Sunday, September 28, 2014

Once again my friend Michael Collins has researched the situation in Ukraine, exposing Obama's lies by digging out materials published in U.S. newspapers and journals. Russian President Putin has won, but not by use of military force. Rather he held back his troops while offering to negotiate, a gesture that Obama not only ignored but falsely asserted that Russian troops were attacking. In the meantime, the Russian speakers of the eastern provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk repelled the entire Ukrainian army following its vicious shelling of civilian homes, stores, and factories. So Obama has now quietly dropped his failed Ukraine adventure in favor of the pointless bombing of ISIS.

OpEdNews Op Eds 9/28/2014 at 04:09:14   
It's Official! Resistance Defeats Kiev Junta in Ukraine
By Michael Collins (about the author)     Permalink                                                           Headlined H2 9/28/14

Flag of Peoples Republic of Lugansk
(image by WikiCommons)
Flag of Peoples Republic of Donetsk
(image by WikiCommons)
The results are in. The official tally is complete and the winner announced.

According to an opinion piece in in Bloomberg News (9/26), Russian President Vladimir Putin is the victor in the conflict in Ukraine (Bloomberg News, Ukraine Can't Hide Putin's Victory, Leonid Barshefky, 9/26),.

Clearly, Putin comes out ahead in this conflict but the real winners are the people of the eastern Ukraine and their resistance militia. Resistance forces fought brilliantly against much larger, better-equipped troops dispatched by the Kiev junta to assault people in cities and towns it declared terrorists. The terrorist acts consisted of political opposition to Ukraine's ruling neo Nazis and oligarchs along with an expressed desire for self-rule. The United States puppets in Kiev started the violence. The people of the east finished it, decisively.

The military tide turned at the end of August when the western politicians and media could no longer hide a string of stunning defeats suffered by Kiev forces. All of a sudden, Kiev's holy crusade against the east was replaced with a Russian brokered ceasefire, the Minsk protocol (9/5). This slowed the intensity of hostilities. The agreement also legitimized the resistance governments of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Their representatives signed the protocol along with the Ukraine government, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In an attempt to mask the extent of his nation's defeat, Ukraine oligarch and President Petro Poroshenko spoke to the United States Congress in mid September. The bought and sold politicians gave Poroshenko a dozen or so standing ovations for his warnings about the new Cold War. But, when he pleaded for weapons, he left empty handed. Congress sent Poroshenko off with a consolation prize of a few million dollars when he needs billions to avoid an economic meltdown.

The real action took place behind the scenes between Ukraine's leaders and Russia. Unlike the very public chest thumping defiance, Ukraine's rulers offered a three-year period of autonomy for the regions it sought to crush plus other concessions that reflect the nation's diminished support by the U.S. financial elite.

The Bloomberg piece is of special interest since it comes from the homeland of the U.S. financial elite. Aside from one factual lapse, the author sums things up clearly. The piece may become the epitaph for the failed conflict.

Here are the high points from the article.

The Magic Show

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is running a magic show. By pretending his country has a chance of joining the European Union or NATO, he is hoping to obscure Kiev's, and Europe's, gradual capitulation to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine Can't Hide Putin's Victory, Bloomberg, Sep 26
Poroshenko's address to the U.S. Congress was the peak of his magic show. Nothing of substance was gained but it helped divert attention from his capitulation to resistance and Russian demands

Poroshenko's recent concessions to Putin's demands

Just last week, the Ukrainian parliament passed a Poroshenko-approved law granting self-government and budgetary support to the areas of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels, and Kiev agreed not to lower trade barriers for European goods. In return, Russia apparently pulled out most of its troops from eastern Ukraine and facilitated some prisoner exchanges between the rebels and the Ukrainian military. Bloomberg, Sep 26
Self-government is another word for autonomy. The idea of a happy reunion between the breakaway regions and central government of Ukraine is inconceivable. They're likely gone for good. As for the author's claimed Russian troop presence in Ukraine (initially called an invasion), that falls in the same category as the accusation that the resistance shot down Malaysian flight MH17: a political convenience absent any supporting evidence.

NATO membership for Ukraine not likely

"Pragmatic" is the key word. There is no way the EU and NATO are going to admit Ukraine if it fails to settle its accounts with Russia. It would be too much of an economic burden as well as a constant military threat. Europeans realize there will have to be a lasting three-way deal, and have little desire to take full responsibility for a large, dangerously unbalanced nation. Bloomberg, Sep 26
When Bloomberg calls your country a dangerously unbalanced nation, you're in real trouble. NATO and the EU don't want an economic basket case. Apparently, the U.S. doesn't either.

Ukraine opened on the road but failed to make it on Broadway. It's too messy and too expensive. Its army can't win a battle, let alone a war. Then, there's the problem with all that Nazi regalia and those swastikas on the helmets of their soldiers. Say good night Petro. The show is over.

The neoconservatives never relent on their core policy of endless war, however. They just shifted it to ISIL and the Middle East as they await the installation of top neoconservative operative, Hillary Clinton, as the next president. After her nation destroying efforts in Libya and Syria, one can only imagine what she has up her sleeve.

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Researcher, writer DC Area

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Nomi Prins: "The real battle between the US and Russia is over the gateway countries in political flux. The real winners will be the private banks and oil companies that will reap the strategic benefits from gateway control over related markets and resources, supported by military and political might, and augmented with speculative capital for years to come. American and global citizens, oblivious to all this, will be the losers in this global shell game."

Gateway Policies: ISIS, Obama and US Financial Boots-on-the-Ground

Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 9:28PM                                                                                                    Original here

President Obama’s neo-Cold War is not about ideology or respect for borders. It is about money and global power. The current battle over control of gateway nations - strategic locations in which private firms can establish the equivalent of financial boots-on-the-ground - is being waged in the Middle East and Ukraine under the auspices of freedom and western capitalism (er, “democracy”). In these global gateways, private banks can infiltrate resource-rich locales fortified by political will, public aid and military support to garner lucrative market advantages. ISIS poses a threat to global gateway control that transcends any human casualties. That’s why Congress decided to authorize funds to fight ISIS despite the risk.

The common thread of today’s global gateway nations appears to be oil. But even more valuable are the multitude of financing deals that would accompany building new pipelines, arming allies, and reconstructing civil-war-torn countries. Indeed, hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake in America’s wars of  “principle.”

Middle-East Gateways: ISIS and Money

Obama’s recent public address on fighting ISIS  had a dash of economy sprinkled in. For him, US economic policy is foreign policy. It is also a product of an American political-financial expansionary land-and-resource grab that has been going on for decades. Obama’s execution may be far less authoritative than President Eisenhower’s. But his neo-financial Cold War has similar elements to those initiated by Eisenhower and the American banking elite in the 1950s when they collaborated to project American power into more countries, using the military and a combination of public and private capital, as tools.

The second World Bank President and 1950s Chairman of Chase Bank, John McCloy, and ascending and later Chase Chairman David Rockefeller both had aspirations to financially penetrate the Middle East. So did other major bankers. The US government and its banks first focused on Beirut as a gateway to the Middle East. Eisenhower dispatched military personnel to Beirut in 1958 not because he cared about the Lebanese, but because of the attractiveness of the country’s potential as a gateway to the region. By the 1970s, oil and money relationships between Chase and Saudi Arabia and Egypt grew, as they did with Iran and the Shah. Rockefeller's relationship with the Shah, who kept his family money with Chase, ignited the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979. Before that, the US government and its military contractors made billions of dollars from arms deals with Iran.

Citigroup opened its first Iraq branch in September 2013, ten years after George W. Bush began his Iraq War while facing a recessed American economy. A decade ago, the Bush administration selected JPM Chase to manage billions of dollars of financing for Iraq imports and exports. JPM Chase also opened a branch in Iraq last year to compete with Citigroup for current gains. Billions of dollars in new pipeline funding and other projects are now up for grabs in Iraq. If the US supports the Iraqi government (against ISIS), these banks, as well as oil and infrastructure-building companies are poised to get more of a chunk of that money. Citigroup is already a forerunner for arranging a $2 billion loan for Boeing Jets to Iraq. As Iraq's Deputy Transport Minister Bangen Rekani said in April, “We need a lot of funds...we’re in a race to complete the maximum number of projects in a short time.”

Regarding Syria, Obama’s plea for showing strength worked. Congress voted in rare bipartisan fashion to fund the moderate Syrian rebels or “free Syrian army rebels.” According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, initial assistance would be “small arms, vehicles and basic equipment like communications, as well as tactical and strategic training.” That could just be the beginning. He also said, “as these forces prove their effectiveness on the battlefield, we would be prepared to provide increasingly sophisticated types of assistance."  We’ve been down this road before, positioning the military to gain financial access to an area relative to our competition. It’s lasted for years and killed thousands of people, while not accomplishing the stated goal of curtailing terrorist threats or activities.

It gets complicated from there. Moderate Syrian rebels have been fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom the US would support against ISIS. The US thinks these forces would cease fighting against al-Assad to fight ISIS instead, though the US claims it is not directly cooperating with  al-Assad.

Despite this, the US financial hope is that once the dust clears from all these regime changes we support militarily, there will be demand for massive reconstruction and resource extraction projects that our private banks can take care of alongside the IMF and World Bank. At a press conference in Beirut in June, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim told the international community that the World Bank would help to rebuild Syria (at a cost of $150 billion after an “internationally recognized government” was put in place) as well as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq during their 'recovery' from years of war. Mega reconstruction profits are at stake for private firms in symbiotic partnerships  with these international entities. So too, are the requirements for austerity and loosely regulated financial markets as the Western “reform” bargains that accompany them.

“Wars on terror” serve as a distraction in public and media discourse from a bipolar economy. The September releases of the US Census Report and the Federal Reserve Consumer Finance Survey revealed an ongoing trend toward greater income and wealth inequality. We remain 8 million jobs below pre-crisis levels, adjusted for population growth. Real wages have stagnated or declined. Employers have no incentive to provide well-paying jobs amidst ample desperation in the ranks of the unemployed. We are a mess at home.

Rather than deal with this, the US is trying to prevent terrorism from blocking private bank and corporate expansions and profit elsewhere. ISIS has already caused Iraq to delay its first mega project-finance deal. The $18 billion Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline would extend through Jordan to the Red Sea, pumping a million barrels of crude oil per day, as well as 258 million cubic feet of gas.  That’s a hefty financial incentive for which to use public funds.

Truth be told, the game of global gateway finance is a closed one. And there’s still Russia (and China) playing at the same table. In August 2014, Russia’s biggest oil company, Lukoil, estimated construction of the first branch of a pipeline to Iraq’s West Qurna-2 field at a cost of up to $1 billion. Lukoil holds a 75% stake in West Qurna-2 and has invested over $4 billion in the project, which is already producing more than 200,000 barrels of oil per day.

Cold-War Gateways: From Cuba to the Ukraine

The narrative of Russia's aggression vs. America’s fight for freedom dovetails with the turmoil going on in the Middle East. Both situations deflect attention from our country, which has greater inequality today than before Obama took office, despite a soaring stock market buoyed by the Fed's stimulus policy of pumping zero-interest rate money into banks providing them capital for all of these international adventures.

After Ukrainian President Poroshenko, a former banker and chocolate mogul, proclaimed the situation with Russia was much improved following his truce with Vladimir Putin, President Obama ratcheted up sanctions against Russia and corralled the rest of the Euro-squad to join him. This action was not about saving Kiev from pro-Russian rebels, but to reinforce the notion that the US is in financial control of the country. Poroshenko is no financial dummy, which is why he threw Putin and any potential Russian economic support under the bus, and high-tailed it to Washington for photo-ops and handouts.

These will come in the form of US government aid, more loans from the IMF and World Bank, plus complex transactions with US banks seeking more areas in which to funnel foreign capital, finance projects, and down the line, maybe securitize the resources of a new corner of the world and sell them to a fresh bunch of hungry speculators. The US has already provided $60 million in aid including food, body armor and communications equipment to the Ukraine to secure its place at this gateway table later.

Stepping back in time, my book, All the Presidents' Bankers illustrates how President Eisenhower's 1950s doctrine promoted a combination of US military and economic support to its non-communist allies. Aid from the then-new World Bank and IMF was provided in return for their commitment to provide open trade relationships and adapt policies advantageous to private western banks and corporations. The US government could thus achieve a dual military and financial stronghold. One such country was Cuba, which under Fulgencio Batista became a favorite spot from which to access Latin and South America. National City Bank (now Citigroup) established 11 branches in Havana alone, becoming Cuba’s principle US depository for American companies involved in the sugar industry and other businesses there. That changed with the Cuban revolution and Fidel Castro, who, in 1960, nationalized foreign bank assets. Bankers looked elsewhere to expand, as did the US government.

In Obama’s political-financial strategy, similar gateway strategies are in play. Obama, like all US presidents since Castro came into power, did the communist-bravado thing and extended sanctions. US bankers will reenter Cuba when US policy changes after Castro is truly gone, as they have during several periods before, notably when National City Bank sent an entourage of bankers led by Chairman Charles Mitchell in the 1920s to explore sugar, nickel, and other deals that eventually soured in the 1929 Crash.

The Ukraine is a modern Cuba with more lucrative resources. As with other US financial gateways, Obama supported the Ukraine faction amenable to financial relationships with the US and Europe relative to Russia. Ten years ago, the Bush administration supported Ukrainian leaders sympathizing with the US vs. Russia as well.  None of this was because of any purported interest in dispersing democracy, but because the right leadership offers more capital market, foreign investment and resource control opportunities to private US firms.

The Ukraine signed a $10 billion shale gas deal with US oil giant Chevron to explore its Olesky gas deposit around the time it expressed a desire for closer partnerships with the EU. Its ousted ex-President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to subsequently shun an EU trade agreement in favor of  Putin's offer of cheaper gas and a $15 billion aid package provoked internal unrest, as did its weak economy. The US denounced Russian-backed President Yanukovych, until he left his post, for he represented a potential loss of money, power and more financial access. Ukraine stands between Russian oil producers and European and Asian consumers, and is poised to profit from any growing energy demands from Western Europe, as could Western private firms.  It also serves as a potential financial out-post for US banks hunting for the next hot resource-saturated capital market.

Ironically, on September 17, 2014, the National Bank of Ukraine did a 180 spin on its economic forecasts and promised positive growth of 1% next year. The government said this economic expansion would come through more favorable corporate and income tax laws that would attract outside investors along the lines of what the US and IMF and World Bank has wanted. (More private relationships of bankers with these entities are in All the Presidents’ Bankers.) The Ukraine received two parts of a $17 billion IMF bailout this year with the IMF saying it may need $19 billion more. This means a greater call on Ukraine’s future revenues in return for austerity measures and deregulated financial markets to private foreign interests.

The real battle between the US and Russia is over the gateway countries in political flux. The real winners will be the private banks and oil companies that will reap the strategic benefits from gateway control over related markets and resources, supported by military and political might, and augmented with speculative capital for years to come. American and global citizens, oblivious to all this, will be the losers in this global shell game.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Paul Craig Roberts: "Obama’s September 24 speech at the UN is the most absurd thing I have heard in my entire life. It is absolutely amazing that the president of the United States would stand before the entire world and tell what everyone knows are blatant lies while simultaneously demonstrating Washington’s double standards and belief that Washington alone, because the US is exceptional and indispensable, has the right to violate all law. It is even more amazing that every person present did not get up and walk out of the assembly. The diplomats of the world actually sat there and listened to blatant lies from the world’s worst terrorist. They even clapped their approval."

Will Russia and China Hold Their Fire Until War Is the Only Alternative? — Paul Craig Roberts

September 25, 2014 | Original Here                                            Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Will Russia and China Hold Their Fire Until War Is the Only Alternative?

Paul Craig Roberts

Obama’s September 24 speech at the UN is the most absurd thing I have heard in my entire life. It is absolutely amazing that the president of the United States would stand before the entire world and tell what everyone knows are blatant lies while simultaneously demonstrating Washington’s double standards and belief that Washington alone, because the US is exceptional and indispensable, has the right to violate all law.

It is even more amazing that every person present did not get up and walk out of the assembly.

The diplomats of the world actually sat there and listened to blatant lies from the world’s worst terrorist. They even clapped their approval.

The rest of the speech was just utter bullshit: “We stand at a crossroads,” “signposts of progress,” “reduced chance of war between major powers,” “hundreds of millions lifted from poverty,” and while ebola ravages Africa “we’ve learned how to cure disease and harness the power of the wind and the sun.” We are now God. “We” is comprised of the “exceptional people” – Americans. No one else counts. “We” are it.

It is impossible to pick the most absurd statement in Obama’s speech or the most outrageous lie. Is it this one? “Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition.”

Or is it this one? “After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt president fled.  Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed.  Russia poured arms into eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands.  When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days.  When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border.”

The entire world knows that Washington overthrew the elected Ukrainian government, that Washington refuses to release its satellite photos of the destruction of the Malaysian airliner, that Ukraine refuses to release its air traffic control instructions to the airliner, that Washington has prevented a real investigation of the airliner’s destruction, that European experts on the scene have testified that both sides of the airliner’s cockpit demonstrate machine gun fire, an indication that the airliner was shot down by the Ukrainian jets that were following it. Indeed, there has been no explanation why Ukrainian jets were close on the heels of an airliner directed by Ukrainian air traffic control.

The entire world knows that if Russia had territorial ambitions, when the Russian military defeated the American trained and supplied Georgian army that attacked South Ossetia, Russia would have kept Georgia and reincorporated it within Russia where it resided for centuries.

Notice that it is not aggression when Washington bombs and invades seven countries in 13 years without a declaration of war. Aggression occurs when Russia accepts the petition of Crimeans who voted 97 percent in favor of reuniting with Russia where Crimea resided for centuries before Khrushchev attached it to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine in 1954 when Ukraine and Russia were part of the same country.

And the entire world knows that, as the separatist leader of the Donetsk Republic said, “If Russian military units were fighting with us, the news would not be the fall of Mariupol but the fall of Kiev and Lviv.”

Which is “the cancer of violent extremism” – ISIS which cut off the heads of four journalists, or Washington which has bombed seven countries in the 21st century murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians and displacing millions?

Who is the worst terrorist – ISIS, a group that is redrawing the artificial boundaries created by British and French colonialists, or Washington with its Wolfowitz Doctrine, the basis of US foreign policy, which declares Washington’s dominant objective to be US hegemony over the world?

ISIS is the creation of Washington. ISIS consists of the jihadists Washington used to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya and then sent to Syria to overthrow Assad. If ISIS is a “network of death,” a “brand of evil” with which negotiation is impossible as Obama declares, it is a network of death created by the Obama regime itself. If ISIS poses the threat that Obama claims, how can the regime that created the threat be credible in leading the fight against it?

Obama never mentioned in his speech the central problem that the world faces. That problem is Washington’s inability to accept the existence of strong independent countries such as Russia and China. The neoconservative Wolfowitz Doctrine commits the United States to maintaining its status as the sole Unipower. This task requires Washington “to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.” A “hostile power” is any country that has sufficient power or influence to be able to limit Washington’s exercise of power.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine explicitly targets Russia: “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere.” A “rival” is defined as any country capable of defending its interests or those of allies against Washington’s hegemony.

In his speech, Obama told Russia and China that they can be part of Washington’s world order on the condition that they accept Washington’s hegemony and do not interfere in any way with Washington’s control. When Obama tells Russia that the US will cooperate with Russia “if Russia changes course,” Obama means that Moscow must accept the primacy of Washington’s interest over Russia’s own interest.

Clearly, this is an inflexible and unrealistic position. If Washington keeps to it, war with Russia and China will ensue.

Obama told China that Washington intended to continue to be a Pacific power in China’s sphere of influence, “promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations” by building new US air and naval bases from the Philippines to Vietnam so that Washington can control the flow of resources in the South China Sea and cut off China at will.

As far as I can tell, neither the Russian nor Chinese governments understand the seriousness of the threat that Washington represents. Washington’s claim to world hegemony seems too farfetched to Russia and China to be real. But it is very real.

By refusing to take the threat seriously, Russia and China have not responded in ways that would bring an end to the threat without the necessity of war.

For example, the Russian government could most likely destroy NATO by responding to sanctions imposed by Washington and the EU by informing European governments that Russia does not sell natural gas to members of NATO. Instead of using this power, Russia has foolishly allowed the EU to accumulate record amounts of stored natural gas to see homes and industry through the coming winter.

Has Russia sold out its national interests for money?

Much of Washington’s power and financial hegemony rests on the role of the US dollar as world reserve currency. Russia and China have been slow, even negligent from the standpoint of defending their sovereignty, to take advantage of opportunities to undermine this pillar of Washington’s power. For example, the BRICS’ talk of abandoning the dollar payments system has been more talk than action. Russia doesn’t even require Washington’s European puppet states to pay for Russian natural gas in rubles.

One might think that a country such as Russia experiencing such extreme hostility and demonization from the West would at least use the gas sales to support its own currency instead of Washington’s dollar. If the Russian government is going to continue to support the economies of European countries hostile to Russia and to prevent the European peoples from freezing during the coming winter, shouldn’t Russia in exchange for this extraordinary subsidy to its enemies at least arrange to support its own currency by demanding payment in rubles? Unfortunately for Russia, Russia is infected with Western trained neoliberal economists who represent Western, not Russian, interests.

When the West sees such extraordinary weakness on the part of the Russian government, Obama knows he can go to the UN and tell the most blatant lies about Russia with no cost whatsoever to the US or Europe. Russian inaction subsidizes Russia’s demonization.

China has been no more successful than Russia in using its opportunities to destabilize Washington. For example, it is a known fact, as Dave Kranzler and I have repeatedly demonstrated, that the Federal Reserve uses its bullion bank agents to knock down the gold price in order to protect the dollar’s value from the Federal Reserve’s policies. The method used is for the bullion banks to drive down the gold price with enormous amounts of naked shorts during periods of low or nonexistent volume.

China or Russia or both could take advantage of this tactic by purchasing every naked short sold plus all covered shorts, if any, and demanding delivery instead of settling the contracts in cash. Neither New York Comex nor the London market could make delivery, and the system would implode. The consequence of the failure to deliver possibly could be catastrophic for the Western financial system, but in the least it would demonstrate the corrupt nature of Western financial institutions.

Or China could deal a more lethal blow. Choosing a time of heightened concern or disruptions in US financial markets, China could dump its trillion dollar plus holdings of US treasuries, or indeed all its holdings of US financial instruments, on the market. The Federal Reserve and the US Treasury could try to stabilize the prices of US financial instruments by creating money with which to purchase the bonds and other instruments. This money creation would increase concern about the dollar’s value, and at that point China could dump the trillion dollars plus it receives from its bond sales on the exchange market. The Federal Reserve cannot print foreign currencies with which to buy up the dollars. The dollar’s exchange value would collapse and with it the dollar’s use as world reserve currency. The US would become just another broke country unable to pay for its imports.

Possibly, Washington could get Japan and the European Central Bank to print enough yen and euros to buy up the dumped dollars. However, the likelihood is that this would bring down the yen and euro along with the dollar.

Flight would occur into the Chinese and Russian currencies, and financial hegemony would depart the West.

By their restraint, Russia and China enable Washington’s attack upon them. Last week Washington put thousands of its NGO operatives into the Moscow streets protesting “Putin’s war against Ukraine.” Foolishly, Russia has permitted foreign interests to buy up its newspapers, and these interests continually denounce Putin and the Russian government to their Russian readers.

Did Russia sell its soul and communication system for dollars? Did a few oligarchs sell out Russia for Swiss and London bank deposits?

Both Russia and China have Muslim populations among whom the CIA operates encouraging disassociation, rebellion, and violence. Washington intends to break up the Russian Federation into smaller, weaker countries that could not stand in the way of Washington’s hegemony. Russian and Chinese fear of discord among their own Muslim populations have caused both governments to make the extremely serious strategic mistake of aligning with Washington against ISIS and with Washington’s policy of protecting Washington’s status quo in the Muslim world.

If Russia and China understood the deadly threat that Washington presents, both governments would operate according to the time honored principle that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Russia and China would arm ISIS with surface to air missiles to bring down the American planes and with military intelligence in order to achieve an American defeat. With defeat would come the overthrow of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt and all of the American puppet rulers in the area. Washington would lose control over oil, and the petro-dollar would be history. It is extraordinary that instead Russia and China are working to protect Washington’s control over the Middle East and the petro-dollar.

China is subject to a variety of attacks. The Rockefeller Foundation creates American agents in Chinese universities, or so I am informed by Chinese academics. American companies that locate in China create Chinese boards on which they place the relatives of local and regional party officials. This shifts loyalty from the central government to the American money. Moreover, China has many economists educated in the US who are imbued with the neoliberal economics that represents Washington’s interests.

Both Russia and China have significant percentages of their populations who wish to be western. The failure of communism in both countries and the success of American cold war propaganda have created loyalties to America in place of their own governments. In Russia they go by the designation “Atlanticist Integrationists.” They are Russians who wish to be integrated into the West. I know less about the Chinese counterpart, but among youth Western materialism and lack of sexual restraint is appealing.

The inability of the Russian and Chinese governments to come to terms with the threat posed to their existence as sovereign countries by the neoconservative insistence on American world hegemony makes nuclear war more likely. If Russia and China catch on too late in the game, their only alternative will be war or submission to Washington’s hegemony. As there is no possibility of the US and NATO invading and occupying Russia and China, the war would be nuclear.

To avoid this war, which, as so many experts have shown, would terminate life on earth, the Russian and Chinese governments must soon become far more realistic in their assessment of the evil that resides in what Washington has turned into the world’s worst terrorist state – the US.

It is possible that Russia, China, and the rest of the world will be saved by American economic collapse. The US economy is a house of cards. Real median family incomes are in long-term decline. Universities produce graduates with degrees and heavy debts but no jobs. The bond market is rigged by the Federal Reserve which necessitates rigging the bullion markets in order to protect the dollar. The stock market is rigged by the outpouring of money from the Federal Reserve, by the Plunge Protection Team, and by corporations repurchasing their own stock. The dollar is supported by tradition, habit, and currency swaps.

The American House of Cards continues to stand only as a result of the tolerance of the world for vast corruption and disinformation and because greed is satisfied by the money made from a rigged system.

Russia and/or China could pull down this House of Cards whenever either country or both had leadership capable of it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The first video (Body of War) is a naked and honest portrayal of what it's like inside the body, heart and soul of an extraordinary and heroic young man struggling to deal with the complexities of a paralyzed body resulting from a bullet to the spine as a soldier in Iraq. Also in this film, we see the historic debate unfolding in the Congress about going to war in Iraq. The second video (War, Whistleblowing and Independent Journalism) is a panel moderated by The Real News’ Jessica Desvarieau and Phil Donahoe, featuring interviews with high-ranking government employees who sacrificed their jobs, and some cases risked imprisonment, to blow the whistle on corruption, waste, fraud, and illegal spying in their respective agencies.

                                                                          Originals here and here

Body of War

Body of War, a film by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue. It is an intimate and transformational feature documentary about the true face of war today. - September 24, 14

More at The Real News


Body of War, a film by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to several standing ovations and acclaim. It won Best Documentary from the prestigious National Board of Review and was nominated for Best Documentary from Producer's Guild of America. Body of War was short-listed for an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary and was released theatrically through Landmark Theatres. Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro were featured in a special on Bill Moyers, as well as appearing on all the major networks and publications. Body of War is an intimate and transformational feature documentary about the true face of war today. Meet Tomas Young, 25 years old, paralyzed from a bullet to his spine - wounded after serving in Iraq for less than a week.

Body of War is Tomas' coming home story as he evolves into a new person, coming to terms with his disability and finding his own unique and passionate voice against the war. The film is produced and directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, and features two original songs by Eddie Vedder. Body of War is a naked and honest portrayal of what it's like inside the body, heart and soul of this extraordinary and heroic young man.

Body of War unfolds on two parallel tracks. On the one hand, we see Tomas evolving into a powerful voice against the war as he struggles to deal with the complexities of a paralyzed body. And on the other, we see the historic debate unfolding in the Congress about going to war in Iraq.

The film opens as Tomas and his fiance Brie prepare for their wedding. However, because of his disability, we see how the simple everyday activities for Tomas are involved and challenging. War is personal and the film takes us into the skin and bones of what it means to have no control over basic bodily functions. In many remarkable scenes, we directly experience how vulnerable and open Tomas is as he interacts with his wife, family, and friends.

For their honeymoon, Tomas and Brie journey to Camp Casey, the anti-war encampment in Crawford, Texas, down the road from President Bush's Texas ranch. It was here that Cindy Sheehan galvanized the world's media and jumpstarted a new and growing anti-war movement. Cindy's son Casey and Tomas were both shot on the same day in Iraq. Tomas speaks publicly, gives interviews, finding his new voice and role. As the film progresses, we witness Tomas' evolution into a powerful leader, finding fresh abilities out of his disability and expressing his new form of patriotism. He is interviewed by Mike Wallace for "60 Minutes" and featured in a photo essay in The Nation magazine.

On a parallel track, Body of War follows the historic deliberations in Congress to grant President Bush authority to invade Iraq. During the fall of 2002, both Houses debated the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Forces against Iraq (H. J. Res 114). The House of Representatives adopted the resolution on October 10, by a vote of 296-133. The next day, the Senate passed it by a vote of 77-23. In the film, scenes of Tomas speaking out against the war are interspersed with the packaged debate in both houses of Congress, and the vote by vote tally in the U.S. Senate. (The vote on this resolution remains highly controversial five years later. In the current presidential campaign, the vote comes up again and again.)

The foremost voice of restraint in Congress was Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, the longest serving senator in U. S. history, first elected in 1958. His eloquent opposition to this momentous resolution is vividly captured in Body of War.

In the final riveting scene, the two streams of the film come together, as Tomas visits Senator Byrd in his office on Capitol Hill. Together, they review the historic Senate vote and read aloud the names of the "Immortal 23" who stood against the war.

War, Whistleblowing and Independent Journalism Panel

Panel includes: William Binney, NSA whistleblower; Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, EPA whistleblower; Jessica Desvarieux, journalist [moderator]; Phil Donahue, journalist; Thomas Drake, NSA whistleblower; and Kirk Wiebe, NSA whistleblower - September 22, 14

More at The Real News


Phil Donahue and the Donahue show have been honored with 20 Daytime Emmy Awards, including nine for Outstanding Host and a George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Journalism Award.

Kirk Wiebe is a former NSA Senior Intelligence Analyst and an NSA Whistleblower who worked with NSA for more than 32 years, and was awarded that Agency’s second highest award, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award. He retired from NSA in October 2001 along with fellow NSA whistleblowers Bill Binney and Ed Loomis.

William Binney was the former technical director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group and a senior NSA cryptomathematician at the NSA. He worked there for over three decades, and retired after 9/11 as the agency began to implement domestic spying programs that he says are unconstitutional. He is also a whistleblower, having disclosed information to the Defense Department in 2002 about corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse in the agency related to the use of data collection and analysis program called Trailblazer.

Thomas Drake, NSA whistleblower

Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo received her BA degree from Barnard College/Columbia University and her doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is the author of No FEAR: A Whistleblower's Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA.

Dr. Coleman-Adebayo was a Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of the Administrator at the US Environmental Protection Agency. She has held various academic positions as Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University _ School of Foreign Studies and Visiting Scholar in the Department of African-American Studies at George Mason University.

On August 18, 2000, Dr. Coleman-Adebayo won an historic lawsuit against the EPA on the basis of race, sex, color discrimination, and a hostile work environment. She subsequently testified before Congress on two occasions. As a result, the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act [No FEAR] was introduced by Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee ( D-TX) and Senator John Warner (R- VA). Along with the No FEAR Coalition, she ushered the No FEAR Bill through Congress. President George W. Bush signed the No FEAR Act into law. Thousands of federal workers and their families have directly benefited from this law. She serves as a producer on the dramatic film: No FEAR!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Do not believe the news reports that our economy is picking up. Not only are the statistics being fudged, but "the Federal Reserve and its bullion bank agents (JP Morgan, Scotia, and HSBC) have been using naked short-selling to drive down the price of gold since September 2011." Naked short-selling means selling something on the market that you neither own nor have borrowed. It is illegal on the stock and bond markets, but it is permitted for gold futures. How convenient for our corrupt govenment! Normally selling off gold is a sign of investors' confidence in the markets. In reality the dollar is doomed to crash sooner than later. So don't be fooled; buy gold (or silver) now while it is arificially depressed. When the dollar crashes the value of gold (and silver) will instantly double or triple, and the riggers will own plenty of them. Why shouldn't you?

Rigged Gold Price Distorts Perception of Economic Reality — Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler

September 22, 2014 | Original Here                                            Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Rigged Gold Price Distorts Perception of Economic Reality

Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler

The Federal Reserve and its bullion bank agents (JP Morgan, Scotia, and HSBC) have been using naked short-selling to drive down the price of gold since September 2011. The latest containment effort began in mid-July of this year, after gold had moved higher in price from the beginning of June and was threatening to take out key technical levels, which would have triggered a flood of buying from hedge funds.

The Fed and its agents rig the gold price in the New York Comex futures (paper gold) market. The bullion banks have the ability to print an unlimited supply of gold contracts which are sold in large volumes at times when Comex activity is light.

Generally, on the other side of the trade the buyers of contracts are large hedge funds and other speculators, who use the contracts to speculate on the direction of the gold price. The hedge funds and speculators have no interest in acquiring physical gold and settle their bets in cash, which makes it possible for the bullion banks to sell claims to gold that they cannot back with physical metal. Contracts sold without underlying gold to back them are called “uncovered contracts” or “naked shorts.” It is illegal to engage in naked shorting in the stock and bond markets, but it is permitted in the gold futures market.

The fact that the price of gold is determined in a futures market in which paper claims to gold are traded merely to speculate on price means that the Fed and its bank agents can suppress the price of gold even though demand for physical gold is rising. If there were strict requirements that gold shorts could not be naked and had to be backed by the seller’s possession of physical gold represented by the futures contract, the Federal Reserve and its agents would be unable to control the price of gold, and the gold price would be much higher than it is now.

Gold price manipulation is used when demand for delivery of gold bullion begins to put upward pressure on the price of gold and hedge funds speculate on the rising price of gold by purchasing large quantities of Comex futures contracts (paper gold). This speculation accelerates the upward move in the price of gold. The TF Metals Report provides a good description of this illegal manipulation of the gold market:

“Over a period of 10 weeks to begin the year, the Comex bullion banks were able to limit the rally to only 15% by supplying the “market” with 95,000 brand new naked short contracts. That’s 9.5MM ounces of make-believe paper gold or about 295 metric tonnes.

“Over a period of just 5 weeks in June and July, the Comex bullion banks were able to limit the rally to only 7% by supplying the “market” with 79,000 brand new naked short contracts. That’s 7.9MM ounces of make-believe paper gold or about 246 metric tonnes.”

In previous columns, we have documented the heavy short-selling into light trading periods.
See for example:

The bullion banks do not have nearly enough gold in their possession to make deliveries to the buyers if the buyers decide to stand for delivery per the terms of the paper gold contract. The reason this scheme works is because the majority of the buyers of the contracts are speculators, not gold purchasers, and never demand delivery of the gold. Instead, they settle the contracts in cash. They are looking for short-term trading profits, not for a gold hedge against currency inflation. If a majority of the longs (the purchasers of the contracts) required delivery of the gold, the regulators would not tolerate the extent to which gold is shorted with uncovered contracts.

In our opinion, the manipulation is illegal, because it is insider trading. The bullion banks that short the gold market are clearing members of the Comex/NYMEX/CME. In that role, the bullion banks have access to the computer system used to clear and settle trades, which means that the bullion banks have access to all the trading positions, including those of the hedge funds. When the hedge funds are in the deepest, the bullion banks dump naked shorts on the Comex, driving down the futures price, which triggers selling from stop-loss orders and margin calls that drive the price down further. Then the bullion banks buy the contracts at a lower price than they sold and pocket the difference, simultaneously serving the Fed by protecting the dollar from the Fed’s loose monetary policy by lowering the gold price and preventing the concern that a rising gold price would bring to the dollar.

Since mid-July, nearly every night in the US the price of gold remains steady or drifts higher. This is when the eastern hemisphere markets are open and the market players are busy buying physical gold for which delivery is mandatory. But as regular as clockwork, following the close of the Asian markets, the London and New York paper gold markets open, and the price of gold is immediately taken lower as paper gold contracts flood into the market setting a negative tone for the day’s trading.

Gold serves as a warning for aware people that financial and economic trouble are brewing. For instance, from the period of time just before the tech bubble collapsed (January 2000) until just before the collapse of Bear Stearns triggered the Great Financial Crisis (March 2008), gold rose in value from $250 to $1020 per ounce, or just over 400%. Moreover, in the period since the Great Financial Collapse, gold has risen 61% despite claims that the financial system was repaired. It was up as much as 225% (September 2011) before the Fed began the systematic take-down and containment of gold in order to protect the dollar from the massive creation of new dollars required by Quantitative Easing.

The US economy and financial system are in worse condition than the Fed and Treasury claim and the financial media reports. Both public and private debt burdens are high. Corporations are borrowing from banks in order to buy back their own stocks. This leaves corporations with new debt but without income streams from new investments with which to service the debt. Retail stores are in trouble, including dollar store chains. The housing market is showing signs of renewed downturn. The September 16 release of the 2013 Income and Poverty report shows that real median household income has declined to the level in 1994 two decades ago and is actually lower than in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The combination of high debt and decline in real income means that there is no engine to drive the economy.

In the 21st century, US debt and money creation has not been matched by an increase in real goods and services. The implication of this mismatch is inflation. Without the price-rigging by the bullion banks, gold and silver would be reflecting these inflation expectations.

The dollar is also in trouble because its role as world reserve currency is threatened by the abuse of this role in order to gain financial hegemony over others and to punish with sanctions those countries that do not comply with the goals of US foreign policy. The Wolfowitz Doctrine, which is the basis of US foreign policy, says that it is imperative for Washington to prevent the rise of other countries, such as Russia and China, that can limit the exercise of US power.

Sanctions and the threat of sanctions encourage other countries to leave the dollar payments system and to abandon the petrodollar. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) have formed to do precisely that. Russia and China have arranged a massive long-term energy deal that avoids use of the US dollar. Both countries are settling their trade accounts with each other in their own currencies, and this practice is spreading. China is considering a gold-backed yuan, which would make the Chinese currency highly desirable as a reserve asset. It is possible that the Fed’s attack on gold is also aimed at making Chinese and Russian gold accumulation less supportive of their currencies. A currency linked to a falling gold price is not the same as a currency linked to a rising gold price.

It is unclear whether the new Chinese gold exchange in Shanghai will displace the London and New York futures markets. Naked short-selling is not permitted in the Chinese gold exchange. The world could end up with two gold futures markets: one based on assessments of reality, and the other based on gambling and price-rigging.

The future will also determine whether the role of reserve currency has been overtaken by time. The US dollar took that role in the aftermath of World War II, a time when the US had the only industrial economy that had not been destroyed in the war. A stable means of settling international accounts was needed. Today there are many economies that have tradable currencies, and accounts can be settled between countries in their own currencies. There is no longer a need for a single reserve currency. As this realization spreads, pressure on the dollar’s value will intensify.

For a period the Federal Reserve can support the dollar’s exchange value by pressuring Japan and the European Central Bank to print their currencies with which to support the dollar with purchases in the foreign exchange market. Other countries, such as Switzerland, will print their own currencies so as not to endanger their exports by a rise in the dollar price of their exports. But eventually the large US trade deficits produced by offshoring the production of goods and services sold into US markets and the collapse of the middle class and tax base caused by jobs offshoring will destroy the value of the US dollar.

When that day arrives, US living standards, already endangered, will plummet. American power will have been destroyed by corporate greed and the Fed’s policy of sacrificing the US economy in order to save four or five mega-banks, whose former executives control the Fed, the US Treasury, and the federal financial regulatory agencies.

Friday, September 19, 2014

This Sunday a major climate-change demonstration, possibly the largest in history, will take place in New York City. As the ice that covers the polar seas is shrinking, while the ice shields that cover Antarctica and Greenland are melting, the number of Americans who believe it isn't happening has risen to 23%. And of course our paid off, or hopelessly dim, members of Congress fail to recognize the urgency of doing something about it. Below the Tomgram masthead, Rebecca Solnit has written a thoughtful wakeup call. For my part, I've added for the climate-change deniers a graph showing the sea levels on the U.S. east coast revealing that (1) there were no ice caps either >100 million years before or 30 million years after the impact of a monstrous asteroid on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, (2) the sea levels were extremely high when there were no ice caps (compare with height of the George Washington Monument), and (3) the appearance of the ice caps that we presently enjoy may have been linked to a meteor or comet that struck the Chesapeake Bay 35.4 million years ago (and another one of the same type creating a crater of about the same size and age in Siberia). Moral: support those demonstrators in New York this Sunday!

The Wheel Turns, the Boat Rocks, the Sea Rises
Change in a Time of Climate Change
By Rebecca Solnit                                                            Original Here with links I was not able to embed

    There have undoubtedly been stable periods in human history, but you and your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents never lived through one, and neither will any children or grandchildren you may have or come to have. Everything has been changing continuously, profoundly -- from the role of women to the nature of agriculture. For the past couple of hundred years, change has been accelerating in both magnificent and nightmarish ways.

    Yet when we argue for change, notably changing our ways in response to climate change, we’re arguing against people who claim we’re disrupting a stable system.  They insist that we’re rocking the boat unnecessarily.

    I say: rock that boat. It’s a lifeboat; maybe the people in it will wake up and start rowing. Those who think they’re hanging onto a stable order are actually clinging to the wreckage of the old order, a ship already sinking, that we need to leave behind.

    As you probably know, the actual oceans are rising -- almost eight inches since 1880, and that’s only going to accelerate. They’re also acidifying, because they’re absorbing significant amounts of the carbon we continue to pump into the atmosphere at record levels.  The ice that covers the polar seas is shrinking, while the ice shields that cover Antarctica and Greenland are melting. The water locked up in all the polar ice, as it’s unlocked by heat, is going to raise sea levels staggeringly, possibly by as much as 200 feet at some point in the future, how distant we do not know.  In the temperate latitudes, warming seas breed fiercer hurricanes.

    The oceans are changing fast, and for the worse. Fish stocks are dying off, as are shellfish. In many acidified oceanic regions, their shells are actually dissolving or failing to form, which is one of the scariest, most nightmarish things I’ve ever heard. So don’t tell me that we’re rocking a stable boat on calm seas. The glorious 10,000-year period of stable climate in which humanity flourished and then exploded to overrun the Earth and all its ecosystems is over.

    But responding to these current cataclysmic changes means taking on people who believe, or at least assert, that those of us who want to react and act are gratuitously disrupting a stable system that’s working fine. It isn’t stable. It is working fine -- in the short term and the most limited sense -- for oil companies and the people who profit from them and for some of us in the particularly cushy parts of the world who haven’t been impacted yet by weather events like, say, the recent torrential floods in Japan or southern Nevada and Arizona, or the monsoon versions of the same that have devastated parts of India and Pakistan, or the drought that has mummified my beloved California, or the wildfires of Australia.

    The problem, of course, is that the people who most benefit from the current arrangements have effectively purchased a lot of politicians, and that a great many of the rest of them are either hopelessly dim or amazingly timid. Most of the Democrats recognize the reality of climate change but not the urgency of doing something about it. Many of the Republicans used to -- John McCain has done an amazing about-face from being a sane voice on climate to a shrill denier -- and they present a horrific obstacle to any international treaties.

    Put it this way: in one country, one party holding 45 out of 100 seats in one legislative house, while serving a minority of the very rich, can basically block what quite a lot of the other seven billion people on Earth want and need, because a two-thirds majority in the Senate must consent to any international treaty the U.S. signs. Which is not to say much for the president, whose drill-baby-drill administration only looks good compared to the petroleum servants he faces, when he bothers to face them and isn’t just one of them. History will despise them all and much of the world does now, but as my mother would have said, they know which side their bread is buttered on.

    As it happens, the butter is melting and the bread is getting more expensive. Global grain production is already down several percent thanks to climate change, says a terrifying new United Nations report. Declining crops cause food shortages and rising food prices, creating hunger and even famine for the poorest on Earth, and also sometimes cause massive unrest.  Rising bread prices were one factor that helped spark the Arab Spring in 2011. Anyone who argues that doing something about global warming will be too expensive is dodging just how expensive unmitigated climate change is already proving to be.

    It’s only a question of whether the very wealthy or the very poor will pay.  Putting it that way, however, devalues all the nonmonetary things at stake, from the survival of myriad species to our confidence in the future. And yeah, climate change is here, now. We’ve already lost a lot and we’re going to lose more, but there’s a difference between terrible and apocalyptic.  We still have some control over how extreme it gets. That’s not a great choice, but it’s the choice we have. There’s still a window open for action, but it’s closing. As the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Society, Michel Jarraud, bluntly put it recently, "We are running out of time."

    New and Renewable Energies

    The future is not yet written. Look at the world we’re in at this very moment. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was supposed to be built years ago, but activists catalyzed by the rural and indigenous communities across whose land it would go have stopped it so far, and made what was supposed to be a done deal a contentious issue. Activists changed the outcome.

    Fracking has been challenged on the state level, and banned in townships and counties from upstate New York to central California. (It has also been banned in two Canadian provinces, France, and Bulgaria.) The fossil-fuel divestment movement has achieved a number of remarkable victories in its few bare years of existence and more are on the way. The actual divestments and commitments to divest fossil fuel stocks by various institutions ranging from the city of Seattle to the British Medical Association are striking. But the real power of the movement lies in the way it has called into question the wisdom of investing in fossil fuel corporations.  Even mainstream voices like the British Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee and publications like Forbes are now beginning to question whether they are safe places to put money. That’s a sea change.

    Renewable energy has become more efficient, technologically sophisticated, and cheaper -- the price of solar power in relation to the energy it generates has plummeted astonishingly over the past three decades and wind technology keeps getting better. While Americans overall are not yet curtailing their fossil-fuel habits, many individuals and communities are choosing other options, and those options are becoming increasingly viable. A Stanford University scientist has proposed a plan to allow each of the 50 states to run on 100% renewable energy by 2050.

    Since, according to the latest report of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, fossil fuel reserves still in the ground are “at least four times larger than could safely be burned if global warming is to be kept to a tolerable level,” it couldn’t be more important to reach global agreements to do things differently on a planetary scale.  Notably, most of those carbon reserves must be left untapped and the modest steps already taken locally and ad hoc show that such changes are indeed possible and that an encouraging number of us want to pursue them.

We can do it. And we is the key word here. The world is not going to be saved by individual acts of virtue; it’s going to be saved, if it is to be saved, by collective acts of social and political change. That’s why I’m marching this Sunday with tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of others in New York City -- to pressure the United Nations as it meets to address climate change. That’s why people who care about the future state of our planet will also be marching and demonstrating in New Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne, Kathmandu, Dublin, Manila, Seoul, Mumbai, Istanbul, and so many smaller places.

Mass movements work. Unarmed citizens have changed the course of history countless times in the modern era. When we come together as civil society, we have the capacity to transform policies, change old ways of doing things, and sometimes even topple regimes. And it is about governments. Like it or not, the global treaties, compacts, and agreements we need can only be made by governments, and governments will make those agreements when the pressure to do so is greater than the pressure not to.  We can and must be that pressure.

The Long View from One Window

I lived in the same apartment for 25 years, moving into a poor but thriving black community in 1981 and out of the far more affluent, paler, and less neighborly place it had become in 2006. A lot of people moved in and out in that period, many of them staying only a year or two. Those transients always seemed to believe that the neighborhood they were passing through was a stable one. You had to be slower than change and stick around to see it. I saw it and it helped me learn how to take a historical view of things.

It’s crazy that anyone speaks as if our world is not undergoing rapid change, when the view from the window called history shows nothing but transformation, both incremental and dramatic. Exactly 25 years ago this month, Eastern Europe was astir.  Remember that back then there was still a Soviet bloc, and a Soviet Union, and an Iron Curtain, and a Berlin Wall, and a Cold War. Most people thought those were permanent fixtures, but in the summer of 1989, Hungary decided to let East Germans (who were permitted to travel freely to that communist country) stream over to the West.

Thousands of people, tired of life in the totalitarian east, fled. Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, as well as East Germany, were already electrified by a resurgent civil society and activist communities that had dared to organize in the face of repression. At the time, politicians and pundits in the West were making careers out of explaining, among so many other things, why German reunification wasn’t going to happen in anyone’s lifetime. And they probably would have been proven right if people had stayed home and done nothing, if they hadn't begun to hope and acted on that hope.

The bureaucrats on both sides of the Berlin Wall were still talking about the possibility of demilitarizing it when citizens showed up en masse and the guards began abandoning their posts. On that epochal night of November 9, 1989, the people made whole what had been broken. The lesson: showing up is half the battle.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been so unnerved by developments in the Soviet Union’s Eastern European holdings that she went to Moscow, two months before the fall of the wall, to implore Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to prevent any such thing. That was early September 1989. “No dramatic change in the situation in Czechoslovakia can be expected,” predicted a Czech official two months before a glorious popular uprising, remembered as the Velvet Revolution, erupted and abolished the government in which he was an official.

There are three things to note about those changes in 1989. First, most people in power dismissed the possibility that such extraordinary change could happen or deplored what it might bring. They were comfortable enough with things as they were, even though the status quo was several kinds of scary and awful. In other words, the status quo likes the status quo and dislikes change. Second, everything changed despite them, thanks to grassroots organizing and civil society, forces that -- we are now regularly assured -- are pointless and irrelevant. Third, the world that existed then has been largely swept away: the Soviet Union, the global alignments of that time, the idea of a binary world of communism and capitalism, and the policies that had kept us on the brink of nuclear annihilation for decades. We live in a very different world now (though nuclear weapons are still a terrible problem). Things do change.

Maybe, in fact, there’s a fourth point to note as well. That, important as they were, the front-page stories about the liberation of Eastern Europe weren’t what mattered most all those years ago. After all, hidden away deep inside the New York Times that autumn, you can find a dozen or so articles about global warming, as the newly recognized phenomenon was then called. And small as they were, anyone reading them now can see that so long ago the essential problem and peril to our world was already clear.

The thought of what might have been accomplished, had a people’s movement arisen then to face global warming, could break your heart.  That, after all, was still a time when the Earth’s atmosphere held just above 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide, the maximum safe level for a sustainable survivable planet, not the 400 parts per million of the present moment (“142% of the pre-industrial era” level of carbon, the World Meteorological Organization notes). In other words, we’ve been steadily filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and so imperiling the planet and humanity since we knew what we were doing.

The Great Smog and the Big Wind

In that fall a quarter of a century ago, the world changed profoundly right before our eyes. Then we settled back into the short-term, ahistorical view that things are really pretty stable, that ordinary people have no power, and that the world can’t be changed. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at Germany today. Maybe because Germans know better than us that things can change for the worse or the better fast, that the world is not a stable and settled place, and that we do shape it, they have been willing to change.

At one point last spring, cold, cloudy Germany managed to get almost 75% of its electricity from renewable sources. Scotland -- cold, gray, oil-rich Scotland! -- is on track to achieve 100% renewable electrical generation by 2020 and has already hit the 40% mark. Spain now generates about half its electricity through clean and renewable sources. Other European countries have similar accomplishments. In fact, many of the changes that we in the United States will be marching for this Sunday have already begun happening, sometimes on a significant scale, elsewhere.

To remember how radical this new Europe is, recall that most of these places were burning coal not just in power plants or factories but in homes, too, not so many decades ago. Everyone deplores the horrific air of Beijing and other Chinese cities now, but few remember that many European cities were similarly foul with smoke and smog from the industrial revolution into the postwar era. In December 1952, for instance, the “Great Smog” of London reduced daytime visibility to a few yards and killed about 4,000 people in three days.

A decade before that, in response to the war Germany started, North Americans radically reduced their use of private vehicles and gasoline and planted more than 20 million victory gardens, producing vast quantities of food by non-industrial means. We have done that; we could (and must) do it again.

At least, we don’t burn coal in our homes any more, and in the U.S. we’ve retired 178 coal-fired power plants, phasing out many more, and prevented many new ones from being built. The renewable energy sources that were, people insisted, too minor or unreliable or expensive or new are now beginning to work well, and the price to produce energy in such a fashion is dropping rapidly.  UBS, the European investment giant, recently counseled that power plants and centralized power generation are no longer good investments, since decentralized renewables are likely to replace them.

Of course, Germany and Britain are still burning coal, and Poland remains a giant coal mine.  Europe is not a perfect renewable energy paradise, just a part of the world that demonstrates the viability of changing how we produce and consume energy. We are already changing, even if not fast enough, not by a long shot, at least not yet. The same goes for divesting from fossil-fuel investments, even though dozens of universities, cities, religious institutions, and foundations have already committed to doing so, and some have by now actually purged their portfolios.  The excuse that change is impossible is no longer available, because many places and entities have already changed.

Last Glimmers

If you want to know how potentially powerful you are, ask your enemies. The misogynists who attack feminism and try to intimidate feminists into silence only demonstrate in a roundabout way that feminism really is changing the world; they are the furious backlash and so the proof that something meaningful is at stake. The climate movement is similarly upsetting a lot of powerful people and institutions; to grasp that, you just have to look at the tsunamis of money spent opposing specific measures and misinforming the public. The carbon barons are demonstrating that we could change the world and that they don’t want us to.

We are powerful and need to become more so in the next year as a major conference in Paris approaches in December 2015 where the climate agreements we need could be hammered out. Or not. This is, after all, a sequel to the Copenhagen conference of 2009, where representatives of many smaller and more vulnerable nations, as well as citizens’ groups, were eager for a treaty that took on climate change in significant ways, only to have their hopes crushed by the recalcitrant governments of the United States and China.

Right now, we are in a churning sea of change, of climate change, of subtle changes in everyday life, of powerful efforts by elites to serve themselves and damn the rest of us, and of increasingly powerful activist and social-movement campaigns to make a world that benefits more beings, human and otherwise, in the longer term. Every choice you make aligns you with one set of these forces or another. That includes doing nothing, which means aligning yourself with the worst of the status quo dragging us down in that ocean of carbon and consumption.

To make personal changes is to do too little. Only great movements, only collective action can save us now. Only is a scary word, but when the ship is sinking, it can be an encouraging one as well. It can hold out hope. The world has changed again and again in ways that, until they happened, would have been considered improbable by just about everyone on the planet. It is changing now and the direction is up to us.

There will be another story to be told about what we did a quarter century after civil society toppled the East Bloc regimes, what we did in the pivotal years of 2014 and 2015. All we know now is that it is not yet written, and that we who live at this very moment have the power to write it with our lives and acts.

A TomDispatch regular, Rebecca Solnit has 16 books out, the latest of which is the indie bestseller Men Explain Things to Me.  

Copyright 2014 Rebecca Solnit