gates said, was to “get this down to zero.” Referring to P(eople) specifically, he said, “Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, healthcare, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”
That’s right. Rather than leading to more life, which was the original purpose of vaccines and healthcare, their great advantage in Gates’ mind is that they can lead to fewer people. While this is obviously true when it comes to contraception, it is hard to understand how vaccination is specifically related to a decrease in the population. (But hold onto that thought.)
The Gates Foundation are certainly doing all they can to decrease what it sees as surplus population. In May of this year, they gave a grant of $100,000 to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to develop a new type of ultrasound which has been described as a “non-invasive, reversible form of birth control for men.” Already tested on animals, it would make a man infertile for up to six months. Nine other grants were given to other scientists attempting to create new forms of contraception.
One of the coalition partners in last month’s conference was Planned Parenthood, whose founder Margaret Sanger hoped to “assist the race towards the elimination of the unfit.” Similarly, Marie Stopes International, who also had a prominent presence at the conference, was started by a woman who advocated for “the sterilization of those totally unfit for parenthood [to be] made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory.” (To read more about forced sterilization in the 20th century, see my article ‘Social Engineering and the Dark Side of American Liberalism.’)
But while these organizations previously supported forced sterilization, surely no one in the West still thinks that the poor and ‘feeble minded’ ought to be subjected to compulsory sterilization, right? Well, not so fast. Consider the following facts:
The Gates Foundation has partnered with the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) which supports China’s one-child-only policy and frequently appeals to global warming as a reason to curb the human population.
The London conference that the Gates Foundation put on last month was co-hosted by the UK’s Department for International Development, which has given aid money to India despite warnings that it would be used to forcibly sterilize poor women. (See ‘UK aid helps to fund forced sterilisation of India’s poor.)
WRITE: To your MP and ask your MP to protest to the Secretary of State for International Development about the way that Government money was used last month to commemorate the legacy of 20th century Eugenics. Your MP’s address is House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. If you do not know who your MP is or wish to email your MP instead, click here to go direct to the UK Parliament’s list of MPs.
PRAY: That the Lord will continue to expose the evil being promoted by family planners and population control advocates. Pray that the plans of Bill and Melinda Gates will be channelled towards life rather than death. Pray that legislators overseas will become alert to the evil enclosed in the Trojan Horses of aid from the Gates Foundation and the UK Government. Pray that God will grant Andrew Mitchell a spirit of repentance or remove him and that the UK’s pro-abortion policy will not stand.
“One can say without exaggeration that inflation is an indispensable means of militarism,” Ludwig von Mises wrote. “Without it, the repercussions of war on welfare become obvious much more quickly and penetratingly; war weariness would set in much earlier.”
This explains why American politicians have always resorted to the legalized counterfeiting of central banking to finance wars, the most expensive of all government programs. If citizens had a clearer picture of the true costs, they would be more inclined to oppose non-defensive intervention and to force all wars to hastier conclusions.
Government can finance war (and everything else) by only three methods: taxes, debt, and the printing of money. Taxes are the most visible and painful, followed by debt finance, which crowds out private borrowing, drives up interest rates, and imposes the double burden of principal and interest. Money creation, on the other hand, makes war seem costless to the average citizen. But of course there is no such thing as a free lunch.
As a general rule, the longer a war lasts, the more centrally planned and government-controlled the entire economy becomes. And it remains so to some degree after the war has ended. War is the health of the state, as Randolph Bourne famously declared, and the growth of the state means a decline in liberty and prosperity.
As Robert Higgs wrote in Crisis and Leviathan, among the effects of World War I were “massive government collusion with organized special-interest groups; the de facto nationalization of the ocean shipping and railroad industries; the increased federal intrusion in labor markets, capital markets, communications, and agriculture; and enduring changes in constitutional doctrines regarding conscription and governmental suppression of free speech.”
Inflationary war finance inevitably leads to calls for price controls, which inflict even greater damage on the private enterprise system by generating shortages of goods and services, which are falsely blamed on capitalism. The state uses this excuse to grant itself even greater central-planning powers. Inflating the currency as a method of war finance is often a first step in the adoption of what is essentially economic fascism.
Paper and printing were invented in China, but American politicians were the first to use government paper money. It was adopted by the colonial government of Massachusetts in 1690. As Murray N. Rothbard wrote, the Massachusetts government was “accustomed to launching plunder expeditions against the prosperous French colony in Quebec.” The loot was typically used to pay mercenary soldiers, but when one of the expeditions failed and the soldiers threatened mutiny, the Massachusetts government printed 7,000 British pounds in paper notes to pay them. The government promised to redeem the paper money in gold or silver, but took 40 years to do so. Meanwhile, the public was so suspicious of the notes that they depreciated by 40 percent in the first year.
By 1740, every colony except for Virginia had followed Massachusetts’ lead in issuing fiat paper money. The results were dramatic inflation, boom-and-bust cycles, and depreciated currency.
During the Revolution, a form of centralized banking was adopted when the Continental Congress issued “the Continental” in 1775. Because it was not backed by anything of value, the Continental depreciated so severely that it was virtually worthless by 1781. “Not worth a Continental” became a popular slang.
Some of the states attempted to deal with the inflation caused by the massive printing of Continentals with price-control laws. The predictable effect: shortages so severe that George Washington’s army almost starved in a field in Pennsylvania. The situation became so desperate that the Continental Congress issued a resolution on June 4, 1778 urging all the states to abolish their price-control laws: “Whereas it hath been found by experience that limitations upon the prices of commodities are not only ineffectual for the purpose proposed, but likewise productive of very evil consequences—resolved, that it be recommended to the several states to repeal or suspend all laws limiting, regulating or restraining the Price of any Article.” Within three months, “the army was fairly well provided for as a direct result of this change in policy,” write Robert Schuettinger and Eamonn Butler in Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls: How Not to Fight Inflation.
Despite the economic calamities caused by America’s first foray into centralized control of the money supply, at the end of the Revolutionary War the nation’s first central bank—the Bank of North America—was created, with defense contractor/congressman Robert Morris implanted as its president. Centralized banking might have been ruinous for the general public, but political insiders like Morris profited handsomely. The bank was given a monopoly license to issue paper currency, and it used most of its newly created money for loans to the central government. In so doing, it inflated its currency so rapidly that within one year the market lost all confidence in the bank and it was privatized.
Alexander Hamilton was the real founding father of central banking, as the Federal Reserve Board declares in one of its publications. His Bank of the United States (BUS), established in 1791 after a momentous debate between Hamilton and Jefferson over its constitutionality, was partly intended to finance “sudden emergencies” like war, in Hamilton’s own words. He rejected Washington and Jefferson’s foreign policy of commercial relations with all nations, entangling alliances with none. Instead, he advocated a permanent military establishment complete with a large navy and standing army that would pursue “imperial glory.” As historian Clinton Rossiter explains, “Hamilton’s overriding purpose was to build the foundations of a new empire.”
Hamilton praised public debt as a “blessing” and complained to George Washington, “We need a government of more energy!” Jefferson, on the other hand, opposed both a large public debt and a national bank, arguing, “the perpetuation of debt, has drenched the earth with blood”—a reference to European monarchs’ endless wars of conquest funded by public debt.
Hamilton’s Bank of the United States ran up 72 percent inflation in its first five years and created such economic instability that its 20-year charter was not renewed by Congress in 1811.
Then came the senseless War of 1812. There was no central bank, but the federal government still devised a way to monetize the war debt. It encouraged the creation of dozens of private banks, then in 1814 declared a “suspension of specie payment.” That is, banks were not required to redeem their paper currency in gold or silver. Thus, under the direction of the U.S. Congress, banks were allowed to inflate their currencies at will for two-and-a-half years as a means of monetizing the war debt, thereby disguising the costs of the conflict to the public. Inflation during the war years averaged about 35 percent.
This was exacerbated when the BUS was resurrected in January 1817 and empowered to create a national paper currency, purchase public debt, and receive deposits of U.S. Treasury funds. Rothbard explained the politics in his History of Money and Banking in the United States:
The Second Bank of the United States was pushed through Congress … particularly by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander J. Dallas … a wealthy Philadelphia lawyer [and] close friend, counsel, and financial associate of Philadelphia merchant and banker Stephen Girard, reputedly one of the two wealthiest men in the country. … Girard was the largest stockholder of the First Bank of the United States, and during the War of 1812 Girard became a very heavy investor in the war debt of the federal government. … [A]s a way to unload his public debt, Girard began to agitate for a new Bank of the United States.
The Second Bank of the United States “launched a spectacular inflation of money and credit,” writes Rothbard, coupled with a great deal of fraud. It promptly created the “Panic of 1819,” the first real depression in American history. For the first time there was large-scale unemployment in cities such as Philadelphia, where employment in the manufacturing of handicrafts fell from 9,700 persons in 1815 to only 2,100 in 1819.
After nearly 20 years of inflation, fraud, political corruption, and boom-and-bust cycles caused by the Second Bank of the United States, President Andrew Jackson heroically vetoed the bill to recharter the Bank in 1834, and it went out of business. But the Hamiltonian nationalists did not. They would wage a political crusade for the next two decades as members of the Whig and Republican parties to inflict central banking on the nation once again.
They finally succeeded during the Lincoln administration with the Legal Tender Act of 1862, which empowered the secretary of the Treasury to issue paper “greenbacks” that were not redeemable in gold or silver. The National Currency Acts of 1863 and 1864 created a system of nationally chartered banks that could issue bank notes supplied to them by the new comptroller of the currency. The Acts also placed a 10 percent tax on competing state bank notes to drive them out of business and establish a federal monetary monopoly.
The predictable effect was massive inflation, with the greenback dollars so devalued that within one year they were worth only 35 cents in gold. All of the negative economic effects of inflation—devaluation of private wealth, unfair redistribution of income from creditors to debtors, and hindrance to rational economic calculation—damaged the Northern war effort, but not as much as that of the South. The North funded most of the war with public borrowing; the South funded most of its wartime expenditures by printing Confederate dollars. Consequently, inflation in the Confederacy averaged more than 2,200 percent per year.
The nationalization of the money supply created an engine of inflation—and a powerful lobbying force to advocate that it keep running. Northern manufacturers realized that during periods of inflation, domestic currency tends to depreciate faster than prices are rising. A falling dollar makes domestic goods cheaper and the price of imports higher. Henceforth, they became a powerful political force in favor of an even further centralization of banking. Meanwhile, the heavily indebted railroads realized that inflation cheapened their debts, so they allied with manufacturers as a permanent lobby for inflation.
These special interests joined the political coalition that created the Federal Reserve Board in 1913, which became an important source of finance for America’s disastrous participation in World War I four years later. The Fed did not just print greenbacks, as was the case during the Civil War. It printed enough money to purchase more than $4 billion in government bonds that were used to finance the war. The amount of money in circulation doubled between 1914 and 1920—as did prices. This was an enormous hidden war tax on the American people: wealth was cut in half, along with real wages, and just about everything consumers purchased became more expensive.
The boom created by the Fed’s war financing inevitably caused a bust—the Depression of 1920, the first year of which was even worse than the first year of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Gross domestic product declined by 24 percent from 1920-21, while the number of unemployed Americans more than doubled, from 2.1 million to 4.9 million. The Great Depression of 1920 only lasted one year, however, thanks to President Warren Harding’s inspired policy of cutting both government spending and taxes dramatically.
In the wars that have followed, central-bank financing has inflicted essentially the same kind of damage on American society: inflation, economic chaos, reduced real wages, price controls and other government interventions, and ideological attacks on capitalism rather than the real culprit, the Fed.
Adam Smith recognized the advantage of financing wars with taxes rather than public debt when he wrote, “Wars would in general be more speedily concluded, and less wantonly undertaken. The people feeling, during the continuance of the war, the complete burden of it, would soon grow weary of it, and the government, in order to humor them, would not be under the necessity of carrying it on longer than it was necessary to do so.” Central-bank inflation renders the costs of war even more invisible than debt financing does and is therefore even more disastrous for the American public.
Thomas DiLorenzo is professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland and the author of How Capitalism Saved America, The Real Lincoln, Lincoln Unmasked, and Hamilton’s Curse.
Investors can begin construction in six months on three privately run cities in Honduras that will have their own police, laws, government and tax systems now that the government has signed a memorandum of agreement approving the project.
An international group of investors and government representatives signed the memorandum Tuesday for the project that some say will bring badly needed economic growth to this small Central American country and that at least one detractor describes as "a catastrophe."
The project's aim is to strengthen Honduras' weak government and failing infrastructure, overwhelmed by corruption, drug-related crime and lingering political instability after a 2009 coup.
The project "has the potential to turn Honduras into an engine of wealth," said Carlos Pineda, president of the Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships. It can be "a development instrument typical of first world countries."
The "model cities" will have their own judiciary, laws, governments and police forces. They also will be empowered to sign international agreements on trade and investment and set their own immigration policy.
Congress president Juan Hernandez said the investment group MGK will invest $15 million to begin building basic infrastructure for the first model city near Puerto Castilla on the Caribbean coast. That first city would create 5,000 jobs over the next six months and up to 200,000 jobs in the future, Hernandez said. South Korea has given Honduras $4 million to conduct a feasibility study, he said.
"The future will remember this day as that day that Honduras began developing," said Michael Strong, CEO of the MKG Group. "We believe this will be one of the most important transformations in the world, through which Honduras will end poverty by creating thousands of jobs."
Hernandez said another city will be built in the Sula Valley, in northern Honduras, and a third in southern Honduras. He gave no other details.
The project is opposed by civic groups as well as the indigenous Garifuna people, who say they don't want their land near Puerto Castilla on the Caribbean coast to be used for the project. Living along Central America's Caribbean coast, the Garifuna are descendants of the Amazon's Arawak Indians, the Caribbean's Caribes and escaped West African slaves.
"These territories are the Garifuna people's and can't be handed over to foreign capital in an action that is pure colonialism like that lived in Honduras during the time that our land became a banana enclave," said Miriam Miranda, president of the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras.
Oscar Cruz, a former constitutional prosecutor, filed a motion with the Supreme Court last year characterizing the project as unconstitutional and "a catastrophe for Honduras."
"The cities involve the creation of a state within the state, a commercial entity with state powers outside the jurisdiction of the government," Cruz said.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told France's Catholic newspaper La Croix: 'Who is to say that a heterosexual couple will bring a child up better than a homosexual couple, that they will guarantee the best conditions for the child's development?
'What is certain is that the interest of the child is a major preoccupation for the government.'
The head of the French Catholic Church Cardinal Philippe Barbarin warned followers last week that gay marriage could lead to legalised incest and polygamy in society.
Justice minister Christiane Taubira, left, is following through President Francois Hollande's, right, pledge to legalise gay marriage and give equality to gay couples
He told the Christian's RFC radio station: 'Gay marriage would herald a complete breakdown in society.
'This could have innumerable consequences. Afterward they will want to create couples with three or four members. And after that, perhaps one day the taboo of incest will fall.'
Leading French Catholics have also published a 'Prayer for France', which says: 'Children should not be subjected to adults' desires and conflicts, so they can fully benefit from the love of their mother and father.'
And Pope Benidict invited 30 French bishops to Italy to urge them to fight against the new law.
French Catholic Church Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, left, has joined Pope Benedict XVI, right, in urging church leaders to fight the new law
He told them: 'We have there a true challenge to take on.
'The family that is the foundation of social life is threatened in many places, following a concept of human nature that has proven defective.'
And leading French bishop Dominique Rey has called on the government to hold a referendum on gay marriage.
He said: 'A referendum must be held to allow a real debate and to make sure the government is not in the grip of the lobbies.
'A majority of the population agrees with the traditional view of marriage.'
President Francois Hollande pledged in his manifesto to legalise gay marriage.
The draft law will be presented to his cabinet for approval on October 31.
A 1 percent tax on billionaires around the world. A tax on all currency trading in the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound sterling. Another “tiny” tax on all financial transactions, including stock and bond trading, and trading in financial derivatives. New taxes on carbon emissions and on airline tickets. A royalty on all undersea mineral resources extracted more than 100 miles offshore of any nation’s territory.
The United Nations is at it again: finding new and “innovative” ways to create global taxes that would transfer hundreds of billions, and even trillions, of dollars from the rich nations of the world — especially the U.S. — to poorer ones, in line with U.N.-directed economic, social and environmental development.
These latest global tax proposals have received various forms of endorsement at U.N. meetings over the spring and summer, and will be entered into the record during the 67th U.N. General Assembly session, which began this week. The agenda for the entire session, lasting through December, is scheduled to be finalized on Friday.
How to convince developed countries wracked by economic recession and spiraling levels of government debt – especially the U.S. — is another issue, which the world organization may well end up trying to finesse.
As the U.N. itself notes, in a major report on the taxation topic titled, “In Search of New Development Finance” — the main topic at a high-level international meeting of the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this summer — “These proposals are subject to political controversy. For instance, many countries are not willing to support international forms of taxation, as these are said to undermine national sovereignty.”
The world organization, and its constellation of funds, agencies and programs, has been pushing “innovative financing” for nearly a decade.
The U.N. clearly hopes it can find a way to move ahead. “ Politically, tapping revenue from global resources and raising taxes internationally to address global problems are much more difficult than taxing for purely domestic purposes,” admits an ECOSOC document produced last April. But, it summarizes, “the time has come to confront the challenge.”
Shortly thereafter, the tax proposals — known in U.N.-speak as “innovative methods of financing”– got a limited endorsement from a group of government ministers and other heads of national delegations who attended a major ECOSOC meeting in New York City in July.
The global taxation idea was echoed this week by Jeffrey Sachs, head of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and also a U.N. Assistant Secretary General. Sachs was recently named by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to head a new intellectual lobbying group of experts called the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It “will work closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions and other international organizations,” according to the Earth Institute website.
On Monday, the controversial economist, a vociferous supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, called on President Obama to implement a carbon tax that in turn could be used to finance bonds, paying for investments to combat “climate change” — one of the major focuses of the new solutions network.
Sachs was quoted by Bloomberg News as declaring that, “I’m happy to have the future pay for a lot of this. It doesn’t have to be current financed.”
In the midst of a heated U.S. national election campaign, any official endorsement of those views is unlikely.
Nonetheless, the U.N. is taking a longer view. The world organization, and its constellation of funds, agencies and programs, has been pushing “innovative financing” for nearly a decade, since the topic was discussed in depth at an international conference in 2002. The topic was endorsed again at the failed Rio + 20 conference last summer, without much detail attached.
But the need for new revenue is becoming more urgent as the world’s rich countries, gripped in recession, no longer hand out foreign aid with the same generosity as before — though the total reached $133 billion annually last year–while the demands for huge additional amounts of money for social and climate issues continues to grow.
Earlier this year, for example, the overseers of a new, U.N.-sponsored Green Climate Fund held their first meeting in Bonn to contemplate the spending of some $30 billion annually — rising to $100 billion by 2020 — to meet climate change needs in developing countries. Where all that money will come from is still not clear.
The U.N.’s latest roster of tax possibilities certainly has what the New Development Finance Report calls “large fundraising potential.” Or, at least some of them do. An around-the-world tax of $25 per ton on carbon dioxide emissions in rich countries, the report says, could raise some $250 billion a year. That new billionaire’s tax would raise anywhere from $40 billion to $50 billion per year, the report estimates, though it adds that the idea “is not yet in any international agenda.”
The U.N. places the same estimated value on the proposed currency tax ($40 billion), and roughly the same thing on its proposed financial tax ($15 billion to $75 billion).
Even more innovative is a notion to, in effect, borrow the lines of credit allocated to rich countries themselves at the International Monetary Fund, and “leverage” them to create new investment funds for the world’s poor. How to do this while preserving those credit lines as a reserve asset that rich countries could draw on when required, the report admits, remains to be seen.
Another “innovative” idea that may have trouble staying afloat is the notion of charging royalties on undersea minerals more than 100 miles offshore, within what are called “exclusive economic zones” — in effect, inside some country’s sovereign economic territory.
The sensitive issue here is that the world’s current “exclusive economic zones” extend 200 miles offshore — meaning that the U.N. is suggesting that it collect royalties on mineral wealth on half the “exclusive” territory, which it refers to in the report as part of the “global commons.”
For most nations, excluding the U.S., those 200 mile zones were established by the U.N.-sponsored Law of the Sea Treaty, known as LOST, which came into force in 1994 after it was signed and ratified by 162 countries. (The U.S. signed but has not ratified LOST; its 200-mile “exclusive economic zone” was established by presidential decree.)
The new, 100-mile royalty proposal in the U.N.’s financing report would require a new agreement to hand over proceeds from half of that territory to the U.N.-sponsored International Seabed Authority.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Approximately 24 hours after this story was published, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations sent the following unsolicited statement to Fox News: “The United States opposes global taxes because we believe that any source of revenue should remain under the control of national authorities. This is an idea that has been kicked around for years. Fortunately, it hasn’t gone anywhere, nor will it.”
The U.S. is currently one of the 54 nations elected for three year terms to ECOSOC, which, as the story notes, has incubated many of the “innovative” tax ideas. The U.S. term expires at the end of this year, though it may be re-elected.
George Russell is executive editor of Fox News and can be found on Twitter @GeorgeRussell
We’re at the dawn of a revolution in central banking, in which the likes of the Bank of Canada, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, and eventually the European Central Bank (ECB) will exert more influence over the global economy than government, business or consumers.
It’s a quiet revolution. And it’s the inevitable consequence of our currently difficult times. If not for the near-collapse of the world financial system in 2008-09, and the seemingly intractable financial crisis in Europe, central bankers would have remained the unseen players who for decades devoted themselves mostly to controlling inflation.
But in these extraordinarily troubled times, central bankers have become the rescuers of last resort. That new role has been forced on them. And while they are emboldened, they still feel a trace of reluctance in their unprecedented exertion of power and influence.
Canada’s Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of Canada, is one of the most widely esteemed of Canadians. And Carney is so well regarded abroad that British punters believe Carney to be the odds-on favourite to be poached by Britain to replace a Bank of England governor who is soon to retire.
Elsewhere, though, central bankers don’t enjoy such public and leadership-class confidence.
The ECB, even under the more enlightened leadership of its new head, Italy’s Mario Draghi, remains painfully slow to take the steps required to stimulate crippled economies in desperate need of shoring up, by strengthening both the public finances of Greece, Spain and so on, and injecting liquidity in the Continent’s reserve-poor largest banks. Yet the ECB’s haplessness, its every progressive impulse checked by a Germany that is among the world’s most fiscally-conservative countries, is proof that the revolution of more activist central banking is overdue.
The U.S. Fed, and more specifically its chairman, Ben Bernanke, are in the vanguard of this transformation. As a college professor, Bernanke had argued that central banks should act more aggressively on job creation, the neglected part of their dual mandate of keeping inflation in check and spurring job growth. Job creation was so disdained as an issue for the Fed that official mention of it in Fed policy statements didn’t appear until late in 2008, at the peak of a Wall Street meltdown that the Fed correctly assumed would prove ruinous to the wider economy for years to come.
Bernanke’s Fed has pumped more than a trillion dollars into the U.S. economy since 2008 by purchasing U.S. government debt. And early in the crisis, it formed a coalition with the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England and the Bank of Switzerland to bailed out the giant banks that run the global clearing system, ensuring that your paycheck clears and that ATMs dispense cash. At the height of the crisis, Bernanke famously said that if the central bankers didn’t promptly embrace unorthodox rescue measures, “We won’t have an economy tomorrow.”
It should never have come to that, of course. And Bernanke has become determined that it never will again by helping create a new world order of global finance. It will be one in which central banks are not only at battle stations when the cupidity of private-sector financiers culminates in disaster, a phenomenon that used to strike every decade or so, but most recently followed just six years of stability.
The new order will also have central banks preoccupied with economic stimulus in good and bad times alike, with a principal goal of job creation. “It’s a reimagining of Fed policy,” John E. Silva, chief economist at U.S. mega-bank Wells Fargo & Co., told the Washington Post this week. “It’s a much stronger commitment to focus on unemployment.”
Currently, 1.4 million Canadians are out of work. The number for the U.S. is 12.5 million. But it rises to 23 million when accounting for folks who have given up looking for work or have found only part-time employment. Solving that crisis is formidable. Yet in the eight years of the Clinton administration the U.S. created, as it happens, 23 million new jobs. And low borrowing costs maintained by the U.S. Fed played a big role in that record job creation.
Bernanke has just over a year remaining in one of the most turbulent tenures endured by any central banker. He’s using it to achieve primacy for the Fed in restoring and maintaining robust U.S. economic health. By extension, the Fed’s muscular practices will migrate, given the towering status of the U.S. Fed itself, and a U.S. economy that is vastly larger than any other.
In a stunning announcement this month, Bernanke said the U.S. Fed will keep borrowing rates close to zero at least until mid-2015, to stimulate consumer and business spending. And it will purchase an anticipated $143 billion in mortgage bonds this year alone. But the shocker was that the Fed will keep up those purchases, putting money in Main Street pockets, well beyond years’ end if necessary — indeed, until the U.S. economy has fully recovered.
In a speech last week, Charles Evans, who heads the Federal Reserve Board of Chicago, explained that “Stating that we expect to keep a highly [stimulative] stance for policy for a considerable time after the recovery strengthens is an important reassurance to households and businesses.”
That might be an understatement. U.S. business and consumer spending has finally begun to show signs of renewed life, thanks mostly to a vigorous Fed. By contrast, there has been a near-total absence of restorative action elsewhere in Washington. Republicans on Capitol Hill with a stated goal of making Barack Obama a failed, one-term president have repeatedly rejected Obama’s calls an encore to his highly successful stimulus of 2009-10.
If political leaders in Berlin, Helsinki, London and Washington are going to cling to obsolete, ideologically-driven claptrap about the inflationary impact of stimulus (it’s the far more chaotic prospect of deflation that should worry us), then central bankers really have no choice but to take control of the commanding heights of the economy.
Historians, especially of the armchair variety, are inclined to assign credit or blame for periods of economic strength or despond to heads of government. Wilfrid Laurier and his “sunny ways” may have merely coincided with Canada’s first sustained period of prosperity, but his legacy is that of a PM whose policies helped bring about Canada’s economic coming of age.
In future, we will know better, ascribing good times to the likes of Mark Carney and his consistently-able predecessors. And to Bernanke, father of a new and smarter approach to economic management, and a fellow of no small courage in bringing it about.
Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, the BBC has returned to Levittown, Pennsylvania to explore issues facing America's middle class.
At a basement food pantry in suburban Pennsylvania, 2,000lb (907kg) of food are given to roughly 160 families a week.
The majority of families come from the Levittown neighbourhoods – an iconic planned suburb that once ushered in the era of a post-World War II American dream.
But times have changed and even in quiet, leafy suburbs families now struggle with the basic needs of food and shelter. The number of residents using food pantries has risen dramatically over the past few years throughout the county.
Even those who have jobs can still find the cost of living is too high to make ends meet, as the BBC's David Botti reports.
The research team used data from a number of sources
including air pollution reports, traffic counts and tax offices. This is then
combined with a modelling system for quantifying CO2 emissions down to
individual building level.
Dr Kevin Gurney is one of the leaders of the project. He told BBC News that
his team knows the system is working because it is consistent with existing
information on emissions.
"We can go to any city in the US and do the quantification and we know it
will be utterly consistent from city to city and consistent from city all the
way up to national level," he said.
So far the system has been used on Indianapolis and work is ongoing with Los
Angeles and Phoenix. The researchers are learning a great deal about emissions
in the urban environment.
"You realise how large a source electricity production is. It tends to swamp
the signal in cities. And things like traffic jams and slow downs in traffic,
that's what really hits you," said Dr Gurney.
The scientists behind the system say it can be extremely useful for cities,
helping them to target where to make emissions cuts.
Once those cuts have been made, the system can verify their effect.
Verification is also a hugely contentious issue at international negotiations on
a global climate treaty.
The scientists are able to
provide 3-D pictures of where, when and how emissions are occurring
Many developed countries are concerned that any cuts in carbon agreed by
developing nations might not actually happen. Could this system help? Kevin
Gurney believes it would.
"Right now we are exploring the use of remote sensing but the nice thing is
that now we can use Hestia to calibrate the remote sensing in the cities we have
done. Through that we may be able to infer a lot better estimate of emissions in
Rio or Delhi," he said.
The researchers believe that the system can be used to give greater
credibility to carbon trading.
"Nobody buys a stock that's ten dollars plus or minus five dollars," said
Kevin Gurney. "We have to have confidence in the numerical value of something.
We have to have the same level of confidence about a unit of
America’s Schools: Breeding Grounds for Compliant Citizens
By John W. Whitehead
October 15, 2012
“[P]ublic school reform is now justified in the dehumanizing language of national security, which increasingly legitimates the transformation of schools into adjuncts of the surveillance and police state… students are increasingly subjected to disciplinary apparatuses which limit their capacity for critical thinking, mold them into consumers, test them into submission, strip them of any sense of social responsibility and convince large numbers of poor minority students that they are better off under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system than by being valued members of the public schools.”—Professor Henry Giroux
For those hoping to better understand how and why we arrived at this dismal point in our nation’s history, where individual freedoms, privacy and human dignity have been sacrificed to the gods of security, expediency and corpocracy, look no farther than America’s public schools.
Once looked to as the starting place for imparting principles of freedom and democracy to future generations, America’s classrooms are becoming little more than breeding grounds for compliant citizens. The moment young people walk into school, they increasingly find themselves under constant surveillance: they are photographed, fingerprinted, scanned, x-rayed, sniffed and snooped on. Between metal detectors at the entrances, drug-sniffing dogs in the hallways and surveillance cameras in the classrooms and elsewhere, many of America’s schools look more like prisons than learning facilities.
Add to this the epidemic of arresting schoolchildren and treating them as if they are dangerous criminals, and you have the makings of a perfect citizenry for our emerging police state—one that can be easily cowed, controlled, and directed. Now comes the latest development in the sad deconstruction of our schools: “smart” identification cards containing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that allow school officials to track every step students take. So small that they are barely detectable to the human eye, RFID tags produce a radio signal by which the wearer’s precise movements can be constantly monitored.
A pilot program using these RFID cards is being deployed at two schools in San Antonio, Texas’ Northside School District. In the so-called name of school safety, some 4,200 students at Jay High School and Jones Middle School are being required to carry these “smart” ID cards embedded with an RFID tracking chip which will actively broadcast a signal at all times. Although the schools already boast 290 surveillance cameras, the cards will make it possible for school officials to track students’ whereabouts at all times.
School officials hope to expand the program to the district’s 112 schools, with a student population of 100,000. As always, there’s a money incentive hidden within these programs, in this case, it’s increased state funding for the school system. Although implementation of the system will cost $500,000, school administrators are hoping that if the school district is able to increase attendance by tracking the students’ whereabouts, they will be rewarded with up to $1.7 million from the state government.
High school sophomore Andrea Hernandez, who is actively boycotting the RFID cards, was told that “there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card.” Students who refuse to take part in the ID program won’t be able to access essential services like the cafeteria and library, nor will they be able to purchase tickets to extracurricular activities. Hernandez was prevented from voting for Homecoming King and Queen after school officials refused to verify her identity using her old ID card. According to Hernandez, teachers are even requiring students to wear the IDs when they want to use the bathroom. School officials reportedly offered to quietly remove the tracking chip from Andrea’s card if the sophomore would agree to wear the new ID, stop criticizing the program and publicly support the initiative. Hernandez refused the offer.
This is not the first time that schools have sprung RFID chips on unsuspecting students and their parents. Schools in California and Connecticut have tried similar systems, and Houston, Texas began using RFID chips to track students as early as 2004. With the RFID business booming, a variety of companies, including AIM Truancy Solutions, ID Card Group and DataCard, market and sell RFID trackers to school districts throughout the country, claiming they can increase security and attendance. For example, AIM Truancy Solutions, a Dallas-based company, claims that its tracking system boosts attendance by twelve percent.
RFID tags are not the only surveillance tools being used on America’s young people. Chronically absent middle schoolers in Anaheim, Calif., have been enrolled in a GPS tracking program. As journalist David Rosen explains:
Each school day, the delinquent students get an automated ‘wake-up’ phone call reminding them that they need to get to school on time. In addition, five times a day they are required to enter a code that tracks their locations: as they leave for school, when they arrive at school, at lunchtime, when they leave school and at 8pm. These students are also assigned an adult ‘coach’ who calls them at least three times a week to see how they are doing and help them find effective ways to make sure they get to school.
Some schools in New York, New Jersey, and Missouri are tracking obese and overweight students with wristwatches that record their heart rate, movement and sleeping habits. Schools in San Antonio have chips in their lunch food trays, which allow administrators to track the eating habits of students. Schools in Michigan’s second largest school district broadcast student activity caught by CCTV cameras on the walls of the hallways in real time to let students know they’re being watched.
Some school districts have even gone so far as to electronically track students without notifying their parents. In 2010, it was revealed that a Pennsylvania school district had given students laptops installed with software that allowed school administrators to track their behavior at home. This revelation led to the threat of a class-action lawsuit, which resulted in the school district settling with irate students and parents for $600,000. Similarly, in 2003, a Tennessee middle school placed cameras in the school’s locker rooms, capturing images of children changing before basketball practice. Thankfully, the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the practice in 2008, ruling that students have an expectation of privacy in locker rooms.
Clearly, there’s something more sinister afoot than merely tracking which students are using the bathroom and which are on lunch break. Concerned parent Judy Messer understands what’s at stake. “We do not want our children to be conditioned that tracking is normal or even acceptable or mandatory,” she shared.
“Conditioned” is the key word, of course. As Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham recognized in their book, Work Redesign, laboratory animals, children, and institutionalized adults “are necessarily dependent on powerful others for many of the things they most want and need, and their behavior usually can be shaped with relative ease.” Taking those ideas one step further, psychologist Bruce Levine noted, “Behaviorism and consumerism, two ideologies which achieved tremendous power in the twentieth century, are cut from the same cloth. The shopper, the student, the worker, and the voter are all seen by consumerism and behaviorism the same way: passive, conditionable objects.”
To return to what I was saying about schools being breeding grounds for compliant citizens, if Americans have come to view freedom as expedient and expendable, it is only because that’s what they’ve been taught in the schools, by government leaders and by the corporations who run the show.
More and more Americans are finding themselves institutionalized from cradle to grave, from government-run daycares and public schools to nursing homes. In between, they are fed a constant, mind-numbing diet of pablum consisting of entertainment news, mediocre leadership, and technological gadgetry, which keeps them sated and distracted and unwilling to challenge the status quo. All the while, in the name of the greater good and in exchange for the phantom promise of security, the government strips away our rights one by one—monitoring our conversations, chilling our expression, searching our bodies and our possessions, doing away with our due process rights, reversing the burden of proof and rendering us suspects in a surveillance state.
Whether or not the powers-that-be, by their actions, are consciously attempting to create a compliant citizenry, the result is the same nevertheless for young and old alike.
Planned Parenthood praises sexual pleasure for kids
Now advocating 'removal' of laws allowing 'parental involvement' in decisions
Published: 2 days ago
In a campaign disturbingly close to advocacy of child sex, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, which advocates “sexual rights” for all, has created a “young people’s guide” in conjunction with its official declaration urging recognition of the “evolving capacities” for “sexual pleasure” in all children and young people.
The organization, headquartered in London, has posted online a document titled “Exclaim! Young People’s Guide to ‘Sexual Rights: An IPPF declaration,” which proclaims that “sexual rights” for youth must be guaranteed, so that “all young people around the world [will] be able to explore, experience and express their sexualities in healthy, positive, pleasurable and safe ways.”
Just as controversial, it also advances as a fundamental goal the “removal of parental involvement or spousal consent laws that prevent young people from seeking sexual and reproductive health services.”
Declaring that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” the document adds, “Therefore, all young people should be able to exercise and fulfil (sic) their rights equally, including sexual rights. … Barriers must be removed so that everyone, especially marginalized and under-served groups, can enjoy all human rights.”
Skirting the universal concept of an age of consent, the organization instead cites the “evolving capacities” of children for sexual pleasure, deeming all youngsters’ “ability to make decisions about [their] sexuality and to have these decisions respected based on each young person’s evolving capacities.”
IPPF also contends that young people have a right to “meaningful participation in the planning, implementation and evaluation of all sexual health and rights services, programs and policies.”
Shockingly, it repeatedly advocates for sexual experiences for children: “All people under 18 years should enjoy the full range of human rights, including sexual rights. The importance and relevance of some rights change as a person transitions from infancy to childhood to adolescence. Therefore, the rights of children and youth must be approached in a progressive and dynamic way.”
The document, released in 2011, emphasizes that “sexuality and sexual pleasure are important parts of being human for everyone – no matter what age, no matter if you’re married or not and no matter if you want to have children or not.”
Governments, it demands, must “uphold all people’s sexual rights, including young people.”
“International treaties and conventions such as the [Convention on the Rights of the Child] and [Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women] are legally binding human rights instruments. This makes them powerful advocacy tools to hold leaders accountable. Governments often fall short of fulfilling the commitments outlined in international treaties and agreements; however by signing or ratifying an agreement, they are legally bound to uphold these commitments. Therefore, advocates can use international agreements to hold governments to account.”
The program also demands censorship of abstinence programs, advocating “bringing an end to abstinence-only sex education programs and promoting evidence informed approaches to comprehensive sexuality education.”
In a total denial of parental rights, minor children, according to the group, must grant permission before their personal information is “disclosed to parents.” In fact, children are entitled, says the IPPF, to “removal of laws that require parental, guardian or spousal involvement or consent for young people to access contraceptive services, safe abortion care, HIV and other STI testing or treatment, and any other sexual health service.”
“Find a seat in the class and let Francisco school you with his lecture on slutty slander!” said the teaser above the video on Planned Parenthood’s Facebook page. “A lot of people define slut as someone who has too much sex or too many partners – but according to who? The slut fairy?”
British paedophile ring 'protected by Parliament and Downing Street'
MP Tom Watson demands probe
38 14 53
Thursday, 25 October 2012
A powerful paedophile network may have operated in Britain protected by its connections to Parliament and Downing Street, a senior Labour politician suggested yesterday.
Speaking from the back benches of the House of Commons, Tom Watson, the deputy chairman of the Labour Party, called on the Metropolitan Police to reopen a closed criminal inquiry into paedophilia.
Indicating his anxiety that there had been an establishment cover-up, Mr Watson referred to the case of Peter Righton, who was convicted in 1992 of importing and possessing illegal homosexual pornographic material.
Righton, a former consultant to the National Children’s Bureau and lecturer at the National Institute for Social Work in London, admitted two illegal importation charges and one charge of possessing obscene material. He was fined £900.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Watson said the evidence file used to convict Righton “if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring”.
He told a hushed Commons: “One of its members boasts of a link to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad.
“The leads were not followed up, but if the files still exist, I want to ensure that the Metropolitan Police secure the evidence, re-examine it, and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10.”
In the aftermath of Mr Watson’s remarks, media outlets speculated that he was referring to the late former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath – who was the subject of unsubstantiated rumours about sex with under-age boys – or to Sir Peter Morrison, a former Downing Street aide who died in 1995.
However, The Independent understands that Mr Watson’s comments were not aimed at either Sir Edward or Sir Peter, but at a living person associated with Margaret Thatcher’s administration.
They are thought to involve the activities of the Paedophile Information Exchange, a pro-paedophile group in existence between 1974 and 1984, which believed there should be no age of consent.
Responding to the remarks, David Cameron said the MP had raised “a very difficult and complex case”, adding he was unclear which former Prime Minister Mr Watson was referring to.
Criticising the BBC’s record on Savile – who was never caught and died last year aged 84, the Prime Minister said: "These allegations do leave many institutions – perhaps particularly the BBC – with serious questions to answer – I think above all the question, 'How did he get away with this for so long?'.”
He told MPs: "The most important thing is that the police investigation is properly resourced and is allowed to continue.”
November 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Expanded Thematic Group on HIV/AIDS in Brazil (GT/UNAIDS), in joint partnership with national and international groups, sent a letter on October 16 to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other Brazilian authorities, requesting priority be given to efforts to criminalize “homophobia.”
The letter was signed by GT/UNAIDS and its members: USAID, UNHCR, ILO, UN Women, CDCs, PAHO/WHO, UNDP, UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, and UNODC. Other signatories include the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the Human Rights Special Secretariat of the Brazilian Presidency, and ABGLT, the largest homosexualist group in Brazil.
The letter warns about a major AIDS epidemic in Brazil, saying that while HIV affects 0.6% of the general population, among men that have sex with men the rate is higher: more than 10% of the Brazilian gay community has been plagued by HIV.
The letter says that the main culprit of the high HIV prevalence among homosexuals is high levels of violence against them, and that prejudices against homosexuality are a strong hindrance on AIDS prevention programs. As evidence, the letter mentions a 2008 study by the Perseu Abramo Foundation saying that “92% of the Brazilian population recognizes that there is a strong prejudice against homosexuality.”
President Dilma Rousseff
The Perseu Abramo Foundation is linked to the socialist Workers’ Party of Dilma Rousseff, which has occupied the executive branch and predominates in the legislature in Brazil.
The study tested the Brazilian population for “homophobia” by asking people to comment on such statements as “God made men and women with different sexes so that they could fulfill their role and have children.” The 92% of Brazilians who agreed partially or completely with the statement were labeled “homophobic.”
Post edited 2:04 pm – November 15, 2012 by tacks2deth
The Obama Conquest
“GOP: You’re Old, You’re White, You’re History”
Hmmmm…….. well speaking of "You're History" Newsweek, so are you.
Matter of fact, I read where you are so financially unsound that this
is your next to last issue to be printed.
A shame really…..We all have the need to escape reality once and a while,
and when I felt that need, instead of taking drugs, I just opened up a copy of Newsweek.
What the hell am I going to read now, the next time I visit my dentist's office……..
They (the International Left) don't want the use of reason to prevail. If people can think for themselves then they'll start wanting to vote for themselves. So if you can stop them from thinking for themselves, then the battle for dictatorship is essentially won.