Posts Tagged ‘Reality’

 

The geopolitical reality in the Middle East is changing dramatically.

The impact of the Arab Spring, the retraction of the U.S. military, and diminishing economic influence on the Arab world – as displayed during the Obama Administration – are facts.

The emergence of a Russian-Iranian-Turkish triangle is the new reality. The Western hegemony in the MENA region has ended, and not in a shy way, but with a long list of military conflicts and destabilization.

The first visit of a Saudi king to Russia shows the growing power of Russia in the Middle East. It also shows that not only Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also Egypt and Libya, are more likely to consider Moscow as a strategic ally.

King Salman’s visit to Moscow could herald not only several multibillion business deals, but could be the first real step towards a new regional geopolitical and military alliance between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Russia.

This cooperation will not only have severe consequences for Western interests but also could partly undermine or reshape the position of OPEC at the same time.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is currently hosting a large Saudi delegation, led by King Salman and supported by Saudi minister of energy Khalid Al Falih.

Moscow’s open attitude to Saudi Arabia—a lifetime Washington ally and strong opponent of the growing Iran power projections in the Arab world—show that Putin understands the current pivotal changes in the Middle East.

U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and even the UAE, have shown an increased eagerness to develop military and economic relations with Moscow, even if this means dealing with a global power currently supporting their archenemy Iran. Analysts wonder where the current visit of King Salman will really lead to, but all signs are on green for a straightforward Arab-Saudi support for a bigger Russian role in the region, and more in-depth cooperation in oil and gas markets.

In stark contrast to the difficult relationship of the West with the Arab world, Moscow seems to be playing the regional power game at a higher level. It can become an ally or friend to regional adversaries, such as Iran, Turkey, Egypt and now Saudi Arabia. Arab regimes are also willing to discuss cooperation with Russia, even though the country is supporting adversaries in the Syrian and Yemen conflicts and continues to supply arms to the Shi’a regime in Iran.

Investors can expect Russia and Saudi Arabia to sign a multitude of business deals, some of which have already been presented. Moscow and Riyadh will also discuss the still fledgling oil and gas markets, as both nations still heavily depend on hydrocarbon revenues. Arab analysts expect both sides to choose a bilateral strategy to keep oil prices from falling lower. Riyadh and Moscow have the same end goal: a stable oil and gas market, in which demand and supply keep each other in check to push price levels up, but without leaving enough breathing space for new market entrants such as U.S. shale.

Putin and Salman will also discuss the security situation in the Middle East, especially the ongoing Syrian civil war, Iran’s emerging power, and the Libya situation. Until now, the two have supported opposite sides, but Riyadh has realized that its ultimate goal, the removal of Syrian president Assad, is out of reach. To prevent a full-scale Shi’a triangle (Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon), other options are now being sought to quell Tehran’s power surge. Moscow is key in this.

Putin’s unconditional support of the Iranian military onslaught in Iraq and Syria, combined with its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon or Houthis in Yemen, will be discussed and maybe tweaked to give Riyadh room to maneuver into the Russian influence sphere. The verdict on this isn’t yet out, but Riyadh’s move must be seen

in light of ongoing Moscow discussions with Egypt, Libya, Jordan and the UAE.

A growing positive Putin vibe in the Arab world is now clear. The strong leadership of Russia’s new Tsar has become a main point of interest for the (former pro-Western) Arab regimes. The U.S. and its European allies have only shown a diffuse political-military approach to the threats in the MENA region, while even destabilizing historically pro-Western Arab royalties and presidents. Putin’s friendship, however, is being presented as unconditional and long lasting.

Even though geopolitics and military operations in the Middle East now are making up most headlines, the Saudi-Russian rapprochement will also have economic consequences. Riyadh’s leadership of OPEC is still undisputed, as it has shown over the last several years. Saudi Arabia’s eagerness to counter the free-fall of oil prices has been successful, but a much bigger effort is required to bring prices back to a level of between $60-75 per barrel. Russia’s role—as the largest of non-OPEC producers—has been substantial, bringing in not only several emerging producers, but also by putting pressure on its allies Iran, Venezuela and Algeria.

The historically important Moscow-Riyadh cooperation in oil and gas is unprecedented. Without Russia’s support, overall compliance to the OPEC production cut agreement would have been very low, leading to even lower oil prices.

The Saudi-Russian rapprochement could, however, be seen as a threat by the West and OPEC itself. Western influence in the region has waned since the end of the 1990s, not only due to the peace dividend of NATO, but especially because OECD countries are moving away from oil. Saudi Arabia had to find new markets, which happened with China and India. The Saudi future is no longer based on Western customers or support, but lies in Asia and other emerging regions. The FSU region has also popped up on Saudi screens. Investment opportunities, combined with geopolitical support and military interests, are readily available in Russia and its satellite states.

For OPEC, the Moscow-Riyadh love affair could also mean a threat. Throughout OPEC’s history, Riyadh has been the main power broker in the oil cartel, pushing forward price and production strategies; most of the time this was done in close cooperation with all the other members, most of them Arab allies. This changed dramatically after Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to cooperate in global oil markets. Through the emergence of this OPEC/ non-OPEC cooperation, Moscow and Riyadh have grown closer than expected. The two countries now decide the future of global oil markets before they discuss it with some of the other main players like UAE, Iran, Algeria and Nigeria. King Salman’s visit is seen as another step toward a more in-depth cooperation in oil and gas related issues.

Besides global oil market cooperation, Saudi Arabia is and will become more interested to invest in natural gas development, not only to have an interest in Russia’s gas future but also to bring in Russian technology, investment and LNG to the Kingdom.

At the same time, media sources are stating that Saudi Arabia is NOT asking Russia to take part in the long-awaited Aramco IPO in 2018. Russian individual investors and financial institutions, however, are expected to take an interest.

Putin understands not only Russian chess tactics but also the Arab “Tawila” approach. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman already will prepare his Tawila strategy, putting enough stones on the table to ensure his successful end game. MBS, currently de-facto ruler of the Kingdom, is targeting a full house—Russian cooperation in energy, defense and investments—while softening Moscow’s 100% percent support of the Shi’a archenemy Iran.

For both sides, Moscow and Riyadh, the current constellation presents a win-win situation. Moscow can reach its ultimate goal in the Middle East: to become the main power broker and knock the US from the pedestal. For Riyadh, the option to counter the Iranian threat, while also bolstering its own economy and hydrocarbon future, is now within reach.

King Salman’s trip could go down in history as the point of no return for the West. Pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Salman of Saudi Arabia could replace historic pictures of King Saud and U.S. President Roosevelt (Bitter Lake, 1945). In a few years, King-to-be Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman might tell his children that this was one of the pillars that changed not only the Middle East but also supported his Vision 2030 plan of becoming a bridge between the old (West) and the new (Russia-Asia).

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Authored by Simon Black

 

Late yesterday afternoon the federal government of the United States announced that the national debt had finally breached the inevitable $20 trillion mark.

This was a long time coming. It should have happened back in March, except that a new debt ceiling was put in place, freezing the national debt.

For the last six months it was essentially illegal for the government to increase the debt.

This is pretty brutal for Uncle Sam. The US government hasn’t run a budget surplus in two decades; they depend on debt in order to keep everything running.

And without the ability to ‘officially’ borrow money, they’ve basically spent the last six months ‘unofficially’ borrowing money by plundering federal pension funds and resorting to what the Treasury Department itself calls “extraordinary measures” to keep the government running.

Late last week the debt ceiling crisis came to a temporary armistice as the government agreed once again to temporarily suspend the debt limit.

Overnight, the national debt soared hundreds of billions of dollars as months of ‘unofficial’ borrowing made its way on to the official books.

The national debt is now $20.1 trillion. That’s larger than the size of the entire US economy.

You’d think this would be front page news with warnings being shouted from the rooftops of America.

Yet curiously the story has scarcely been covered.

Today’s front page of the New York Times tells us about Hurricane Irma, North Korea, and alcoholism in Iran.

Even the Wall Street Journal’s front page has zero mention of this story.

In fairness, the number itself is irrelevant. $20 trillion is merely a big, round, psychologically significant number… but in reality no more important than $19.999 trillion.

The real story isn’t the number or the size of the debt itself. It’s the trend. And it’s not good.

Year after year after year, the US government spends far more money than it collects in tax revenue.

According to the Treasury Department’s own figures, the government’s budget deficit for the first 10 months of this fiscal year (i.e. October 2016 through July 2017) was $566 billion.

That’s larger than the entire GDP of Argentina.

Since the government has to borrow the difference, all of this overspending ultimately translates into a higher national debt.

Make no mistake, debt is an absolute killer.

History is full of examples of once-dominant civilizations crumbling under the weight of their rapidly-expanding debt, from the Ottoman Empire to the French monarchy in the 1700s.

Or as former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers used to quip, “How long can the world’s biggest borrower remain the world’s biggest power?”

It’s hard to project strength around the world when you constantly have to borrow money from the Chinese… or have your central bank conjure paper money out of thin air.

And yet tackling the debt has become nearly an impossibility.

Just look at the top four line items in the US government’s budget: Social Security, Medicare, Military, and, sadly, interest on the debt.

Those four line items alone account for nearly NINETY PERCENT of all US government spending.

Cutting Social Security or Medicare entitlements is political suicide.

Not top mention, both of those programs are actually EXPANDING as 10,000 Baby Boomers join the ranks of Social Security recipients every single day.

Then there’s military spending, which hardly seems likely to fall significantly in an age of constant threats and warfare.

The current White House proposal, in fact, is a 10% increase in military spending for the next fiscal year.

And last there’s interest on the debt, which absolutely cannot be cut without risking the most severe global financial meltdown ever seen in modern history.

So that’s basically 90% of the federal budget that’s here to stay… meaning there’s almost no chance they’re going to be able to reduce the debt by cutting spending.

But perhaps it’s possible they can slash the national debt by growing tax revenue?

Possible. But unlikely.

Since the end of World War II, the US governments’ overall tax revenue has been VERY steady at roughly 17% of GDP.

You could think of this as the federal government’s ‘slice’ of the economic pie.

Tax rates go up and down. Presidents come and go. But the government’s slice of the pie almost always remains the same 17% of GDP, with very small variations.

With data this strong, it seems rather obvious that the solution is to allow the economy to grow unrestrained.

If the economy grows rapidly, tax revenue will increase. And the national debt, at least as a percentage of GDP, will start to fall.

Here’s the problem: the national debt is growing MUCH faster than the US economy. In Fiscal Year 2016, for example, the debt grew by 7.84%.

Yet even when including the ‘benefits’ of inflation, the US economy only grew by 2.4% over the same period.

In other words, the debt is growing over THREE TIMES FASTER than the economy. This is the opposite of what needs to be happening.

What’s even more disturbing is that this pedestrian economic growth is happening at a time of record low interest rates.

Economists tell us that low interest rates are supposed to jumpstart GDP growth. But that’s not happening.

If GDP growth is this low now, what will happen if they continue to raise rates?

(And by the way, raising interest rates also has the side effect of increasing the government’s interest expense, essentially accelerating the debt problem.)

Look– It’s great to be optimistic and hope for the best. But this problem isn’t going away, and it would be ludicrous to continue believing this massive debt is consequence-free.

There’s no reason to panic or be alarmist.

But it’s clearly time for rational people to consider this obvious data… and start thinking about a Plan B.

Do you have a Plan B?

The most important event of the past 70 years is the change in the international order, from a US unipolar domination to a new multipolar reality. The fundamental question lies in understanding how this transition is taking place, its consequences and root causes

The transition in the international order, from a pre-WWI multipolar world to a post-WWII bipolar world, cost humanity a world war involving millions of deaths. The next stage, distinct from the conflicts between the USSR and the US, ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, but without the tragedy of direct confrontation. This fundamental historical difference has its own intrinsic logic governing the relationship of forces between powers. The USSR was a country in decline, unable to continue its role on the international stage as the premier anti-hegemonic power.

The transition from a bipolar to a unipolar reality could have had nuclear consequences, but an agreement between the powers avoided this danger. The upshot was an unconditional surrender of the USSR, with catastrophic consequences in economic and cultural terms for the superpower to come to terms with, but at least without the explosion of a large-scale conflict.

With the end of the bipolar model, however, began what some historians declared to be the «end of history»: the transition from a multipolar world, to a bipolar world, to end in a unipolar world. From the point of view of Washington, the story ended with only one global power remaining, thereby granting the United States the power to decide matters for the whole world.

The scenario in which we live today, in terms of international law and the balance of forces, is almost unprecedented in history if looked at in the present context. It is true that the current transition from a unipolar to a multipolar reality is something similar to what has been seen in previous decades, with the transition from British hegemony in the late-nineteenth century to a multipolar situation in the period preceding the two world wars. Nevertheless, resorting to this historical analogy is difficult, given the relative absence of international rules compared to a century ago. Therefore it is difficult to use the earlier transition period to make assumptions about future trends.

The causes of change

The attitude of the US over the last 25 years has been focused completely on the achievement of global hegemony. The dream of having control over every event, in every corner of the world, has ironically led to accelerating the end of America’s unipolar moment. Of course the deep meaning of the word “control” can be expanded upon, examining the merits of the cultural, economic and military impositions that result from a constant quest for global domination.

The US has chosen an impassable road that is full of contradictions to justify their rise as a global power. In two decades we have witnessed the dismantling of all the key principles of the balance of power between Russia and the United States, necessitating the change in international relations from unipolar to multipolar. Similarly, the ratio of economic and military power between China and the United States has significantly worsened, culminating in the dangerous dispute over the South China Sea. The abandonment of the Kissinger doctrine governing relations with Beijing, and the failure of the Clinton reset with Moscow, have pushed two global powers, Russia and China, to forge an alliance that allows for a world where there are more powers on the international stage and not just Washington as the central focus of global relations.

The failure of the foreign doctrine of the United States was a direct consequence of the arrogance and the utopia of being able to dominate the planet, seeking to extend indefinitely the unipolar moment and forging a worldwide system culturally and economically based on the will of Washington, reinforced by a power and military posture without precedent.

Consequences

Had Washington thought more carefully about the consequences of their actions, and thereby employed a more considered strategic vision, it would certainly have opted for different choices. As a demonstration of this, we note Washington’s attitude in the Middle East, the deciding ground for prospects of continued US global hegemony.

Much of Washington’s remaining capacity to influence global decisions is attributable to the dollar and the trading of goods such as oil in that currency. With the appearance of a world with more regional or global powers, it is easy to guess that the rise of the Iranian Republic has consequences for the whole of the Middle East region. The odds are evident that Tehran, culturally, economically and militarily, will be the first regional power. Washington has realized this and has decided to reach an agreement with the Islamic Republic in order to remain relevant in the region and not to be cut off from future agreements. Washington also seeks, in doing so, to counterbalance the situation with her most influential regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

It is a strategy that in the Middle East has had a negative impact in the immediate present for Riyadh, Doha, and in some ways even Ankara, who have all opted for an autonomous and interventionist approach in the region without much consultation with Washington. Nevertheless, the choice to include Iran as a dialogue partner for the Middle East balance has allowed Washington to conserve the illusion that in the future it will maintain an important role in regional decisions. This is a decision that has created many problems with historic allies, but Washington hopes, with a view to the future, to have made an appropriate choice. This also explains why so many of the neoconservatives and liberals (the promoters of a prolonged unipolar doctrine, the cause of so many failures ) are clearly opposed to this agreement.

Washington and its establishment have opted for a cultural and economic confrontation with Moscow, possibly militarily with Beijing in the South China Sea, in the process impelling the emergence of a multipolar world in which more powers have the ability, by joining together, to resist the will of the greater global power. In fact, it is easier to frame the international balance in a multipolar model that is slowly becoming bipolar.

We consider that Russia and China (and to a lesser extent Iran) do not possess the military capability to successfully oppose American power in a conventional conflict on a grand scale. For this reason, it is easy to understand that shaping a multipolar international order perhaps remains quite optimistic at this time. It is similarly optimistic to maintain a unipolar world order that remains anchored in the illusions of the American elite.

Reality rather shows us a bipolar world, where the alternative pole to the US is represented by the union and alliances (cultural, economic and military) of Beijing, Moscow and Tehran. And their partnership has resulted in a change in the pattern of international relations. The cause of this union is to be found in the will of the US elites to prolong their unipolar moment. Instead of opting for an agreement with another global power (probably China) and seal the international stage in a realistic model with two poles, facing no real opposition, Washington has exacerbated the differences by pushing countries like Russia, China, Iran and India closer and closer together, forging what currently might be termed a temporary bipolar model of world order.

The certainty is that the future will turn fully into a multipolar model, and this obliges Washington to struggle in every way possible to remain relevant. To date, apart from nuclear agreements, every choice has been counterproductive and wrong. Will Washington’s elites ever learn, or will they eventually become irrelevant?

Twelve years ago, John Perkins published his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and it rapidly rose up The New York Times’ best-seller list. In it, Perkins describes his career convincing heads of state to adopt economic policies that impoverished their countries and undermined democratic institutions. These policies helped to enrich tiny, local elite groups while padding the pockets of U.S.-based transnational corporations.

Perkins was recruited, he says, by the National Security Agency (NSA), but he worked for a private consulting company. His job as an undertrained, overpaid economist was to generate reports that justified lucrative contracts for U.S. corporations, while plunging vulnerable nations into debt. Countries that didn’t cooperate saw the screws tightened on their economies. In Chile, for example, President Richard Nixon famously called on the CIA to “make the economy scream” to undermine the prospects of the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.

If economic pressure and threats didn’t work, Perkins says, the jackals were called to either overthrow or assassinate the noncompliant heads of state. That is, indeed, what happened to Allende, with the backing of the CIA.

Perkins’ book has been controversial, and some have disputed some of his claims, including, for example, that the NSA was involved in activities beyond code making and breaking.

Perkins has just reissued his book with major updates. The basic premise of the book remains the same, but the update shows how the economic hit man approach has evolved in the last 12 years. Among other things, U.S. cities are now on the target list. The combination of debt, enforced austerity, underinvestment, privatization, and the undermining of democratically elected governments is now happening here.

I couldn’t help but think about Flint, Michigan, under emergency management as I read The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

I interviewed Perkins at his home in the Seattle area. In addition to being a recovering economic hit man, he is a grandfather and a founder and board member of Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance, organizations that work for “a world that future generations will want to inherit.”

Sarah van Gelder: What’s changed in our world since you wrote the first Confessions of an Economic Hit Man?

John Perkins: Things have just gotten so much worse in the last 12 years since the first Confessions was written. Economic hit men and jackals have expanded tremendously, including the United States and Europe.

Back in my day we were pretty much limited to what we called the third world, or economically developing countries, but now it’s everywhere.

And in fact, the cancer of the corporate empire has metastasized into what I would call a failed global death economy. This is an economy that’s based on destroying the very resources upon which it depends, and upon the military. It’s become totally global, and it’s a failure.

van Gelder: So how has this switched from us being the beneficiaries of this hit-man economy, perhaps in the past, to us now being more of the victims of it?

Perkins: It’s been interesting because, in the past, the economic hit man economy was being propagated in order to make America wealthier and presumably to make people here better off, but as this whole process has expanded in the U.S. and Europe, what we’ve seen is a tremendous growth in the very wealthy at the expense of everybody else.

On a global basis we now know that 62 individuals have as many assets as half the world’s population.

We of course in the U.S. have seen how our government is frozen, it’s just not working. It’s controlled by the big corporations and they’ve really taken over. They’ve understood that the new market, the new resource, is the U.S. and Europe, and the incredibly awful things that have happened to Greece and Ireland and Iceland, are now happening here in the U.S.

We’re seeing this situation where we can have what statistically shows economic growth, and at the same time increased foreclosures on homes and unemployment.

van Gelder: Is this the same kind of dynamic about debt that leads to emergency managers who then turn over the reins of the economy to private enterprises? The same thing that you are seeing in third-world countries?

Perkins: Yes, when I was an economic hit man, one of the things that we did, we raised these huge loans for these countries, but the money never actually went to the countries, it went to our own corporations to build infrastructure in those countries. And when the countries could not pay off their debt, we insisted that they privatize their water systems, their sewage systems, their electric systems.

Now we’re seeing that same thing happen in the United States. Flint, Michigan, is a very good example of that. This is not a U.S. empire, it’s a corporate empire protected and supported by the U.S. military and the CIA. But it is not an American empire, it’s not helping Americans. It’s exploiting us in the same way that we used to exploit all these other countries around the world.

van Gelder: So it seems like Americans are starting to get this. What is your sense about where the American public is in terms of readiness to do something?

Perkins: As I travel around the U.S., as I travel around the world, I see that people are really waking up. We’re getting it. We’re understanding that we live on a very fragile space station, and it’s got no shuttles; we can’t get off. We’ve got to fix it, we’ve got to take care of it, and we’re in the process of destroying it. The big corporations are destroying it, but the big corporations are just run by people, and they’re vulnerable to us. If we really consider it, the market place is a democracy, if we just use it as such.

van Gelder: I want to push back on that one a little bit because so many corporations don’t sell to ordinary consumers, they sell to other companies or to governments, and so many corporations have such an entrenched reward system where if one person doesn’t perform by exploiting the earth they’ll simply get replaced with somebody else who does.

Perkins: I’ve recently been speaking at a number of corporate conferences. I hear time after time after time that many of them want to leave a green legacy. They’ve got children, they’ve got grandchildren, they understand we can’t go on like this.

So what they say is, “Go out there, start consumer movements. What I want is to receive a hundred thousand emails from my customers saying, ’Hey, I love your product but I’m not going to buy it anymore until you pay your workers a fair wage in Indonesia, or wherever, or clean up the environment, or do something.’ And then I can take that to my board of directors and my big stockholders, to the people who really control whether I get hired or fired.”

van Gelder: I agree, and those campaigns, as you know, have been going on for decades now, and sometimes they have little incremental changes around the edge. But then we look back on it later and we see that there’s enormous resistance because of the profits to be made in continuing the system.

Perkins: I think we’ve seen tremendous changes, though. Just in the last few years, we’ve seen organic foods become very big. Twenty years ago they couldn’t make a go of it. We’ve seen women having bigger positions in corporations, and minorities, and we need to get better at this.

We’ve seen the labeling of many foods. GMOs aren’t included yet, but nutrition and calories and so forth are. And what we really need to do is convince corporations that they’ve got to have a new goal.

We’ve got to let corporations know what their job is: It’s to serve a public interest, and make a decent rate of return for investors. We need investors, but beyond that, every corporation should serve a public interest, should serve the earth, should serve future generations.

van Gelder: I want to ask you about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and other trade deals. Is there any way that we can beat these things back so they don’t continue supercharging the corporate sphere at the expense of local democracies?

Perkins: They’re devastating; they give sovereignty to corporations over governments. It’s ridiculous.

We’re seeing terrible desperation from people in Central America trying to get away from a system that’s broken, primarily because our trade agreements and our policies toward Latin America have broken them. And we’re seeing, of course, those similar things in the Middle East and in Africa, these waves of immigrants that are swarming into Europe from the Middle East. These terrible problems that have been created because of the greed of big corporations.

I was just in Central America and what we talk about in the U.S. as being an immigration problem is really a trade agreement problem.

They’re not allowed to impose tariffs under the trade agreements—NAFTA and CAFTA—but the U.S. is allowed to subsidize its farmers. Those governments can’t afford to subsidize their farmers. So our farmers can undercut theirs, and that’s destroyed the economies, and a number of other things, and that’s why we’ve got immigration problems.

van Gelder: Can you talk about the violence that people are fleeing in Central America, and how that links back to the role the U.S. has had there?

Perkins: Three or four years ago the CIA orchestrated a coup against the democratically elected president of Honduras, President Zelaya, because he stood up to Dole and Chiquita and some other big, global, basically U.S.-based corporations.

He wanted to raise the minimum wage to a reasonable level, and he wanted some land reform that would make sure that his own people were able to make money off their own land, rather than having big international corporations do it.

The big corporations couldn’t stand for this. He wasn’t assassinated but he was overthrown in a coup and sent to another country, and replaced by a terribly brutal dictator, and today Honduras is one of the most violent, homicidal countries in the hemisphere.

It’s frightening what we’ve done. And when that happens to a president, it sends a message to every other president throughout the hemisphere, and in fact throughout the world: Don’t mess with us. Don’t mess with the big corporations. Either cooperate and get rich in the process, and have all your friends and family get rich in the process, or go get overthrown or assassinated. It’s a very strong message.

van Gelder: I wanted to ask about your time spent in Ecuador with indigenous people. I’m wondering if you could talk about how that experience has changed you?

Perkins: Many years ago when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Amazon with the Shuar indigenous people there, I was dying. I got very ill, and my life was saved in one night by a shaman. I’d come out of business school this is 1968, ’69, and I had no idea what a shaman was, but it changed my life by helping me understand that what was killing me was a mindset—what they would call the dream.

I spent many years studying all this, and working with many different indigenous groups, and what I saw was the power of the mindset.

The shamans teach us—the indigenous people teach us—once you change the mindset, then it’s pretty easy to have the objective reality change around it. So, instead of the kind of economy we have now, a death economy, if we can change the mindset we can very quickly move into a life economy.

van Gelder: So what are the mechanisms by which a change in consciousness actually shifts things on the ground?

Perkins: Well, in my opinion the biggest catalyst that needs to go forward to change this is we’ve got to change the corporations. We’ve got to move from that goal that was stated by Milton Friedman in the 1970s, that the only responsibility of corporations is to maximize profits regardless of social and environmental costs.

We change the big corporations by telling them we’re not going to buy from you anymore unless you change your goal. No longer should your goal be to maximize profits regardless of social and environmental costs. Make a decent rate of return for your investors, but serve us, we the people, or we’re not buying from you.

van Gelder : You quote Tom Paine in your book: “If there must be trouble let it be in my day that my child may have peace.” Why did you decide to use that quote?

Perkins : Well, I think Tom Paine was brilliant in that statement. He understood how that would impact people. And he wrote that statement in December 1776.

Washington had lost just about every battle he ever fought; he wasn’t getting any support from the Continental Congress; they weren’t giving his men guns or ammunition or even blankets and shoes, and he was bogged down at Valley Forge. Paine realizes that he’s got to somehow write something that will rally people, and there’s nothing that rallies people more than to think about their children

That to me is where we’re at right now. I’ve got a daughter and I’ve got an 8-year-old grandson. Bring on the trouble for me, OK, but let’s create a world they’re going to want to live in. And let’s understand that my 8-year-old grandson cannot have an environmentally sustainable and regenerative, socially just, fulfilling world unless every child on the planet has that.

And this is new. It used to be all we had to worry about was our local community, maybe our country. But we didn’t have to worry about the world. But what we know now is that we can’t have peace anywhere in the world, we can’t have peace in the U.S., unless everybody has peace.

 

As America awaits to see if Charlotte will burn for the third consecutive night, Paul Joseph Watson points out something troubling: thugs burned down a city because a black cop shot someone, yet meanwhile the mainstream media spun it, or at least tried, as as “peaceful protest.” There is just one problem: violent criminals looting, attacking bystanders, attacking journalists, setting fires, smashing up cars, smashing up businesses and shooting at each other is not the a “peaceful protest.”

And with all of these activities having been documented in the clip below, it is worth pointing out that:

  • Stealing and looting cash registers from local businesses is not a legitimate form of protest
  • A “protester” shooting another “protester” is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Physically attacking reporters is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Throwing rocks off bridges at passing vehicles full of families is not a legitimate form of protest
  • Beating up innocent people in parking lots because they’re white is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Smashing up apartment windows where black people live to “protest” in favor of ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Trashing your own neighborhood is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Looting the Charlotte Hornets team store so you can steal basketball merchandise is not a legitimate form of protest
  • Attempting to hijack cars and terrify their innocent occupants is not a legitimate form of protest.

What was unfolding in Charlotte – and may still be – is not a protest. It’s a violent, unjustified riot by criminals and thugs. The question is why is the media giving it legitimacy by still referring to it as a protest?

As Watson points out, if mobs of white supremacists were looting stores, setting fires, attacking journalists and shooting guns, would the media call it a protest?

What is most disturbing is that behind the pent up rage and thuggish violence, dressed up in the socially-acceptable package of “black lives matter” is the reality that white violence is the last thing blacks should be “protesting.”

 

Watch the following clip for the full story of the Charlotte riots that the mainstream media is not telling you.

The year was 1955, the dawn of the cold war, and an old prophet was writing what would be his last book. It was a volume of history – The American Story, he called it – in which he reviewed the cavalcade of twists and turns that had brought us to that moment when we stood “at the top of the world, “ as he put it. There was no terrorist threat back then – not counting the threat of global annihilation that hung over us during those years of “duck and cover” and backyard bomb shelters. Yet Garet Garrett – a former editor of the New York Times and the Saturday Evening Post, an Old Right “isolationist” who lived in exile on a New Jersey farm – foresaw our present age, and what we would become:

“How, now, thou American, frustrated crusader, do you know where you are?

“Is it security you want? There is no security at the top of the world.

“To thine own self a liberator, to the world an alarming portent, do you know where you are going from here?”

Garrett knew where we were going, and we are living that reality today, sixty years after he wrote those words.

On a late summer Saturday night in the Chelsea district of New York City an explosion caused by an IED that injured 29 people shook the nation: a second bomb was discovered a few blocks from the first site and disabled. This was preceded by a pipe bomb going off at the site of a benefit run for families of US Marines in Seaside, New Jersey, a mere ninety minutes away: multiple devices were found at the same location and were disabled. Injuries were prevented only because the event was delayed due to the size of the crowd; five thousand people would have been in proximity otherwise. To top it off, a person invoking Allah stabbed eight people at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota – albeit not before first asking them if they were Muslim. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the stabbing spree, dubbing the perpetrator a “soldier of Islam.”

Imagine you are a visitor from Mars, watching all this from a very great height. Surely two aspects of this are striking:

To begin with, we have the world’s sole superpower, which purports to be the defender of the “international order,” unable to ensure the security of its own citizens on its own soil. We send our fleet thousands of miles away, to the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea to “protect” the sea lanes – and yet we cannot protect Americans on the streets of New York City.

Secondly, the reactions to this amazing fact reveal a strange bifurcation: government officials and the national news media (or do I repeat myself?) are in denial, while ordinary Americans are on the cusp between anger and hysteria. The reaction of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was emblematic of the former: he said the explosion was “intentional” but not linked to terrorism. He went on to say:

“Now, I want to be clear: Whatever the cause, whatever the intention here, New Yorkers will not be intimidated. We are not going to let anyone change who we are or how we go about our lives.”

This is the very definition of terrorism, but apparently the policy of denial is supposed to keep people calm. What’s more likely is that it does just the opposite. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, apparently concerned that this was a bit too much cognitive dissonance for the public, weighed in by saying it was “obviously” terrorism, but that there’s no evidence it was linked to international terrorism.

One has to be remarkably obtuse to ignore the pattern: three attacks on the same day, one of which a terrorist group has claimed “credit” for, two of which are similar in their modes of operation – a bomb in a dumpster on a public thoroughfare. Authorities are now confirming that the Chelsea and Seaside explosive devices were put together by the same person. Put this in the context of continuing threats from Islamic terrorists that they will hit the homeland, and the only conclusion one can draw is that the events of September 17 were a coordinated attack – and the prime suspects aren’t Presbyterians.

It isn’t “Islamophobia” to acknowledge this – it’s realism. After all, the very “blowback” theory offered up by critics of US intervention in the Middle East has to lead us to this conclusion: it makes perfect sense that, having spent the greater part of the past twenty years leveling much of the Muslim world to the ground, some of the inhabitants would be coming after us.

What’s more, it’s an indisputable fact that the US government is now at war with one billion Muslims – at least, that’s how they perceive it. The origins of this war can be traced back to US foreign policy, yes, but that’s not the whole story. It’s gone way beyond that. Given the history of the post-9/11 era – the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria – a significant portion of the Muslim world has integrated this conflict into their religion. “Jihad” is a religious duty in mainstream Islam, and Muslims – unlike most Westerners – take their faith seriously.

So what’s the solution? Simply put, there is none. We cannot undo the history of the last fifteen years: the winds of blowback are unstoppable. The US government cannot possibly protect its citizens from random attacks on soft targets, such as the Chelsea district of New York City on a Saturday night, or a mall in Minnesota. Our vaunted system of universal surveillance hasn’t worked in the case of San Bernardino, Orlando, the Boston bombing, the Ft. Hood massacre – and it didn’t work on September 17.

We can no more stop the terrorist assault on the homeland than a child who puts his finger in an electric outlet can avoid a shock. This is the New Normal – and the consequences for our republic, our politics, and our everyday lives can only be painted in the darkest hues. This is why the first response of our elected “leaders” is kneejerk denial: an honest confession of their powerlessness would only inspire panic – and retribution.

Speaking of retribution: the response of ordinary Americans is quite different. Unlike our political class, they are realists who know what they see: given a choice between security and virtue-signaling they’ll take the former every time. What they don’t yet understand is that, as Garrett put it, “there is no security at the top of the world.”

Oh, they can go along with Donald Trump’s scheme of keeping all Muslims out of the country – but some will get through, not to mention those who are already here. We can build a wall, but can we inspect each and every ship that docks at our ports, and examine the cargo with a fine-toothed comb? We can blast ISIS to smithereens in the deserts of Syria – but this will merely disperse the contagion, spreading it to Europe, the steppes of Central Asia, and to the US itself.

What’s worse is that our own government has enabled the very enemies who plot our destruction. The US has openly allied with Islamist radicals in order to bring about regime change in Syria: the results of that policy are underscored by the recent incident in which US Special Forces were forced to flee from a village in the northern part of the country when the “moderate” Islamists we’ve been funding and arming threatened to slaughter them on the spot. The same thing happened in Libya, where we “liberated” the country from Ghaddafi and the very rebels we empowered with air strikes and aid murdered our Ambassador and three others at Benghazi. To go farther back in time, our aid to the Afghan mujahideen who were fighting the Soviets in the 1980s led to the consolidation of al-Qaeda and the rise of Osama bin Laden as the leader and symbol of a global terrorist insurgency.

To top it off, we still regard the Saudis as “allies” in spite of the fact that they had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. Washington is openly colluding with our enemies while the nation sleeps.

Trump, to his credit, is critical of these policies, at least in part. Yet his alternative vision is inchoate, vague, and contradictory on those rare occasions when he gets down to specifics. He is, in short, the embodiment of the American zeitgeist at this historical moment: enraged, confused, and liable to lash out in any direction.

Yet Trump’s critique of the political class, and his diagnosis of the US as an empire in decline, is what gives his message resonance – and it’s one reason why the political class hates him with a passion. His success is the measure of their failure.

We are headed for some dark times. In spite of that, however, there will always be those who will uphold the original spirit of our old republic and fight to defend it against all comers. Out of this will come a renewal – that is, if there is to be one.

The events are all lined up, and the system is geared for chaos. At any moment, a despotic leader could take control.

But how could it ever happen in America?

With economic collapse again on the horizon, and a basket of issues coming to a head, several factions of the population are tipping towards revolution. Much of it has played out in the election cycle; the establishment has lost all credibility, and the people are seeking anti-establishment voices. Alternate means of maintaining control are implemented.

Homeland Security is taking control of the election process, making a  fair election completely impossible. Optics and careful PR is used to script the election, and maintain a favorable narrative – and one that is explosive enough to produce radical and unexpected results that might drive anger over the edge.

Millions of people have been driven by the media to violently oppose Trump, and may well start riots across the country if he wins the election, that is, if Obama doesn’t stop the elections first. Likewise, if Hillary is elected and take office, it could spawn a civil war, of words… or worse.

Any number of pretexts could theoretically come into play, but no scenario has become more likely than Hillary dropping from the race and stirring, well, a shitstorm like politics has never before seen.

If Hillary is too sick, President Obama could opt to suspend the election, and it could make any number of groups unleash, giving way to civil unrest.

The police state is ready to contain economic/food riots, and are also poised to use martial law to maintain order, using an iron fist.

Chaos and order will repeat in cycle, and everything will become unstable, decline and render the population depraved and vulnerable.

Radio host and political expert Michael Savage appeared on the Alex Jones Show and warned that the new Hillary card could be the unexpected reason for one of the most dangerous scenarios on the books.

If these events came to pass, would the Constitution and rule of law ever be restored?

Michael Savage: Hillary Is In Free-Fall, Obama May Suspend Election

Steve Quayle has also been watching for the type of emergency events that could be used to alter reality and cancel the elections, or allow a martial law scenario to take hold. He, too, sees an uncertain election ahead.

Steve Quayle: Election May Not Take Place

What do you think is going to happen to this country in the next two months?

Stay vigilant, and get ready for literally almost anything.